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Cubs front office continues making smart gambles

Cubs front office continues making smart gambles

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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  • Oh, what will today bring?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    We are going to get spoiled.

  • I'm guessing this will lead to Arrieta slotting into Garza's spot in the rotation once Garza is dealt and Arrieta's Super-Two clock has eclipsed while in AAA

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Makes some sense. I would think they would like to work with him a bit first too?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    That's true. I hope that tinkering can be done in the next month and a half while Arrieta's super-two clock is still ticking, but if not, that's just me not wanting to see another final two months of Rusin-Raley. I do think they can get him figured out and up by mid-August. After all, once July 31st passes, will it hurt all that much to do the tinkering while on the major league roster?

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Oh boy you had to say Rusin/Raley.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Even though I knew it was just one emergenct start, last night still had me cringing...

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Rusin has been doing well down at AAA all season and seems to know he's not a power pitcher, so he's pitching to contact. Getting the bump to the majors on 3 days rest last second has to be a little nerve wrecking.

    I'll give him a few official, planned starts before I demand his beheading.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    I don't dislike Rusin, and it was a whirlwind day for him on short rest. My cringing came from memory of last year's limp to the finish line when the team was stripped that included Rusin, not Rusin in particular.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Elden14:

    Nice call Elden. People are way too quick to want to dismiss someone despite countless examples of why you shouldn't. Doesn't mean you think he'll be great but let the process play out. Home bailey is one such guy. He sucked and sucked and now hes a 2 time no hitter pitcher, and a solid piece to a very good rotation on a contending team.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think that's part of it and that's what they'll say publicly, but the main impetus is getting more cost control. It'll increase the value of the deal for the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. Didn't realize the twenty day difference between the super-two line and the cutoff for the extra year of team control. For some reason I was assuming those would be the same day. 73 days from now would only leave a week and change at the end of the season for a call up.

  • Gambles? Yes. Smart? Who knows?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Smart as in nothing to lose on high ceiling arms.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I think we lost all the victories Feldman might have given us the remainder of the season. We need to create a winning tradition piece-by-piece, day-by-day. That includes winning games even if it lowers your draft position.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to tommy:

    Yes, the Yankees are still kicking themselves for not being a .500 team in 1991. "If only we'd won more games, we might have been able to build a winning tradition!"

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Irony is now passe, old man.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to tommy:

    Fine, I'll say it without irony and maybe THEN you'll address the point: by being absolutely awful in 1991 as part of a rebuild, they managed to get the #6 overall pick which turned into Derek Jeter. It's hard to imagine the decade of dominance that followed without that pick.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Don't apply for a job in ticket sales.

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    In reply to tommy:

    So we're now up to 2 personal insults and zero addressing of the point. Cool.

  • In reply to tommy:

    There really is no correlation between winning games late in the season and then winning more the next season. The two things seem to be independent of each other.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I think anytime you can turn a career 4th/5th starter who is going to get overpaid this offseason into a guy with top of the rotation stuff then it's a good gamble. That said -- not even good gambles pay off all the time.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Even if the gamble doesn't work how we hope and it's worst case scenario as far as Arrieta, his power stuff would sit perfectly in the bullpen. Two power bullpen arms and essentially Eloy Jimenez for two months of a guy on the wrong side of 30 who is having his career year and setting himself up for a player friendly contract as the worst case scenario is a good gamble in my book.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I would never argue with anyone named Aquinas.

  • Travis Wood check, Scott Feldman check, ...Scott Baker could be next.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Baker has to prove hes healthy first. My guess is Baker might be next years Feldman if the team still sucks.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Baker is only on a 1 year, I believe. Unless he resigns with us he'll be gone at year's end.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    I think he could do a make good deal for next year.

  • You have the Eloy and Gleyber's positions switched. Just an FYI.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Thanks Eldren, I went ahead and fixed that for Tom.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oops thanks guys. Late night posting.. :)

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Ha! I think we've all done that before.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No problem. Don't mean to be a stickler, just thought I'd help.

    P.S. I finally got into the twitter world and following you, Brett Taylor and several other cubbie lovers has made for an easy, and slightly addicting, transition. So thanks for all helping with my constant need to read all things Cubs. You do a hell of a job.

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    "shortstop Eloy Jimenez and outfielder Gleyber Torres". I may have read this wrong somewhere else, but aren't their positions flipped? I thought Torres was the shortstop.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    It's fixed -- just a simple mix-up from Tom, who wrote it late, late last night.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Yes sorry my bad, was last thing I added before bed. Bad copy and paste job.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    did you get any rest yesterday?

