Cubs Notes: BA top 100, Garza gets good news on MRI, Soriano open to trade

Cubs Notes: BA top 100, Garza gets good news on MRI, Soriano open to trade

An interesting day yesterday with the trade of speedster and fan favorite Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks for two young, projectable pitchers.  There were a few items that were overshadowed.

  • UPDATE #2 (12:30 PM).  Last but certainly not least, BA has come up with their top 100 and includes 4 Cubs: Javier Baez (16), Albert Almora (33), Jorge Soler (34), and Arodys Vizcaino (83). They also had a best tools category. That includes Soler in the power and arm category (both rated 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale).  Almora is the best defensive prospect in baseball according to BA (75 rating). Vizcaino's curveball rates as a 70.  Surprisingly, Baez didn't make any of the best tool categories.  Some have rated both his hitting and power as 70s on the scouting scale.
  • UPDATE (10:30 AM):  The CSN duo of Dave Kaplan and Patrick Mooney bring us good news on Matt Garza's MRI. Kap tweets, "Hoyer announcement on Garza: MRI says he has a mild lat strain. He will rest for a week. This will push his first Cactus League start back." Similarly, Mooney tweets, "Cubs say MRI reveals mild lat strain - Garza will rest for one week. Cactus League start pushed back; too early to tell re: Opening Day."  The fact that his start is pushed back and he may miss Opening Day isn't great news but it could have been much worse, all things considered.  There's no long term damage and, as expected, his arm is fine.  Now all we can do is wait and see how quickly Garza recovers.
  • Alfonso Soriano said he'd be open to a trade if the Cubs struggle this season.  His preference right now is to stay, saying earlier today that he wants to win a WS with the Cubs, but it seems like he'd be willing to be moved if that didn't look like it was going to happen here.  Soriano did say there were about 5-7 teams he'd okay, all of them in the east or center (midwest). "[The Cubs] know what teams," Soriano said of a trade this season. "We talked, my agent talked with those guys."  It looks like the Cubs will open the season with Soriano in LF and that may be the best for everyone involved.  He's not blocking any prospects, he's well-liked and respected in the clubhouse, and he is their main source of RH power.  Furthermore, the Cubs haven't been able to get a suitable offer for Soriano and with teams wanting the Cubs to pay his salary, they are in no rush to give him away when he still provides value to the team. If Soriano continues to hit as he did last season, then perhaps a team will be convinced to deal for him down the stretch.
  • Want to also note that, despite persistent rumors that he rejected a trade to San Francisco, it never got that far -- something Tom Loxas noted at the time -- it didn't really happen.  GM Brian Sabean said they never came close to making an offer.  However, if an agreement had been reached, Soriano would have rejected it anyway.  Maybe that's splitting hairs, but we can't say that the Cubs could have traded Soriano by now if only he'd approved the deal.  It never came close from the Giants side.
  • Matt Garza is scheduled to have an MRI because it's really difficult to know the degree of the injury. "It's probably difficult for the doctors and trainers to get a sense of the degree just by feeling it," general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. "There's really no accurate news today, we have to wait and see. The good news is his arm feels good."  Hoyer admits that the injury, even it's not serious, will set Garza back a little, "He was throwing well. It was unfortunate, for sure, it's going to set him back a little bit."  He also said it's better these injuries happen now then in mid-March.  We can take that to mean a lot of things.  The most likely is that its easier to plan around when it happens early, but it could also mean he holds out some hope of trading Garza before the season starts.
  • Today marked the 15th anniversary of Cubs broadcasting legend Harry Caray's passing and CSN Chicago has his top quotes to help us remember him.
  • Another top 100 list and this one has 6 Cubs on it.  It's from Bradley Ankrom of twentyeighty, who also contributes to Baseball Prospectus on occasion.  You have the usual suspects -- Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, and Arodys Vizcaino -- and Ankrom adds Jeimer Candelario (who just missed Keith Law's list) and Dan Vogelbach.  This is the first list of any kind I've seen with Vogelbach on it, so good to see the big guy getting a little love.

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  • That list has the Cubs tied for the 3rd most top 100 prospects. I like this.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Good to see. At the very least it means the Cubs farm system is growing in terms of reputation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Moreover, the Cubs have three players in the top 30. Baez at 17, 3 spots ahead of Lindor, Almora at 21 and Soler at 29.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Also, two of the prospects traded to the Rays for Garza made the list for TB: Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee

  • Is there any possibility that campana was going to az as part of a bigger Garza deal; and with Garza's injury that larger deal was either canceled or put on hold but they went ahead with the part for Camapna and the two kid pitchers? I could see this as part of a larger deal but seems somewhat less likely that teams would put this together on it's own? What do you think?

  • In reply to eddie35:

    Anything is possible but I don't think so. This was a straight up deal to me. Campana was DFA'd, the Cubs didn't have room for him either on the MLB or AAA roster, so they just tried to get something in return.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hi John. I'm a little surprised you said there was no room on the AAA roster. Who do you see as the starters there? Jackson in CF, Lake in RF and infield and Campana would have started in LF, right? Without looking, who all am I forgetting?

