Braves scouting Garza; Soriano's value, and notes on Rizzo, Candelario

Some news and notes to help get through an off day for the Cubs...

  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that the Atlanta Braves are now looking for pitching after Brandon Beachy's devastating season ending injury and names Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster as possibilities.  The Braves are in the thick of the NL East race, which figures to be tough all season, but so far have only had reliable pitching from Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson.  They may first see if Jair Jurrgens can come back, but if not, we can unexpectedly add Atlanta to the list of possible suitors.  O'Brien notes that Braves top scout Jim Fregosi was on hand to watch Matt Garza's last start and that they are among 6 or more teams interested in acquiring the Cubs talented starter.
  • Can the Cubs get anything of value for Alfonso Soriano? Bradley Woodrum of Fangraphs assesses Soriano's value and you may be pleasantly surprised.  Woodrum notes that there are many teams that could use a HR threat, despite Soriano's sometimes overly aggressive approach at the plate.  He thinks the Cubs could get more than a Marlon Byrd type deal where they pick up someone else's unwanted piece.  Ben Nicholson-Smith of identifies the Indians, Pirates, Tigers and Nationals as possible suitors while Woodrum adds the Marlins, Giants, and maybe even the White Sox.
  • David Kaplan tweeted this yesterday:  Anthony Rizzo's last 156 games at AAA: 110 runs, 202 hits, 51 2B, 49 HR, 160 RBI, 64 BB .344 BA, .413 OBP, .688 SLG, 1.101 OPS.  Those are just incredible numbers over a full season's worth of games, but his colleague Patrick Mooney wonders what Rizzo is getting himself into.  This is a city and a fanbase crying out for a savior.  The media blitz is expected to be overwhelming.  The Cubs think that Rizzo can handle it all.   The Cubs have gone through great lengths to make sure he is ready both on and off the field, and are planning  a rookie-development program that will be similar to one they ran in Boston.  Said Theo, "It’s almost a finishing school of sorts for some of your prospects who are getting close to the big leagues on how to be big leaguers. (It’s) certain things on the field, a lot of stuff off the field, so when they get up here, they’re familiar. Even simple things like dress code and how to tip the clubbies and how to talk to you guys (in the media), how to say and do the right things around veteran players, how to relate to the coaching staff.”  You really have to like this front office.  They think of everything.
  • Ben Badler writes a blurb in Baseball America about Jeimer Candelario which is short, but very positive.  He said had Candelario been eligible for the draft this year, he would have been a first round pick and that his signing bonus of $500,000 looks like a potential bargain right now.  Badler also writes, "Candelario is a switch-hitter with a mature approach to hitting and power from both sides of the plate. He has work to do to remain at third base, but the Cubs have a potential breakout prospect on their hands here."  Of course, this is nothing new to readers here, we've been saying that all along, but it is nice to hear from such a respected and well-connected national writer who specializes in international prospects.
  • Former Cubs top prospect Chris Archer pitched a gem after the first inning yesterday.  After allowing 3 hits and 3 runs (2 unearned) in the first.  Archer didn't allow a hit the rest of the way and ended up with 6 IP, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts.  The key is the one walk, as Cubs and Rays prospects fans know that when Archer has good command, he can be awfully tough.
  • As noted yesterday, expect the Cubs to call either LHP Chris Rusin or RHP Chris Volstad to take Randy Well's next start.  If you were to listen to manager Dale Sveum, you'd guess that Volstad is the favorite.  He noted that reports from Volstad's last start were good and said, "Hopefully he's getting going and building a lot of confidence. I think a lot of it with him was just confidence.''  We can't argue with that here.  We've noted on several occasions that Volstad's peripherals, even with his struggles, were that of a solid starter.  It has always been that one big inning where he has lost his composure.
  • John Morosi tweets that the Toronto Blue Jays are still in buyers mode despite their recent rash of injuries and falling behind by 6.5 games.  It appears, however, that the Blue Jays have lowered their sites to Rockies RHP Jeremy Guthrie and Astros LHP Wandy Rodriguez, neither of whom figure to cost as much in prospects as Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster.
  • Wondering what the odds of the Cubs winning the divsion are?  It's at 0.1% according to Cool Standings.  So... you're saying there's a chance?


