Notes around the league: Upton, Bourn, Marcum, and more...

There has been some player movement and while this is a Cubs site, there were a few that had some connections here.

Braves acquire Justin Upton

We can officially quash any Justin Upton rumors to the Cubs as the Braves acquired their 2nd Upton of the offseason after picking up older brother B.J. Upton in free agency.

In exchange, the Braves gave up pitcher Randall Delgado, whom Cubs fans are very familiar with after the uncompleted deal for Ryan Dempster last season.  They also gave up a good third baseman in Martin Prado, a pitching prospect in Zeke Sprulli, a SS prospect in Nick Ahmed, and 1B prospect Brandon Drury.  The Braves also got 3B Chris Johnson in the exchange.

I call this a win for the Braves.  I know Upton has the red flags but the Braves have an advantage in having his older brother there to help keep him grounded.  It gives the Braves one of the more talented, under 30 OF'ers in baseball along with RF Jason Heyward.  The loss of Prado hurts a bit, but Chris Johnson should help fill some of that void.

I like this because the Braves managed to keep their team in tact while picking up a 25 year old OF'er to plug in for the foreseeable future.  Here are the players the Braves gave up...

  • Martin Prado is a player the Cubs once had interest in but had no match with the Braves.  He's a versatile player who can play good defense at a number of positions.  His bat profiles best in the IF, however, especially 2B.  But it looks like he'll play 3B for the Diamondbacks.   He was a 6 WAR player largely on the strength of his defense, solid OBP skills, average power, and solid baserunning skills.  A good ballplayer and one I'm sure the Braves didn't want to lose.  The Diamondbacks are already looking to sign him to an extension.
  • Randall Delgado is a solid starter with good, but not elite stuff.  He was the team's #3 prospect last season.  He shows a 92-94 mph fastball and a good hard curveball, probably his best pitch.  He has struggled somewhat with command in his young career and the fear I have with him is that, unlike Cubs acquisition Arodys Vizcaino, he lacks the athleticism to make development of that command easier.
  • Zeke Sprulli was the only ranked Braves prospect in the deal.  He's rated as their 9th best prospect and 6th best pitching prospect overall.  He profiles as an innings eating back of the rotation type.
  • Nick Ahmed is a good defensive SS with a questionable bat.
  • Brandon Drury is a Class A 1B who hit .229 with 6 HRs in the Sally League.

This trade was mostly about obtaining Delgado and upgrading 3B as far as AZ is concerned, but I can't help but think they sold a little low here once again.  They've telegraphed their intentions to trade Upton for 2 years now and perhaps that hurt their leverage  a bit.

Mets to sign Michael Bourn?

  • It appears the only thing preventing the Mets from signing Michael Bourn is losing that 1st round pick.  The team picks 11th and falls just outside the protected range.  They are negotiating with MLB to get an exception where they only need give up their 2nd round pick.  Apparently, it seems possible they could work some sort of deal out with some help from the MLBP (think this comp rule is getting tweaked soon?).   The question then becomes whether the Mets will be willing to meet Boras' asking price.  The Mets are looking to sign a backloaded deal.

The Mets agree with Shawn Marcum

  • Another pitcher on the Cubs radar whom some thought would be a favorite but it became clear the Cubs had set their sites elsewhere, quickly signing Scott Baker and Scott Feldman, then later adding Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva.  Marcum doesn't have front line stuff or command but has tremendous pitchability, playing up 5th starter ability into #3 starter results during his peak.  The deal is for one year but no financial terms disclosed at this time.

Nyjer Morgan signs with Japan's BayStars

  • Some readers had interest in Morgan as a poor man's Michael Bourn but Morgan's poor season as he heads into his age 33 season likely scared some teams off.  His unusual personality may have played a factor as well.

The Rays sign Kyle Farnsworth

The front office showed some mild interest in the ex-Cubs fireballer early in the offseason but quickly changed gears, opting for Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa instead.

We'll have some more on the Cubs later on today...





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  • John, Personally the Braves got J Up for very little. Prado is a decent player, not a star by any means. Delgado is an unknown yet, hasn't shown enough to be a starter, The DBacks don't lack starters in there current rotation, so if he makes the team, it will likely be in the pen. As for Marcum, good riddance. Couldn't pitch in the playoffs and his velocity has been dropping off ever since he first arrived in Milwaukee, he has arm problems and hes not a power arm, or have a good sinker/slider combo? We had a version of Marcum last year named Volstad.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I think Volstad has better stuff than Marcum but Marcum outperforms him year after year. He's a decent pitcher but I like the guys the Cubs got better.

