Time to trade for Olt is now

Time to trade for Olt is now

Yesterday I speculated that Jed Hoyer was talking about Justin Upton when he spoke of acquiring a position player “with a contract similar to (Edwin Jackson)”.  I didn’t have the exact words or context, so I went with the information available. Later that night, I came to understand that Hoyer was speaking more hypothetically, and not really even about this year.

There are some who consider Upton a budding superstar while others don’t seem to want to touch him with a 10 foot pole.  As for me, I consider him a very talented player, but the Diamondbacks strong desire to trade him the last two years raises a red flag for me.  If the Cubs were going to deal for him, I would try to buy low.  None of their core MLB’ers (Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija) and none of their top 3 prospects (Baez, Almora, Soler) should be on the table.  If that’s not enough, then so be it.  To be honest, it wouldn’t disappoint me if the Cubs went in a different direction.

That different direction should be Mike Olt.

The Rangers just added Lance Berkman to help replace Josh Hamilton’s bat while prospect Leonys Martin is ready to take his spot defensively in CF.  The Rangers now have a solid to great player at each position.  Their biggest question mark, the unproven Martin in CF, is ably backed up by Craig Gentry, an excellent 4th outfielder who could start for many teams in CF, including the Cubs.  And we still haven’t gotten to uber prospect Jurickson Profar, who’s MLB ready as well.  Olt, meanwhile, is trapped by perhaps the best 3B in the game in Adrian Beltre.

Olt fits the Cubs from a timetable standpoint as well as a skill set standpoint.  He’s a cost-controlled prospect who should be in his peak years as the Cubs finishing building their foundation and become the kind of organization that competes year in and year out.

As far as skills go, he’s athletic.  He’s a grinder at the plate who works the count.  He plays good defense.  And he hits for power.  He’s the prototype of what the Cubs are looking for in their core players.

Now Olt isn’t perfect and probably won’t be a superstar.  He does struggle to make contact at times.  He’ll strike out and he probably isn’t going to hit .300.  But a .270-.280 hitter with an OBP of .350 or better and 25 HRs is within the realm of possibility.  Couple those numbers with good defense and you have yourself a pretty good player at a position that is getting increasingly difficult to fill.

The next question then becomes what the Cubs should trade.  Well, I don't like bringing him into the equation because he's been a good pitcher and a good teammate in his time in Chicago, we know Texas has shown repeated interest in Cubs top starter Matt Garza.  Until he signs an extension, he's the Cubs best trade bait that doesn't hurt the team beyond 2013.  Texas has 3 good starters in Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison.  After that they plan to re-convert Alex Ogando to a starter and try the unproven Martin Perez in the 5th slot.  Ogando wore down late in the season as a starter.  Does Texas need to fortify that rotation?  Considering the competition is the defending champion A’s and an 89 win Angels team that added Josh Hamilton, my opinion is that they should.

Adding to the intrigue is that the Angels have some questions in their rotation after losing Zach Greinke and Dan Haren.  They’re also a candidate to pursue Garza at some point.  Perhaps the Rangers will be persuaded to part with Olt, not just to improve their own rotation, but to prevent the Angels from improving theirs.

I don’t think it’d be a straight up Garza for Olt deal.  There is an imbalance on both sides.  Garza only has one year of cost control and Olt has 6, though that cost-control is a little less important to the win-now Rangers.  What’s also important, assuming Garza is healthy, is that Texas will get a proven starter with a track record of success in the AL.  What they lose in cost control, they gain back to some degree in certainty of performance, something that has higher value for a team in the Rangers’ situation.

Remember that the Cubs were on the brink of obtaining Olt and LHP Martin Perez for Garza before his injury.  The injury to Garza plus 2 months less of cost control (since time of reported near-deal) has lessened his value somewhat since then.  However, if he proves healthy to the Rangers' satisfaction this spring, it may be advantageous to pick him up before the season starts, thus giving the team a potential comp pick if he leaves.

As usual, I’m not going to create a specific package, though I’ll say that I wouldn’t go as far as including any of the core Cubs players or top 4 prospects in a potential deal.  I’ll leave the rest to you.

