Tag:Cubs
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 6:41 pm
 

Best free agents left after winter meetings



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The winter meetings are over and some of the biggest names on the free-agent market are off the table, but that doesn't mean the hot stove has died out. So, the day after Albert Pujols and the Angels shocked the baseball world, here's a look at the top five position players and pitchers left on the market:

Postition players

Prince Fielder1. Prince Fielder -- The 27-year-old Fielder is the biggest fish left on the market, averaging more than 38 home runs in his six full seasons in the big leagues and posting a .929 career OPS. Whoever lands Fielder will get a shot to the lineup. The knock is Fielder's weight and the length of a contract.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Marlins

Carlos Beltran2. Carlos Beltran -- Beltran's been a bit of a forgotten name in all the winter meetings talk. Beltran will be 35 in April and just finished a seven-year deal with the Mets. After being limited by injuries in his last two seasons, Beltran had a bounce-back year, hitting .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers and 84 RBI and doing that in two home ballparks not known to be friendly to hitters, Citi Field and AT&T Park. He can still play center field, but is probably better suited on a corner.

Possible landing spots: Cardinals, Nationals, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves, Mariners, Cubs

Aramis Ramirez3. Aramis Ramirez -- Even though he has 14 years in the big leagues under his belt, Ramirez is just 33 and coming off a .306/.361/.510 season with 26 homers and 93 RBI. A two-time All-Star, he's by far the best third baseman on the market -- and it's not even close.

Possible landing spots: Brewers, Phillies, Marlins

Michael Cuddyer4. Michael Cuddyer -- Cuddyer will be 33 in March and can play both the corner outfield and infield spots, offering teams a versatile player. He hit .284/.346/.459 with 20 homers last season and hit 32 homers in 2009 before the Twins moved to spacious Target Field. The Twins have reportedly already offered him a three-year deal, as have the Rockies.

Possible landing spots: Rockies, Twins, Phillies, Giants, Red Sox

Jimmy Rollins5. Jimmy Rollins -- It seems odd to consider the 2007 MVP in anything but a Phillies uniform, but Pujols is now in California, so anything's possible. Rollins' offensive numbers have dropped off since his MVP season, but he still plays a premium position -- and one a couple of teams need to fill. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Rollins turned 33 last month. If he re-signs with the Phillies, it could be his last contract. Rollins is reportedly searching for a five-year contract, a tactic that may scare away every team other than the Phillies.

Possible landing spots: Phillies, Cardinals

Pitchers

Yu Darvish1. Yu Darvish -- The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander will reportedly be posted and has been seen as perhaps the best starter available. There's no shortage of teams that could be interested in Darvish, but the history of recent big-ticket Japanese pitchers could scare off some suitors and keep the posting fee lower than expected. Once his team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighers, accept the posting, the winning team still has to negotiate with Darvish. The posting system, though, gives a chance for a surprise team to emerge the winner.

Possible landing spots: Rangers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Royals

Hiroki Kuroda2. Hiroki Kuroda -- There's no question of how Kuroda will perform in the big leagues -- he's gone 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers. Kuroda had a 13-16 record in 2011, despite putting up just a 3.07 ERA. He told the team he wouldn't give up his no-trade protection at the trade deadline, but the Dodgers have already found replacements for him in the rotation. He has one offer on the table already from the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but would make more money in the U.S.

Possible landing spots: Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, Carp

Edwin Jackson3. Edwin Jackson -- The fact that Jackson has already played for six different teams and he's just 28 may raise some flags, but he's also had six teams want him at some point and for good reason. Although Jackson has battled inconsistency, he's still had results at times. He was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the Cardinals and White Sox last season. He's not a No. 1, but he's younger than some of the other second-tier starters on the market, increasing his value.

Possible landing spots: Twins, Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Orioles

Ryan Madson4. Ryan Madson -- Even though there were reports the right-hander had agreed to return to the Phillies earlier this offseason, the team turned to Jonathan Papelbon instead. The Red Sox, who along with the Reds, are still searching for a closer could end up signing Madson and seem the best fit. In his firs tseason as the Phillies' closer, Madson recorded 32 saves, going 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 62 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Phillies

Francisco Cordero5. Francisco Cordero -- Like Madson, Cordero seems to be on the outside of the closer game of musical chairs. The Red Sox and Reds are the only team left looking for a closer. The Reds were interested in bringing back Cordero with a discount after declining their $12 million option on the 36-year-old right-hander. Cordero converted 37 saves last season and 150 in four years in Cincinnati.

