Tuesday Cubs Hot Stove Round-Up

- Kevin Towers did a radio interview and basically said the Cubs are the only team the Padres are talking to right now. The Braves are out, he hasn't spoken to the Angels at all and has barely spoken to the Yankees. That's the good news. The bad news is the Cubs do have some interesting pieces but not exactly what the Padres want, so a third or possibly fourth team will be needed to finish the deal. There's also an online version of the story from Tom Krasovic.

- I didn't hear it myself, but some folks claim to have heard a report from Bruce Levine that Ryan Dempster will decide in the next 48 hours on the Cubs offer...whatever it may be. Supposedy in this BP article from yesterday, it says he turned down a 4/52 offer already. Rosenthal mentions "the next day or two" as a potential time frame as well.

- Speaking of Dempster, on an XM radio update either Gary Hughes or Randy Bush said signing Dempster is still their top priority but that Randy Johnson would be a great fallback.

- Beyond the rumors...the folks who ran Thunder Matt's Saloon have rebranded to Pomp Culture - less Cubs, more pop culture, no Matt Murton on the Cubs.

I also wanted to mention one of our new advertisers that you may have noticed at the top of the site. Bob Horsch has been taking pictures of Chicago for over 30 years including a huge collection of Chicago Cubs photos. A rather pleasant fella I might add, so if you're looking for some gift ideas with the holidays approaching, be sure to visit his website.

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"It's really come down to one club now –- the Cubs," he (Towers) said. "It's going to take awhile. They have a couple of players to pick from that we are interested in but anything with them is going to potentially involve a third team or fourth team. We're focusing only on them."

neat.

Bob Horsch has been taking pictures of Chicago for over 30 years including a huge collection of Chicago Cubs photos. A rather pleasant fella I might add, so if you're looking for some gift ideas with the holidays approaching, be sure to visit his website.

You mean the mutant creatures from POXNORA? Is this Horsch character someone you've actually met or does he fall into the Trans, Ruz category?

http://hotstove.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/11/brave...

Someone's allegedly offered Furcal 3 years for $39 million.

Pass.

I really hope Dempster goes somewhere else...at 32 years old, surgical history paying him 4/52 or more is ridiculous. He's bound to break down or revert back to the mean. This past year was a statistical anomally. Someone please outbid us....I would rather spend money on a proven guy who can win in the playoffs. Lowe for 2 years or trade the kitchen bare for Peavy.

On another note...unless we can get a proven CF lead off man why not put Pie in the 8th/9th slot in the line up and put him out there...instead of kicking him to the curb. Ibanez, Dunn can't field in right. I'll pass on the aging Furcal as well.

It should be interesting....now that Cuban is gone....what are we going to talk about regarding our future owner?

The Cubs need a leadoff man at SOME position if for no other reason that it would force Lou's hand to FINALLY move Alf and Lee down in the order where they belong. DeRosa would be fine in the 2 spot, and Ramirez should be hitting 3rd, he's the best hitter on the team.

I disagree. I think we need Furcal, especially if we're trying to trade all our kids for Peavy. Axe Cedeno, move Theriot to super-utility guy and let DeRosa and occasionally Fontenot play 2nd. Move Soriano down to 3 and keep Ramirez at 4 -- with ARam behind Soriano, he should see a lot of fastballs, and hopefully have men on base in front of him.

Soriano could have Babe Ruth batting behind him and he wouldn't see any more fastballs. Until he shows he can lay off sliders in the dirt, that's all anyone's going to throw him.

Maybe, but it's better than Ryan Theriot. He's not threatening anyone with meatballs down the middle.

Particularly since Babe Ruth's dead.

Agree with both your points, about Dempster and about Pie. But Piniella is famously impatient. He won't play a guy who is still learning how to hit. I was hoping Pie would turn the corner in the Dominican this winter, but it doesn't seem to be happening. Pie has been out of the lineup the past couple of games. They get impatient down there, too.

Meanwhile Jake Fox is leading the league in BA. Last night he had a home run and 4 more RBI. At least he's restoring Licey's confidence in Cub prospects.

I agree on Dempster. 4/52 is WAY TOO MUCH for that guy. Take the draft picks and move along.

As for Pie. I don't think we should be penciling him into anything. His defense and left-handedness will be useful on the roster. But he needs to win the job from Kfuk or Johnson before he is given the starting gig.

Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen would look really good on this roster about right now.FWIW

Towers says "there are a couple of their (Cubs) prospects that we like..." I've gotta think those couple are likely Vitters and Castillo. If he also wants an ML-now pitcher and hitter, as he was reported to be after during the Braves reports, I guess that's where the 3rd team comes into play. He doesn't think Marshall is enough of a pitcher nor Pie or Cedeno enough of a now-hitter. Guess I can't blame him.