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Tags: Mike Olt

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  • While Olt may be a nice pickup, I think the price to get him is prohibitive at this point. Garza has well said he likes it here, not only for himself, but for his family. It was his key selling point in getting Edwin Jackson to come here. I tend to think that Garza will be here until at least June to maximize him. If the Cubs are close to contending, I think he stays. That extra wild card is really changing how teams look at contending and player movement. At this stage, I think Marmol is better "trade bait" than Garza. The sad part is the bullpen in Texas is already loaded. Soriano, in spite of his production, could bring back Olt if the Cubs eat a lot of that salary, and maybe even Perez, too.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Why is it prohibitive? Just a few months ago it would have taken him and top SP prospect Martin Perez just to land Garza. If Garza is healthy, things haven't changed all that much. We're talking about just two less months of cost control. Texas does value their picks so I think they'd prefer to have that option, which won't happen at mid-season.

    Now, if the Cubs were planning on signing Garza long term I could see what you're saying, but there's been no indications right now that they are. In fact, most of what we heard seems to lean toward the opposite.

    Marmol may be trade bait, but his value is limited. The package for Hanrahan was nothing to get excited about and I don't expect Marmol to bring in much more.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For me, the "prohibitive" aspect is, right now, Theo and Co. are trying to build for the future and not lose 100 games while still putting butts in the seats . Based on the pitching decisions from this off season, a lot of pitching deficiencies have been addressed; the offense, not so much. I do agree with John that Olt is an elite prospect, I more than likely think Garza will not go anywhere (if he is healthy) until late June. I think the fan base could swallow that then, just not now.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Front offices don't make moves based on what fans will think, though. And they've gone as far to say that they won't sacrifice the future for 2013. If they can trade a short term asset for a long term one, they're going to do it.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Seems like they added all the pitching so they could trade Garza and still hopefully be competitive...or at least somewhat competitive. I hope they extend him, personally but...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, Garza is going to have to prove hes healthy first. Jon Daniels isn't a dummy, he wont trade 2 top 10 prospects for a sore-armed pitcher, no matter what there track record is. I would love Garza for Olt/Perez, Olt doesn't fit in Texas and Perez might just need a different coach to get his stuff harnessed. Bosio did fairly well last year with Marmol, Maholm and Dempster and Spellcheck. Maybe he can do the same with Perez.

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    In reply to historyrat:

    Are you saying that Garza doesn't get Olt, but Soriano could get Olt and Perez? Did I just quantum leap to 2006?

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    In reply to historyrat:

    If we sent Soriano their for free I don't think we get Olt and Perez.. Lol

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Once FO is confident Garz is healthy, sign him to 4 year extension. He's too good to trade for a maybe or even a likely. Let's give Stewart and his surgically repaired wrist a chance. Hopefully he can return to 2009 production. In other words he's already done what we'd Hope Olt can do. So lets stop thinking of Garza as a short term asset. He's a core player!

  • I felt both Hoyer and Theo should have traded Dempster and Garza a lot sooner than they did. (Namely, as I remarked to my girlfriend, before they go down to injuries of which pitchers are more prone.)

    But, I thought, well, perhaps they just were not getting a good return and that's why they waited so late.

    If the Rangers were willing to offer that and the Cubs didn't take I think that's a bit of a head scratcher.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    We're gonna need your girlfriend to confirm this alleged conversation. jk

  • In reply to Redrocket:

    Now that's funny......but I tend to believe him.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Would have been nice, but we don't know. Rangers may have been the ones wanting to wait one more start. Maybe there was some concern.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    This is 100% speculation, but my guess is their top pitching scout was following the Brewers and when the Rangers decided Greinke was prohibitively expensive and they were going to go with Garza, they moved their scout over to watch him once before completing the deal. Given Cubs luck, it was the day Garza got seriously injured for the first time in his career.

