Meetings adjourned: Where do the Cubs go from here?

Meetings adjourned: Where do the Cubs go from here?

A couple days back, we talked about the 2013 Cubs team as it stands now.  We like what they've done so far, but it's far from a finished product.  This Cubs roster is going to be a dynamic one that will change from here until the opener, during the season, at the trade deadline, and next offseason again.  Chances are that by this time next year we'll be talking about a very different Cubs team.

A core will be in place.  It's a core of young players whose best years are ahead of them, not behind them.  That will consist of at least Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Jeff Samardzija, but a few others have a chance to join that group.  The Cubs hope to find another piece or two from players like Welington Castillo, Brett Jackson, Arodys Vizcaino, and maybe Alberto Cabrera or others, perhaps even someone from outside the system.   As Tom said in his excellent piece yesterday, that last part is the element that remains unfinished this offseason.  To be competitive the Cubs need to keep adding to that core. In the meantime, the players around them will come and go.

When this rebuild is 100% complete (in 3-4 years), I envision it being like the 1990s Bulls teams.  And by that I mean the general way the roster is constructed and managed, not that they're going to win 6 championships and have the best player of all time on their team.  At the heart you had Jordan and Pippen, but the players around them ranged from strong complementary core players like Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, John Paxson, and Toni Kukoc to interchangeable role players like Craig Hodges and Jud Buechler. (If those Jordan led Bulls teams are still too lofty an analogy, it also works with the recent Chicago Blackhawks teams, who have also built their team around a talented young core.  They've won just one title, but are still considered contenders year in and year out.  When they actually get to play, that is.)

But either way that's thinking too far ahead.  The purpose of this article is to examine what the Cubs need to do from here until Opening Day 2013.  We'll take this one step at a time...

Potential Big Moves for 2013

  • Alfonso Soriano, OF: There's mixed feelings about Alfonso Soriano these days.  Fans recognize his leadership skills, his improved defense, and the fact that he's the only proven source of RH power.  He's a valuable part of this Cubs team. That said, this team is building for the long haul and if a team comes calling with an offer to give the Cubs a future piece or two, they have to do it without hesitation.
  • Carlos Marmol, RP: Marmol finished the year strong and has value to the team as it's most reliable closer.  That might sound odd, but consider how things went when the Cubs tried Rafael Dolis, James Russsell, and Shawn Camp in that role.  It's no mystery why the Cubs brought in a pitcher with a history of success as a closer in Kyuji Fujikawa.  Again, like Soriano, if a team in more of a win-now situation offers prospects or talented young players in exchange, then it's a no-brainer.  You pick up more long term assets, move on and shift someone like Fujikawa into the closer's role.
  • Matt Garza, SP: This would be the move that could potentially land the Cubs another impact prospect or two, perhaps a player than can become another core piece. Garza is both the team's best pitcher and, when healthy, it's biggest potential trade chip.  If Garza can stay healthy and pitch the way he has the last two seasons, he can do more to bring in young talent than any other MLB player outside of the current Cubs core.  With one year left on his contract, it's questionable as to whether Garza is going to be a part of future Cubs team.  On the flip side, he is still young and the team needs starting pitching  So unless you are certain you are going to lose him, it makes little sense to trade him for anything less than surplus value right now.  The goal is to get better long term and we'll find out within the next several months whether the Cubs think that goal is better served by trading Garza, extending him, or putting off the decision until the trade deadline.
  • Signing a free agent that slips through the cracks.   Every year a few free agents overplay their hand or fall victims to some irrational behavior on the free agent market.  It depends on your point of view.  Whatever the reason, some free agents wind up heading toward spring training on the outside looking in.  Rather than sign what they feel is below market value, some of these free agents make take a one or two year make good deal at a high AAV.  That could play right into the Cubs hands. This year some of those candidates are OFs Michael Bourn and Cody Ross, as well as SPs like Edwin Jackson, and yes, Ryan Dempster.  Other realistic free agents still without a home include pitchers Shawn Marcum, Francisco Liriano, and Carlos Villanueva   Of all these players, only Bourn would mean the loss of a draft pick.  If some of these players are still unemployed come January, it isn't out of the question the Cubs could swoop in and offer a short term deal at a high AAV.

