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... w

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

7:35 PM CST: , Gordo has a source saying Lester is leaning towards Giants now. ~shrug~

6:30 PM CST: Theo 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.

5:00 PM CST: Oy vey!

4:15 PM CST: On that Ross note,

3:36 PM CST: 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: D'Backs get and 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: . 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,

1:43 PM CST: The Cubs 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.

- The White Sox acquired Jeff Samardzija and former international signing bonus baby Michael Ynoa from the A's for 4 players: INF Marcus Semien, RHP Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley and 1B Rangel Ravalo. The White Sox weren't done there, as they then signed reliever David Robertson to a 4/46M deal. I don't know if the White Sox have completely closed the gap between themselves and the Tigers, Royals and Indians, but they have made some nice moves this offseason. The Robertson deal is dumb, don't get me wrong, but I don't think he's a guy that's going to just fall off a performance cliff either and I guess if you have the money and have determined you're going all in next year, that's the kind of deal you make. Sale, Samardzija, Quintana, Danks and Noesi is a pretty nice looking rotation for sure.

- Looks like Francisco Liriano is headed back to the Pirates on a 3/39M deal.


Other notes

...Masterson allegedy getting a multi-year offer from Red Sox, doubt Cubs are interested much after signing Hammel

A. Callaspo signs with Braves

guesses on pitchers going to DBacks?

guessing Underwood or Tseng would very likely be one....

I'll go with Paul Blackburn and Jeferson Mejia.  

well-played sir

RT Hearing 1 of the pitchers Dbacks will receive in a Montero trade is Jefferson Mejia.

In the Cubs Organizational Depth Chart I maintain here at TCR, I had projected Zack Godley to be the closer at AA Tennessee and Jeferson Mejia to be one of the "Big 3" starters (along with Carson Sands and Justin Steele) at Eugene in 2015. 

I am tickled that my man Daury Torrez wasnt included.

Having seen him pitch this year for Kane County, I agree completely! Nice to have a lot of options in this sort of trade, isn't it?


good breakdown of prospects A's are getting for Samardzija

Kemp to Padres deal gaining steam...owed 5/107M although contract is uninsured which seems to be a bit of an issue

Grandal and some prospects would seem to be the return.

Curious moves to let Kemp and Ramirez go, imagine they'll spend some of that money on pitching.

Also, some real guts to trade Kemp to division rival.

@Buster_ESPN The Tigers' focus is on retaining Max Scherzer. They are prepared to spend big, big dollars. Want to keep Price for 2015, too.

not sure if this is the same story that was already debunked or a new one, but Castro sought for questioning...something involving gun shots in a night club. I thought the other story was at a concert, so not sure if they same or not.


alright, I think it's the same story...move on


At least one Dominican news outlet reported that Castro and Texas Rangers outfielder Engel Beltre were both being “invited” to answer questions by the police, but Kinzer said that’s not true.

Castro released a statement through his instagram account saying he’s not in trouble and advising followers not to believe the Dominican reports.

Seems to be referencing the other article..


Nice timing. Castro shooting incident being investigated again. He was with another ball player at the concert and "one of the ball players" shown on video carrying a gun. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2014/...


"Ratcheted up" probably means the Cubs dropped their insistence that Ed Jackson be exiled to the desert - if so, damn it!

Muskat and Gordo Wittemyer tweeting that the Montero deal is done, pending a physical

Just on mlb network two sources now tweeting it's Cubs or BoSox with Cubs leading stating "lester likes theo"

one of those sources seems to be Jim Bowden...

Giants writer Henry Schulman ‏@hankschulman 20m20 minutes ago Apparently Sox made impact with groveling apology from owner (I suspect), and Lester has fondness for Theo (Cubs). #SFGiants

this essentially is why they wanted a new catcher

 @TheCubsWord Via Baseball Prospectus, last year Montero produced 138.9 extra strikes in advanced catcher framing metrics. Castillo -77.4 extra strikes.

missed this last night, but Rosenthal said all offers in the 6/150 range..said one team willing to go 7/175 but Lester wasn't keen on going there.



not enough salt in the world, but alas


According to multiple league sources, there is a growing sense among those in the industry that Lester is leaning towards signing with the Chicago Cubs. Sources have indicated to Over the Monster that the Cubs are making a hard push to sign Lester and the two sides are deeply entrenched in conversation. A final decision will likely come on Tuesday or Wednesday from Lester's camp.