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    I don't see Soriano being traded to an N.L. team.

  • I agree. Tigers and Indians seem more likely to me.

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    I like the idea that Jeimer Candelario could come in and be a big surprise, i think we need a prospect to come and do that. also John nice video post to go with the 0.1% chance we storm back and take the division.

  • In reply to Larry:

    Thanks, that scene kills me every time!

    Candelario is a guy to watch. He can hit.

  • Between draft pick signings, Cuban player signings, trades and
    Rizzo coming up Cub fans hopefully will see the making of
    a new era.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I do look forward to the future, but I'm not holding my breath on any Cuban players making it to Wrigley. Not a very good track record for Serie Nacional players in the Majors. You can probably count the studs on one hand....Tony Perez, Livan Hernandez, El Duque, Contreras....throw Chapman and Alexei Ramirez in there I suppose.

    More like an expensive lottery ticket. Hopefully we hot the jackpot with one of them.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think you can even extend that and just say international signings in the broader sense is where the Cubs need to succeed. Cubans are a big part and high profile, but the Cubs have lots of international talent, especially in the DSL and short season leagues.

  • I fear pitching, both starters and releaving, may be a weakness. The young talent looks abundant for everyday lineup, but I do not see any stud sure thing arms?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Very much a void, esp since McNutt has been struggling. I think SP will have to be addressed through F/A myself.....if the Cubs want to compete before 2015. Which is the earliest any of the 2011/2012 drafted pitchers would be ready.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That's something they'll look to address as far as the draft, international free agency, and a return on trades.

    The good thing about the Cubs is if they fail to develop arms, they're in a big market and can just go out and buy one or two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I just dont think it is going to be that easy any more. I think Free agents are going to be harder to get because of the New CBA. I think teams are going to be more willing to try and sign players to longer contracts and sign them earilier. It going to be a different world.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Small market teams still can't afford their arbitration and free agent years.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    There will always be free agents. You'll always have guys who want to put themselves in the open market.

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    I had the pleasure of catching Archer's debut yesterday, although I really went to see Strasburg for the first time (two birds, one stone!). Strasburg got the win and had what looked to be a dominating pitching line (2 ER, 10 K), but I would argue that Archer, minus the first inning when his defense didn't do anything to help alleviate his big league nerves, had a better performance. He didn't allow a hit in the next five innings he pitched (in fact, the Nationals were held hitless in the final 8 innings and they still won), and he ended up striking out 7. Overall, I was very impressed: control will likely be a problem, but he throws hard (97 at times) and he changes speed really well. If the Cubs do trade Garza, and considering his increased value since they acquired him, they better get back a haul because Archer looks promising.

    Longtime reader, first time commenter, John. This was a long spiel about the Rays-Nationals game, but I'm hoping to contribute more Cubs related comments - your site has become my go-to for Cubs coverage. Excellent work.

  • In reply to Michael Jenkins:

    Thanks Michael! I also appreciate the first hand account of the game. Great stuff.

  • I wonder what kind of package Garza could fetch from Atlanta's system. I am not overly familiar with thier system except Teheran Hope I spelled that right lol..

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    At the start of the year they were top heavy with pitching, particularly Julio Teheran, Aroidys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. Teheran is one of the better pitching prospects in the game and will be very tough to pry loose. Vizcaino is out for the year (TJ surgery) and Delgado is a part of the Braves staff. Looks like an awkward fit for both team, but we'll see.

    There's also LHP Sean Gilmartin, drafted last year, though he projects as more of a 5th starter.

    If the Braves and Cubs make a trade, it may have to be a blockbuster...which makes it unlikely to happen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, if they want Garza, they'll have to give up someone like Teheran unless they include Mike Minor (assuming he's healthy)..

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think they'd rather trade Minor at this point.

  • A reliable source tells me that Az. Phil is reporting that Ben Wells has had TJ surgery. Can anyone confirm?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    AZ Phil gives good info. If he's saying it, I have to believe it's true. Cubs really need SP prospects now.

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    I don't believe the Cubs will ever get as much for Garza as Hendry gave up.

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    Except for Lee, I don't think the Cubs gave up all that much...maybe Archer?

