Candidates to be Starlin Castro's future DP partner

Tinkers and Evers.  Kessinger and Beckert. Dunston and Sandberg.

Castro and ???

Barring a setback or complete lack of progress, Starlin Castro figures to remain a fixture at SS for the Cubs for the foreseeable future.  He's 21 years old.  He'll be here for a while.  The real question is who will be he his partner at 2B.  Castro has already had 2 different players residing next door.  The first was Ryan Theriot, but he's already gone and the second was Darwin Barney, a utility type who has kept defying the odds and now looks to be a starter for the second straight season.  Holding on to that job long term will be a little more difficult, however.  Despite losing top prospect Hak Ju Lee, the Cubs have a lot of candidates to consider with their ages (all 26 or under).  Here's a list of them and the level they expect to play at in 2012.  Note that they are in order of the professional level at which they are expected to play, not talent or probability of being the long term solution.

1. Darwin Barney, 26, majors.  The thing about Barney is you know what he's going to give you.   Good defense and .275-ish batting average at the plate.  Defensively he fits the profile of what the Cubs want, but offense is a different story.  Barney is a decent singles hitter, but his lack of any kind of extra base power really hurts his ability to make an impact offensively.  He also doesn't walk much, not so much because he is undisciplined, but because pitchers aren't afraid to throw him strikes.  Few hitters saw as many pitchers throw strikes as Barney did, and it hurts his ability to supplement his decent batting average with walks.  The story with Barney is either get stronger and become more of a threat at the late (unlikely with his age and smallish frame) or get passed up by another 2B in the system and become a utility infielder.

2. Jeff Bianchi, 26, AAA.  A lot like Barney in that he is good enough defensively to play SS.  Bianchi has sure hands and is fundamentally sound as an infielder.  His bat has a bit more pop than Barney's but is still short for what you want at 2B.  Bianchi was once considered the Royals SS of the future and ranked as high as their 11th best prospect per Baseball America. Injuries have derailed him and eventually helped land him on the waiver wire.  Ironically, he's probably one injury away from becoming the Cubs starting 2B next year, but long term he looks more like a utility guy.

3. Junior Lake, 21, AA.  Lake was born in the same country in the same month in the same year, and signed at the same time with the same agent as Starlin Castro.  Doesn't it seem natural that he should be Castro's DP partner?  Like Bianchi, Lake will probably play more SS as he has more than enough arm to play there.  Lake isn't going to be the kind of defensive player that the first two players on the list are.  He relies less on solid fundamentals and more on raw tools.  His value is in his ability to provide a power/speed combo that no other Cub on this list possesses.  Unfortunately his lack of polish at the plate and in the field threatens to undermine that immense potential.  He did show more willingness to draw a walk in the AZ Fall League, so perhaps there is reason for hope in that area.

4. Logan Watkins, 22, AA.  Watkins is an athletic player with excellent hand-eye coordination and speed.  Combine those skills with the fact that he hits from the left-side of the plate and it's likely that Watkins will be able to hit for a solid batting average.  He also has a fair amount of plate discipline in that he has walked in roughly 10% of his plate appearances over the past 2 seasons.  Last season his skill and eye at the plate combined to give him a solid .351 OBP to go with his .280 BA.  Like the first two names on this list, Watkins biggest question is how much power he can provide.  The Cubs think he's deceptively strong and will add extra-base power in time.  They may have caught a glimpse of what's to come last season as Watkins slugged over .400 for the first time in his professional career, close to a 70 point jump from the year before.  Watkins is also a good defensive player with a lot of experience turning the pivot at 2B, though he has the range and arm to play SS.  He plays with an intensity that tends to rub off on his teammates, making him a potential leader down the road.