  • I have been watching Olt since 2010 and here is my take on him. He has more potential then most give him. He has the ability to be plus 3B and hit 30 HRs. He will strike out but he will also walk a lot too. He will hit around 270 to 280 with an OBP around 350 to 360. I also believe he could be a multiple All Star.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Those numbers would almost certainly make him an all-star, especially with his good defense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If you adjust Bill James predictions on Olt to starter level he would hit 32 HR.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Bill James' offensive projections are ridiculously aggressive. He also projected that Rizzo will hit 32 HR and put up MVP type numbers in his first full season. Take them with a grain of salt.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I wouldn't be surprised with Rizzo hitting around 30 HR. The RBI total aren't up to whom players need to get on in front of him. I see Rizzo as the Cubs Paul Konerko.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Once he gets talent around him. Rizzo still needs to hit lefties better, and he needs guy on base ahead of him. I hope hes really patient, because unless whoever hits behind him goes wild, he will get a ton of walks.

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    I agree 100% with you here John.. We have the pitching depth to do it now so why not right? And we Are filing a hope for a long time to come no creating one.. So that's a huge plus..

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    And that's a good point. They have depth. That alone gives them the ability to make a deal. The Cubs rotation will take a hit, but they can still trot out a pretty competitive rotation even without Garza.

  • One thing is that I have a hard time believing TEX will pay that type of freight without seeing Garza throw several regular season starts. That being said, they're still the most obvious trading partner with respect to Garza.

    One counterpoint is that we've amassed pretty good 3B depth at the minor league level(Baez,Villanueva, Vitters, even Lake). What impact would this have on Baez, positionally? Just food for thought. I do like the idea of Olt as a nice RH power complement to Rizzo.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Baez has the bat, arm, and athleticism to play anywhere.

    It is a risk to do it before Garz pitches in real games but there's a trade off either way. If they get him before the season, they get more starts and possibly a draft pick

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    If they don't extend Garza, then I think they should trade for Olt. Although I would hope they could get better for Garza assuming he's healthy.

    I know Olt is semi blocked esp at 3B, but I really don't think he's as great as everyone is saying he is.

    Although you never know, a change of scenary, a little coaching, and a guaranteed job could really boost him. ( like Rizzo)

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I think there's some reason for skepticism with Olt. In some ways he reminds me of a RH version of Ian Stewart as a prospect: athleticism, power, defense, patience -- and some troubles making contact at times. Everyone thought Stewart was going to be a star. In fact, he was BA's #4 prospect in 2005 -- in ALL of baseball (he was still #16 the next year). Olt hasn't come close to approaching that elite status yet. I understand the tools/skills and the optimism but I also understand the skepticism.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Would you consider Olt an improvement over Vitters, Valbuenna, or Stewart? Right now, very likely.

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    I wouldn't have a problem if the Cubs dealt Garza for Olt. I like what Garza brings but he's about to get expensive (im thinking Zambrano extension expensive). I would hope for something along the lines of Olt and Perez plus a lesser prospect pitcher or Garza and Vitters.

  • I wonder if this might work. Olt and Gentry for Garza, Marmol and Dejesus.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    It'd give the Cubs two starters. DeJesus gives them a veteran versatile OF'er. Marmol is the tricky part.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To get Olt and Gentry I'd give up Garza and Lake. Villanueva doesn't maybe wow offensively but does everything well.Rangers say no ? Then move on to the next team maybe the Angels or another team needing that starter due to injury.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    DDJ does give them a LH hitter, something they do need. Gentry is RH, can play center, has decent BA/OBP #s. Marmol hasn't been seen by too many AL west hitters, he might start out very well there, his slider is better than most and I remember Pujols doesn't have real good career #s against him. He can be a real good setup guy there. Thing is, Id want one more from them. Texas minor league system is really good.

  • Garza and Rondon for Olt. Assuming both are healthy I think it benefits both sides. I know Garza's peripherals are good and he's a proven AL pitcher, but I can't help thinking he's one of those guys. The guys who just never can quite put it all together. Mid 90's fastball, great control, tenacious on the mound. But just doesn't ever quite get it done enough. Rondon is a controlled, young, hard throwing guy with a risk of injury, but would fill the void left by Ogando in the bullpen. Texas gets there innings eater and legit 2 (maybe 1) starter, and a cost controlled possible closing candidate and Chicago gets a budding star in Olt. I'm from CT and saw Olt play at Uconn. Don't sell this guy short, he's got a chip on his shoulder from something.

