Who’s On First in 2012?

Sweet Lou brings us a guest column on what the Cubs may do at first base in 2012

It will be interesting to see who will be playing first base for the Cubs in 2012. There was talk in recent weeks that the Cubs had an interest in Albert Pujols, but that obviously didn’t materialize. Now that Pujols is headed to California, who might the Cubs turn to to fill the void at first base?

Bryan LaHair appears to be the most likely in-house candidate, with Jeff Baker a close second. I can’t imagine that the Cubs would settle for either LaHair or Baker to start at first base for them in 2012, but anyone paying attention to the Cubs in recent years knows that not everything they do makes sense.

If the Cubs go the free agent route, Prince Fielder is the big name still left on the board. He’s looking for 8-10 years at $20 million-plus per year. That’s a lot of years and money for a guy who many feel will be a DH five or six years down the line.

Could Fielder be had on a four or five year deal? Fielder’s agent Scott Boras says “No way!” but many front office types believe that is going to be how things play out. A four or five year deal for the 27-year old Fielder sounds a lot better for the Cubs (or anyone else that signs Fielder) than a 10-year contract that is almost certain to become an albatross.

In a recent tweet, Peter Gammons opined that the Cubs do not have the cash to pursue Fielder. However, there appears to be ample evidence to the contrary. For instance, if the Cubs were truly in on Pujols and were not just trying to drive up his price, they must have had some money available. Also, it’s highly unlikely that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would have agreed to join the Cubs front office if there was no money for them to work with. I think it’s safe to say that if the Cubs decide they want to pursue Fielder, the money will be available.

Some have speculated that the Cubs will bring back Carlos Pena for another year or two. Pena turned down the Cubs offer of arbitration, but that doesn’t mean he can’t come back as a free agent. He is looking for a two-year deal that will likely be in the $10-$12 million per year range.

Pena had a bit of a bounce back year in 2011. After a horrible year for Tampa Bay in 2010, the lefty hit .225/.357/.462 with 28 home runs and 80 rbi for the Cubs last year. It’s unlikely Pena will ever be a guy who hits for a high average, but over the course of his career, he has been fairly productive.

Another free agent that can play first base is Michael Cuddyer. He has been linked to several teams this off season, but the Cubs have not been one of them. Cuddyer is a versatile fielder who can play first base, second base and right field. He can also fill in at third base in a pinch. The Twins have already offered him a three-year, $24 million contract, and others have speculated that it’s going to take more money to land Cuddyer.

Other free agents include former Cubs Derrick Lee and Xavier Nady, Eric Hinske, Russell Branyan, Casey Kotchman, and Conor Jackson. I have not heard any of them linked to the Cubs nor do I suspect that the JedStein (Hoy-Stein, The Jed, JedStein, Eerie Pythons, Jed-n-Stein, etc.) brain trust has any interest in any of them.

If the Cubs choose to obtain a first baseman via trade, the Angels are suddenly the most obvious trading partner. After signing former Cardinal Albert Pujols, the Angels find themselves with an overabundance of first basemen.

It is a near certainty that 28-year old Kendry Morales will be on the trading block. Morales played in only 51 games for the Angels in 2010 before he broke his ankle in a home plate celebration. The injury required surgery and sidelined the switch-hitter for the entire 2011 season. The Angels have said they are hopeful that Morales will be ready for 2012 spring training, and they are expecting an update on his condition after the first of the year. According to Cot’s Contracts, Morales made $2.975 million in 2011 and is arbitration eligible in 2012.

Mark Trumbo, 2011 AL rookie-of-the-year-runner-up, also appears to be odd-man-out following the Pujols signing. The Angels initially said that they do not plan on trading Trumbo, opting instead to give him a try at third-base. However, that is far from a certainty. Trumbo has never played third-base at the professional level and it is a bit of a leap to believe he could step in as the starter at the hot corner for the Angels next season.

In addition to spending time at third base, there has been talk about Trumbo getting at-bats as the DH and potentially as a corner outfielder. This is a possibility, but the Halos also have to find at-bats for Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu, all veterans who will be very difficult, if not impossible to trade, as well as hot prospect Mike Trout. In his rookie campaign, Trumbo hit .254/.291/.477 with 29 homers and 87 rbi.

When the Marlins thought they might be getting Pujols, Gaby Sanchez became a prime trade candidate. However, with Pujols going to the Angels, Sanchez likely is no longer on the trading block. Of course, that could change if Miami swoops in and snatches up Fielder. At this point, that appears to be an unlikely scenario.

The Rangers postured in the early off-season saying that they plan on having Mitch Moreland at first base in 2012. However, they appear to be emerging as a top contender for Prince Fielder and there are rumors that the Rangers have discussed a deal with Tampa Bay that would send Moreland to the Rays for rhp Wade Davis. If Moreland is truly available, the Cubs might be interested in talking to the Rangers. In 2011, the 26-year old lefty hit .259/.320/.414 with 16 home runs and 51 rbi.

Are there other likely trading partners out there? Who do you want to see at first base for the Cubs in 2012?

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Comments

- Brackman to Reds on major league deal

- Ramirez gets $6M next year from Brewers, then $10M, then $16M with a $4M buyout and mutual option for 2015

- D. Willis to Philiies

- Sky is blue and John Rocker admits to steroid use
http://tracking.si.com/2011/12/13/john-rocker...

rocker also threw a spit-ball regularly by wringing his arm letting the sweat fall down his arm to his hands.

oh yeah, and he's a jerk.

John Rocker, I never saw that coming. I have a question on Braun. Is this his second violation? I thought 50 games was for the second violation. Am I correct or wrong. If I am correct, why is this not being stated. It would tend to minimize his claim of being clean and it's all a big mistake.

first violation is 50 games
second violation is 100 games
third violation is lifetime ban

I think the important thing to remember is that he was just doing whatever it took to win. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm advising him to keep denying and never, ever admit to any wrongdoing. At this point, it's all bunch of "he said/she said".

A wise man once said in a poorly made video that snitches get stitches. Never forget...

The Cubs had openings in right field, at third base and at first base. The first two have been filled.

I guess I'm expecting them to make a serious run at Fielder, based on two clues.

There haven't been rumors linking the Cubs with any other 1B apart from Pujols. Even if they liked LaHair, they would not entrust first base to him. Too risky, especially with an already weakened middle of the batting order. LaHair can't be as good as Fielder, anyway, and he's actually older by a year and a half.

