Trading block or building block? Cubs shouldn't necessarily be trading present assets for prospects

Trading block or building block? Cubs shouldn't necessarily be trading present assets for prospects

This is the beginning of a 3 part series where we examine whether  players are potential building blocks or trading blocks.

We've heard about the Cubs philosophy of converting short term assets into long term assets and it makes a lot of sense given the Cubs present situation.  But if there's one thing I don't like, it's getting trapped into a line of thinking to the point where it becomes dogmatic.  My question is to what extent do you practice this philosophy?  When do you start keeping assets?  What is the age cutoff where you begin to consider a guy a "long term asset"?  Does organizational depth at the position come into play?

We've heard some speculate on trading Starlin Castro for prospects, which I am vehemently against because it's a trade of both present and future value in exchange for speculative future value.  It's a deal that's likely not going to work unless the haul is so big that it practically eliminates any risk.  I can't even begin to describe how unlikely it is for such a trade to happen on either end.

To a lesser extent, I've also heard similar speculation from Cubs fans on Jeff Samardzija and the chances of dealing him are every bit as slim for the same reasons.

These are not the type of players I want to discuss right now.  What I'm interested in are the "non-core" players.  At what point do you decide that you want to trade these particular players for prospects?

Now, I don't want to deal in theoretical scenarios such as, "If you get surplus value in return, then you make the trade."  That's a given in theoretical terms, though much harder to define in practical ones.

What I'm thinking about are trades like the Cubs made last year.  How long do the Cubs trade present day value in the hopes of reaping surplus future value?  What we want to do here is take a look at some players that some have earmarked as potential trade candidates.

The first part of the series will focus on players who are already a couple of years into their theoretical peak seasons.  They are veterans but still young enough to still be productive by the time the Cubs are able to contend.

 Carlos Villanueva

This compares somewhat to the Paul Maholm situation.  We have a 29 year old finesse pitcher who is outperforming his peripherals.  He's young enough to be part of the long term answer but not so special where he's too hard to replace.  Villanueva is off to a good start in terms of his results (2.29 ERA) but his FIP (4.04) suggests that he's still pretty much the same pitcher he's always been.  Yet, he does enough of what the Cubs like to give him long term value as a 4th or 5th starter -- and that is throw strikes while still missing bats.  I expect Villanueva to be one of the more interesting names to get bandied about later this summer.  Is he a sell high candidate or will teams still see him as a durability issue with his usual peripherals and low-ball the Cubs?  If it's the latter, then the Cubs need to walk away.

Matt Garza

Garza, 29, is also young enough to be part of the long term situation and has more upside than Villanueva but the questions here are obvious.  Can the Cubs depend on Garza to be healthy going forward?  Is he willing to sign an extension that will provide the Cubs value?  Complicating the situation is that his value has taken a big hit.  How much can the Cubs truly get for two months of a suddenly injury prone Matt Garza?  Do you trade him for a similar package as the one the Cubs got for Ryan Dempster? Do you revisit a deal for the struggling Mike Olt?  I'm not so sure you can't get more value at this point with a reasonable contract extension.

Nate Schierholtz

He's a guy who I liked early on because I liked his potential to perform outside of AT&T with most of his ABs coming against RHP.  Another 29 year old, he's a guy who is beyond the 27 year old threshold yet still in his prime years range.  Schierholtz could be a bit of a late bloomer and embodies what the Cubs are trying to do, which is to get more athletic, get better defensively, and adding hitters who are willing to take pitches and put up quality ABs.  So the question is this: Can the Cubs get enough value for Schierholtz?  Or will this be similar to the Bryan LaHair situation where teams see him as a platoon player?  If that's the case,  it's possible other front offices won't be willing to give up enough value for him to make it worth the Cubs while.

