Should the Cubs consider dealing Javier Baez and other thoughts on the rebuilding process

Should the Cubs consider dealing Javier Baez and other thoughts on the rebuilding process
Javier Baez

Most of you know I'm on board with the rebuilding process.  I completely understand the need to build a foundation and produce a steady stream of talent in the minor leagues so that you don't have to spend big on free agency every year.  Cubs fans need to be patient.  I get it and I've been an ardent supporter of the process.

Right now the focus is on the minor leagues because that is where some of the Cub most exciting talent is.  Yet we all know that most prospects won't turn out at all and even fewer will reach the ceiling that we all dream on.  We can construct future lineups but rarely do they come to fruition in the way we hope.

On the other end of the spectrum is free agency.  The Cubs are a big market team so they should be able to pour a lot of money into that market.  Yet, Cubs fans have seen this fail as well -- even when the free agent signings were actually pretty good.  We can look back with scorn on the Cubs run at the free agent market just over 6 years ago, but the fact is that Alfonso Soriano, Mark DeRosa, and Ted Lilly were very productive players and helped the Cubs reach the playoffs twice -- and even had the National League's best record in 2008.  They were in the playoffs and in the position to make a run.  They just got cold at the wrong time.

Still, that's not the answer either.  The Cubs did strike gold (or at least silver) in that they were able to create a 2-3 year window.  That doesn't always happen, as we saw with the Marlins last year.  But windows created primarily through free agency tend to shut quickly and leave the team with bloated payrolls and a bad case of buyer's remorse.  I imagine most Cubs fans would have lived with that if it would have brought the team a World Series ring.  But, of course, it didn't.

Somewhere in the middle is the trade market.  Trades generally involve trading prospects for veterans and vice versa, depending on where your team is in terms of the standings.  Rarely do we see prospect for prospect trades or veterans for veterans anymore.  It's usually one team buying the present and selling part of their future while the other team sells their chance to win now for players they hope will help them to win later.

Trading veterans for young talent is problematic for the Cubs right now.  There is little interest in Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol and many of the Cubs other veterans have been injured (Matt Garza, Scott Baker) or don't offer a whole lot of trade value (David DeJesus, Scott Hairston, etc.)

So, the thought that's been buzzing in my head lately is this:  Why not trade a top prospect in a package to get good young MLB players right now?  We saw the Cubs do this several times early on in the Jim Hendry era.  The Cubs were able to pick up players like Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, and Nomar Garciaparra for prospects  -- none of which reached their potential.  The result was that the 2003-2004 teams were probably the closest the Cubs have come to building sustainable success.  The Cubs did put some emphasis on the draft back then and McPhail/Hendry built some highly rated farm systems.  We know now know they came up short in terms of results, both in terms of the major league club and in terms of producing homegrown MLB talent from the farm. But that's not to say that the idea was a bad one.  It's just the execution of that idea that failed.

So when I started thinking of prospects to trade one player came to mind: Javier Baez.

I can hear some of you now, "Whaaa?  Trade the Cubs top prospect?  Isn't this the opposite of what the Cubs should be doing?  Shouldn't they be trying to collect as much young talent as possible, not trade it away?"

Yes and no.  I understand the reluctance.  Even though I wasn't around to see it happen, I too suffer from Lou Brockophobia, the fear of trading prospects who will eventually become Hall-of-Famers.

Yet, I think there is some selective bias in effect here.  We tend to remember this kind of disaster and forget about stubbornly hanging on to prospects who never came close to living up to their billing.  I don't have to remind Cubs fans who these guys are.  We all remember the names of prospects we've pinned our hopes on only to see them fall well short of expectations.

So back to the question at hand. What if you could trade Javier Baez in a package for a young player who is already good and still in his prime?  We saw the Braves deal for Justin Upton, who is having a huge impact right now and there are big names out there like Giancarlo Stanton and David Price who are rumored to be available.  We are sure to see other players names floated out there in the near future as well.

So why Javier Baez?

The answer is simple.   He has the most value.  He is arguably one of the top 20 prospects in the game and plays a premium position.  We have seen lesser shortstops become key components in trades for young talents like Upton and Trevor Bauer.  Unlike fellow shortstop Starlin Castro, he doesn't have the combination of present and future value.  Baez's MLB value is 100% in the future, and thus highly speculative.  If you are worried about giving up the next Lou Brock, consider that the Cubs are  guaranteed to lose significant MLB value if they trade Starlin Castro.  That guarantee does not exist with Baez.

Another reason is that Baez may not fit the front office's new philosophy as well as other prospects.  The Cubs are already a free-swinging team and much of their talent in the minors reflects that as well, perhaps none more so than Baez.  There is greater hope that Jorge Soler and Albert Almora will put up some of the kind of grind-it-out plate appearances that the team is looking for.  And while players like Christian Villanueva and Jeimer Candelario have lower ceilings than Baez, they may be better fits as far as what the team is trying to accomplish in terms of their approach at the plate.

I don't mean to knock Baez here.  He's as exciting and talented a prospect as the Cubs have had in a long time and I'd have to swallow hard to even consider dealing him -- and it would undoubtedly have to be in return for top shelf, still-in-their-prime talent. I also don't think the Cubs should look to trade Baez.  But if the Marlins are dangling Stanton and the first name that comes out of their mouth is Javier Baez, then the Cubs absolutely have to listen.

 

 

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  • All very good points, and I'm down with the analysis. What is relevant here is whether or not this organization is shrewd enough to make the right decisions. They are unproven. We'll simply have to bear with them and see what evolves. At least it's not a Bears situation. This buinch will dig into their pockets in an attempt to get to the top. The McCaskeys will always take the cheapest path.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    I think they already proved they made a good swap with Cashner/Rizzo.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    I hope so. We'll see. I don't think these guys are one trick ponies. We've focused on the farm and the draft, but there are other ways this team could use their wits and resources to get good young players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When does Stanton become a free agent? It doesn't make much sense to trade Baez (or anyone similar) for Stanton, only to have him leave before he can be of much value to the Cubs. Certainly this year, and probably next year will not be very good, even with Stanton.

    Certainly, we can give him enough money to stay, but if we are willing to pay that much, why not just wait until he is a free agent and get him for nothing but money?

    I think that 90% of the time, the concept of a home town discount is a pure fiction.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Although I agre that there is little to "hometown discounts". It is the idea that you can save long term by buying out arb years for a guy like Stanton and lock him up into his early FA years, much like the FO accomplished with Castro. The ancillary impact is that other players would want to hit in a line-up that hits Castro, Stanton, Rizzo as 2-3-4 hitters.... Thus improving our chances of landing the A Sanchez's of the world.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    @DaveP, very good! It reminds me of Juan Piere. Trade some prospects for a rental. A year later Stanton signs with a California team, Texas, or an East coast team and what did you get! The only way you can look at him is in a pre-trade agreement! Otherwise he will be gone! What does he owe the Cubs?

    I would also like to point out that most of the Cubs top prospects never panned out, because as I told many other fans, they have NO minor league system, just a bunch of sergeants with different plans. Today, they are evolving a system for pitching and hitting! And that is a far cry for top prospect washouts of the past.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    FA after the 2017 season. By then he'll be in his prime, but it's a long way away if you're trying to get good now.

    it is an advantage to have the player on your team when yo are trying to re-sign him because you get exclusive negotiating rights for a long period of time, in this case 5 years. Getting him on the FA means a short window of time with plenty of competition.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, your Jekyll and Hyde now. I have been generally on board with the rebuild. But after the opener at Wrigley I actually drafted a post for this page yesterday raging about the Cubs acting like a small market team while charging fans big market prices. But I didn't send it on.

    I say no trading Baez, Soler or Almora. I would only trade a top prospect to get that last final piece -- like Joe Carter for Sutcliff in '84.

    But I am pissed they haven't spent money to get some stud free agents, even if it mean overpaying them annually in order to get them on 2 or 3 year deals so we can still be competitive while we wait for these future hall of famers to arrive.

    The 2003 to 2008 period are the glory years of the modern Cubs. 5 outs away in 03. The best teams in baseball in 07 and 08. Those were glorious seasons! Except for the playoffs, of course.

    I couldn't care less what they are paying Soriano and Marmol for this year, or next for Sori. They are one of the most profitable teams. Pay up!

    I know you think like a GM, but as a fan I want to see Ricketts spending like crazy until we win the World Series. And while waiting for the future kids to get here. Those two approaches are not mutually exclusive!