And did they really fall in love with Sveum? I didn't. Sveum makes sense if he gives them a better shot at Fielder.

I certainly didn't have my heart set on Fielder going in, but now that I've convinced myself that the Cubs are intent on getting him, I guess I'll be disappointed if they don't succeed.

If they get him, the Cubs will see so many lefty starters that Soriano may actually still be useful. Otherwise, they will need a righty power bat in left, but those aren't hard to find.

And did they really fall in love with Sveum? I didn't. Sveum makes sense if he gives them a better shot at Fielder.

I'm sure they hired a manager on the off chance he may help a little in acquiring one free agent.

Sveum signed a 3-year contract for an undisclosed amount. So what do you think, maybe $5 million?

In the next couple weeks, Fielder will sign for $160 million-plus. (Maybe that's way low.)

In that context, let me look at your comment again:

"I'm sure they hired a manager on the off chance he may help a little in acquiring one free agent."

You make the free agent seem like a smaller deal than the manager. That's not what the economics say.

I could see Morales and maybe Trumbo as real targets, if the Angels look to trade them, but why would the Cubs have any interest in trading for Moreland? They'd probably be better off giving playing time to LaHair at 1B. Heck, I'd probably rather see Marquez Smith or Josh Vitters play some 1B than bother trading for Moreland.

If they don't get Fielder, bring back Pena, or trade for Morales or maybe Trumbo, then I think LaHair will get every chance to start at 1B. It's also still possible that a trade involving Garza or Marmol nets them a young hitter of some kind.

I cannot imagine Jeff Baker starting at 1B as anything other than the short side of a platoon, and right now it looks like that's what he'll be doing at 3rd or, perhaps, with DeWitt at 2B.

I don't know much about Moreland, but his minor league numbers are nifty. I know he had a shoulder injury this last year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

I see that in the minors his K rates are significantly lower than LaHair's, and I guess if we look at comparable ages, then he has shown equal or greater power to what LaHair did. But I have a hard time imagining Moreland would be a long term solution unless he could manage 20+ homers a year, and I don't see much sign of that in his numbers.

Also, to clarify what I said about Baker possibly platooning at 3rd--it wouldn't be because Ian Stewart can't hit lefties. His numbers are only slightly worse against lefties. It would just be because Baker can mash lefties. So unless the Cubs have a second baseman or first baseman who is so much worse against lefties than righties that he can't produce as well as Stewart would, Baker probably slots into 3rd.

There just isn't any other bat close to Fielder either on the market the next few years or anywhere in the system.

No way this team competes unless we see a massive offensive upgrade. Fielder or Votto are really the only guys who we can get that fits that bill.

Starlin Castro isn't the best offensive weapon on a true contender. At best he should be a 4th or 5th best offensive piece.

This is so wrong. He actually was a fantastic leadoff man. It just took the Cubs (too long) to realize it.

batting #1 .327 .370 .471 .841
first hitter game .397 .431 .500 .931
leading off an inning .327 .356 .487 .843

I didn't say the kid was garbage. All I am saying is that if Starlin Castro is your best offensive player. You have issues.

On any good team he is going to be the 4th or 5th best hitter in that lineup.

For reference, Here is what Starlin's .773 OPS would rank among the starting 8 on each of this years playoff teams

Arizona 4th
Milwaukee 7th
Philly 4th
StL 6th
NYY 6th
TB 5th
Det 6th
Tex 6th

So we need to find at least 2-3 other impact bats to fit in around him in the lineup.

I agree totally with what you are saying, but I also think, regardless of what other players are on the team, Castro's OPS will itself rise over the 2-4 seasons as he adjusts to big-league pitching and grows into his frame.

I'm also still in the camp that would rather see him transition to 2B.

If defense is truly a priority, then I also want him at 2nd base. Even if it means Darwin Barney at SS next year.

Dear hoystein- Please let's just improve the shitty defense of this team before we start talking lineup. If it means Castro has to go... or move positions... I don't care. But for god's sake please improve this team defensively and move whoever you have to. I'm not all that fucking attached to any of these guys.

On any good team he is going to be the 4th or 5th best hitter in that lineup.

Really? Really?

Probably should have said good offense, I mean without looking it up I'm guessing he would be 2nd or 3rd on the Giants. And most people consider them a good team.

Castro's upside is still unknown, though. It's not unreasonable to guess that he's nowhere near his peak.

I was all ready to defend the honor of Castro, but you're pretty close on that one. He was 3rd among the Cubs regulars last year in wRC+ at 109 (behind Aramis and Pena).

I really like Starlin Castro. I especially like him at the price point he is currently at.

I just think he is going to enter the zone of unrealistic fan expectations in the near future. And less because of his doing and more because the current state of the Cubs roster is as bleak as any other time in my memory.

Lee

Anybody think the Cubs are likely to pursue recently non-tendered starting pitchers Joe Saunders and/or Jo-Jo Reyes to try to fill out the back end of the rotation a bit? Saunders seems like sort of a Ted Lilly Lite, whereas Jo-Jo Reyes seems more like depth/filler, but he's still relatively young.

the left-handed Jason Marquis? maybe...

rumor be that Red Sox are interested in Saunders.

definitely skip on JoJo...

fun Cubs-related trivia though, he was a Braves 2nd round pick in 2003 that Braves received for Cubs signing Mike Remlinger. They picked Saltalamacchia with their supplemental pick (Cubs first round pick was protected and they used it on Harvey).

The Chicago Cubs are currently an extremely shitty ballclub.

Good thing they don't play any games in December.

I am thinking as well that Hoystein is putting a full court press on Fielder.
Its the right time to do it on many levels, provided it is not a soriano contract. No doubt the DH will come to the NL during Princes career.

If this doesn't pan out, I believe they will trade for a surplus Angels player. This will be good for Rob G's wife.

I am 100% okay taking a pass on Fielder. But that's just me.

Shouldn't Braun sit the whole season out?

Yes. And how about next year, too?

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/12/13/2633679/pr...

"Cubs GM Theo Epstein has said that he's focused on smaller deals, and previous reports said that any offer from the Cubs would be shorter, with a higher average annual value."

I don't think anyone here is opposed to getting Fielder but it's not like Theo is bidding in a vacuum. The bigger question to me is if the only way we can get him is by a 10-year contract do people still want him? There's only so much Theo can do to force the issue imo.

