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Cubs cornering market on power?

Cubs cornering market on power?
Mike Olt

The Cubs heavy lifting appears to be over this July.

After two high profile, drama filled deals, it appears the Cubs are looking at some potentially smaller moves. I know I can speak for my partner John when I say there is a sense of relief on our part, especially when it comes to complex deals like the Matt Garza trade.

Having some insight into that deal, it made for even more of a roller coaster ride. All the posturing, planting, and media manipulation was quite an education into how these deals go down. Granted, not every deal is quite like that one. I wrote recently that the Cubs had to win this Garza thing after last year’s deadline disappointment. I think they accomplished that.

There are varying degrees of how well the Cubs did with the return, depending on who you listen to. There are certainly some mixed reviews on what the Cubs are getting in third baseman Mike Olt. However, consider the Cubs front office was hot on his heels for at least two seasons.

There is one tool no one doubts about Olt, and that is his power.

Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus visited WSCR The Score last week and stated his belief the Cubs are cornering the market on power hitting. I have come to enjoy Parks’s analysis the most when it comes to prospects by the way. Parks suspects Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are consciously stockpiling power bats in their system, like many teams usually try to do with pitching.

Bats like Olt, Jorge Soler, Dan Vogelbach, Javy Baez, Albert Almora, and Kris Bryant.

No matter how the Cubs view these bats in their grand plan, they will allow Hoyer some major flexibility in making moves. Parks feels if there is a shortage in the game, it’s young power bats. The Cubs potentially have a surplus it would seem.

The Cubs may be in the enviable situation soon where there won’t be enough positions for all of these bats. That will be a very nice problem to have. There were even some info we received they could have included a young bat to sweeten a return recently. That is how far the system has come.

There are some whispers that the Cubs could be aggressive this offseason, leading me to believe they will parlay some of that inventory.

Power to the Cubs.

@TomLoxas

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  • Wow, I love this idea! You know having all those guys together is going to get each better pitching to hit. Does Almora really belong in that group as it relates to power?

  • I think depending on what they finish at I think the Cubs will be fairly aggressive in the offseason. I think 14/15 were the years they pointed to so you have to start to make progress on getting more competitive at the big league level. The fact that they are stock piling young talent will allow them to go get some players they need to help that rise up to the playoffs

  • Tom, I hate to be the d-bag talking about the offseason before the trade deadline is upon us but.....

    It's interesting that you bring up Jason because he has made some casual references (chats,Twitter) that he can see Jedstein moving Baez. I believe his thinking centered around the idea that he's not "their guy". Also, when you consider that this style/approach isn't very in sync with their model, it does make sense that he might be the guy they'd look to move in a BIG deal.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think that's fair to speculate. However Castro is possibly bait too.

  • The accumulation of such power bats and some young power arms make me think that the FO is looking at trade chips to bring in someone like Price this offseason. I have to say, I'm sure liking the direction the Cubs are going.

  • In reply to DHigg:

    That will be interesting in the sense that you hear all the time about the fact Price could be moved this offseason but could the Cubs be looking at someone else and not Price or Stanton in an offseason deal?

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    I agree Price shouldn't be the guy, and Stanton isn't available (yet). What I see them attempting to do is to find young players (25-27) who have under performed, and hope the catch them right as they mature as baseball players. I'm thinking guys like a Porcello or a Heyward. Guys who become monsters overnight. This could move their competitive forward by two years.

  • In reply to djriz:

    I don't think Price will be the target. I don't like what he would cost on either level.

  • There's still that huge Groggles trade to be finalized you guys!

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Oh boy I don't think that will be a very good return right now.

  • It's good to have good young prospects to trade, but we should
    not trade them to soon. We need at least 3 years to determine
    if they fit our long term plans. Lake and Baez will be very big
    gambles to trade to soon.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I understand the need to trade some of these guys. I understand that Baez isn't a Theo/Jed guy. I understand Baez doesn't really fit the Cubs way. I also understand he needs to bring in a can't miss player if they do trade him. Baez is going to be a must see player. He may not be great, but he will be entertaining. They need to be careful. I agree. Now is not the time.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    And if they turn out to be the next Corey Patterson, we'll wish we had traded them when they had good value as top prospects!

    Works both ways.

  • Let's hope we get someone good we our PTBLN and Gregg has
    to go and Nate only for a good prospect

  • No one is untouchable, and anyone can and should be traded if the return is right.

    But I think that all this stuff about a player being the front office's kind of "guy" is overblown. Certainly, all things being equal, they want a player who works the counts, swings only on good pitches, and has a high OBA. But all things are NEVER equal. This front office is not going to trade a player who can play good shortstop while hitting 40 home runs per year merely because he isn't selective enough at the plate.

    The same applies to Castro. If he can bring his batting average back up to around 300 and hit 20 home runs, the Cubs are not going to trade him just because he doesn't fit their "scheme of things". They may well trade him for other reasons, but they won't just be looking to get rid of him. They ARE the ones who signed him to a long term contract, knowing exactly who they were signing.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Not only that, but both Castros and Rizzos contracts are rel;atively team friendly, i.e. No Soriano or Zambrano salary dumps here. If the FO does want to trade Castro, his contract likely wont be a huge obstacle.

