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Cubs need to protect their young

Cubs need to protect their young

According to Patrick Mooney, the Cubs are thinking about getting some offensive help for next year.

That could be big on two levels. Firstly, it is time for this rebuild to kick into another gear. The last two years patience has been asked for, and I believe received, from the fan base. If 2014 was another stinker, I think that tide would change.

You get a lot of sunshine here in these parts. However, let’s be honest. This front office is far from infallible. There are many who still want to see what Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can do without the big market resources they anticipated.

They inherited a mess, and the cupboard was mostly bare. There was one core player they found (Starlin Castro) lying around, and now some around the league think they messed him up.

They quickly added another in Anthony Rizzo. They gave these two core players some financial security almost immediately. Where the front office failed them in my opinion is they have left them exposed to immense expectations.

The secondary benefit of adding offensive help is pointed in the direction of Castro and Rizzo. They are nice players, certainly capable of being all-stars and having an impact on a winning team. However, with the fan base clamoring for something to cling to, too much has been heaped on their young shoulders.

Additions like Shin-Soo Choo could go a long way in protecting the younger players in the line up and taking some of that pressure off.

“We’re going to take a pretty hard look at our offense this offseason, for sure,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “We have a lot of young offensive talent coming. But we can’t just rely on the young guys. We have to figure out how we can be a more efficient offensive team.”

Most of the Cubs top prospects are right handed hitters. Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant could all use some left-handed hitting compliments. Nate Schierholtz has been a nice addition but the Cubs need more. They have yet to throw out a major league third baseman during this regime.

I think the timing is right for the organization to add some insulation into the building for the young kids to benefit from.

"You bring up a guy like Rizzo and bat him third every game as a pro, Castro ever since day one is batting top of the order, I think it's a difficult thing as a young player," Hoyer said Monday. "Your assimilation process is more difficult when you're the guy they're focused on getting out as opposed to hitting seventh in the order.

"Kolten Wong comes up for the Cardinals and he bats seventh and he's a nice player to have, but everyone's focused on other guys. It's a difficult thing for guys to break into a team that doesn't have a lot of offensive depth."

So now the Cubs try and take some pressure off Rizzo by batting him in the two hole last night. He responds with a two home run, three hit night (never mind the TOOTBLAN to end the game). Could you imagine Rizzo and Castro having the security of a line up like the Cardinals to grow and prosper within?

I’m not expecting anything like that for 2014. However, my wife and I spent the month of July getting ready for our newborn. We wanted to make sure the house was ready for her in every way.

Theo and Jed need to make sure their new kids come into a secure environment as well.

@TomLoxas

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  • So glad to hear your take on the Mooney article Tom. It lowered my blood pressure considerably that the FO at least realizes the pressure and expectations being carried on Rizzo & Castro's young shoulders with where they are in this line-up

  • I like Choo, but you can't give him more than 3 years. Boras will probably be asking for 5. 3 years $48 mil, option for 4th year with a $3-$5 mil buyout? Potentially overpay him but get a shorter term.

  • Let's let the FO do the worrying about the budget. It is certain to come under scrutiny in inverse proportion to the progress on the field, as it should.

  • I thought with Psul Sullivan going away things would get better. Guess not.

    Castro is just getting pounded at it is pissing me off.

    Rizzo hits two HR's last night and that is all that is talked about. How about the missed ground ball with the bases loaded? How about the base running gaffe to end the game? If either of those were Castro he would have been hammered.

    What about Castillo muffing the run down by making a bad decsion to throw the ball instead of running at Harper Tuesday night. Again, no mention.

    My point is that there is something to the article about bringing in some help for these young guys. Unfortunately, we are caught in the middle of developing guys who are close and deciding on who to bring in as FA. Tough spot to be in.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Rizzos base running gaffe was inexcusable in that situation. Still a lot of fundamental errors with this team. But we have to give Dale a break he's only had a year and half with this team.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Perhaps the 3B coach may have had a hand in this? IMO, it wouldn't be the first time. If you have a problem with fundamentals, I think that also goes back to the manager and coaches in getting those fundamentals drilled into the players' brains. I think Dale and his coaches have had plenty of breaks. I think they need to pick up their performance just as much as the players need to pick up theirs. However, every time Dale hoses out a player in the press, it deflects any criticism away from him and his coaches. the players can't do that.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Was the gaffe all Rizzo, or did he get a really late stop sign? The situation called for an extremely conservative approach and he should have gotten the stop sign halfway between 2b and 3b but not sure when it actually happened?

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Thats my point. there was no reason to even try to score at that point unless the ball goes all the way to wall. Simple fundamental baseball which still seems to be lacking.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Yup!

  • Have to pick the right veterans, fairly young, to help the young
    players win

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    We should trade for Soriano...

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    "We should trade for Soriano..."
    lol,
    And throw in some of those IFA dollars for 2014 to secure the deal, bwa,ha,ha,ha,ha

  • This type of discussion occurred last year when Michael Bourne was available for similar $$ and the terms just weren't what the Cubs were looking for. Choo isn't the answer right now for 4+yrs @ $15M/yr. I see the FO going for another short term contract on a Schierholtz type of talent, and I wouldn't doubt if they resigned Dejesus if the Nats turn down their option on him and DDJ accepts $2.5M or less to come back. There's the veteran leadership and it won't cost $60M.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I think signing Choo would be a great idea, as long as he isn't given a qualifying offer by the Reds.

    The Cubs would be idiots to give up a high draft choice for a "bridge" player.

  • I think the FO has to realize that it isn't the worst thing in the world to overpay a guy.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    Yes, I would overpay as long as its short term and we don't potentially block the kids coming up. The cubs do need to do something because the major league team is getting harder snd harder to watch.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    Wasn't that the basis for the criticism of paying Soriano so much?