7 years is the absolute MAX for me... and that is most likely going to turn sour toward the end of it...

Nah. If it was me, I'd go 7 years tops.

However, in all sincerity, the Cubs are going to RAKE when they either sign a new BCast deal, or establish the CUB Network.

That revenue contract will be worth over a Billion, meaning that business wise, signing someone to a super long-term deal would not be out of the question anymore.

I wonder if they will partner with the Hawks.

Wonder if Reinsdorf would swallow pride and let Bulls be on there.

Carlos Zambrano participated in the Venezuelan Winter League Home Run Derby contest yesterday and apparently did pretty well.

He says that he is working out like he did when he was a rookie, climbing mountains and running on the beach. He says he will be coming to spring training in optimal shape. Doesn't he say that every year?

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/12/venezue...

It this the first re-dedication news of the off season.

maybe he'll show up for camp colvin, too...

wait...

well, he could show up for camp ian stewart and sit around flipping cards into a hat asking every week if the season has started yet and if they really have to put on spikes and a uniform to practice. (note: he's not really -that- lazy and though coaching him has it's critics he shows up in playing shape...unlike g.atkins)

I sure hope Stewart does better than expected. It's only December and my mind is getting numb from all the crunch@hateStewart comments.

it gets better in spring...wait, no.

ha. btw, that comment above you i'll admit to being unfairly harsh...except for the atkins part...he was embarrassment to himself in 2008 and 2009...and he has paid for his laziness since then.

Might want to sit back and relax, 'cause you'll be reading 'em again.

i'll give you something positive.

if a pitcher throws the ball in the middle of the plate stewart will probably hit it.

i think a lot of what i'm saying will make more sense when people not used to watching so much rockies baseball get to see him swing a bat (pretty much the same way every swing) a bunch of times in a row.

imo, he's nearly the definition of a mistake hitter along with weird quirks at what he offers (and doesn't offer) at.

imagine j.burnitz who can't hit inside pitching...which is crazy considering the swing. he cuts upward through nearly the same plane (hahaha) every time only he has 0 pull ability to go with it. ...and he offers at a crazy amount of outside pitching to add to the weirdness.

also, he kicked muh dog and it up n' died.

here's some video on the youtubes i found of a bunch of i.stewart ab's this year.

it also shows his hands repositioning that brought his hands down from behind-helmet/top to his shoulder level....though he starts his swing by bringing his hands back up some before swinging. notice his very wide stance...that's most likely to keep his upper body under control to keep his swing from flying off into "missing badly" land. it didn't used to be this wide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgcgCHklXP0

it features a lot of foul balls from sketchy contact and a chunk of reaching for outside stuff.

this is vs. AAA pitching, btw.

Rudy will fix it.

Crunch has never felt more passionately than Ian Stewart's swing. haha

I do see a consistent uppercut, crunch. And it is the same swing every time. But he has better arm extension than I expected based on your earlier comments. THE AWESOME THING about that clip is he averages 6 pitches per at bat! Very Theo-tastic ... Looks like a very patient and athletic dude. Never swings at a ball, and almost always takes a pitch or two to start his at bat. I would settle for a year or two of growing pains to see an intelligent and disciplined Cubs' team for once! Would be awesome to not be the dumb meatheads trying to muscle every pitch regardless of the situation for a change. We'll see...

BOS just gave kelly shopvac 1.35 million bucks to be a backup catcher after hitting .185 in 250 PA last year (damn you dusty giving him that many ABs).

wtf theo-braintrust?

we just lost our angel guzman to a minor league contract with the dodgers (he's 30 now, fwiw).

i feel like we've lost a family member...one that's constantly in the hospital.

If getting out of the Cubs' organization doesn't get him on the road to recovery, nothing will.

Haha! Yeah, the cousin that's always sick. Good luck. I feel bad that he lost his brother to senseless violence. But he's been injured more than Woody and A-Ram combined.

IIRC, the Cubs signed Guzman as an amateur in the previous CENTURY, 98 or 99 I forget which. Talk about your lost causes.

On the 1B issue, I have a question: I know he has no experience there, but can Soriano play 1B? He has an infielder's hands and experience after all. I only ask because it's certainly easier to find a LF than it is a 1B, and we all know Soriano is going nowhere until his contract is up.

In my opinion, Soriano has lost whatever ability he ever had to play ANY defensive position at any measuring stick approaching MLB average. He is at best an AL DH, and at worst, an $18M/yr RHPH.

I also wouldn't count out Theo just releasing him at any point between Spring Training and the World Series given his comments on 'sunk costs'. This was the previous regime's 8 yr FA mistake....time to move along.

Tue, 12/13/2011 - 8:13pm — Jim Hickmans Bat

IIRC, the Cubs signed Guzman as an amateur in the previous CENTURY, 98 or 99 I forget which. Talk about your lost causes.

==================================

JHB: Angel Guzman was signed by the Cubs in November 1999, after the Royals had voided his contract the previous June due to a pre-existing medical condition.

Guzman had originally signed with KC as a 17-year old in March 1999, but he never pitched in their system.

NOTABLE GOOZ SURGERIES:
Torn labrum (2003)
TJS (2007)
Knee surgery (2009)
Torn Labrum again (2010)

Too bad. The guy had some talent. Enough that people still have a hard time throwing in the "towel" on him.

Fangraphs has a writeup including a Brett Jackson projection for ETA 2012 in late May/early June

http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/br...

Wrongway writeup saying Cubs should get Joe Saunders (with Buerle comps). Cross him off the list capt'n peter peachfuzz.

Also says Cubs radar still includes Cespedes and Darvish

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

"Also says Cubs radar still includes Cespedes and Darvish"

Not quite. Says "I still think the two biggest free agents on the Cubs’ radar are international guys Yu Darvish . . . and Yoenis Cespedes.

To his credit, Rogers usually admits he doesn't have insider knowledge.

To his credit, Rogers usually admits he doesn't have insider knowledge.

took him long enough

To his credit, Rogers usually admits he doesn't have insider knowledge.

Fixed.