  • fb_avatar

    I know some folks don't like to project where prospects might end up if they make it to the show. But it's fun anyway. Last night I tried to create a "depth" chart by position of players I thought had a good shot to be in Chicago for the 2016 season. Some folks may want to try the same thing.

    One thing became crystal clear. Baez's versatility also makes it easy to inject others where he does not play. He cannot play more than one position at a time. Folks have him playing all over the field. And the Cubs have depth now at all positions but catcher.

    This fact could easily make him expendable if the FO so chooses. It's a GREAT problem to have. If Professor Parks is right in his assumptions, the return would be simply outrageous!

    This is not to say I am on any kind of "trade Baez" campaign. But having depth allows you all kinds of options. It's a luxury that Cubs fans might find a bit foreign......

  • Power hitters and tall power pitchers, who induce lots of ground balls are just playing to our home park. That's just smart business & baseball by FO.

    I'd be shocked if they moved Baez this off-season. 1). He's as good of a fit to their way as Castro. 2). and most importantly, he will have max value the following season when he is near MLB ready with a cup of coffee w/the big league club already on his resume.

    This FO is smart enough to know that not all of our power bats will become MLB regulars for whatever reason(s). IDK if they (or anyone else) is smart enough to know who that will be. So it would be silly to start trading our top prospects now unless we get surplus value for them. Which doesn't really ever happen. GM's target MLB ready talent ala Profar in 2013. They don't typically target the likes of a Profar when he is in A/AA ball.

  • Baez needs to have sustained success at AA/AAA before he has max value as a prospect.

  • Almora while not a big power bat will be expected to be Theo's Ellsbury in CF. He likely will take at least until 2016 before seeing Wrigley Field. Ellsbury is a free agent after this season and the wheels must be turning in Theo's head,but he will be 30 next season.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    I think Almora will have 20ish HR power for a CF and that to me is a power prospect.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Seeings believing and I do hope you're right.It would be nice to get our power from the infield corners and a big bonus at all 3 OF spots.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Looking at Ellsbury stats and except for one season ( 32 HR's) in 2011 his slugging % has been down. I suspect his injury 2012 has played a big part in that.Anyway enough of Ellsbury,and on to thinking Soler,Baez,Olt and Almora. BTW Rizzo and Castro add to the power surge at WF. I can't remember having that much potential power at one time. Jackson and Vitters,who dem ?

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Dang,forgot adding Bryant to the mix.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Then don't you think Alcantara, Villenauva (sp) and Candelaria would fit in that group also?

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    Alcantara for sure fits that profile. Not many 2nd base with 20 hr power.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Ellsbury is a BoreUs client. BoreUs will want big $ for him, based largely on one season. We can do w/o him, unless maybe on a 2-3 year contract, which isn't happening.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Didn't Ellsbury just sign a 100mm extension?

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Haven't seen anything about an extension for him.His age would prohibit Theo from offering a long term contract to him.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    That was Pedroia.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Hey pal how are you? Ellsbury has only had one year where he had any real power and I think Almora will have more power. Castro is starting to hit showing that cream rises. I hope nthey don't even consider trading him. Baez has rare ability and he could be a great player. I wonder why so many peiple talk of trading those two. In any event I think that the FO is doing things the right way.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    Miss you Rock-Star,it's nice to catch up to you. Hope we're both still around to see the World Series banner flying over Wrigley before we cash our chips in. I really like the plan laid out by the FO suits.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    We will.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    100 % AGREE.

  • With Soriano gone, Olt is definitely the key to the Garza deal.

    I could be wrong, but think they will wait one more season before trading prospects for a major big league addition. Try to find a front line starter in free agency, backfill in the OF and bullpen and see where some of the kids take us next season. Then shoot for the moon in 2015.

  • The Cubs need a contending team before looking to trade big pieces to fill in the gaps. I'm not expecting any big pieces to be gone until 2015 at the earliest. By then maybe we sniff the playoffs.

  • Power hitters - especially ones that are not 'hacktastic' are a fine commodity to have in abundance. Wouldn't it be nice to see a lineup similar to the mid-late 60s Cubs version where they could trot out an Ernie Banks (given, a bit past his prime), Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Randy Hundly, and other prime role players each day?

    Couple that with a row of power arms to start and out of the pen and that would be an awesome things to see in Wrigley.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm not looking to trade away from a surplus, yet.
    I feel like trading Baez is a move you make once the pieces of the puzzle are really starting to come together and you're one or 2 key guys from contending.

    Our system is also super bottom heavy. Baez is the only one of our 4 horsemen to play in AA. To be fair, we need at least 1 more season of development in these kids to get a gauge on who projects as what. If I'm Jed and Theo, I'm still acquiring assets, and doing the same next season with the same blueprint we used in 2013. Plug in the holes with some one year contracts/2nd year option and trade away at the deadline. Then, in August 2014, we see what Baez/Alcantara maybe Soler can do.
    If the future outfield plan of Bryant/Almora/Soler doesn't look to pan out, we go after a Giancarlo Stanton. But there's no sense in making deals too early and creating a logjam where we HAVE to trade guys instead of being able to deal from a surplus.
    Hold 'em.