    The jury's still out because there are 3 more years to go, but on the basis of the first year, they definitely paid Edwin Jackson too much. Hopefully the next three are different. On the other hand, I kind of wish they went further with Sanchez rather than settling for Jackson and possibly paying him too much. If you're going to overpay a guy, obviously he better be good or you can choose how you want the egg on your face done.

    Yes, I know about egg on my face.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I would say the bigger criticism with Sori was length of contract, not annual salary (though the latter was not ideal, either).

  • "We outhit them, but obviously, two three-run homers, you aren't going to win many games with two three-run homers in one game," Sveum said.

    Just a second, big guy. That's 6 runs. You are not going to win many games with 6 runs in one game? Just how smart is this egghead?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I believe he was talking about giving up 2 three run homers but again way to stand up for your guys.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    My bad! I thought that egghead was saying the Cubs wouldn't win many games when they hit 2 3-run homers. It wouldn't surprise if he did say this, but he didn't.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I think his point was you can't count on having two three-run homers in one game very often.

    Though, I could be wrong... I don't know, I'm confused by his quote.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Big boy, if a team has two three run homers in a game, odds are VERY high those arent the only runs they scord, I bet if you took every two-three run homer performances by team, the average runs scored for that team would probably be in the 9-10 runs department, so yeah your not gonna win many games like that. Note, he didnt say ur not gonna win many games where you dont score six.

  • I assume he means ' relying on the three run homer for all of your offense..'.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, everyone thinks the Cardinals have some juggernaut offense, but its only because they literally hit .320 with RISP. If you normalize that to league average, their offense would be pedestrian.

    Now, they seem to do this every year, so I guess they do have a juggernaut offense. But if the Cubs nickel and dimed teams with singles and doubles, yet didn't hit .330 with RISP - everyone would complain about the lack of power. A balance is required to effectively score.

  • As hard as it is to watch these growing pains, I think the best move is to stick it out. Save the money and spend it when the time is right. However, if the organization insists on spending money, I wish they would go after the cream of the crop (Cano).

    I wouldn't be in a hurry to give big money to Choo or Ellsbury. You have to think Cano's left-handed bat would fit nicely as the kids come up. I don't think the Yankees will let him get away, and I don't think Cano wants to play anywhere else, but that's the kind of guy I would spend money on. Get the best player at his position and build the yound core around him.

    I think we're going to have to suffer through one more year like this.

    As far as the manager, I don't think he's done anything to warrant being fired. To paraphrase DeNiro in "The Untouchables": "You can get a whole lot more done with a kind word and a gun than you can with only a kind word". I am on the side that wants to give Svuem a shot with more talent...and, yes, I'm a huge Sandberg fan. The players seem to like Svuem. I want him to get a shot.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    I haven't seen or heard anything to suggest the players either like or dislike Sveum. I'm sure Castros not a big fan. But I agree this team doesn't change much next year including the manager. I think next year is a make or break year for Sveum.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    I agree. You really don't hear too much from the players. However, I think Jackson did take public exception to something that Sveum said earlier this year. He can do that, he's 30 or nearly 30 and a veteran. Castro and Rizzo aren't about to speak their minds because of their youth.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Agree on all counts.

  • I disagree. Stay the course. Don't pay for over the hill or even the downside of their career guys. Get a good look at Lake, Szczur, Olt, Vitters, etc. I get tired of losing, but the studs from A&AA are knocking at the door. Continue to sign only those who fit long term or can be moved for future. Now is not the time to go for it.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    In addition, stop playing 'pat a cake' with Rizzo and Castro. If there psyches are that fragile, they may not be much help anyway.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You can still add a guy or two if you feel they are right. You don't have to wait to go for it when you are ready. The Nationals did that with Werth and I think it is foolish to think you will necessarily find everything you need at the time you want.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Makes sense as long as they are not overpriced, long term, and underperforming contracts.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    This is a key point. Werth is an example and so was Scott Rolen when the Reds signed him a few years ago before their young guys were quite ready. An asset is an asset, and it's abundantly clear this team needs some veteran presence.

  • fb_avatar

    Choo, born on July 13th of 1982, will be 31 on opening day of next season. He can play all three outfield positions. So he gives you flexibility. In 3525 PA, he has a slash line of .288/.387/.464, while averaging per 162 GP 20 SB to 7 CS. He is also said to be a hard worker and a good teammate. Other than his age, what's not to like?

    Scott Boras is his agent. So that makes things difficult, but not impossible. With the Cubs having so much money coming off the books, they could easily front-load his contract so that it's not such a hindrance as he gets older, or overpay to get him to agree to a shorter deal.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    People still talk about this front loaded contract idea, but I've yet to think of an MLB example. Just doesn't happen in baseball.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Arod

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    That's true. Pretty unique case though. 10 year deal for 275 mm. Plus it was kind of "middle loaded". But yes, probably the best example of a contract that decreases in annual value near the end.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Jackson's deal was sort of front loaded. He got a big signing bonus.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I can't help but think; "why not keep Soriano then?".

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    Speaking of protecting our young... Why did Sveum shake up the order again today? He has Navarro hitting 3rd and Lake 5th, which comes a day after Lake went 2-5 from the 3 spot. Especially crazy because our 2-4 hitters today (Rizzo, Navarro, Schierholtz) will all be hitting lefty against Strasbourg. Isn't the conventional wisdom to stagger your lefties? And isn't it hard for these young guys like Lake and Castro to hit somewhere different every day? I understand playing the percentages, but there also has to be some level of consistency in the lineup for these young guys to develop.

