Winter Meetings Facepalm ***UPDATED***

Obstructed View Daily FacepalmThe Winter Meetings are underway and even though the Cubs won't be that active, I wanted to keep up with what's going on with them.

Kyuji Fujikawa

It still appears as though the Cubs have signed Fujikawa to a 2-year deal worth $9.5 million plus an option. However, the Cubs have not yet confirmed this.

Early arriving scouts at the Gaylord Opryland Resort on Sunday for the Winter Meetings were as curious as Cubs fans: Did the team sign Japanese free agent pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa or not?

The Cubs continue to keep quiet about Fujikawa, whom they have reportedly inked to a two-year, $9.5 million contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network reported the deal on Saturday, saying Fujikawa would receive a signing bonus of $1 million and $4 million in salaries in 2013 and '14. There also was a vesting option valued at $5.5 million or $6 million, to be determined by games finished.

Cubs officials would neither confirm nor comment on the report. – Carrie Muskat

My guess is that the contract is official depending on a physical, but I was under the impression he was still in the US so that shouldn't take all that long. I haven't heard any reports that deny the Cubs signed him so I think we can be about 95% certain they did.

3rd Base

Muskat also mentioned the Cubs will be looking for a 3rd baseman after they non-tendered Ian Stewart. Josh Vitters provided no reason whatsoever to think he's capable of playing that position every day and Luis Valbuena will at the very least need a platoon partner. I still like the idea of signing Kevin Youkilis, but the Cubs have been in contact with Jeff Keppinger.

Peter Gammons Q&A

Tim Dierkes of MLBTR did an interview with Peter Gammons and I really enjoyed it. This part blew my mind:

Is there any reason the Dodgers can't jump up to a $300MM payroll in a couple of years?

I think it's a distinct possibility. I could see them at least going $220MM. Some of the people in the organization have said that the goal is to have an All-Star at every position. George Steinbrenner had that same goal once in the 80s. It'll be fascinating to see. They clearly understand baseball is entertainment. The competition with the Angels for the market and the Giants for the division is absolutely fascinating. It's such a high-stakes poker game, it's going to be really fun to watch.

Gammons also talks about the shift from the AL East to the West (both divisions).

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso Soriano will be shopped as the Cubs have done for at least a full year now. They had worked out a trade with the Giants at the deadline, but he extercised his no-trade rights. The Cubs will have to kick in some money to find a team and probably won't get much in return. Bill James projects a league average .325 wOBA for Soriano next year. He's due to make $36 million over the final two years of his contract and the Cubs have already found one team interested so my guess is that Soriano will be traded this winter.


* Justin Upton is still on the block and the Cubs have been connected to him at least twice so far, but that doesn't appear to be the case right now. I'd love to acquire Justin Upton if he's really available. He's the perfect age the Cubs are looking for and he'd instantly be the best player on the team.

* The Brewers and Ryan Dempster are talking. The Brewers reportedly want a 2-year deal while Dempster is seeking more than that.