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    In reply to Eric Foster:

    Agreed.

    We are the only "top system" without a single prospect in triple-A.

    And even in double-A, Baez might not be struggling, but he still needs work.

    That's part of the reason I'm okay with trading Shark. We're pretty far away, and there's still not a ton of redundancy in the minors, and no death whatsoever at pitching still.

    Things look even worse when you factor in that the three VERY good teams in our own division ALL have high level prospects, close to contributing to making their teams even better.

  • fb_avatar

    If the season ended today, we'd pick 8th, behind: Astros, Marlins, White Sox, Brewers, Twins, Padres, and Giants.

    After 111 games last year, we were in 5th place, behind: Astros, Rockies, Royals, and Padres.

    It's a 3 game swing in the standings, but 43 run swing in run differential (-62 to -19).

    How is this tied to this article? It seems like we are on the verge of a big jump soon. And next year's pick doesn't figure to be nearly as big an addition as Kris Bryant was this year. (Up until this recent hot streak, I was holding out hopes of Trea Turner, but those are now dashed.)

    If you take Tom's list above, the only guy without a position if they all reach their ceiling -- silly, I know -- is Dan Vogelbach. And, if he reaches his ceiling, and Rizzo's struggles this year are indicative of his long term ability and not sophomore slump (I don't believe this), the door may be open to Big Dan, as well.

    There's a real hard balancing act right now. Arismendy Alcantara has enormous trade value right now (AA shortstop who looks on the verge of the majors), but equally high value to the Cubs in the near future. Despite our love of the guy, Vogelbach is still an A-ball first baseman, with at least as many question marks as exclamation marks. Almora has value, but you run a real risk of moving him well under his eventual market value if you trade him after his A-ball season.

    We've gotten used to guys like Olt, Bryant, and Almora entering the system every year, but that's about to stop. Garza and Dempster are traded. Our picks are going to start rising. I'm not sure I like the idea of moving guys like Almora and Baez this off-season, before they've really dominated AA to raise their profile. The Rangers are in fat city because they have nowhere for the #1 prospect in all of baseball to play. They can move him for a guy like Stanton who carries the team for another generation. I think some patience could bring similar situations for us.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    We should only be happy for lower picks - it means the Cubs are winning and the rebuild is almost over!

    I have been under the impression that next year's draft is deeper than this year's, meaning that we could still get an impact player at #8 or so. Have I missed something?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike ...
    This year's 8th place team was the Yankees at just a little less than $8 million. That number *figures* to go up a bit.
    It's also unlikely this years team will crater quite as badly as last years.
    $8 million should do us very nicely!!

  • Oh I doubt they move any of the big 4 unless they are getting a number 1 starter this offseason. I do expect maybe a similar offseason to last year where they sign a young guy that can be a holdover like they did with Jackson. I also think that because they see the farm starting to pick up steam it could be part of the reason they went so crazy with the IFA

  • Maybe Im wrong, but I prefer to see what we have from a big league standpoint, including Baez. 25 hrs in half a minor league season says major league power. Id prefer that power in OUR starting lineup.

  • For me, the definition of a surplus of players is dependent on AAA or young MLB players who are actually showing ability and tools, not just projected. If you agree with that, then we don't have a surplus of players to trade or fit in the championship puzzle. All of this acquisition of prospects is just the first step. The second step is coaching them (for which we are also well set) and the third is showcasing them in Iowa or WF. Then we will either have some puzzle pieces or trade bait.

  • Don't forget this-2 years ago Paul Goldschmidt hit 31HR in half a season at AA, in spite of the fact that a lot of scouts were not enamored with his inconsistent contact. Today, hes a major league all-star and one of the best corner IF in baseball. Sometimes numbers don't lie.

  • Tom, I'm curious as to your Price aversion. I'll admit to being put off by the arm concerns but he looks better than ever. He and Shark would make a real compelling top of the rotation.

    What "young vet" trade candidates do you guys find interesting and potentially available -outside of Stanton & Price?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'm thinking about that. However with Price $ and how TB would rape us. I just don't want to pay that cost.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I would rather go after a Jarrod Parker type than price , less costly , younger and a good solid arm in rotation .

  • I can promise you that Bryant, Almora, and Rizzo are three of the major assets that won't moved. They are enamored with Almora & Bryant from both talent
    & makeup levels. As the rebuilds moves forward and overall talent level increases,I think you'll see priority begin to be placed on factors like makeup and defense. I think those are two critical reasons for the sustained pursuit of Olt.

  • I'm with m-beast et. al. in that I don't want to raid our system for other teams sloppy seconds. Some of these prospects that Derek Johnson & our other coaches are working with are beginning to improve and I'd like to see the Cubs benefit from their talent, not the Marlins or Rays. When a guy like Junior Lake has the talent to help us immediately even though he went into the season as a borderline top ten prospect in the organization, it shows how much we have to look forward to when all the power hitters & pitchers arrive.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    And along those same lines- it's a bit difficult seeing guys like Archer, LeMahieu, and Donaldson having their peak seasons for other teams when a little patience might have had them helping us right now.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Agreed,.... Although the trade that sent Donaldson over for Harden (it was Harden I think) back in 2008 made a lot of sense at the time. We were thinking short-term playoff run and he fit a need and Donaldson was undeveloped.