  • be curious to see where they would rank Carlos Rodon on that 100 list ,

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    In the Ask BA article yesterday, Jim Callis actually answered this question.

    "In terms of where they'd fit on my personal Top 100, the best way to look at that is to stack them up against prospects at the same position. I like Rodon more than lefthanders Tyler Skaggs (Diamondbacks, No. 20 on my list) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners, No. 22), so he'd fit in the teens somewhere."

    It's Callis and not Bradley Ankrom, but that gives you an idea of where one guy would put him.

    I know I'm probably in the minority here, but regardless of whether the Cubs are able to get Rodon in next year's draft, the 2014 talent is a bit better than this year's. I wouldn't mind at all if the Cubs were able to move Garza and/or Marmol before the season, Soriano sometime in June and two or more of Baker, Feldman, Villanueva, DeJesus, Hairston or Schierholtz by the deadline. Get what prospects you can and finish the year with an improved record from last season but a top 7 draft pick next year.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    yeah i was thinking he would be near top 10 right now

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Based on that BA article, we're going to add a no doubter top 50 guy in the draft. If we assume solid progression from Soler/Almora/Baez, they'll stay top 50. I feel confident in saying that through trade, we'll add at least one more top 100 guy. And then with the depth we have, I feel confident in saying someone will jump solidly into top 100 territory.

    So that's 6 guys in the top 100, 4 of which will be top 50. And that's not even including added quality depth through trades, international signings and the draft. Tough to see us not being a top 5 system in baseball this time next year.

  • RIP Harry. That article brought a smile to my face. I'd forgotten about, "Popppppped him up!" Here's a link to the cracker jack dialog if anyone's interested:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO_x7U7n8iU

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I believe the "Poppppped him up" was sometimes followed by "that wouldn't be a home run in a phone booth".

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    In reply to Carne Harris:

    Make me smile :)

  • Soriano says he's open to a trade but he's said that before, only to have a change of heart when the time comes to go. I don't believe he will ever accept any trade.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    I think he will in the right circumstance. But who knows if those 5-7 teams will want or need him at the deadline?

  • He will only accept a trade to New York or maybe Baltimore/ Wash, IMO. He says he wants to play for a contender, which is crap. he vetoed a trade to SF , winning is not his top priority if you ask me. He wants to be comfortable and on the east coast, so he can easily travel back and for to the DR.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    The supposed vetoed trade to SF never happened. Media ran wild with it but we (actually Tom) heard from the beginning from an excellent source that there was never a deal. Sabean confirmed that today, said he never came close to making an offer.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well never mind then, you are right you did mention that the time.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Of course, Soriano would have turned it down had their been one available :) so maybe it's academic, but I get the impression the Giants weren't willing to offer much, so I don't think it was a missed opportunity for the Cubs.

  • This recent injury to Garcia. Could this have been caused by lack of him stretching and warming up? Enjoy the site, thank you for the effort.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Thanks Wild Bill!

    Could be. That's what Jed Hoyer and the Cubs are trying to find out. Hoyer himself was a little bewildered as to how these injuries keep occurring.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Who is Garcia?

  • In reply to John57:

    i think Sergeant Garcia often pulled a lat or a hammy while in futile pursuit of Zorro.

  • In reply to John57:

    LOL, I just noticed that. WOW.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I just figured you meant Garza :)

  • Going forward, I, and hopefully the rest of Cubs Den, will only look at trades in terms of what's coming back and not who's leaving. There's simply no urge or need to trade Soriano. Or garza for that matter, or anyone else. And I'd like to think that Mr. Arguello's has cultured a little more advanced audience that we can get past the generic term of "prospects". Minor trades like Campana----> fine. But when moving something significant, I think we can go ahead and name a player, even as a an example. Martin Perez Type..... stuff like that.

    The Harry Caray celebration will take place without me. I hated everything he brought to the Cubs and the culture. "Cub fan, Bud man" culture was awful on so many levels... and the truth is as an announcer he was maybe a 1/3rd of the announcer he was with the White Sox. And that version was half of what he was when he announced Cardinal games. Also, having met him a couple of times, I can tell you there are plenty of words I used to describe him before I got to the word "nice"....

    We are all Marcel.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I agree about Harry Caray, felzz. He might have been a great announcer once, but by the time he came to the Cubs that time was long gone.

  • I as well never understood the cult like following of Carey. I will never forget quite some time ago, Harry was going on and on, all the while as Milo Hamilton waited to speak. It got to the point that Milo was just staring daggers at him. I believe that was Milo's final year.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I was never a fan of Harry. I loved the 7th inning stretch singing, but as an announcer I could have done without.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I was not a big fan of his or Jack Brickhouse, but they are a big part of the reason that there are so many Cub fans. Kids watching WGN and the only day baseball loved them.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    In hindsight, Harry was probably not the most gifted broadcaster by the time he got to the North Side. However, it's those memories of turning on the final few innings on WGN as soon as I got home from school that I will always have when thinking of him.