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    The fastest (and most surefire) way to a proper rebuild is to suck for a few years, get the top picks where it's easier to identify and draft premium talent and build from there.

    Yes, Theo showed an ability to draft well late in rounds with Boston, but he already had a great core of players to build around when he got the Red Sox job. He came into the Cubs with Castro and empty pockets. It's not the same scenario and signing a few big name (and expensive) premium free agents would only continue the Hendry cycle of being good enough to not contend. This team is/was too far away for 2-3 free agents to make us contenders, and the extra 5-10 games per year we would win by signing those guys now would hurt us in the draft. Not necessarily in the later rounds, but definitely in the first round. It is easier to identify a premium prospect if you're picking 15 and hope he falls to you or to identify 3-4 premium prospects and be picking in the top 5?

    This team will still stink for the most part in 2013 AND 2014. That doesn't mean TheHoyer are taking the wrong road, it means they're taking the correct road.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Not sure what you mean here. I'm all for the rebuild. That hasn't changed at all. Just wondering if the Cubs are being too narrow in their scope. Dealing a prospect to get a core player should be under consideration this offseason as part of the rebuild, not as giving up on it.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Just to refresh your memory, included in your "glory years of the modern Cubs" was the 77 win 2005 season and the 90 loss 2006 season where Dusty Baker was trotting out Nefi Perez at Shortstop with too much regularity.

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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Theo & Jed are unproven?

    Stop with the McCaskey's are cheap crap too. They have shelled out tons of cash over recent years to get or retain their own free agents or extend players. Peppers, Cutler, Forte etc.

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Exactly.....Resindorf is cheap, real cheap

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Why do you say they are unproven? With the amount of great records of everyone in the upper tiers, I think that is the exact opposite of the truth.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

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  • Stanton would be just like signing an impact FA bat that won't be available in the market later.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Exactly. And it's getting increasingly difficult to get guys on the FA market. Few make it that far and those who do get really, really expensive.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I would trade Baez for Stanton. Who do I call?

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Wow. I'm not saying anybody's wrong, ESPECIALLY when i'm in the minority here. I'm just surprised how quickly we've given up on the rebuild. Are we that desperate, guys?! So we're not that good right now, it's been a CENTURY, just bare it a tad longer!!!

    "Baez + for stanton" to me is worse than the archer + for garza. Stanton has great, GREAT power, no doubt about it. But, & i'm gonna get crucified for this, apparently, he's kinda like a younger version of the current soriano. I say "current soriano" because stanton can't run & doesn't appear to hit for average. The stanton-age soriano could run. Stanton hasn't played 150+ games yet, RBIs and runs are questionable.

    I know he's young, give him a break- i'm just saying why jump the gun so quickly? And john's lou brock reminder SHOULD be heeded, no reason to be ashamed of learning from our past.

    I guess what's more on my mind is- with the teams mentioned- miami/tampa, i do not want to destroy our farm for somebody who's a few years ahead of our guys. ESPECIALLY if we can get them for a package of our middler talents.

    *** and most importantly, REMEMBER, we've never had proper player developement. Being taught by a college dropout substitute is a little different than being taught by a college professor who's been teaching for 30 years. We finally have a proper system in place, let's take it out for a spin instead of jumping ship to pre-avoid what we perceive to be potential mistakes.

    These clubs can't afford to keep these guys anyway, the advantage goes to every other team in the league. If they eventually HAVE to trade these guys, the rest of us should be bardering with lesser talents, not our #1 + others. Why?! What's the hurry? Let it play out, we're mot even 2 years into this thing. We don't even know if stanton is injury prone yet, and if he slows down his HR production in 3 years, we've got nothing. A right fielder who can't run, hits .260, can't drive in 80 runs, perhaps can't handle there being more than 100 fans being at the park, who knows?

    The trades will come, but are we really ready yet? I think it has more potential for damage than good. We're the ones who need the multiple assets in a trade, not the other way around.

    Then when we're good and the kids are pushing through, we add the suttcliffe/dernier/matthews of '84, the aramis/lofton/karros of '03, the soriano/lilly/derosa of '07/08.

    We're not buyers yet, and if we kid ourselves that we are then nothing will ever get better. I say stay the course, devolope these kids, have some faith.

    Relax, everybody! If you're so desparate to add another young "proven" talent, then trade castro for stanton+ their top 5 prospects, or price+ their top 3 prospects.

    Giving up multiple top prospects so we can feel a bit better tomorrow morning about our 85 loss team will just perpetuate this horrible run.

    I say stay the course, thoyer! We FINALLY are moving in the direction of building a possible dynasty, please don't deviate!

  • In reply to MikeyB:

    I don't think anyone has given up on the rebuild. Just that you don't rebuild in just one way. To me it doesn't mean building a homegrown team, it means adding long term value in anyway possible -- even if it costs you prospects to do it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure, i get that- but people are saying "price, garza, jackson, shark, suddenly looks pretty good" and there's no disputing that, but think about what you're saying. We still have holes EVERYWHERE ELSE. People aren't saying "we're JUST in need of a frontline starter & we'll be awesome" because they know that's not true, people are talking about how the team will look better tomorrow morning when they're arguing cubs/sox at the office with their sox buddies.

    Right now we're not championship ready at all 3 outfield spots, 3rd base, 3 SP, & pretty much the entire bullpen. Regardless, i say we're still at the point we need to trade OUR proven mlbers for younger higher potential talents who are projectable. Yes, it's a risk, but it's like trying to start a garden. We have a few plants that look like they'll be roses (riz/castro/shark) & we've got seedlings just beginning to sprout (baez/almora/soler,etc), but we have a ton that are still burried & we're going to double those burried come july. We can dig up the early sprouting seedlings to add one potential rose, OR we can keep our early sprouters & hope to get 2 or 3 roses out of them who won't be fully grown before all the burried seeds begin to even move.

    Can't believe i just said that, but i guess i'm just a bit worried about peoples' restlessness. If we deplete our system for price or stanton, then what? Cause from that moment on those 2 guys just get older & we push further back the time we'll have to wait for prospects to become valuable & viable assets. As i said, perpetuating the entire building process.

  • In reply to MikeyB:

    Who says you can't have both? Let's say the Cubs trade for Stanton for Baez and a package of prospects that does not include Almora or Soler. Let's also assume both players pan out.

    You could be looking at a lineup that would be something like this.

    OF: Stanton, Almora, Soler
    3B: Villanueva, Candelario, or FA or maybe a trade for Olt
    SS: Castro
    2B: Barney, Watkins, Amaya or FA/trade
    1B: Rizzo
    C: Castillo

    That's a pretty strong core of players, strong enough that you can fill in with non-stars at the 3B and 2B positions. I think that team could be good enough to win in 2-3 years with the 5 best players still not even in their prime, setting them up to win for many years.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I would rather have Price, but I have to admit, the thing that is scary about acquiring Stanton is that he's Castro's age. To have him, Castro, and Rizzo in their mid-20s -- that's just unfair. And think about the pitches Castro and Rizzo would get to hit with Stanton lurking in the cleanup spot.

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    In reply to MikeyB:

    Trading for Stanton wouldn't be giving up on the rebuild. He's 23.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I fully understand his age, i'm saying the concept of the rebuild is to flood the lowest tiers. Rizzo/castro/shark/jackson right mow is our mlb core. That's it. Adding stanton is one person. I'm all for it, but you tell me you'd use a package built around baez, then i'd say- yes, you're deviating from the rebuild. The system is not good enough yet to give up numbers for good players. I realky don't care who it is. The yankees could've used a package built around any of their top prospects in the early 90s- jeter, posada, bernie- and gotten a sweet young proven player- but they played the numbers game & built a dynasty instead.

    The best part of a rebuild is you can build a dynasty, but it's a numbers game. Numbers numbers numbers.

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    In reply to MikeyB:

    The concept of a rebuild isnt to flood the lower tiers it's to build a young MLB core. If you get Stanton you've added a proven young impact bat to that core.

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Let's take a realistic look at this team: They have NO YOUNG PITCHING to build around. If you're going to trade away key long term assets you only deal them for young pitching.