    If Stewart had worked out - the LaMahieu/Colvin trade would have seemed less terrible as well.

    I am in the 'patience' crowd myself at this stage. After decades of watching the Cubs suffer through alternating stints of terrible mediocracy and 'almost' getting over the hump - I would love to see success sustained via a real rebuild.

    A starting lineup come 2015-2016 including some combination of Rizzo/Vogelbach/Beaz/Castro/Bryant/Olt/Almora/Soler/Lake,.... and a few homegrown pitchers would be a great thing to see.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Do not forget Alcantara.

  • I don't think anyone is advocating emptying the farm. Any deal that I think they'd pursue would be for young vets. It would also be part of the process of getting exactly the types of players that Jedstein want. At some point soon, there will be a fine-tuning to the roster construction. At this point they're trying to amass as much talent as possible and grow the perceived value of said talent.

    I don't profess to know how it breaks down but I guarantee that there are talented players in our system that will have good careers who Jedstein don't envision as part of master plan.

  • fb_avatar

    Chris Archer 1-0, CG 2 hit SO over Yankees and Soriano today.

  • I cannot see how Baez will be dealt this offseason, since he will be the first of the "Big 4" to taste the majors. There will not be any positional logjam; he can be plugged in whereever necessary - 2B, 3B, OF - due to the general overall lack of impact talent on the major league club. The players most likely to be dealt, IMHO, are those behind Baez. When they are at their peak minor league value, there will be fewer holes on the major league club, thus making them more expendable. I would argue, therefore, that Bryant is more likely to be dealt as a minor leaguer than Baez.

  • Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 14m
    Source says #Cubs indeed listening on Samardzija, adds, “asking price high as expected.”

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Red Sox can just give the Cubs their whole system and we'll call it a day....

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    If a team meets Theo's price Shark is gone, He isn't married to any player on the roster , closest I think would be Rizzo , after him Castro . Wouldn't shock me to see a team right at the deadline be desperate and offer the farm and Theo would do it I think .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'd love to see Arizona or Baltimore get desperate and stupid and offer up their two young studs. I can dream.

  • I am not a fan of trading out of the farm. The time to trade is when the road to Wrigley is simply jammed up. Then you trade AAA for A prospects.

    I hope this coming off season moves are much like last off season's. This team could easily compete for the playoffs next year without any major moves.

    In the last 28 days Castro is hitting .312/.366/.462. Another couple years of that and people might decide he's worth keeping.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I think the repeated talk by a lot of posters about the Cubs contending next year is loony. We just traded our only RH power bat. (Lake is an unknown) We traded our best SP. We traded another SP. We might trade another SP in Shark. We're most likely going to trade away at least one RP, in that our closer is probably gone next year whether in a trade this week or as a free agent. Our top LH RP is on the market (and Sveum seems to have no idea how to use him anyway).

    We have little to no offense from c, 2b, 3b, cf, and lf with the Sori trade. SS and 1b production are a bit of a question mark depending on how well Castro and Rizzo rebound. We might trade our veteran OF's in RF and CF. Our only offense from catcher is a free agent, who also might be traded this week.

    The bullpen is a hodge podge of waiver claims and patchwork. Strop has been the biggest find and is very encouraging.

    We do have a few kids in AAA that might/should be on the pitching staff next year, but they're all recycled major leaguers like Arrieta, not sure how well they will perform. Might be great, might pitch like they have before that got them traded and sent to the minors to figure things out.

    In short, what do people see in that group that makes them think we are going to contend? We have possibly 1 middle of the order bat in Rizzo. That's it. Junior Lake is too much of a question mark to be pencilling him in as a big bat. There's just not much there to contend with. Next year will be more promising in many ways because we'll start to see some of the younger guys getting time, like more from Lake, hopefully, and Olt, Arrieta, and so on. But it's 2015 when we are going to see the first real wave of kids reaching the shores of Lake Michigan.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    All good points. But the Cubs are building a core, and once a core is in lace you can acquire talent via trade (using prospects) or by purchasing that talent in the free market.

    But, fans often interchange "competing" and "competitive". They are not the same thing. I think the Cubs are somewhere in between the two of those and certainly how their system players develop this year and next and what they do this off season will go a long way toward determining where the team is one year from now.

    The general consensus is that the Cubs are going to be improving. It doesn't necessarily mean it will be with the roster as it sits. Managing assets successfully could easily make the Cubs a competing team next season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    It's also important to note that the Cubs have done this in the way usually deemed most successful. They started up the middle with Castillo, Castro, Barney and Almora. This year they've added corner outfielders in Soler and Bryant, and a high-ceiling 3B prospect in Mike Olt. Rizzo was acquired last year too. Now the focus will be on pitching.

