Cubs roster decisions due next week: Who will be on the outside looking in?

Cubs roster decisions due next week: Who will be on the outside looking in?

I originally wrote about this back on September, when we took an early look at some roster decisions.  Everything went pretty much as expected.

On November 20th, the Cubs will have to make some more roster decisions.  That is the deadline for setting 40 man rosters  in order to protect players from the Rule 5 draft.

The Cubs roster stands at 37 with the signing of free agent RHP Scott Baker.

Here is the Cubs Roster:

There are 20 pitchers...

  1. Scott Baker, RHP
  2. Jeff Beliveau. LHP
  3. Michael Bowden, RHP
  4. Jacob Brigham, RHP
  5. Alberto Cabrera, RHP
  6. Lendy Castillo, RHP
  7. Jaye Chapman, RHP
  8. Casey Coleman, RHP
  9. Gerardo Concepcion, LHP
  10. Rafael Dolis, RHP
  11. Matt Garza, RHP
  12. Carlos Gutierrez, RHP
  13. Carlos Marmol, RHP
  14. Zach Putnam, RHP
  15. Brooks Raley, LHP
  16. Chris Rusin, RHP
  17. James Russell, LHP
  18. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
  19. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
  20. Travis Wood, LHP

And 17 position players...

  1. Welington Castillo, C
  2. Steve Clevenger, C
  3. Darwin Barney, 2B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Junior Lake, 3B
  6. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  7. Ian Stewart, 3B
  8. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  9. Josh Vitters, 3B
  10. Tony Campana, OF
  11. David DeJesus, OF
  12. Brett Jackson, OF
  13. Bryan LaHair, OF
  14. Dave Sappelt, OF
  15. Jorge Soler, OF
  16. Alfonso Soriano, OF
  17. Matt Szczur, OF

The Cubs are likely to protect 3-4 more players from their minor league system.  In no particular order, the favorites for those spots are...

  • Logan Watkins, 2B: Closest to the majors and could be taken as a utility infielder because of his speed and versatilty.
  • Trey McNutt, RHP: Mid to high 90s fastball/plus breaking pitch. Some team will gamble on that kind of arm.
  • Nick Struck, RHP: Full repertoire and a productive season at AA. He'll be at Iowa and a candidate to be part of the Cubs SP depth brigade.
  • Christian Villanueva, 3B: Not ready for the majors but not hard to see a team stash him for a year to get themselves a good 3B prospect.

Unless the Cubs sign another FA in the next 5 days, they'll only have to open up a spot or two. One to add the 4th minor league player to the roster and another to give themselves an option to select a player in the Rule 5 draft. There really is no need to open up more spots than you have to before the deadline.  Once the deadline passes, you can always DFA players or trade off players as needed once you sign a free agent.

There are a a couple of ways to create roster openings.

Removing players from the roster

This would involve DFA'ng a player and putting them through the waiver process.  If he clears the player can then agree to be outrighted to the minors or elect free agency.  Players who are fringe MLB 25 man roster players are the most likely to be DFA'd.   You aren't going to remove prospects from your 40 man.  Here's the thing: You may not think much of someone like Casey Coleman or Tony Campana, but when you put it against the context of what you can pick up in the Rule 5 draft, it isn't hard to see a team looking for immediate help to give up their last spot to get a player that a) has MLB experience and B) doesn't have to be put on the 25 man roster all year. In other words, if you DFA Coleman, for example, you have to be prepared to lose him.  That may not be a problem for some, but the Cubs aren't going to be eager to give up a 25 year old pitcher given their lack of depth.  If the Cubs do this, they'll wait until shortly before the deadline to make it difficult for teams to take that player.

A trickier situation is when a player is out of options.  The players in this situation for the Cubs are Michael Bowden, Luis Valbuena, and Bryan LaHair.  They are out of options and any team that picks him up must keep him in the majors.  If they try to send them down, they can refuse and declare themselves free agents.  This would theoretically make the decision easier because teams would normally be more reluctant to pick up a player they are required to keep on their 25 man roster. All players are worthy of roster spots, however, and I don't see the lack of options as dissuading an interested team in any of those cases.

