Cubs brass may be buying in

Cubs brass may be buying in

We talked yesterday about the possibility that the recent success of the Cubs starting pitching could speed up the timetable of the rebuilding plan.

Gordon Wittenmyer’s club sources say the organization is starting to buy into just that possibility. Wittenmyer also says the Cubs plan (not surprisingly) hinges on what they do with Matt Garza.

Team insiders say the Cubs have no set timetable when it comes to making a decision on their ace. They do not have to trade him at the deadline if they don’t resign him contrary to many rumors and school of thought.

Considering that he’s under club control through next season with another year of arbitration eligibility, Cubs brass has ample time to measure his value against the market and the progress of the rest of the organization.

This seems certain: If the Cubs sign Garza to an extension, they plan to build with him.

Wittenmyer’s piece also features quotes from former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo talking about Theo Epstein and a potential plan for the Cubs.

Arroyo says the Cubs plan could go a long way if they can find three starting pitchers that can give them a the kind of efforts they have gotten from Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and Ryan Dempster.

 ‘‘That can take you to the promised land in itself [if] you get three guys doing that on a consistent basis,’’ Arroyo said.

‘‘I see them, they’re kind of at a crossroads now, where they need someone like Theo to kind of take direction and say, ‘This is the way we’re going to go in order to try to win this thing.’ ’’

This is encouraging news to me as we all want to see this rebuilding process through, but would it hurt for it to get sped up by a find like Samardzija? The Cubs brass may be looking to build around Garza and Samardzija instead of breaking them up.

Wittenmyer says club sources are starting to think along those lines.

There isn’t much information coming out of the Cubs front office these days. I had heard recently that Theo and Jed Hoyer even warned Chicago media vets that info would be scarce.

However if Wittenmyer’s sources are right, it sounds like this plan maybe on an accelerated path.

That is some information we would all like to hear.




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  • I like this way of thinking. We do have a really good starting staff, and if we can supplement with some offensive pieces, we could be in the division race very quickly.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    I am trying not to get too amped up, it's hard. My cautious side says beware that Shark could regress or come back down to earth a bit, but my eyes say we have found a huge building block. I can't wait for Rizzo and BJax to add some more youth, offense, and athleticism!

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I'm with you on the Shark thing, Tom. I feel the same way. Question about arbitration. If they sign Garza to an extension, does that wipe out his 2 years (year and and half) left of arbitration?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    I have to check on that but I would think so. John says Theo would look to buy that out.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Yes, if Garza signs an extension, he would not be eligible for arbitration after this year and next. He could become a free agent and the Cubs could offer arbitration after the extension.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Peter Gammons on Twitter last week: Scout's comp on Samardzija:Healthy Josh Johnson, downhill 98 MPH, great tilt to slider, filthy split, 91 MPH cutter...

  • I also like the part about Theo and Jed Hoyer warning Chicago media vets that info would be scarce. Some people may see this as ignorance or even arrogant, take your pick, but I tend to be a believer that you only share info with those in the circle.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Yeah it was told out of respect to those who work hard at getting stories, but didn't really have to work as hard with Hendry around (loose lip).

  • Seems Theo got out of there at the right time!

  • I smell an eye opening aquisition happening. Theos MO is to hunker in the Bunker before making a big move . I just hope it isnt named Beckett .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't see you having to worry about that one, unless they want to take some of our junk back.

  • I could see the Cubs making a minor move that won't mortgage the future. I'm not sure they can get anyone big with their spare parts or secondary prospects anyway. My guess would be a bullpen arm.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would like that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am hoping the move involves Baker, as Mather is right handed and can play all the baker positions, including 1st. I wouldn't mind swapping baker for a bullpen arm.

    Regarding catcher, there was talk about the skip asking the players if they had played catcher before. Did they forget that marmol was a converted catcher and probably could sub as well as Barney in a pinch?

  • In reply to socalcub:

    Baker is expendable. Last year before FA as well and I doubt Cubs plan on resigning him.

    I'd be curious to see if Marmol could still catch in an emergency. My guess is that Barney gets occasional reps and might be more game ready.

  • I think they waited too long to trade Garza. The big money the
    last 3 pitchers signed for really hurt the Cubs. If he is not
    signed by mid year then he is gone to FA.

  • Jon Heyman on Twitter says Cubs working to extend, not trade Garza.

    I think this is the right move. The guy is only 28. If you sign him to a 5 year deal and we have to suffer through 2 "rebuilding" years he is still a 30 year old frontline starter when this team is ready and able to contend. The way guys are getting extended these days, the free agent market won't be an option to replace him and there is nothing too exciting on the farm as far as SP's.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Agreed Ratmoss.

    I would like to add that the perception of Garza outside of Cub fandom is different. Teams see a) a 3rd starter (base on his 3 year history), b) a guy who has less than 2 years of cost control, c) a guy who's on his 3rd team and concerns about his makeup.

    I think A is totally false because Garza has taken a big step forward and doesn't even have the same approach he did on the mound just 2 years a go. B is true...nothing we can do about that except extend him at a good rate, but even then you might as well keep him and C, we know that Garza has grown up and has been re-channeling his energy in positive ways -- and we also know he has never blamed a teammate for anything.