Schierholtz does have the advantage of being more athletic and an asset on defense, but again, those are the things that make him more valuable to what the Cubs are trying to do.  There is a potential replacement in AAA in Ryan Sweeney, whom the Cubs may lose if they don't promote to the roster sometime in the next month.  Bryan Bogusevic is another option as a good athlete with the arm to play RF.  Schierholtz's one year deal and potential ready-made replacements at Iowa make the acquisition of MLB ready talent less of a pressing issue than it does with either pitcher, but I still think it needs to be a factor.  If the Cubs can't get a good player who helps them in 2014 and beyond, then maybe it's better to re-sign Schierholtz.  They can always find another OF position for Sweeney and/or Bogusevic if the Cubs decide they want to keep them around.

Another player who may qualify here is Edwin Jackson, but the feeling is that the Cubs won't trade him this season -- if at all, so we're leaving him off the list for now.

The bottom line is that all of these players are in a gray area as far as possessing both short and long term value.  The biggest question then becomes trade value.  My thought is that if you can't get upper level, ready or near ready MLB prospects with impact potential, then I don't see a lot of value in trading these guys.  The Cubs don't need more Barret Loux's Marcelo Carreno's or Kyle Hendrick's, in my opinion.  Nothing against those guys, but I think the system already has their share of those kind of players.

The Cubs players mentioned in this piece all fit into the Cubs philosophy.  They provide present day value and are still young enough to contribute by 2014 and 2015.  If the Cubs can't get more than low level, C grade prospects for them, then I think they need to pass.

I'm all for building a stronger farm system but the Cubs need to start transitioning into a team that adds players who  give them short term value in addition to their long term value.  No players on the current Cubs sit on that fence more than Carlos Villanueva, Matt Garza, and Nate Schierholtz.  So, if the Cubs trade these guys, they have to recoup players who will also give them value in both the short and long term.

Next: In their prime, "non-core" players.

 

 

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  • Excellent piece and I agree completely.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Thanks Jon!

  • Another excellent article, John. I believe that out of Garza, Schierholtz and Villanueva, the 2 pitchers would have the best chance of bringing back ready or almost ready for the Majors talent.

  • Thanks Ray. This has been bouncing in my head because I don't perpetually want to build with prospects -- especially those at the lower levels. If they're close to being ready and the Cubs have reasonable confidence they can impact the team, preferably in 2014, but at least by early 2015, then that's one thing. It's time to move on to the next phase of rebuilding and that to me means getting more short term/long term assets.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. I've also been thinking that 2014 might be a little early but by 2015 the Cubs Major League roster should be markedly better than what it is now.

  • Yes, I think it's enough time by 2015 to have a very competitive team on the field that is capable of not just making the playoffs, but making some noise once they get there. It seems far away looking at this team, but I'm not so sure it is. All you need is a big difference maker or two and surround them with the right role players/fits for the team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed again. It takes time to develop players and from what I've read scouts have been surprised by how little talent the Cubs' system has produced over the last 15 years or so. Before the new front office was hired, of course.

  • It is the Cubs philosophy to convert short term assets into long term assets. One way to do this is to trade older players for younger players. But age is not the only way to do this. Contract duration is just as important as age in determining whether an asset is long term or short term, and another way to convert short to long is to extend the player's contract.

    This could be the appropriate way to deal with all of the mentioned players. If the value you receive by extending their contracts exceeds the value of what is offered in trade, then they are all young enough to be useful players in the reasonable future.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    This is true. Contract length definitely a factor in determining whether an asset is short or long term. Today I looked at older, shorter term deals. Part of the decision on whether they'll keep them is if they feel they can extend them to deals which still provide the Cubs with good value.

    Tomorrow we'll look at slighly younger guys with more cost control.

  • John, I don't know if you already posted it, but it seems like Soler was benched earlier because he failed to run out 2 balls and manager Dave Keller benched him for dogging it.

    I understand that and I agree with this... What bothers me though is that he's now a target, this happens very very often in the minors and the media will blow it out of proportion... Players get benched all the time for not following up with something, whether it is dogging it, disrespecting someone or any other reason, but because it is Soler, the news reached the media.