  • We do need to stick out the plan. However, even Jed knows it takes more than that. We aren't going to fill out the line up card with all home grown kids. Also, like I said we need to surround these kids with MLB talent. The Reds did it well when Bruce and Votto, etc. were coming up.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I totally agree! The Cubs need to upgrade. What about the experience of watching the games? It's significant that we've spent four years in a row watching a sub .500 team; and our winning percentages over the last three seasons: .438; .377; .429 (still in progress).
    We've played losing baseball for the last 648 games. That's four years of our baseball watching lives! Four years without being able to have much fun watching the Cubs with our families and friends. We're not going to live forever. These lost years are significant.
    Let's get some runs!

  • Choo was my very first thought when they let DDJ go. We're not talking about a 100 million dollar deal. This team has lots of payroll to spare and giving this guy a 4 yr. deal worth 15 a yr (one expert estimate I saw) makes a LOT of sense for this team. If they get perhaps 3 years of solid productivity and perhaps on the fourth yr they trade him and recoup a bit or platoon him (much better against rhps), then it's a definite win for the Cubs and Choo. That's not a contract that puts the team into a state of a lack of financial flexibility, it's exactly the opposite, imo.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    I actually woundn't give a 2nd round pick for Choo (assuming we would need to). Choo will be 31, so assuming we have him on a 4 year contract (which is hopeful as I am sure he wants wore), the contract will be done when Baez is 25, Bryant 26, Almora 24, etc. In other words, right when we will start getting rolling and likely being a viable contender. What is the point in 5 more wins next year (assuming he gives that)? I'd rather play Sweeney or some youngster (heck Vitters) and not lose a high 2nd round pick for the benefit of going from 70 to 75 wins.

  • Thanks, Tom, for a very well written article. For some players, especially the veterans, you got to give them a kick in the butt to motivate them like, for example, Edwin Jackson and for others, especially the young ones:
    "Theo and Jed need to make sure their new kids come into a secure environment as well."
    It's time to fire Sveum who should have supported his young players and, at the very least, kept his mouth shut when talking to the media about them.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Thanks Shalin and yes if there is one thing Im over it's Sveum tough talk with the kids.

  • fb_avatar

    Choo does a make a ton of sense. He can play center or, if Almora makes it, he can slide over to left and you can live with his production there because of Almora's production in center. He's lefty, he can lead off, and he only really causes a roster crunch in the insane situation that Soler, Almora, Bryant, and Villanueva/Olt all make it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Choo has value and I like him, but he is not really a CF. He's terrible out there now, and doesn't figure to get better. All the advanced fielding ratings hate him out there.

    The other factor with Choo is that he'll cost a draft pick; Reds are sure to give him a QO. Flip side is that will keep the $ cost down somewhat, and Cubs figure to have a protected pick.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    As I said above, with where our team is now (where signing Choo does not make us a contender in 2014 or likely 15 and later years really depends on how quickly 22-24 year olds produce), I see little to no benefit in giving up a 2nd round pick for Choo.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think the Cubs will have to severely overpay for any free agents, making the proposition unlikely. FO isn't going to pay market value + to a guy who will be in decline and blocking someone 2 years from now.

    I still think a trade with the Dodgers for an outfielder + cash is more likely (they need a 3B and we are pretty stocked there). But probably neither....

  • I don't want Choo. Hes Scheirholtz with a better OBP, less power and a little worse defensively. Id take him for a Scott Hairston-type contract, but BoreUs isn't doing that one. Besides, Choo cant hit lefties. Maybe take a flyer on someone like a Nate Reimold or someone similar.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mutant beast:

    Well, this will very likely be Choo's third season with 20+ HR where Nate's never had 10, so I would give Choo the edge there, as well as speed. Nate's been very solid defensively, but there's never been any delusion of him being able to handle CF.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Doesn't Schierholtz have 18 already this year? It has been quite a while since third grade math, but I think 18 is higher than 10

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    ...before this year, is what I meant. But good to know you waited until the third grade to tackle arithmetic.
    This is exactly the condescending BS this page doesn't need.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Yeah, I've seeing a lot of that shit on here. There is absolutely no call for it.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Most big leaguers with any power would hit 20 playing in that bandbox in Cincy. Choo wouldnt hit 15 playing half his games at Wrigley, Nate S always played in pitchers parks, except for a half-season in Philly where he almost never played period. Right now, Id keep Nate S over Choo. Only advantage Choo has is OBP and hes strictly a platoon player right now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mutant beast:

    I wasn't dogging Schierholtz. I think he was a great find. And it's not a matter of one over the other (though I would take Choo over Nate, personally). I would like to have them both next year, for the right price.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Honestly, if we sign him, that gives us a starting outfield of Choo-Lake-Nate next year. If the plan is to be competitive, that could give it to us. Next winter, Nate's contract is up and we can make a decision on him based on where Lake, Soler, and Almora are. It gives us a chance to be good next year without locking in a position we could fill internally in a few years. And a true OBP/leadoff guy is something we really need.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agree. I would be cautiously optimistic with that OF. Would definitely need a solid RH backup. With that, the emergence of a 3rd baseman, and the next step for several core guys, we could be competitive...that's still a lot of ifs though!

  • I feel like Ellsbury may be a legitimate target this offseason. If there ends up being a bidding war I don't think our FO will get involved, but if we can take advantage of the system's suppression of the market on players attached to draft pick compensation due to our first pick being protected, I think it may be a possibility.