Complementary pieces/role players to add for 2013

  • A RH hitting 3B/utility infielder: Whether Ian Stewart or Luis Valbuena wins the job, the Cubs would like to add a 3B who hits RH, can help out against LHP, and won't hurt you on defense.  Names that fit that description are Placido Polanco and Brandon Inge.  But because ideally you don't want to use a roster spot for a player whose only role is the short-side of a platoon at one position, you'd like it to be a guy who can play other positions, whether it be SS and 2B or possibly the OF.  There may not be a perfect fit, so the Cubs will likely need to get creative here.
  • A true CF who hits RH and defends well: The Cubs have Dave Sappelt who can spell Nate Schierholtz in RF against LHP. David DeJesus, however, has a harder time hitting lefties than Schierholtz does, but Sappelt is stretched in CF.  The Cubs could try Tony Campana in that role but he's more of a niche player with one tool, albeit an outstanding one.  In my opinion, they should pick up someone like the non-tendered Andres Torres.  Torres can spell DeJesus vs. LHP and double as a late inning defensive replacement.  CF is probably the weakest defensive position in what is otherwise a pretty strong Cubs defense right now, and unless Campana has made strides with the bat and glove, then the Cubs should pick up someone who can fit the Cubs OF needs better.
  • A veteran bullpen arm:  We know the Cubs made a play for Jason Grilli and he is still undecided as of this writing, though some media reports had him close to signing with Pittsburgh.  The Cubs will likely have one pitcher, Hector Rondon, who will have to serve as mop-up man.  The Cubs may not want another young, inconsistent pitcher in the bullpen along with him, especially since good, but erratic arms like Rafael Dolis and Jeff Beliveau still have options and can hone their craft in Iowa.  What also must be taken into consideration is that the Cubs may end up dealing Carlos Marmol before the season starts, causing some pitchers to have to step up and take bigger roles.  You'd rather that be a veteran if you can help it.
  • Some depth at starting pitching: Scott Baker is likely to start the season on the DL and the hope is that he can make it back shortly after the season starts, perhaps by May or even earlier.  Even with a healthy Baker, you'd like to have depth simply because it's rare for a team to need just 5 starters today.  The Cubs depth right now consists of Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, and Nick Struck.  They also have Arodys Vizcaino and Alberto Cabrera, but both pitchers are going to need to be stretched out for a while before they can be counted on in the rotation.  With roster space limited, I wonder if the Cubs would consider killing two birds with one stone here.  They need a 2nd LHP since, unless Marmol is traded, the bullpen arm likely to be displaced would be Jeff Beliveau.  In that vein, perhaps the Cubs can pick up a LHSP whom they can use as a starter early and then slide into the bullpen until needed as a starter again, perhaps as soon as the trade deadline.  John Lannan is the most experienced LH arm, but he may be a tough get.  The Cubs may need to get creative by taking a flyer on someone like Scott Kazmir or Manny Parra.  Both pitchers have experience as starters but are best served in the bullpen.  Also as mentioned, there are plenty of mid-tier SPs still unsigned on the FA market if the Cubs are willing to be patient and wait.  Of those names, Carlos Villanueva stands out as a pitcher who can swing between the rotation and the bullpen.

Interchangeable parts

It's probably too early to discuss this now, but it's obvious that the Cubs will pick up players on short term deals in the hopes that they add value if given an opportunity to perform.  Last year it was Paul Maholm who came and went.  This year that piece could be pitchers Scott Baker and/or Scott Feldman, though that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. It's possible that some of these pickups will find a home here in Chicago if they prove they can fit into the long term plan.   This is especially true if the Cubs make enough progress where they think they're in position to make a run in 2014.  Of course, if the Cubs don't make enough progress and don't think they're close, then it's probably best to trade them and recoup assets who fit better long term.

I think eventually this system, like those Bulls teams, will run like a well-oiled machine, especially once the Cubs are cranking out talent from their farm.  But we'll probably see a lot of fits and starts in 2013 as the Cubs look to fill multiple roles with flyers and inexpensive veterans looking for an opportunity.

So fasten your seat belts.  It's going to be a bumpy year.

But it may just be the one that gets the Cubs headed in the right direction.

Filed under: 2013 Offseason Series

Comments

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  • It's going to be a slow process. Just have to trade our players
    when its to our advantage. Pick up, through any means,
    players here and there to fit certain roles. In about a year then
    go after a big FA or trade prospects for the one guy we need.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    If you want to do it right, unfortunately it is. As I said before, I want the Cubs to be the Texas Rangers, a team that's a favorite year in and year out. We've already experienced the one and done playoff teams. I want this team to have a shot every season.

  • Inge's and Polanco's stats are eerily similar. Either one might be a good add.

  • I like Polanco's bat but Inge's athleticism and versatility. Great if you could combine them into one, but if that were the case, that player would probably be the best 3B in this market and get overpaid.

    I think if I had to choose, I'd go with Inge because he affords you more roster flexibility.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's a buyer's market. Between the regular free agents and the non-tenders, there are a lot of players on the market. Not to mention who might be available via trade.

  • Both are better than Stewart.

    But then again, so is the retarded kid that lives down the street.

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    In reply to Vinny:

    Stewart also has a substantially higher ceiling and is coming off a surgery that may just have discovered why the wrist never healed. For a team in the middle of a deep rebuild, taking Stewart for a non-guaranteed contract is a no-brainer.

  • In reply to Vinny:

    Not a kind opinion of people who are blameless for their condition.

  • I cannot help but be intrigued by the lack thus far of an announcement by Grilli.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    It is strange. One report had him all but signed with the Pirates.

  • The only way the Cubs would sign Dempster is if he'd come for way under market value- that's way,way under. The FO wants nothing to do with him. The issues run deeper than the trade deadline screw-up.

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    In reply to Cuyler:

    That's my read on the situation, too. Do you have anything to back it up, or just gut feeling?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    More than a gut feeling. Suiffice it to say there was a lot more going on with the Dempster situation than we were told.

  • In reply to Cuyler:

    Was he a prima donna?

  • In reply to BBullerman:

    Don't believe everything you read.