Engineering a trade

This is a lot more difficult because everybody covets roster spots at this point in the game.  Nobody is going to say, for example, "Hey, we'd like to pick up Matt Szczur and we'll give you an equal value non-rostered prospect in exchange."  It just doesn't happen.  On the other hand, a team looking for a player to help them next season might be interested in a guy like Casey Coleman, Bryan LaHair, Tony Campana, or Ian Stewart, but even then you have to weigh that against the value of a roster spot.  Using that spot to get yourself a solid MLB player is one thing, but nobody really wants to use those spots up for fringe roster players that could be available later anyway.  Teams are likely to want to give you one of their own fringe roster guys in return.  In these situations, you have to be creative.  One example is when we suggested trading Josh Vitters for Lonnie Chisenhall in some sort of package deal (if that were even possible, of course).  If the Cubs were to get Chisenhall, they'd be much more inclined to sell low on Stewart or simply let him go.

What I think will happen

Unless they pick up another free agent, the Cubs will have to open up at least one spot for now, and then another before the Rule 5 in early December.

Barring an unexpected trade, the Cubs are going to go with Soriano, DeJesus, Sappelt, and a free agent as 4 of their 5 OF'ers.  There isn't room for both Tony Campana and Bryan LaHair.  For me, LaHair has two strikes going against him.  1) He's out of options and 2) He doesn't have a lot of value as a reserve outfielder because he offers neither defense nor speed.  His skills are best utilized as a semi-regular.  There are teams out there looking for that kind of player (mostly in the AL) and the team that really comes to mind is the Baltimore Orioles.  They are looking for an OF, 1B and DH.  LaHair is all three.  Even if the Orioles sign Johnny Gomes, LaHair would still have value to them as a LH complement.  The Orioles have already shown they are willing to sign a major league player for such a role, so I don't think the use of a roster spot or the options issue presents that big of an obstacle.  I think the Cubs may be able to get a non-rostered, lower level prospect for LaHair.

That's one spot.

The other spot will depend on whether the Cubs can pick up a regular 3B.  If they can, that would seem to leave Ian Stewart as the odd man out.  But I don't think that's likely.

That leaves a pitcher as a possibility to be the one on the outside looking in.  I'll assume the Cubs will want to keep a Trey McNutt/Nick Struck over a Casey Coleman but Dale Sveum seemed to like Coleman last spring, so this isn't a slam dunk.  If it isn't Coleman, the Cubs may turn to the old, "last one in, first one out" rule to roster management.  That would leave guys like Zach Putnam and Carlos Gutierrez on the bubble.  Of the two, Gutierrez's age (26) and recent injury may put him at risk.  Some may suggest someone like Jacob Brigham, who also suffered an injury last season.  He has a good arm and some upside but the theory would be that the Cubs could take the chance that some team won't want him to take up a 40 man roster spot at this late stage.  Then again, would a team rather pick up a fringe 40 man roster prospect via the Rule 5, which necessitates that you have to keep him on your 25 man roster all year, or would they rather use that 40 man spot for a prospect like Brigham whom you could just keep in the minors?  It seems to me that in most cases the latter would be the prudent thing to do with that last extra spot.  The truth is that there's a good chance you'd lose any one of these guys if you try to sneak them through, so you'd have to choose to keep the ones that best fit the team's long term plans.

In the end I'll guess that the Cubs want to stick with the kids and the new arms they just brought in and it will be Coleman looking for a new team, but I don't imagine the Cubs would be particularly happy to see that happen.

 

Filed under: Roster decisions

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  • fb_avatar

    Gerardo Concepcion is starting to look like the worst signing in recent Cubs memory. Not just based on performance, but performance and clogging a 40-man slot. Really hope he helped grease the skids for Soler.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It doesn't look good right now, but I don't think there's anyway they remove him from the roster. Some team is certain to pick him up. I think if he weren't on the 40 man roster, he wouldn't be protected, but he's already on and removing him is a whole different story.