    Position players that are starters now or who have been starters will make the bench stronger going forward, Valbuena, DeJesus, Navarro, Gillespie, Borbon, Sappelt, etc. Schierholtz and Lake are placeholders for now, anyway, and may be trade pieces next year. Yes, it takes a lot of things going right, but the potential is certainly there.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Just Win:

    I have thought from Day one of the Theo rebuild that 2017-2018 would be the earliest year(s) that we will contend. When you draft High School talent like Almora it's going to take some time.We need several strong drafts and then development time.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    I wouldn't count on it.

  • If you look at the history of "can't miss" prospects being traded you
    see that most of the time they do not pan out. But we should not
    take that chance untill we had them at least 3 full years in the minors.
    Even then only for a can't miss young player.

  • fb_avatar

    Ken Rosenthal: Source says #Cubs indeed listening on Samardzija, adds, “asking price high as expected.”

    Let the insane speculation begin!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't know if this would classify as insane, but I bet it's even money Shark gets dealt. Teams know that Theo isn't bashful about trading anyone now, & Samardzija represents the old regime to some degree. With fellow homies Garza & Sori out the door he isn't as comfy as before. Since Shark hasn't been enamored with the idea of an extension, Theo & Co. are going to explore their options, as well they should.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Paulson:

    Yeah, with this news I think it's pretty likely he's traded by next opening day. His best trade value will be now with 2+ years of team control and next off-season with 2 years of team control left. He's not a true ace but a very solid pitcher, not very expensive, not a lot of mileage on his arm. Should be able to get a nice package for him and basically swap his age for younger pitchers who fit it more with our timetable. Just have to hope the prospect(s) they get pan out. Maybe then can deal him for a package that includes some young SP already in the majors, like Skaggs, etc. so you have more of a "sure-thing" instead of gambling on an A ball prospect panning out.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    I agree with everything you say and then some.

    If the Cubs are "listening" that means they have been presented with offers that were at most intriguing. I still think he gets traded by Wednesday for impact arms. I've felt this all along and haven't been shy in saying so but it is a hunch and not anything I've heard.

    He is expendable. He is at his highest value. On the flip side, there may not be an existing market for him, at least as far as what the Cubs would want in return.

    Now, before anybody gets their undies in a bunch, most GMs are unwilling to move top prospects because of the new financial landscape of baseball. But, there are more buyers this year than usual so anything is possible. On top of that, teams that have underperformed this year but think they can win next year or teams that feel they are on the cusp of competing next year would be attracted to Samardzjia as well. Those teams include the Blue Jays, Phillies, Royals, Rockies, Indians, Giants or Angels. So the market for Samardzjia is certainly much more expansive.

  • fb_avatar

    I don't understand people still fretting about the Colvin, LeMaheiu trade. DJ's OPS is .673, not exactly earth shattering. And Colvin has certainly come back to earth this year. Neither of them are guys you want to build a team around. Archer is off to a nice start but I think he will come back to earth a bit too. His FIP is quite a bit higher than his era, at 4.29. He has been getting kind of lucky so far. I think he will be a decent pitcher still, but hold the phone on the fretting over not having him. Donaldson would be nice to have, but we have plenty of 3B prospects now at least. I would not be in any hurry to trade our top prospects. Let's start getting our team together and just see how they do before we even ponder this. I doubt the Cubs contend next year, but you never know. We weren't too far off from contending this year. If we had a solid bullpen from the start, we would be very close to it, and sometimes you just get lucky with some bullpen guys and can build a decent bullpen from nothing, as we have been noticing lately. We will have to see what additions the Cubs make in the offseason, but I don't see how our offense gets any worse from this year. We lose Soriano which hurts when he is on a hot streak, but he is replaceable. The other guys should be better, especially Castro and Rizzo. I think Beef will continue to develop too. We're getting decent production from 3B with our guys there, and when you add Olt to the mix there's no reason that can't continue. Some of those of guys like Schierholtz and Sweeney have been solid for us and they'll probably be back next year. We'll probably add somebody else to the mix as well. The starting pitching probably suffers a little, but let's see who they add to the mix, and who knows maybe Arrieta comes into his own. They still have Wood, Samardiza if they don't trade him and Jackson is starting to find himself. Maybe Vizcaino or Cabrera can lend a hand. I don't expect the Cubs to contend, but I think the front office will certainly try to win with the pieces they currently have and at least add some more bargain guys at the very least like they did this year. This could very easily get them over .500 and on the fringes of contention.

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    In reply to Gary Kueper:

    They took a gamble, neither guy they gave up are world beaters. They're each better than Stewart turned out to be but I think all new front offices make some mistakes evaluating their holdover guys. At least we didn't make a bad trade that will haunt us for 10 years.

  • The Cubs are not going to trade Samardzija! Next year may look a lot like this year, but 2015?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Not sure how you can say that abt Samardzija with any confidence.

  • The best fits are BAL & BOS , who you could play off against one another.

    BAL would obviously start with Gausman-who is a TOR talent- and fill in from there.

    BOS would start with at least of Webster, Barnes, Ranaudo. Owens and fill in from there.