  • Good stuff, John. Like the Bulls analogy and to add the new Bulls also went the route of building through the draft with a core. They started out with a team based on draft picks like Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Deng, Chandler. Then they got lucky and got Rose, then spent big on Boozer who they thought was the missing piece once they built up a team. They also had a chance to get Lebron James and other highly touted FAs that year.

    I was just about to ask about Carlos Villanueva I haven't heard much about him since the start of the off-season. Seems like a guy that can definitely slot into the bullpen and then start in case of injury or start the season in place of Baker or pick up duties after some July deals. The problem though is he probably wants a starting job and the Cubs can't exactly guarantee that unless Garza gets dealt. Although if we're looking to fill a LHSP/swingman void I'd like to gamble on Liriano. Bosio would have his work cut out for him though.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Thanks and it's a good point as far as luck goes. The Cubs will hope they get lucky with Baez, Almora, and whomever they pick at #2 next year.

    As far as that current Bulls team, they did exactly what you hope for, they put themselves in position to win the last two years until Rose got hurt.

    I think you're right. Villanueva is slipping through the cracks because of his desire to be a full-time starter. The feeling I get is most teams feel he can't handle that load. Perhaps if the Cubs sign him and offer him a chance to win a rotation job to start the season, perhaps he'll bite. If he pitches well, he stays in. If not, he moves to the bullpen when Baker is ready. He could also move back into the rotation if the Cubs make a trade.

    Liriano makes some sense too because of his relative youth and upside. Manny Parra is the poor man's version.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I totally forgot about Villanueva. Hed be perfect to start the season in the rotation, head to the bp when Baker is back, then perhaps back to the rotation after the deadline (unless he is flipped too).

    Ultimately I think the FO is sitting back to give a pillow deal (is thats what it's called?) to a quality SP that can't get their desired long term deal (EJax, Demp).

    Im also keeping an eye out for Karstens & Lannan. I think Lannans numbers translate to Wrigley very well.

  • John, I have been reading Cubs Den for more than a year. I am addicted to Cubs Den, and especially enjoy reading the intelligent, thoughtful comments of my fellow faithful Cubs fan brethren. This is my first-ever comment...

    The free agent market is still evolving, but I would love to see a move for another SP. Marcum, Liriano and Parra (as a RP) are each good possibilities. The most intriguing guy to me is Edwin Jackson. He could be a good multi-year value signing on a 3-4 year deal. It would not shock me to see him emerge as one of the team's core pieces. Yet, if the FO structures it properly, his contract coupled with Jackson's skill-set could make him an appealing piece for a contender down the road. This would setup nicely with Travis Wood serving as a second LH in the pen and a swing guy for the rotation. I realize that would make the rotation totally RH, but Wood has the stuff to be successful in that role.

    In my opinion, Schierholtz will emerge as one of those complementary core guys you described. He reminds me of a young, more athletic Dwight Evans. I also believe he can hit 15-20 HR with 500+ AB. Torres would be a teriffic signing.

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    In reply to Getmonty2:

    Welcome aboard -- this a really great first comment. I like Jackson a lot, too, and am starting to think there's a decent chance we can grab him for cheap as the off-season plays out. He really does give us a lot of flexibility.

  • In reply to Getmonty2:

    Thanks Getmonty!

    I wouldn't be opposed to Jackson on a multi-year deal. I think he'd jump at a 3 year deal. He's still young enough to be a horse in the middle of that rotation, something a young staff is going to need, especially if Garza is dealt or allowed to leave through free agency.

    Wood's ultimate role may be in the bullpen. As of now, I don't blame the Cubs for trying to extract as much value as possible by seeing if he can start.

    Those are some high hopes for Shierholtz. Physically, he looks the part and hes got athleticism and strength. Just hasn't been able to translate strength into usable power. Sometimes that comes late in a player's career, and like you said, maybe the opportunity for steady playing time is what he needs. Perhaps a fresh pair of coaching eyes helps too. Maybe Rob Deer can help him tap into that power potential?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have to believe there's a reason, or more than one, that Jackson is always on a 1 year deal.

  • Yes, that's possible.

    It's odd, but sometimes the fact that he only gets one year deals and is always getting traded is in itself a red flag. Teams can't help but wonder why nobody wants to keep a guy long term. I'd be willing to bet some teams wondered how Matt Garza could be so talented yet have been on 3 organizations by the age of 27.

    Sometimes when you're outside the organization it's tough to get a good feel on a player's makeup. Theo himself said that Soriano was completely different than what he thought of him from the outside. I suspect teams are still wary of Soriano without real good reason to feel that way.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I only heard good things about Jackson when he was with the White Sox, and remember Cooper often raving about him. I think we can all agree that the Williams-Guillen-Cooper combo was/is a pretty no-nonsense bunch.

  • Jackson has appeal because his stuff has the potential of a 1 or 2 SP. His command is often lacking, which is why he'll likely remain a middle-of-the-rotation guy. (He walked 6-7 guys with 130+ pitches in his no-hitter.)