    So, while, I don't like the media blowing it out of proportion and helping fans already dislike him before he even gets a shot... I think this is the right thing to do, especially after the first incident, the Cubs can't let anything go by and can't take it easy with him so they eliminate this as quickly as possible.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I haven't posted it yet for that same reason -- I don't want to blow this out of proportion. It's tempting to write something on it but dedicating an article on it already implies it's a big deal. I was planning to address it in the intro to the minor league recap later tonight.

    I've made some personal observations on Soler that I will share then.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Got it, looking forward to it.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Unfortuantely, many in the media feel there "job" is to tear down someone they view as more sucessfull than them. Reggie Jackson always had an approach with the media I respected, basically Ill talk to you except for 2 hours before the game, I need that time to prepare. Someone needs to school these kids on media relations, how to deal with unwarranted criticism as well as how to legetimately co-operate.

  • Great piece john, I agree that the cubs need at least a B or B+ prospect. I would even say B is pushing it, that was a big problem the farm system had with hendry.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Thanks. They do need to get better prospects that better reflect the value that teams get out of MLB players.

  • Great piece John I think too many are thinking we need to flip any semblance of a valuable player. This isn't small market ball we need to have some useful players on this roster. I would only trade some of these guys if it meant getting a minimum of a Vizcaino type return.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Yes! Why does everyone need to be flipped for prospects? If you get young guys that can help you short term, that's one thing, but Cubs don't need to keep shedding useful players for the sake of getting prospects. I think they should look more and more to building for the next two years and if they feel a Schierholtz or Garza can help that more than the prospects teams are willing to offer, then they need to find a way to keep them.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Even if are a team that has to flip many players due to resource constraints, at some point you stop that and go for it. Look at what the Royals and BlueJays did over the past season. There is a time to flip and a time to play your hand.

    Great article.... And very timely!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Thanks Bocabobby. They were panned for the Wil Myers deal but I kind of liked what KC did this year. They did go for it after what seemed like a perpetual rebuild. Right now I think the deal looks pretty good.

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    Here's how I look at it. The Cubs have value in all three of those guys. It's short term value, to be sure, but potential to be long term value if all 3 are open to reasonable contract extensions. It is worth pointing out here, as Tom has pointed out several times, money isn't unlimited for this team.

    If they can turn that value into long term value -- and by that I mean major league starters who are cost controlled and will likely be major league ready in the next two years -- it makes a lot of sense to do that. It makes sense because it turns somewhat expensive middling guys into very cheap middling guys. We may hate it, but money counts for this team right now. However, if all that is being offered are guys with little realistic chance of starting in the majors, holding the value we have as long as its financially feasible makes more sense.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Everything is relative, and I think you agree that this is the main point and why I think it deserves more than a knee-jerk reaction that you have to automatically flip guys.

    To use an example, if Schierholtz has a big year and feels this is his best opportunity to get a multi-year, big money deal, then you probably have to let him pursue that and hope you get similar production from a guy like Ryan Sweeney or Brett Jackson. Or maybe you find another Schierholtz type value in next year's class.

    But it depends and the Cubs have to evaluate whether they get more value in keeping a player or dealing him. I don't think you always have to keep them -- but you don't necessarily *have* to trade them either. That's why the word "necessarily" is used in the title. There is some gray area.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely. And I think it's going to wind up being best keeping Schierholtz. Guys like him tend not to be huge prizes on deadline day. The risk/reward with the pitchers could be a lot higher, though. If you can get two Chris Rusins for Villaneuva, you have to consider it, at the very least.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed.