    The complete lack of MLB ready young pitching is why this team is NOT going to suddenly flip a switch and contend in 2015 when a bunch of our top hitting prospects are projected to start arriving in mass. There's still not going to be much in the way of pitching, and trading Baez for Stanton won't change that. I'd rather keep the younger guy who has 6 full years of control than deal him (and others) to get Stanton and pay him a boatload of money. It's not like Baez is Hee Sopp Choi. Baez is an actual, legitimate top prospect. Not that Choi was a bad prospect but nobody at the time was as excited about him nationally as scouts/writers are talking about Baez.

  • I would trade Baez for Price or Stanton... particularly Price. A starting 5 of Price, Garza, Shark, Jackson, Wood (or Baker) suddenly looks very, very viable. The attention could then turn towards fixing a pretty broken offense.

    BTW--I'm assuming that in a deal for Price/Stanton, Baez would only be one piece. What more do you think it would take to get him?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    It would definitely take more to get either player, but if it cost them Soler and/or Almora too, then I wouldn't do it. I'd consider any other prospect as part of a package depending on circumstances.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Firstly, John, thank you your great columns.
    As a Cub fan living in the Miami area, I believe it safe to say the Marlins wouldn't trade Stanton for three Javier Baez's.
    Stanton is the most valuable property in baseball (excepting maybe Mike Trout), He has produced hugely already, and still is believed to have a greater upside. More importantly, he is very cheap for three years, which is what makes him and Trout such a value now.
    Baez is far from a sure thing in terms of MLB production. He's young and cheap; so is Stanton.
    There's no question in my mind if the Marlins decide to trade Stanton, they can expect to receive a haul far greater than anything the Cubs can offer.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    Good. They'll end up getting less than baez for stanton, but glad to hear they probably won't want baezx 3. And stanton, btw, is worth a little less than half of trout's value, i would estimate. If that.

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    Thanks. But I'm not convinced they'll completely clean out anyone's farm system. There's going to be a ceiling as to what they can get that will be created by the trade market. If Stanton remains as vocal about leaving then they may not have the choice of retaining him and they'll be at the mercy of that trade market. With the Cubs having a top 10 system and perhaps even better by the end of the season, plus the big market money to extend Stanton, they'll be among a small handful of teams with a chance to land and retain him. It may not cost much more than what it cost the Braves to get Upton when all is said and done.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    First of all, Baez would just be the BEGINNING of what we would have to give up for Stanton. The asking price is much more likely to be Baez, Soler and two or three more like Vogelbach, Pierce Johnson and perhaps Vizcaino.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    They won't get that much. Speculation on packages are always wildly overblown until it gets to the trading table. Teams will point to the Upton deal as a comp. With the Marlins knowing they will lose him and with only a handful teams of having the prospects to land him AND the financial resources to retain him, they aren't going to be able to shop him as freely as you might think. If they try to extract that kind of package, teams will simply walk away. I know this because I spoke to someone who knew first hand info on the first set of Upton rumors a couple of years back --when he was having a huge year. Teams walked away. The same will happen with Stanton and they'll be left with a player who is a year older, a year closer to free agency, and risking an injury or an off-year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that teams would walk away from that kind of demand. But that WILL be their demand.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    True, but eventually they're going to have to trade him unless the Marlins rapidly turn the team around and convince Stanton to stay in Miami. I used Baez and Stanton as an example, but in reality I think it will play out similar to the Upton saga. They'll throw it out there, teams will scoff and walk away. Then they'll come back and ask for a little less, and so on until they trade him for much less than they asked in the beginning. It may take a couple of years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Braves got a reasonable deal in acquiring Upton but they were also fortunate that Upton "knocked off" an arguably more aggressive suitor in Seattle as I recall. As a general matter of probability, however, I think you are correct.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    That is true. Seattle did make a better offer. At least as far as prospects are concerned.

  • Always consider trading "prospects" for players who are MLB-ready.

  • Agreed. Never a bad thing to consider doing.

    Depends on the situation, the players involved, and club needs in the near and far term.

    Rick Sutcliffe and some add ons were recieved in that kind of offer,... cost the Cubs Mel Hall & Joe Carter. Was a smart short-term move for the Cubs and a smart long-term move for the Indians. Carter was unproven at the time

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    I don't disagree with anything you say...it's a tough call.

    As fans, I think we tend to overvalue our own prospects. There is a long list of great Cubs prospects who never met that expectation, and it's not because we stink at developing prospects so much as the fact that many don't make it is just a fact of prospect life. Bobby Hill, Choi, Ryan Harvey, Dopirak, Nic Jackson, Jay Jackson, Felix Pie....all BA top 100 prospects, and all busts.

    I guarantee that between our current BA top 100, Vizcaino, B-Jax, Baez, Almora, and Soler, one of them will bust. I have no idea which one, but this is just the law of prospect averages

    All prospects are suspects

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I guess that's where you have to gamble -- which guys do you think are the most likely to reach their ceilings. In my opinion, that guy is Almora, Vizcaino is 2nd, Soler is 3rd and Baez 4th. It's why I used Baez as an example but maybe the Cubs feel differently.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You're probably right where they rank, and though Baez has a high ceiling, he is high-risk as well.

    In fact, alot of our problem as a system is that we don't have any high ceiling guys with even medium risk (I don't think B-Jax is high ceiling).

    Vizcaino I think has a low risk from a performance standpoint, the risk with him is clearly injury, which makes him high risk.

    (PS: If Soler continues to maul A+ pitching this year, and makes the transition to AA, he'll become medium risk)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know if I would rank Vizcaino that high because of injury and the chance that he winds up in the bullpen. His ceiling is a frontline starter right?
    Personally, I would rank Soler as most likely to reach his ceiling because he's probably already at least average at his position without much projection left as far as power, and he shows good signs of developing patience at the plate. I mean, doesn't he figure as an average to above average hitter with prodigious power who plays solid right field? Seems like the closest to me.
    Still a lot of projection with Almora's power despite all the polish and defense.
    Just my personal rankings, I'm no expert.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    In my view, I like Vizcaino's proximity to the majors and I don't know if he's a frontline starter because of size and durability issues. Maybe more like a #3 guy from the people I've talked to, but not the workhorse to be a true top of the rotation type.

    I think Soler has a ways to go before reaching his power potential. He can hit it a long way when he connects but for him he needs to prove he can be a consistent HR guy. I think he will, it's just a matter of experience. Soler's offensive ceiling is much higher than Almora's, so for me he's just more unlikely to get there than for Almora to be a .300 guy with 15 HRs or so with top of the scale CF defense. Almora is already there as far as defense.

  • I think this type of trade will become inevitable for the Cubs in the future. The economics are changing so much. The Free Agent market is nearly dried up with everyone signing extensions. If the Cubs need to reach outside of the organization to fill a "win now" need, it's going to have to be a trade.

    Clearly, we're not there yet. Hopefully Baez is part of that core we are adding to. But say we draft a Meadows or a Frazier this year. Might one of those guys become trade bait for a #1 SP or an actual Major League 3B 2-3 years from now?

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    Agreed. You just cant get FAs like you used to and when you do, the price is astronomical.

    Frazier or Meadows can be trade bait a year or two from now, but I don't think the Cubs will wait that long to start looking to win. And that's no guarantee anyway. I think they go with a pitcher with the expectation that either Appel or Gray will be ready to help very soon.

  • Absolutely you make that move. History shows that the screwdest moves are the ones where you trade prospects for young stars. Pedro Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sheffield, and to a lesser extent Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. All players in smaller markets where they knew the arbitration numbers were going to get out of hand or knew that once they were free agency eligible they wouldn't be able to resign those guys. Players like Manny Ramirez and A Rod aren't going to be out there in free agency in their mid 20s anymore.

  • I agree that this something that the FO should at least look at. Baez could be a an impact player without a position if he is a Cub. We already have an impact SS.

  • Too bad the Cubs did not have this early trade philosophy with prospects such as Josh Vitters, BJax, Ty Griffin, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Tyler Colvin, Shawn Dunston, Earl Cunningham, Luis Montanez, Andy Sisco, Ryan Harvey, Pawelek, Hagerty, Brownlie or Blasko .........

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    You don't think Kerry Wood worked out?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Or Dunston? He didn't reach his ceiling, but he had a long and productive career.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Did Dunston help the Cubs win anything?

    Average player, but as a high touted daft pick, should have a HOF career.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    So every high touted draft pick that doesn't reach the HOF is a bust.

    That means Doc Gooden, who was drafted after Dunston is a bust.