    Consider, however, the circumstances with which he was traded. The Rays traded from a position of strength for offense (Joyce). The Tigers traded him in the three-way deal with the NYY & ARZ, shedding themselves of Granderson ($$) and getting Austin Jackson & Max Scherzer. The next season a bad ARZ team traded him before the deadline to the White Sox (for the stretch run), and got a good young, cost-controlled Daniel Hudson. The White Sox traded him away because they were not contending the next season, and already had considerable $$ invested in their rotation (and had a decision to make on Danks, too). Jackson performed admirably for the Cards during their stretch, playoff and WS run, and moved on when they deemed him too expensive as a FA. Boras over-estimated the market last offseason, and the Nats got good value from him this offseason. This year, the Nats, already having very good SP, had other needs and a limited budget.

    I agree with John. Jackson may jump at a 3 year offer; he's no longer repped by Boras. He's young enough to become a core guy, especially if he harnesses his command issues. Yet he has the kind of stuff that will always have value to a contending team. Once again, the key is not over-paying, which the Cubs should not have to do, so he can be a tradeable asset for this or next year.

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    You and Tom really have this Winter Meetings covered from all angles this year. Nice job.

    The way they've treated center field compared to other positions makes me think they're believers in Brett Jackson's new swing. We saw them jump on pitchers. We know they were in on Keppinger to play third. We know they signed a right fielder with more pop than DDJ. But center they were happy to use DDJ as a stopgap in. That suggests to me they don't see it being a problem beyond the first 2 months.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks Mike.

    I really hope Brett Jackson's new swing translates into success at the plate. It was a risk revamping it, but if he doesn't cut down on those Ks, his future is in jeopardy anyway. The Cubs seem to be optimistic, however, and he would make all the problems go away if he can hit -- especially since he hits LHP pretty well. No need to platoon with him.

    What I like about Torres is he can easily slip into 4th OF'er mode. If Jackson is ready and you have a Shierholtz/Sappelt platoon in RF, Torres becomes you defensive replacement for Alfonso Soriano. Then again, if Soriano is dealt and DeJesus moves to left, then the Cubs will have little need for a defensive replacement, but he could still spell DeJesus against LHP.

    No matter how I try to shake it out, I think the Cubs need to add someone out there.

    Campana is a tough fit on this team. He could be a real weapon off the bench on a team that has a solid starting 3 and can afford the luxury of a niche player. But that team isnt the Cubs, in my opinion.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think we disagree only in minor parts. I agree Campana isn't the guy. His hit tool is so bad, I'm not sure anyone can carry him even as a niche player. It's sad, because I like the guy, but that's where it is.

    Right now, I think the Cubs 5 outfielders are:
    Soriano
    DDJ
    Shierholtz
    Sappelt
    Bogusevic

    Bogusevic is the questionable one there. He had a really good year for an outfielder in 2011, and then stunk it up in 2012. Bill James has a big bounce back year called for him. (For a fifth outfielder, anyway.) In addition, he isn't all that good against lefties, so if Sveum controls his at bats to be mostly against righties -- not that difficult with Sappelt and DDJ on the roster -- that alone should improve his numbers. He also brings decent defense and a cannon of an arm, all things I like in my fifth outfielder.

    If they can find someone better,they probably will, but I'm happy-ish with that five.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, dead wrong on DDJ against lefties. Think I confused him and Reed in my mind. Okay, you're right, lefties are an issue, and Torres could help there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Would like for a way to see what Bogusevic has but getting the feeling he'll be depth at AAA.

    DeJesus was just frightening against LHP. At this point I really do think they need to maximize his value (to the team, not trade value) with a platoon.

    If the Cubs can't get a RH guy who can play CF, then I think Id prefer Shierholtz playing everyday and having Sappelt spell DeJesus in CF. But I don't really like either of those guys defensively in CF as of today. Maybe McKay can work some more magic with one or both.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I knew DDJ was a platoon guy -- just had the wrong side in my mind. Almost as soon as I posted it, I realized that Sappelt/DDJ was a platoon option, and figured I had it wrong.

    Honestly, this article marks the first time I've given much thought to outfield depth because, until we know who Sori is playing for (and what the return for him is), all of this seems to be written in pencil. But, it is time to start thinking about it, because only two-plus months to spring training.

  • John,
    I am surprised you didn't put DeJesus as a tradable asset.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I really thought about it. But I've only seen speculation from Morosi, nothing close to concrete.

    DeJesus may just one of those players who could have more value to the team than anything he could possibly bring back in a trade. If Morosi is right and Seattle is willing to give up young pitching, I'm all for it. But right now I don't see any smoke on a DeJesus deal.

    Another guy some have talked about trading is Darwin Barney, but in some ways I think he's a lot like DeJesus in that he's more valuable to the team than anything he might be able to fetch in a trade.

    Like the other guys on the list, if someone wants to give up something of value, then the Cubs shouldn't hesitate.

  • I really like Inge as well, watched him play a number of years ago as a catcher for the Toledo Mudhens. Love his athleticism and power. Love Jackson in the rotation too. Partnered with Garza, Smardzija, Feldman, Wood and Baker is impressive. With Vizcaino and Cabrera in the wings? Actually would give a fan a glimmer of hope for a competitive team in 2013? With a decent defense? It wouldn't take drinking much kool-ade to be optimistic? If nothing else it gives us many trade chips to build on . . .

