Chicago Cubs News

Hot Stove Update

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The Hot Stove for the Chicago Cubs has cooled down considerably since they traded pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals for 3 prospects. If the Cubs were to make another trade, it would essentially have to be a “dollar for dollar” trade as their payroll is reaching it’s ceiling. With the expected multi-year deal (likely in the range of $6MM-$8MM a year) for Carlos Marmol, the Cubs payroll will be an estimated $130MM. But, the Cubs are still hoping to add a backup middle infielder before the season starts, and Bruce Levine provides us with more information on that search as well as the latest news involving the Cubs in his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago.

  • As I have been saying for the past few weeks now, Levine says the Cubs are not trading Fukudome unless they are willing to eat $7 million of the $13.5 million he is owed in his final season of his contract. The Cubs have desperately tried to trade Fukudome this season, and they have not found any takers. The most likely scenario, is that the Cubs hold onto Fukudome for the start of the season, and hope by the trade deadline that Fukudome has enough value for a market to develop for him.
  • Levine believes the Cubs will try and give three year deals to closer Carlos Marmol, and starting pitcher Matt Garza. This makes sense for the Cubs as it would take them past the arbitration years for both pitchers. Especially for Marmol, as the Cubs would essentially be saving money as the deal would take Marmol past his first year of free agency.
  • With Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols heading towards free agency in 2012, Levine thinks the Cubs will first evaluate the players in their system before deciding whether or not to make a run at either one of them. I take this to mean that the Cubs may be hoping that Josh Vitters is their solution at first base for the long term. Because the Cubs really do not have any organizational depth at the first base position. But, they moved Vitters to first base earlier this off-season to gauge his skill set at the position.
  • Despite popular belief labeling the Reds as the favorite for the National League Central, Levine thinks it will be three horse race between the Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers for the division title. I am on the fence about the Reds, I just do not know if they will be as fortunate as they were this past season. But, I will say that I think the three teams that Levine mentioned do have stronger pitching staffs than the Reds.
  • Bruce Levine is essentially alluding to the fact that the Cubs have a serious interest in Orlando Cabrera, and are hoping to sign the veteran infielder. The Cubs do need a backup at second base, shortstop, and third base and Cabrera would fit the bill. If not Cabrera, Levine notes the Cubs would turn their attention to Cristian Guzman. I kind of feel somewhat achieved, considering I mentioned last week that Guzman may be an option for the Cubs. But either way, if the Cubs were to acquire Guzman or Cabrera I would say there is a legitimate chance one of them could be the starting second baseman.

To get everyone’s hopes up, spring training is only 19 days away for the Chicago Cubs.

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