Back to the original thread topic: At the right price, should the Cubs maybe consider bringing back D-Lee on a 1-year deal? I had no idea these were his numbers in Pittsburgh--from Roto:

>>The 36-year-old first baseman batted .337/.398/.584 with seven home runs, 18 RBI and a .982 OPS over 113 plate appearances after joining Pittsburgh at the trade deadline this July.<<

They could certainly do worse. Lee might even be better than Pena, and would probably do a one-year deal. Plus, he does grind out at bats. Might make a decent mentor for Castro. I like it, as long as he's not expensive and doesn't want more than a 1-year contract.

I've been a big Derrek Lee fan for awhile. I've founds myself cheering for him when he was with the Braves, O's, and Pirates.

But if the Cubs are going to sign Derrek Lee, they might as well just go with LaHair at this point. I see no upside to going with DLee over LaHair.

It would allow the Cubs to start LaHair in LF against RHSP. So it would basically be giving Soriano's playing time to Lee in that case.

Soriano in 2011: .244/.289/.469
DLee in 2011: .267/.325/.446

So, I guess in hindsight it wouldn't be that much of an improvement in that case. You get some OBP, probably, you trade off some slugging, maybe, and perhaps you improve the defense very slightly, depending how you view Lee vs. LaHair at 1B and LaHair vs. Soriano in LF.

On the other hand, might Lee outhit LaHair? .267/.325/.446 seems like a decent projection for LaHair, unless there are some big holes in his swing that AAA pitchers just can't find--but there is always that chance.

Meh. If he's cheap and happy to come back, I could see them signing him and figuring that LaHair will find some playing time with an old-timer at 1B and an old-timer in LF and David Dejesus in RF.

I don't understand the problem with Pena. If I were in charge (and be glad that I'm not), I would easily take a pass on Fielder and re-sign Pena if he could be signed to a reasonable contract. He gives you plus defense and a plus left-handed bat. The only piece of his game that is lacking is he doesn't hit for a high average. So fucking what.

He's the very definition of an average 1bmen last year.

Not a terrible thing to have, but the cubs obviously need to find places to improve.

If the Cubs don't sign Fielder, then my vote would go to Pena. However, he's just a hole filler. He's not the type of player to build a team around. He'd be around for a year and then the team would be looking for a first baseman again next year when the FA market isn't nearly as attractive.

I respectfully disagree that Pena is an 'average' first baseman, but even if he were (and I can call him 'average' for the purpose of this conversation)- I would still posit that the presence of average players was less of a problem for the 2011 Chicago Cubs than was the presence of downright shitty players.

To make quick gains, instead, get rid of the worst performers.

I only make the point about Pena because he possesses the baseball qualities that I think are important. I'm so tired of free-swingers it's really nice to have a guy with some plate discipline around. Also, he can defend his position (something of a rarity on the Chicago Cubs).

Instead of improving at first base, I would much rather see a complete and total overhaul of the pitching staff.

The problem with recent Cubs teams is they put good defensive players in positions where defense doesn't really matter, and have terrible defensive players in the positions where defense is paramount.

Who cares if you have a good fielding first baseman when you have butchers playing 2nd, 3rd, SS and CF?

the long history of Cubs great hitting CFers and SS is legendary...

Like Wildfire Schulte...and uh....Mick Kelleher....
(looks confused)

I disagree that defense is less important at 1B. I believe that next to C, SS, and CF; 1B is the most important defensive position on the field.

I agree, somewhat. I think first base can be a place to hide a guy whose size and slowness might make him an inadequate defender elsewhere because he has no range. But he needs to be able to catch the ball. It's nice to have a first baseman who can scoop (and to a lesser extent it's nice to have one who can field a bunt decently (even if he's not the kind of defender that prevents other teams from ever trying to bunt).

I think Charlie got it right that the primary duty of a 1B is to field around the bag and catch the throws. Watching Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena primarily for the last 7-8 years, maybe we're a little spoiled compared to say, a Phillies fan trying to remember why Ryan Howard is an overpaid pancake in the field.

I'd say the only position where I'm mostly willing to look the other way on defense is pitcher. Everyone else better at least not embarrass themselves.

Matt Garza thanks you for your thoughts.

I tend to think 1B defense is underrated generally, but I still think 1B should be the worst defensive player on the field. Most of the defensive skill is catching balls that are thrown right at you. You love a Mark Grace or Derrek Lee who stretch and help their infielders, but that's less of a defensive skill than every other position that needs to either run or react to balls that are generally not coming right at them.

Which is basically to say, if you've got the defensive chops to play another position besides 1B, you should be playing that position.

"next to C, SS, and CF, 1B is the most important defensive position on the field."

Strongly disagree. No matter how good a 1B you are, you are going to spend an inordinate amount of time holding runners on first, watching easy grounders reach the right fielder because the first baseman is out of position. The third baseman is not standing on third and therefore has to make plays to his right and left. Then he has a long throw.

To me, 3B is a very important defensive position and a chronic problem position for the Cubs, since Santo, really. I doubt whether Aramis Ramirez could have played third for a good team like the Yankees, Cardinals or Red Sox. The Brewers don't care about D, so that's where he ends up. The Pirates, Cubs and Brewers--that's where Aram's defensive skills were considered adequate.

How long did Pujols play third for the Cardinals? Did he move to first because it was harder to play?

Aramis isn't a good fielder or anything. However he isn't a complete butcher out there. Not enough of one where his bat doesn't offset it. His last 2 years have been kinda rough. But overall he is just a shade below average out there according to most metrics.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid...

"according to most metrics"

Some time, when you have a minute, explain to me which metric (other than visual) captures a third baseman diving to his left or right, coming up with the ball, popping up and making a good throw.

That's not a great play, by the way, it's the job description.

It's mostly how Ramirez used to injure himself.

I live near Washington, so I get to see a different kind of 3B operate. Cat-like, is the way I would describe it. David Wright is the same way. A pitcher sees the difference.

He's leaving a big hole in the lineup, sure, which is a big part of the reason I think they must be serious about Fielder. But you need to fix the lineup and also fix the defense at 3rd.

Why didn't they just move Ramirez to first? When Lee and Soriano were both around, there was no place to move him. Now there is, but I doubt that the new regime liked Aram's pitches-per-PA, third lowest in the majors last season at 3.32.

That may be true about his pitches per PA.
I wonder what they thought about his .306/.361/.506, 26 HR and 93 RBI's?

I guess if you want to know what they look for in a hitter, you look at the Red Sox.