  • In reply to ddbennett34:

    We have to be optimistic in December, right? There will plenty of time for frustration this summer if things don't work out. December - April is that time when we just know everything is going to work out as planned :)

    In all seriousness, there are some reasons for hope that the Cubs will make some progress this year. A few things have to fall into place but if you can at least get good pitching and defense, you can keep yourself in games and make the other teams beat you, which has been half the battle with the Cubs the past few years.

  • Dempster added a couple of items to his team preference list. He'd like to sign with a National League team that has their Spring Training in Arizona. Brewers?

  • Which is why he turned down Boston, which fits none of the criteria. Didn't want to blindside himself.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you guys get the feeling that Dempster wildly overvalues his bargaining position?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I defintely get that feeling. The cubs should stay away from him. After what happened in that proposed trade you would think he'd see more of the fault being on his end and not on the cubs end. Don't think the fans would accept him back so readily either.

  • And make sure the room service is delivered exactly at wake up for Mr Dempster 11:30 Am sharp. Also He must have serial numbered towels and a dead sea salt tubby prepared.daily .

  • Got my fingers crossed for Carlos Villanueva. Little bummed we didn't go after Uehara with him going so low to Boston, but with it only being a one-year deal, maybe we'll pursue him next year.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think Villanueva is a great fit right now if they can convince him to split time between rotation and bullpen.

    I actually preferred Uehara to Grilli, but I'm sure there's something they know that I don't.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    4.25 million for a 38 year old set-up man is low?

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    Scott Kazmir might finally interesting again because it sounds like his velocity is back, according to reports out of Winter Ball. I think he threw in front of half a dozen or more teams last week, so there are likely many suitors.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    I would love this. Minor league deal. Chance to make the rotation. The Cubs might interest him because he actually does have a chance to make the rotation. (As opposed to, say, the Rangers where is AAA depth guy for sure.)

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I hope one of our guys was there watching him. I hope we can
    give him a chance.

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    Edwin Jackson's average WAR over the last 3 years has been 3.5. Based on that, he's worth about $12.25M per. I could see the Cubs offering Jackson a 3 year/$36M deal plus incentives that could get it to $39M.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I would be happy with that deal. He's been a very good pitcher. But I'm not so sure the timing is right yet to be handing out any contracts like that.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Are you kidding? On a deal like that, Jackson becomes a flippable asset if he's throwing well.

  • Any players still out there have to agree to the Cubs terms if they
    want to be a Cub.

  • Good value considering he and Anibal Sanchez are very similar pitchers. Sanchez is reportedly seeking 6yrs./$90M.

  • John, with greinke reportedly close to signing with the dodgers, do you think there is any chance the rangers would have interest in Garza now? I think would be great fit for both teams.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Sure doesnt hurt . Betting Texas sets its sights on Sanchez now and or sign Hamilton back.

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Hamilton has to be smiling tonight. He probably doesn't have to go play in Seattle (not that the city is bad, just the franchise).

    (Personally, I'd rather live in Seattle than Texas, but if you want to win it's a no-brainer)

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Texas could also turn to Tampa and James Shields. Tampa has doesn't need pitching. It has plenty of that. It needs and wants bats, and Texas has them to spare. That match up doesn't get any more perfect than that. Tampa would probably insist on Mike Olt, and when he's ready, they'd just slide Longoria over to first base.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Tampa in a good spot . Arms are a premium right now.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'd take Garza over Sanchez

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    i would too if Garza is healthy,

  • not Cubs but let the dominos start, Grienke 6 years 144 million . GROSS overpay by the Dodgers . paying 1 money for a 2 the 35th ranked pitcher stat wise gets the largest contract ever to a RH pitcher . NUTS!!!!

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Over 24 mil per year on average. Insane. I believe that's the 3rd highest pitcher contract ever, only behind Sabathia and Cliff Lee? Hamels deal might have been more also.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Grienke is 145 million , hamels was 144 mil , Grienke biggest contract ever to a RHP . Just wow what an overpay .

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Heyman is now reporting Grienke's deal is 147 mil.

  • Let's hope that by the end of ST Garza shows enough to be wanted.

  • How about De Aza from the White Sox? He has really grown as a player. He's got speed, a good bat and plays the outfield well.

  • I think Dempster has a very good idea what his value is. coming off an excellent year at a time when pitching is scarce and teams are about to get substantial extra TV money, he is likely to get pretty much what he wants, and is right to be choosy at this point in his career.

    He really likes Chicago, and contrary to opinion, the Cubs also like him. If he is willing to give a reasonable home town discount, there is still a good chance that he comes back with the Cubs, which I would love to see.

    But I would prefer to go after Anibel Sanchez.

  • Great detailed analysis, John, and a good discussion by our fellow readers.
    I love the analogy to the multi-championship Bulls organization. One burning question though: If Castro is our MJ, and Samardzija is our Pippen, and Rizzo is our Luc Longley, who will be our Dickey Simpkins?

