December 2011

I can't find the original "reports" this tweet is referencing, but some trade talks involving Matt Garza and Marlon Byrd with Jacoby Ellsbury coming over to the Cubs (and I presume other pieces would be involved). The other teams mentioned involved with Garza include the Blue Jays with names like Deck McGuire, Kyle Drabek, Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick being thrown out there and the Tigers with names like Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver mentioned. The Yankees as well, although no names have been mentioned although you'd presume Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances would be at the forefront of those discussions.

In his chat the other day, Bruce Levine seemed to indicate Marlon Byrd is as good as gone suggesting it's just a matter of time before the Cubs sign Coco Crisp or trade for a center fielder from the Blue Jays. The Nationals presumambly have some interest. I'd say upgrading from Byrd to Crisp would be a goofball move, but let's see if it actually happens.

We still must not have any pitching prospects that are ready to be promoted. Jay Jackson, who's dog did you kick or what the hell happened to you in 2011? As recently as last January, Fangraphs had JJax ranked as the Cubs #5 prospect.

Cubs Insider reports:

The Cubs have agreed to terms with RHP Manny Corpas and RHP Andy Sonnanstine on non-guaranteed split contracts for the 2012 season.

We've had some time to discuss the many corpses that are being wheeled into the catacombs of Wrigley Field of late. The newest name added to that group is Andy Sonnanstine.

Rotoworld says:

Sonnanstine 28, was non-tendered by the Rays in December after posting an ugly 5.55 ERA and 12/12 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings at the major-league level this past season. The soft tossing right hander will serve as insurance for the bullpen and starting rotation.

I'll dig deeper, after the jump...

There is a Twilight Zone episode from 1963 called "The Parallel." The story goes something like this...

When I came up with this little animated gif, I was actually gagging on Cubs Depression after reading MLBTR's "Complete and Total Rebuild" post.
But I got over it.
The gif is supposed to illustrate what our Cub brains have been fed in the past off-seasons...
A Box 'o Rocks wrapped in something shiny (thanks Crunch) like: "The Three C's: Castro, Cashner & Colvin!" or "Getting Left Handed Will Get Us To The Series!"
(Okay, maybe nothing shiny about the "Left Handed" thing, but you know what I mean.)

The Cubs end up getting OF Dave Sappelt and INF Ronald Torreyes along with LHP Travis Wood for LHP Sean Marshall. Torreyes sounds like the most intriguing prospect of the group, but not a bad haul for a reliever in my opinion. Follow the comments starting from here for some great quotes that Cubster found on the new guys.

UPDATE: Deal is done according to a Bruce Levine tweet, don't know the name of the minor leaguers yet and the players must pass physicals.


ESPN Chicago and Fox Sports both reported last night that the Cubs were close on a deal to send the "best left-handed reliever in baseball" to the Cincinnati Reds, possibly for left-handed starter Travis Wood and 2 more minor leaguers. It seems the "2 more" will be the key to deal. And of course, nothing is official yet with plenty of water already thrown on this rumor fire. But it may happen, and if so, let's see why it might make some sense.

Under the new CBA, relievers will almost certainly not being getting their old club free agent compensation and Marshall was set to be one after 2012. Better to get something now than nothing later with 2012 looking like a non-competitive season for the Cubs. Also, it's generally a good idea to trade a reliever for a starter, at least a starter that won't be a free agent until after 2016 and you probably expect to be average or slightly better. Wood will be just 25 next season after all. And as mentioned, there seems to be talk of at least 2 other Reds coming over and we'll have to see who those are.

The Rangers make their splash of the offseason by putting up a $51.7M posting fee just for the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. They now have 30 days to work out a contract. What this means for the Cubs is that I doubt the Rangers are giving up any good prospects to land Matt Garza. It may also mean the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves with a little extra money to throw at Prince Fielder or make a bid themselves for Garza.

In the meantime, the Cubs hired area scout Matt Dorey away from the Red Sox and promoted him to cross checker as well as making some agreement that the Cubs will not hire anymore Red Sox personel for another 3 years.

As for actual players that may do something on the field in 2012, there was talk about signing Paul Maholm. I have to say his numbers aren't particularly appealing, only 2 of his full 6 seasons have produced ERA+'s over 100 and innings have been going in a downward trend over the last 3 seasons. He seems just as likely to put up a 5.00 ERA as one under 4.00. As a 5th starter and at the right price ($5-6M a year), I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.

There was some talk about the Cubs being interested in Coco Crisp. But that makes little sense unless Byrd or Soriano are being traded, unless he's being pursued for a bench job. The Cardinals though are presumably considering him for their starting center field spot and as a leadoff man and the Dodgers are also apparently in the hunt.

According to Rosenthal, Sean Marshall is garnering heavy trade interest, not sure if the Cubs are willing to listen now.

Anthony Rizzo would seem to be a natural fit for the Cubs to go after with his previous connections to Jedstein. He of course is now the man without a job in San Diego after they acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds. But Rizzo also has some option years left, so the Padres are going to be in no rush to move him unless they get what they want. There were some silly rumors about a Matt Garza trade involving Rizzo, but unless a third team was involved, I don't see how it makes sense to trade Mat Latos and his 4 years of club control for Garza and his 2 far more expensive years of club control.

Rumor is that Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes will be granted residency this is week in the Domincan Republic and then teams will be able to start negotiating a contract for him.