5. Renaldo Torreyes, 19, A+. Torreyes hit .356 as an 18 year old in his first year of full-season ball for the Reds' Class A Dayton team.  Torreyes can flat out hit.  His plate discipline is better than the numbers would indicate but he makes contact so easily (6.2% strikeout rate) that he doesn't always lay off pitches he should -- which sounds a bit like Starlin Castro himself.  Like Castro, he's extremely advanced as a young hitter, able to easily handle pitchers that are much older than he is.  He's also a good athlete with the range to play SS but his arm limits his future to 2B.  Torreyes weakness?  His size.  He's generously listed at 5'10 but some feel he may his height may be a lot closer to 5'7".  He is surprisingly strong, however, and has extra-base pop.  He's still young and could get a bit stronger.  In Torreyes, perhaps Sr. VP of Scouting Jason McLeod sees a little of another small 2B with uncanny ability at the plate in Dustin Pedroia.

6. Zeke DeVoss, 21, A.  The speedy switch-hitting DeVoss is a player once coveted by Epstein and McLeod as they drafted him out of high school, offered him above slot money, and nearly stole him away from a strong commitment to the U. of Miami.  DeVoss didn't hit for much extra base power but the Cubs feel he has the strength to eventually hold his own in that area.  What cannot be questioned is his tremendous batting eye, the best of anyone on this list, and his ability to flat out get on base, then wreak havoc once he gets there.  He's a prototypical leadoff man, putting up an incredible .462 OBP in short-season ball that included a .311 batting average and an eye-popping 19% walk rate.  Defensively, he's athletic and has good range and surprisingly soft hands, though he is prone to throwing errors.  There's a good chance he may stick at 2B if he continues to progress. If he doesn't, he has the speed to play another premium position, CF, down the road.

7. Marco Hernandez, 19, A-. The lefty swinging Hernandez is a favorite sleeper of mine.  He has average to above average tools across the board at a premium position, but doesn't possess one outstanding tool, which sort of makes him the SS version of Brett Jackson, with a little bit less batting eye and a lot more contact ability.  He hit .333 in Rookie level Arizona and had a respectable .152 ISO despite just 2 HRs.  He projects to hit for a good average with possible 10-15 HR power/speed combo.  Defensively he has good range and a strong arm.

8. Gioskar Amaya, 19, A-.  A natural hitter, Amaya hit .377 as he played mostly 2B and 3B as Hernandez's teammate in Arizona.  He showed some extra base power (.132 ISO and .510 slugging), but didn't hit HRs.  Although his instincts are good, his defense lags behind Hernandez at this point as he is not as athletic and projects to get bigger and lose some speed and range.  That may relegate him to 3B down the line, but his bat will be his ticket to the major leagues.  He could project as an offense first 2B if he can play just adequate defense.

9. Carlos Penalver, 17, AZ  Rookie League.  Penalver was one of two big Cubs signings out of Latin America (Venezuela) in 2010.  The other was the more well-known Jeimer Candelario.  Penalver is a different kind of player than Candelario is.  He's more athletic, speedier, and is very likely to stick in the middle infield somewhere, with 2B being the most likely bet.  Penalver is a good hitter with a solid approach at the plate but doesn't figure to have the offensive impact that Candelario will.  He hit .272 in the Dominican Summer League last year with a very respectable .364 OBP to go with 21 SBs.

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  • fb_avatar

    I enjoyed this article very much. I never realized how deep the farm system really is. Darwin has had his ups and downs. He had a pretty good first half last year but his second half numbers fell. I like Darwin cause everytime I watch him play, he seems to have a nack for clutch hitting. I'm curious how clutch he really is. I'm pulling for Darwin to have a more consistent year like he did last year in the first half.

  • In reply to Danny Guerra:

    Thanks, it was fun to write. When I started it, I didn't think I'd come up with 9 names, but they really do have a viable middle IF prospect at every level of the system.

    Barney is tough to pitch to with men on base because he's smart and just tries to put the ball in play. He knows his limitations and works well within them. I realize that "clutch" is myth in many ways, but let's face it. There's certain guys who just have a better approach with men on base than other guys do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe the phrase is 'situational hitting', which implies a change of approach at the plate to fit the situation at hand. 'Clutch' implies an power to increase one's natural hitting abilities in higher leverage situations. Of the latter, there is no evidence.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I agree, Eddie. I don't mean to imply that I believe hitters magically get better in certain situations, just that some hitters are smarter about it. Nothing irritated me more than watch Corey Patterson swing for the fences with a man on third and nobody out.