Among the six "qualified" Sox hitters last season, none had a pitches/PA number below 3.83. Of the six, Gonzalez (.957), Ellsbury (.928) and Ortiz (.953) had better OPS's than Ramirez (.867). Pedroia (.861) was about the same as Aram, while Youkilis (.833) and Crawford (.694) were lower. Crawford, though, had an OPS of .851 in his free-agency year of 2010.

So maybe they considered Aram's P/PA a red flag. In any case, I believe that his glove disqualified him, especially if they had other ideas for first base and left field.

There are also age, injury history, and the state of the franchise to consider.

And also most teams have hitters like Gonzalez, Ellsbury, and Ortiz....oh.

the drop off from A-Ram to Ian Stewart is huge. His glove better be excellent....

I thought Pujols moved to first because he had shoulder problems.

I thought it was because of Scott Rolen.

Pujols moved from left field to 1B in 2003 because of elbow problems in his throwing arm. The move was referenced in Buzz Bissinger's book, Three Nights in August. He last played 3B in 2002 (and only 41 games there vs. 117 in left field).

Man, am I going senile.

I always thought he was at first.

Welcome to my world.

I thought Pujols played 3B, a lot. Not sure why I was under that impression.

I don't feel like looking it up, but thought that Pujols came up their system as a 3b-men, moved to LF in spring training (possibly because of Rolen) and them moved around a little before settling at 1b.

Pujols played a total of 103 games at 3b, 309 in the OF (both left and right), and then the rest at 1b.

He played 55 games at 3b in 2001, his first year (78 in the OF, 42 at 1b), 41 in 2002, his second (118 in the OF, 21 at 1b), and didn't transition full-time to 1b until 2004. He only played on year in the minors, and all but 2 games were at third. I believe he was a fulltime SS in his one year of JuCo.

yeah, he came up as a third baseman and then just kind of played wherever they needed him.

Eh, you're probably right. When I wrote that statement I almost included 3B but didn't. I agree that it very important to have a good glove at 3B. However, I still think that the importance of 1B defense is underrated. The 1B-man is involved in so many more plays than the other defenders and his ability to handle bad throws affects the entire defense.

You have to consider that 3 of those HR came against the Cubs' pitching staff and 1 against Houston

Why are we looking for a 1 year fill in at 1st base?

so they don't get stuck with Adam Dunn for 3 more years?

/too easy

If we don't get Fielder I would be completely on board with a Soriano for Dunn deal.

I absolutely don't buy that a guy who was the 2nd most consistently productive hitter in the NL over the last 10 years, has just lost it overnight.

If he gets a job where he plays 1st everyday he absolutely will at minimum return to an 850+ OPS form.

I wonder if the new regime will feel compelled to start Soriano every day. Imagine Soriano riding the bench for long periods of time. Weird.

It'd be fine if that got rid of Soriano. Then you can put LaHair in LF (and, if BJax really pushes for a spot platoon LaHair and Byrd in LF while BJax plays CF). I agree (somewhat) with Dr. aaron b. that Dunn seems more likely to recoup value than does Soriano at this time. Of course it's possible he just continues on what appears to be one of the most precipitous drop-offs in baseball history, in which case you just release him post 2012 like they might've ended up doing with Soriano anyway.

That might even save the Cubs some cash in the long term.

Not that it really means anything, but MLB Trade Rumors ran a poll asking where readers thought Fielder would end up. About a quarter of the respondents felt he would sign with the Cubs. No other team was really close.

Now MLBTR is running a poll asking how many years readers think Fielder will get when he signs. Right now, nearly 60% of respondents believe he will sign either a 6 or 7 year contract.

It's hard for me to believe that anyone is going to give Fielder a 10 year contract, but I guess you never know. He and Boras can ask for whatever they want, but it just seems to me that there are far too many questions surrounding Fielder to commit to him for 10 years. Perhaps a six year deal with a couple of vesting options would work.

M. Gonzalez loses his starting job with Astros. Astros trade Melancon to Red Sox for Lowrie and Weiland.

Yikes...if he can't outhit Jed Lowrie....or at least stay healthier?
.252/.308/.382 last season.....ugh. There was a lot of Sox fan talk about trading Lowrie in a deal for Pitching...it was quite hilarious....

well check out his minor league numbers and what he did in 2008 and 2010 and you'll see why the Red Sox kept waiting on him. Just couldn't stay healthy...

Nonetheless, takes a lot of pitches and supposedly a good defender.

I'd hope so....his .258/.339/.400 is a smidge better that Theriot.
good point on his health..he's played more than 100 games exactly 1 season, in 2007. They can have him...ugh.

well never thought Theriot was so bad, certainly not the 28 and 29-year old Theriot which is what the Astros are getting.

speaking of Theriot, Reds are interested

Well maybe, but probably only for 85 games yeah?
Lol..and the Reds can have him. I like Theriot, but .271/.321/.342?
Who does he think he is..Darwin Barney???

I guess he can be on the right side of THAT rivalry.

Dusty loved Theriot.

http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article...

Chicago Real Estate Daily broke this story. They report the sale price at $20 million which can only mean that the Ricketts (not owned by the Cubs per se) are bettting they can build UP at least three floors on the site.

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option...

some code of conduct for MLB players in the new CBA that wasn't reported earlier.

- no tattoos of corporate logos
- no betting on any sport
- something making uniform number changes harder
- anger clause that players can face suspension for a variety of heat of the moment acts

"anger clause that players can face suspension for a variety of heat of the moment acts"

Is this the so called Clause Z?

The Bradley Bill

Well played sir.

"- no betting on any sport"

college basketball fans won't be happy around playoff time. it's a tradition that needs to die in the "real world" workplace as much as the locker room, imo.

My advice to sWaim/Castro/Barney when playing Brews in '12: bunt towards 3rd!

Give that advice to Campana and he may get 40 home runs next year.

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=...

this may be old, but new to me, MLB.com has classic clips up

that one is Lee Smith getting the final outs of Game 2 in '84

2 twitter comments about wakefield talking to theo-corp...and 1 twitter mentions his useless personal catcher that hendry (lol) kept putting on the BOS payroll for years.

AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Yeah, no thanks. Even at league minimum, they can do better than that.

24 minutes till Darvish time.

given their age and uselessness...and the lack of "omfg they're leaders" pull with the cubs...i hope this is just more of a glorified get-together or theo-corp (im not trying to push a nickname, i'm waiting for TCR to figure out one, ha) helping the guys get some visibility for other clubs in the offseason.