    Also, this makes a lot of sense if we are trying to shift into gear 2 of the rebuild with holes in the OF. With Dejesus gone and I feel like the most realistic outcome for Junior Lake as a 4th OF due to his approach (though his ceiling is higher), there is a hole in CF as well as in the leadoff spot. I think Ellsbury is a fit for the next 3-4 years with no legitimate top CF prospect in that time gap until Almora gets closer.

    Not to mention he would be a good LH compliment to the surplus of RH hitting we will be seeing flood in the next few years. An outfield of Lake, Ellsbury, and Schierholtz next year would seem to be a good transition into rebuild phase two.

    I do want to make clear, however, I don't think the FO would chase this idea unless the market is somewhat thin on Ellsbury due to being tied to a draft pick.

  • How about Robinson Cano? Would Cubs fans on this blog be upset if they signed him (say for 6 years, $150M).

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Second basemen decline harder than just about any other position after 30, and you'd be saying that Barney, Watkins, and Alcantara don't have a future on this team. Cano's a great player, but I don't see it making a lot of sense.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Cano isn't going anywhere. And if he is, why would he come to Chicago when this team won't even be contending, yet. Other than the money, of course. Same with Ellsbury. Makes no sense for a player to come to a team with no winning record. I just don't see it.

  • In reply to Charlieboy:

    Not me. I think Cano's a tremendous fit. I think if you do sign him, then you make the deal for Price. Castro, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Johnson, and Maples probably gets it done for Price. I wouldn't make this deal unless I was going to sign Cano, though.

    Even if they don't sign Cano, I think they should sign a guy like Mujica as well as Michael Morse. Platoon Morse with Bogusevic in left. Morse can also back-up at first. Maybe platoon Lake and Sweeney in center. Try and spread out the at bats as best you can amongst Morse, Lake, Sweeney, Bogusevic, and Schierholtz. I'd rather sign Morse on a low-cost deal than Choo or Ellsbury. I say go big or go home. If I'm Choo or Ellsbury I make sure I sign a five year deal. Both will cost a pick, I would think. I wouldn't go there.

    I wouldn't mind a Valbuena/Murphy platoon at third next season either. Who knows if any of the many 3B prospects gets there next season. It's possible Olt or Vitters will.

    If you do make the Price deal, maybe you give Barney a shot at short until Baez is ready.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    "Castro, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Johnson, and Maples probably gets it done for Price."

    You forgot Baez, Almora, and Soler.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Sorry, and Bryant.

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    In reply to giamby:

    Heh. Yeah, I have a hard time seeing a deal for Price that doesn't include Baez. If Castro had hit .300 with 200 hits, this may have been a good offer. But he didn't.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Wouldnt trade Baez for anyone. I want to see how that one plays out. I tried to construct an offer that fits the mold of the Garza trade to the Cubs.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    The issue is that Price is substantially better than Garza. He's almost certainly the best pitcher that will be on the market for the foreseeable future. It's hard to see Friedman pulling the trigger without a guy like Baez in the deal.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He sure is. I may be wrong, but I think that the commenter (giambi) was trying to poke fun at my offer in the exact opposite way as you. I believe he was stating that I was offering too much.

    I've been reading this site for a couple years now, and I've fully enjoyed your comments Mike, so I don't want to come off argumentative to you in any way here. You're my kind of fan. However, I certainly understand it will take more to get Price than Garza. I thought I offered more. Could be wrong. The people in charge sure know more about it than I do. I think people considered Archer and Lee to be pretty good prospects, but I'm not sure they expected Archer to be a #1. Maybe they did, and maybe he is. That hasn't fully played out. Fuld, Guyer, Chirinos (sp) were flyers, IMO.

    I wouldn't include Baez no matter what. Almora instead of Alcantara? I'd sure try not to. Bryant? Can't yet anyway. Soler? I wouldn't trade him unless I was given an offer I couldn't refuse. I think it sends a bad message to any Cuban players who may be interested in signing with the Cubs in the future.

    I think Tampa would have to strongly consider the deal I proposed. Maybe they can get more somewhere else, but maybe not. Whoever trades for Price is going to have to pay him and that's not to Tampa's benefit here. As I previously mentioned; I wouldn't try to trade for Price unless I was going hard after Cano. Otherwise, keep Alcantara and give him a shot at the 2B job in the future.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    You did offer a lot, but IMO you did a version of the quantity over quality offer. You offered a major league shortstop with seriously damaged value and a bunch of B prospects. I don't see Tampa accepting that kind of deal. They're going to want a blue chip prospect, preferably one from AA or higher, in exchange. We have exactly one that fits that description. Given that they got Dayton Moore to give Wil Myers for two years of James Shields, I wouldn't bet that Friedman couldn't get someone to give up a high level blue chipper for Price. (The Rangers may well start their offer with Profar, for example.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    You're last post was good.

    I'm not saying Tampa would take the deal I stated. I'm not saying the Cubs would make it. I just said I thought it would get it done. No way to know I'm right or wrong.

    And, absolutely, I was trying to go quantity over quality. I'm not sure I would classify all of those pieces as "B" prospects though. Don't you think Alcantara, Vogelbach, and Johnson have a legitimate shot of being top 100 guys within a year?

    Also, I think you are undervaluing Castro. I would be very interested in him if I was Tampa. He's got a nice club-friendly deal. He's struggled, but he comes off as a hard working guy to me. I think he'll be fine. I still think he's worth a great deal. I would certainly hesitate to trade him straight-up for Profar. Not sure I would do it.

  • In reply to giamby:

    What do you believe it will take to trade for Price?

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    In reply to Charlieboy:

    Cano will get a 10 year contract from an AL team that can stash him at DH when he starts to get too old for the field. No question.

    >200million. easily.

    The Red Sox may just put him at 1st base until Ortiz retires.