  • So what is your feeling John? Do the Cubs look to fill that 2b hole from within, or do they try to target a future second baseman in a trade? One thing that this farm system appears to be deep in is middle infielders. If Lee was still here, it would be insanely deep.

  • In reply to stork:

    My feeling is that Torreyes is at the top of this list because he is the best combo of being polished with the bat and the ability to stick at 2B defensively long term. I think for now they stick with Barney because he at least gives them defense.

  • Thanks for the great article. It's nice to know that there is so many
    infield talent in the minors. Maybe one of them can be the 2nd
    baseman of the future. Watching them the next 1-3 years should
    be interesting.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Your welcome. Figured you'd like that one as you're a big fan of prospects. I think one of them is definitely the 2B of the future. It will be fun to see who sticks where and how their bats adjust at higher levels. As usual, most of the best guys are at the bottom of the list.

  • Love it. John, it would be great if you could do this for every position of need (which looks to be about every position). Great write ups on each guy. I commented on your last post about the depth but this makes me second guess that, at least at 2B.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Thanks BTC. Every position except SS is probably a position of need! 2B is partly deep because a few of those guys actually play SS, but of this list, I only see Hernandez as a SS in the majors.

  • Can any be used in a package for a good young 1st baseman.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    In a package yes, alone no -- not for a top guy, anyway. If I'm an opposing team, the guy I'm asking for is Hernandez. SS is not an easy position to feel and I think he sticks there. Hernandez is my worst case scenario, by the way, of a player that goes to Boston as comp. They can't develop a SS to save their life over there. The curse of Nomar.

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    Torreyes is tiny but so is Logan Watkins. I watched him in person two years ago and he does have great hands and fantastic range at 2b, but he's knee high to a grasshopper. The plus is, if a very short player is going to succeed in the majors it's almost always at 2b.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Ha..like the height comparison there. Watkins is another little guy, plays with fire. Would be a fan favorite if he makes it. And agreed that 2B is about the best place for a shorter player to succeed at the major league level. Alternative for little guys is as an extra OF'er.

  • its funny because although i think barney has one of the lowest ceilings (if not the lowest) of this group, he also has one of the best worth ethics. i would not be surprised to see him report to camp 20 pounds heavier, ready to get to work, trying to draw more walks.

    im not overly optimistic about him, i dont think hes gonna shock the world and become an allstar one day, but i do know that he works hard and is a straight up winner. we could be seeing a whole different player next year.

    and if not its very nice to know that we have 8 other options down the line with considerable upside.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I do like Barney and would like for him to succeed but at 26 I think except for a few more walks, he probably is what he is at this point. I remember Theriot bulking up and losing bat speed. I tried to find an article but could only find a thread ripping Theriot out of St. Louis. I am just shocked that Cards and Cubs fans agree on something!
    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=321&f=2089&t=7605016&p=4

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    This is the Theriot article. Does Larussa have a point? Would bulking up decrease bat speed? I could see agility in the field but not bat speed. If true, Barney may have to work hard but stand pat and hope nobody passes him by.

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_80ab5f6f-21af-5b3d-bc7a-f75a574bc33f.html

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Barney has been counted out every step of the way in his career and he keeps proving people wrong. I'm not going to bet against him improving again. I don't think there's a whole lot of room for growth, but if he had extra base power, I think his walk rate would rise and he'd be acceptable as a defense first, 8th place hitter. I think he'd be a decent starting SS for a small market team looking to win with defense at key positions.

  • I'm not too worried about the size of guys like Torreyes and Watkins. As long as there are people who can generate power on the big league team if and when they make it, then it won't be a problem. Then again, the upper portion of our farms system has nobody that projects over even 25 homers annually. When I read lists like this, it makes me think that our farm system is better than advertised. However, if the Cubs want to contend before guys like Vogelbach, Baez, or even Golden make it to the show, outside help will definitely be needed. When stopgaps like DeJesus leave, power will be the team's number one priority. That is my biggest fear for the future. As MLBTR mentioned the other day, 30 homer power is becoming much harder to find these days.