  • im a pretty big fan of chisenhall, but if we can pull of a trade for him using guys on our 40 man roster id like him even more.

    vitters will (most likely) be involved in any deal for chisenhall. that swap straight up doesnt help us with a roster spot, but its been said (most recently in bruce levines chat today) that any deal for chisenhall would include vitters + another player. i think valbuena, campana or lahair could be that guy. this opens up one roster spot.

    landing chisenhall means that we can non tender stewart, creating the other roster spot.

    my hope would be that lahair or campana would be involved in the trade and that the cubs would get rid of the other one via a different trade and that we'd keep valbuena, but if valbuena was dealt id still want both lahair and campana to be traded. lahair belongs in the AL and campana belongs on a contender.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    That would be nice if the Indians would do that for the Cubs, but remember that every team wants those roster spots right now. I'm not sure if the Indians have the same roster crunch, but losing one roster spot could mean losing a player in the rule 5 for them. Taking an extra player at this stage is difficult. That 2nd guy has to be someone you really like and plan to use regularly.

  • fb_avatar

    Nice write-up, John. I was looking forward to your thoughts on this.

    One question: do the Cubs really need to have an open spot by November 20th if they decide to pick someone up in the Rule 5? I was under the impression the deadline referred only to each team's decision as to whom they decide to protect from their own organization, regardless of their wish to add someone via draft later on. If that is correct, the Cubs would only have to open up one more spot until November 20th in order to protect the four guys you mentioned, and if they decide to pick up a player from another team they could open up another spot until the day of the draft.

    And how about Gerardo Concepcion? I don't know if there's some clause in his contract that prevents him from being removed from the roster (there may very well be), but it's hard to imagine we'd risk losing him through waivers given the money he's owed and everything that happened to him since he was signed. (In fact, even if we did lose him, I'm not sure Theo and Jed would be all that upset by now...)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to João Lucas:

    "Decision as to whom they decide"... that was pretty.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    That's true. They can wait on that 2nd spot.

    I don't think they'd cut the cord on Concepcion. They aren't going to give up on him this soon. Lots of things in play. They made a large investment in him for one and they hope to reap something from it. There's also the message they send out to any future big name IFA. We'll sign you but if you get sick/hurt and underperform,we won't hesitate to cut you loose after less than a season's worth of work.

    It may end up being a mistake, but it's one they'll have to live with for a while.

  • I know these spots are very valuable, but I really they can find a
    young raw talent maybe from A or AA. I big question is can they
    afford to keep such a player all season on the roster.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think they'll take a player in the Rule 5 if they think he can be part of the long term picture.

  • LaHair would seem like a no brainer, if you ask me . At this point , the Cubs will probably take a mid-level prospect for LaHair at this point. It would shock me if he is not traded this off season. Losing either one of those two pitchers you mentioned John would be all right with me .

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I just don't see how he fits on this roster. I like the guy, but I'd like to see him play and, in my opinion, the AL would be best for him.

  • Only 3 of the 5 LHP are major league ready. We were supposed to get more LH last year. Better luck this offseason I guess

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Not sure on that. Rusin is probably ready as well. The question with him is if he'll be good enough. Raley is pretty close and will be part of the depth. Cubs seem to like both.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cubs actually have Rusin listed at #3 on their depth chart.

  • The Graduate? One of the better movie soundtracks.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    interesting side notes on the "The Graduate".......

    The original actress who was suppose to play Mrs Robinson was Doris Day.....

    Richard Dreyfuss had a small 10 second talking scene in the movie......six years before his next big movie, American Graffiti.

    Anne Bancroft was really only 6 years older that Dustin Hoffman.....

    at the post movie cast dinner part at a New York restaurant, the cast saw Robert Kennedy getting killed on tv......their table waiter that night was a young struggling actor named Robert DiNero.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    Yes, and some great cinematography as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And great lines. Murray Hamilton to Dustin Hoffman: "I've got one word for you, Benjie: Plastics !"

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Yes!

