Cubs rumors

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.

The Cubs go for 3 in a row. 3 WINS in a row!!!! It's the start of something big, like starting to trade players away.

Ken Davidoff tweets that the Mets are quite interested in Ted Lilly and the Cubs seem to be smart and willing to pay most of Lilly's remaining salary to get it done. No idea whom the prospects or players might be at this point or how serious the talks are, but Lilly's a good fit in spacious CitiField and the Cubs need to start thinking about some future year where they'll be good again and interesting.

Lou has come to terms with the team being sellers and is already talking retirement. Is that a white flag I see in your pocket?

I'll put the lineups up when they become available.

UPDATE: Fukudome 9/Theriot 4/Lee 3/Byrd 8/Ramirez 5/Soriano 7/Castro 6/Soto 2/Dempster 1

Also Brian Schlitter to disabled list with a shoulder impingement, Mitch Atkins called up.

I don't know about you guys, but I've haven't been this disinterested in a Cubs team since the mid 90's. It might just be continuing resentment over how 2008 ended or the fact that I disagreed with the majority of their moves since then and since most of it's not working, I just feel no connection to the team. But personal feelings aside, the Cubs are 5 games below .500 and 6.5 back in the division and 7 out of the wild card. They could turn it around, of course, but they probably won't. Knowing Jim Hendry and the Cubs desire to sell seats, they'll wait far longer than most of us would like to pull the plug on 2010, but if they do, here are some possible trade partners with my reasoning. I'm sure you guys will have your own ideas.

We're about three weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting and Hendry still has at least two moves to make and possibly up to four if the latest from Jon Morosi is to be believed.

The top priorities remain the bullpen and fourth outfielder and according to Morosi, Xavier Nady has floated to the top of the Cubs' wish list. His agent is Scott Boras though and much like all the players the Cubs are interested in, his demands will have to lower into the Cubs price range. Otherwise, Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli or Johnny Gomes are the other options.

On the bullpen front, things with Kiko Calero have cooled.  No other names are mentioned.

Another starting pitcher is more a want than a need and Ben Sheets is asking too much at the moment.

Finally, the Cubs have shown some past interest in Adam Kennedy and Orlando Hudson, but like starting pitching, not a big priority. If an upgrade at second base is available at the right price, then the Cubs could make a move although I fail to see how Kennedy would be an upgrade.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail:

The Blue Jays will have a scout at tomorrow's workout by free-agent
pitcher Ben Sheets, but he's all but signed by the Chicago Cubs.

Transmission will give his left nut for this to be true (thanks to navigator for the tip).

- The Hardball Times has put up their top 10 Cubs' Prospects:

  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Brett Jackson
  4. Jay Jackson
  5. Hak-Ju Lee
  6. Kyler Burke
  7. Andrew Cashner
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Chris Carpenter
  10. Ryan Flaherty

Archer's not a name you see on a lot of Top 10 or even Top 20 lists so far.

The Cubs are going to have a full house in Mesa this spring, inviting 19 non-roster players to camp. To the list:

Pitchers:

LHP: J.R. Mathes, James Russell

RHP: Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Jeff Kennard and Vince Perkins

Catchers: Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Blake Lalli and Chris Robinson.

Infielders: Darwin Barney, Matt Camp, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, Bobby Scales and Josh Vitters

Outfielders: Brett Jackson and Brad Snyder

I started to keep track of past non-roster invitees at Wiklifield as well and if anyone can help fill in the gaps, it would be much appreciated, even if it's just a link.

In other news, Ted Lilly has already begun throwing after an offseason shoulder scope and Foxsports says the Cubs have shown interest in Kiko Calero, but are worried about his shoulder.

The anticipation has reached a fever pitch as Pirates closer Matt Capps is expected to make his final decision today. Take the main set-up role and back-up closing duties in Chicago for a team that shouldn't completely suck...on the sale floor they like to say they're a team in contention.

