Winter Meetings

2014 Winter Meetings Day 3

4:54: PM CST: Break out the salt shakers, but..."Cubs are talking very seriously with James Shields." -@injuryexpert @br_radio #BRAD". So the tweet comes from Jason Goff, who seems to host an afternoon Sirius radio show and I think he's talking to enemy of the state, Will Carroll, who I believe is the one saying the above. It would't completely surprise me, but it would be surprising in a way. I would think that after being able to sign Lester and a high draft pick next year, Cubs would prefer to have one more big draft class opportunity, but I could be wrong.

2:35 PM CST: Well, I suppose Johnny Gomes technically qualifies as a LF power bat.

1:49 PM CST: Jim Bowden (yeah I know), says Cubs are looking for a LF power bat.


My final take on this Jon Lester business. Yes, of course, it's too much money for too many years (aka big ticket free agency) and the full no-trade clause puts a bit of a damper on the deal, but with that much competition on Lester, it was probably necessary. It seems there is a $30 million signing bonus involved, with $20 million being paid to Lester right now and the other $10 million being spread out over the life of the contract. If that is how it works out, that's $135M over 6 years, which would be $22.5M per year. Let's say I'm a big fan if that is the case, using the savings from the last few years to make the contract slightly more manageable in the future. There is a 7th year option worth $25M that automatically vests if Lester throws 200 innings in 2020 or 400 total innings between 2019 and 2020. I haven't seen if that's a club, player or mutual option, but I would guess player. I'm not sure if there's a buyout involved. I'm also not sure what numbers I'm missing because the report is that it would be a total of $170M over 7 years if the option vests, but I get $180M ($155+25M), so there's something not adding up, but I'm sure it'll get figured out soon enough.  Lester also gets 25 hours a year of private air travel paid for by the Cubs.

In the end, the Cubs got the guy they wanted...the guy with the ability and make-up that they craved, the guy with 2 rings to show off to the youngsters. And there is some success in left-handers in their mid to late 30's (Lilly and Pettite come to mind) that the Cubs will still get something out of Lester on the backend of the deal. In itself, it's not enough to put them in playoff contention next year, but it's enough to start them down the path. And well, you never know, maybe the youngsters all come out hitting like they did in the minors and next year the magic begins.

More rumoring after the break...

2014 Winter Meetings Day 2

8:51 PM CST: Gordo, unsurprisingly, couldn't have been more off as Lester has called the Giants and let them know he won't be signing there. All indications are as earlier, it's between the Red Sox and Cubs. MLB Network had a report that Lester's agents had a meeting scheduled with Lester again tonight. However... whomever @BaseballEssential is, they are claiming lots of buzz that Lester is signing with Cubs, but nothing official yet.

If Cubs lose out on Lester, Morosi is reporting that Boras is seeking $200M guaranteed contract.

7:35 PM CST: Just kidding about all that Giants out of it nonsense, Gordo has a source saying Lester is leaning towards Giants now. ~shrug~

6:30 PM CST: Theo claims they are not shopping Welington and that Montero will be a good compliment to him. "We're not shopping (Castillo) at all. The second that the Montero news came out, we got calls from a number of teams about Wely." Of course, just cause they're not shopping him, doesn't mean they won't move him if one of those calls bears fruit.

Olney says Lester will have final options tonight.

5:00 PM CST: You're not a good agent until you're squeezing every last dollar out. Oy vey!

4:15 PM CST: On that Ross note, Cubs have a meeting with him tonight.

3:36 PM CST: Jeff Passan says the Cubs will indeed look to move Welington Castillo. Well, 38-year old David Ross was pretty good against lefties last year as well (.809 OPS in 67 PA's, .770 for his career). Of course, if he's Lester's personal catcher, won't be able to take advantage of the offensive split.

3:06 PM CST: Montero deal is done pending a physical. D'Backs get Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley. That seems absurdly reasonable. Neat. The 20-year old Mejia can certainly end up being quite good, but you have to give up something to get something. And he wasn't anyone, nor was Godley that was anywhere near a top 20 prospect list at this point. The 25-year old Godley has a real nice K rate, but was a bit old for the Hi-A league last year (ages are what their baseball playing age will be next season using the July 1st cutoff).