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    I'm inclined to say sell high on Villanueva, but I don't see any point in trading Garza or Scheirholtz for someone's table scraps.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think Garza is going to be moved just because the extension he is going to want is greater than his recent durability deserves.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That is very possible. I think if the Cubs cant' get a deal on their terms they'll look to get what they can. I'm just worried it may not be as much as we hope.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Villanueva is the biggest potential sell high candidate. There are indications that he's still the same pitcher he's always been and the Cubs have to be careful they don't value him as anything different -- yet hope that other teams do overvalue him. Kind of a weird spot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Villanueava might be a good guy to trade to someone like the Tigers or Giants, who have a big park that tends to erase mistakes and rewards pitchers who throw strikes. CV does throw strikes, which might be his best selling point.

  • To me, it doesn't matter if we get near major league prospects in return, as long as we get high level prospects in quality. We're not so far along that we should turn down stud prospects of any level. We still need to build more in the minors to have "waves" of prospects reaching the majors in the future.

    The only one who can potentially deliver that is Garza though.

    I have no problem trading our whole outfield for something of value. Between Borbon and the guys at AAA we have players that can step in right away as replacements, if it helps our long term future. But again, I doubt we can get real value for the OFers at least until the deadline. By which time we'll probably have lost Sweeney.

  • In reply to MrBillySir:

    I don't know if Garza can deliver that anymore. Maybe. He's going to have to come back strong, healthy and showing the same kind of stuff he showed pre-injury. And even then a team knows they're only getting a guaranteed two months worth of Garza. We saw last year that such players, even guys as good and young as Zach Greinke, only brought good, not great prospects in return.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would say the Brewers got a great prospect for Grienke. A young defensive SS in Segura who is among the league leaders in hitting. We saw over the winter how valuable young SS were in trades.

  • In reply to Craig:

    There was some question as to whether he could play SS and he was below average last year. I wouldn't call him a great defender at this point and most think he won't stick there long term in any event. As far as hitting, it's early, let's see if he continues to hit at this level. He's also been very injury prone. I'm not saying he can't be a great player, but he wasn't considered a great prospect because there are concerns.

  • John, a great topic and well worth the contemplation. If we are going to trade any of our current players, my thought is you need to get a AAA talent ready to make the jump in August September so they are ready for 2014. We have been forced to acquire so many people for Iowa, but we have few good young internal assets ready to contribute at the big league level soon and in a substantial way. The first real wave will not be ready for a couple of years. Anyone we bring in now should be part of the first wave at years’ end and into 2014. If we can’t get that level of talent, I say keep what we have.

  • In reply to Indy57:

    Thanks Indy. And I agree. The Cubs should focus on guys who can contribute sooner rather than later.

  • Actually - I could see holding onto all 3 of these guys as well. All have short-term value AND - as the article points out - better long-term value as known quantities than would a non sure thing prospect.

    Garza - probably provides the best trade 'value' IF he can demonstrate he is healthy. Unless the Cubs can sign him to a moderately priced extesion within the season (perhaps an incentive-laden 2-3 year deal), it makes sense to trade him if there is a decent market for him.

    I still think that the Cub most likely to be traded currently on the ML roster is DeJesus. A calming veteran presence who can (in a pinch) cover all 3 OF spots and appears to have his hitting eye going strongly. But even he - I'm not convinced is going to be traded.

    I actually woudn't be shocked to see Barney moved IF some of his competition in the AAA and AA levels continues to hit & mature - but would prefer to see Barney with this team as a stablizing defensive influence. If he keeps hitting, and if one of the guys down in the minors who can cover 3B progresses - it wouldn't shock me to see Valbuena moved either.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Id say keep Barney as your utility infielder. Hes not a huge offensive force, but hes proven he can play 2nd and Id bet he can play some SS and be respectable. Id only move Barney right now if Id get someone similiar with more offensive upside and one of our Minor league prospects looks like the real deal.

  • It's true we should trade a veteran for nothing. Come July if teams
    really want one of our veterans we should try to get the best we can

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed. The Cubs shouldn't be giving anyone away.