  • Even I know Torres is the shortstop. Been compared to young Nomah.

  • I always ask John to check my posts late at night but he insists on trying to get some sleep or something.

  • Chicago Now needs to pony up and get us an editor.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    lol wishful thinking.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    LOL now if John won't pony up to get me to the Dominican then you get do not get an editor. We have to have priorities.

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    I think it is genius what the Cubs have done. They know that acquiring young starters with top-of-the-rotation potential that are performing well from outside of the organization is nigh impossible. The market for those guys are through the roof in todays game and trading for one usually means taking a huge hit elsewhere and most times doesn't work out,

    So what has this Cubs FO done?

    Find other ways to get them that are much riskier but offer much more reward because you got them for free. They could have left Jeff Samardzija as a reliever where he was successful but chose to take a risk and create surplus value but turning him into a TOR starter. So you basically traded for a frontline guy for free. That alone is worth the gamble.

    Arodys Vizcaino and Jake Arrieta are two more examples of what the FO is trying to do. Take gambles on young arms with TOR potential that for whatever reason have lost value with hope of developing them as frontline guys.

    If they all pan out you basically just got Samardzija, Arrieta, and Vizcaino headlining your rotation for the price of Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman on one-year deals.

    Surplus value at its finest. You got 2 frontline starters for essentially nothing because they were gambles versus blowing up the farm for more "sure-things" like the Latos or Grienke-trades.

    Now we can keep all our top prospects PLUS the frontline guys instead of trading one for the other and playing it safe. I love this strategy because the payout could be enormous and the guys we have are smart enough to make sure it pays out more than botches.

    Sorry for long, confusing post.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I hope you're right. As I said a couple times yesterday, I'm reserving judgement. The Marmol deal feels like the FO out thinking itself -- maybe they can trade Guerrer (probably misspelled) so they still get something for Marmol!

    Arrieta is a 27 year old power pitcher who had shoulder issues earlier this year. It's easy to see this failing miserably, and the Cubs passing on a prospect who could have been something for a chance at an elite arm. I'll probably never know for sure, but there's a certain too clever by half to this trade.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think that's a gamble worth taking though. You certainly aren't going to get a potential impact prospect for a rental of Feldman and Duquette even said that they weren't willing to deal prospects because they were unknowns. Arrieta was a known in his eyes so he felt comfortable dealing him.

    I think marcel sums it up nicely when he comps Arietta to Shark. Perhaps they can develop a connection/competition and push each other to become greater than they are now. They are very similar players.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Yeah, and at first I wasn't super pleased about the deal but I mistakenly kept comparing to Maholm instead of Dempster. Maholm had another year left on his deal; Feldman does not. Dempster for Delgado would have been huge (at the time), but I think the Villanueva/Loux compares to Arrieta/Strop. Two late-20's power guys with MLB experience and control issues vs. two decent but not great AA prospects? I'd say that's comparable in value.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Minor quibble -- Hendricks was the second player in Dempster deal. Loux was the return for Soto.

    But I completely agree with the thinking.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Even comaring to Dempster isn't fair. Yes, they were both rentals, but Dempster was a guy with many years of mid rotation impact at the MLB level and was having a very good year for the Cubs. Feldman has never been a consistent 5th starter, let alone mid rotation pitcher. Yes, he is having a fine season this year, but not as good as Demp was having last year. I think anyone who thought we would get as much for Feldman as we got for Dempster was fooling themself. And while Demps NTC limited the market, he also was eligible for a QO so the Cubs had a fall back plan and could always walk away from any deal and stil recoup some value.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Thats a pretty good point. Much better track record with Demp.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's why it's gambling. Think of it like this. Here are the Cubs options for adding young, frontline starters.

    1. Buy low on guys with frontline stuff but with many issues in hope of manifesting that talent into a TOR starter.

    end result: you get a #1-2 starter + you still have Baez, Soler, Almora etc. "the gamble"

    2. Give up Baez/Soler/Almora for an established frontline starter with less risk and less need to work on.

    end result: you get a #1-2 that is established, healthy, needs no work at the cost of one or multiple of your big 3. "the safe route"

    The first one is what rebuilding teams like the Cubs HAVE to do. The second is what you'd expect a contending team ready to take the next step would do. Like the Reds did with Latos. It makes all the sense in the world to take these kind of gambles to close the ground because if you hit on just a few of them your team will skyrocket.

