Cubs rumors

UPDATE #2: @Sean_McAdam: Red Sox will be responsible for only the pro-rated minimum - about $400K -- of Marlon Byrd's $6.5 million salary. Cubs eat the rest.

UPDATE: @Sean_McAdam
Baseball source: Byrd to Red Sox for Michael Bowden and PTBNL done. Cubs will pick up "most'' of Byrd's $6.5 million.


Nick Cafardo was the first to report that the Cubs and Red Sox are working on a deal to send Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox. It would also make sense of the earlier roster move today where the Cubs called up Tony Campana to put Ryan Dempster on the disabled list since they still need to lose a body to make room for Randy Wells tomorrow.

Bruce Levine is saying the Cubs will get a left-handed reliever and a minor leaguer in the deal and it should be completed today. I'm presuming Cubs will pay a healthy portion of Byrd's roughly $6.5M salary as well, but no word on that yet. Franklin Morales and Justin Thomas are the 2 lefties on their current active roster. There's also Michael Bowden, a righty, that was DFA'd last week by them.

Lineups for today's loss after the jump...

So John Lannan lost his arbitration case to the Nationals and wil be paid $5M for next season (as opposed to $5.7M he was asking). Now that the money is settled, the Nats are trying to move Lannan for a position player, preferably a center fielder, so that they can sign Edwin Jackson instead. I'm not quite sure why they want to make that swap, but that seems to be the goal for them. If the Cubs cared to add another mediocre pitcher with 2 years of club control while moving Marlon Byrd and the one year left on his contract, while saving about $1.5M, it appears a match could be made.

I certainly don't see the Cubs doing it, not much difference between Paul Maholm and Lannan and it seems that the pitching depth problem has been more than solved. And if you're a fan of FIP, Lannan's numbers are worse than what he's actually put up. But on some level it could make some sense, especially if the Cubs are afraid they won't have a taker in 2 months for Byrd. And they do have Reed Johnson, Tony Campana, Brett Jackson, David DeJesus and possibly Yoenis Cespedes that can step up in center field if Byrd is moved.

Speaking of arbitration, Matt Garza's case is heard tomorrow. Once that's settled, I wouldn't be surprised for the rumor mongering to start up again, once teams are certain of his cost.

...a whole lot of nothing.

- An article in a Dominican paper says the Cubs (so far) have been the most aggressive at pursuing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

- No real news out of the Cubs convention beyond the Kerry Wood signing ($3M with a $3M option for 2013) and the new patio deck in right field with the LED scoreboard.

- "One change the Cubs have already made was tweaking Tim Wilken's assignments, so that he's now director of amateur scouting and not carrying the additional workload of pro scouting." Word was Randy Bush occasionally had to rinse out the toilets at Wrigley Field to save a few bucks.

- McLeod allegedly said that he was rather surprised by the lack of player preparation amenities at Wrigley and there are plans in place to remedy it.

- Today is the day that teams and players file their arbitration number, the Cubs have yet to agree with any of their players: Jeff Baker($1.4M), Blake DeWitt($1.2M), Geovany Soto($4M), Matt Garza ($8.7M), Randy Wells ($2.2M), Ian Stewart($2M) or Chris Volstad($2.6M). The estimated figures come from Matt Swartz. Add that to the current player committments, auto-renewals (about $5-7M) and $5M owed Pena and the Cubs current payroll for 2012 is around $110M.

- Craig Counsell has decided to retire, but he will stay with the Brewers organization rather than joining Dale Sveum's staff.

- David Schoenfield ran a nice piece examining the best players in any 5-year year period starting from 1969. Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa show up twice each.

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.

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!

- Former major league catcher Jamie Quirk has been named the Cubs bench coach. His last job was as the Houston Astros bullpen coach under manager Brad Mills, who of course came over from the Boston Red Sox.

- Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Cubs are looking in on Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, with a preference for Pujols because, well, he's better, at least in the all-around game. Of course he's also older and possibly could be doping up on HGH. Stark confirms that a phone call was made.

- Good chat with Jim Callis over at NSBB on some of the Cubs prospects.