    Go through the history of first round picks. You're going to see a whole lotta names you don't recognize and the ones you do will most likely not be HOF names.

    Highly touted draft pick does not equal HOF.

    By the way Dunston did help the Cubs win teh 1989 East Division title. So the answer to that question is yes.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    89...yeah, we got our butts kicked in by the Giants in the playoffs.....so the correct answer is "No".

    Winning only means having the World Series title.

    This is what the problem for most Cubs fans......believing if you win the division, that what only matters to them....not winning the World Series.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Wait... is that seriously your criteria for a player panning out? That would mean that every single Cubs player since 1908 has been a failure. That would mean that Ernie Banks didn't pan out. Similarly, it would mean that David Eckstein is a better player than Andre Dawson.

    C'mon man. I understand your point that Dunston wasn't as good as he could have been and the Cubs didn't win anything with him, but your standards are a little skewed.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    You asked if Dunston helped the Cubs win anything. You didn't say the World Seies, you said ANYTHING. He did. Be more specific next time if you don't like the correct answer to your poorley worded question.

    Winning the division is not only what matters to most Cub fans. Winning the World Series is what matters most to all Cub fans and in 1989 you didn't have a chance at winning a WS unless you won something (your division).

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Did Ernie Banks help the Cubs win anything? What about Billy Williams, or Fergie Jenkins, or Ron Santo, or Ryne Sandberg, or Andre Dawson?

    Judging a prospect like that is unfair given the fact that I listed six Hall of Famers who failed to help the Cubs win anything.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    No, actually Kerry didnt work out that well. Wasnt his fault given his injuries, but Kerry never was the same after 2003. He actually only had 6 healthy seasons his entire career, the last third of which was spent as a reliever.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Given the high risk of injury that comes with being a pitcher, I think Wood turned out pretty well. Again, he didn't reach his ceiling and the injuries did derail his career quite a bit, but it's not like he never made the majors and had in impact. He was a vital cog on a team that almost made the World Series. I would take that with Pierce Johnson or any of the other pitching prospects any day of the week (esp. if they can get to and win the WS).

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Had one great day in his career......not a great career.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    He had a good career, not great but definitely better than average. From 98 to 04 he was in his down years a good #3 and in his good years, an ace. That is six very good years of a player which is better than you can expect to get from trading him. He then went on to be a very productive reliever. Wood may have not reached his ceiling, but that would have been nearly impossible given that his ceiling was roger clemens.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Kerry Wood was average at best........please, stop making him 'Cy Young".

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    No one is making Kerry Wood "Cy Young", but someone is making him "Joe Schmoe" with 20/20 revisionist hindsight.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    No one is freaking calling him cy young. During his best years, from '98 to '04, he was what he was, a very good starter. during that span he had a 3.63 era, 10.4 k/9, 4.4 bb/9 in over 1000 innings. That is at the very least a top notch number 3 starter and during his best year, '03, he would be an ace on most teams (including the cubs if not for prior). He was not going to be in the HOF, but he was very good.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Cubs Talk... I really want to know how you judge the quality of someone's career.

    Also, stop putting words in people's mouths. I didn't say he was a HOFer. I said he had a pretty good career. Does pretty good=Cy Young to you? Cy Young to me means unparalleled excellence (at least for that year). He wasn't that, but he was at times a staff ace and a good closer for a few years. He doesn't deserve a parade, but he wasn't a f***ing schlub either.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    As far as Mark Prior goes, there really wasn't any time to trade him. You can't trade a prospect for one year after drafting them. Prior made his big league debut 11 months after being drafted. Almost no one at the time saw the injury problems that would sink him. In fact, the Mark Prior of 10 years ago would be exactly the type of player John is arguing we should be trading prospects for.

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    I would be open to a Baez for Price or Stanton trade but I'd have to throw a little wrinkle in there. We need to also be able to sign the new property to a long term contract. I'd hate to get Price only to lose him to free agency right away......

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You Are Correct Sir!

    I hope Theo thinks the same.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I agree. I think an extension almost certainly gets done one way or the other if the Cub make that kind of trade Too much to lose otherwise.

  • You know...if we can get Garza back, there might be some playoff team with major pitching injuries that would be willing to give up something great for Garza, Feldman or Baker this July........"Desperation" can make and break a team's future.

  • Right now, who would any of you want in a Baez trade....Price or Stanton?

    A guy who pitches once every five days.....or a guy who plays 160 games a season?

    Price can win 15 games for the Cubs.......Stanton can win maybe 20 plus!

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I lean towards Price. I think it's easier to get an OFer with power than a true #1. I understand that Stanton is a superior hitter and I get your point, but I just think that you tend to win with pitching in the playoffs and that it's a harder hole to fill. Someone like Soler (who admittedly might now pan out) could fill the Stanton role though he's unlikely to be as good.

    I would rejoice at acquiring either player, however.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Price is a big winner pitching in the AL East. Id be hard-pressed to believe he wouldnt do better in the NL.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    As long as it doesn't end up like the Garza situation.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    100% Price.

    Getting a proven young Cy Young winner to sit at the front of your rotation seems more valuable then picking up a power OF.

  • As a Packer fan, I'm a believer in their proven draft and develop philosophy. The emphasis needs to be on develop. Until Theo arrived, the Cubs just counted on natural talent and time to carry their prospects to legit status. Now that we have a process to develop our farm talent; let's use it to our advantage.

    Getting impatient to parlay our in house talent into believed instant success seems to me the road back to the past 100 years of failure. We've been there and done that.

    Should we be in a position of having more major league ready talent than we have room for, then it's time to trade our excess (don't hold your breath), for players to restock the farm - especially with pitching, which a team can never be too much of.

  • In reply to Sheboygan Frank:

    I agree to a point but I'm not talking about getting win-now only veterans. These guys are potential core piece for many years.. Stanton is still very, very young. He would help team now and possibly for next 10 years. What you're getting is a proven young talent instead of an unproven one.

  • I'm all for exploring trades with Baez or other top prospects. As for Baez, his probable position is ss or 3B. These are postions of strentgh in the farm system, so maybe trading from a strong prospect position for a weaker one, i.,e catcher and pitching would be worth the risk. Someone said earlier that one of our top 5 prospects will probably be a bust. I will say at least two will be. If we hit on 3 of the 5, I would be very pleased with that.

  • In reply to cubman:

    I'd be pleased with that as well.

  • I've written about this before. I can't see how you wouldn't look at it if the right situation presented itself. If the Cubs organization had Jameson Tallion or Dylan Bundy instead of Baez wouldn't it be rated just as strong? Stronger? Not as strong but more complete? I'd take any of those answers.

    But first thing's first., Let's see Javier Baez dominate A ball before it's even an option...

  • In reply to felzz:

    I think he has to start playing well for this to be an option. I think he will once he settles in.

    I do remember you posing that question too. I'd be more inclined to deal Baez for a proven guy, but I'd consider a prospect challenge deal like that as well if it's a one for one.

  • There is no prospect in the Cubs organization that I would not trade for Stanton.
    IMO, the guy's a future HOFer.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    By themselves, maybe not. I may be reluctant to trade Almora, though, because of his ability to play Gold Glove CF while also putting up good offensive numbers -- plus the fact that to me he has the best chance of reaching his ceiling of any Cubs prospect.

  • John, Id only trade a prospect like Baez for 2 or 3 MLB players now. David Price, Gioncarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. Otherwise, keep him, especially since none of the other teams will trade there established stars for Baez straight up.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Oh definitely. It has to bring in somebody who is both good and still in their prime. Otherwise I take my chances with Baez and hope he pans out as hoped.

  • Not to spit cliches, but no player or prospect in any organization is untradeable.

    I think the front office will go after any trades that make sense to them. And those could include our best prospects and our best players. They're going to have to feel 1) really confident in their assessment of the players we have and 2) really confident in the ability of what they're acquiring in order to make those trades. But I certainly think they're not just going to dismiss them.

    I do have to say that if Baez starts mashing the ball in high A and shows an improved approach, I'd be really, really surprised if they moved him. But if he keeps hitting bombs between ABs where he screws himself into the ground because of overswinging on a breaking pitch, I think they could be aggressive in moving him this offseason.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think that last paragraph really nails it. I believe he'll put up great numbers one way or the other, but how he puts up his numbers may determine whether they believe he has more value to this team or in terms of what he can bring back.