    Just talking about the Feldman/Maholm deals here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I guess my quibble would be over the size of the gamble. With Vizcaino, the 95% recovery
    Rate was often mentioned, so it seems like a pretty good gamble given how good he was before the surgery. A shoulder injury is entirely a different animal, and Arrieta has never come close to his potential. They know more than I do, and if not for the Marmol trade I'd probably be a lot more comfortable. I just can't get rid of this feeling that hubris is driving these moves.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think everybody might be out-thinking themselves on the Marmol deal.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DGP10:

    I don't know why everybody is confused or thought the Cubs have out *thunk* themselves. They basically traded $210k of IFA money for $500k of real money and got Guerrier to boot. Marmol has already been DFA'd by LA. It was a cost control trade that the Cubs were allowed to do by acquiring extra IFA slots from Houston. They got something for Marmol other than a complete loss, LA got IFA money that they coveted, and knowing the Cubs had Houston's slots coming made giving up precious IFA money a little easier to digest for Theo & Jed.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jive Wired:

    But the trade must be interpreted against the alternative. They could have wound up with no Marmol and out his entire salary. Instead, they have no Marmol, Guerrier who likely walks at the end of the year, down 209k in IFA money (Enough to sign Starlin Castro 4 times), and out his entire salary, minus 500k. If that 500k is that important, something is very wrong.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly. Any way you look at it, the Cubs got the short end of the Marmol trade.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not a great deal, but they didn't have many options and probably just preferred the player (Guerrier) over eating his salary and saving 200K in bonus money, especially since they landed every one of their IFA targets anyway.

    Guerrier could possibly stick as a bullpen vet next year or perhaps the Cubs can flip him for something if he has a good month or so.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Plus Guerrier does one thing the Cubs FO loves - he gets groundball outs. I have no problem with this trade. The Cubs got everything they wanted in IFA and the alternative was losing Marmol and getting nothing. Plus the $500k helps if they have to go over slot to sign Bryant. Win - Win - Win.

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    In reply to Jive Wired:

    The 500k has no impact on slot values for regular draft picks.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jive Wired:

    Hey john, I thought I read something along the lines of Guerrier having drawn interest from the Red Sox, so he may be an asset that helps the Cubs match up better with Boston on a potential trade this month. I still don't believe there is an existing premise of "I'll add as much junk as I can to make a deal more palatable and extract better players in return" in major league baseball but it does occasionally happen. Happens all the time in Fantasy Baseball.

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Guerrier flipped if he has some success. Won't be a big return, but it became apparent the Cubs weren't going to get anything at all for Marmol.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't understand your alternative option of the Cubs winding up without paying Marmol's salary. Where is this option? Aren't baseball contracts guaranteed? They can waive/release Marmol without trading him but they are on the hook for paying his entire salary, unless they can foist it on some other team. LAD is the only team we know for sure who was willing to do this.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HefCA:

    To Mike Moody: Not true. Bottom line is bottom line. If Boras asks over slot Epstein can "cover" that difference resulting from this trade. The Cubs can go 5% over without penalty but Ricketts still has to sign off on the trade. I'm a business owner. If I have to pay over value for something I certainly will seek other ways to make up that deficit.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jive Wired:

    If Ricketts can't find money in his couch cushions to pay for Cubs total slot value + 5%, something is horribly, terribly wrong. That money should have been budgeted months ago. It is a cost of doing business -- unless you're Jeffrey Loria.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The Cubs were NEVER going to get out of his entire salary. No one was going to claim him.

    500K is .5% of the team's payroll. That is not insignificant. It paid Anthony Rizzo's salary this year. or if you would rather look at in another light, it makes up for one of the games in September where 5,000 people show up at Wrigley. I know we tend to think of all this money as funny money. But half a million dollars is not insignifacnt to anyone, even billionaires.

    And on top of that they got a veteran MLB pitcher for a bullpen that has been an absolute disaster. He may not be a late inning guy anymore, but he can still eat some innings in middle relief and there is always a chance he pitches well enough over the next month to allow us to flip him for a flyer on a raw prospect.

  • In reply to DGP10:

    For me, it's just a change of scenery deal for him. Sometimes baseball execs do what they can for players. It's not always about winning every deal. Cubs didn't get much out of this except give Marmol a fresh start.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Again to Mike Moody: That makes no difference. Just because you have more than you need or more than someone else doesn't afford you to spend recklessly or for that matter, minimize costs. Baseball is a business, there are multiple investors, there are bottom lines. I'm not going to spend $75,000 on an automobile I can get for $40,000 elsewhere just because I can afford to.