How about "The THEOcracy"...

//Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided...//

(still tryin')

I just refer to them as "the Cubs."

i think we should call theo "theo" and also call jed "theo".

rather than making it plural (theos/theoes), we can just call them "theo."

we know who's really pulling the strings around here no matter who has what title.

also, theocracy is awesome.

Punto signs with RedSox 2/3M

(less expensive than Theriot but with sharper piranha teeth)

also, theocracy is awesome.
----
and the invented spelling variant: theocrazy

i'm waiting to see how this veritek/wakefield situation settles before i get on board with theocrazy.

Wrongway tweets...

ChiTribRogers Phil Rogers
The Cubs did put in a bid on Yu Darvish, according to a ML source. He fits profile of how Epstein wants to build.

people pretty much expect...including the posting fee...for darvish to end up costing someone 15-20m a year for 5 years. should be interesting...

If the Cubs actually snagged Darvish, they'd be just a solid #3 pitcher away from having a formidable-looking rotation. Darvish, Garza, ???, Dempster and Zambrano, I could live with that. Add in a deep bullpen and maybe the Cubs can pitch their way to respectability.

I think a big bat is more pressing. Maybe an alternative could be a Soriano for Dunn trade. Then signing Saunders and Kuroda to fill out that rotation.

Not really a true ace there. But just a 5 man rotation of good quality MLB starters.

garza's pretty close to an ace type...he'd be the #1 starter on at least 1/3 of the clubs out there and could put up an argument to slot #1 on a good chunk of other teams.

he's not a marquee ace, though...just consistently above average...you can count on him.

he's got a bit more to prove to some...and he may be nothing more than a 2/3 type in some people's eyes even if he stays where he's at on his talent/results for years. yeah, he's not roy halladay.

The belief that LaHair should gets starts and will hit is the same belief that Tyler Colvin was a star in the making.

LaHair is 29 years old! If he could hit major league pitching he would have been up and stayed up long ago.

LaHair is not a realistic option and if you think so you probably thought Colvin was super awesome option as well. Just not gonna happen with LaHair.

AZ PHIL stated that there is no time limit when a player's light bulb goes on. You are the Debnie Downer of this site regarding any Cubs prospects, and are entitled to your opinion obviously. Starlin Castro was a bust to you in the minors. As were the four players traded for Garza.

Since the baseball season hasn't started yet, I will reserve judgment.

If your gonna quote me get it correct at the very least. I never questioned Castro's hitting ability i questioned whether his defense was superior to Theriot which still has not materialized.

Don't you remember everyone screaming like little girls how even if Castro didn't hit he was still far superior in the field than Theriot? It's still very important to make accurate throws to 1b, something Castro has yet to master. Doesn't really matter if he has a little bit more range when he air mails balls to 1b.

And i loved the Matt Garza trade. Some fan boys were super pissed about giving up Chris Archer though. He was a player with some pretty glaring control problems put it together for 1 season and was swiftly traded. I say good job to the Cubs for that.

Hak-Ju Lee was the only one of that group for Garza i cared about. He is a better overall defensive SS but not as good with the bat than Castro. If he stuck around he would have pushed Castro to 2nd base.

Again for like the billionth time i want the Cubs to build from the farm system. But i am realistic as well. Our farm system sucks ass. You can't sit there and say its good when last year we had to sign Rodrigo Lopez, and Ramon Ortiz to finish out our rotation. That's because Cashner who is always hurt was hurt, and Casey Coleman sucks ass and that was the best from the farm.

On the hitting side its even worse when Blake Dewitt has to play LF for 23 games. Really are fucking serious? We have no one better to fill in in the OF than a guy who has not played the OF in the majors or the minors? You know your farm system is barren in talent when Blake DeWitt is your best OF option due to injuries in your entire system.

Look at the rest of the best we brought up Tony Campana, Luis Montanez, and the best of the group Darwin Barney and he wasn't all that great. Thats it.... thats the best our farm system could offer in 2011.

We got Jackson and Vitters on the horizon, and its a whole lotta suck around that. It is a very very thin farm system sprinkled with some interesting talent in Jackson and Vitters (Vitters i really have no hope in ever being a productive major leaguer) but no blue chip prospects that anyone is drooling over.

If the team is gonna compete in say 4 years, there is nothing in the farm system that is gonna make that happen. The Cubs only hope is through free agency and hiring some fucking scouts with a clue.

tarp off the field in VEN for those watching Z pitch.

they can't decide whether to start playing or not after taking the tarp down and starting to put it on again...tarp off as of now, but it looks like it's going back on.

tarp off the field...game starting.

Z is in great shape

throwing his "slower" 2-seam fastball 86 and his "faster" 4-seam fastball at 89-91 (91, regularly)...good movement, fwiw.

through the 1st he's thrown almost nothing but his 2 fastballs (a lot of 2-seamers).

he's pitching to some weak-quality hitting tonight, so it's hard to handicap how he's doing besides what he's showing. not bad at all through a scoreless 1st, though he did it pretty much solely with no offspeed pitching unless you count changing speeds on his different fastballs.

Z hitting 90-91 a lot...peak at 92 (3 times). this is a tv gun reading, btw...so take that fwiw.

he threw 3 sliders in the 2nd...1 good, 2 missing badly (not wild pitches, though)...82mph area.

control through 2ip isn't awful, but it's not pin-point. it's pretty much what we're used to out of him.

Z also threw a single 73mph curve...kinda flat, but good control/location and the hitter was totally fooled.

...also...from the post above... "through the 1st he's thrown almost nothing but his 2 fastballs (a lot of 2-seamers)." ...that should be "(a lot of 4-seamers)." ...his "faster" fastball...whatever...

No attribution, just said MLBTR has learned, so take it for what it's worth.

If true, I will have to begin to wonder about the strategy of stocking the outfield with journeymen ballplayers. It reminds me, in a bad way, of a prior regime.

at this point in his career he's bench OF (unless a team is really desperate)...but he's $2m-ish range bench guy...that's a luxury piece.

yanks/cubs/bjays/rangers known to have posted bids for darvish

my money is on the rangers

Will the Cubs go after Wade Miller.