So basically, Hendry would need to find a third team that DOES put some value on Marshall and friends, and turn them into two younger players that are more to Towers' liking. How likely is that? Answer=not very. Maybe you could get Hermida from Florida and send him along to SD, but you're still a pitcher short. And that assumes the Marlins would find Marshall + Pie worth Hermida in the first place.

Meh.

I'm not so sure. I'd bet Towers would like Marshall and Pie, if nothing else because both should play well to Petco (a flyball lefty and a speedy, gap-hitting ace OF). If Hendry were to throw in Vitters, I think this deal would be done right now. In my mind, Hendry has said that Vitters is the only untouchable and that's why the deal's clearly unacceptable. A package of Vitters, Marshall, and Pie (plus another player or two, like Hart or Castillo) should be good enough to get it done.

I agree though that the likelihood including another team and somehow not trading Vitters or at least Veal is highly highly unlikely.

Just trade Derrek Lee to a third team for whatever Towers wants.

How hard is it to understand that Vitters is more important to the Cubs right now than Derrek Lee?

Lee has a no-trade clause and has said he won't waive it.

Three letters: NTC

As much as it makes sense (and would allow for a run at Texiera) it wont happen. DLee wants to be here and he'll stay here.

Unless Vitters can hit ML pitching now (he can't) then Derrek Lee is a hell of a lot more valuable.

If I were Jim Hendry, unless my doctor told me I had twelve months to live, I would not trade Josh Vitters.

I love how within 40 minutes of a post you already have 3 people replying and say this, that, and the other. TCR is sweet

Who cares what the Collins English Dictionary says? "Jargonaut" and "Frenemy" and "Huggles" are not words. The OED is the standard for what is and is not English.

from Rotoworld...

Jose Ascanio recorded his sixth save in the VWL with a hitless inning on Sunday.

After struggling early, Ascanio has given up three hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings this month. The Cubs gave the former Braves prospect a couple of quick looks in the first half of last season, but never promoted him in September with his ERA right around 5.00 at Triple-A Iowa. The 23-year-old has the talent to become a quality setup man or maybe even something more, but he's probably not going to be in the Cubs' plans for the beginning of 2009.

If LaRussa had this team, wouldn't Pie already have gone through a year at lead off, having him bunt every 3-4 times up? If Randy Johnson goes to the Cubs, wouldn't opp's bunt to make him move his aged bones? In short, Lou doesn't use the tools the players have. Reed tried a few times last season and got benched mostly. D. Ward and Cliff Floyd? Whoa, there's the answer! Let's get a hitting coach who can teach how to lay off the major league slider Lowe (pun intended) and outside.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8812098/Cubs-cl...

Shorty Rosenthal says the signing of Dempster by the Cubs is imminent

"...are close to re-signing free-agent right-hander Ryan Dempster to a four- year contract, according to major-league sources."

Rotoworld has picked up Rosenthal's column.

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playe...

the bad news is Rosenthal's source is Chad's Boss

HAHA!

Good one!

Re: Dempster - aren't a high-percentage of starters going to have surgery at some point in their careers? So - I am reading many that say - "Why give him the money when he [Demp] is one injury away from having surgery again?"

CC and Maddux are really the extreme exceptions it would seem. So, what is the best way to limit the risk? Does Hendry feel with a "successful" surgery under his belt - will Demp be "surgery-free" for the next 3-4 years?

And, re: Woody - I have read on a couple boards that, "...he would have accepted a one year deal, but Hendry passed." If that is true - why?

I'm back!

I've missed you guys-I still haven't gotten over the way the year ended-oh well, the life of a Cubs fan...

Here's a couple trade ideas:

1. Dlee and Marquis for JD Drew and Coco Crisp
2. Marquis and Wuertz for Hank Blaylock
3. Marquis and Felix Pie for Brad Hawpe

Rosenthal now saying the Dempster deal is expected to be 4/North of $50M

Bruce Levine confirms also, expects deal to be announced in next 24 hours.

One thing we are of course ignoring is the fact that no GM is going to come on air at this stage of the negotiations and say "yeah, a deal is almost done, we are absolutely happy with what they are offering us, we would like nothing more." They are both acting within a simple bargaining model and both GMs have incentives to get the most and give up the least in the deal. So Towers says we need a 3rd team, this isn't enough, to try to sweeten the deal. Hendry says they are going to resign Dempster and that Johnson is on the radar, hoping to demonstrate that he has outside options besides Peavy and that if he fills his needs elsewhere Towers will be SOL. This is really how it has to play out at this stage.

So we don't know if A) Towers really will insist on a 3rd/4th team or he will keep Peavy; or B) he is willing to wait a couple of weeks to see if this tactic will get Hendry to improve the deal either by adding more players himself or giving up something to get someone from a 3rd team, and if it doesn't improve he will pull the trigger with the current players offerred anyway. Based just on his comments, both A and B are equally likely at this stage.

You know, I hadn't thought of this before, but why the heck does Hendry need to make it a three team deal? If the Padres don't have plans to contend next year, what's the rush? Just take the value from the Cubs and turn it into what you need at your leisure.