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    In reply to Jive Wired:

    You've completely lost me on your comparison. If the go over slot on Bryant, it's because they've gone under slot on Zastryzny and others. The full amount they were going to have to spend was known months ago and -- hopefully -- budgeted for. In my opinion, the $210,000 in IFA space they spent had significantly more present value to this team than $500,000 in actual money, since it could be invested in an actual player with a high ceiling in the future. That $500,000 is an incredibly minor one-time cash injection.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's just not true. Though I agree IFA money is better utilized in this instance than cash on hand, it still makes good fiscal sense to get an asset ($500,000) for Marmol rather than nothing. In trading with Houston, Hoyer banked that money he gave to LA. Plus they got Guerrier. And whether he is here next year or not is irrelevant because Marmol wasn't going to be. Also, it is apparent that the Cubs had a plan in place and knew what that plan would cost, so they covered it. $500,000 is only a "minor injection" because you are not running the Cubs. It is easy for you to spend another man's money when you do not know all the details. Also, again, if you have to pay over slot, the money has to come from some surplus somewhere else. Whether it is from signing guys under slot (and a few were signed over slot as well) or getting cash back in a trade is no matter to the bottom line - it is just an accounting placeholder. The better option was not letting Marmol walk away for nothing or they would have done just that. Having saved that $209k doesn't mean they were going to use it anyway because it isn't real money unless you spend it. It is money the Cubs are allowed to spend. It isn't like they get to keep it in the bank for a rainy day. And without the $500,000 cash in, it makes an on paper equivalency loss of $709,000 if you do not do that Marmol deal. Bottom line is bottom line. They got the guys they wanted and they haven't used their entire allowance anyway and they got $500,000 to boot, that Tom Ricketts be damned!.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jive Wired:

    It's incredibly minor because they made $275 million last year. That means the $500,000 they saved comes out to about 2 tenths of one percent of their total revenue. To convert it into days, it takes them roughly half a day of operations to make that money.

    It's nothing.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yes I like all that they are doing. Yes there will be guys who fail, but that is always the case. Some of those power arms will stick as starters and others bullpen. At the same time it provides depth on the farm. Still leaves opportunity for free agency either bargain or building piece. All of that doesn't affect the farm system. Rony was surplus, so he helped to get the International spending. Farm system is definitely one of the best, now to get more of that to translate to the big league club. That can be the biggest hurdle. Hard to believe Cubs could have another year of high draft picks and high international spending too.

  • In reply to Cubs Future:

    That is a good point about Torreyes being surplus. How often have the Cubs been able to deal a "superfluous prospect" for something of value?
    To me it shows that the farm system/organization is building depth, and that is a crucial step in building winning assets.

  • Samardzija bad mouth the Cubs FO on the Feldman deal.......

    Let the countdown begin of Samardzija staying with the Cubs.....

    Need to get rid of all these " high ego" types off this club...........Jeff, get yourself a haircut!.......you are no #1 starter.....not now....never will be.....

    with these deals yesterday, and the ones that are coming, Theo & Jed know their jobs are safe for the next 8 - 12 years......

    At the present, the Cubs sit at the #5 spot for next years draft.....sooner or later, our farm system will be #1.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I didn't see the Jeff bad mouthing. Link?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    1. Samardzija wanting to win isn't an ego thing. Ego is self. He was speaking out for Feldman and the success of the team. 2) All athletes at this level have strong egos. You don't make it if you don't believe in your ability and talent.

    I don't think the Cubs should run their organization like some sort of fascist state where people can't speak their minds. The guys are frustrated. Players want to win. That's why they play -- I'm glad the Cubs have guys like that on the team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ian Stewart anyone ?......he was speaking (tweeting) his opinion.

    I want to be the first to say that Samardzija will not be with this team and its rebuilding program due.......

    - His Trade Value
    - His Contract Demands
    - His "opinion" on how Theo & Jed is building this team up.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    He was speaking out for himself and not for his team -- and possibly against another player. Huge difference.

    I think the Cubs FO has more tolerance for players voicing their opinion than you do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed -- though do you see any concerns on extending him? Hopefully it's just frustration that will go away, but I feel like this has been the first sign of some current players being openly tired of the losing/rebuilding.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I don't see any unless his contract demands are outrageous. I think the other stuff doesn't come into play.