    I want NO PART of Cano. He will be older this offseason than Soriano was when he signed him. We just got rid of our biggest contract albatross. Picking up another is an exercise in insanity.

    I don't like Ellsbury either. Give the guy a huge contract and his leg just might fall off. His injury history alone makes him not worth the trouble.
    Plus, I don't see us winning a bidding war with the Mets for Ellsbury. They have the pitching, but their OF is horrendous.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    There's no way Robinson is getting a 10 year contract or a contract over 200 million.

    The Yankees won't pay that much because they're trying to avoid huge luxury tax penalties.

    Teams have seen what those huge deals do, the market will adjust. He'd get a Josh Hamilton like deal.

    What teams can even afford/would be willing to give him a 10 year/200 contract?

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Hamilton would've gotten more if he wasn't an unstable mess.

    You say teams have seen what huge deals do, but they just keep on doing them.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Can you name the AL teams?

    I'll actually take out the Mariners. I included them because they went after Hamilton last year, I think they'd be hesitant to give out big bucks after paying King Felix this year.

    On the surface it's pretty much, it's the Yankees and....no one. You don't give out a 10 year/$200 million deal when you're bidding against yourself.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Just looking at AL teams that would stash him at DH in his later years as you suggested, there aren't many...

    Yankees- yes
    Red Sox- no (I'm going to assume playing him at 1B was a joke...)
    Orioles- no (They don't have a history of giving out big contracts, plus they'll be saving their money to lock up Chris Davis)
    Blue Jays- no (doesn't have a history of giving out big contracts, which isn't to say they're 100% out, just highly unlikely)
    Rays- no

    Tigers- no (Scherzer/Miggy will be getting new contracts soon.
    The rest of the division doesn't have a history of spending big. It would be really out of character.

    Rangers- no (they have the money, they just have a ton of talented If's already)
    Angels- no (no more big contracts until Trout)
    A's- no
    Astros- no (not close to contention)
    Mariners- maybe (they need a bat...whether the interest is mutual is another story)

    Not a big market for a guy like Cano in the AL.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Why is 1B a joke? Many people think the Rangers will move Kinsler to 1B and it's happened before, I'm sure.

    Cano's bat would play just fine at 1B. It would decrease injury probability.
    in the case of the Red Sox he'd be a hell of an upgrade over Napoli (who himself just moved to first not long ago)

    Also, The Blue Jay's don't have a history of giving out big contracts? They JUST picked up Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and RA Dikey. Izturis isn't exactly holding down 2B. And Toronto is clearly in win-now mode.

    Detroit? -Omar Infante is FA next year and they've shown the willingness already

    Rangers- could use him at First, too.

    Angels? haven't learned their lesson yet. Why stop now? Howie Kendrick is good. Cano is better. Their payroll isn't anywhere near Yankee/Dodger/former red Sox territory and it probably sticks in their craw that the other LA team is doing so well.

    And the Yankees are obviously in. They have tons of money coming off the books hext year and the years after (Jeter, Kuroda, Granderson, Pettite, Youkilis, Mariano, Hughes). Sure, they're still on the hook for A-rod, Tex, and CC but it's New York. They can afford him and they like to re-sign their guys, usually.
    Not to mention they already have Cano on the books this year for 15 million, So they aren't adding a 20+ million contract, they're just adding 5+ to the payroll.

    Dark Horse! The White Sox soon gave Dunn, and Konerko coming off the books, and I have NO faith that their awful owner has any plans to dedicate himself to an actual rebuild.

    And just to play around, The Dodgers and Mets (and possibly Braves) would still win a bidding war if he actually goes to an NL team.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    It's a joke because he's not going to play 1B. The Red Sox are not signing him to play 1B there is no chance.

    We're talking big contracts in the realm of the names we already went through, Pujols, Fielder, Hamilton, lets not drag RA Dickey into the discussion. There win-now mode has blew up in their face this year. With the names you mentioned underperforming they aren't going to go after more money. They'll blow the team up. Robinson Cano doesn't solve their woes, I think they know that.

    Scherzer and Miggy are getting big contracts soon. They just gave Verlander a big contract. He's not going to Detriot. They entertained the Hamilton idea last year before removing themselves because one would think money. You say Cano gets $200 million? Then he's definitely not an option for them.

    Angels? Why stop now is your reasoning? Are you kidding me...

    He's not going to play 1B. Can we stop saying that?

    As far as the NL teams, that's irrelevant, we're talking about AL teams, the thing you brought up. Please stay on topic.

    So. Yankees and White Sox. Yeah, he's not getting $200 million.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I still can't believe I read someone say as an option he could play 1B next year. That's when you know you have a weak argument, when you have to use things like that.

    It's not a video game, you don't move a great defensive 2B from his position, just because.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Teams want Bats. there's not many out there. It isn't rocket science.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Apparently it is, please don't bet anyone on him playing 1B next year. Jesus Christ. Wow...lol

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    How about a reason why not? Just saying he can't over and over and suggesting the idea is dumb to make yourself sound smarter than you are doesn't count.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Give me a reason Javier Baez isn't the opening day catcher.

    It's such a far out opinion that has never been discussed as an option.

    Let me put you in the same boat as him, so you think there's a chance he plays 1B for the Boston Red Sox next season? I want to know which people's posts to ignore from now on.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    By the way, I have never said he can't. I said he won't.

    Please re-read my post before responding.

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    In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Because catcher isn't the easiest position to play on the diamond. And Javier Baez has never played in AAA, let alone the majors. There, there's two.

    Here's why it's not a far out opinion. Cano's bat plays well at first, so it's not like his value is tied to his position. As he ages, his athleticism will decline. Similar to first basemen who move to DH as they age, moving down the positional spectrum helps keep players bats in the lineup when they can no longer field their position.