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    Zach Greinke to the Dodgers looks like its happening. 6/145. That payroll is beyond obscene.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The only thing more obscene is how Magic Johnson butchers the English language!!!! It's gonna be funny to see them crap the bed yet again

  • It is very frustrating to listen to MLB.radio and here Cubs fans calling up and screaming about not spending money. It is as if they have no clue, or no idea of how to, or not to build a team. Yet if this Administration built a similar squad to the Derrick Lee, Alfonso, Ramirez days, they would be screaming about not spending another $150million on Pujols. I understand what I am hearing, but it sure frustrates me. I am willing to see this through. In truth, I hope the Cubs lose 100 games this year and get the first draft pick, or they challenge nipping at the heals of the Reds and Cards. I'll take either. But not the middle ground. And if Appel isn't the best and most talented at the time of the draft, if Austin Meadows is, I hope they draft him. Pick the best!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    I don't believe Appel or Meadows are the top picks. It is my opinion that would be Frazier and Manaea.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    good thing is the draft is still 7 months away and the creme will rise to the top. Astros can only take 1 so I am sure Jed /Theo get a good player. I do feel like whoever passes on Frazier will regret it. More I see his tapes the more He grows on You.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Very good analysis. I don't know about Frazier or Appel, or who will be the cream. But they will let the Admin. know.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I agree Kevin. Manaea just needs to develop his secondaries more and he's head & shoulders above everyone. I'm not a scout like you, but I'm reading that Manaea still has projection left. That's a little scary....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think its more like refining his secondary pitches. Maneae has a plus FB, shows a plus SL at times and a newly developed changeup with plus potential. He has shown amazing control that can easily command do to his athleticism.

  • WTF are the Dodgers doing?.... They just signed Greinke to a $147MM deal. Tonight is the deadline to sign Ryu and they don't sign him, they have announced that they'll pursue Anibal Sanchez?.... Wow!

    Whats the over/under on the time-frame for the implosion?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    1 season.

  • My dearest hope is that when the Cubs are ready to play the front runner (in 2015 please), the Dodgers will be playing the role of the 2009 Cubs: Old, expensive, declining and frustrating.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Their TV deal changes everything. This might hurt them long term, but they really can afford this. It's all kinds of suck, but the Cubs are a mid-market team right now. Yet another reason to really like what Theo is doing.

  • Why is Greinke such and over pay? Teams look at WAR, and put a lot of weight to it. Greinke has been a 5.0 WAR pitcher 4 of the last 5 seasons. He was a 9 WAR in 2009. At 5 million per win above replacement, which is where the salaries are right now, that comes out to right where the AAV is.
    Now whether he will continue to pitch at a 5.0 level and be able to handle the pressure of such a big contract, I leave that up to you. But that is what he is worth based on past performance.

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    Given the salaries that have been handed out already, I really don't think it's all that much of an overpay. My frustration is that the Dodgers are capable of buying, literally, every good player on the market. They locked down Ryu, a guy they aren't even going to sign, just because they might need him. That was a $25 million insurance policy. Insane doesn't begin to cover the money they're throwing around.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just curious, do you know when Ryu is available again for posting if the Dodgers don't sign him?

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    In reply to John57:

    If I understand the rules correctly, next off-season.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dodgers signed Ryu, now have 8 starters signed for the upcoming season.

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    And are supposedly in on Anibal Sanchez. This is just so dumb.

  • Why does everyone wan to play for the Dodgers today?

    1 - Lots of money coming in from the tv contract
    2 - It L.A., Hollywood, etc
    3 - Big name players on the roster already

    Forget about the Dodgers, Greinke, all their money....they will be like the 2012 Marlins in the coming years......Mattingly is already on the hot seat if he is not winning by June.......

    When the Cubs have their own money making network similar to the Yankees, every superstar player and their mother will want to play in Chicago.....agents like Boras will be kissing Theo's butt by then to get a piece of that tv revenue money..........Theo learned from his mistakes on what he did in Boston......there will be no Sam Zell type of spending on players who are over-rated by Theo.....theory on the Cubs if you want to have a big contract, you need to be under 30 and about to get into your prime.

    I believe Greinke would have been better off he stayed with the Angels.

  • The more that I think about it, the more EJax makes sense-presuming it would be 2 to 3yrs.

    It's hard to imagine that he wouldn't provide value , either on the field or as a flippable asset. His performance has been extremely steady and fairly solid over the last several years. It would also leave us with an SPgroup including Baker, Garz, Shark, EJax, Wood, and Feldman-not bad.

    The benefits of that type of depth are multi-fold. First off, if a couple of things broke right- namely on offense- you might be surprisingly competitive. Secondly, you have several moveable pieces-provided health and performance- if the teams struggles, as would be quite possible. Thirdly, you're really not sacrificing any long-term flexibility , as EJax would be the only commitment beyond '13, saving a preemptive Shark extension.

    Jedstein has maintained from day one that developing/acquiring talent & depth in the rotation is one of their top objectives; the re-shaping of the farm being foremost. Signing EJax is another step in that direction and serves as a nice hedge in the event that Garza either doesn't prove healthy or doesn't yield the type of top-end SP prospects that we're hoping for. We can certainly take on another 12-14 mil on the payroll without sacrificing the other critical goals, especially considering we'll likely be losing Garza's $ before too long.