2:52 PM CST: Giants assistant GM was on the radio and said Lester told him that top dollar will not be the deciding factor and that "heartstrings" are pulling at him. Sounds like a reunion with the Red Sox, unless there's more to his relationship with Theo and Jed that we don't know about it. AZ Phil nailed it in the comments, that Jeferson Mejia would be one of the pitchers heading to the D'Backs for Montero.

1:43 PM CST: The Cubs have "ratcheted up their offer" for Montero and a deal seems close.


The big rumor last night was that the Cubs were well along on a deal for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero and Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the deal should be done by the end of the day. The Cubs would take on Montero's contract (3/40M) and DBacks would get 2 low level pitchers, presumably of good quality, but not CJ Edwards quality. The debate rages on if the Cubs should bother with Montero, afterall he's owed some money, he'll be playing his age 31 season next year and his OPS has been south of .700 the last 2 seasons. But we do know the Cubs want some vet leadership on the team and the catching position is where they want it, add in that Montero hits from the left side and has good on-base skills and you can see some of the interest. One other thing to note, his splits versus lefties and righties. He had a .719 OPS in 2013 .735 in 2014 versus righties, but just a .492 in 2013 and .563 in 2014 versus lefties. On the other side, Welington is a .684 vs. righties for his career and .845 versus lefties. Let's say I'd like that a platoon if it works out. Maybe the Cubs go with a Montero/Ross platoon if this all happens, but I don't know if they need 2 vet catchers.

Also of note, DBacks ownership already nixed a deal of Andre Ethier for Montero, although no reasons were given. Did they not want to trade Montero within the division, did they want to just shave payroll in a Montero deal or do they just not want to move him? I doubt it's the latter, otherwise their GM would stop shopping him in deals, but regardless, there's probably a final obstacle even if they do agree on a deal.

2014 Winter Meetings Day 1

6:17 PM CST: Yanks allegedly making a late push for Lester. I think it went something like this.

Cashman checks his twitter account and reads, " Lester's agents waiting to see if one of his suitors will go to $150 million."

Calls Lester's agent, "Cute Seth, you can just call me next time. Do I make the check out to you or Lester?"

5:18 PM CST: Rosenthal says Lester choosing between Giants and Cubs "barring late change." Then Lester's agent said that is "totally false...liar, liar, pants on fire. We'll totally take anyone's money still as long as it's the highest offer." (I might have paraphrased a little there).

2:20 PM CST: A little last-minute money squeeze by the agents, as it's being reported that Lester and Co. are hoping to get someone to pony up 6/150M to get the deal done.

1:37 PM CST: Apparently Hammel can void the 2017 club option, but must reach some very high performance-based thresholds to earn that right.

1:21 PM CST: Mooney says the 3rd year option on Hammel is for $12M, so 3/30M if the Cubs pick up option or 2/20M if they buy him out.


Once upon a time, I rocked the the updates during Winter Meetings, feverishly updating the site with every little bit of bullshit that was spewed. Those were different times of course, finding those sources, meant about 20 open browser tabs and constant reloading of rotoworld, NSBB forum, MLB trade rumors, the Chicago papers, etc, etc, etc. I felt like I was providing a service to you rumor-hungry readers.

Now everything is on twitter and I just favorite it, and it's up in the left sidebar for you two seconds later. I have as much use as a switchboard operator now...ah, how times have changed.

Regardless, since I have a bit of time this morning, here's a few tidbits.

Winter Meetings Update

Here's the deal, I'll post updates at the top as I have time, since most are Twitter stories, just look at the Twitter box for the link if you must.

3:08 PM CST: Nick Cafardo says Red Sox offered 3/38 for Victorino, don't see the Cubs getting near that.

Dale Sveum had a press conference, said Matt Garza ready to start pitching by end of month and was impressed by Javier Baez's bat speed using the Gary Sheffield comp that's been thrown out a lot.

1:18 PM CST: Muskat scares the Cubs' world by tweeting that Cubs are looking at Yunielsky Betancourt for third base.

12:00 PM CST: Jerry Crasnick says Cubs checking in on Shane Victorino, Red Sox and Yankees as well. Indians seem to have the most interest though at the moment.  Says Reds and Braves not so much with the interest and calls Phillies interest "tepid". Shane looking for a 3 to 4 year deal after seeing Upton and Pagan sign.


...and away we go.

- The big rumor this morning came from Jayson Stark where he mentioned the Cubs among one of four suitors for the recently traded Yunel Escobar (Rays, A's and Yankees were the other teams mentioned). I imagine the Cubs see him as a possible option at third base. Regardless of his past and potential future performance, he's the jack-ass that advertised homophobic slurs on his eye black, so hoping the Cubs just pass on this one.