    Case in point, Ernie Banks was a shortstop for the first 9 years of his career. As he aged, his fielding declined, but his bat was still fantastic, so HE MOVED TO FIRST BASE. Thousands upon thousands of MLers have moved to first to extend their career.

    I have absolutely no idea if the Red Sox are considering Cano (just like I have no idea if anybody is considering anybody at this point) but if they are, moving him to first is a very realistic option.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    You don't move a guy who won a glove glove last season to a new position for the sake of his bat. Can you give me a couple players who won gold gloves and started the next season at a new position?

    There's not a lot of history that goes behind a move like that.

    The discussion stemed from him starting at first base NEXT SEASON, it has nothing to do with seasons beyond Opening Day 2014.

    It's an option when his fielding skills have declined, so far they have not.

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    In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Alex Rodriguez

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    In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Like Mike Moody said, A-Rod. Gold gloves are extremely overrated anyway. This year, Dustin Pedroia's UZR (9.8) blows Cano's away (3.9). I think it's safe to say Cano would be the one moving.

    In the hypothetical situation that the Red Sox sign Cano, for the first couple years of the contract,they'd be in the enviable position of having two very good defensive second basemen (though one is clearly better than the other). As the contract rolls on, Cano will be forced to stay at first.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Enjoying this discussion right now. I'm not a big fan of Gold Gloves either, since they are partly political, part popularity, part reputation, and partly based, paradoxically, on offensive numbers. If we take the Gold Glove criteria away we can find a number of good defenders who switched positions, including a very familiar one in Ryne Sandberg.

    That said, while possible. I don't see Cano switching to 1B soon, though I have heard some talk at times of moving him to 3B. Maybe down the road at 1B as he slows down provided he maintains his high level of offense. In the end, however, I see him staying with the Yankees and at 2B for awhile.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    A-Rod is the only guy? I thought the list would be longer then that. So yeah, it doesn't happen a lot.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    By the way who's the last guy to move from 2B to 1B in the prime of their career? Anyone for that matter, not necessarily a gold glover.

    A SS to 3B is more common then a 2B to 1B move.

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    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Cano's oWar this year is 5.7
    his dWar is 0.7

    He's a quality defensive second bagger, for sure but far FAR from elite defensively, and at his age he's not getting any more spy.

    His 5.7 oWar is #5 in the MLB.

    As I said before, bats are hard to find. Even just above-average bats are scarce sometimes.
    But a top 5 offensive producer in free agency, with legitimate power?

    I honestly don't think a move to first (especially at the age) is far fetched at all.

    And John makes an excellent point about the politics behind gold gloves, as well.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    There's definitely politics but the numbers show he's an well above average 2B.

    That WAR is only that high because he's a 2nd basemen. It would be lower if he played 1st. I don't think there's any basis to even bring WAR into the discussion. Kind of like when Zobrist had I think the highest WAR in baseball a couple years ago (or close to #1) but was far from a top player in baseball. it just goes to show how valuable of a 2nd basemen he is.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Why are all your comments contentious?

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Please answer me this...do you think there is ANY chance of Robinson Cano playing 1st base for the Rangers or Red Sox next season?

    And why we're at it, what are your thoughts about Cano to the Blue Jays and Angels?

    I just think it's a really bad opinion because it's not realistic in the least bit. I'm kind of new here, is this his schtick?

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    It's fine to disagree with him, but is it your schtick to be rude? Is it your schtick to imply an air of intellectual superiority? Because -- since you're new here, that's not what we do. Nobody is impressed. If you can't have respect for others even when you disagree, then you should find another site. There's plenty of them where people feel the need to play king of the mountain. This is not one of them.

    This is the last time I'm going to say this.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm superior because I don't think Cano isn't going to play 1st base next season?

    I didn't even name call the guy. You wouldn't even answer the question because it's such a far out opinion.

    I made a post about why I thought the Cubs should go after Cano. He's says he's signing to an AL team. I outlined in a post why AL teams aren't a fit for him (no snarkiness in either) then he uses the "position change" and "why the hell not?" argument to justify it? I know you don't like me as a poster but for all BS aside can I get your opinion on the Robinson Cano situation?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I for one would say his "rocket science" comment was the first shot fired. If you're keeping score.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    What I notice is that you're always involved, yet it's always somebody else's fault. Don't waste your time arguing with me on this. I am asking you to respect the readers here whether you agree with them or not.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's no ones fault. We were having a discussion.

    Seriously though...I thought I made a good point regarding Cano, what's yours? You don't even have to address the 1st base question, it's dropped.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    Discussion is fine. I'm asking you to be respectful. You can pretend that you are respectful or maybe you don't know how to have a respectful debate. Either way, it doesn't matter to me. The only opinions that matter when it comes to the commenting policy on this site are mine, Tom's, and Felzz's. And if I don't feel you are respecting other readers, then I'll take appropriate action. So, last time, don't argue with me on this or I promise you it will be your last comment on this site. And if you don't think I"m serious...try me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I didn't even know we were arguing. No need for threats though, point taken.

  • I'm not even saying Choo is the right guy. Mooney says Cubs maybe targeting him and we have heard Ellsbury before. Either way I want LH hitter with OBP to help right the ship.

  • OF makes the most sense. I still see Bryant as 3B, so it wouldn't block anyone.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Soler, Almora, Lake? Sczur? Silva? Ha? If Bryant 3b, is Baez, Castro or Alcantara gone? Nobody expected these results from Lake, so maybe others (Vitters?)