  • In reply to elusivekarp:

    I think a lot of people are talking about the upper levels when they talk about problems with the Cubs system. The lower levels have more potential, but they are so far away and anything can happen on their way up. Too many variables. I think if you had a choice, you'd prefer to be stocked at the upper levels because 1) they're a better bet to make it and 2) it's easier to re-stock lower levels through draft, trades, and int'l free agency.

    And agreed about dearth of power. Cubs really, really need it but it really is becoming more and more scarce around other organizaitons.

  • Small smaller players can make at 2nd. The Cubs of the future
    (2013-14) might be more about speed and defense with some
    power only at 2 or 3 positions. Can't always wait for the long ball

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think they'll have a balance between the two. Can't always wait for the long ball, but it sure is helpful and useful when it does come.

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    John, just wondering what is the avg. number of players in a system total and do all major league teams have the same number of farm clubs

  • In reply to Bryan Bell:

    Ballpark figure I'd say between 175-200. Not all teams have the same number of farm teams. The Cubs have about as close to the max as any team out there. They have 2 DSL teams (some don't have any) and a team at each level.

    Structure and amount of teams vary around the league. Other teams have players in the VSL (Venezuelan League)..some don't have any teams in the DSL or VSL. I've seen teams with 2 rookie level teams and no short-season A ball team. I think the White Sox once had two high Class A teams but no low Class A team at one point. I believe the Mets are dropping one of their lower level teams but I can't remember which one off the top of my head.

  • Not all good prospect make it to the majors, but with so many lets
    hope that we are covered all all positions for the future.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You do want to try and get as much depth at every position that you can because most guys won't make it. The Cubs still have a lot of work to do in that regard. 2B looks okay, but I can't say the same for every position -- particularly SP or 1B.

  • Great list. Thanks again, John

    I have been constantly amazed at all the negatives I see on Barney (not here). At the least he is a more than acceptable stopgap. It is good to have one position that can tread water and probably improve from within.

    It will be fun to watch them come along and compete, first with Barney and then against each other if or when one displaces him. There are a few who may be very exciting players in the longer run.

  • In reply to bruno14:

    Thanks Bruno.

    I agree. I'm not sure he's starting quality on a good team, but you could do worse and the Cubs have a lot bigger issues than 2B right now. I think people look at his low OBP and slugging pct (or RC+ and wOBA for advanced stats) and see a very subpar offensive player. His defensive play makes him passable as a starter, but Barney is the type of player that will always have to prove himself. He'll always be the guy teams try to upgrade. At the same time, he's going to be the guy who always manages to stick around somewhere and somehow.

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    Dave Kaplan posts on Facebook of all places that Garza trade talks are heating up.

    http://www.facebook.com/thekapman/posts/299739273397918

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Kap saying it now really gives this rumor some legs. We'll see how far it goes. Cubs asking for a lot and he's dealing with 3 top GMs here...at least 2 anyway, and the other guy, Cherington may not be proven yet, but he knows Theo as well as anyone.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I really don't see Garza being traded right now. Marshall made sense, but trading Garza right now does not. That's not to say they won't, but I just don't see them moving him right now.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I think it makes sense if you get 2 pitchers back + another prospect. Especially if you get 3 guys who are close to contributing. The names being floated out there look pretty good to me. Cubs asking for a ton and looks like they just might get it.

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    First, I wonder if Torreyes is done growing.

    Second, I want to play devils advocate and broach the subject no one seems to want touch with a 39 and a half foot pole. Most of us, myself most of all, agree that Matt Garza should be traded in order to restock the farm system. That for the right prospects, the short-term pain of losing him would be worth the long-term gain. However, rarely do any of us ever think about trading Starlin Castro, and when we do, we almost always dismiss it. We say to ourselves that we could never get in return what he is worth, and we may be right to say that to ourselves, but how do we know unless we try?