Winter Meetings Eve

'Twas the night before the Winter Meetings, when all through the hotel

Not a creature was stirring, not even Rosenthal.

The writers hung out by the bar with care

In hopes that a GM would soon be there.

Anyway, the Rumor Mill goes full tilt tomorrow as the Winter Meetings begin in Nashville. According to Kapman, the Cubs are searching for a starting pitcher and a right fielder. They also want a third baseman, but pickings are slim.

2010 Winter Meetings Day Three

10:30 PM CST (Rob G.): A previous Levine post said Cubs are interested in acquiring Jason Frasor after missing out on him last season. Medical reports on Brandon Webb are in the Cubs doctors hands and Chris Davis for Robinson Chirinos is still on the table, but the Cubs want Darren O'Day included in a deal.

2010 Winter Meetings Day Two

10:32 PM CST (Rob G.): Reader QuietMan does it again with this Bruce Levine radio report. Levine speculates that Pena is going to cost around 2/14 with either a 3rd year vesting option or a club option.

- He puts A. Galarragga for Gorzelanny out there.

- Says Chris Davis is a back-up plan if they don't get Pena..

- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the Cubs have interest in Chris Davis but aren't going to give up much.

7:32 PM CST (Rob G.): Bruce Miles pees all over the Davis/O'Day rumor.

6:05 PM CST (Rob G.): Joe Cowley tweeting some nonsense about Konerko to the Cubs.

6:00 PM CST (Rob G.): Ed Price tweets that a deal is in the works involving Chris Davis and Darren O'Day coming to the Cubs.

And fwiw, I don't believe getting Chris Davis would prevent the Cubs from going after Pena, LaRoche and the like. No way the Cubs are handing him Davis the 1b job. My guess is he's a utility option (as he can play 3b as well) and Rudy Jamarillo project for the future.

4:23 PM CST (Rob G.): Bruce Levine radio report thanks to one of our awesome readers.

- Detroit with interest in Gorzelanny (Link from Detroit papers here).

- Ignore the LaRoche talk, Cubs making push for Pena on a 2-year deal with a possible 3rd year option.

Link to ESPN Chicago saying Cubs will meet with Pena's agent again later today.

4:16 PM CST (Rob G.): It seems everyone expects Konerko to sign with the White Sox. Orioles will be "in on" Derrek Lee if the medicals check out.

- Kevin Gregg has more than one offer, possibly of the multi-year variety.

- Teams are showing interest in Rich Harden, possibly as a reliever.

- Matt Garza is another top starting pitcher that could be moved with the Brewers and Rangers mentioned at the moment.

4:14 PM CST(Rob G.): How I love Wrongway! His last tweet.

Look out for the . They're rekindling Matt Garza talks with Rays. Possible deal could include supposedly "untouchable'' Matt Cain.

Whoops.

3:55 PM CST (Rob G.): Bruce Miles though doubts the Cubs interest in LaRoche.

3:46 PM CST (Rob G.): Scott Miller takes it a step further and says the Cubs would like to close a deal soon with LaRoche.

2:48 PM CST (Rob G.): I guess Carlos Pena is going to be too expensive. Morosi says Cubs are going after Adam LaRoche.

12:31 PM CST (Rob G.): The Cubs and Webb's representatives have a meeting scheduled this afternoon according to Jerry Crasnick.

12:21 PM CST (Rob G.): Some nuggets from Bruce Levine's chat.

- Colvin is Plan B if the Cubs don't find a first basemen they like. Even if they do, Colvin will work on the position to give Quade some flexibility during the season.

- Fukudome is on the block, but only if Hendry knows he's getting another left-handed bat, either in the trade or ready to sign.

- The Cubs have talked relievers with Toronto and Texas with Jason Frasor's name coming up. There seems to be a Chris Davis for Robinson Chirinos deal that would work for both teams but the Cubs want to expand it and get a major league reliever in exchange for adding a  starting pitcher to the deal.

- Gorzelanny can be had, but only if the Cubs have a deal in place for another starting pitcher.

11:30AM CT (Cubnut): Rosenthal mentions "Kerry Wood" and "White Sox" together. Yeechhh! KR says Yankees also still interested in Kid K but won't deal with it until after Cliff Lee lands.

2010 Winter Meetings Day One

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.

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