  • We probably will end up trading some prospects away for the simple reason we have 3 to 4 good prospects for each of the 3 positions of SS, 3B and 2B. We can't use them all at the ML level. If we can get something we need, maybe a SP, it won't be the worst thing. It just will be tough to see one of our own succeed somewhere else. Taking all that into consideration I still trust Theo/Jed to do our trading. And I am sure they will miss on some and hit on others. So far we have done OK with the Cashner for Rizzo trade. Course that one we gave up a ML player for a prospect. I am sure SD is kicking themselves right now. The Colvin for Stuart trade hasn't turned out as well so far.

  • In reply to John57:

    Exactly. And that's just one more reason why depth, especially at premium positions, is such a huge asset. And it's why you never draft for need. Just get the best players you can and let the rest sort itself out. If you have competent people at the top, you should be able to parlay that depth into whatever you need.

  • Again, John, you are right on point. I still remember the day when we traded Bobby Hill for Aramis Ramirez, and several posters on an old cubs fan internet forum exploded with rage.

    The only downside with wonderful websites like yours is that we have an easier time following prospects all the way down to the lower levels. So our bias grows... I mean, how many posts do/will we see where posters project future lineups of 3B Baez, 2B Watkins, LF Jackson CF Almora, RF Soler... It would be like dreaming of a cubs future lineup with Hee Seop Choi, Eric Patterson, David Kelton, Brian Dopirak and so on...

    I have no problem if the Cubs trade Baez. I have a lot of faith that this front office knows who the keepers are.

  • In reply to DemonBerryhill:

    I wasn't writing a blog back then but I absolutely loved that deal when it happened. Couldn't believe it was actually happening. I was a big fan of Aramis as a Pirate.

    I guess you can think of the minor league recaps as a catch-all and it gives everyone as much info as possible, and thus a chance to pick out the guys they like best. Unfortunately almost everyone I talk about will not make a huge impact at the MLB level.

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    Thanks for starting this one, John. It's a discussion that the Cubs (and their fans) need to have.

    I'm somewhat torn. I rather do like the Cardinals method whereby they never move top prospects. That discipline means they never wind up trading the future for the present and -- almost certainly as a result -- the present is always pretty good.

    Having said that, Theo and Company inherited this farm system. They're stuck with a lot of guys that aren't their picks and -- under the logic of the old drafting system -- have pretty lousy plate discipline. Javy Baez fits this perfectly. We often talk about how Theo inherited an empty cupboard at the major league level, but the sad truth is the prospects we had in the minors are almost certainly not the ones he would have picked if he'd had the same draft choices. For example, in 2010, might he have gone with Cory Spangenberg? (We'd probably be cursing him for that right now.) Jose Fernandez? The point here is not whether or not they would have been better picks (one yes, one no), but that Theo is still building the farm system he wants.

    There's also seems to be some fear here -- in comparing Baez to guys like Bobby Hill and Hee Seop Choi by extension -- that he might not reach the amazing ceiling we're all dreaming of for him. Given what I've seen so far, I have to admit that I share that fear.

    So, given everything, I'd be good with moving Baez for a major piece. Price and Stanton jump out at you, but perhaps a deal with the Mariners for Walker or Montero would work, as well. However, I'd hope that this is a one time thing and, once Theo *does* get the farm system he wants, we just trust the picks and the development process and let them mature in our system, as that model has paid such huge dividends for the Cards.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Walker I understand but Montero doesn't really have a position. I like Zunino though.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    If the Mariners will do Zunino for Baez the Cubs need to take them up on it before they sober up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Heard Cubs were big fans of Zunino before the draft. Early season slump made it look like maybe they had a chance for a while, but I'm sure they're thrilled with Almora. When Cubs say they had Almora as one of their top 3 guys, I fully believe Zunino was one of the other two.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He was my choice going into last year's draft. I'd love to say I foresaw what he's done, but I figured he would be a league average hitter that would develop quickly and, through his defense and leadership qualities, establish a solid and consistent presence for a decade at a critical position.

    But this Barry Bonds impersonation -- I'm not sure anyone could have foreseen this.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    As I look at it, though, Montero's bat has been pretty ordinary to this point.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks and great thoughts on this. I think you can mix the two. You can occasionally trade a top prospect or two but it has to be for young players who can contribute long term. And you have to keep that strong emphasis on the draft. If you're going to trade a prospect or two, you have to keep re-stocking and keep that pipeline moving.

    I'm mixed on the Cardinals so far. I love their current system but It wasn't long ago that their farm system was one of the worst in baseball, so I have to see how this works out long term. Much of their success was based on young players they acquired elsewhere, especially in regards to pitching: guys like Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Joel Piniero, Kyle Lohse, etc. were all acquired from other teams.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's fair. And you're right, it's impossible to underestimate how important Dave Duncan's ability to take five guys at random out of the grandstand and turn them into Cy Young contenders was to their success.

    But what I notice about the Cardinals is its easy to find guys like Albert Pujols and Yadi Molina that they developed themselves. On the other hand, I can't think of a prospect they traded who turned into a great player on another team. And they are disciplined. No matter how competitive they are this year, we know they aren't going to move Oscar Taveras for a big piece to win this year. That just isn't how they operate. Maybe the trick is just they are good at evaluating their own prospects and only trade the ones that they are sure will not reach their ceilings.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pujols and Molina were rare gems at a time when the farm hadn't started producing yet. They didn't build those early teams just with the farm. They made some cheap investments in talent that worked out. Look at their 2006 WS teams and you'll see that those two guys were their only significant players from their farm system. Everyone else that made an impact was acquired elsewhere. The 2011 team still had major contributors like Holliday and Berkman and 4/5 of their rotation from outside the organization.

    I don't want to superimpose their highly rated farm system on their success of the past because it was different for them up until the past couple of years. If they succeed with their current group of prospects as MLB'ers down the line, then I'll think differently, but I don't think it's accurate to say they have built their teams entirely from within. If anything, most of it has come from outside acquisitions

    As for actually trading good prospects, we don't really know since they have never really had that luxury in the past. I don't think they'll necessarily trade them now that they have them, mostly because they're a much smaller market, so they're more likely to take chances on their own prospects like Tavares. We've seen other small market teams do the same things from the Expos to the Rays to the Royals and Pirates. If the Cards choose that route, I don't think that will make them unique in that respect. They will just be operating the way most small market teams do in regards to keeping prospects. They don't really have as much of a choice as the Cubs or other big market teams do.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'll grant you everything you say here. Just did want to emphasize that I never meant to imply the Cardinals teams of the past were build solely from within -- nor do I think the Cubs should do the same. Moreover, if they are in it this year, I think they can and should, trade some of their prospects. Guys like Kolten Wong or their myriad power arms figure to be good major leaguers, but not potential MVPs/Cy Young winners.

    To some extent it's what you were saying earlier about Almora. Even given that you might trade some of your top guys -- he'd be a very difficult pill to swallow because of all he can give your team. Personally, I'd put Soler there before Almora, but that's nitpicking. I don't mean to say that, if the Marlins ask for Baez *and* Dan Vogelbach for Stanton the Cubs should hold off because "We can't trade our top prospects!"

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed there.

    And I do think the top 3 are almost interchangeable depending on what you're looking for in a prospect.

  • My thought on this is the Cubs need to make moves that benefit them and their time table. I am not against this but it has to be the right move and time for them. Price and Stanton make sense to me but what about a AAA pitcher like Cole or Bundy too. Just a thought.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed in that has to be a player that is still young and fits time table. Felzz had the same thoughts you did on a minor league arm. I prefer getting a known quantity over an unknown quantity, but I'd consider that type of deal too. Would be kind of like the Delmon Young for Matt Garza deal a few years back (not that Baez is Delmon Young).

  • i think the cubs should wait until next year when baez is firmly in AA or AAA to decide if they want to trade him. his value can get higher and thats the point where it will be the highest, at that point they will either be confident that his patience at the plate will start to improve or it wont.

    i think what the cubs should focus on is trading away, or using their depth at 2b to gain pitching. watkins, devoss, torreyes, amaya. i think they should choose two of those guys (for me its watkins and amaya) and trade the other too.

    i also think the cubs should trade garza at the deadline to KC (paying the bulk of his salary for a better return) and then re sign him so they can trade him again in a few years.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    This is true, but what if you get a good offer now? Do you pass that up and hope he continues to improve? For me that's pretty risky. Of course, this is all hypothetical, but it would depend on what is offered right now.