  • In reply to Milbzane:

    A bullpen arm in the equation is a possibility. Rondon is tough for the Rangers because they aren't necessarily in the position to hold a Rule 5 guy on the 25 man roster all year. They want to contend and if Rondon isn't ready, they can't send him down. Not sure they can afford it.

    As for Olt, I do like him a lot, hence the article, but I'm still hedging my bets a little. The hit tool is always tough to scout and it's the biggest question with him right now.

  • I'd prefer to wait and see (1) how Stewart performs with his repaired wrist and (2) how willing Garza is to sign a reasonable extension before pulling the trigger on a trade for Olt. It would be extremely embarrasing for the Cubs if they sent Garza and Stewart to the Rangers for Olt and a prospect, then watched Stewart outperform Olt.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Texas has Beltre at 3B. They don't have any use for Stewart.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Don't pass up an opportunity to get a top 50 overall prospect at a position of need and one that is increasingly difficult to come by because you've taken a flier on a former prospect at the same position. If Stewart has a great season, all the better. Now you've got trade bait. Olt's likely a year away anyway.

    I'd like to get him sooner than later, but I doubt anyone will be willing to take on Garza until they've seen him pitch in spring training at least a 3 or 4 times.

    That said, if he is healthy and performing well and the team getting him will get a comp pick if they lose him, then I want more than just Olt for him. Olt and a good pitching prospect. If it's not Perez, then Cody Buckel. Or Olt and some package of slightly lesser pitching prospects like Luke Jackson, Justin Grimm, Wilmer Font or Kevin Matthews. The Cubs can throw in prospects in return. Heck, they could trade them back Villanueva. Just get more than Olt in return. Bring back some arms.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I agree with this post.

  • Hey John,

    Something for you to possibly write about soon: exploring an extension with samardjiza.

    As for this discussion, I'd rather extend garza. Top starting pitching is too hard to find these days. We have a number a prospects coming up that could be the answer at third - sometimes the best deals are the ones that are never made.

  • In reply to NUcat:

    *Number of prospects

  • In reply to NUcat:

    Makes for a good argument. Top SPs hard to find and Garza has proven his worth on and off the field. And as we all know, trades don't often work out well for the team trading the good MLB pitcher.

    The Samardzija extension in an interesting case. He's not a FA until 2016 so they can wait a bit. I'd at least see how he does through the first half this season. After that he could start to get expensive to extend if he pitches well.

  • In reply to NUcat:

    True, but Baez is a few years away. Villanueva isn't the hitter Olt is or can be. Vitters and Lake are defensive questions marks at 3B as well as offensive question marks still. And having too many good young 3B is never a bad thing. The Cubs aren't ready to contend yet. Garza will be a free agent after this year. If you can turn a short term asset into a long term one and also get some pitching prospects in the bargain, at this stage of your rebuild you do it.

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    I think Olt for Garza has the makings of a good trade. Given the situation, however, it wouldn't make sense to pull the trigger for either team until spring training at the earliest. By then the cubs could see how Stewart looks and the Rangers could scout Garza. The other pieces would also fall in place based on injuries, etc

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I agree there. More likely to go down in the spring if it happens at all before the season.

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    As much as I like Olt, in a Garza deal I have to respectfully disagree that he should be the return. Theo and Jed recently mentioned how they like our position player depth in theminors but consider young pitching to be the #1 area of concern. I would think if your going to deal your best trade chip that you'd like yng pitching in return.

    I feel that's what we need the most even more then a 3rd basemen however good he may be. Just my opinion.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree with this post. I'm all for trading Garza, for a number of reasons, but would want to get pitching in return. Olt fills need but it seems to me to be a need heightened by recentcy, Stewarts injury and the short term win now feeling after last seasons losses. I don't think that should dirve your trades any more than it does your draft choices and I don't think third base is a draft priority is it? Getting back pitching for Garza should be the highest priority not secondary or a throwin. The cubs just don't have that many trade chips left on the table to use them for position players to address holes in the current lineup. Unless that is all they can get for Garza at this point, which I doubt.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Our 3B options at the Minor league level are unproven as of yet. We haven't even seen Baez above highA ball yet, so hes still got a ways to go. Villanueva projects as much as a 2b as a 3b and is likely a year or two away. If Garza is traded, it should be to plug system leaks no matter what level we happen to be at. If Olt is considered a likely MLB 3rd baseman, hes worth a flyer, since he fills a need. I happen to like the idea of Garza for Olt/Perez, gives you a potential 3b starter and a potential TOR starter, if Perez can straighten out his command issues.