    Not sure what benefit a rebuilding team gets from adding 5 wins (at most) from Choo while losing, perhaps, Underwood or Vogelbach (both second rounders I believe) for a 31 year old outfielder when we still would have no chance at a playoff run.

  • In reply to springs:

    The benefit of signing quality players is that we get to watch quality baseball. It's been four years since we've been able to do that.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    Adding 5 wins suddenly makes "quality" baseball? And that's connsidering 5 WAR from Choo is CRAZY generous. 2-3 is more likely.

    What? we're 18 games behind 500. so being 8-10 games behind .500 is all we need for quality baseball?

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    In reply to springs:

    I don't think the Cubs have more than 2 starting OF in our system right now, Soler and Almora. I don't think Lake is a starter; nice sub maybe. Same for Ha/Szczur. But no impact.

    This is why I agree with Tom that OF makes the most sense to add a bat via FA or trade.

    I like the idea of trading w Dodgers for Kemp or Ethier; flawed players, but I'm sure Dodgers would agree to pay some of the freight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Why would a team that looks to be a contender for the next several years trade Matt Kemp? Or even Ethier for that matter?

    What are you people smoking? They just dropped literally HUNDREDS of millions of players other teams didn't want. Why would they PAY to get rid of players other teams would love to have?

    Sure he's oft-injured but Kemp is still among the most talented and athletic in the league.

    just...wow.

  • I could see a trade for a veteran like Crawford as an option as well. He may be a fourth outfielder for the Dodgers and at 20mm per, through 2017, quite expensive. They'd have to send a big bucket of cash though.

    Of course perhaps Theo doesn't want to dredge that up again...

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Epstein isn't going to send Crawford to the bank again.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    He's already been sent to the bank, now it's just a matter of who's paying him. The Dodgers are probably more inclined to move Ethier, but that will be a tougher sell.

    I'd rather have either of those two for an avg annual salary of 12mm for 4 years (an approximation of what would be left after the Dodgers send money), than either Choo or Ellsbury for what will likely be 5 or 6 years.

  • I am a fan of Choo and believe that he'd definitely help the organization out, but you have to wonder about how much his numbers are inflated playing in that hitter-friendly park and having players like Votto, Phillips, and Bruce behind you. Here, Choo would not nearly have the support. He'd still be a legitimate upgrade over whatever we have here and would be a terrific hitter at the top of the order, but I don't think that he would repeat the numbers he is having this season.

    It's not far-fetched to believe that he could easily have 80+ runs 16+ HR and 60+ RBI and 15+ SB to go along with a decent average and a good OBP, but are those numbers really worth allocating perhaps $16-$17 million annually? Especially considering the fact that he will be 32 next season? I just don't think so. It doesn't really fit the mold of what the Cubs are trying to do by bringing in youth.

    Now Jacoby Ellsbury on the other hand is an addition I think would certainly be worthwhile. Injury concerns aside, he is everything that this organization needs and has been lacking for quite some time. Ellsbury is your prototypical lead-off hitter. He'll score 90+ runs, he'll steal 50+ bases, and he will find a way to get on base with a solid .351 career OBP. I think the year he hit 30+ HRs is quite the fluke, but he could easily hit 10+ here. He'll be 30 before this season ends, so he has a little more youth to him, and obviously the Theo/Jed connection is nice. He's a terrific fielder and it gives Almora more time to develop.

    I'd love the idea of having Ellsbury and Castro at the top of the lineup, two players who can easily have 200+ hits a season.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I'd love to see Ellsbury come in at the top of the order, but we also need a thumper to protect Rizzo in the 4 spot. What about Brian McCann? Castillo has made great improvements but no one really mentions him in the new 'core' of the Cubs future. Any other thoughts?

  • In reply to good4you:

    Welly may not have the numbers that most may like, but what people really overlook is the fact that he has a .343 OBP. Players like Cole Gillespie, Donnie Murphy, and Junior Lake aside (who haven't played enough to qualify), that is the best on the team. He also has done a very good job defensively. He's still very young and I think he definitely deserves to be the starting catcher.

    Brian McCann may be the better offensive player, but he's also quite injury prone, as evidenced by the fact that he has played 140 or more games just twice in his eight seasons as a starter.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to good4you:

    McCann would be a great option if we had a DH in the NL. He could bat full time and spell Welly behind the dish. But, I don't think you can take Beef's job with the year he's had. I can't speak definitively for anyone else, but I think he's being mentioned as a core piece more and more. And he's probably made more strides this year than any other part of the core.

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    "Fire Dale, trade Castro, their all bums!"....must be August on the North side. I only post here occasionally but follow the threads almost daily and I have to say, they're getting more and more disappointing.
    (Stepping onto soap box) I started following this site for great Cubs information and insight, and the level-headed, respectful debate that followed. It seems many are losing patience.
    When this FO was brought in and began talk of the rebuild there was overwhelming support. Theo outlined a four or five year plan and we all nodded excitedly. Now, 20 or so months later, we talk about needing results.
    The fact is, the jury is still out on ALL of the moves they've made. I don't think there's much question the farm is in immensely better shape then when it was inherited. I don't think there's much question that Theo & Co. have made some very shrewd signings and turned some short-term assets into potential long-term assets.
    I also don't think there's much question that it's looking, in hindsight, like a mistake to have tinkered so much with Castro (however, I wouldn't have wanted a coaching staff that looked at Castro two years ago and simply said "He's good, let him do what he does"). What if Castro gets back to hitting like Castro, but his walk rate goes up 2-3%, or he adds 4-5 HRs/yr because he's swinging at better pitches. Would it still be a mistake because he had a terrible year when they were in no danger of competing anyway? I don't mean to dismiss the possibility that they've done serious damage to his confidence and psyche, but we don't KNOW either way.
    Edwin Jackson is also not looking like a shining trophy of a find for our fearless leaders. But, i would rather him have a down year this year, and balance it out with an above-average year down the road, than vice versa. And if he's proven anything in his career, it's his ability to be average.
    As far as all the bullpen meltdowns earlier in the year, I think they may have all been blessings in disguise. I believe one of the worst things that could happen to this scrappy though under-talented team would have been to actually compete and have even more clamoring to abort the process.
    I hope they do add a piece on offense this winter, and Choo seems like a good fit, if they can avoid a long-term contract. But, I don't get the sentiment that they need to compete next year for the sake of the fans buying the tickets. Any fan who walks away because of the product now, will be dusting off their gear when the Cubs start winning, saying "I never stopped believing!".
    Regardless of whether or not you agree with anything I said above, let's at least try to maintain the level of civility in our debate that our moderators have worked so hard to create. It's a great thing to disagree and debate, it's another to condescend and name call. GO CUBS!
    (Stepping down off soapbox)