- Speaking of prospects, Kevin Goldstein put out his Cubs Top 11 for 2012...I believe the article is free. Past BP lists can be found at Wiklifield.

- Kaplan and others reporting that Cubs are listening on offers to Matt Garza. Apparently though Sean Marshall is off limits, which makes little to no sense. They've also "kicked the tires" on free agent David DeJesus.

- Cubs have also asked about Rockies third basemen ian Stewart.

I'm gonna attempt to write this on my IPhone. I won't be able to link to articles, so you'll have to take my word for it. Let's see what happens...I'm also going to leave in most of the autocorrects just for giggles.

- Sandy Alomar Jr. had his interview yesterday and Bruce Levine considers him the front runner only because he's not sure if Mike Maddux would take the job. Jed Hoyer says they're happy with the 4 candidates so far and it's unlikely, but possible they'd bring in another. And it's really 5 candidates as Terry Francona still seems a real possibility.

- Theo has reached out to Carlos Zambrano over the phone and the two may meet sometime after the GM meetings.

- Kerry Wood has had preliminary talks with the new front office crew. No details though on what he's expecting or what the Cubs will offer.

- The Miami Marlins unveiled their new logo and uniforms last night and would love for Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols to be wearing them next season. They'be allegedly already offered competitive contracts to each of them.

- Rumor on Rotoworld that that Padres would listen to offers on Chase Headley. No idea what they may be expecting to get, but certainly a guy the Cubs should look into.

- Another guy the Cubs should consider s Grady Sizemore who seems willing to take a 1-year deal and try to build up his value for a bigger payday after 2012. I'm not sure what type of real he's willing to take, Hutu but he could make sense in any of the OF spots. If he's looking for a center field gig, I'm certainly happy to trade Byrd or move hi. To the bench or a corner spot if absolutely necessary. If you're worried about blocking Brett Jackson, I'd be more worried about avoiding Super 2 status and not calling him up until June. At that point, injuries, production and a variety of other things. Oils happen to open up a spot.

Enjoy the weekend, Bears 34 - Lions 32.

Buster Olney tweets that a claim was awarded on Carlos Pena. Depending on when that actually happened, the Cubs and the mystery team at the moment have about 48 hours to work out a deal. If nothing can be hammered out, the Cubs can pull Pena back off waivers or they can just let him go to the team and save the remaining salary left on his contract which includes the $5M deferred money he's owed on January 1st, 2012.

While Pena is now on track to be a Type B free agent and there's certainly plenty of value in the possibility of getting a supplemental round pick for him (although no sure thing), there's probably more value at the moment in saving the $5.5M or so he's owed, regardless of the prospects they may get back.

Possible Correction: It seems there's a bit of a confusion that if Pena is just given away, the Cubs could still be on the hook for the $5M in deferred money. Not sure why it works that way or how, but that's the current rumor by MLB Trade Rumors and Arizona Phil.

Update: Rosenthal tweets:

Pena claimed, but #Cubs likely to pull him back. Need 1B for 2012, want to keep options open. Did not get good offers before 7/31.

Considering Hendry's claim that he didn't want to make too many deals before the deadline, hopefully the thinking has changed.

Update #2 from Rosenthal:

#Cubs Pena has 5M deferred, payable 1/12. If trade occurred, Cubs would pay pro-rated portion - almost all. Again, deal unlikely.

This has gotten about 90% less exciting than it was an hour ago. My math tells me then that the claiming team would be on the hook for about $1.67M if the Cubs just let him go.

Update #3 from Jon Heyman says it was the Yankees. I assume they're just happy to take on the money then.

Bruce Levine's latest has a few new rumors, most of it probably trying to drum up interest in Cubs players that doesn't exist, but it's fun to dream.

- He says the Cubs are looking for minor league pitching that they can project to the majors in return for veteran players.

- The Cubs have fielded calls on Fukudome, Byrd, Grabow and Soriano (prank calls don't count). In Fukudome's case the Indians are specifically mentioned and then Levine quotes an NL scout (probably one from the Cubs) about how much better Fukudome is this year.