So now Lester is a Cub, who is the "big bat" that Theo will bring in?

So now Lester is a Cub,

I think a step was missed there.

I'm CALLING IT. DONE DEAL. OPENING DAY PITCHER Moving on to more interesting trades and acquisitions now

I know that Lester (or Scherzer, or Shields) would be the seniority pick for opening day, but Arrieta is still my pick on stuff (which was all-world last season) and expected performance. Hashtag non-issue.

well the only "big" bats on the FA market are Melky, Morse and Chase Headley...I guess Melky or Chase could make some sense.

Valbuena, Welington, prospects to offer in a trade...no idea whom or what position they would target. LF/3B/CF would be the obvious ones I suppose, Bryant can move to outfield if they find a "big" bat 3b. Not a lot of big bat CF's to be had, would mean Alcantara is in the minors or on the bench and that's kind of a waste for him. Maybe he's the trade bait or maybe he moves back to 2b and Baez is the trade bait...a lot of options at least.

I wouldn't mind Morse on a short deal to play LF.

it's nice having an off-season where you feel like they have a chance in spring training (or before). it's been a while...this is what they told us to wait for and they delivered. i'm ready to start caring again.

who would actually play LF though? He's pretty poor out there and not getting better. Pretty sure the "big bat" would be a lefty too.

Completely agree on both accounts. Also major kudos on the Montero front, you've been preaching that acquisition for months!

A platoony situation with Cogswell Cogs.

Of course. Swelington is on the block.

I kind of liked the Montero/Castillo platoon idea.  I think Castillo is a good bounce back candidate from last year.  And he's cheap.  That being said, if they can get something for him that would be useful I am all for it.  Something besides two low minors pitchers to replace the two we just gave up would be nice.  Perhaps a package deal with one of the many extra starters they have or something.

John Baker (208), Eli Whiteside (26), and Rafael Lopez (14) collected a total of 248 PAs last year. Keeping Castillo around to see if he rebounds, to mash lefties, and to be a more than adequate backup seems like a good idea. Trading him now really feels like a sell-low situation.

Hard to believe every other organization doesn't know he's poor at pitch framing as well with a lot of K's and gets hurt a lot, so I doubt he'd be the center piece of any trade.

But maybe a deal from depth with Valbuena or middle infielders...we shall see.

Saltalamacchia sure could use a platoon-mate in Florida.

I do like Rafael Lopez as third in line for at-bats.

Mlb network saying Reds open to trading Aroldis Chapman. ~strokes chin~

Do not want (at expected price tag). Mixed feelings about him leaving the division, if that were the scenario. Obviously it'd be better for Cubs hitters to not have to face him--but then I don't get to see one of the most interesting pitchers in baseball on a regular basis.

Reds seem open for business, but I imagine Chapman, Latos and Bruce are only going for huge returns.

Chapman seems like a guy you wait for the trade deadline to move. Teams are gonna start believing that bullpens win playoff games and you'll get multiple offers.

RSox pulling out all the stops...

 @JosephKellyJr I double dog dare ya @JLester31 to come back to @RedSox #Iwillbeyourbestie

Ryne Sandberg being very chatty about trading Cole Hamels. Says Phillies would need to be wowed and need multiple pieces that could begin helping this year.

Could the Cubs throw in Ryno getting to punch Dave Martinez in the face once per series to sweeten the deal?

typical joe maddon interview on MLB network...a lot of talk about him, his hobbies, and old stories with very little said about the team. the cubs should try to get zorbist...he liked talking about him.

Brian Roberts un-retiring? Probable joining the Cubs before Lester decision is completed. Lester still deciding which contract to take after Cubs don't win WS for 2nd century.

"Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Jon Lester's agents are not at the stage to present their client with final offers from teams." duuuuuuude...

You don't want to jostle him out of the amniotic fluid until you're positive it's time.

IV Pitocin?

castro/bryant/rizzo/soler/montero 2-6 (not necessarily in that order) coming soon to a lineup near you for a good number of years...and there's still the issue of where baez crams into the lineup. get a friend for arrieta (and hope arrieta doesn't regress) and things are looking interesting quite quickly going forward.

And you're not taking into account that @Maddonini will automatically add 8 WAR to every ballplayer's, well, WAR.

...also need to add in Mendy's 20HRs somewhere. Fun stuff.