Possible landing spots: Red Sox, Reds, Twins

Follow all the free agent moves with the CBSSports.com Free Agent Tracker 

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:46 pm
 

12 players taken in Rule 5 Draft

By C. Trent Rosecrans
MLB Winter Meetings

You may have missed it -- and for good reasons -- but 12 players were taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, in what usually signals the end of the winter meetings. It was the fewest number of players taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft since 2005

The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to take eligible players left unprotected on other teams' 40-man roster for $50,000. A player has to stay on a team's active Major League roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. Teams can also work out a trade with their old team to keep the player and send him to the minors. There have been some huge names selected in the Rule 5 Draft, including Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and Dan Uggla, but more often than not, players don't even make it out of spring training. Chances are one or two of the 12 selected on Thursday will make it on an opening day roster, but it's unlikely any of them will stick, based on previous numbers.

But hey, it happened today and some teams got some guys -- while the Angels added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. So, who are the 12? Here we go, listed by their new team and their old team in parentheses:

Astros: RHP Rhiner Cruz (Mets) -- A reliever, Cruz when 5-3 with seven saves and a 3.89 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Twins: RHP Terry Doyle (White Sox) -- Doyle went 8-10 at High-A and Double-A with a 3.07 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 122 and walking 33 in 173 innings.

Mariners: LHP Lucas Luetge (Brewers) -- In his second year in Double-A, he struck out exactly a batter an inning and finsihed with a 3.13 ERA.

Orioles: 2B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) -- A former first-rounder, the left-handed hitter hit .305/.384/.523 with 14 homers at Double-A, but then struggled at Triple-A, hitting .237/.277/.399 with five home runs.

Yankees: LHP Cesar Cabral (Red Sox) -- Actually picked by the Royals, but traded to the Yankees for cash, Cabral struck out 70 batters in 55 innings, walking 21. He was 3-4 overall in 36 games in relief with a 2.95 ERA at High-A and Double-A.

Cubs: RHP Lendy Castillo (Phillies) -- A former infielder, Castillo started two of his 21 games at Low-A Lakewood in 2011, going 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA, striking out 46 batters in as many innings.

Pirates: SS Gustavo Nunez (Tigers) -- The switch-hitter hit a combined .276/.333/.386 at High-A and Double-A, but struggled at the higher level.

Braves: LHP Robert Fish (Angels) -- Fish throws 95 mph and struck out 44 batters in 33 1/3 innings in Rookie ball and Double-A. Most of his time was spent at Double-A where he was 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA and two saves.

Cardinals: OF Erik Komatsu (Nationals) -- The Nationals acquired the speedy outfielder in the middle of 2011. He hit a combined .277/.367/.382 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases between two different Double-A teams. 

Red Sox: SS Marwin Gonzalez (Cubs) -- The switch-hitter hit .288/.343/.400 with 30 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A. 

Diamondbacks: RHP Brett Lorin (Pirates) -- The 24-year-old stands 6-foot-7 and went 7-6 with a 2.84 ERA at High-A Bradenton, striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings.

Yankees: RHP Brad Meyers (Nationals) --  The starter pitched at three different levels in 2011, the majority coming at Triple-A, where he was 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA and struck out 74 in 95 2/3 innings.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:52 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Cubs, Rangers talking Matt Garza trade

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza is being discussed in a possible trade with the Texas Rangers, sources have told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Garza has been rumored to be on the trading block throughout the offseason, though at other times he's been rumored to be part of the Cubs' future plans. Basically, new Cubs' braintrust (Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer et al) seem to be keeping everything very close to the vest.

The Rangers' interest is obvious. Though still in the running for free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Marlins and Angels appear to be the obvious favorites. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told reporters Wednesday that he wouldn't be surprised to lose Wilson.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

While Neftali Feliz is moving to the rotation, the Rangers still only have four definite starters in Feliz, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. They can use either Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando, but acquiring Garza would allow them to keep the bullpen very strong in front of new closer Joe Nathan and setup man Mike Adams.

Garza, 28, was 10-10 (with awful run support and defense behind him) with a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings for the Cubs last season.

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- In a moment that has to be described as bittersweet to the Santo family and Cubs fans alike, former third baseman Ron Santo has been elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He received 15 of 16 possible votes from the Golden Era Committee, comprised of Hall of Famers, executives and media members.

The announcement was made Monday morning at the MLB Winter Meetings.

Santo died at the age of 70 just over a year ago, which is what makes the moment bittersweet. Many felt Santo should have been a Hall of Famer years ago, and now he's been elected after his death.

In a 15-season career, Santo hit .277/.362/.464 with 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, 1,138 runs and 365 doubles. He won five Gold Gloves, finished in the top 10 of MVP voting four times and was a nine-time All-Star.