  • What I find interesting is that any team could have had Nate or Carlos on the cheap this year. The Cubs jumped early on Nate and probably offered Carlos the best contract he had on the market.

    Nate could very well be a late bloomer and Carlos finally able put a full season of consistency together but are they anything more than stop gaps till the Cubs are back in contention ?

    Also what did Nate bring San Fran last year when he was traded to Phis ?

    I guess the question is did the Cubs FO sign these guys to be flip-able assets or/ as high potential ./ ceiling guys with little risk ? Or both....

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    I think the answer is both -- especially in regard to Schierholtz, who they really liked. I think it gives them flexibility if he performs. They could trade him, but he could also become a piece of the puzzle -- even if it's not a main piece. Sometimes you pick up potential stop gaps knowing they can possibly be more than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Don't they have another option year on Nate also?

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    Nate and two minor league players, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph, brought San Francisco Hunter Pence.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Not a bad trade for the Giants at all.

  • By the way, great piece... From those names, I'd like to see the Cubs try to keep Schierholtz, of course, they can't pass up an opportunity to get something real good of impact.

    As bad as Feldman has been, his numbers are not horrible and a string of 2-3 good starts, could put him back on the map.

    Eventually, I think the OF'ers the Cubs will be selling the most will be Soriano and DeJesus since it is not likely that DeJesus gets any better, it's more likely that he starts declining anytime soon.

  • I really like all three of these players.
    Villanueva was a great addition to the team. He came cheap and has another year left on his contract. If they traded him I don't think it would matter much. I just doubt he'd bring back much in return or his return wouldn't outweigh his value.
    Schierholtz is exactly what this team needs for the next two years until Soler is ready to go. The only thing wrong is that he's in his prime of his career and I'm sure he'd like to sign a long term deal. So most certainly the FO has to trade him.
    Garza is an interesting player. I'm not sure he'd be in such high demand since he's always hurt. I hope the FO resigns him to 1 year deal and do this all over again next year.

  • At this point, I do not think they should trade anyone unless they have someone as good or better to take the spot.

    For myself, I would say trade anyone for prospects assuming the trade is defensibly equitable.

    But it is clear the fan base used up its patience last season. I'm already tired of the griping.

  • Kyle Hendricks took a no-no into the 6th... Good job.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Saw that. He can be really good when he has command and all his pitches working.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I haven't seen a lot of Hendricks, but today he reminded me of Jon Lieber, working quickly, keeping the ball down and getting lots of groundouts... In fact, he did not even allow a fly out.

  • In reply to Caps:

    He's similar in approach. Stuff isn't quite as good as Lieber's though. I think if Hendricks makes it, he'll be more of a back end guy. Jokisch works quickly too. Got hit hard early today, though.

  • In reply to Caps:

    On the downside, Smokies offense has gone AWOL today.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And as I read your comment, I can't believe that Rubi Silva did not score from 2B on a ball that hit the wall in RF lol.

  • In reply to Caps:

    And Silva's fast too. Just not a good day for them all around. Luckily it ended well in the second game.

  • Have to figure out which players (Nate?) could play a part of
    our rebuilding until the young prospects are ready.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That is the tricky part.

  • We may need a Schrierholtz type for more than a year or two down the line because the Cubs may become too righthanded as many of their prospects hit from that side. I doubt that Sweeney or Jackson can produce like Nate. He is a core piece.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm a Schierholtz fan and I do think they strongly need to consider keeping him for all of those reasons. Deal has to make sense, of course.

  • Once again insightful thoughts from the author. Thanks. By trade dead line this year, the current FO will have had two drafts under their belt. I think last year it was more pressing to add to the system being it was pretty much depleted. Therefore I think the urgency to trade, in this case the players mentioned above, is not as important as a year ago.

  • Walk-off home run by Jae Hoon Ha!!

  • In reply to Caps:

    Woohoo! Always nice to see Ha show some power.

