These days it’s getting increasingly harder to be the smartest guys in the room.
That isn’t going to stop Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from trying, however.
With so many teams employing younger, saber-savvy, Ivy Leaguey people in their front offices, it’s becoming near impossible to find the next market inefficiency. Just maybe this Cubs brass has found a new angle. That is until Jerry Reinsdorf has it taken away.
The Cubs were the first team to officially trade for international free agent bucks. They made their first big deal of the trading season, and they did it in a timely manner.
They acquired the extra money ($963,000) just in time to go on a splurge, in what many consider a deep class of international talent.
“We really like some of the impact talent in this year’s (class),” general manager Jed Hoyer said, “and the addition of dollars can help us be aggressive in this international market. “We feel like there’s both depth and premium guys and we’re hopeful that we can add a number of those guys.”
They had their hearts set on outfielder Eloy Jimenez and shortstop Gleyber Torres and were able to come home with both of them in the cart. If 16 year olds aren’t going to do it for you (I’m not going there) then the FO also covered the short term within the Scott Feldman deal as well.
Signing Feldman to flip him just seemed too easy now. The Cubs were able to walk away with a nice haul ( IFA money, two potential low-risk, high-ceiling, hard throwers in Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop) for a low risk, short term gamble. Just ask Buck Showalter.
"I know the Cubs made a good deal,'' he said. "This could work out real well for them. It was tough to say goodbye to Pete (Strop). Good man, good heart. Things have a way of coming around. The Cubs are getting two good arms that have real good upside.''
Arrieta will likely be given every chance to start in Chicago. His career ERA is 5.46 but his FIP is 4.45, and the Cubs think he could still blossom.
“We see a lot of potential in him,” Hoyer said. “We’ve had some luck with a guy like Travis Wood, who was coming off a little bit of a down year. Feldman, frankly, was coming off a little bit of a down year. (By) getting (Arrieta) out of the American League East and getting him into our environment, we’re hopeful we’ll help him turn the corner.
There is also some thought Arrieta could be converted to the pen if things don’t work out in the rotation. Strop on the other hand was already a key element to Baltimore’s strong pen last year. Apparently there have been some back issues this year that may have been nagging him.
Even if neither of these guys works out, this is all about taking some worthwhile gambles for the Cubs.
With the deck increasingly stacked against them, I still wouldn’t bet against this front office.
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