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    At the time, other than Fuld, the Cubs gave up (arguably) 4 of their top "prospects". If the new FO were to tell interested teams that Garza could only be had for 4 of their top prospects, those teams would laugh and hang up the phone.

  • I agree they'll have a difficult time getting back what they gave up, even though Lee and Archer are the only real potential impact guys. Lee could be a starting MLB SS while Archer could be anything from a #2 starter to an RP. The other guys were backup prospects, but those 2 alone will make the deal tough to match.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Even so, I would do that deal again in a minute. Get a proven #2 and give up a "potential" #2 and a SS who is in A ball and blocked by Castro. No brainer.

    That said if we trade him now I'd want at least two arms with potential to be top end starters.

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    If possible, I'd make that trade in reverse. Get back what was given up. Increase the assets in the system, get younger and lower the payroll. Of course it will never happen.

  • Please, christ, let it be Rusin. Volstad had an extended period up here and never turned it around. What's gonna change in a month and a half? He has three awful starts in the bigs again, which he probably will, we burning another option to send him down? Or squirreling him away in the bullpen? I'd much rather have in AAA starting every 5 days, working on his consistency and hitting his spots.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I agree, Carne, I would like to see Rusin get a shot first. Whoever is recalled will probably have to be sent back down after Demp comes off the DL and before Demp is dealt. It gives Volstad at least a few more AAA starts. Odds are that there will be another opportunity for Volstad before September anyway.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I've got a feeling it's Volstad, but maybe they'll think like you and want to see Volstad put a few starts together first. I'd kind of like to see Rusin myself, though I've seen him pitch in AAA. When he hits his spot, he's good...when he doesn't, he'll give up his share of dingers.

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    Lots of arms in the Braves system I'd like to get a hold of. I doubt they'd deal Tehran though.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I doubt it too, but Cubs probably won't deal Garza unless they get a potential impact SP prospect.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Vizcaino, Delgado and Gilmartin all look promising. Still, I don't see us sending them Garza without getting Tehran back.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agreed Michael, you gotta give up something of quality or potetial quality, to get someone of Garza's caliber...It's gonna be an eventful month

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    I know Minor was well thought of, is he still?
    Would he fit into that category??

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Minor has good stuff, probably that of a #2 starter, but he's pitched poorly this season. Even at his best, though, Teheran was considered the better prospect.

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    That organization has more home grown talent than most any other team....I'd have no problem with the Cubs dealing with the Atl, especially with MacLeod evaluating the kids

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    A good organization to deal with, lots of talent, and an excellent front office who does things the right way.

  • Note to Rizzo:

    Don't watch ESPN, read the papers (especially Trib fools) or read the internet (especially Trib fools).

    Correction: You can read Cubs Den. People here are not fools.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    Thanks eaton! We got Rizzo's back!

  • Candelario just hit his second home run!

  • In reply to cubsfan4life:

    The kid can hit. And I'm still steamed that Boise games haven't been televised as schedule. Would have seen them both.

  • John
    Thanks for the insight, as usual, but trading one of our SPs for Atlanta's "promising" pitching prospects brings back bad memories for me.

    Over the years, the Cubs have made at least 4 trades for Atlanta Braves pitching prospects

    1) 1988 : Jody Davis for prospects Kevin Coffman, Kevin Blankenship
    2) 1991: Damon Berryhill, Mike Bielecki for prospects Yorkis Perez, Turk Wendell
    3) 1999: Jose Hernandez, Terry Mulholland for prospects Micah Bowie, Ruben Quevedo, and Joey Nation
    4) 2004 : Juan Cruz for prospect Andy Pratt

    EVERY one of those trades was a dud!

    Here's hoping the Cubs tell the Braves what they can do with their promising young pitching prospects this time ...

    Have a good one...

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    You forgot about Derrek Lee for Robinson Lopez, Ty'relle Harris, and Jeffrey Lorick...though the last two are still with us and actually pitching pretty well out of the bullpen. Lopez was supposed to be the key to that deal though and he just didn't pitch well.

    Maybe better luck this time!

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    Kyler Burke has been promoted to Daytona.

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    Beware making trades with the Atlanta Braves... They have always had a knack for selling prospects at their peak values in addition to knowing when to walk away from veteran players who are looking for one last pay day...

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