The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.

- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!

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?

Today is the deadline for clubs to submit their Central Tender Letter (CTL) to the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD), listing all unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster"), and which of them are being tendered a 2012 contract, and which are not.

I'd like to move on from the unfortunate business in the last thread of comments. So have it...

The only news I can find is Rafael Furcal headed back to the Cardinals on a 2-year deal, around $14M. The Brewers found their SS in Alex Gonzalez on a 1-year deal with a vesting option for 2013.

Bruce Levine and Wittenmyer both had articles on the Cubs new third basemen.

I liked Baseball America's take on the trade. Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus share their thoughts as well.

Ho Ho Ho!

The long rumored deal to nab Ian Stewart from the Rockies went down last night, and the Cubs also received pitcher Casey Weathers in the deal. The cost? Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu.

To the analysis...

The same deal as yesterday, keep the rumors flowing and check the twitter box on the right.

The news from the Cubs is that Carlos Pena has declined arbitration, although Levine indicates he may return on a free agent deal. If he signs elsewhere, the Cubs will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. Aramis hasn't formally declined, but obviously very unlikely he would accept since he declined the Cubs $16M option already, unless he misread the market and a multi-year deal isn't really out there, but that seems unlikely. My guess is he goes to the Brewers.

- Talks continue on Ian Stewart with names like Blake DeWitt, Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu being mentioned.

- Albert Pujols had 10-year offers from the Marlins and Cardinals and it appears he's headed back to the Cardinals. The Cubs were in the mix somehow, but don't appear to be a real threat to land him. Marlins may move on to Fielder or focus their dollars on pitching.

Unfortunately I won't be around my computer much today to keep up on the rumors, but feel free to bombard the comments. I won't be on twitter much either to update the right sidebar, so it's up to you guys, although Cubnut may be on twitter some to keep that going.

Latest Cubs news is that they did offer Albert Pujols a contract, one considerably shorter than the 10-year offer the Marlins gave him, but likely for a much higer average annual salary. The Cubs seem to have the same mindset about Prince Fielder, preferring a shorter deal with a higher average annual salary than the 7-8 year deals that are being rumored.

Happy Rumoring!!

Amputation of the heels he so famously used to click wasn’t enough, not even on top of an assortment of other ailments that included the diabetes through which he played his entire career.

A long stint as the Cubs’ ambassador to a whole new generation of fans wasn’t enough either.

And clearly the impressive resume he amassed as a player wasn’t enough by itself.

No, Ron Santo finally had to pony up his very life to get what he deserved and so craved; induction at Cooperstown. After he paid that price too, the contrivance known as the Golden Era Committee finally, belatedly in my view, did the right thing and let the man in. Now, after almost exactly a year in purgatory since he died on December 2, 2010, Santo can move on to the HOF; proof positive, if you need it, that there is such a thing as life everlasting.

I knew it would happen this way if it was ever going to happen at all. I bet Santo couldn’t pronounce the word ‘posthumously’ any better as it’s written than Harry Caray could backwards. But he sure as hell knows what it means. It means that he won’t get to celebrate with his family until such time as they’re all ever in the same place at the same time again, by whatever mysterious means such a thing might ever be accomplished.

I listened to Santo play on the radio with my dad. My own kids got his autograph when I took them to Wrigley Field. I was there the day his #10 was retired and I was there the night they unveiled his statue outside the ballpark. I toyed with the idea of going to Chicago for his funeral, just as I’m toying now with the idea of making my first ever pilgrimage to the Valhalla of baseball for his induction next summer. By then I expect I’ll have come to my senses – probably.

Understand that I feel obliged to write this. And I appreciate a forum on which to post it. Please indulge me and do not engage in a statistical dissection of his worthiness or lack thereof - enough of that already. Just let it be.

Too bad he didn’t get in while he was still alive but at least he did while I still am. I can check that item off of my Cub bucket list. Let’s see; there’s only one thing left…

Ronnie's in. Bittersweet but worthy of shedding a few tears for all Cub fans.

Here's the link to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's site announcement.

The "Golden Era" decision committee was changed to a 16 member group for this vote.  As in the usual Hall of Fame voting, 75% of the ballots were needed. Ron Santo got 15 of 16 ballots which is 94% and in Cub circles officially considered a landslide. He's the only candidate who got in this time. The next most ballots went to Jim Kaat who got 10 votes, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso with 9 votes and Tony Olivo with 8.

Teammate, Billy Williams, was a member of the HOF voting committee, was quoted saying "we got it done."

The remainder of the committee:

The 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

Pat Hughes on WGN radio (as I type) says he envisions Ron with a maximally happy look on his face, "like a happy 10 year old kid".

His wife, Vicki Santo, during the same WGN radio interview said up in heaven he's pumping his fist saying, "I got there".

July 22nd 2012 will be Ron Santo's induction date. Heel Clicking optional.

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Well, it looks like if you're gonna be a Chicago Cub any more, you better learn plate discipline.
A little patience.
Make the pitcher work.
That kinda stuff.
Tyler Colvin, he can hit a homer once in awhile, but he ain't no walker.
David DeJesus on the other hand, has 359 walks in his 3797 career at-bats.
Young Tyler, he's got 46 in his 581 career at-bats.
If you pro Tyler's 581 at-bats to 3797, his walks project to about 300.
(That's me doing math, so as always there's a giant chance it's wrong, but whatever.)

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