    I'm good with keeping Garza. To me he's a #2 who is capable of pitching like a #1 at times. His peripheral numbers the last two years rank with any starter in baseball. And if teams want to get him on the cheap, then we're better off holding on to them while they acquire the Jake Peavy's and Wandy Rodriquez's of the world, then wonder why it wasn't enough to make a difference.

  • I am a believer that Shark is finally living up to expectations. I remember him saying he'd be a "happy dude" when nobody asked him about football anymore. If he had committed to baseball from the start, we'd probably be talking about a guy in his third year as a successful starting pitcher in the majors.

  • I'm not interested in the Cubs winning their division. I want to see them in the World Series. There's a difference in building, depending on where you want to go. I don't want to look at the Promised Land, I want to be there. Let's build smartly. When it concerns the Cubs, "In Theo I Trust".

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    True but once you win the division, you put yourself in position to win it all. We've seen weaker teams like the Twins, Cards, etc win the WS after eeking out their division.

    I certainly don't want them to sacrifice anything to win it though.

  • It would be a long shot, but I am not giving up on this year yet.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    totally agree 44 slug, not expecting Cubs to win division necessarily, but wouldn't be totally shocked if it happened either. If Rizzo and Jackson can help provide some more offense and we get some help for the bullpen without sacrficing prospects, this becomes a legit team, definitely good enough to compete for 2nd in this weak division. and then if the cardinals falter, you never know. If nothing else we could be in the running for the wild card with 2 of them this year. Not saying its likely, but if this pitching and defense continues, anything is possible!

  • Regarding extending Garza, what is the benefit to him in signing a financially team-friendly extension with the Cubs when he could go into free agency and get a multiyear contract at $20M per year from the Yankees, Red Sox, Texas or the Angels?

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Minimizes risk in case he gets hurt or has a bad year. Also gives him some stability -- something he hasn't had yet as a professional.

  • Wonder if Theo is calling the Angels right now about Soto? Iannetta our 6-8 weeks . Conger on the DL too .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    That would be nice.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Angels interested in Soto in the past, but judging on what they gave up for Iannetta -- Tyler Chatwood, a guy who some think is a reliever or bottom or the rotation guy, it's not a whole lot to get excited about.

    Tough for Cubs because Clevenger is on the DL, they'd have to make a roster move to bring up someone like Lalli to back up Castillo. Then you go with 2 unproven catchers.

    I'm sure if it's a good offer, the Cubs will figure out a way to make it work but I'm not sure one is forthcoming....unless Angels are desperate based on slow start and trying to make big splash this year with Pujols/CJ Wilson. But how much do they give up for a 6-8 week injury?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would move him for a decent bullpen arm or a prospect with some promise in a heartbeat. Castillo and Lalli together would be better than Soto's performance this year anyway.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Better than what Soto has done so far, maybe, but I'm not sure they'll have better seasons by the time the year is done.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was all for trading Soto and going with Castillo's strong arm and clevenger's left handed obp, however after watching Castillo fail miserably at framing pitches, I'm more than hesitant.

    John, has this been an issue for Castillo in the past, as I can't recall hearing this criticism?

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    Think we'd be selling low on Soto at this point, I'd rather wait and see if he can continue to get going. Seems like he is just starting to heat up a little bit. Unless a really legitimate prospect is being offered.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    I don't think we'll get a big offer from LA, so I don't think there's a rush, especially with the Cubs lacking a little depth right now themselves.

  • I dont know , I would wager a Castillo / Clevenger platoon would out produce Soto , JMO . Plus the bullpen arm value would have to be factored into the thinking.

  • Maybe now Sveum will stop using Marmol.

  • On second thought, re-hire Hendry from the Yankees and fire him again.

  • Bowden was worse.

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    I don't know if the espn game tracker is on crack but there have been alot of balls tonight that were clearly in the middle of the strike zone. First two pitches to Weeks seemed to be clearly strikes in the 10th from Dolis, Ump seems to be taking away that low strike, how Dolis got hurt with Hart. I was cringing right before that homerun noticing all the high strikes he was throwing Hart, thinking that could be dangerous, and sure enough...

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Dolis had no movement today, everything was high and straight. Probably lucky it wasn't worse than it was.

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    how about a long one from soriano?

  • Most of the rebuilding is going to come at the minor league level, so while the major league success is nice, I don't really think it accelerates anything. Theo talks about it being two tier - treating each mlb season as a "sacred opportunity to win" while keeping an eye on the big picture and building up the farm system. Just rewatched him talk about that at the Cubs convention and at the original press conference introducing him as a Cub. (Both on youtube if anyone's interested.)

    Even back then he talked about how we could still win this year, and you can tell it wasn't just lip service. He was saying the variability would be higher with all the "buying low" bounceback type players but it could still happen. Every year there's a team that surprises.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Agree here on most points Carne except I think Shark's emergence could influence them in keeping Garza which would speed up the big league process, but yes the minor league plan will take at least 3-4 drafts.

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