Or...

Close for a team that has been the worst in baseball over the last two years and big acquisitions so far have been signing Ivan Rodriguez about seven years too late and signing Jason Marquis (insert own joke here). It would stand that as a closer for the Nationals, he'll probably get even less chances than he did in Pittsburgh.

The money being rumored is in the two year, $7-8M range, basically Grabow money. I wasn't overly thrilled with what they gave Grabow or how quickly they gave it to him. On the other hand, I think Capps is a better pitcher despite the hiccup last season, so it certainly wouldn't be the worst middle relief contract Hendry ever handed out.

If Capps decides he wants to close and signs with the Nationals, the Cubs could move on to rehab projects like Kelvim Escobar or maybe hope they can find enough money in the Ricketts sofa cushions to sign Jose Valverde if his price drops after mistakenly not taking the Astros arbitation offer.

- The Yankees called the Cubs about Carlos Zambrano according to NY's finest and most respectable newspaper, the NY Post. The article says the Cubs' asking price was high...too high for the Yankees apparently. Bruce Levine says there's nothing to it and adds that Z has been living in Chicago this offseason and seems to dedicated to getting in shape.

- The Cubs are "exploring" a deal with Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman says Phil Rogers. So far the Red Sox have offered 5/15.5M and the Marlins 5/13M. At 21 years old and capable of throwing a 100mph, even with sketchy control, I would think the Cubs could offer something in the 6/21.5M range and at worse end up with a really good reliever. Let's see how serious the Ricketts are about shoring up the farm system and boosting the young talent inventory of the team.

- The Cubs seem to be one of the finalists for the services of Matt Capps. Apparently him, Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow were all pretty good friends or at least their wives were and she could be suggesting that Chicago might be the best fit for him and her shopping habits. Wittenmyer's article suggests that it's between the Nationals and the Cubs with the Nationals offering a closing job and the Cubs possibly offering a multi-year deal.

- Wittenmyer says the Cubs are actually getting $5.5M from the Mariners this season as part of the Silva for Bradley swap, opposed to the $3M per year we read about earlier. The second installment of $3.5M would presumably come next season.

- The center field candidates at his point seem to be Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel and possibly Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera via the trade route.

Nothing official yet, but it was just a matter of time that once the Cubs moved Bradley, they'd sign their center fielder and with Mike Cameron off the market, that meant Marlon Byrd.

Looking for confirmation on a deal, but Byrd does appear to be the next
domino to fall once the Cubs finalize the Bradley deal. The Rangers
will get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds in next
year's amateur draft for Byrd. That will give them two first round
picks (one for not signing Matt Purke and their own) and two sandwich
picks (for Byrd and Ivan Rodriguez).

You can find my thoughts on Byrd from a previous post, but to sum up, frightening home/road splits, disappointing walk rate, probably better suited in a 4th OF role. I'd like to see the contract first though before I go too far off the deep end.

UPDATE: Levine has a post up and says Matt Capps may be the first priority. The Nationals are offering up to $4M on a one year deal and the closer job, the Cubs may have to go to a multi-year deal to get him as a primary set-up man. He also say Byrd is asking for a two year deal, although no amount is mentioned. Scott Podsednik is taking a drink from the delusions of grandeur fountain and is seeking 3/$12M.

This hasn't been confirmed yet, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times is reporting that Carlos Silva will be traded to the Cubs for Milton Bradley. Earlier in the morning, "Monsters of the Midway" (I believe that's Mike North and Dan Jiggetts) said a trade of Bradley to the Mariners was going to happen as well. I also heard Larry Stone on XM radio on my drive in and he said the same thing and that the deal should be announced today or tomorrow.

Seattle always made sense as a possible destination for Bradley, low key media market, opportunity to DH, need some OBP help and they had a terrible contract they wanted to unload. The question was would they take on the Bradley headache and would Hendry be desperate enough to take on Carlos Silva. And apparently he is...