  • fb_avatar

    I like Baez a lot, and would like to see him a Cub.

    However, If Tampa is willing to let go of Price for Baez and a few other prospects we don't expect great thins from, I say you have to do it.

    Although I'll add that it is probably wise until Baez is playing in AA (and playing well). I don't think a star A+ player.

    I'm a tiny bit wary of a Stanton trade. But that might just be because Soler is coming up, fits RF too well and is already getting pretty decent money.

    If they can pull off a three way trade where we lose Baez and Soler, but pick up Price and Stanton. I'm game. lol.

    But for both of them, really I can't emphasize that they need to be AA stars first before I think trading either is viable.

    And I agree with the previous statements that outside absolute high-level blue chip stars who are still YOUNG, I wouldn't consider trading them. Outside of Price and Stanton, the only name I'd consider is probably Mat Latos, IF he continues to improve as he has.

    Kershaw is an obvious example, too. But I'm going to hold onto the fantasy that Kershaw lets himself get to Free Agency and we offer him a contract that makes A-rod blush.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Good stuff. I'd still get Stanton. The worst that happens is you move Soler to LF, which he played quite a bit this spring. Soler's timetable would fit nicely with Soriano's too.

  • I'm as big of a fan of Baez' as anyone. But when you have a chance to acquire young, elite MLB talent, you do it! Even if it costs young, elite, prospects.....

  • After (1) June draft (2) international signings and (3) July trades,
    if any, we should have a better idea of what we have and what
    we need. I'm for trading any prospect in a package deal with
    a veteran. By the Winter meetings we should know what route
    to take to improve our farm system. These next 8 months will
    determine if Theo/Jeb have what it takes (that includes balls)

  • Let's forget about the 2013 season entirely.

  • I would say YES on Stanton - under control through 2016 and easier to extend at a somewhat reasonable rate if you can get an agreement quickly. Price has two strikes against him: under control only through 2015, and frankly, he is a pitcher. There is a higher risk there of a pitcher being injured. If I am going to trade Baez, I'd rather do it with less risk.

    So, heck yeah, I would trade Baez for Stanton. Stanton is a proven monster of a hitter. An all-star. An elite MLB player who's offense exceeds that of anyone on our team. He does whiff, but he knows how to take a pitch. His slugging/OPS is through the roof. He'll hit them as far as Kingman and Sosa.

    Baez is immature, unproven and he actually may fail to succeed. His impatience is a significant concern. Sheffield bat-speed and power, with Corey Patterson strike zone judgment. Do I exaggerate?

    Stanton is a guaranteed success, and he also plays outfield, where we have more holes potentially, if all of our prospects don't pan out - which is rather likely. I'm only counting on Soler as a sure thing right now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HackWilson09:

    Yeah, I think if you can get either Price or Stanton for Baez and not significantly more, you have to take it. The question is what "more" the Rays or Marlins would ask for. The Royals gave up a heck of a lot more than Wil Myers for James Shields.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think that is the real issue. Baez has Cub fans excited, but I think that either of these guys require Baez plus half of the farm. I understand John's argument, but as painful as the Atlanta series was I am willing to wait to see these kids develop. Maybe when these kids (and the Cubs) are getting close trading a top prospect would make sense, but right now I see it as a huge step back.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Re: Wil Myers. I read that he's striking out over 30 percent of the time in AAA. No prospect is "can't miss".

    I still think the Royals didn't give up too much in order to compete this year. And they didn't decimate the farm in doing so, which is another reason we need a deep farm--to provide the quid pro quo in trades.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    His recent K problems are almost as profound as Jackson's. Could it be that KC outwitted Tampa Bay this time? Who would have thought?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Royals/Rays trade could be an illustrative one for teams like the Cubs. The Royals had/have a strong group of prospects to deal from, which is where we want to be.
    At the time I thought it was a fair trade. The Royals needed good pitching, and Shields has been a stud and could be another take-em-to-another-level guy, like Sutcliffe was for us. Wade Davis has a good ML arm and can work in the pen or as a starter.
    Myers had a hefty 24% strikeout rate last year at AA and AAA. It's jumped to over 30% early this year. Odorizzi probably will have a decent ML career, but won't be a difference-maker. Mike Montgomery is a big question mark after arm surgery. Leonard was a throw-in.
    Time will tell, but I can't see this being a slam-dunk for the Rays, which so many pundits declared at the time. And it may be a steal for the Royals if they can contend now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    The other thing about the Royals, that I missed at the time, they really didn't trade away "the future." Possibly the best player in the system -- Perez -- was already in the majors, and young guys like Hosmer, Moustakas, and Escobar are still there making a pretty solid, young core. The hard part for them will be convincing Shields to re-up with the team. If they can do that, it's a massive win.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    They also didn't get great value in the Garza deal. Odorizzi is apparently doing great, though. But, yeah, if Myers flames out that looks like a huge win for the Royals.

    As much as I would miss Baez, if we can work out Baez-Vogelbach-Vizcaino and a couple others for Price, we have to take it. (If "a couple others" includes Soler or Almora, I start to get queasy.)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HackWilson09:

    Price has virtually no injury history and is coming off a Cy-Young winning season. He's arguably the best pitcher in baseball.

    Also, the years of control is really not an issue. If he was a FA, I'm sure the Cubs would throw the bank at him.

    He's not just a #1. He's a true ace.

    Out #1 need is pitching, not outfield.

    In fact, we're pretty stacked as far as outfield prospects. Behind Almora and Soler, you still have Jackson, Szczur, Ha, and a half-dozen high-ceiling guys in A-ball.

    We really have no pitching prospects that we can talk highly of at this moment. Vizcaino could be really good but he's still a few months away from throwing and there are guarantees with TJ surgery. Pierce Johnson is a nice player but not the type of guy that even minor league players are scared of. We've had Dillon Maples for 3 seasons now and he's still in single digits for innings pitched.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HackWilson09:

    I don't know how its even a debate. You send Baez, Vogelbomb, and whomever the Marlins want for Stanton and they prob won't want Soler because he kind of has a Major League Contract.

    If Stanton stays relatively healthy, hes going to hit 500 home runs and he fits more of the mold of a "Theo" hitter then Baez and Castro combined

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Problem is the Marlins won't make that trade. Maybe if Baez has a great and consistent season they might consider it. I also don't think they want to alienate their fan base anymore this year so the trade will prob have to be made after the season.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Not saying deal has to be made right now. Offseason much more likely if at all.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    They have a fan base? Still?

  • I think Baez and Vogelbach may end il being traded simply because the Cubs have long term solutions for 1b and SS.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I can see that for Vogelbach more than Baez. John has convinced me that Vogelbach likely is stuck in the 1B/DH role, but would be happy seeing Baez in the Cubs infield on either side of Castro.

  • In reply to les561:

    We also have other high end prospects at those positions.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Not really.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Well they don't project as sluggers, but we need OBP table setters as well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    I understand, but they're not high-end.

    I mean, at 3B we have almost literally no one. Jemier Candelario, who turned 19 fairly recently is about all we have in the entire system.

    at 2B, Watkins is a nice player and all but has little upside. Baez can do everything Watkins can do at the position, and do it better while slugging.

    A lot of people see Baez fitting best at 2B. Most scouts say he doesn't have Castro's range, so I'll be happy to take a Castro/Baez infield.

    We're going to have to solve 3B from outside the system. Candelario is a good thing to look forward to, but you can't bank on a 19 year old in A-ball.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    and while we have several other 2B players behind Watkins, they are similar to Candelario in projection/timetable.

    Alcantara might have a better upside than most of them, but honestly I like the idea of trading Alcantara WAY more than Baez.

    He might be as sought after but if he can take a big step this year, it'll mean alot for value.

  • In reply to les561:

    True. Baez's ability to play just about anywhere gives him value to the Cubs should they keep him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do we know that he has that ability? Plus if plays short like owns it then he maybe worth more to the Cubs as a trade.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Generally speaking, if you can play SS, you can handle 3B or 2B.

    This isn't football, where the skill sets for TE vs WR vs RB are way different.

    There's a lot of players in the major leagues that played SS in HS or College because that's usually where the best athlete on the team plays.

    Most of the time you get moved to 2B if you're too small/too slow and get moved to 3B if you're too big for SS.

