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.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!