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    The way I look at it, there are only a few options with Garza. They can
    A. Trade him before the start of the season (maybe for Olt like you said?) so the other team gets a full year of control.
    B. Trade him mid season for what could end up being a Ryan Dempster-like return, maybe slightly better
    C. Extend him
    D. Get the compensation pick if he walks after the year.

    Of those options, B and C are very meh. Every time there's an ESPN Chicago chat or update on twitter, it seems to indicate the Cubs FO is opposed to extending him for some reason, so I'm not sure A's an option. So trading him now-or during spring training- really does look like far and away the best option. Even with the skepticism regarding Olt, I would be ecstatic if they could get a prospect of his caliber back.

  • im not sure how i feel about extending garza, but if the cubs dont then i think they should trade him midseason. the reason being that because of the extra wild card there will be more teams who are contenders therefore making more teams who could possibly vy for garza's services.

    every year there are teams who get desperate and overpay for a player that they need at the trade deadline. also if he is traded we could always resign him during free agency, making it a win-win. im not saying that its likely to happen, but its definitely possible.

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    Garza, Jeff Russell, and Christian Villaneuva for Olt and Perez.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike we'd need at least Gentry back in that deal as well,if healthy, how can you go from the Garza for Olt, Perez and a prospect to Garza, Russell and Villanuva for Olt and Perez?? It seems like too much and i'd wager Texas would want to get an extention with Garza considering how they dumpd prospects for Cliff Lee among others only to watch him walk away at seasons end...

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    That deal was for two cost controlled postseason runs with a guy who had never had a serious injury.

    This is deal is one cost controlled postseason run with a guy coming off an elbow injury.

    Garza's value as an asset has taken a serious hit, as much as that might suck for all of us to admit.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good point Mike, but if they sign him to an extention before the deal that changes the deal

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    Off topic, but the hockey lockout is finally over.

  • John, is it even possible that the Cubs could deal Garza now with his injury situation? It just seems like teams would want to see him in live action. I had no idea the Cubs were going to get Olt and Perez for Garza before the injury. Depressing...

  • Don't believe everything you read as far as Garza rumors go. Or anything else for that matter.

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    If that deal ever gets done, we'd have one hell of a starting infield...Esciall once Watkins progresss and takes over 2b from Barney

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Unless Barney is traded, you won't be seeing Watkins taking over for him. The odds of Watkins being as good as, let alone better than Barney are quite slim, in my opinion.

  • Too many unknowns with Garza (health, re-signable, etc). The reality is, we don't know what Theo/Jed are thinking about Matt. Publicly, they have said he is the type of SP you can build around. Publicly, Garza has been the perfect teammate/player/ambassador for the Cubs. Most of the things they just said about Edwin Jackson, could be said about Garza (best years ahead of him, etc).

    I doubt anyone pays full price for Garza until he proves he's healthy by pitching in meaningful regular season games. Then his value is diminished because he becomes a rental if they don't re-sign him.

    Since non of our top flight SP prospects are close to MLB ready for a few years. Why not wait til He's healthy, and then attempt to re-sign him? After seeing what a draft pick attached to his free agency would do, he'll be more likely to sign a team friendly deal because I think he really does like it here. Theo/Jed won't have to worry about 10-5 rights for 3 more season, they can trade him at his peak in 2-3 years when they have top prospects ready to replace him....