    Thoughts?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I am sure if Epstein/Hoyer think EJax is a right fit for the Cubs now, they will go after him. It is nice to have options and he is one more option to consider.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'm on board with that all the way. Even on a 3 year deal if the money is right. He's got good stuff, man. At the very least he'd be a very flippable asset. At most he has three or maybe a couple more really solid seasons like Dempster did. I'd like to see the Cubs offer him 2yrs 25 with an option or maybe even 3 & 35 and see what he says...

  • In reply to Ben20:

    He's pretty much your ideal #3 or 4 guy. Probably like a 3.5. Durable with good stuff and is capable of dialing it up like a #1 once every 3 or 4 outings. Cubs should swoop in before the bidding gets steep.

  • Pitchers Cubs should go after in this order...

    Carlos Villanueva
    Shawn Marcum
    Francisco Liriano

  • MLB is looking at players who are "At Risk:" of hurting themselves or others.......this came about on what happen with the KC player last week.

    Two names that came to mind first were Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley.

  • I' still like to see the Cubs check on Brett Myers, who has expressed his desire to get stretched out so he can return to starting. I'd love to see him offered a minor league contract with some incentives.

  • I would be okay with signing Jackson to a 3-year deal, and here is why. All three of our possible SP trade chips this year (Garza, Baker, and Feldman have less trade value because their deals are only one-year contracts, and two of those guys are coming off of injury. You can say that one, or all, can be extended if they prove to be a usable asset for a contending team, but we really have no guarantee that we can re-sign any of them, particularly with the contracts we've seen thrown around this off-season.

    Signing Jackson to a 3-year deal now does a couple of things. First, it provides a middle of the rotation starter for 3 years, which will come in handy if the team is looking to start competing in 2014 and 2015 (I don't have any illusions of the team competing this season). His contract will be significantly less to sign this off-season than a similar pitcher will cost next season, when everybody has television money to sign free agents with.

    Second, if the Cubs are out of contention, and decide they need to flip someone, Jackson's contract will provide some extra value because it will have more time left on the deal - I tend to think that an organization would be willing to give up more prospects if they receive a reliable arm with some time left on their deal...particularly with salaries skyrocketing the way they are. I see this as a no-lose deal, except for if he gets injured (you take this risk with every player). It's one of the reasons that I've favored extending Garza, to not only drive up his value but make sure that we have a solid arm when we are ready to compete. It is cheaper to extend these deals now than paying on the free agent market in another year or two.

    This just makes sense to me...somebody could probably counter that argument.

  • In reply to TheSinisterUrge:

    Amen! Given the inflation in the mkt, it makes even more sense.

    It seems like we're well on our way to developing some impact, everyday players. If
    Cabrera and/or Vizcaino can develop in the rotation, contention may come sooner than we thought.

  • Olney a couple of hours ago tweeted that the Rangers are very open to trading Mike Olt , I imagine they are thinking Rays but it sure would be nice If the Cubs could get him .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Supposedly, the Mets turned down Olt for Dickey.

  • Mets are stupid, I realize Wright is there but Dickey is like 60 years old and Olt could play another position or be flipped.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Well put! That's why the Mets are the Mets.

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    It has to be Garza. And Garza has to be healthy.

    Frustrating, no?

  • Dodgers sign Ryu.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgersnow/la-sp-dn-ryu-signs-20121209,0,6996319.story

  • In reply to Getmonty2:

    The Cubs were interested in Capuano once, might be again.

  • I agree!!! I know no one knows how Garza will end up, but it would be great to keep building the future now! Maybe trading Garza & Marmol for Olt, give or take a few players. Giving what the Rangers did on our last trade, if Garza doesn't work out ( barirng an injury ) we could repay the favor.

  • I can think of a 3B/utility type infielder who can play a little 2nd and OF and hits lefties. Jeff Baker. Kinda fits that role to a T, huh?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ben20:

    For some reason Sveum never played Baker at 3B last year for even one game, choosing to play Mather over him. That one always had me wondering why our manager took a career OF'er and put him at 3B and a career 3B and put him in the OF in the same lineup.

    Baker would be a good fit, assuming he is healthy.

  • Marc Topkin ‏@TBTimes_Rays
    Hearing #Rays have traded Shields AND Davis to #Royals. Working on confirmation and return...

    Has to include Myers...

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Seriously, how much does Garza's injury suck?

  • Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
    Source: #Rays will send James Shields and Wade Davis to #Royals for Wil Myers and other prospects.

    Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick
    Hearing that Shields, Davis and Myers aren't only names in trade. It's bigger than that, source said. #rays #royals

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Wow. Good for the Royals though, being aggressive at the right time.

  • fb_avatar

    Ken_Rosenthal: Trade: #Rays send Shields, Davis and a player to be named or cash to #Royals for Myers, Odorizzi, Montogmery, Leonard.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    I think that's lefty SP Mike Montgomery, 22 yrs old, but has not pitched well in the minors. Odorozzi was a good SP prospect KC got from Mil in the Grienke trade. I don't know who Leonard is, not on KC's 40 man.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    This is a horrible trade for the Royals. Dayton Moore needs to be fired immediately.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Was the Joe Carter/Rick Sutcliffe trade horrible for the Cubs?