    Soriano lost it in the clubhouse too. I think it's been going on for awhile, but Cubs have no reason to trade Shark. He's under team control for now and they'll probably (hopefully?) turn it around in the next year or so.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I dunno, John, reading between the lines it was a pretty harsh criticism of the front office. To say, flat out, the trade makes the team worse and that they were about to be pretty good doesn't speak highly of his opinion of Theo and Jed. My concern, as before, isn't in exactly what Shark said, but what emotions lie beneath it in the team. Players vs. management should be avoided at all costs, IMO.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It does make the team worse in the present, which is all players really care about. It's honest. And chances are the team is about to be pretty good, but trading Feldman doesn't change that. I think it's frustration, but it's understandable when you're as competitive as Samardzija. But I do agree he probably should have put it into better perspective. Doesn't say much about the guys coming in and he should have known the Cubs were going to trade Feldman and that they'll trade Garza and Gregg too.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Shark is a fierce competitor. The blown saves are hurting the morale. I also think he's sticking up for a friend in Feldman. I don't think it says he wants to leave but I don't think he'll want to put up with another year or two of suck either.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    When a scrub prospect badmouths the organization, that organization, any organization, gets rid of him.

    When a top pitcher badmouths an organization, that organization, any organization, ignores it.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    With the Yankees, the GM told A-Rod to "Shut the F*** Up"......so A-Rod is a Scrub now?

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    The Yankees would love nothing more than for ARod to quit...so yes, he is a scrub to them now.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Your posts are always fresh and stimulating.

  • In reply to tommy:

    I enjoy talking about the Cubs with other people for its own rewards....stimulation, relaxation, pleasant association, and interesting conversation..

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I wouldn't have expected Jeff to say anything else. He's a class act and helping to smooth some egos that may need it because of the impending and recent trades.

    Read his comments and in no way did I see anything attacking the FO.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    "Get a haircut" ???!!!
    Are we back in the '60s, judging people by the length of their hair? If that's so, someone must really hate the Blackhawks.
    Samardzija can get a double Mohawk as long as he throws strikes.
    Let's try to stick to baseball for once......
    ........
    ........

  • Ok whats going on whit the bold?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    you turned it on or pissed someone off when you said they need to pony up and get you and editor. LOL!

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    It's special for Marcel -- the ChicagoNow version of a red letter Bible.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    HAHA! Hadn't thought of it that way. I agree with Lokeey. Tom, be careful what you ask for.

  • So where is Scott Baker? Still waiting on him.

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    Dammit Chicagonow!! lol

  • Was watching CSNSports Reporters last night and it's interesting how they spoke of the other team in Chicago and how at some point as a fan you have to wonder if they will do what the Cubs FO has been doing. Working smarter (and harder) by rebuilding from the very bottom then previously done by past GM's as described in your last piece, Tom.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Thanks lokeey. I missed it but man they didn't make Les (Cubs guy) very happy.

  • I like some of the implications this trade has for the ongoing trade activities. This could start some competitive bidding for Garza in the AL East. Perhaps enough to get that TOR type guy? Also with SD interested in Arietta they may be willing to bite big for a package including him?

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    They also might have just narrowed SD's sights on Garza. They had been reportedly interested in both Arrieta and Garza, and now that one is off the market....

  • This was a good move, Feldman did what he was banking on doing and that was good both for him and the Cubs, he was pitching for next years deal that I'm reasonably sure he knew wasn't in Chicago. Certainly some risk involved, but long term, cost controlled or possibly even "flippable" type of risk verses having to probably pay Feldman more next year than the FO really wanted or get nothing at all, seems like a solid plan to me. Wonder if shark is a little annoyed about a couple of his "boys" being traded with his it sucks comments?. Got a feeling it's going to suck a litte more here shortly sharkster.

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    "That is until Jerry Reinsdorf has it taken away."

    Ain't that the truth.

    If you're strictly a Chicago sports fan in general Jerry has been a great owner. If you're a baseball fan (not just a Cub fan) he has been a pain in your behind forwever. He's done whatever he can to not just hurt big market teams but also small market teams. Just so he can run his large market Chicago baseball club like a middle market franchise and constantly cry poor to the taxpayers and his fan base.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Agreed. He just got lucky he stumbled on to Jordan and then Krause got him Pippen. That was the only time he actually paid up -- but even that didn't last long. Or at least not long enough.

  • Marmol already DFA'd by the Dodgers!