    He makes tons of sense for both teams.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'd throw the A's into that mix as well. Billy Beane has some parts he could dangle for Shark.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I'd be interested but Billy is probably not looking to digest those arbitration salaries.

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    I forgot about Baker too. Assuming he comes back next year I could easily see him filling Feldman's role and then some. So then it's just a matter of replacing Garza, who wasn't even healthy all year.

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    In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Baker is really struggling in rehab. (Pitching in the mid-80s.) I wouldn't count on anything from Scott at this point.

  • +1 Mike on Baker. That may turn out to be 5-6 mil down the toilet. Oh well...

    Which teams would be best fits for Shark & what does the price tag look like?

  • the cubs are listening on samardzija, and i think the best fit (If they trade him, which im very skeptical that they will) is arizona. going along with toms theme of the cubs trying to acquire power, i think in any return from arizona the cubs must get at least one of skaggs or bradley (probably skaggs because arizona is holding on bradley very tightly) and C stryker trahan. trahan is a very very good young catching prospect who projects for a lot of power, he is also left handed which is great. if the cubs were to acquire him they would have a top 10 prospect at every position on the diamond.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    They should ask for Skaggs and Bradley. Arizona probably won't do it but we have to have a really high asking price. Maybe throw in one of our prospects to sweeten the deal. One of our many middle IF prospects.

    How would you guys feel about a deal of Shark/Alcantara for Skaggs/Bradley?

    Do you guys think it's fair or one team is a clear winner over another?

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I think that was reported when it first was mentioned AZ had called about Shark that it was what the cubs countered with.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I'd expect the Cubs to get Skaggs or Bradley (probably NOT Bradley) and David Holmberg. I think the best for the Cubs would be Pittsburgh however. I don't think the Cubs would trade Alcantara, nor do I think that would be enough to get Skaggs and Bradley. I personally think Trahan won't stick at C so though he would be a great asset to have, he may be without a position. He is young though.

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    well, if we have a loss on Baker that's ok. You can't win every gamble on these reclamation project type guys. The return we got on Feldman seems promising which hopefully will more than make-up for the failure of Baker if that's what happens,

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    That's right Gary. Biffing the Baker or Ian Stewart deals when we have dozens of other successes to point to is to be expected. Guess we have to throw the Concepcion signing in there too...

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    If you trade Shark and can get back 2 or 3 guys at least who could be just as good as him who are close to or already at MLB ready I would be ok with that.

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    Completely unrelated but Barney sure could use a day off. Wish dale would give Valbuena a start at second.

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    Rusin is Jamie Moyer part 2.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Exactly what I thought with a touch of Glavine mixed in.

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    I'm simply amazed reading the Shark trade talk BS on here, I can hear CubsTalk chortling as he reads this crap. What are you all expecting to get back in trade? A TOR pitcher in his place, eh, except for Mr. Canter most people believe Shark is a TOR pitcher, otherwise why would you expect a great package in return? So are we now trading players just to get back what we just traded. Please stop this ridiculous trade everyone nonsense. And as far as trading Baez or any other of our top prospects, who is the superstar we are going to receive in return? Take a look at Stanton's stats and tell me this is a player that we have to have. He's played 59 games this year and he's been on the DL 3 out of the last 4 years. How many of you would love to have Chis Archer pitching for the Cubs now? How many of you would like to have Josh Donaldson playing third base right now? Now tell me who we have on the ML roster from those trades? Oh, but we just traded Garza and got all these hot prospects for him, surely at least one of them will pan out. right? Yeah sure, so please stop all this stupid trade talk, at some point the Cubs have to develop their own talent, not trade it away for magic fairy dust that will "poof" make them contenders.
    I read this blog daily and for the most part it makes reasonable presumptions, gives minor league player updates, and up until recently had mostly knowledgeable comments.
    Maybe after the trade deadline everything will return to normal, but right now the comments on here are borderline ludicrous.

  • In reply to Dafoxx:

    Detail which ones are borderline ludicrous... and use exact quotes please.... because near as I can tell all of these suggestions for trading for Shark are right on the money. And BTW, what do you care to wager that the future WAR values of the players the Cubs received in the Garza trade will exceed what MG does the remainder of his career?

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    Ken Rosenthal reported on Fox's game of the week and again in a Tweet that the Cubs are listening to offers for Shark. Whether people are talking crazy about trade packages we could get back, I have no idea, haven't read any of it. But the idea that people are crazy because they're suggesting trading Shark isn't accurate. The Cubs, according to Rosenthal, are the ones supposedly listening to offers. Do with that as you want, but this is a fan forum, of course people are going to talk about that and speculate trade value. He is a solid 2 or 3, under team control for two more years. He has a decent trade value. As for what they could get back, I have no idea. And trading an established, valuable starter for a couple of A ball pitchers doesn't make sense to me. They'd have to get a solid prospect major league ready SP and then some to have it make any sense.

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    Josh Donaldson was a catcher when the Cubs traded him and he never played a single game at 3B in the Cubs system. Poor example. And for people to think Chris Archer would have developed in the Cubs system under Hendry as well as he has blossomed in the Rays system is goofy. Not giving excuses for trading people, just pointing out that you could say, "how many of you would love to have Rickey Henderson in his prime playing LF?" and it would be as relevant as anything else.

