Third basemen continue to go off the board at the winter meetings while the Cubs keep looking.
The White Sox reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with Jeff Keppinger on Wednesday while the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Eric Chavez to a one-year contract.
The Cubs currently have journeyman Luis Valbuena in the fold. They continue to talk with Ian Stewart, whose 2012 season ended with a wrist injury in June. Prospect Josh Vitters is likely to open the 2013 season at Class AAA Iowa after batting .121 in 36 games with the Cubs this past season.
"We feel we have a good relationship with him," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters regarding Stewart. "He went through a tough time with his wrist. We have no issues with how he handled himself."
As far as the third-base market as a whole, Hoyer told reporters: "It's a supercharged market in a lot of different areas. We're still on the lookout. We have a number of irons in the fire as far as third base. We're confident we'll land someone we feel good about. It certainly is a position of scarcity."
The Cubs are close to a deal with veteran left-handed-hitting outfielder Nate Schierholtz, a source said Wednesday. The Cubs could not confirm reports.
Schiertholtz, 28, played for the Giants and Phillies this year, with a line of .257/.321/.407 with 6 homers. He played for the Giants in the 2010 World Series.
One of the highlights of every winter meetings is watching superagent Scott Boras hold court with reporters.
Boras brought the Cubs into his talk this year.
"We've seen franchise values go from $700 million to $800 million for premium markets to where they're now worth $2.5 to maybe $4 billion," Boras was quoted by mlb.com. "Owners have made in franchise valuation, $2 to $2.5 billion. We've also seen a record revenue stream come to baseball from two media sources, in the fact that we've got a new TV contract where each club is going to get $25 million more per team per year. And almost any club in baseball, before they sell a ticket, off the general fund, revenue sharing and others, even the bottom teams, they're going to have well over $110 to $120 million to spend. Add on their ticket, concessions and other values.
"It's really kind of a baseline where everybody's at $180 million and above to begin. You also have the value of regional media rights, which we've seen in L.A. and we're going to see in other markets like Chicago.
"If you look at certain owners, you have to say the Ricketts family (Cubs owners), for example, they're the Ameritrade family. Well, I see why. They bought something for $800 million that's now worth probably $2.5 billion and they have a new TV contract to negotiate in 2014 off the basis of what's going on in Los Angeles with a $6 billion TV rights deal."