Can Luke Scott play a respectable first base? I don't know much about him other than that he played 41 games at first and he is now a FA after being non-tendered by Baltimore. (Also, crunch does like his politics.) Should we add him to the list of possible 1st basemen for 2012?

He was nontendered due to injuries and surgery. Hasn't played in a while even. Pass.

Worst case he can play LF.

If we miss on Fielder, would an offseason of Soriano for Dunn. Kuroda, Saunders and Luke Scott be enough to make us contenders?

I'm saying possibly yes.

I know people want Soriano for Dunn, but I just don't think it's likely. I'd be more interested in trying to get Figgins from the Mariners for Soriano and slotting Figgins into a super utility role.

Just keep in mind that Soriano has a full "no trade" through to the end of the 2014 season (when his contract expires), so he isn't going anywhere he doesn't want to go.

It really might be necessary to platoon Soriano in LF just to piss him off enough to OK a deal.

And Cub management has to be careful not to intimate in public that they might consider releasing Soriano, because if he knows that, he'll just wait them out.

The best thing the Cubs could do is drop hints that they absolutely, positively, will NOT release Soriano under any circumstances, that they intend to platoon him in LF (he wants to play every day), that he will hit 7th in the batting order (he hates that), and that he will be removed for a defensive replacement in the late innings when the Cubs are trying to protect a lead (he fancies himself to be a defensive stopper).

Make him miserable enough, and then he might waive the NTC.

That strategy would do wonders to convince other big name free agents not to sign with the Cubs.

I don't think AP means you make a big deal of him being platooned or not playing everyday. You just say you're going to platoon him. Players get platooned. Soriano's not good in the field. You just replace him. You don't go to the press and say that you're cutting his playing time because you want him to waive his NTC. That's what the old regime would've done. You just platoon him and replace him in the late innings for defensive purposes. Based on his performance, I'm not sure too many people would say the cubs were being unfair to Soriano by doing that. Just treat the player in the manner to which his performance dictates.

Hey if a free agent is going to be paid oodles of money and perform like a slug, I hope they DO pass on the Cubs. Fuck 'em.

Well, no one plans to play like a slug. But if a player is looking for a 10-year contract, he is looking to finish his career there, going to be always associated with that franchise, perhaps looking for a post-career association with that organization, etc. They want to envision a statue, not being put out to pasture in years 7-10 if their skills decline. So even if it may be the right thing to do, I just think other free agents are going to see Soriano bitching about how is being treated and have a particular impression of the Cubs.

I also think it is odd that this is exactly what everyone complained about with Hendry--trashing players to the point that they have no trade value. I realize that this is different because of the NTC, but seriously, no one wants him now, who the hell would want to trade for a platoon left fielder who hits 7th in the lineup for innings 1-6 only?

"I also think it is odd that this is exactly what everyone complained about with Hendry--trashing players to the point that they have no trade value."

this whole concept is overblown anyway.

teams don't live in insular vacuums and if we, as fans, can tell how much someone is valued by a club and what a player's issues are...it's usually not a mystery to other clubs.

and no one is saying they should "trash" Soriano.

soriano being tradable...speaking of overblown.

and yeah, i wasn't talking about soriano specifically...just the whole "a guy in a suit saying anything about a player" thing that suddenly opens up a world of new info to other teams. i think that whole thing is overblown.

I was replying to WISCGRAD. I wasn't really sure what you were saying.

Wasn't theo quoted early on that he thinks soriano is still fixable and can still play up to his potential?

Pretty transparent attempt to pump up his trade value...

Agreed. Might also convince Sorri that reaching out on every outside pitch makes sense. That's not the moneyball way...

Soriano's natural position is DH. It's coming, be ready. Brewers have inside info so they got aram. Stupid seligwig...

Soriano's NTC not a problem for two reasons.

He's not really tradeable in the first place. There's not much difference between 85% of his salary and 100%. Either way, you're basically releasing him, not trading him--just like Fukudome. But with Fukudome, Hendry was there and he needed it to look like a trade.

If you could work out something resembling a "trade," and Soriano doesn't go along, just tell him he's going to ride the bench for the entire season. He'll put his penthouse up for sale.

I believe that Soriano has said he would waive his NTC. The real problem with moving him is finding a team that would take him.

From twit box above:

JonHeymanCBS rumor is, at least 1 darvish bid was "sky" high. may have been "north'' of $50M. again, unconfirmed.

If true, somebody out there just doesn't want anybody else to have him, because I've been reading Darvish won't sign if the posting amount is too high, cuz HE wants that money.

Theo Epstein bid a $51,111,111 posting fee for Daisuke Matsuzaka five years ago, and then Daisuke got a six-year $52M contract anyway. And he was a year older than Darvish is now. So Epstein has a history of bidding VERY high for posted NPB pitchers in their mid-20's.

As Team President, Epstein should have total control over the Baseball Operations budget (believed to be about $200M annually) and how it's spent, so it's very possible that the Cub bid was the "sky" high one.

Geez PHIL, don't you think that if HoyStein is oing to make a huge splash, it would be for Fielder?

Wed, 12/14/2011 - 9:30pm — The E-Man

Geez PHIL, don't you think that if HoyStein is oing to make a huge splash, it would be for Fielder?

===========================

E-MAN: I would think they would try and get Darvish signed first, making the team's 2012 (and beyond) chances look better, and then they would go after Fielder.

Remember, the Cubs payroll presently sits at about $110M (that includes auto-renewal guys and what the arbitration-eligibles will likely get), but the posting fee (which is only paid if the Cubs actually sign Darvish) would come out of the scouting budget, and it could be spread-out over several years of scouting budgets.

While the Cubs 2012 MLB payroll budget probably has only about $20M left available right now (presuming the 2012 payroll budget is $130M), about $50M more comes off the books after next year (Zambrano's $18M 2012 salary, Dempster's $14M 2012 salary plus $1.5M deferred salary from 2010, Byrd's $6.5M 2012 salary, Marshall's $3.1M 2012 salary, Pena's $5M deferred from his 2011 salary, and Silva's still-lingering $2M 2012 club buy-out), meaning the Cubs could add up to $70M in payroll for 2013 and still not go over $130M.

So the key would be to sign Darvish and Fielder to contracts with low 2012 salaries that kick-up substantially beginning in 2013.

I would love to see a spreadsheed on Cubs projected earnings, post-"Triangle Building".