    My reason for broaching such a taboo discussion is this. I put nothing past Uncle Theo and Cousin Jed. They realize there is no reason to think short-term at this point, and that is why we shouldn't expect to see them sign Prince Fielder now, and maybe we shouldn't expect them to be all that interested in some of the starting pitchers who are poised to be available in next years free agent market.

    I am in 100% agreement with this front office's decision to tear the whole thing down and start over. It's the kind of decision Dallas Green would have made, but no Cubs GM has since. It shows they see the situation clearly for what it is, new CBA rules and all, and they are acting accordingly. Basically, I will support whatever they decide to do, and if they decide moving Castro now would be best, I would give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Many of the above mentioned players in this post also profile well at shortstop, Logan Watkins in particular. Again, I'm just throwing it out there for discussion's sake. Someone has to play devil's advocate, and it is a role I relish. So before you all get out your throwing knives or come to my house with pitchforks to burn me at the stake, think about it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    He looks to have a small frame so I don't think he'll grow a whole lot, but if he wound up as big as Pedroia that wouldn't be bad thing.

    As for Castro, I've said my piece on him in the past. I think there is zero chance he gets traded. It's far, far more likely he gets a Evan Longoria/Matt Moore type long term deal sometime in the next year or so. Everyone is tradeable, but 21 year old all-star, cost controlled shortstops are the closest thing to untradeable that there is. The cost is prohibitive and even then you can't be sure of getting fair value.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That trade would have to be of immeasurable proportions and I don't think that any GM with said pole would bother broaching the subject Uncle Theo and Cousin Jed. Think about the asking price. If we gave away that much for Garza and are now in the process of asking for that much (or more) in return to trade him, what do you think the asking price would be for a 21 yr young All-Star SS?

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    In reply to lokeey:

    @ both John and lokeey: I don't think I disagree with a single thing either of you just said. The fact is that he is already an All-Star caliber shortstop, and he is under team control through 2017. Other than his defense, which clearly isn't because of a lack of athleticism, and his walk rate, I don't see a whole lot to complain about. I think his home run power is going to come. He hit 36 doubles, and that bodes well for his future. I think he could become a 20 HR/40 2B kind of hitter as he matures. The speed is there too as evidenced by both the SB and the triples. He may even start to draw more walks now that a regime is in place that preaches patience and driving up pitch counts, and if he could ever draw enough walks, combined with his ability to hit for average, he could become a high OBP guy.

    I'm all for locking him up now, but if this front office were presented with the right offer, and it would have to be a huge offer, I don't think he is untouchable.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    In the sense that nobody is untouchable and that you always listen, I can agree...but I think he means much more as a building block to the Cubs than he would as a SS for a team that's just looking for a guy to win-now with. No team can (or even should) offer equal value to what he's worth to the Cubs in that sense.

  • Love the article...now I say we retool the rest of our farm system by sending Garza, Russell, Soriano and $39m for Drabek, McGuire, Syndergaard, Nicolino and Marisnick. Toronto gets their ace, their lefty reliever and another power bat who can play left or DH (upgrade over either they have right now). We get to retool our arms in the lower minors, get a major league ready player in Drabek and future OF power hitter were lacking in system. What do you say?

  • In reply to apalifer:

    Thanks! Apparently talks are picking up between Cubs and Jays and it's likely some of those names are part of the conversation. I'm beginning to think a deal is inevitable.

  • John - In some ways this was a re-hash of top prospects list ... that said, several of them either have, can or are playing SS right? Now I'm not saying I agree with Mike - but there is something to be said for listening. That said - the increase in power (not just HRs) as the season went along is, to me, a harbinger of 20-25 HR power. Fielding will improve; simply too athletic, gifted and determined not to.

    Love the idea that so much of the future came from the last couple of draft classes. For all of the (justified) whining about lack at the top the bottom sure has been re-stocked.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I just disagree. I don't see it. If I'm going to rebuild, one of the first things I want is a young, star, cost-controlled SS. I really don't see a trade that someone would realistically offer the Cubs that would make it worthwhile to give up that kind of building block. Castro is exactly the kind of player you build around.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh noooo ... I'm not advocating moving him ... just "listening."