- The Cubs would apparently be wiling to eat a "high percentage" of Soriano's contract (still owed nearly $60M through 2014) and that he could be an attractive target as a right-handed DH in the American League (no he wouldn't).

- Aramis talked with his agent and the Cubs brass and indications are that he is very unwilling to waive his NTC.

- Also, the Cubs have signed 7th round pick Trevor Gretzky (yes, there's a relation) and 13th round pick Trey Martin.

6:17 PM CST (Rob G.): Count on Sean Marshall as Marmol's set-up man next year as well as an echo that Cashner could be moved to the rotation.

4:13 PM CST (Rob G.): Damn. Loney and Broxton for Prince Fielder? Apparently they're talking.

Or Not.

2:15 PM CST (Rob G.): Rosenthal also says that Loney is very unlikely to be moved.

YESTERDAY (Rob G.): Some important stuff (as important as baseball rumors can be) from Levine yesterday that I haven't seen mentioned.

- Cubs offered Berkman the same $8M as the Cardinals but with deferred payments.

- Lyle Overbay is also on the Cubs 1b radar.

- If the Cubs can't sign a starting pitcher, expect Andrew Cashner to move to the rotation.

- Kerry Wood is a possibility if he's willing to accept the dollars($5M or less) and set-up role.

- Fukudome will be shopped.

2:15 PM CST (Rob G.): Gorden Edes says the Blue Jays are making a push for Carlos Pena.

2:10 PM CT (Cubnut): Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports (@stevehenson333) says a Dodgers source told him Loney will not be traded "because he'd be too expensive to replace on free agent market."

1:05 PM CST (Rob G.): As Arizona Phil predicted, Mark Riggins will be named the new Cubs pitching coach. Expect an official announcement tonight.

 12:20 PM CST (Rob G.): Steve Philips (stop laughing), says Cubs are one of four teams interested in Dan Wheeler.

- The asking price for Loney? Nats say Colletti wanted SS Ian Desmond and RHP Jordan Zimmerman. Apparently the moon isn't available in trades this year.

Since I know you beasts are dying to gossip...

- ESPN Boston reported that the Red Sox made some progress in acquiring Adrian Gonzalez. Ken Rosenthal countered that the Cubs are very much in the mix (tease). Buster Olney one upped them both this morning and is reporting a deal is in place for Gonzalez to go to the Red Sox pending a physical and the team has been granted a window to try and negotiate an extension.

- Zack Greinke is another big name the Cubs should be in on, but will fall short landing. The latest rumor there is the Rangers are trying to get him and Cliff Lee this offseason. The Cubs instead are focused on...

- Jerry Crasnick tweeted yesterday that the Nats & Cubs are gonna duke it out for Brandon Webb. The Cubs lost the first round battle against the Nats last year over Matt Capps. And in case you forgot, the last time Webb pitched for anyone to watch he was hitting 84 mph on the gun. Now Fangraphs says his average was 88mph back in the heyday, so I guess he can find 4 mph as he progresses, but that's what most of us guessed about Mark Prior all those years too.

- Aaron Harang is going to try and resurrect his career at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

- Bleacher Nation has its own source saying the Cubs could be landing Chris Davis soon. Ace over there is on the up and up, so I'm sure he indeed was told that, but like so many rumors, that doesn't mean it will end up happening.

Rumors will be flying with Winter Meetings ready to start, so stay tuned to this bat channel.

Will Carroll tweets that Mike Quade will get the manager job for 2011 with Ryne Sandberg being promoted to bench coach.

In related news, I've registered firequade.com.

In future news, calls for Mike Quade to be fired will start around game 5 of next season.

UPDATE: If it wasn't obvious enough from "Will Carroll tweets", this was the beginning stages of a rumor. One in which Carroll then backed off when a guy "who's very WIRED into the Cubs" told him he was wrong, "especially on the timing" (the original tweet said it could be announced as soon as next week). Wittenmyer tweets, "don't believe every tweet you read".