    The Cubs are reportedly listening to trade offers on Shark.

    One talent evaluator said in a QnA that he thinks Baez will eventually be traded.

    Both of those started discussion on this website. No shock. It's a fan forum. Why you would get mad people even discuss those subjects seems odd. You could just say, "hey. I wouldn't be in favor of trading those guys."

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    I have to say - if you mention me in a comment please at least understand what I am saying. Jeff Samardzjia has top of the rotation stuff. He is a defacto ace on the Cubs staff because he has the best stuff of any starter on the team. The end results, however, aren't indicative of the potential or the stuff. Look at the #1s on other teams, Kershaw, Harvey, Wainwright, Minor, Strassburg, Lee, etc. Is Jeff Samardzjia better than any of those pitchers? No. Is he even potentially better? Not likely. Samardzjia is the 30th ranked pitcher in the National League. So is he a TOR guy?

    Well, I define TOR as Top Of The Rotation. A #1 guy. Not a #2 guy, not a number 2 guy with potential, etc. As a defacto ace on the Cubs he is by default a top of the rotation guy ON THIS TEAM. On almost any other team, based on competition, his stats this year and over the course of his career, he is a #2 guy or at the most a 1B.

    Hey don't single me out. Go to Fan Graphs or even ESPN and bring up their stats and metrics. The 30th ranked pitcher in the National League is not a TOR pitcher even by the most loosely defined meaning of the word. Yes he has the potential to improve, but he's not there yet. If a team will pay the premium for a #1 starter, which is what the Cubs are asking, of course you trade him.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Excuse me, forgot to filter by league. Samardzjia is #19 in the NL, #30 overall. Regardless, still not a #1.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I've been reading your trade Shark he's not a TOR pitcher mantra for several days now. I guess if you keep saying something often enough that makes it true.

    OK, your right he's not a TOR pitcher, happy now. So then why would a team "pay the premium for a #1 starter" which of course you say he isn't, also please explain what "premium" means to you.

    A MLB #2 or #3 starter or potential MLB ace starters?

    Explain why a team would trade a premium package for what you consider a non TOR pitcher. Please help me see what I am missing here, other than you don't particularly care for Samardzija. By the way I also think Shark has a way to go to reach his true potential, I just don't want to see him reach it with another team while we are waiting for that premium package to reach their potential.

    Finally, the Cubs are not going to trade the Shark this year. I can't wait until the silly season is over. Only four days to go.

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    I think you should be complaining to Ken Rosenthal.

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    Your posts don't make any sense. First you argue that people are stupid for saying Shark is a TOR and thinking they can get a great package for him. Then you complain that Michael Canter doesn't think Shark is a TOR. Then you sarcastically say, Shark is a TOR.

    Have you ever heard of a contending team wanting to have a good player now and trading away a prospect or two to get them? Just because someone is considered a good prospect doesn't mean you don't use them to fill needs on the current team, especially if the team is able to contend and is one player away from being significantly better.

    You also can't have it both ways, arguing that we shouldn't trade any established player, like Shark, for prospects because prospects rarely work out, and then argue that we need to hold on to our own prospects and never trade them for established players. Those are polar opposite stances.

    The Garza trade was understandable at the time, i didn't agree with it because we weren't a contender with or without him. And it looked like a deal Hendry made to try and save his job. But trading an A ball pitcher in Archer who was thought to have a ceiling of about Garza's talent, along with mostly other filler for a quality SP under team control for 3 years wasn't a bad move. (SS Lee - c'mon, he's a no power SS with a good glove, those guys are a dime a dozen and if you can get a good MLB SP for them you do it all day long).

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    Well, you may have been reading it for days but maybe you judt can't read, or if reading is not the issue, comprehension certainly is. I never said "Trade Samardzjia" I said I had a feeling the Cubs will trade him. Also, for what it's worth, I never said the Cubs did not value Samardzjia as a TOR starter, I just said in my opinion that is not what he is, and his statistics back that up, along with the opinion of 95% of the baseball writers. Third, I said he DOES have the potential to be a TOR starter, his stuff indicates that (you do know what I mean by stuff right?), but that he hasn't done anything with that stuff but use a maximum amount of pitches to get the required amounts it takes (15) to qualify for a win, usually to fall short because he has 1 or 2 innings consistently through his starts where he loses focus and as a result suffers through lapses of diminished abilities.

    I'll give you this, the Cubs probably won't trade Samardzjia, but it will only be because they value his potential more than the potential of the players that are offered for him in trade.

    I would offer this bit of advice to you since obviously you're devoid of participating in intelligent debate - when you see my name to the left of the comment posts, kindly skip past. It doesn't bother me to read what you have to say, but it seems like what I have to say really bothers you. So why suffer through that? Move along. I won't lose any sleep over it. There are plenty of other people here with whom you can engage. Have a great day man.

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    In reply to Dafoxx:

    Oh I did not answer your questions:

    Premium, by definition in the baseball sense (or free market, if you will) is the difference between the higher price paid for a fixed security and that security's value in the marketplace.