Silva is owed $11.5M in 2010 and $11.5M in 2011 with a 2012 mutual option of $12M with a $2M buyout...that's $25M total compared to $21M owed Bradley, so I would assume they would split the difference or at least get the Mariners to pay the buyout. According to Cot's, Bradley is owed $9M this year and $12M next season, which means if it's a straight up deal, the Cubs added $2.5M to their 2010 payroll. We don't know the full details yet though, so I'm hoping Hendry worked it somehow that it wouldn't further hamper the Cubs 2010 efforts.

There's nothing good to say about Carlos Silva. He's absolutely terrible. When the Mariners signed him two years ago, all of us stat nerds thought it was one of the dumbest things on the planet and that's exactly what it turned out to be. Silva - playing in the very pitcher friendly Safeco - has had ERA's of 6.46 and 8.60 his two seasons there. He did miss most of 2009 with shoulder issues, and althought he avoided surgery, he missed from early May to late September and then made just two bullpen appearances, giving up runs in both games. His career numbers are 60-64 with a 4.72 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and a laughable 3.8 K/9 rate. He tops that off with a 11.0 H/9 rate (yes, more than a hit an inning and over 12 H/9 the last 2 years). If you thought Jason Marquis was a problem, wait till you see Carlos Silva.

I really don't see why the Cubs just didn't release Bradley rather than wasting roster space and time on Silva. I think the odds are close to 75% that they just end up releasing Carlos Silva in 2010. For the time being, if he isn't on the DL, I assume Silva will compete for a rotation spot in spring training and eventually be the most expensive bullpen arm of the Cubs.

UPDATE: Well everyone is confirming this is happening now...Muskat, Heyman, Tim Brown, Kapman...Merry Effin Christmas Cubs Fans.

UPDATE #2: The Cubs are getting $9M from the Mariners according to Sullivan, so they have that going from them. I would assume it's coming in installments over the next few years rather than one bulk sum in 2010, but we'll wait and see. If by some minor miracle it's all coming in 2010, then the Cubs would be paying just $2.5M for Silva in 2010 and Hendry just found himself $9M under the sofa cushions to throw at Marlon Byrd and Matt Capps or Kelvim Escobar. I'm not sure that's any better.

UPDATE #3: Cubs and Seattle Mariners trade history has been updated.

UPDATE #4: Hendry speaks and takes responsibility for the signing not working out. Cubs play at Seattle in the middle of June next season during my birthday...just in case you wanted to get something for your favorite Cubs blogger.

UPDATE #5: Bradley was apparently owed $22M, not $21M, so the Cubs are saving $6M as has been reported. $25M they owe Silva-$9M they're getting from Mariners = $16M. $22M - $16M = $6M in savings.

UPDATE #6: Cubs will get $3M each year over the next 3 seasons, net savings in 2010 will be $0.5M.

UPDATE #7: Wittenmyer says the Cubs are getting the $9M over two seasons with $5.5M coming for 2010.

Let's see here, Yankees get Curtis Granderson, Mariners add Figgins and Cliff Lee, Phillies swap Roy Halladay for Cliff Lee essentially, Red Sox add Lackey and Cameron so far and the Cubs are looking at Joel "4.4 K/9" Pineiro.

- Buster Olney is the one with the Cubs/Pineiro rumor from yesterday. Supposedly Piniero wants a four year deal worth more than $10M plus a season. Why am I afraid that didn't scare the Cubs off?

- Scratch Mike Cameron off the Cubs center field wish list, he's signing with the Red Sox for 2/15.5M to play left field of all places. I'm sure he'll get some time in center, but seems like a waste of his talent and value, which mostly comes from being an exceptional center fielder. That leaves Marlon Byrd, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel among the supposed center fielders the Cubs are interested in, with Byrd clearly being the front-runner.