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I guess you can always listen...

  • Oh - as to Garza, the Gonzalez trade included 3 prospects in the recently released "Seedlings to Stars" list ... ranked between 30 and 60 ... 2 RHP and 1LHP. Is that enough? Do the Cubs need a ready-to-go position player in the deal?

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I think the Cubs would be pretty happy with 3 pitchers. I think Drabek makes too much sense as a guy whose value has gone down but still has top of the rotation stuff. McGuire makes sense as a mid-rotation type who's likely to hit his ceiling. Other guys being talked about are two position players -- Marsinick and Gose. If at least 3 of those players are involved I'll be happy.

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    Boston just acquired Bailey, any chance Texas is interested in Marmol?

  • Judging by what the A's got for Bailey, who is cheaper and had a better year, I'm not looking forward to seeing what the Cubs get for Marmol. A return like the A's got (and likely less) simply doesn't seem worth it at this point. Right now I'd rather hang on to him, see if he bounces back and then hope that some team gets desperate for a closer midseason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,

    One thing to keep in mind when considering the value of a Marmol trade is that Bailey has had some injuries to deal with over the past two seasons. He bounced back and had strong seasons, but he has some injury concerns. I would think that Marmol's history as being relatively healthy, could work in his favor here.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    True, but Boston won't suffer much if he gets hurt again. He doesn't cost much, didn't give much up and they have Melancon as a backup. Tremendous deal for Boston, imo.

    Team has risk with Marmol in that he was ineffective in the second half and makes a lot more money than Bailey.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know what the experts feelings are on the two main prospects the Red Sox gave up, but both are extremely young and have put up very good numbers in the low minors so far. The 19 year old pitcher has a career WHIP under 1.00, and the 20 yr old 1b hit 22 hr's in 500 combined ab's last season while having a .370 obp and .515 slg., so I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that Oakland didn't get much.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    You never know. They do have some upside, but they're really far off right now. Thought they'd get a decent MLB ready guy.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cubs could consider trading Marmol to get younger and to reduce payroll.

  • True. On the other hand, the Cubs aren't poor and there really isn't a closer that was groomed last year. I don't see the rush in doing it. His value is pretty low right now, so it probably has more room to go up than down. If it were me, I'd wait.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree about Marmol's value.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. If Marmol is back to pitching lights out by the trade deadline he could bring a nice package. Right now it would be closer to just a salary dump with the glut of closers that have been finding new homes and some still out there looking for jobs.

  • I would not be surprised at all to see Torreyes open at AA and get a call-up later this season if he does well in Spring Training. Given Barney's lack of plate discipline and speed I believe they will try to accelerate Torreyes progress with aggressive promotions.

  • In reply to Paris:

    I'd be surprised. He may be better than Barney but not in terms of drawing walks or stealing bases -- I don't think those are reasons to rush him. He's only 19. He has time on his side.

  • It is just crazy to talk about trading Starlin Castro. To have a shortstop who can hit with his ability is a tremendous advantage over other teams. And no doubt in my mind that in four years we are talking about what an outstanding fielder he is. He already can make the spectacular play. Derek Jeter made 53 errors when he was 20 years old, still holds the Class A ball record I believe. Sveum will help him a lot.
    Makes sense to me to get Marmol straightened out this spring and increase his value, then you can move him.

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    No, it's not. No one is untouchable. Anyone could and should be had for the right price. One of the problems with the previous front office is that they could never conceive of or comprehend the things that the present front office does. I think Theo and Jed are willing to lose more games than the Astros in 2012 if it means building a consistent contender down the road. We haven't had a front office that was willing to do that since Dallas Green was in charge, and we've paid for it dearly as a result of to much short-term thinking at the expense of the long-term.