  • fb_avatar

    I think, given the situation the Cubs are in at this point in time, this FO won't hesitate to sacrifice short term interest if they think it will benefit them long term. In other words, don't expect them to take a chance on losing someone that might actually help them team when it is finally ready to contend. The Cubs aren't in a position yet for that kind of short term thinking, and it simply isn't how this FO works.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael, this neatly sums up what my long article is trying to say :) I think they're much more likely to give up those guys who don't figure in 2-3 years from now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, I got that sense that was where you were going, and I wholeheartedly agree. No one they might expose is going to be missed 2 to 3 years from now.

  • "In other words, if you DFA Coleman, for example, you have to be prepared to lose him."

    This would be a catastrophe.
    Not.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I figured a lot of people would be okay with this :) Ultimately I am as well, but the Cubs, especially Sveum, seem to like him a bit more than we do. They're probably not as comfortable considering he's just 25 and he has shown decent stuff at times.

  • I would like the Cubs to keep LaHair as a bench player. His faults are easy to see as a starter, but he seems perfect as a bench option. He can play first base or the outfield, he crushes right handed pitching, and he gets on base. His on-base and slugging percentages are higher than Starlin's and almost identical to Rizzo's.

    Sure he's slow and can't hit left handed pitching (although maybe he can improve in that respect), but those flaws are more hidden with him coming off the bench. Furthermore, he can grab an occasional start to rest Sori, DeJesus or Rizzo. And if any of those players hits the DL, it would be nice to have a power hitter like LaHair to sub.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I completely agree with this assessment, although a lot depends on who the other backup infielder is. If its a 1b-3b type, LaHair is a bit redundant.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    If LaHair could (or would) actually play 3B, that could make him more valuable to the Cubs, but unfortunately he doesn't.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I like LaHair and I think he's a good offensive player, but what you're ultimately talking about is a glorified pinch-hitter. Hard to keep a bat only platoon player on the bench in the NL. For me, it's a difficult fit.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    The Cubs value defense so Lahair doesn't fit, but I wish they could keep his bat as well. It looks as though he needs to play to be sucessful. It is better for him and the Cubs to trade him to an AL team.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    This is pretty much how I feel as well.

  • I would rather the Cubs take a chance with a kid with good upside like Castillo last year than keep Coleman who has zero upside .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    It may also come to a decision whether they'd rather protect a guy like Coleman or open up a spot to protect someone like Struck.

  • I think its way to early to give up on Gerardo Concepcion the kid was just a teenager and he was in a new country. I would give him more time before i give up on him then another team benefit from the cubs hard work.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Agreed. It's a big loss if they give up on him now. I just don't see that happening in order to protect a replacement level ballplayer.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I just don't think "DFAing" Concepcion would mean the Cubs gave up on him. They simply need his roster spot right now. He'd remain in the organization. I find it hard to believe someone would claim him off waivers given his contract and his health and performance issues. If a team wanted to take on his contract, why wouldn't they have outbid the Cubs in the first place before we signed him, and when his stock was clearly higher than it is now?

    In any case, I believe the point is moot. His contract probably doesn't allow the Cubs to DFA him.

  • In reply to João Lucas:

    There were plenty of teams in on him when he was a FA, so now they can get him at a fraction of the cost. Over half that money has been paid. It would be like a team gambling on a young former Cuban star who had a non-arm related setback for less than $3M. Given the constraints of the new CBA on IFAs, I think it's a legitimate risk that the Cubs lose him.

    It would just look bad for the Cubs if that happened. It isn't worth the risk so that you can keep a fringe MLB player who doesn't factor long term.

  • I believe the following players will be gone soon, one way or another...

    Casey Coleman
    Rafael Dolis
    Carlos Marmol
    Steve Clevenger
    Junior Lake
    Ian Stewart
    Josh Vitters
    Tony Campana
    Bryan LaHair

    I believe there is fallout between Stewart and Cubs front office.....so Stewart will not be back......I do believe Lake will be in some type of package deal for pitching......3B position will be filled in by someone like Chavez.......

    Watkins & Villanueva will be "key" position players for the future.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Cubs are not looking to trade Dolis, Lake, or Clevenger right now.

  • Talk at the Owners meeting from another area newspaper is the Marlins will be be pushed back of the line for any future All Star game.