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    They're trying to send him to AAA. I think he may go through this time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know...Peter Gammons said the Dodgers had no interest in Marmol. They just made the trade for the Int'l pool money.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    If the Dodgers do release him and he signs on somewhere else, the Cubs have to send more money to the Dodgers. I believe it's cash, not international pool money though.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    If the Dodgers let go Marmol, the Cubs have to pay the rest of his salary.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    No, that is not correct. The Dodgers own his contract now.

  • Too bad that Scott Baker could not be part of any July trade with his physical set backs...if he had 5 or 6 wins, we might had a same trade package like Feldman.......win a few gambles.....lose a few gambles.

    or think if Ian Stewart was our third basemen.....having a good year.....another gamble that went sour.......

    At least Theo was building this team for either a run at he Wild Card or a Sell Off on his veterans......

    Which brings me to this point......what Free Agent veterans will want to join the Cubs this winter to be dealt next July?........maybe the ones who have injuries like a Feldman or a Baker?........

    2014 draft and International signing period should be another good one for the Cubs..............at least the Cubs and Theo are "Committed" of getting a high draft pick for the next several years.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I don't know names of FA that might or might not want to join the Cubs. I guess if you are a FA you can look at being dealt this way. You sign with the Cubs. Have a FELDMAN type start to the year. Chances are good you get traded to a team that is in the hunt for post season. Not a bad deal really.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Just about to say this. Signing on with the Cubs at this point guarentees you're on a playoff contending team come August. Either the Cubs surprised everyone and you're with them making a run or they've opened shop and sent you to a team that needs and values you.

    Kind of a win-win for someone late in his career that wants a legit shot at the WS.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Again hit or miss with some. They hit on FELDMAN ( I wonder if I should keep doing that because he is no longer a CUB) missed on Baker. So you have certain types of FA that would be interested in coming to the Cubs. Some whose careers have been down for a year or two, some coming off injuries and need chance to prove they are healed, and some who maybe never fulfilled their promise. I am certain their are plenty of players that fit one of these molds. I just think this is a solid coarse to take by the FO.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    Different angle but makes sense.

  • What is the talent level of 18 year old Jefferson Mejia? From his description I would think he would be on the top 30 prospect list but he isn't. Is that list just for 16 year olds?

  • In reply to John57:

    I don't think it's just for 16 year olds specifically, but scouts do favor those players. I don't think Paniagua made the top 30 list either even though his present stuff was so much better than any pitcher on that list.

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    It's a long road to get decent, but the FO said over a year ago that they are looking to convert short-term assets into long-term ones. They said that when they traded Marshall, who was only under contract one more year, and clearly a luxury to a bad team.

    The cupboard was really bare when Theo and team got here; Castro and Shark were the only real assets at the ML level, and the big club was saddled with several bad contracts. The minor league system was thin; Baez was the only bright spot, and B-Jax, but otherwise not alot.

    So this is a 5-7 year process. I honestly don't see how we could be tons better in 2014, or even 2015. If we are not going to open the wallet and buy impact, we have to wait for it to come up from our system. At this point, it seems like it's coming, but our impact prospects are all lower level right now. This is going to take awhile....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    We both agree that this process of getting younger players is for the long term.....the farm system will be busy for the next five or six years..........will Samardzija willing to wait?........I doubt it......his eyes will be set for bigger $$$$$ and towards a playoff team (Yankees, Red Soz, Dodgers, Angels, Braves)......whoever believes otherwise, is a Fool.....fans will look towards a Hendricks, P. Johnson or Vizcano as someone other than Samardzja to be the main guy on the staff when this team matures together as a group..........

    I would also suspect that E. Jackson will not be around......another Maholm or Feldman type of player ready to be flipped at the deadline by next next year...........

    Going have a nice run after 2020 if these prospects stays together and win......

  • I suspect that this off season is the point where the Cubs front office will seriously consider signing a top free agent or two with an eye on the long term. They almost did it last year with Anibel, and with the farm system starting to get close, this it probably the time to start making a move.

    Baez, Soler and Alcantara (certainly not all three) could be ready for call up next summer/fall, and from that point on it looks like there could be a steady stream of graduates. While there was little reason to sign a top free agent a couple of years ago, just to have him flounder with a bad team, we are approaching the point where they can be useful to an actual decent team.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I think theo and co. Will pick their spots and go after talent they like when its available. Not jumping in with both feet mind you just puting some long term pieces in place as they are able with an eye to the next couple of years and becoming competitive as they within two or three years. They really need the Wrigley upgrades to get the bucks for going all-in.