    I'm not really saying we should or shouldn't, but if Jon Daniels called and offered to clean out his system for Castro, you'd have to at least think about it. Hell, Profar's ceiling may well be higher than Castro's, and he would certainly be coming back to the Cubs in any kind of deal that Epstein and Hoyer might dream up with Texas.

  • John I'm sure you've mentioned before, but are there players that fit Theo's model in the Tigers system? On the BCB boards there is talk that the Tigers have serious interest in Garza.

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    In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    Detroit has an improving system. Would they part with both Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos? Because they aren't getting Garza unless those two and then some more are coming back. Drew Smyly would be a catch in my book as well, and I would insist on Andrew Oliver and/or Casey Crosby as well, depending upon whether Smyly was in the deal. Both southpaws throw mid-90's consistently, but both have command issues. I'll just tell you right now that Westlake and Vasquez do nothing for me. They're over-hyped.

    I'm not concerned yet about Castellano's lack of home run power. He and LeMahieu have similar body types, and if LeMahieu had hit 36 doubles, 3 triples and 7 home runs in 2011, he'd still be a Cub. Castellano is a bean pole right now, and he is not even 20 years old yet. When he starts to fill out, look for some of those doubles to start going over the fence.

    Turner has all the makings to be a top of the rotation guy. I just think the Tigers pushed him to far to soon. He needs more innings in the minor leagues.

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    Jacob Turner would be the big prize. They have a good young 3B in Nick Castellanos, and some LHP pitching prospects, the top ones being Casey Crosby and Andy Oliver (in terms of stuff) and another lefty in Drew Smyly who isn't as overpowering but is a more well-rounded pitcher. Detroit has the pitching to make a good offer.

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    John, would you consider Toronto to be the front runner now and if multiple pitchers are involved, would it be far fetched to think that one gets shipped to San Diego for Rizzo??? I'd love to see a blockbuster soon!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I don't consider either idea to be far-fetched. I don't know how much stock to put into the rumors, although a couple of good bloggers have sources that indicate it could happen soon.

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    The only sites I trust are you, Tom Loxas, Bleacher Nation and anything Kap says..I heard someone talking about Texas making a strong push for Marmol, have you heard anything in that regard?? Thanks

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Those are all good guys...trust them as well.

    I think Jon Daniels' eyes must have lit up when he saw Boston get Andrew Bailey for basically two prospects with upside, but whom are both far away from the majors right now. I'm sure he thinks he can get Marmol for even less than that.

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    I wouldn't doubt that, I just don't trust Marmol anymore..The guy is missing something between the ears..If I were the Yankees i'd make a play for him and have him play with Riviera and learn from him..Speaking of the Yankees one guy who posted on Bleacher Nation read on the MlbInsider twitter site that the Yanks are getting in on Garza and offering Banuelos as part of the package..(posted within the last hour)..I'm not familiar with him or the other pitcher Betences or whatever his name is..But I know about Montero, who'd i'd demand in that trade..If the Cubs get him or any other top catching prospect, Soto would be gone in a heartbeat!!

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Except that Montero can't catch and he really doesn't hit for enough power to play a corner infield or outfield position, I'd agree with you.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I don't know about this MLB Insider site. Not someone I know or have communicated with (and it's not an official MLB site) so I can't speak to that rumor. Banuelos would make sense as someone the Cubs would want but Yankees don't seem willing to part with him. As for Montero, I don't think he stays at C but 1B is an area of need as well. He may not be a Cubs target. Betances has a great arm but has command issues...could be a #2 starter... but could also be a reliever. Of the two pitchers, most scouts seem to prefer Banuelos.

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    John don't the Yankees have other top rated catching prospects as well? They've been too quiet all off season, if for nothing else maybe their inclusion in these talks will cause the Jays and Tigers to up the ante....Being a Cubs fan since 1st grade in 1977, I sometimes get a sense when a deal is about to go down and I get a feeling that Garza may be gone much sooner rather than later!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Yes, they have a couple of good catching prospects. The better prospect is Gaby Sanchez, but he's just 18. There's also Austin Romine, who projects to be an average MLB catcher.

    We'll find out soon if your Cubs intuition is correct.

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