- Juan Pierre returns to Chicago....the South Side that is, for 2 minor league arms(appear to be John Ely and Jon Link) and the Dodgers paying around $10M of the $18.5M he has left on his deal.

- According to Rosenthal, the Yankees are quite interested in Ben Sheets, but are in no rush to sign him.

- It seems like half the league is in on Matt Capps, with at least 3 teams willing to offer him a closer role. Considering Capps wants $3-$4M, plus a multi-year deal, I doubt the Cubs will land him, especially since it sounds like he'll be able to close somewhere else.

- I'm still trying to grasp this 3-team blockbuster deal. I believe it's Roy Halladay and $6M to the Phillies who send Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis D'Arnaud to the Blue Jays. The Phillies then send Cliff Lee to the Mariners and get Phillipe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez from the Mariners and are not sending any of those players to Toronto. The Blue Jays are then sending Michael Taylor to the A's for Brett Wallace. So essentially it's just three separate deals and one in which the Phillies make out like bandits. They basically got from the Mariners what they gave up for Halladay (albeit slightly inferior talent) and the Phils get $6M to pay Halladay.

- The Florida group had a party last night to raise money for their continued efforts to lure the Cubs.

- The Cubs were in attendance along with 14 other teams for Aroldis Chapman's throwing session today in Houston. The 21-year old lefty topped out at 96mph and threw a few sliders and change-ups.

8:27 AM

Cubs select RHP Mike Parisi from the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the Rule 5 draft.

Looks like all the major league teams passed on Round 2 and no Cubs were taken in the major league phase.


The rumor news should be pretty light today as teams head back home.

- Wittenmyer wrote last night - apparently before the Lowell/Ramirez trade that isn't quite official went down - about Boston's possible interest. He then goes through the usual suspects.

The Tampa Bay Rays are still there for a deal that would include moving heavy-salaried Pat Burrell and the Cubs sending cash. The Los Angeles Angels have had exploratory discussions but would need a lot of cash in the deal or for the Cubs to find a way to rid the Angels of their $23.5 million commitment to Gary Matthews Jr. And the New York Mets, according to a team official, might be willing to step back into the fray as part of a three- or four-team deal that could send Luis Castillo ($12 million next two years) to the Cubs.

Wittenmyer then goes through all the teams that have zero interest including the Twins (Bradley called the organization racist back when he was in high school), A's and Indians (not looking for a reunion), plus some mystery GM of a team that had to assure one of his players that Bradley wasn't going to be joining the club.

So that's going well...

- Rosenthal tweets once again, that the talks between Rays and Bradley are at an impasse.

- Tim Brown joins Rosenthal in saying Rangers are probably out as potential trade partner for Bradley.

- Rule 5 draft is today, Cubs are always good for losing a player or two. For a brief and poorly organized history, visit Wiklifield (I will clean that up sometime in the near future, unless someone cares to do it).

12:31 AM

More from Levine saying that Cubs and White Sox lead the chase for J.J. Putz who will throw again Friday. Putz expects around a $2.5M base salary with incentives that could take it into the $6-7M range. The White Sox apparently have already made an offer.

Levine also says if the Red Sox trade for Bradley, they would immediately flip him possibly to Texas or Tampa. ~shrug~

12:15 AM

NPSport Canada tweets that Hendry does have one firm offer for Bradley and the deal will happen by Friday (rolls eyes), but does not involve the Blue Jays (thanks to navigator for the find).

11:14 PM

 - Phil Rogers believes the Cubs have already made their mind up about moving spring training to Naples for the simple reason that he believes the Ricketts want their base of operation out of Florida.

- Lowell to Rangers for catcher Max Ramirez looks like a done deal.

10:52 PM

Harden's contract details from Ed Price; $6.5M in 2010 with $3.5M in escalating incentives up to 195 IP, $11M mutual option for 2011 with a $1M buyout if either side declines.

10:48 PM

Levine says Hendry had meetings with Mike Cameron's agent Wednesday night and agent Casey Close who reps Ben Sheets, Derrek Lee and Mike Fontenot among others.