    Curious deal by the D'Backs. Not sure they got much better. Seemed eager to rid themselves of Upton and may flip a couple of players for Porcello.

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    In keeping with the "players who've been on Cubs radar" theme: now Nightengale says that DBacks are trying to trade Ahmed to Tigers for Porcello.

  • In reply to Louie101:

    I saw that but am wary of Nightengale lately. Probably true, though.

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    The Braves got the better end of this deal, and it's a deal the Cubs could've matched without hurting themselves had they wanted to do so and Upton been willing to waive his NTC. Delgado may never be more than what he is now. Spruill is a 4/5 starter at best. Ahmed could be Gregorius' twin, and Drury doesn't do anything for me. In fact, Drury reminds me of Brian Dopirak.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm not sure the Cubs could have given them Prado or a MLB ready pitcher like Delgado. They just don't have it. They could have easily matched the prospects, though.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Ahmed > Gregorius....IMO

    Not sure what KTowers is thinking....

  • I agree that the elder brother could help moderate any behavioral issues. Or maybe that goes both ways? What are the issues anyway?

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Not a bad kid, heard he may be a bit of a diva. But he's young and has been given everything. May just need to grow up a bit.

  • D-backs got handled on this trade. While Prado is definitely better than Johnson, they aren't that far off either. So to me this shapes up to Upton for Delgado and 3 stiffs that sound like they will be lucky to have a cup of coffee in the bigs. Ouch. And to think they were asking for Castro straight up for Upton before?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    The D-Backs asked for Castro because that's how some teams bargain. Ask for a lot and then try to work towards a reasonable deal.

  • True, but you wonder how/why Texas couldn't have outdone that?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Good point!

  • Actually, thinking about it for a sec... I'm a little bummed that Theo wasn't able to beat that package for Upton. That's a weak deal.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    The D'Backs did get a quality MLB player in Prado and a solid young MLB ready starer in Delgado. I don't think the Cubs had the depth to match this deal

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, they got Prado, but they gave up Johnson. They got Delgado and the other pitching prospect, but they gave up one of the most talented young OFers in the game. To me that's a clear loss.

    Just read Law's breakdown and he's not a fan either and makes his points better than I am.

    I guess I'm saying that they really didn't get anything close to the return they were looking for.

  • Like I commented before, Upton was being traded no matter what. I think the D'Backs got a fair return for a sour & pouting player.
    Plus, the Braves are the only team J-Up could go to and thrive with his brother. Hopefully now he will smile a bit and have some fun. He is a good player, can be an elite player but, unfortunately never a leader and that's exactly what the D'Backs wanted from him all along.

    I'm really interested to see how Delgado turns out. AZ has a growing stable of quality arms to build on and Delgado & Sprulli will have a chance to grow & develop without being rushed.

    I really see Prado for Johnson a push.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    I like Prado better. He and Delgado are the keys to this deal. Minor league guys don't look like impact players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like him if they can sign him to an extension that won't break the bank. They have a kid named Matt Davidson playing 3B in the minors - AA last season hit 23 homers - could be ready in a year or two and that would let them move Prado over to second or maybe ease the blow if he wants too much coin and walks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Im guessing Towers must really like Delgado. Hed better hope he pans out, or J Upton busts completely.

  • And thus ends the two-year drinking game where you have to shotgun a beer every time Upton's name is mentioned in trade rumors.

  • Interesting trade.

    Not really sure how to call the winner on this trade, as it always raises a red flag in my mind when a team (like AZ) is trying so hard to trade a 25 yr old "multi-tool stud OFer" for anything or anybody of some value.

    These are the kind of players a team "theoretically" wants to build around. Appearantly not in AZ!

    Obviously, there was something going on there in AZ with Mr. Upton that most of us are not aware of.

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    Braves won this deal...3 years of a guy w/ all the physical tools of a MVP least 3 years of arguably the most dynamic OF in baseball.

    Prado is a fine ballplayer...very versatile on defense...and good @ every spot you could play him at too...a bona fide 300 hitter...good pop...good doubles guy....sneaky speed. Had almost a 6 WAR last season (thanks to some stellar defense)....but also, 2013 is his walk year -- entering his 30's and is desiring a 5 year deal for 10-12 M per...which he is worth.

    Delgado is good -- but (this says a lot about their pitching) -- Braves really don't need him. The minor leaguers in this deal are good guys -- but not guaranteed to be anything.