  • Does the fact that Jimenez signed for less than he was offered elsewhere mean anything at all?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Cubs have a better baseball complex and program for its players than other teams have now.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    From a IFA standpoint and the Cubs, doubtful. I didn't see a figure posted for signing amount, but I imagine it's enough to gobble up the remainder of our pool.

    Now from a willingness to come to the Cubs instead of a competing org for less money I think it speaks volumes as to what both our presence in the DR has done and where the franchise is headed as a whole. Once players are actually wanting to and taking discounts to be apart of the Cubs Way we'll be making real progress. Once the major leaguers do the same we'll be in good shape.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think some has to do with the Cubs Dominican Academy. I know if I were a parent in the Dominican, the Cubs and Texas would be at the top of my list. Kids can get their GED, they transition them to American culture, all kinds of facilities available.

    It also was a bit of luck, as his family were big fans of Sammy Sosa who does a lot for baseball players in the Dominican. Jimenez dream is to play RF in Wrigley.

  • The latest is that L.A. has not DFA'd Marmol after all.

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    Dodgers DFA marmol. The trade was all about the IFA money for LA. Cubs got almost no salary relief, and now if another team picks him up thd cubs have to pony up even more. Makes me think maybe they should have used Camp in that deal - Marmol is clearly not a closer but in a 6th- 7th inning spot I'd frankly rather see marmol than camp.

  • Garza pitches tonight....does Theo trade him before the game or after the game for a higher return of prospects if Garza wins?........

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I personally do not think his value would be affected by one performance. He has shown over his career what he is. Currently he has been pitching fairly good. More importantly he is pitching injury free and getting the rust off for being out just about a year.

  • Feldman starts against the White Sox tonight.

  • I hope Garza is traded this afternoon. I worry about every start, something snapping or falling off.

    I don't want to associate myself with a bane like CubsTalk, but I agree with him on Samardzija. If he isn't going to give the FO a good deal to stick around, let's move him within 13 months for the biggest haul we've seen in years. I don't like his ego at all, it's overinflated. His talent is there, but he has never been able to put it together consistently, and frankly, I think that's because of an overarching ego problem too. He's overconfident, particularly in his location and fastball, always trying to overpower, and he just doesn't string together a lot of dominant starts in a row. Kind of like Zambrano, but replace anger with smugness and too much talking. Aces have the right head for this sort of thing - I just don't feel like there is a personality match. He would bring us an embarrassment of prospect riches.

  • If you are on a team with constant change you are going to be disillusioned at times. He sees his friends come and go. If he didn't care about the team he probably wouldn't have said it. My problem with what the FO is doing is there's no player you can really identify with because he may be gone tomorrow. I will give the FO credit for what they are doing with the farm system though. But I think there's a tendency on their part to constantly go with players they've drafted or had play for them and if that's not your background you may well be on the way out.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I agree to a certain extent. But I'd imagine Shark can identify with Castro, Rizzo, Jackson and Wood. Those guys are likely to be around for a while. Rosters change all the time. Even for successful teams. Look at the Cardinals. Their team is almost completely different from the team that won it a few years ago. Aside from Molina, Holliday and Wainwright. Even the manager and pitching coach are gone. It no secret that Feldman, Garza, Baker, DeJesus, etc would likely be gone. I'd be frustrated if I was Shark too. But its a reality.

    Hopefully in a few years we will have a bunch of top prospects (Baez, Almora, Soler, Bryant, Alcentara, etc.) all locked up to team friendly deals. And Shark can make friends will all of them...

  • I loved the reference to the movie Comanchero's. I don't always get Felzz's music references, but I rarely miss one from John Wayne CubsTalk. And you need to realize I ain't your friend . . .

  • In reply to ddbennett34:

    There are two people in the world I trust ddbennett.....I am one....

    and you sure ain't the other guy.

  • For what it's worth, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has talked to executives who love the Feldman deal for the Cubs. They say Arrieta has the stuff/talent to be "a guy" -- which in baseball lingo means an impact player/pitcher.

    Said that they may have increased Garza's trade value with the deal as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How would that affect Garza deal you think?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Removes potential competition (Orioles / Arrieta) so Pads can no longer look there, which adds another competitor to those looking for Garza/Gallardo.

    It's essentially two fold because they removed the Orioles (eliminating competition) and added the Pads back into the Garza mix a little strong (raising demand), which raises price accordingly. They're establishing a SP monopoly.