    Miami was suppose to get the game in 2015.

  • Tigers got a nice pick up in Tori Hunter.

    Elite A.L. teams for 2013...

    Yankees
    Rangers
    Tigers
    Angels
    Rays
    Blue Jays

    F/A and trade meetings should be interesting.

  • John -- I would get over it immediately and forever if Coleman, Raley, Rusin and Valbuena all disappeared. You did a fine job making and discussing the list, but it is a quality-thin list with several expandables. There's no Casey McGehee mis-evaluation risk here, IMO. --Mike

  • In reply to michaelc:

    expendabes. sorry, i'm gonna blame the hangover.

    p. s. John, I like your S Feldman recommendation. He can be an average, 175-inning, No. 4 SP. Numbers would shine up in NL. Low cost, no long commitment. Easily spinnable, too.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Thanks!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to michaelc:

    Until they get someone better to take those roles, it doesn't make sense to get rid of or not protect Valbuena, Raley, or Rusin. Coleman to me has no value on a major league roster, but Raley and Rusin could be 5th starters and are far better than most of the retread SP's we had to use last year like Germano and Berken. #5 SP's aren't exciting but every team needs them and they do have value. Valbuena is best suited as a utility guy, which he is pretty good at. He's a SS who can play 2b and 3b who also showed an ability to hit in the clutch last year. He just doesn't hit enough to be an everyday player, but he's a nice bench player if they can only find an everyday 3b.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    uh-oh. that could ignite one of those "clutch hitting" discussions. eeks. i gotta pass. no offense

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Michael, I understand the early frustrations with those players, but why would a team just give up young, near ready pitching talent after a short sample in the majors? Or a good defensive, LH infielder that can come off the bench? it's not costing you anything. You don't need all those roster spots right now.

    I don't see the McGehee "mis-evaluaation" as any more obvious. He was awful in his short stint with the Cubs and didn't have a top prospect track record when he was in the minors. I don't remember many Cubs fans being too concerned when the Cubs lost him at the time.

  • fb_avatar

    There's a lot of people wanting the Cubs to sign Eric Chavez to play 3b everyday, but nobody seems to realize that Chavez is incapable of playing everyday, he can't stay healthy, which is why he missed the 2008/2009/2010 seasons and signed as a pinch hitter for the Yankees. He hasn't been an everyday player who played 100 games or more at 3b was 2006.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    You're asking the wrong question about E Chavez. He is most definitely no longer an everday player. Wipe that out of your mind. Then, ask the right question: Is he a good fit as a good part-time player? And then a tighter, right question. For the Cubs? Maybe, on the cheap, as a one-year stopgap in a particular platoon situation. He could probably post up for 80 starts. But then his platoon-mate would need to be a RHB who'd be good against all LHP and some RHP. And, please, not J Vitters, whom I want to go far, far away.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Nothing against Chavez, just really hard to use up a roster spot for a guy who will basically just play one position and on the short side of a platoon.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I also don't think he's so eager to prolong his career that he'd be willing to pack up and move to platoon for a rebuilding team. There's probably mutual disinterest here.

  • oh, jeez, i give up on that word. sorry. instead: discardables, disposables, bums.

    p. s. I predict......Cubs will trade D Barney this offseason. This is not Theo's kind of 2B. Or mine. .653 OPS. Yeccch! That's after bulking up. Great D, but you want more O from the position on a true championship club. Value will never be higher after winning GG. His natural position is SS, and there will be a team out there wanting to try him as regular SS. Old-school thinking. The Jeter-like leadership. Many Cubs fans view Barney as a long-term keeper. He's not. Great time to deal him. I admire Barney and hope he gets the absolute most out of his career...elswehere.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Agreed Barney will be moved eventually. Once he gets into those arb years, I think he loses value. It's one thing to have a defense first 2B at minimum salary. Once he gets expensive, they'll probably move him and go with someone like Watkins.

  • Hey John, wouldn't Christian Villanueva be a favorite to protect? I thought he was among the eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

  • In reply to Caps:

    OK, I see it was added, my bad.