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Len Kasper is the best TV announcer we've had, in my opinion. Hughes also great on the radio side.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Harry was a joke as an announcer by the time he got to the Cubs. But what he did bring was entertainment value (I know it sounds odd, but remember, it is TV) to a often slow, methodical game that is not as suited for TV as football and basketball are.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Steve Stone was the one providing quality baseball analysis (often first-guessing what was occurring). Harry provided the 'pretty girls in the stands' updates. I miss Stone more than Harry.

  • In reply to BrettJ42:

    My best memory of Stone is how kind he was to Harry after Harry's stroke. Steve didn't even correct some of Harry's mistakes in order save his partner the embarrassment.

  • Fate has trumped plan A and apparently now plan B in the trade possibilities involving Graza. The question, is fate on our side? Time will tell.

  • Harry always reminded of that drunken, perverted uncle, that we're not allowed to talk about... When the camera would show a young hottie in a cubs shirt; "There's a good looking Cubs fan". Then it would show some fat lady, "There's a big Cubs fan"... cracked me up. Never thought much of him as a broadcaster. But he was/is an icon and helped grow the fan base.

    I'd rather they sign Garza long term than trade him anyways. That's my opinion, but I think we would be better with him than any prospects he may fetch. Sori, I'm indifferent on. I am opposed to just giving him away, but he will not be productive when we are ready to compete in 2015/2016....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Poor Marla Collins. Harry was always panting at her when she was the ballgirl.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Perverted? I don't think so! Politically incorrect by today's standards probably. Fun at the ole ballpark definitely.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    My favorite Harry moment related to side of personality was when he was interviewing one of the Cubs players wives about 'Cubs Care', He says "Come sit on my lap and tell me about this charity". It was in fun and funny.

  • BA's list is the first one I've seen that has Baez ahead of Lindor. Glad to see that!

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Noticed that too. Very nice to see!

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    In reply to KSCubsFan:

    I'm not sure about that. I love Baez, and want the Cubs to succeed, etc., etc., etc. But the fact remains: Lindor could probably play gold glove shortstop in the majors right now. Baez is 100% dependent on a bat -- which has already shown flaws -- to make it.

    So, Lindor has a pretty good chance of playing in the majors, even if he isn't an All Star. Baez could just as easily flame out in A-ball this year.

    The ceiling his higher, but the floor is much lower.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I wouldn't say Baez is 100% bat dependent. That more describes someone like Vogelbach or Joey Gallo. Baez will probably be an average to plus defender at multiple positions and is a plus baserunner -- and he should have power even if he doesn't hit for average. He could have a role somewhere even if he isn't a big time hitter.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I probably overstated it. But here's where I disagree a bit. He's going to have to show that power at the bigs to make it. If he turns into Brett Jackson from last year, for example, his defense won't pull him through that.

    Lindor could put up similarly awful numbers offensively, but I think he'd still have a roster spot because his defense is that good at a critical position.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree it probably gives Lindor a higher floor because he can be a quality defensive utility infielder if he doesn't hit.

    But Baez has more value than Jackson if he doesn't hit because he can add value by hitting for power and playing SS, 2B...and probably a decent CF, not to mention LF, 3B, and SS. He also has better natural contact skills than Jackson, so I think he has a much better chance to hit -- even if his approach isn't very good.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Fair point.

    Lindor as utility infielder and Baez as super sub. Those words are music to the Indians' and Cubs' ears!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ha! I'm sure they'd love that :) It'd be a huge letdown for both teams.

    As fans it would probably be even worse for us. In baseball people's eyes, it still means something. For example, what do you do with Vogelbach if he stops hitting HRs? What's going to happen to Vitters if he doesn't turn things around offensively? It'd be a huge disappointment but at least Lindor and Baez can still be useful if they hit... say... .240 or so. And I agree that I'd probably rather have Lindor in that situation.

  • Now that I look at it, both these list have Baez over Lindor.
    Very good to see.

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    I heard something really weird. So weird that I don't believe it. Because in this day and age of instant news, it's rare to have secrets, and I have to believe this would've come out a long time ago. Anyways, I heard that the reason Soriano doesn't want to be traded to a West Coast team is because he gets air sickness, and a West Coast team would mean he has to fly more. This person told me that Soriano actually has to take meds before getting on a plane, and that, when the Cubs are within driving distance of a road opponent, he actually drives if it doesn't interfere with team travel plans.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Hmmm...maybe. That would be odd but I don't think it's implausible.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Royce White, Houston basketball player. Completely gets airsick, so much so that hes had to get medical treatment for it. Its quite possible.

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    I can understand if you don't want to say this, but I'm curious where Lindor figured into the defensive tools list.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    In the group below Almora. Plus plus defender but they have Almora as pretty much an elite defender.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Wow. That's the best description of him I've heard.

    Ergo, that is true. Almora is the best defender in the minors. Can we just induct him into Coopertown now?

    (Jokes aside, if that is true, and Jackson can hit enough to justify left field, a potential outfield of Jackson, Almora, Soler could be something really special defensively.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sure why not? It would be a Cub thing to do.

    Hopefully that's the OF of the future. That would be incredible.

  • We should have a couple more prospects in the top 100 by the end of the year. I think maybe one of the young pitchers from last year's draft will step up, Vogelbach will surprise on defense, and then our 2nd round pick will make the top list.

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