Day 2 of the GM Meetings. All the pleasantries have been exchanged, hands have been shaken, and backs have been slapped. Is today the day we get down to business?
- 7:30 PM: As we've speculated here, Phil Rogers writes that the Cubs are indeed interested in signing Hyun-Jin Ryu. The 25 year old LHP is a great fit, in my opinion, because of his solid fastball (90-93), good command, curve, slider, and change. The change is his best pitch. The bids are in and the Cubs are just waiting to hear if there's was the highest. Fingers crossed!
- 3:13 PM: Talked to a source that told me to keep an eye on the Padres since the Cubs front office is still familiar with that team. We didn't talk names, but one guy that popped into my mind was Clayton Richard. The reason is that he's an arb eligible guy with a cost-conscious team. He's due to make around $5M. He throws strikes, gets groundballs, and eats up innings. He's still just 29 and doesn't hit free agency until 2017, so the Cubs will have some value whether they decide to keep him or flip him to another team at the deadline. As for what they may want in return, my guess would be young pre-arb pitchers who could build value playing in a large, forgiving ballpark like Petco. It wont' take much, Richard's been a replacement level player the past two seasons and perhaps the Cubs can get him to bounce back to his 2010 production. Additionally, the Cubs could be interested in Casey Kelly, who was a coveted draft pick by the Cubs current front office while they were in Boston. They went back and acquired Anthony Rizzo, could history repeat itself? Not surprisingly, Kelly fits the exact mold of what this office wants. He's athletic, he throws strikes, and he keeps the ball in the park...and he's just 22. Young enough to be at the heart of this team's rebuilding plans. Kelly would obviously be more costly than a cost-controlled pitcher. As a team that looks to build with pitching and defense, the Padres would like to upgrade their defense the middle, which could mean parting with Darwin Barney.
- 11:09 AM: It looks like Maicer Itzuris will sign with the Blue Jays according to the Heyman/Knobler tandem at CBS. I looked him as a possible utility man/RH complement to the Stewart/Valbuena early on, but as I've said recently, I don't expect the Cubs to pick up a 3B off the free agent or trade market.
- 9:25 AM: We tend to assume the Cubs will sign two of the second tier SPs on the free agent market, and while that may end up being true, one name we keep forgetting about is Hyun-Jin Ryu. We've seen varying opinions on Ryu but the general feel is that he's at least a #4 and possibly a #3 in the NL. Or course, it's always difficult to say how a pitcher can translate from either the NPB or the KBO to the MLB, so nothing is a given, but given he won't turn 26 until March and throws lefty, I like his odds more than most. There isn't really any projection involved. Ryu has something of a stocky body and is pretty much what he is going to be, so you have an idea of the talent level you're getting. It appears that from what I've heard, the answer to that is that the talent is there to be a legit part of an MLB rotation. And he certainly seems like a fit with the Cubs, who could use 2 SPs, especially a lefty. His youth also makes him a nice fit. The Cubs scout very well in the Pacific Rim and have signed a number of good players from Korea, so I trust that they've gotten a good look at Ryu. If they ultimately decide he's a fit for the Cubs, we can be certain they did their homework.
- 9:09 AM: A lot of buzz yesterday about Trevor Bauer possibly being available. There is no question he has the stuff of a #1 and that the Cubs would have almost certainly drafted him over Javier Baez had he been available. He has also performed well, shooting through the D'Backs system and pitching well at each level. So then you ask yourself, why trade him? It appears the D'Backs don't like his approach on the mound but Bauer has been too stubborn to change it. There are questions about his overall makeup and his ability to take instruction. The Cubs have seen this before and have had varying degrees of success with it. Most recently it was Chris Volstad, whom they were unable to get to buy in. Jason Marquis had a reputation for that before he came to the Cubs, but it seems they were able to work with him a little. Matt Garza is the best example of a pitcher with great stuff and a poor approach when he was with the Twins and Tampa. Perhaps getting traded to his third team woke him up and Garza bought in (though even he had some doubts early). The result has been he has become a better pitcher and utilizes his great stuff much more effectively. Another comparison to show how all the talent in the world can be sabotaged by a bad approach is a non-pitcher: Corey Patterson. It seems that the D-Backs have reached the Patterson level of frustration with Bauer. What do yo think? Should the Cubs take a chance here and possibly acquire their MLB ready #1 guy? Or do you think it will get costly and they'll just wind up with a talented but underperforming head case?
- 9:00 AM: One more prospect list for you today. It's Fangraphs whom I think is getting better at this every year. It's a bit different than mine and the one at BP, which turned out to be suprisingly similar. The most interesting rank is Dillon Maples at 4, which makes him the Cubs top pitching prospect over Arodys Vizcaino. Also interesting is Duane Underwood over Juan Paniagua (whom he says there is not enough info on, fair enough) and Pierce Johnson. Also no Gioskar Amaya or any Cubs 2B. Two ranks that made me smile: Marco Hernandez at #11 and Trey Martin at #15, which as you know are two of my favorite less heralded prospects.
Filed under: Rumors/Speculation