  • great article, i was just recently thinking the same thing, do i really want the cubs to trade guys like you mentioned? doesn't that make us take a step backwards just to get "prospects".

    I do think the Cubs mainly signed Edwin Jackson was bc he would be easy to trade after a good to really good first 2 seasons of the deal. BC there is noway the Cubs signed him thinking he would be there when the were ready to "really compete". Cubs will be ready when his 4yr deal is up. I believe Cubs felt after 2yrs of his deal he would make a great trading piece, for one would eat up innings for 2 yrs while Cubs were getting better pitching prospects, and for two would be like how Matt Garza was a few seasons ago, a very highly sought after player who would have the most trade value (being would have 2 yrs left on deal and nowadays a really reasonable price tag for a young #2,#3 pitcher. What do you guys think? I think I read Theo and Ned's mind process on this.

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Thanks. I think you don't want to run the risk of going backwards, as you say. You want to rebuild, but that includes the big league team and if you find a guy who works for your team, you can't just keep giving them up and get young prospects who you hope will work out later.

  • You can Win with guys like Schierholtz.

    Another option with Garza is to test the trade waters in July and if you don't get what you want, offer arbitration to him and you either get an extra draft pick (meaning Cubs would have 3 of the Top 40 pickes next summer) or you get Garza for one more year with the chance to flip him in July if you want to.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Unless Garza proves he's reasonably healthy and that he still has his stuff, I'm not sure that Garza wouldn't prefer arbitration this year. He clearly wants a long term deal but absent those 2 items above, I just don't think he's going to see what he was hoping to see.

  • ideally were trading all 3 of these guys. what i mean by that is that ideally other teams will give the cubs what they deem is fair value for these players. id much rather have the assets that these players could bring than the players themselves.

    that being said if the cubs cant get fair value for these guys then my hope is that they sign these guys to extensions that gives the team some value going forward and can possible be traded for fair value at some point in the future.

    in my mind the problem lies where neither one of these options can be reached. do the cubs sell off an asset for less than market value? i absolutely hope not, but at the same time, they cant afford to just lose guys to free agency and get absolutely nothing.

    i think what were going to see is a lot of package trades in order for both sides to feel like there getting fair value.

  • also ive been looking into guys that the cubs might be targeting at the deadline and a name that pops out to me right now is caleb kowart, the switch hitching 3b and angels #1 prospect.

    he seems like the type of guy theo and co. would definitely target in a trade; good size, solid defense, great arm, pop from both sides of the plate, decent batting eye. and it is very possible that he will be in the big leagues at some point next season so in terms of our "present and future value" conversation he fits quite nicely.

    with the angels desperately needing pitching/with their current window of contention being now i could definitely see a deal of garza and cash for kowart and maybe a low level flyer in a-ball. slotting garza with weaver and wilson gives the angels a legit playoff rotation to match their potent lineup, this is something id absolutely have to consider if i am l.a.a. and it would work out very nicely for the cubs as well.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Boy who knows what the Angels will be doing by then.

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    Question about ERA and FIP - does ERA always eventually regress to the mean, like BABIP, or can it be sustained if you pitch for a slick-fielding team? Villanuevas FIP is 4.04 - but if he were traded to a team with strong fielding, could they expect him to maintain an ERA around or under 3.00?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Not always. Some pitchers can "outpitch" their FIPs for years, as Carlos Zambrano did -- while some, like Javier Vazquez often pitched beneath his FIP. Like any stat, it's a guide and a trend, but it isn't carved in stone. Though it's not common, Villanueva can continue to outpitch his FIP for the whole year, perhaps even longer.

  • Didn't see it mentioned John, but you make it seem like Nate is a FA after this year. He's actually still in his arbitration years and can't be a FA until 2015.

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    Personally, I'm confused as to what the debate is about. If the FO thought they were long term answers, why would they sign them to short term contracts?