Sounds like Boston is getting one final chance. Maybe if the Cubs just promise to start Bryant in April Boras will let them sign Scherzer for less than the final price of Lester

My favorite tweet of the day was from some guy calling Lester a dick for taking so long to decide. I love the Twitverse.

SF sounds effectively out of the lester bidding race based on what MLB network just blurbed...tweets n stuff...not officially out of it.

some decent fangraphs analysis on Montero vs Welington


The Twitverse is saying WGN is saying Lester is coming to Chicago. Anybody confirm? EDIT: Probably a never mind, they're retweeting a nobody named @incarceratedbob:

That's what I get for keeping an eye on twitter.

"ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Jon Lester's decision is "nearing the finish line." Olney adds that Lester "soon will have final options to choose from" and it's "reasonable" to think a decision will come Tuesday night."

It's also reasonable to assume @incarceratedbob has tattoos on his ass.

It IS beginning to look like the Cubs are it, though. Well, it's always fun getting a big time free agent. Year 4 of the contract should be interesting. Maybe bring Jamie Moyer in as Aging Coach? I'm basing that more on the David Ross thing than on Twitverse, which is agog in Twitverseness.

a lot of the most recent chatter about lester, including from theo, seems to indicate that all the sales pitches are done and it's in lester's lap to decide.

@CSNMooney Theo: "We'll always listen, just because it would be crazy not to listen. But we really like the way (Montero and Castillo) fit together."

@GDubCub ML exec with ties to at least one team in bidding believes Lester leaning toward Giants.

Gordo just trolling Cubs fans now.

Gordo turning into George Way Offffman.

“@enosarris: Bobby Evans: "we did not receive a rose" and Giants eliminated from race for Lester.”

ata boy Gordo

Joel Sherman: Lester called sfgiants directly to tell them they r out of running. It is cubs v Redsox for Lester.

supposedly the rsox brass are meeting with lester's representation tonight. if they shut down SF via phone, i wonder where this meeting could be going.

hopefully to remind them of the lowball deal they offered in ST and then fire both barrels(double bird) at them as he sings "Go Cubs Go"

Hahahahahaha oh yeah.

Gordon Wittenmeyer gets the Capt. Wrongway Peachfuzz award https://twitter.com/GDubCub/status/5424917925...

i wonder how much lester will actually fetch...i'm guessing 7 @22-23m a year at this point.

Looks like BoSox are working on plan b Gammons tweet Always thought Scherzer would go back to Detroit, but one Tiger official says "not happening," but might do Porcello for Cespedes & DeLarosa

Red Sox need more than 1 pitcher. Porcello's mid-rotation guy realistically.

There's some interesting depth on the Cubs infield right now: C Montero/Castillo/Lopez 1B Rizzo/Olt 2B Baez/La Stella/Valbuena/Alcantara SS Castro/Baez/Alcantara/Valbuena 3B Bryant/Valbuena/Olt/La Stella And with Ruggiano and Sweeney floating around, the OF has some flexibility too. I know it's not a given that all of those guys are still here come April, but it seems like the only position where an injury could really demolish the Cubs season is 1B. And of course this also gives the front office a lot of room to wheel and deal, as others have noted. Also, there will be no PAs given to Darwin Barney, John Baker, or Nate Schierholtz, and probably very few if any going to Junior Lake. Wow.

Lester meeting with Cubs and Red Sox tonight

as only Desipio can do: Gordo reports source tells him Lester is Dodger bound. (after Dylan Hernandez tweets: Dodgers not in on Lester)

Boston media picking up bad vibes Dan Roche ‏@RochieWBZ 5m5 minutes ago Cherington told us Sox players been talking to/probably still talking to Lester to sign. One player told me "he gave everything he had" #wbz Details Dan Roche ‏@RochieWBZ 9m9 minutes ago FWIW - asked a high ranking #redsox official if they were out on Lester? Got a simple "no comment" - #wbz

Apparently Lester is just waiting for Dave Grohl to call him back ... Evidently everything has to go through Grohl.


As a country, we are just really lucky to have Dave Grohl for all the really difficult questions.

Going to bed looking forward to happy news in the am.

"Andy Martino of the New York Daily News was told by major league sources that the Cubs are in "strong position" to land Jon Lester. Martino cautions that the Cubs haven't been told they're getting Lester yet and the Red Sox have "remained in the mix."" ...it's 8:21 on the west coast

Lester is in Atlanta though.

wednesday it is, then.