    I can see both sides of this deal. At least it's a real baseball trade and not a salary dump. But Myers does look like he will dominate MLB. Unless he's the next Brad Komminsk.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    If it was just Myers, that's one thing. It was Myers (top 5 prospect), their #1 pitching prospect, and their best lefty pitching prospect. This was highway robbery.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    KC's "Best" SP prospect, Montgomery, has completely flamed out the last two years. His WHIP in 2011 soared to 1.50 and 2012 was worse at 1.62.

    Odorozzi is a good prospect but KC got an established version of him on a cheap team controlled 5 year deal in Davis. Odorozzi doesn't project as an ace.

    Leonard is too far away from the majors to know anything yet. But he does play a position of depth for both KC and TB, each has a young stud 3b in the majors.

    But that leaves Myers for Shields. On it's own, that's been argued by both sides it's not enough either way. TB wanted more than just Myers for Shields. But the problem I have is only having Shields for 2 years.

    It also depends on what the PTBNL is like going to KC.

    In an ideal world, KC would have just signed Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson and kept Myers. But we also don't know if either of those guys would sign in KC (and KC gets Shields and Davis combined for the price of one of those guys).

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Best LHP I meant. Odorozzi was their best SP prospect.

  • Marc Topkin ‏@TBTimes_Rays
    Huge #Rays trade is Shields AND Davis (and PTBNL) to #Royals for OF Myers, RHP Odorizzi, LHP Montgomery, 3B Leonard

    Just wow...KC is going for it...Rays just keep getting better.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Texas is running out of options to upgrade thier rotation.

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Annibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, some other free agents, and whatever might be on the trade market. Still some choices.

  • Price or Sanchez or wait for Garza . I cant believe the Royals sent Myers and others and didnt require Price instead of Shields .

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'm kinda speechless how bad the trade was. Just horrible.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Shields had the same 1.10 combined WHIP as Price the last two years. He's been overshadowed by Price. But he is 4 years older.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    that is why Price is more valuable among other reasons mainly Price is flat out better . Have to get Price for Myers .

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree. But the Rays were absolutely not trading Price, so you sit on Myers. This was a bad trade in so many different ways.

  • well precedent has been set on what the value is for a #2 , Shields / Garza are very similar in value. I am sure Theo will point to this trade to set Garza's value .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    But Shield had one more year of control.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't think Garza is in James Shields' category, but regardless, Shields has 2 years of team control left. Garza only has 1, and if he's traded after opening day he won't even bring compensation for his new team, so his trade value isn't as high.

    The Cubs are really in a bind here. If Garza proves he's healthy it's probably best to just try to extend him for 3 years if he's willing to sign for a fair price and not have a no trade clause.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    Spring training. And the Rangers just became motivated buyers.

  • fb_avatar

    Rob Neyer on the deal, My quick take: This is the worst trade in MLB history unless Wade Davis becomes a good starter, in which case it's only the second worst.

    https://twitter.com/robneyer/status/277990049986011136

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Neyer can be over the top sometimes. There's no way this can be the worst trade in history, even if Myers turns out to be the stud everyone thinks. KC gets an ace for 2 years at below market salary and 5 years of team control on Davis, a league average or slightly/talent to be slightly/ above avg SP.

    People are also trying to belittle Davis' value by saying he wasn't good enough to be a SP last year. He was in TB's bullpen because of their overloaded SP depth. Someone had to be in the pen. He was a good SP for the two years before that.

    I'm not saying I would have made this trade if I were KC, but I can see the value they did get back. And look at the other 3 guys they gave up - Odorozzi projects as a Wade Davis type, not an ace but avg to slightly above avg. - Montgomery has been a total bust. The 3B Leonard has only played Rookie ball, has another 4-5 years before he "might" reach the majors.

    It would be a better trade for KC if Shields were younger with more years of team control - i.e. David Price.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    You're trading the second or third best prospect in all of baseball for a 31-year old pitcher. You've been induced to include your top pitching prospects and a truly excellent young third baseman in the bargain. This is not even close to a good deal. Moore got completely hosed on this.

    Maybe they don't make it. He could have gotten so much more value for those guys, though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    "a truly excellent young third baseman" who was a 5th round pick anyone could have had who has only played in Rookie Ball. It's far too early to be talking about Leonard like he's a stud. And KC has Moustakas at 3B (and TB has Longoria signed until the Sun implodes).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    What's your point on 5th round pick? Albert Pujols was a 13th round pick. Sometimes guys develop after being picked. Leonard was starting to show up on prospect lists as a breakout candidate. By himself, not a big deal. As an inclusion in an already one-sided trade? Nuts.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    John Sickels on the trade: My initial reaction is that this is completely insane.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/12/9/3749448/royals-trade-farm-system-for-31-year-old-pitcher

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Royals blogger Rany Jazayerli, co-founder of BP, on the trade:
    Complete Analysis of the Myers-Shields Trade.
    This sucks.

    http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2012/12/complete-analysis-of-myers-shields-trade.html

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    And if Myers is the next Brad Komminsk - who had better career minor league stats than Myers before he got called up, then KC ripped off TB.

    Again, I likely wouldn't have made the deal, but I can see KC's reasoning.

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