    3B is expected to have more power but 2B really isn't very different as far as type of play. Most teams have a guy at second that just can't handle SS in the majors, but if you have two guys that can handle SS in the majors, you put one at 2B and enjoy the luxury. A lot of teams can't find one really good SS, so it's rare.

    That's one reason I find it kind of amusing when people post top-10 2B "prospects" lists. I mean, I get it. But it still just seems like a list of guys that already can't handle SS.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    True generally speaking, but 3b calls for hardnosed quick 1st step types as opposed to strong armed athletic gazelle. I had Baez penciled in at 3b until I saw Christian Villanueva in handful of ST games(think Santo/Boyer). Then I thought 2nd base but often SS's are unable to adjust to the runner bearing down/back turned on a DP. It's different. I like versatility, but I see Baez as a premier SS. There is also something to be said about keeping players in the positions that play like they own it.

  • I think its to early to trade Baez. He's likely to become more valuable as he progresses through the system.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Definitely, but there's no guarantee that happens. What if you can get good value now?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Miami would want more than Baez - besides him they'd also insist on Soler, who would provide a possible replacement for Stanton and probably a third or 4th player as well.

    I'd put trading prospects into the same catagory as buying FAs, you do it when you're a player or so away from making noise in the playoffs.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    It will probably take more than Baez but we don't know what it will take to get Stanton yet. Have to see how the market plays out. Braves got Upton much cheaper than people originally thought.

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    I would hold onto Baez, at least until this year is up. I wouldn't even think about trading him until the winter meetings. If I was the Cubs, I would try to get Kaleb Cowart. He solves your third base situation, and makes Baez expendable. This obviously depends how desperate the Angels are for pitching, which could be very.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I think the Cubs should wait too. Just thinking down the road for next year's team more than this year's.

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    I would only include Baez in a deal for a young hammer...Stanton or Harper type. I think dealing him for an arm, even a Price, is a stretch. If the team was one piece from contention, sure...otherwise, no.

  • In reply to Ray A:

    I'd lean toward a position player a well. Especially helps that Stanton is still so young.

  • Just to answer the question that John posed in the headline.

    Yes, the Cubs should consider trading Baez.

    And they should consider trading Castro.

    And Rizzo.

    And Soler.

    No one on any team at any time should be considered untouchable.

    Nor should anyone be traded unless the return is more valuable to the team than the person being traded.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Of course, but it's easy to say you make the trade if you get surplus value. You can say that about any player in baseball (or any sport for that matter).

    The hard part is defining and measuring what value is, especially to a rebuilding, yet big market team like the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The point is that we should consider trading anyone at any time. But we can only decide whether or not to trade a specific player (Baez) by considering exactly what we have to give up and what we will get back in return.

    If the question is "should we trade Baez for Stanton?" we can reasonably address the question.

    If the question is "should we trade Baez and Soler for Stanton?", we can reasonably address the question.

    But if the question is "Should we trade Baez and others for Stanton and others, we can NOT reasonably address that question, since we do not have enough information (specifically who are the others) to reasonably address the question.

    By the way, I would trade Baez for Stanton without a second thought.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I'm not a fan of drawing up specific trade scenarios or closed end questions. It's a big picture, open-ended question meant to draw out people's opinions on rebuilding and how they generally measure present and future value in the Cubs current situation. I think it invites responders to expand and add their own thoughts rather than me giving them a yes or no question.

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    Baez is an exciting prospect but the reality is...

    a) he's not a Epstein/Hoyer guy (meaning they didn't draft him)
    b) he's not without flaws
    c) a top SS prospect is a very valuable commodity when you already have an all-star SS on the roster

    With that being said, I certainly would hold on to him unless you can get a tremendous value

  • In reply to Matthew Whitaker:

    Good points, but I think it is about who drafted him as much as his approach on offense.

  • Tonight's game postponed. Both teams have an off-day September 5th.

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    Passan column today on James Shields.

    I think it actually ties into this conversation quite nicely (kudos to everyone by the way -- this has been a good board, even by Cubs Den standards), so I'll link it here.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mlb--james-shields--the-royals--key-offseason-acquisition--is-leading-the-way-to-create-rays-like-chemistry-175011715.html

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. Great, intelligent, respectful discussion by everyone... as always.

  • My wife said "you guys need to get a life".

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Haha! Baseball is life :)

  • I agree about moving Baez in the right deal. That dude clearly hates to walk and we really need to improve our obp. Plus, I really really don't like that hitch he has in his swing. There aren't going to be any awesome free agents for a long time. We have to trade for talent.

  • I don't understand people talking about how they'd consider trading Baez for Stanton, but only if Baez doesn't make progress. Or this idea that we shouldn't do the deal because Baez might get a lot better. News flash: This deal *only* happens if Baez gets better. If he stinks it up this year, Baez's value collapses and he becomes a piece of a trade, not the centerpiece. It's not possible in this age of excessive scouting to pull the wool over the eyes of a rival GM and trade your struggling prospect for a proven major league all-star.

    We can't fall in love with our prospects. And for every Lou Brock, there's a dozen Corey Pattersons or Felix Pies. Would you trade one of those guys for Stanton? Of course! Because hindsight's 20/20. And for all we know, Baez will turn out like Patterson or Pie.

    It's great that we have improved the farm, but the bird in the hand remains better than the two in the bush -- up to a point. So Baez for Stanton? Absolutely. The real question is how many other top-ten guys would Florida want?

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    In reply to Taft:

    I agree with everything you've got there but honestly it doesn't worry me too much because if Miami demanded Soler or Almora, Epstein would tell them to kick rocks. I doubt he'd even consider Vizcaino or Vogelbach.

    He might consider adding Vogelbach with Baez OR Soler if trading to Tampa for Price. IMO, you can say what you will about Stanton. The possibility of 50+ homers at Wrigley is nice and all, but he isn't perfect. He strikes out a lot and his OBP isn't as great as you'd expect for a man so dangerous.
    Price is a guy I can barely find room to criticize in any way, shape, or form. He's young. He has killer, strikeout stuff. But he's also the type of pitcher that can kill you with command and control. a few years down the line when his (awesome) velocity starts to drop off, he will have no problems remaking himself. True aces are rare. A lot of teams have guys that are #1-type pitchers but not all of them are what I consider an "ace." And with our pitching situation, that's pretty invaluable.

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    One last point to make here. There is a warning the other way.

    Ironically, given all that was written over the winter, the Royals are looking like a good example of what happens when you trade a big part of your farm system to complement a good young core.

    To this point -- and I fully admit it is very early -- the Blue Jays are under-performing in a big way. And if this team falls flat, they're kind of stuck, as they've traded away their future for a push now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is true. You wouldn't want to go overboard with something like this. I wouldn't want the Cubs to make as many deals as Toronto did. Just one big one, maybe fill in with solid starters via trades, free agency and/or guys from the minors.

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    All the names I've seen suggested above for Baez are pretty pie in the sky, and I don't mean Felix. Stanton, Harper, trout, price... These guys would cost half our farm system to acquire. What if you scaled back - just go back to the last 3 draft years - who's in some other teams minor league system that is 1) drafted high, 2) as highly regarded as Baez, or close, and 3) a surplus on that team bug something the cubs need?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    If the Nats offered us Bryce Harper for half our system, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I might do it for the whole system.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    No one is actually proposing trading Trout or Harper.

    But Stanton and Price will both be VERY MUCH on the trading block by the end of next season, if not the end of THIS season.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Stanton would be pie in the sky if we were approaching the Marlins from out of nowhere. But, realistically, we aren't. They've got an unhappy superstar headed to arbitration that they don't want to pay. Everyone knows he wants out, and that puts the Marlins in a position not unlike the Diamondbacks with Justin Upton. They have to move him. As John has said elsewhere, Baez may well be the best offer they get. The competition will come from the Rangers but, if David Price is actually on the market, they may well spend their prospects for him, opening up the market for Stanton.

  • Funny you should mention phobias from the past, because I see sooo much Corey Patterson in Baez. Flip the batting hand, add 10 points (on the 20-80) of defense, take away 10 points of power. That's all it takes to make them indistinguishable.

    I'm terrified of trading Baez, and I'm terrified of not trading him. A guy like Soler, I have no doubt he is going to be at worst an average MLB hitter.

    Baez? I could see him being a HOFer, and I could see him being a total flame-out.

  • Poll Question of the Day......

    If the Cubs traded Baez, who would you want in return?