    Why would teams pay TOR premium for a guy who is not a TOR starter? He has a favorable contract, cost control and would make a great complement to most rotations as a #2 or #3. Also there is a thin market for pitchers and an incredible amount of buyers in the marketplace, and based on the principles of supply and demand, that increases his value to a point of near over evaluation.

    Do I "like" Jeff Samardzjia? Well, I don't know him personally. But as a Notre Dame football fan and Chicago Cubs fan I have followed his career since he was a teenager and I do think he has tremendous abilities in both sports, though I personally would have liked to see him playing for the Bears rather than the Cubs. I hope that generalization is enough to answer the question.

    This question: "A MLB #2 or #3 starter or potential MLB ace starters?" -- I do not know what that means because it is an unfinished sentence but I'll take a crack at it -- Which would I rather have were I the Cubs? Well, since the Cubs have proven an innate ability to find capable #2 and #3 starters cheaply via trade (Travis Wood, Jake Arrieta) and free agency (Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Paul Maholm) and because their minor league system is devoid of impact arms I would rather have the potential ace MLB starters on other teams were I given the choice and I think the Cubs would as well, especially because Samardzjia's value is as high as it is ever going to be right now:

    1. He is under 30
    2. There is a thin market of SP available
    3. There isn't much that will likely be available in the FA market this offseason.
    4. There are at least 4 teams interested in him (PIT, ARZ, BOS and BAL) and probably more.
    5. He is a controllable asset for at least two more years.
    6. He does seem to pitch better in bigger games though that is a statistic that cannot be logically measured or quantified. Maybe he eats an extra bowl of Wheaties on those game days.

    If I keep saying something often enough does that make it true? In regards to trading Samardzjia? No. I am not a member of the Cubs FO so I have no control over that. In regards to whether Samardzjia is a #1 or TOR starter? Samardzjia's stats back that up perfectly.

    This has been a fun breakfast. Thank you. Now I will have an extra bowl of Wheaties.

  • yeah I don't want to pay Shark 13m a year... I would rather trade him for a couple 21-23yr old potential aces, it's not going to happen this season tho

  • I read everything Cubs and Bears. On CBS local article is "Trestman A Puzzle" by Bernstein. Everything except articles from that snobbish clown.

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    In reply to Buzz:

    Bernstein is very annoying. I can't believe he keeps a job, he is so nasty and dismissive on the radio to everyone. It's like the entire point of his show is to just make fun of everyone and point out how smart he is and how dumb every caller/player/gm/coach is.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    I couldn't agree more. They are so demeaning. More often than not, their cynicism about players and teams is accurate, but those guys are everything that is wrong with talk radio.

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    Rizzo is down to .235? Is he injured? He needs a day or two off I think. I haven't seen any of his ABs, but that is not a .235 hitter.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I think there is room for concern on Rizzo. He has not had a ton of good at bats in recent weeks. The development of he and Castro will in part determine whether the Cubs are two years away or five years away from contending.

    Same goes for Samardzija. He doesn't seem too interested in committing early to a contract like Castro and Rizzo did, so I say the Cubs should be listening to offers if someone is willing to make a trade based on his potential.

    They won't deal him this year, but if he finishes strong maybe this offseason. But obviously, only if they can get back a couple really high end guys, preferably pitchers.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I am worried about Rizzo. Something is definitely amiss. As far as Samardzjia, I think you have a FO that thrives on leveraging assets at this stage of the rebuild and exploiting marketplace inefficiencies, so if a team will pay a #1 starter premium for effectively a #2 starter, that would certainly be something Theo and Jed would have to seriously entertain. I mean that is a clear cut example of market inefficiency.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I wish I could see more games. I opted out of the MLB package this year because I thought the Cubs would be wretched and to concentrate on work and so I've only seen 3 or 4 games this year.

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    What a play by Rizzo! And nice job by Rusin to get through that inning after the way it started.

  • Bernstein's harsh treatment of listeners is part of their schtick. The thing that's so annoying about him is that he's alway being so friggin moralistic. He's the moral authority on everything, just ask him.

    Suggestion: find some good podcasts and listen to them. Chicago sports radio is, by and large, a train wreck. Fringe Average is a great weekly baseball podcast with Ferrin & Jason Park. I've been suggesting to John that he & Tom enter the podcast fray.

  • Matt Spiegel is the only one I like... he would read my texts all the time lol

  • Random question. How do you pronounce Rusin's name? I really thought it was Roo-sin, but Len and JD are going with Russ-in. I find it distracting. But I'm not sure who is right.

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    Crazy 8th and 9th innings. Wow. What a win.

    ----

    Ratmoss, it's Russ-in, at least according to all of the announcers.

  • Nate The Great just got traded tonight. Some team will be wanting his bat ASAP.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    Nate, Russell, Shark to PIT for their entire system?

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    That game was sure fun to watch!

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    There were 7 Shutouts tonight! 4 1-0 games and a 2-0 game. 4 teams had 2 hits each. Great hitters are getting scarce and if they trade Nate they should receive a nice bounty. Personally I would keep him.

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