Lots of talk from the Cubs front office lately with the recent signings of Nate Schierholtz and Edwin Jackson.
We'll start with Theo Epstein as he spoke on WEEI and had some interesting things to say about the Cubs rebuilding process. It's especially timely because some of the subject matter relates closely to things we touched on in the article and in our comments section yesterday.
- As we speculated, Epstein isn't exactly eager to give up a draft pick to sign a free agent. He mentioned, as we have, that this year's pick is equivalent to a high 1st round supplemental (somewhere in the 40th pick range). The Cubs intend to stockpile amateur talent and the new CBA limits their ability to do that if they don't have picks at the top of the draft.
Epstein had this to say (you can listen for yourself here but CSN's Patrick Mooney transcribed much of the Cubs/draft pick compensation portion here in his article, which you can check out here. And if you really want a complete transcript, then I present you with this from CCO.
“There aren’t multiple paths into the amateur marketplace anymore. In the past, you could give up a high pick and realize you were going to overpay someone later on. You could give up a couple draft picks and realize that you’d just go out and try to dominate international free agency that year. You just don’t have the ability to do those things anymore.
“So when you surrender a draft pick and the pool space that goes with it, you’re really admitting that you’re not going to have as impactful a draft that year as you would otherwise, and that’s something that’s really hard to do, given the price of free agents these days and just how meaningful it is to develop your own talent and have that player under control for six years.
“It’s really hard to say: ‘Hey, we’re trying to build a healthy organization, but we’re going to do it while admitting our draft is not going to be quite as impactful this year.’
“You’re seeing a real premium placed on the draft picks and the pool space that goes with it for good reason. But I think it’s a little bit unfortunate the effect it’s had on certain free agents when there’s no rhyme or reason to it. I feel like the single best thing that can happen to a prospective free agent in his platform year is getting traded, because it removes the burden of the draft-pick compensation.”
Similarly, Jed Hoyer said,
“It certainly was an attractive thing. If you look at the trend of the market, a lot of the players that didn’t have draft-pick compensation have gone off the board already. It wasn’t the reason we were attracted to him, but it was certainly a nice factor.”
- It sounds like both Epstein and Hoyer were on the same page with Edwin Jackson. Hoyer mentioned he heard great things about Jackson as a teammate and both raved about his durability, age (29), excellent stuff, the ability to be a mid-rotation starter, and the possibility that he may have his best years ahead of him. This goes with what they've been saying all along, that when they do dip into free agency, especially at this stage, they will not pay for past performance. They want guys who are young and project well in the next few years. The two pitchers they pursued, Anibal Sanchez and Jackson, both fit that criteria.
- On a related note, Jordan Bernstein tweets that the Cubs never intended to sign both. Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum met with Jackson, while owner Tom Ricketts met with Sanchez in Florida.
- Carrie Muskat wrote that the Cubs expect Nate Schierholtz to be a regular in RF. The news has interesting implications in a) that he will not be platooning with Dave Sappelt and b) that it's David DeJesus in CF barring any changes. It's still possible that either Sappelt or another acquisition could give DeJesus a day off against some lefty pitchers.
“He’s certainly going to play a ton for us. We feel he’s a guy who has been undervalued and a guy who, with more at-bats, can thrive. He’s played in the NL West and playing 100 games that are tough hitters ballparks.”
In other stuff around the web...
- Bruce Levine had a chat in which he discussed free agent and trade scenarios.
- Edwin Jackson is happy to finally have stability and jokes that he's moved around a lot because, "I think everyone likes me."
- In his radio interview, Epstein also mentioned that there is an imbalance in the Cubs system where they are deep in position player talent but short on pitchers. Apart from Arodys Vizcaino, many of the Cubs top young SP arms have yet to play full season ball. Of course, we follow the minor leagues closely here and that statement shouldn't be a shock to anyone.
- In regards to free agents and draft pick compensation, MLBTradeRumors' Zach Links writes that it doesn't seem like the Cubs will be interested in Bourn or any of the other free agents who are tied to draft pick compensation. Epstein did say he wouldn't be dogmatic about that policy, that certain FAs may be worth the pick, but you really have to stretch your imagination to get the impression he was talking about anyone left in this year's class. My guess is he's talking more about guys at the Zach Greinke level.
Filed under: Uncategorized