Winter Meetings 2009 Day One
The rumor mongering Olympics begin today and instead of a Jake Peavy trade or trying to sign Kosuke Fukudome or Ted Lilly, it'll be about moving Milton Bradley and how much the Cubs are willing to pay for the privilege. Unfortunately I won't be around until later this afternoon, so I'm going to miss most of the morning rumors. Updates will go up top....
Sullivan says it's basically Rays or bust although the Cubs talked to 5 or 6 teams today about trades. The Mets seem to be out of the mix as a third team and that means Luis Castillo is out of the mix as well. The Blue Jays have emerged as the possible third team with some interest in Burrell as a DH. Sullivan also echoes that Cubs may have interest in Melky Cabrera if Yankees land Granderson with the Cubs on the outside of the Granderson sweepstakes due to their refusal to move Starlin Castro.
One major league manager said Monday he would gladly take Bradley, though he added his general manager wasn't interested because of possible negative reaction by the team's fan base. Another manager asked why the Cubs don't just bite the bullet and bring Bradley back rather than giving him away.
Can the "another manager" come and run the Cubs?
Whoever Ed Price is, he's tweeting that Brewers are closing in on a 3-year deal for Randy Wolf. I think that's good for the Cubs. I kind of like Randy Wolf, but he's not the 3.23 ERA pitcher he was last year and although he's been pretty healthy the last two years, he's had quite a few injury issues in the past.
Jayson Stark echoes that 2-3 teams have asked the Cubs about Bradley since Winter Meetings have begun and the money gap continues to hold up Bradley moving to the Rays.
Braden Looper would love to pitch for the Cubs. Hopefully the feeling isn't mutual.
A few notes from Bruce Miles...
The Cubs and Hendry like Heath Bell but "laughed off" rumors of trying to acquire him using Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot or just about anyone else.
The Cubs will give Jeff Baker some reps in the outfield this spring to continue their creepy molding of him into Mark DeRosa. I wonder how much Baker feels like Kim Novak in Vertigo at this point.
Bob Nightengale at USA Today says the Tigers would like to move Granderson by this week and then Wittenmyer says the Cubs have heard nothing of the sort from the Tigers.
Ryne Sandberg will manage Triple A Iowa next year. Organizational soldier Bobby Dickerson is moving to...go ahead take a guess...the Baltimore Orioles of course.
Another ESPN Winter Meetings Live note:
Meanwhile, Buster Olney says for the Yankees to get Granderson, it will cost Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson.
So safe to say, the Tigers are only going to move Granderson for the right package, not just salary relief.
3:56 PM CST: ESPN Winter Meetings Live has this note:
From Peter Gammons: To get Curtis Granderson, the Tigers asked the Cubs for Starlin Castro and two prospects. The Cubs considered that to be too high a price.
3:50 PM CST: Q&A with Lou from the winter meetings including this gem about having a balanced lineup:
I don't think it matters anymore. Just keep people healthy on the field, and let's get people that can produce and let it go at that.
No fucking shit. Thanks for ruining the 2009 season with that bullshit.
Says that Alfonso Soriano is staying in the 6 spot and Zambrano should be winning 20 games every year with the stuff he throws.
3:20 PM CST: Brewers have strong interest in Randy Wolf according to Robothal.
3:!5 PM CST: Danny Knobler at CBS Sports says the Cubs are talking with up to 4 teams now regarding Bradley.
2:42 PM CST: And we're back...
Bruce Levine blogs about talks of Bradley for Gil Meche, which Wittenmyer subsequently shoots down. The Cubs were after Meche before the 2007 season, but he passed to go to the Royals, I believe citing that he'd prefer a smaller market than Chicago. Rumors creeped up again last year with Meche right before the Cubs acquired Harden and he shot those down as well.
- Cardinals are close to their annual pick-up-a-vet for Dave Duncan to fix...this time it's Brad Penny
- Phil Rogers says the Padres are trying to move Heath Bell and the Cubs could be interested. Rogers thinks if they do get Bell, it could mean Carlos Marmol is on his way out - most likely for Curtis Granderson. I can't ever recall one Phil Rogers rumor coming through.
- It looks like the Cubs and Yankees are fighting for the same center fielders, both coveting Curtis Granderson or Mike Cameron.
- Lou was on XM radio and said the Cubs is searching for a center fielder and veteran right-handed bullpen arm. Blamed 2009 on injuries and lack of depth and some tangent about making 11 or so changes to a 97-win team. When asked about Bradley possibly returning, he said Bradley had a tough year and he'll probably bounce back but we're looking to move him and some of the events of last summer were too much to bring him back. Has the "well, we have to dump him" pan ever worked in a team's favor? I mean, the team doing the dumping of course.
10:31 AM CST: This is a bit sketchy, but a report that Burrell has been moved to the Cubs and then the Mets, no mention of Bradley, but that must be the deal if true. (For what it's worth, it was posted about a half hour ago and no confirmation anywhere else, so I think someone's been duped).
10:10 AM CST: Another Sherman tweet that the both Cubs and Yankees are interested in Cameron and then he floats that Cubs have always liked Melky Cabrera.
- 3 teams are interested in Bradley: Rangers, Rays, mystery third team. All of them want the Cubs to pay more (as in just about all of Milton's last year) to get a deal done. For the Rangers, it looks like Kevin Millwood is the trading chip, for the Rays, it's Pat Burrell, for the mystery third team, it's a mystery player.
- Speaking of Burrell, Joel Sherman first tweeted that the Mets would consider taking Burrell for Castillo but are naturally worried about his defense. More recently he tweeted that "Rays growing less hopeful of swapping Burrell to Cubs."
-Bruce Levine blogged that Cubs are considering bringing back Reed Johnson and Rick Ankiel, Coco Crisp, Mike Cameron and Marlon Byrd are all on the Cubs radar.
I think that's everything worth mentioning at the moment, I shall be back with updates later in the day.
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?