Interesting. If that happens, then is the word on Darvish not willing to sign after a high posting fee BS? I think it probably is. He'd be an idiot to turn down the kind of money it sounds like he'll get.

Wed, 12/14/2011 - 9:32pm — Old and Blue
Re: Who’s On First in 2012?
Interesting. If that happens, then is the word on Darvish not willing to sign after a high posting fee BS? I think it probably is. He'd be an idiot to turn down the kind of money it sounds like he'll get.

==============================

O&B: Probably just gamesmanship from Team Darvish.

They didn't want a team to bid a sky-high posting-fee for him and then think they could sign him for less money than he thinks he's worth.

Epstein knows that, and as I mentioned in a prior comment, he gave Daisuke what he wanted even after paying $51M+ just for the right to sign him.

Epstein didn't blow all of the other clubs out of the water with a super-high posting fee bid just to keep the other clubs from signing Daisuke, and if the Cub bid is the highest one for Darvish, I doubt very much that it was made just a blocking strategy to prevent other clubs from signing him.

Yes and Epstein learned from his mistake on matsuzaka so I doubt he will bid that high again.

Exactly. That's why the posting system is BS. There is no penalty function involved for just shooting the moon, say $100MM bid. Of course you're not going to sign the player with that bid, you make him a major league minimum offer, he turns you down, you get the posting fee returned to you. BUT, none of your competitors get to sign the guy, either.

This strategy certainly points to the Yankees, they would do this just to keep Boston, Texas et al. from signing a potential ace pitcher.

[Edit: Should've kept reading. My question was answered.]

Cubs and Yankees with a possible sign and trade for Nakajima?

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Japanese-i...

Patrick Mooney/CSN article on Darvish with quotes from former Cubs Micah Hoffpauir and Bobby Scales:
http://www.csnchicago.com/baseball-chicago-cu...

Scales called Darvish’s fastball “arrow straight,” but overall liked his velocity, athleticism and repertoire, the ability to keep hitters off-balance with sliders and forkballs.

Hoffpauir said Darvish’s stuff is so good that he really only had to worry about the hitters batting third through sixth – no one else in the lineup would be expected to do damage and hit for power.

“Once he gets to the States, I think he will become a better pitcher,” Hoffpauir said, “because he will lock in for nine batters, as opposed to locking in for four, maybe five (against) a lineup in Japan.”

Hoffpauir respected how Darvish seemed to have his own code, almost never leaving before the other starting pitcher. Japanese pitchers typically work on six days’ rest, but Hoffpauir said Darvish wouldn’t wait that long between starts when the team needed it down the stretch last season.

“He’s going to have some growing pains,” Hoffpauir said. “He’s going to have some bumps and bruises when it comes to making adjustments. (But) he’s smart enough and I think he’ll work hard enough that he’ll get that done.”

Put me on the "no thanks" list for Darvish.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7353700/yu-...

Sounds like we won't know who posted the most till Tuesday since even Nippon doesn't get to know unless it leaks out.

So out of curiosity, what do people think about trading Soriano for Ryan Theriot, Matt Murton, Jason Schmidt, Nomar Garciaparra and Michael Barrett?

That would immediately necessitate a trade of Barrett.

I blame Michael Barrett if it happens.

I'm afraid the addition of Matt Murton would create a situation where the Cubs have too much offense. His 70+ home runs every year for the next 10 years would be an embarrassment to the rest of the league and I think would be detrimental to the game of baseball in the long run- so, it is on that basis I would oppose the trade.

Muskat reports just the facts...

Carlos Zambrano, making his first start since taking a line drive off his face, threw four shutout innings Wednesday night for Caribes de Anzoategui. Zambrano, who was injured Nov. 18 and needed 16 stitches, walked one and struck out one in a Venezuelan Winter League game against Tigres de Aragua. He faced 13 batters, and got eight groundouts.

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2011/12/15/1214-zam...

XM's Jim Bowden tweets...

Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees & Cubs all submit bids for Yu Darvish...MLB expected to announce winning bid on Thursday Morning

http://twitter.com/JimBowdenESPNxm/status/147...

No.

The "Thinking Man's Shortstop", Ronny Cedeno, being courted by the Braves(!), according to MLBTR.

Wonder if they have seen many of his games?

I believe he could be the Marion Barber of baseball.

The "Thinking Man's Shortstop", Ronny Cedeno

Ha!

what is this I don't even

Little worse then Bronko Nagurski's still
http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2011/12/15/sa...

Looks like he'll be in trading in an orange and blue uniform for an orange one...

crasnick There were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the #Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder.

Okay, so let's all guess what those signs are. The Ricketts buying the McDonald's lot, maybe?

rangers sign cubs C minor leaguer chris robinson for organizational filler.

...and the phillies gave d-train a 1m contract...hopefully as a hitter because he's better at that than pitching lately.

What happened to Willis anyway? He sure was hot there for a couple of years...

he tosses extremely violently across his body and it finally caught up to him...between compounding injuries and losing velocity he's left with trying to get his control "fixed" to make what he has work.

he showed up in spring 2006 with a lot less stuff in his arm and it's not shown back up. after a rough start to 2006 it looked like he was adjusting, but it fell back apart in 2007.

If the Cubs promoted Castillo as backup catcher to replace Hill, they'd need Robinson in Iowa. Letting him go suggests that Jedstein probably wants to bring in Varitek like some of the rumor sites suggested. Which sucks, because Varitek can't throw anybody out, but at least he hits better than Koyie Fucking Hill. Yet another meh.

New regime, fans still care way too much about the backup catcher.

blake lali is ready to assume organizational backup catcher filler...he's been doing it for AA for too long and barely has a shot to make the bigs.

he's one of those guys that people look at stats and get a little starstuck about potential that probably doesn't exist.

-edit-

looks like iowa called up a kid named mario mercedes (never heard of him) last year for a taste of AAA...i dunno crap about him, but from the numbers it looks like he may be a defensive backup type. he doesn't have a shred of power it seems.

Mercedes is a 6 year FA.

BOS sportswriters still pissing on the cubs...

"nickcafardo Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big. "

Whatever happened to that PTBNL for Theo? Bud had such a sense of urgency about that, and now it's gone? Also, I thought MLB was going to release the Durvish sweepstakes winner this morning. Did the Blue Jays go in so high that Bud said "oh no you don't?"

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