    I'm not opposed to trading for Olt, and Garza may be the only thing we have to get him.... But if Healthy, he is our Ace. Granted Shark and him are both #2's, but right now - he's our guy. I just don't think they should be selling off one of our best assets, that could be a core piece for the next 4-5 years for less than full price. Right now, Garza is in the scratch & dent bin.... we want to be buyers of these types of guys, not sellers.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    btw.... Garza just turned 29. He is 2 months younger than Edwin Jackson and only 14 months older than Shark. Yet, he is the most proven MLB SP. The issue is cost control (short term vs long term). More reasons to keep him IMO. Unless Theo/Jed feel like he won't re-sign to be a part of what they're building....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Exactly. Hoosier daddy has it. Garza, if healthy, is every bit as good as Shields, & look what he just brought the Rays. Hold, unless u get the king's ransom. Olt is not the ransom. Some of u guys want to give up garza & more prospects? Glad you're not running the cubs!

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    In reply to plymkr:

    Because the real way to play this is to get one year out of him -- in a rebuilding year, at that -- and then let him leave for a sandwich pick.

    There's a gun to our heads in a way there wasn't for the Rays, who have a perfectly healthy asset and expect to be competitive this year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I disagree Mike. We have no gun to our head. After seeing what having that pick attached to him in FA would likely cost him, I think Garza w/b very amenable to a deal similar to Edwin Jackson's and one could argue he's the better core piece than Jackson.

    If they don't think they can sign him, then b y all means, trade him. But to do so this year lessons his value. I could be wrong, but until he proves he is healthy, no one will pay his true worth.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Garza's good enough -- if he's healthy -- that the pick doesn't mean much. Very similar to B.J. Upton, in many ways.

    Look at next year's starter market. It really isn't even close. There's Garza and a bunch of other guys.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There's a gun to the Rangers head to compete with the Angels this season. The Rangers have more reason to acquire Garza than the Cubs do to trade him. If there's a gun to the Cubs head, it's to sign Garza to an extension.

  • In reply to plymkr:

    Just to be factual, the Rays gave up more than just Shields in that deal. So trading Garza and prospects to get the ransom isn't an unprecedented idea.

    But I completely agree, Olt alone is not the ransom the Cubs should be seeking for Garza.

  • Once LaRoche re-signs with the Nats the Cubs should look into what it would take to acquire Morse.

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    he'll be 31 on opening day, no thanks...go young at this stage

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    Garza, Lake and Dejesus for Olt and Perez. Sign me up!

  • Lots of grist for trade possibilities here, most of which involve Garza. One of the Garza concerns I have in addition to his health is his fielding heebie-jeebies. Have their ever been pitchers whose value was impacted by their ever-decreasing ability to defend their position? I've not explored Garza's advanced fielding metrics, so I don't have objective measures from which to support my premise that he is the worst fielding pitcher I've seen over the last several years. Are the any known cases of the impact of a pitcher getting the (base) throwing "yips" a la Sax, Knoblauch, Sasser et al?

    All that said, I endorse reasonable proposals to acquire Olt, but if I'm the Rangers, I move with caution in terms of Garza.

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    John, with the Rangers' farm system, there shouldn't be a sense of desperation, but there are rumors that there is. There have been discussions on MLBNR of rising tensions between Ryan and Daniels, and they've never been particularly close. I like your idea, though I think they'll want to see Garza progresses throughout the spring. Daniel's is going to want that compensatory pick. So if they do it, I think it will be before opening day.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think so Michael. The thing with TX is they made the WS two straight years then bowed out in the one game WC last year. They've lost Hamilton, failed to get any of the free agents they pursued. The A's and Angels are now huge threats. Their must be some fear that the window is beginning to close. They've got a couple of question marks in their rotation. I think they need someone like Garza and I agree, to get the most potential value, they have to take a risk and get him this spring.

    I get the qualms about not trading Garza. I totally understand the reasons for extending him (relative youth, top stuff, the difficulty of finding pitching). I can see why some would have doubts about Olt. It's not an easy decision. It depends on what the Cubs intentions are here. If the Cubs have no internal plans to extend Garza, then they must trade him to get the most value. The hard part, though, is if you want to extend him, it's hard to do it now. You have to wait until mid-season. And then if they can't come to an agreement, the Cubs will have thrown away some trade value since he'll just be a rental. Given what the Brewers got for Greinke, a better pitcher in a similar situation, we shouldn't expect the Cubs to do as well in a deadline deal as they would before the season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I also think that, as long as Garza's traded before opening day, the return won't be much less than what they might have gotten in July.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think so too.