  • In reply to Caps:

    No problem. I think he's probably at or near the top of the list.

  • Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but Garza's been cleared for his normal off-season preparations.

  • Haven't gotten that far yet. Thanks for the info!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You're welcome, John. I feel much better about the rotation after reading about Garza and the signing of Baker. I expect one more starting pitcher to be acquired but now there's less reason to rush into anything.

  • I can't imagine anyone claiming Brigham or even Putnam if they were DFA'd. I would rather protect McNutt than either of the two of them, and the other three keepers you mentioned (Villanueva et al) are no-brainers to protect, IMHO.

    It bothers me just a bit that the FO isn't a little more selective when it comes to adding bullpen candidates. There's some guys they picked up, like Asencio and Socolovich, who were worth taking a chance on, but others, like Berken and Putnam, who are just a waste of roster space.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I wouldnt call it a waste of time. The Berken move was one out of desperation but Putnam has a good arm.

    The idea with Brigham is this. If I'm a team looking to add a good young arm (95 mph, hard slider), would I rather take one in the Rule 5 and be forced to keep him all year, or would I rather take Brigham and have the option of letting him develop in AA? I'd rather have Brigham.

    I don't want to overstate the importance of the Rule 5. They're all fringe roster guys. Part of the reason Texas traded him was that they knew they'd have a tough decision rostering him and stood a decent chance of losing him if they didn't. In other words, Brigham is basically a Rule 5 talent that you get to keep in your minors.

  • I'd go with Jacob Brigham. His numbers are so bad I'm not sure anyone takes him. And if they do, I'm not sure I mind.

    Where do you see Lendy Castillo starting next year, btw? AA?

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    As for Brigham, see above comment in response to Svazcub. Brigham basically is a Rule 5 level talent. The advantage is you don't have to keep him on the MLB roster.

    I think Castillo starts in AA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, that was a good point in your article, and I realize it makes him more likely to be selected. But he seems to be having a hard time even making the jump out of AA so I'd still rather risk him than Casey Coleman, who I can see becoming a decent long reliever.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I agree with you on Coleman. He showed some solid stuff out of the bullpen at times, even reaching as high as 94 mph. That's not normally his game, but you wonder if he stayed there if he could me more consistent with that. A lot of people not afraid to lose Coleman, but it wouldn't surprise me if he stuck in the majors for a while as an RP, so i think the Cubs are hesitant.

  • What's the deal with last year's rule 5 pick, Lendy Castillo? We managed to hide him on the roster all season. I know that means we can send him to the minors now, but does he have to remain on the 40 man? I guess he would need to clear waivers as well. Any idea of the value placed on Castillo vs. Brigham/Putnam/Gutierrez?

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Yes, he has to stay on the 40 man roster. To take him off would mean exposing him to waivers. Some team would take him and that would make keeping him for an entire season a waste of time.

  • fb_avatar

    Does Coleman have any potential in the bullpen? He didn't do anything to make me want to see him start again, but sometimes those guys do better in short stints. I feel like he did a little of that last year with some success. Am I making that up?

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I think that's what's keeping him around. He is one of those guys who throw significantly harder out of the bullpen. Not that he's a power pitcher but at least the FB isn't a "here, hit me" pitch that it is at times when he starts.

    Here's the argument for keeping Coleman to me:
    1. He throws harder out of the pen.
    2. He's just 25.
    3. He already knows how to pitch, what he needs is better command, and given how good an athlete he is, that could come sometime soon and that would play up his stuff a lot more.

    I wouldn't rule out keeping Coleman and trying to find other ways to clear the roster.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Coleman made 16 relief appearances and 1 start as a Cub in 2012. His ERA was over 7 in both categories.

    What's also interesting is how similar his opponents' slash line was as a starter and reliever (and I know, it's only 1 start)

    starter: .350/.458/.550
    reliever: .349/.404/.547

  • In reply to Just Win:

    And that, of course, is the argument against :)

    It comes down to whether the Cubs think Coleman can project better than what he has produced so far.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd also like to add this to the argument against keeping Coleman:

    The FO decided not to bring him up when the rosters expanded in September. I'm not sure why. In my opinion that's a huge strike against him. We desperately needed extra arms at the end of the year and the chose not to bring him up.