Why did Lester get to go first, ahead of Scherzer? Strange.

the market for scherzer is going to be extremely limited. he's looking 28+ million a year, easy. having lester set a bottom floor that's on the high end (probably 22-23m) might be the difference maker between him getting 28-30m a year rather than 26-28m a year.

Makes sense -- thanks.

Boras likes to wait it out and "set the market", probably wanted to see what Lester would go for first. But Lester's lack of draft pick comp probably makes him a little more desirable to most teams if you think the talent is close. Scherzer is the better pitcher and a little younger, but with high rate of arm injuries, is he that much better? Not really...

Plus by all accounts Lester is the clubhouse presence most teams want, haven't heard that about Scherzer.

everything out west seems to have slowed down to a crawl tonight...maybe something will get done tonight, but it's looking a lot like things are going to be picking up tomorrow morning.

Loxas rumoring that Cubs doing some talking with Rockies...maybe Carlos Gonzalez?

road numbers of course much weaker and injury history, but 29 and decent contract. Maybe that big bat that was talked about. Decent enough on-base skills, left-handed, power...no idea on return of course. Have to be pretty decent, although doesn't have to be great. Vogelbach sure would like it there. Maybe Vogelbach and Alcantara (as much as I'd hate to lose Alcantara)?

Don't forget that besides the Coors influence, the road number influence is Petco, Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park, so goes a bit both ways. Think he'd be solidly over an .800 OPS with 20/20 potential (depending on  the knee injury recovers of course).

Recent comments

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Lame. He was intriguing 


  • crunch 6 hours 25 min ago (view)

    cubs release matt dermody...he's heading to japan.


  • Cubster 12 hours 50 min ago (view)

    The Jared Porter story gets worse and does involve the Cubs...

    "The Jared Porter situation is equally a Cubs and a Mets problem. The Mets need a new GM. The Cubs need to reevaluate themselves as an organization.


  • Cubster 15 hours 39 min ago (view)

    and they are including amusement tax, healthcare costs (Doc Adams doesn't come cheap!), social security and political donations to the City and the Governor of Nebraska. 


  • bradsbeard 16 hours 4 min ago (view)

    It all depends what you count as "payroll." If you include the $11M in Lester and Descalso's buyouts plus the $3M sent in the Darvish trade you get to somewhere like $145M. If you include the $15M in estimated share of player benefits, you get to $160M. I think that last year, including player benefits, they were slated to be up around $205M for MLB payroll before the pandemic. 


  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    not sure, but i think it's around 130-135m right now even with bryant/baez/contreras still on board...including the 3m to set darvish free and other random $$ expenses on the roster.

    tack on another 3-4m for happ when that gets settled....plus other odds/ends that have a chance to make the roster (s.miller, a.morgan, j.holder, etc) and other pre-arbitration guys...

    cubs still need someone to back up contreras (if he sticks around, which i wouldn't be surprised to see him stick around)...not sure if taylor gushue is gonna be that guy and m.amaya is too young.


  • George Altman 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Seriously, what's the 2021 payroll number? Currently at approximately $165M and after they trade Bryant, Baez, & Contreras  - $130M. Is that it, $135-140M.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Q to the angels...supposedly 1/8m


  • crunch 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    pete ricketts (the governor of Nebraska ricketts) is a key part of an anti-gambling Nebraska group called "Gambling With The Good Life" that actively lobbied their open legislature...including a speech by pete...to keep gambling illegal in Nebraska.

    he last spoke for the group to the state government in-session 3 months ago.

    ...it's also worth mentioning all of this is separate from the Draft Kings/Wrigley Field deal that flew under the radar toward the end of the season that will put a sportsbook directly in wrigley field, itself.


  • Charlie 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Of all the things, why does this most make me want to punch


  • Cubster 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    I thought the Cubs had lost a rising star in Porter, seems the just got lucky with him leaving the organization. 


  • crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    jared porter...damn dude...mets gm, ex cubs director of scouting...


  • crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    cubs freeing up that chatwood + lester loot sure did help...wait...sigh.


  • Cubster 2 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Plus Chatwood signing w Bluejays is done.


  • crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    ...and done.  1 year deal with a mutual option.


  • Cubster 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Dolorous in discussions with the Washington Schwarbs.