    A - Price (Rays)
    B - Stanton (Marlins)
    C - F. Hernandez (Mariners)
    D - Trout (Angels)
    E - Harper (Nationals)
    F - None of the Above, Keep Baez

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    C, D, and E are not options. Those teams can afford their players (and in Felix's case, has already been paid)

    I mean sure who WOULDN'T want Trout but that's not going to happen.

    It's between Price and Stanton and I say Price. Easy choice.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    meaningless question, without knowing who else we'd have to give up.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Depends who we want........I know no GM will trade a Harper, Trout or Hernandez.........Price is iffy at this point......Stanton is there, but Miami would want Almora, Baez and another player..........then we can close the book on trading for Stanton.

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    In other words, is there a highA or AA pitcher, catcher, 3b that is scouted to be as good as Baez at his position, whom that team doesn't consider essential because they have depth at that position the way the cubs have middle infield depth?

  • Let's massage the question.

    Would you trade Starlin Castro for young talent?

    He has more value in that he is a known commodity, has a user friendly contract and still has room to grow and advance his career. I think the return on Castro would be greater than Baez right now.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    You are Correct Sir..............lets see how Castro progress this year......I am expecting higher numbers and less sunflower seed spitting.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He would get a higher return theoretically -- though the Cubs are not motivated and and thus will ask for the moon. And no team will match their asking price. You are also guaranteed to lose significant MLB value. Trading Castro is always possible, as it is with any player, but it's not realistic.

  • Since Loria is an art collector, how about we trade a couple of Renoirs for Stanton? "New Cubs' Season Ticket package includes annual free pass to the Art Institute of Chicago".

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Go back to your finger painting.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Ha ha, I always admire that canvas of incisive wit and wisdom created by your palette of artistic comments.
    (Still have us at 88 wins?)

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    88 wins and a Wild Card spot!

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Ah, a civil answer. Thank you.
    If we get 88 wins and a Wild Card spot, I will make you a personalized, autographed finger painting.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I will tape it to my refrig......or try to sell it on Ebay.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I like it. It'll be kind of like the Babe Ruth trade.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes--maybe Loria is backing a Broadway show..... a revival of "Damn Yankees" ? For Stanton, we'd gladly pay for the cast and crew.

  • Castro could bring Three top notch prospects right now who are MLB ready........one should be a starting pitcher....one should be a everyday shortstop....third should be a starting catcher or another pitcher........Cubs need to build up the pitching....that is priority #1 for this system.

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    Not a good day for the Cougars.

    Walk-strikeouts of 8-6, though. Let's hold on to that...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, I was following it. Another positive was LHP Nathan Dorris. He's a sleeper guy for me. Not like a high ceiling, front-line guy, but as a lesser known prospect with a shot at making it to the bigs.

  • john nice post and great question. If I have to decide between baez and castro I would trade baez. Castro has too much value for the present and future, which you don't see every day. I would fear that we would be like the marlins in that they traded cabrera for prospects and none of them panned out.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Thanks Sean.

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    Double for Soler. And another home run for some guy named "DeVoss."

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    Man, this DCubs lineup is clicking. I never would have thought they'd be this good with Baez struggling this much.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Baez just took a walk.

    I'm currently looking out the window for brimstone to start falling from the sky.

  • For me, I want Price. Badly. He's a lefty super-stud. A rare commodity worth their weight in gold. Who are the best lefties of recent vintage?

    Randy Johnson
    Tom Glavine
    Johan Santana
    Mark Buerhle
    Cliff Lee
    Clayton Kershaw

    Where do you put Price on the list? He's on it now, and has a chance to climb very near the top, if not to the top.

    Trading Baez+ for this in its prime is not a thought. It's a wet dream. I give up Baez, Vizcaino, Vogelbach and Watkins without a second thought.

    Stanton is a stud as well, and I'd aggressively pursue him as well. It's just a different level with Price in my mind.

  • In reply to Steve4cash:

    Steve Carlton...how could you forget him!

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    John, this might just be the best "THINK" piece you've ever written, and that's saying a lot. It was well thought out. I wish I had written it, but I can say that I've had this same thoughts.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks Mike. Appreciate that.

  • So Rickett's gets a head of a goat in the mail.

    Is this the road the roof top owners want to go on?

    First, expect the FBI to be called in. The use of US mail was used to deliver a death threat to someone who has lots of money and power.

    Second, expect Rickett's to tell the Roof Top owners to go "F*** Themselves"

    Then watch the Rickett's start to play hardball with his neighbors. He will ask MLB and a federal judgeto shut down their Roof Top bars for violation of the MLB rules of making money on MLB games without permission of MLB. Want to watch games on a roof top, no problem. But selling beer, food and tickets to watch the MLB game, is an infringement of revenue source on the Cubs and MLB.

    Ricketts need to build a giant "Green Monster" wall behind the outfield walls. Block the roof top views altogether.

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    F*ck. Soler just got in a fight with the other team and charged the other dugout with a bat in his hands.

    That's going to be one hell of a suspension.

  • Brouhaha in Daytona ! Jorge Soler was just ejected for brandishing a bat after a dugout-clearing argument vs. Clearwater.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Get the feeling Theo is currently learning Spanish just to chew him out?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    That had to be a frightening sight. Soler without a bat would be scary in a brouhaha.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Supposedly Soler got stepped on or spiked while sliding into second to break up a dp. Whether it was true/intentional or not, grabbing a bat was not a good response.
    Baez has three Ks and, according to the Daytona announcers, is "swinging from the heels every time." Ryan Searle pitches great in relief but Liria's blown save puts it into extra innings.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    2 week suspension?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, he didn't hit anyone or anything, nor even swing it apparently. But yeah, 15 days wouldn't be a surprise.

  • In light of the early season malaise we're in( team playing poorly, tradeable vets hurt or performing poorly), this is an interesting, timely post.

    I think that trading either Baez or Castro is something you'd have to consider at some point, particularly if Baez continues to look like a keeper at SS. Not that you'd be looking to move either guy but the value out there for offensive SSs is bound to grab your attention at some point. Given the multitude of Cubs' needs, does it make sense to try and get a "bird in the hand" for someone like Baez, especially if he continues to struggle with the refinement of his game?

    Look back to this last offseason; we really missed an opportunity by not being more aggressive on J Upton-young,talented player. Would you have considered a deal centered around Upton and , say, Skaggs for Castro?

    Having taken a step back from the mania of watching every pitch and reading every article about the rebuild, I feel like I've gained almost better perspective on the state of the org than when I was reading minor league box scores every morning. The conclusion is that there is an enormous talent gap between us and the top teams in just our division- STL and CIN. Given the relative youth & strong farms of both teams, it's gonna be a tougher slog than many of us realize. I think we get too caught up talking about Baez,Almora, upcoming No 2 pick,Soler, et al and forget about what we're up against. Granted , our pipeline is good but both of those clubs have strong cores with solid prospect pipelines backing them up.

    I'm not losing faith in the idea of the rebuild but I think it's gonna take quite a bit longer than we hoped/thought.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Thanks. There's no doubt those teams are ahead of the Cubs, particularly the Cards, but the Cubs likely need about about a year or two to truly catch up And part of that means improving the MLB club too.

  • I believe, if Vizciano can get healthy, they could have as many as 3 No. 1's next year in the system. And at least the top 3 of a rotation filled out. Hopefully there will be another nugget! But with those 3, including a pick this year, and 2 No. 3's, the Cubs could have the hitters down the road to make them winners.

  • I didn't expect something like that from Soler. He seemed so in control. He must be pretty intense under the service.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I was surprised as well. Always seems laid back, smiling whenever I seehm.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I was surprised as well. Always seems laid back, smiling whenever I see him.

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    Good, he has to show them theres a new kid on the block. Bring him to Chicago!

  • It's just not the right time to trade Baez. Right now it would take too much of our talent pool to bring back Stanton or Price. Baez has to continue to rake at A+ and AA before he can get us anything good without having to include the rest of the system as extras. Better wait on this one in my opinion.

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    I thought about this a little while ago, and if you can get Stanton (more valuable in my opinion) and just give mid level prospects (or our average type players in MLB) on top of Baez, you do it. Baez can and probably will be great, but Stanton is a SURE thing to be great. He already has been great. Why not trade a guy who can be outstanding for one that ALREADY is outstanding. Seems like a no lose scenario to me.

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