    Chris Johnson is an okay player....plays an okay 3B -- is serviceable and has had stretches where he is an above average hitter.

    The big win is acquiring Justin for 3 years and pairing him w/ his bro and Heyward in that outfield...that is epic....and...when you add in that rotation and the sickest bullpen in the NL -- this Braves team is the best on paper since their glory days IMO.

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    In reply to Chris Lattier:

    "at least 3 years of arguably the most dynamic OF in baseball." -- not saying Justin is the most dynamic OF...but the three of them combined.

  • Any Cub love for Lars Anderson?

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    He isn't worth opening a 40-man spot for. If he clears waivers and is a FA, sure, maybe......we don't have anyone else at 1B at AAA, other than maybe Vitters.

    But Anderson isn't a good prospect anymore. 3 straight mediocre years of AAA will do that

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Cubs signed Brad Nelson to play 1B at Iowa. Also possible Justin Bour gets promoted from AA

  • I'm a big Prado fan, but man it seems like the Braves came out way ahead with this one. Really makes you wonder, though, why Arizona was so eager to give up on Upton so easily.

  • Cubs need to open two roster spots now......Marmol / Campana / Lake trade happening with one or more clubs?

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Cubs may be working on trades, which is why it's taking so long to add Villanueva. Who knows who might be traded.

    I can't see us needing Campana unless we trade Soriano, but he may have value to somebody

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Here's hoping the Cubs are working on trades!

  • It's too bad the Cubs system isn't further along in the rebuild. Towers is off his meds this offseason giving up a 20 year old pitcher with possible ace potential and a 25 year old with superstar potential for pennies on the dollar. I just hope when our farm system is built up their is a GM in a similar mood at that point. He asked the Cubs for Castro and gets this in return?

  • In reply to Teddy KGB:

    It's quite a step down. Heard they also asked for Manny Machado.

  • In reply to Teddy KGB:

    Lets not forget last offseason he traded away Jared Parker. Nothing against Cahill who he got in return, but if I were Theo and Jed I'd make sure I get a seat right next to Towers at next years Winter Meetings.

  • Cubs/Indians are deep in talks regarding Soriano...Soriano has already agreed to accept deal to Cleveland per credible source PSD (ABTY (username) is the source)...not sure on the return

  • In reply to kb20:

    Heard this Indians rumor earlier......if Soriano does get traded, I say it could be Baltimore.........who the hell wants to go to Cleveland?.......if a trade does happen, look at the end of July.

  • In reply to kb20:

    Indians are one of the teams who have shown interest. Need a DH/part-time OFer type.

  • It's hard to win with 'me first' bigger than the team players(Bonds, Sosa). A team cannot win without talent, but championship teams always have chemistry. All team players don't to like each other, but all most put team first.

  • Cubs roster getting more crowded......just looking at the pitching roster while work is slow will be a battle for the last several spots for the pitching staff.....which should be is how I rank our 26 pitchers......

    1 - Samardzija...........ready to be a strong #2 pitcher
    2 - Garza....................can match up against any opposing #1 pitcher
    3 - Jackson................good #3 for now
    4 - reliever for us, but for how long?
    5 - Wood...................need to step up this season
    6 - Russell...............reliable
    7 - Fujikawa.............should help the pen
    8 - Baker...................hopefully arm is strong
    9 - Villanueva...........may move up this list
    10 - Camp...............under-rated, over used, DL candidate in 2013?
    11 -Feldman............another one who could spot start
    12 - Rondo...............will make the club an be a surprise
    13- Cabrera............summer project in Iowa, August call up
    14- Vizcano.............could be a top 5 Cubs pitcher next year
    15 - Dolis................need work on control, but I see a Lee Smith here
    16 - a numbers crunch now to make this club
    17 - McNutt............bound for Iowa
    18 - Raley..............Spot starter when called on
    19 - Rusin..............see Raley
    20 - Chapman.......might sneak in for Opening Day
    21 - Takahashi......See Chapman
    22 - Castillo............Double A bound or Waived
    23- Wade...............need to visit Iowa or be released after ST
    24 - Putman...........Iowa bound
    25 - Parker.............Has the stuff, could be here by June after rehab
    26 - his final run to return to MLB

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    cant see them cutting Castillo after carrying him all year as a rule 5 . His Minor league #s are really good , He just needs time .

  • I kind of see the Mets point. They actually had the 10th worst record in baseball last season. The Pirates jumped ahead of them with a supplemental pick at #9 by not signing Appel.

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