The last time Santo was on the BBWAA ballot, he received just 43.1 percent of the vote. He needed 75 percent to be elected. He was then left out by failing to gain enough votes from the Veteran's Committee the following several years. This time around, the Golden Era Committee came through for Santo.

Members of the Golden Era Committee: Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton, Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael, Al Rosen, Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell Dave Van Dyck and Santo's former teammate, Billy Williams.

Santo was the only player on the ballot to be elected by the committee. The other players on the ballot were Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant. Executives Charlie Finley and Buzzie Bavasi were also on the ballot.

A candidate needed 12 of 16 votes to make the Hall of Fame. Kaat received 10 votes. Minoso and Hodges got nine, while Oliva received eight.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement:

“This is a great day for baseball and for Cubs fans everywhere. I am thrilled that the memory of my dear friend Ron Santo will be preserved forever in the halls of Cooperstown. As a star player and a beloved broadcaster, Ron was a staple of the Cubs’ experience every single day for decades, representing all the goodwill of both the franchise and the game he loved.

“I always admired Ron’s courage and loyalty, and I miss him very much. Today, I am so proud to know that his contributions to baseball will receive the highest honor. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Ron’s wife Vicki, their four children and their grandchildren.”

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:23 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 12:25 am
 

Marlins, Cubs to make runs at Albert Pujols

Albert PujolsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Marlins' signing of Jose Reyes was hardly a shock -- it appeared from the start they'd offer him the largest contract, they did and now he'll be modeling the new Miami uniforms. But the Marlins may not be done, as ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports the team is expected to make "an aggressive run at (Albert) Pujols."

Pujols has already visited Miami, but the offer he received was reportedly less than the nine-year, $198-million offer the Cardinals offered Pujols last winter. However, the Marlins increased their initial offer to Reyes and could do the same for Pujols.

Hot Stove Season

According to Stark, the way the Marlins' $106 million deal is structured, the team could still afford to add Pujols or another top free agent. The Marlins are scheduled to meet with Pujols' agent Dan Lozano on Monday or Tuesday. The Cardinals are scheduled to meet with Lozano on Monday in Dallas.

Another team that could have an interest in Pujols is the Cubs, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler tweeted. Other teams seem to believe the Cubs are interested in signing the first baseman, but would dangle a shorter contract with a higher average salary than what the Cardinals are offering.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 9:39 pm
 

Saturday rumors: Kuroda, A's and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Saturday's the last day at home for a couple of days for most in baseball, as the winter meetings kick off Monday in Dallas -- and that goes for reporters, as well. That meant a rather light day in rumors, but expect things to pick up on Sunday and then go fast and furious on Monday. Last year news of Jayson Werth's deal with the Nationals came on the day before the start of the meetings, so that goes to show things don't just go down in the hotel lobby.

Hiroki KurodaThe news of Chris Capuano's signing with the Dodgers seemed to signal the end of Hiroki Kuroda's time in Los Angeles, and maybe even his time in the United States. However, the Rockies are pursuing Kuroda (Denver Post). Kuroda's also been mentioned as a possibility for the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Angels, Rangers and others. Kuroda blocked deals to the Tigers and Red Sox last season. WEEI.com reports Kuroda is open to pitching in Boston. His former team in Japan, the Hiroshima Carp, have also offered him a contract.

The A's could be popular in Dallas, as the team has pitching for sale. "I wouldn't rule anybody out," assistant GM David Forst told the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's are looking for an outfielder in return. Closer Andrew Bailey is among the most popular trade targets on the team, already drawing attention from the Rangers, Blue Jays, Reds, Padres, Mets and Mariners. (Chicago Tribune)

Someone put in a bid for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Seibu Lions are expected to accept the bid, regardless of the amount. (Kyodo News)

Matt Garza's agent told the Cubs' right-hander to prepare for "an active winter meetings." Garza told him he'd be in Italy. Garza was dealt from the Rays to the Cubs last offseason and is under team control through 2013. The Cubs have let it be known that they're open to trading just about anyone. (MLB.com)

The Rockies are interested in Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka. The left-handed hitter played in just 49 games this past season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters because of an ankle injury, but is said to be healthy now. (FoxSports.com)

The Red Sox will meet with Bob Garber, the agent for C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, during the winter meetings. (Boston Herald)

Not many have thought that Rays general manager Andrew Friedman would consider taking the Astros' GM job, but free agent outfielder Johnny Damon seems to think it's a possibility. "He's not going to sign me and then leave," Damon told the Boston Globe of Friedman. "If he goes to Houston, his hometown, he's going to try and bring me along with him. That's where my waiting game is." Damon also said he told David Ortiz to play in New York and take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

