It's been a heavy prospect week and it will continue later today as Keith Law comes out with his top 10. Always look forward to that list because there always seems to be a surprise name or two.
Until then, here's a few Cubs related odds and ends and a story on a rather unique trade...
- The presence of Starlin Castro and the recent buzz about Javier Baez getting an invite to spring training has caused some speculation as to what the Cubs should do if they should wind up having two top shortstops in the near future. Theo Epstein is not concerned. "There's no need in the foreseeable future at all to move Starlin off of shortstop, and Javier Baez will continue to develop as a shortstop," Epstein said. "If he pushes the timetable, and he's up here sooner than one might expect then sure, before he gets to a position and a point where he's ready to make his major league debut then it's our job to develop him as a versatile player who can make an impact on a Cubs team that has an everyday shortstop." Sounds like Baez will be the one making the move if he makes it to Wrigley in the near future. What's more, this potential logjam isn't going to deter the Cubs from drafting more shortstops. "We're going to draft and find as many middle of the field potential impact players as we can and nine times out of 10 it naturally sorts itself out." I'm on board with that draft philosophy. Shortstops are often athletic and skilled enough that, as long as they can hit, they can pretty much play any other position off the field. Isn't it nice to have these sort of problems for a change?
- Carlos Marmol should be ready for the start of spring training despite recent allegations of domestic abuse ."He'll be ready to go [for spring training]," Epstein said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "Obviously we take any type of accusation like that seriously. We've done some looking into it. Every bit of information we've received from the Dominican shows that Carlos is going to be cleared, and we'll have this behind him by the time he meets the media the first day of spring training." Marmol is expected to open the season as the Cubs closer after a strong second half last season. It's unlikely, however, that he ends the season with the team. Marmol will be a free agent after the season and is unlikely to receive the qualifying offer, so the Cubs will almost certainly try and recoup some value sometime before the trade deadline. Epstein has also stated that in the past that they would try and create value from the closer role. Trading them for long term assets is one way and promoting someone like Kyuji Fujikawa into that role will add to his value as well.
- ESPN's David Shoenfield gives the Cubs a "C" overall grade and a B for their offseason moves. He thinks the Cubs came up with a nice group of complimentary players. A group that I believe the Cubs plan to platooon and rotate to maximize their value. He also says the rotation can be sneaky good but grades them conservatively overall because the Cubs still have issues with depth and top end talent in the everyday lineup. Fair enough, but the Cubs were a 100 loss team last season and are trying to build this over the next 2-3 years. It's hard to envision any scenario in which they wouldn't lack talent and depth in their lineup for the 2013 season.
- Bruce Levine had a chat that you can read here. Some of the highlights: 1) He believes the Cubs think of Travis Wood as a starter and have no plans to put him in the bullpen 2) He still thinks Carlos Marmol will get traded by opening day, though not for Rick Porcello. 3) Doesn't rule out the Cubs signing Matt Garza to an extension, 4) The Cubs worked long and hard to obtain a 3B and were especially interested in Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Olt, but neither team was interested in moving their young 3B.
- Creative? Good with graphics? The Cubs are holding a contest to design a new Wrigley logo for their 100 year anniversary.
- Not Cubs related but in 1997, Arizona GM Kevin Towers, then the GM of the San Diego Padres, said he was so strapped for resources that he traded a player for $75,000 and a used treadmill. The money was spent on more weight room supplies.
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