  • I believe it was a year ago when the cubs traded for Rizzo, now time to trade for olt! looking at the minor league stats for Martin Perez, I'm not impressed. why, besides being a lefty, is he such a high rated prospect?

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    He really would be this year's version of Rizzo.

    Perez just has unusually good stuff for a lefty. He's not your usual finesse guy. The thought is if you can fix his command, he could be a front of the rotation type lefty. Which is rare. If he had good command and was performing well, there's no way he'd even be available.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    where would he rank on the cubs prospect list?

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Perez has much above-average stuff, especially for a lefty. His problem has always been control. If he can harness his stuff, Hes a smaller version of CC Sabathia in the making.

  • I am the Texas Rangers GM, and I have Olt on the table in a package deal for a Garza or for Marlins Stanton or for Arizona Upton.......hmmmmmm......

    If I was a Rangers fan, screw the Garza deal, go for Stanton or the Upton deal.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Olt won't get them Upton or Stanton. Not even close. They'll both want to start with Profar, whom TX does not want to give up.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Id go for Stanton in a microsecond. Just think how scary his power numbers would be in Texas, surrounded by Beltre and Cruz in the lineup? And a hitters park?

  • Besides, Baez will be much better than Olt......patience is everything.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I agree Baez has more upside but the other side is that, as an A ball player, there's more risk. He's less likely to reach his ceiling. Olt's floor is higher too. He's already shown a little promise in the big leagues, Baez has a lot of work to do just to get there.

  • To me, Baez has yet to prove he can hit above A ball or has the inclination to move to another position.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    He does love playing SS, no question. That said, they have time. Machado didn't move to 3B until he was called up -- and he played it brilliantly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope you're right, but because Machado did it doesn't mean Baez will.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Of course not, but switching from SS to 3B has historically been a pretty easy transition for older prospects and even established MLB players. No need to rush it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope they keep him at shortstop. No rush to switch him and can see how Castro responds to big payday and a couple more years of experience and age.

  • The only thing Texas needs from the Cubs is healthy Garza and we need Olt and a top pitcher in return or two or more top(near top) pitchers in return. The Cubs should see themselves as dealing from strength.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. They have the luxury of letting TX come to them,which usually means they'll be in an advantageous position. Cubs don't need to trade Garza at all. TX has a prospect who will turn 25 in August. They have no place to put him and he's about to start losing value, especially if he doesn't play 3B, by far the position which gives him the most value.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Why do you think the Cubs don't need to trade Garza. What good comes of holding him?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    We are on a less urgent time schedule to recover from a bad or no decision error. Texas needs Graza now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, we have incomplete info as far what we and other teams know, the Cubs could just re-sign him. They could hold on to him and see if they make a run first before trading him. The other teams don't know exactly what the Cubs are doing here, so they should hold on to that advantage.

  • Well we all know, at least the word on the street is, that Texas is willing to give up Olt.

    My question is, say we get him, does he start in Triple A for 500 at bats while Stewart shows he is healthy or does he immediately go into the starting major league lineup ?

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    That's a good question. I suppose you let that play out in spring training. If Stewart looks like he has something left, you can go with him and build up his value. If he struggles and looks like the Stewart we saw last year, then maybe you just go with Olt. Stewart's on a non-guaranteed deal, so the Cubs have some flexibility.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Olt loses value if he is moved from third. His glove is what helps him be a better prospect than he would be based only on his bat.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    Agreed.

    I suppose if he reaches his ceilling (.280, 30 HRs, .360 OBP), then the bat pretty much plays anywhere -- but that's no guarantee. They have to keep him at 3B until they are certain he can put those kind of numbers at the MLB level.

  • In reply to brunsmk:

    Olt cant be worse than what we had offensively last year at 3rd. If we did we get and plugged him in as a rook, If he hit 15 HR 260/350 70rbi, Id call that a decent rookie campaign, and a whole lot better than what Stew/Val gave us at 3rd last year.