Casey Blake is drawing interest from nine teams, including the Indians. He can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The White Sox are looking to trade for a starter and an outfielder and are dangling John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin and Matt Thornton. Among the teams that could be a match are the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Reds and Braves. (Chicago Tribune)

Tim WakefieldKnuckleballer Tim Wakefield said he has a "strong desire" to pitch for the Red Sox next season. The 45-year-old needs seven wins to surpass Roger Clemens and Cy Young as the franchise's all-time leader. (Boston Herald)

The Reds held their annual RedsFest in Cincinnati this weekend, so there's plenty of news from the banks of the Ohio thanks to the media availability of GM Walt Jocketty, manager Dusty Baker and most of the team's roster and top prospects. Jocketty said the team is looking for a "top of the rotation" starter and have targeted six different players, but didn't name any of them. Jocketty also said the team had looked at Detroit infielder Ramon Santiago as a backup shortstop, and would ideally like to sign a left-handed hitter or switch hitter to back up Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Enquirer). Baker said the team is looking both internally and externally for a closer, but will not have a closer by committee to replace Francisco Cordero (MLB.com). 

Follow all the moves with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Friday's rumors: Ortiz, Astros GM and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We're getting closer to the winter meetings in Dallas, so talks and rumors will just intensify over the weekend. Expect some deals to get done by this time next week, and by that I mean something bigger than Chris Capuano signing with the Dodgers.

New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will be in the Dominican Republic this weekend to meet with David Ortiz, who said he hasn't decided whether he'd accept arbitration from the Red Sox. Ortiz said there have been several teams reach out to him, but wouldn't name those teams. (Boston Herald)

While a lot of the attention around the Astros general manager job has been about who isn't interviewing, but Colorado's Bill Geivett and St. Louis' Jeff Luhnow have interviewed with the Astros. (MLB.com)

Dave Magadan will return as the Red Sox hitting coach under Valentine.

Meanwhile, Chris Bosio will be the Cubs' pitching coach under manager Dale Sveum. (Appleton Post-Crescent)

The Marlins have a team policy that they won't include no-trade clauses in their contracts and it was reported that the policy could hurt the team in its pursuit of some of the biggest free agents. However, president Larry Beinfest said the policy has never hurt them before. (Palm Beach Post)

Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki said in a press conference that he was becoming a free agent and was interested in playing in the United States, but only for the Mariners. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said he was aware of Kawasaki's statement and would consider signing the former Softbank Hawk. Kawasaki said he'd be willing to accept a minor-league deal. (Seattle Times)

Veteran utility man Mark DeRosa is gaining interest from the Nationals, Rangers, Indians and Pirates. (FoxSports.com)

The agent for Mariano Rivera said the Yankee closer's surgery to remove polyps from his vocal cords "went well, as planned." (New York Daily News)

The Royals announced TV analyst Frank White wouldn't return in 2011. While that's not a big deal on the national scale, White is one of the franchise's best players. A Kansas City native, White is one of just two players to have their number retired by the team. White had served as an analyst the last three years and had resigned as a full-time employee of the Royals in January to concentrate on his TV duties. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweeted that White was fired because the team thought he was too critical, which is a shame. White is one of the all-time great Royals and deserved better.

The Reds will play a game against their minor league all-stars on the Tuesday before opening day. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Cubs sign OF David DeJesus to 2-year deal

David DeJesusBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Theo Epstein era in Chicago is starting with David DeJesus, as the team announced it signed the free-agent outfielder to a two-year deal worth $10 million with a team option for 2014. There is thought, though, this move could be a precursor to a bigger move, perhaps a trade of Alfonso Soriano.

DeJesus, who will be 32 in December, has played all three outfield spots, but is primarily a corner outfielder. He hit .240/.323/.376 with 10 home runs for the Athletics in 2011, but is a .284/.356/.421 career hitter. For now, DeJesus will be penciled in as the team's everyday right fielder.

The left-handed hitting DeJesus will benefit from moving from the spacious park in Oakland to the more hitter-friendly Wrigley Field. Last year was his only year in Oakland after spending the first eight years of his career in Kansas City.

As for a trade, the Cubs would love to get rid of Soriano, but nearly any deal would require them to eat much of Soriano's massive salary -- and it's one that would make Adam Richmond blush. The Cubs still owe Soriano $54 million through 2014. If they are able to get rid of him, that would open up a spot for Tyler Colvin or prospect Brett Jackson.

Keep up to date with free agent moves with the CBSSports.com free agent tracker. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com