  • In reply to Elden14:

    That explanation works for me. Nicely put.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Just spit balling here. Maybe due to the Pads interest in the pitcher the Cubs got from the O's closed one door on the Pads. Thus increasing Garza worth to the Pads. Not sure if that makes sense. But really slow at work and looking to fill the dead time.

  • Did the dodgers pull a fast ball past the Cubs? or did the Cubs know what the dodgers had planned? sounds like the Cubs should have just released Marmol right?

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Excellent questions, Nik, and I have one more. Does Arrieta got a shoulder, as Wannie would say in reference to a question concerning a Bears injury.

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Excellent questions, Nik, and I have one more. Does Arrieta got a shoulder, as Wannie would say in reference to a question concerning a Bears injury.

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    More thoughts on Samardzija:

    it's possible that he's just learning to be a team leader. The canned response is something along the lines of: "All we can do is go out and try to win games. We didn't do that, and now the front office has to think about next year." It avoids any assignment of blame. But, up until now, the press has just gone to Ryan Dempster for their quotes, so Jeff could be learning on the fly.

    But there is another, somewhat more disturbing possibility. By doing what he did, he kind of hung the front office out to dry and -- even though I'm sure he didn't mean to do this -- belittled Arrieta, who will hopefully be his teammate in the future. If the players have a problem with this, it's best handled within the organization, not in public through the press.

    But, it occurred to me, it isn't quite fair to get on the players for airing dirty laundry in the press. I believe it's been discussed on these boards before, but Dale tends to do his motivating through the press. Even Theo -- who really is very good with the press -- let his frustration get the better of him with his comment: "To be blunt, we haven't made much progress improving the on-base skills of some of the players here."

    This -- plus the Soriano and Stewart blow ups -- could be, at least in part, caused by frustration with management taking them to task in the press, while simultaneously "trying" to lose. (If fans think it's the plan, it seems probably there's grumbling to that effect among the players.) That's the bothersome part -- that what could really be underlying all of this is the players getting increasingly unhappy, and now turning to the press to get their story out, because they don't think management cares.

  • I really like what they're doing this year with the IFAs. For the forseeable future, because of the IFA caps, the top couple IFAs each year will be the biggest bargain, in terms of talent for dollar, in all of baseball. Once you get beyond the top 2-3 guys it will even out, but if you had an IFA talent equivalent to the top HS guy in the US, he'd still only get 2 mil or so because of the IFA cap, instead of the 4-5 mil the US high school guy can get.

    By making deals for pool money to be able to sign the top two guys (instead of just one of them), it's basically like adding an extra mid to top first round pick to the Cubs draft.

    I'm glad they figured this out. The Cubs MiLB system is starting to get crazy.

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    I think the odds are very slim that Arietta or Strop end up being key acquisitions for the Cubs. The Orioles wouldn't have cut Arietta loose if they thought there was even a 10 percent chance he could become a top-of-the-rotation guy. But considering what the Cubs gave up, I agree it's a good gamble. No team was going to give up even one true young Top 10 prospect from their system for two-plus months of Scott Feldman. Heck, I don't think there is any chance the player or players they get for Garza won't be of the flawed variety.

    I love the IFA moves, though we won't know for a good while if these guys are going to pan out. Still, it's about numbers, right?

  • the big difference between Stewarts rants and Sharks is one was concerned about himself the other was about team. No I in team.

  • With the team still in the asset (read talent) acquisition mode, it makes me wonder who will step forward and be the leader of the team?

    It could end up being someone who is currently wearing another uniform, or possibly a player still developing in the minors.

    Of the currentML Cub nucleus, not sure if that player has emerged.

  • In reply to JK1969:

    The team could really use a guy like Rizzo to step up and be a clubhouse leader moving forward. I know he is pretty new/young still, but leadership can transcend age if you lead by example... jut look at Jonathan Toews aka Capt. Serious.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Perhaps he could be but the leader not only leads by example but is one the other players look to for advice. I don't think he's at that stage yet. Who is it that plays hard and they can count on in a pinch? That person is probably the leader now. It's no doubt harder at this stage of the cubs development for such a player to emerge. With the platoon system that Sveum uses it might knock out some potential leaders. One of the exceptions may be Dejesus but he could well be traded.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    My first thought was Dejesus, but like you said, if he comes back before the trade deadline and looks ok, then some team is definitely going to want him. He can help a contender in numerous ways.

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