The Sun-Times confirming that it is a done deal.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/12854...

Thanks LNL.

How sweet would it be to sign Demp & trade for Peavy also? At first glance, you might stay we would have to trade Marquis for nothing to clear out $$. I would advocate trading Z instead to fill the right field hole. What would be a good deal for Z? Does he have a ntc?

What are the odds that at some point during this 4 yr contract, Demp returns to closing? I give it 50-50.

Umm. No trade clause. And why not just trade some of the guys you'd give up for Peavy for a RF then? He'd come cheaper and would reduce the number of moves necessary.

Feel free to chuck me in with the lot that believes 4/52 (or thereabouts) is absolute madness for a 32-year-old's career year. I'm not going to deny the man his money. Quality starters are in short supply and Dempster had a great year. Just let his new contract be some other team's inevitable albatross.

As others have pointed out, you have health concerns, aging issues, and the niggling sense of regression to the norm. Not to mention that the evolution from mediocre, injury-plagued starter to mediocre reliever to $50 million starter is, to my knowledge, unprecedented. Who are his comparables? The only guy I can think of who had sustained success navigating those roles was Smoltz. The difference there, of course, is that Smoltz has had about 20 years of sustained greatness to Dempster's one.

And speaking of Dempster's career year, one thing that gnaws at me is the pub he received for "rededicating" himself to conditioning during the past off-season. So what was he doing during the other off-seasons? And what will he be doing during this off-season while he waits to get paid? Will he act like various Bulls and Bears defensive players and see the payday as the finish line? Many starters have obviously had success in their mid-30s, but it requires a lot of commitment and luck.

I dunno. Signing Dempster to this deal just seems too familiar, too Cub to me. The flipside of course is dealing for Peavy. Actually acquiring a top-flight starter still in his 20s? Talk about unprecedented.

Dempster played in his second All-Star game this year. He has the pitches, he seems to have the health, and he also works out pretty hard. Dave Stewart is one guy that you can look at as a comp I guess.

I hope that Hendry kicked the tires on Lowe and found that he wanted significantly more money. I thought $50 million would get Dempster done for the Cubs. If it's much north of $52, well.. you have to pay to play I guess. I'd prefer a one year deal on Wood at $10 million than a 4 year $55 million Dempster deal.

Agreed.

With the exception of pitching like shit in the biggest game of his career, he seemed to have become a better pitcher because of his previous pen experience - I believe he has admitted this as well.

We'll all now see if any of it can be repeated.

There's a difference between staying in shape in the off-season and becoming a workout fiend. Dempster did the latter.

some (punch drunk) new jersey yankee writer (Rocky Graziano) also says 4/52

http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2008/11/dempst...

Maybe 3/44, but did Woody truly say he'd come back on a one-year K and Hendry passed?

E-man: yes.

From what I took from it, Hendry is very fond of Kerry, sees him more as a son then another player.

And he knew he couldn't in his right mind give Wood a multi year contract so rather than tie up Kerry for one year he did Wood the favor and told him to go get a multi year contract from another team. Which I'm sure some one will give him.

It's his last chance at a fat contract, so mama bird kicked baby bird out.

I used the same logic to break up with a girlfriend once. It was a bad decision. Kerry Wood's made what, $50 million? He's not going to wind up JR Richard anytime soon.

Do you know his financial situation?

And like I said the Cubs were not going to give him the years.

if that is the truth then Jim Hendry is a stupid f@$@ing motherf@*$er.

It's not his business to worry about Kerry Wood's financial future. His job is to improve the Cubs. If there was a 1 year deal that made sense it is his fiduciary obligation to get it done. He is there to protect the Cubs and not Kerry Wood.

that being said, if fully believe that Hendry wanted to save the 10 million or so dollars for something else. Which in that case is his right.

Is there a bar exam for GM's or something?

do you believe that? or do you think it's spin?

i am sure to my soul that i'm right.

I think Hendry didn't want to commit $10M a year to Kerry before he was finished with the rotation and the outfield. If Kerry is still out there when those are done, I think they'll talk again.

Mostly I think it's a spin by Hendry, but I do think he truly cares and was looking out for Wood at the same time.

of course i think he cares about kerry, but if the money was there and kerry only wanted a one year deal, he'd do it.

You could imply his financial situation by the fact that he's not worried about signing a three year garaunteed contract.

furcal and soto have same agent he is in chicago today
for soto hmmmmmm and furcals name wont come up right

furcal would be nice but not at the price being discussed
with the giants.

Sullivan confirms as well and says the official announcement should occur "soon."

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor...

Sign Johnson to a one year Johnson.

This'd be a big relief for me. I like Dempster (personally and as a ballplayer), and we have one less piece to worry about. This also puts us in a much better bargaining position with SD, because now we really don't 'need' Peavy. He'd be nice, but I'd be really happy with Z,Demp,Lilly,Randy, Harden.

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