  • fb_avatar

    One nice thing about having Stewart in the fold should they get Olt is that, if Olt needs more time in AAA, Stewart's there to buy time, and if Stewart perfroms, they've got a trade.chip.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Stewart essentially plays the role of Bryan LaHair.

    I wonder if the Cubs would consider Olt in left/right if Stewart does figure it out.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I doubt it. I think if Stewart figures it out, Olt will be in triple A until Stewart is traded. If the Cubs trade for Olt, I assume he will be the third baseman no matter what.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    If Olt is in AAA, what would we do with Vitters?

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Left field, most likely. Or trade him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He has no value in LF. He has to show he can hit MLB pitching and play avg D at 3B to have any significant value.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    What are you proposing?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm not proposing anything. It's all purely hypothetical obviously. Highly speculative too. Just stating that Vitters has little value now and even less at LF.

    I don't think they trade Garza, only because GM's are historically very inactive at trading for marquee players during ST. If I'm a GM, I want proof Garza is healthy. How's he going to prove anything until we are a couple of months into the season?

  • John
    I always look forward to your columns and, as usual, this one did not disappoint.

    1) I agree with your list of 6 players (Shark, Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Almora, and Solar) that I would not include in an Olt trade. Actually, I'd pretty much consider those 6 untradeable in ANY trade. And I would add Vogelbach as well.

    2) Now that the NHL strike is over, do you have a clone that can write about the Blackhawks as well you write about the Cubs?

    Thanks and have good one!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    The NFL had a strike?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Thanks DTP!

    1) I agree. While in theory nobody is "untradeable", you'd have to get blown away. I don't believe in trading one core piece for another. If you trade a core piece, you should expect to get two in return. That is extremely unlikely to happen, so it makes those guys untradeable from a practical standpoint.

    2) I don't have a clone who writes a hockey blog, but Felzzy here has a brother who writes a great one called The Committed Indian.

  • I like this thinking and wrote about it last year in the comments. I would still like Olt and Perez. Olt might close the door on Baez playing 3rd, or if Olt doesn't play up to potential he could be moved to free up 3rd. Baez could maybe play 2B if Olt sticks.

    Garza, Szczur, Vitters or C. Vallenueva, and Vogelsbach for Olt and Perez.

    Volgelsbach would be hitting rockets through the RF facade in 2016. They never wanted to trade Vallenueva, but I would prefer to trade Vitters and keep Vallenueva. I think Vallenueva will be a better all-round player than Vitters. Szczur seems to be a little redundant in the system and I think someone like Trey Martin might pass him up; you know Almora will. Almora, Brett Jackson, and Trey Martin are enough talent to make me feel comfortable in CF.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Quas, if we can keep Vogelbach id do so. Ive seen this kid hit myself, his power is undeniable. I happen to think if Vogelbach gets 500abs at Kane County hes a sure bet to reach 30plus HR. Power like that is tough to replace.

  • This is what John said we could expect from Olt.

    " He’ll strike out and he probably isn’t going to hit .300. But a .270-.280 hitter with an OBP of .350 or better and 25 HRs is within the realm of possibility."

    Isn't that Ron Santo??

    If you could get that out of any prospect, you would be elated. Plug him into the 6th spot of the order and you are set to go.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I probably should have said that's closer to a ceiling than an expectation, but yeah, that's very similar to Santo type numbers and that would be tremendous at 3B.

  • I forgot about Soriano! That might be a great idea. Garza, Soriano, Vitters, and Szczur for Olt and Perez. Answers part of the power gap for Texas, a good starter, a backup for Beltre, and future Gentry type centerfielder. All useful parts, especially for a win now situation.

  • The Cubs would have more information to assess Stewart and Vitters by the end of ST when this trade would most likely take place. We have at least one too many 3bmen if Lake is included and looking at a possible additional one to platoon with Stewart plus Olt. If someone doesn't step up the Cubs will be looking for yet another one.

  • Might Jed possably be thinking about Chase Headley, whos getting a bit expensive for the Padres, and Hoyer used to be there GM, so hes familiar with him?

  • With everyone mentioning Garza's name and Marmol's, we all ought to just wait until they report and can throw.

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