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Excellent point, Willie. I forgot about that. If he was healthy, that speaks volumes.

  • fb_avatar

    Non-thread related item: Good news on Garza's MRI. It turned up clean. The word is that he has been cleared to resume normal activities.

    I still wish they would look at extending him. The injury should knock the price down to something more reasonable, and while I'm firmly against blanket no-trade clauses, perhaps something could be worked out like a limited NTC, a bonus that automatically kicks in if he is traded, or a clause in his contract that makes him a free agent at the end of the season should he be traded.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks. I'll probably write on Garza later today.

    There is a good case for re-signing him. Interesting ideas on the compromise on NTC.

  • We just signed Dioner Navarro apparently.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Major League or Minor League contract?

  • Very important question right now. Waiting to learn details.

  • In reply to Caps:

    You guys are quick! Article up now for those interested. Still unclear on details but we'll update as soon as it happens.

  • Even though it looks like Struck is having some command troubles down in AZL. I still think they should keep him over someone like Coleman. I'd also like to see if they can get a non 40-man prospect for LaHair. Agree with everyone about him not being a fit for the team.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Would like to see LaHair in AL, where he'd get a lot of ABs.

    Struck's troubles don't make him the lock he was a while ago, but I still think he's protected because teams always looking for SPs, including the Cubs.

  • The Graduate pic is perfect! Love that movie.

  • John...I'm relatively new to Cubs Den and as a die hard Cubs fan I've really enjoyed reading your posts every day.
    My question for you is this: (With the disclaimer that I don't NECESSARILY think this is a wise move...) What are your thoughts about possibly putting Javier Baez (our best asset) in play as the centerpiece of a deal to get Hellickson or Moore from the Rays. Those guys are certainly elite arms to build around and if you were going to trade your best prospect it would be for a guy like that. I'm wondering if we could appeal to the Rays with cost efficient options such as LaHair & Russell (since they're likely losing Luke Scott & JP Howell) packaged in with Baez and a mid level prospect or two for Hellickson or Moore and maybe Sean Rodriguez?? Probably won't happen but its fun to dream. I'd like to get your thoughts on that. Thanks Man.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks Ben!

    Word is that the Cubs were interested but talks hit a dead end. It wouldn't surprise me if the Rays insistence on Baez was the reason for that dead end.

    I think Hellickson would be a great fit but I wouldn't give up Baez. I love the cost control associated with Hellickson but I don't think he has the stuff or command of a front line starter. He's got a great change and could be a solid #3, but to me that's not worth Baez. I'd consider a package around Vogelbach and perhaps some other cost-controlled players, but its doubtful that would be enough.

    One thing that Theo and Jed said right away is that the Cubs lack young impact talent right now in the minors, the Cubs have only 3-4 guys who fit that profile. Tough to give that up for a good, but not great pitcher like Hellickson.

    Rays trying to sell high based on cost control, which is nice, but what the Cubs need badly are impact guys, they can't give up the few that they have with that kind of potential.

  • john what will the cubs do with marcelo carreneo?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I don't think they need to protect him. Too far away and doesn't have the raw stuff to get away with lack of MLB polish, so I'd be shocked if a team selected him.

  • I haven't heard anyone bring up the possibility of Epstein/Hoyer trading Brett Jackson this offseason. Rumors last offseason had them attempting to move Jackson as part of a deal for starting pitching. I would not be surprised that they do so again this offseason.

  • In reply to Seanhopper:

    Cubs would be selling low on Jackson now that his contact rate has raised some doubts. They also don't have a long term solution in CF right now so they're better off giving him a 2nd chance, in my opinion.

  • John, Bruce Levine hinted about a possible big trade of young players between the Cubs and a team he didn't name. Have you heard anything?

  • No, I haven't. What exactly did Bruce say?

  • He said he thinks there is a big trade on the horizon for the Cubs that will be a swap of young players for young players.

  • Just me, but I could see the Cubs and KC matching up.

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