The GM meetings have concluded and, generally speaking, what these things usually end up accomplishing is mainly setting the table for both free agent signings and trades in the coming month. They also begin conversations that can then be picked up at the Winter Meetings in December.
The Cubs, of course, were attached to just about every name out there. Coming away from the meetings, the increasingly-clearer picture has the Cubs heavily in on both Jon Lester and Russell Martin, as well as bullpen help.
With significant chatter that the Yankees and Dodgers may not be in the market for a big-time signing this winter, it opens the door somewhat for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to make their move.
However, the big-market Boston Red Sox have resurfaced as a major player to re-acquire Lester. Patrick Mooney indicates that Boston may have mis-read the market, and in the process low-balled Lester in trying to re-up him this past summer.
Epstein also reiterated to Jesse Rogers that the Cubs are not interested at all in parting with top prospects for arms at this time.
“We can fit all of our impact position player prospects on the field at the same time,” Epstein said Wednesday. “That’s probably what we’ll end up doing. We’re not rushing out to move those guys for pitching even though we admit we would like to acquire impact pitching. We’re not going to close the doors on anything, but we’re certainly not in a rush to trade away our position players.”
I believe Epstein, and I also believe the aforementioned Mooney, who has been reporting the same all along. Yet, it was easy to get sucked in to the Jordan Zimmermann talk. Zimmermann was someone that the Cubs have supposedly had their eyes on for the 2015 offseason.
My initial thoughts when I read Gordon Wittenmeyer’s report was maybe the Cubs were going to back off their stance a bit for a special situation. Maybe they were misdirecting all along to make a stealth move like this. It made sense that Zimmermann could be had a year earlier for a deal centered around Starlin Castro, who many still see as a future ex-Cub, as Rogers reports.
There’s some consensus at the meetings among people in baseball that Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro will indeed be traded this offseason. As much as the Cubs have shown no real momentum for this, it still persists as not quite a rumor, but a belief. One longtime executive went as far as to say, “Castro has taken his last at-bat as a Cub.”
More on that Zimmermann situation: for those who don’t know, misinformation often gets put out there by another club with purposeful intentions. From what I understand now, Wittenmeyer may have just written the information he received a little too hard.
Wittenmyer may be a little heavy-handed in his opinions for most, but he is an excellent reporter with terrific league sources. It’s possible Washington was leaking the Cubs interest as motivation, either to send a message to Zimmermann regarding his recently-stalled contract talks or to motivate other clubs to bid on Zimmermann by claiming the Cubs were willing to deal top prospects for him.
While Twitter was buzzing over the possible Zimmermann deal, I also was initially told the Cubs were willing to talk one of their young shortstops. It appears that those talks never progressed that far. However, I do still believe there were some discussions, though just preliminary as David Kaplan reported.
When people want information fast and furious like they did the other night, things tend to get rushed out there. Yet, I’ve learned now that you can live by a source and you die by the same source. Just before the deal was “shot down,” it became apparent it wasn’t checking out.
Quite possible this Zimmerman news is leverage in possible Lester deal.
— TomLoxas (@TomLoxas) November 12, 2014
“I’m not going to talk much about it,” Epstein told Mooney, “but that one kind of took on a life of its own in the media.”
Cubs hot stove rumors are always alive and well, especially now that the Cubs are finished playing dead.