10:22 PM

Astros sign Brandon Lyon to complete their bullpen whitening process(3/15M according to Rosenthal).

NL Central tally so far:

Cardinals - Added Brad Penny & Hitting Coach that Knows How to Get things, probably losing DeRosa, Holliday and Smoltz.

Brewers - Added LaTroy Hawkins, Randy Wolf and swapped J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez.

Astros - Essentially swapped Valverde and Hawkins for Lindstrom and Lyon.

Pirates - Added Bobby Crosby and Akinori Iwamura.

Reds - Still employing Dusty Baker.

Cubs - Resigned John Grabow and traded Jake Fox, Aaron Heilman and Aaron Miles for 5 minor leaguers.

9:23 PM

Another Rule 5 draft preview (h/t to MLBTR) from Jonathon Mayo, he thinks Steve Clevenger is the most likely Cub to get selected but adds that the Cubs could get "hit a few times".

9:17 PM

From Gorden Edes twitter:

Cubs chutzpah: They really did ask Sox about Bradley for Lowell...under the heading: Can't hurt to ask. Got the response you'd expect.

Damn those unintelligent Red Sox.

8:29 PM

Levine's latest:

The Red Sox have been kicking the tires on free agents. They have had talks with the agent for free agents third baseman Adrian Beltre, formerly of the Mariners. If you look at the trade and free agent market, Bradley may be the most attractive power hitting player available, besides free agents Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.

If a team like the Red Sox were intelligent, which they are, they could bring in Beltre to play third base, trade Lowell to the Cubs for Bradley and then end up with two players for next season for the same price or less that they'd have to pay for the big ticket free-agents Holliday and Bay.

Oh did I say Levine's latest? I meant here's the verbatim story handed to Levine by the Cubs to try and float some ideas out there and generate a false market. If a team like the Red Sox were intelligent? I think they've showed their intelligence a few times over by this point. 

Anyway, Cubs like Melky Cabrera (although I still have doubts the Yankees will move him) and have talked to Cameron's agent and two other center field free agents, possibly Byrd or Podsednik.

8:14 PM

Hendry held court and...nothing. The best we have is a non-denial about Boston and Mike Lowell.

7:21 PM

Hendry says they're considering a few names in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft. Muskat lists Thomas Diamond, Steve Clevenger, Chris Robinson and Matt Camp as possible Cubs that could be drafted (Chirinos was mentioned earlier by Phil Rogers). Hendry says Marshall, Gorzelanny and Samardzija will compete for the 5th starter spot with all being able to move to the bullpen if needed.

7:17 PM

Via MLBTR, Ben Sheets wants something close to the $12M he was paid in 2008 (Searches for delusions of grandeur tag).

6:23 PM

Cross the Angels off the list...that leaves Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Twins, Athletics if it's an AL team. I'd go ahead and cross Indians and Twins immediately off that list and probably the Orioles as I can't think of a bad contract they'd want to move. Yanks, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers or A's?

6:13 PM

Cross the Blue Jays off the list...mystery team indeed.

5:33 PM

Both Muskat and Wittenmyer shoot down the Mariners rumor...something is brewing though.

5:20 PM

The beat writers now chime in...Wittenmyer states:

It involves a three-team deal in which the Cubs would receive a player who would then need to be flipped to another team, but it's doesn't involve the long-rumored Tampa Bay Rays (ed note: or the Rangers).

Bruce Miles is a little more subdued:

The Cubs stated flatly this afternoon that no deal was imminent for right fielder Milton Bradley. There has been speculation that something could get done as early as tonight, but one Cubs person said Wednesday is a more likely date.

Sullivan agrees that Wednesday is more likely but still has the Rays and Rangers very much in the mix.

5:18 PM

More Tim Brown saying the M's and Cubs are talking Bradley for Silva..."nothing imminent".

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