I could not begin to tell you with any type of certainty who is right or wrong or what will happen, but I would say an examination of recent history would lead to the conclusion that Mike Quade is Hendry's choice. If that means anything in the end, I guess we'll find out. Hendry could have very easily gave Sandberg (or Trammell) the interim job after Piniella quit, but chose Quade. Then Quade went and done good, got the backing of the players, all of which most likely justified Hendry's decision in his mind. Whether the Ricketts pull rank on Hendry and insist on Sandberg to create some buzz and sell ticket plans, remains to be seen.

That's the story on NBC Sports citing Talking Chop of SB Nation, which isn't what I'd call a go-to news source. But alas it's out there and if the Braves do put in a waiver claim, I'd like to hope Hendry just lets him go to the Braves and saves the money for the rest of this year and most likely next. Granted, Aramis still has a a NTC and would have to approve the deal even if the Cubs just let the waiver claim go through, but it would take the Cubs off the hook for 2011 on the assumption that Aramis was going to exercise his option.

Not much else going on, nice little weekend of playing spoiler to the Cardinals by taking two out of three, but they couldn't keep the momentum going today against the first place Padres. Gorz pitched well for six innings, but then the 7th happened and then the bullpen and the Cubs stayed within a half game of the 5th pick in the 2011 draft. After the game, Lou felt the need to vent about the young pitchers whose names he'll forget by Day 2 of his retirement.

The signing deadline for the 2010 draft came and went on Monday and according to Cubs.com, the Cubs signed 29 of their 50 picks, 15 of their top 16 picks and 21 of their top 25. The top holdout was 6th round pick Ivan Dejesus (standard disclaimer that he's not related to that Ivan Dejesus).

According to tweets by Chicago Cubs Online, Oneri Fleita mentioned ont he radio that Chris Archer, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters will be 3 of the Cubs heading to the Arizona Fall League with Vitters getting time at 3b and 1b. The Cubs will send 2-4 more players when they make their official announcement later this month.

UPDATE: As I noted, Talking Chop should not be your go-to news source as just about everyone with the Braves is dismissing the idea.

With less than 48 hours to go on the trade deadline and the Cubs season over long ago, Hendry seems on the brink of not being able to move any of his overpriced talent.

Well-done sir.

The latest of course is that Derrek Lee wouldn't waive his NTC to go to the Angels  who happen to reside in Southern California where he is building a home. As a 10/5 man, he has earned that right,  so fair enough. But please don't invoke the love of the city or your teammates because you're kind of screwing them over.

"I think the bottom line is family. I like Chicago, I enjoy my teammates. It was the decision we made."

You may be thinking that he just didn't want to go to the Angels who are pretty much out of it, but according to Bruce Levine, the Rangers came up with an offer as well and they're very well on their way to the playoffs at the moment. I don't know anything about Lee's personel life, but for the $13M he's making this year, it seems like he could overcome the 2-month inconvenience. Since Lee is still having a crap year and the team is obviously moving on past him for 2011, it'd be nice if he was benched for prolonged period of times to start giving whomever the Cubs think might be next year's first basemen some much needed game experience (Colvin, Soriano, Ramirez, Hoffpauir, etc).

- Ted Lilly seemed like a slam dunk to get moved, but teams seem to be balking at picking up his salary. The Cubs should of course just offer to pay most of it, if it can net them a decent pair of prospects, but Hendry still can't figure out how free agent compensation works, so I'm doubtful he'll figure out the idea of sunk costs. The Phillies are of course out now as they picked up Roy Oswalt, leaving the Mets, Twins and Dodgers as the most likely targets, although all seem hesitant at this late hour.

On the other hand, if these teams are so hesitant to pick up his salary or Lee's, both should easily clear waivers and if they don't, dear god Hendry, just let them go and save the money since there's no way in hell you'll offer them arbitration cause you never do that.

- I haven't heard much on the Ryan Theriot front lately past the Rockies and Tigers rumors. Xavier Nady's continued awfulness has nullified his trade value.

So at this moment, we all have the joy of following a terrible team that can't even conduct a proper fire sale. Cubs fever...catch it.

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