    I hope all three ate traded. The whole idea of short term assets is to pick up players who management believes will play better than what their career numbers would represent and reap the benefits, whatever that may be. I'm not saying to take less than fair value, but some of these guys don't merit super high prospects in return.

    I disagree that we should only be looking at near MLB ready top prospects.
    I mean, usually only players like Castro or Rizzo would yield them in return.
    I would be thrilled to get top prospects at any level.

    I realize there's risk they may not pan out, but conversely there are minor league prospects whom are almost completely unobtainable, like Tavares or Pro far, who would've been obtainable (maybe not cheap, but available) back when they were in A-ball.

    And since we aren't terribly close to true contention, I believe there's no rush.

    Hell, there's especially no rush considering Theo's recent comments regarding a current lack of revenue precluding major signings. If it'll be a couple years before the revenue is there, we DEFINITELY should not be blowing money on long term contracts for players that are outperforming their usual level of play in some sort of misguided hope that they will continue to outperform their own talent for another 5 years.

    Buy low, then buy again high sounds like an awful way to rebuild.

  • I think the value of a player has to lie where the strengths of the organization are. Since the Cubs seem to have a glut of OFers, the best bet would be to deal from that strength and acquire arms. I agree that soft-tossers can't be the focus, because it seems everyone can shake a tree and find a finesse arm. Teams in need of our players have to give up power arms...I'm not talking about A type, high draft picks, more like A ball pitchers, hard throwers, but difficult to evaluate due to their small sample size, youth or coming off an injury.

  • Great piece John!

    I'd be ecstatic if we could land another prospect like Vizcaino.

    Right now, we have so many 40-man fringe guys. We just don't need more of them. We are going to have a hard time protecting everyone we like for next years rule 5 draft. I'd like to see them move a guy like Villanueva & maybe DJJ for a top 50 prospect, similar to what we did with Maholm & Reed.

    I'll miss Kim though....

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    Trading a lot of guys, other than Garza for competitive balance picks is something I can really get behind.

  • I like trading for the CB picks but only as an add-in. We need more than that for most of these guys don't you think?

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Not necessarily. I think Garza is worth more than that, but DDJ, Viaanueva, Feldman, Schierholtz would be good return for CB picks.

    Just keep in mind this is the only way to trade for draft picks. That's HUGE. Especially considering our current FO's track record in the draft.

    And don't forget that this year has a very small compensatory "sandwich" round. So those CB picks are, relatively speaking, very high picks.

    IMO, giving Theo and Jed more opportunities to do what they do best is worth A LOT.

  • Three trade types I'm comfortable with right now:

    1. Sean Marshall trade -- good, short-term asset that can be replaced for a young, solid, MLB-ready player with a lot of years left (long-term asset -- Travis Wood) and a decent minor leaguer (Torreyes)

    2. Paul Maholm / botched Ryan Dempster trade -- good, short-term asset that can be replaced for a single, young, high quality AAA or MLB player (Delgado or Vizcaino)

    3. Potential Alfonso Soriano (even then, just maybe) / David DeJesus trade / actual Dempster trade -- an older but solid, short-term player (i.e. little to no chance of being around once the Cubs contend) is sold off for a B or C level prospect or two (Villanueva and Loux), and even then only because there are ready replacements behind them

    I would want at least a 1. or 2. package for Villanueva and Schierholtz, probably more than that for Garza (the talent is still there despite the risks), and I'm OK with a 3. package for DeJesus, and probably a little bit more than that for Soriano and Marmol. Otherwise? Don't bother trading at this point.

  • Building a franchise from noplace is clearly not a chore with any available proven blueprints. There are asmany roadmaps as there are franchises. Some worked most didn't. They're paying Theo a pile to do it. There are 77 comments here. everyone has an opinion. As 78, I don't. I've given over 60 years to this project, and I'm done hoping. When and if this becomes a sustainaby competitive club, I will rejoice, but I'm investing nothing further until that occurs. I offer my best wishes for success.

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