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Nice post, Matt. Too level-headed and too absent of blame-ism for some folks, I fear; but your view of things is a welcome balance.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    What you lack in volume, you make up for in word count. Only a jest -

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    What can I say? Too much coffee this morning...

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Agree, nice post, Matt.

    I have been reading this blog for two years now. Because of work pressures, I stopped following the comments section about a year ago, but I have now returned. The one thing I really noticed upon returning is that the tone on the board was...I think sharper is a kind way of putting it. Cubs Den is an awesome blog for all of us, mainly of course becuase of John, Tom, and Felzz, but also because the commentators have are (in general) respectful. Please let it continue that way.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Give me a break Norway, I've also been on this blog since the days when Marcel, emartinezjr, Felzz, and Caldwell were the only commenters. And I'm certain that a little bit of light hearted fun poking has always been received as such. Silly post.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Thanks for confirming my hypothesis.

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    In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I think you are right Norway, there definitely does seem to be a little more snarkiness than there used to be say a year ago, it's still not as degenerate as most blogs by far, but there are some silly arguments on here these days.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    There's been a few, many involving the same few people. Also finding it harder and harder to work on things for the blog and respond to every comment, but I'll at least try to monitor better.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Sigh.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Nice post. I'm in the stay the course or sign the "huge FA" corner. I don't think they'll go after Cano, so I agree they should stay the course. I'd go after Morse on a buy low contract.

    Also agree on Castro. Coaches coach and players get coached. I don't really give that issue any thought. I'd be open to trading him in the right deal. I wouldn't set out to do it.

    About the bullpen, I often wonder if the front office created the bullpen situation "kind of" on purpose. They had to know this team would be decent with a solid bullpen. I don't think they wanted to be "decent". I think they set this team up to add bullpen arms at the deadline if the team overachieved. They knew what they were getting into.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    I don't think so, personally. Camp was solid last year and so was Marmol, in the second half (plus the addition of Fujikawa). Maybe they stuck with both too long, but what were the other options at that point. I certainly wasn't thinking "Who are they going to add to the bullpen" back in the off-season. It was not a weakness last year, bullpens are funny that way.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I agree and disagree. While it would have been stressful from a PR point of view, Hoyer has basically said that even if the Cubs were at .500 this year, they'd have no illusions about the playoffs (not in the NL Central, anyway) and would have still traded pieces away. A better bullpen would have perhaps gotten us to .500 but I don't think we're looking at a team that is a bullpen away from the upper echelon of the MLB.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Marmol was the only one w/ sustained success. He was still a huge question as were the other two. In their defense, the did talk to grilli, I guess, but that and .50 won't get you a coke anymore.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    I hear you. I guess I'm just saying the bullpen wasn't the glaring need to me this past offseason. I wasn't expecting dominance, but definitely more servicable than what we got. But like I said below, I think it was a blessing in disguise. Even if they had a great bullpen, this group wasn't doing any post-season damage. I'm not for tanking, but a high draft pick is more valuble than a 75-80 win season (not to mention all the clamoring to trade for missing pieces and abandon the rebuild that would go along with it).

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    My feeling is that it wasn't a blessing in disguise. I think it was the plan.

  • James Rowson. Nothing against the guy personally, but what qualifies this guy as a MLB hitting coach?

    H e played 4 seasons of minor league ball. That's it. His BA was .204, his OBP was .285, and his SLG was .327 overall for those 4 seasons. The highest level of play was 25 games and 56 ABs at high A, and then his BA was .060, his OBP was .145, and his SLG was .100. This guy is going to help young or older players break out of a slump? His whole batting career was a slump. Certainly there is someone, somewhere, who might know more about hitting. That person doesn't have to be a batting champion. It's probably better if he isn't. However, it has to be someone who knows which end of the bat to hold. Whose first choice was Jim Rowson? Let Rowson go with a nice check to fulfill his contract, and then kick the guy who picked him to be a MLB hitting coach to the curb.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    And continue the hitting coach carousel? Sounds like the Bears and their Offensive Coordinators. That's not working out so hot.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Don't fix a flat tire because the rim might fall off?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    No I get it, sunk is sunk. But it's just a shame to keep switching the coaches every year, can't help the development of younger players.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Certainly the results are not there. And not trying to defend him. But I think you can throw out any of Rowson personal stats or there lack of. Some people are able to teach many things with out doing it themselves. Even HOF hitters don't become either batting coaches or good managers.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    No argument with HOF hitters usually not being the best candidates for hitting coach. Often, they can not relate. However, I'm not sure that a guy who couldn't hit minor league pitching at the lowest level, and never saw a major league pitch, can relate either. Surely there is someone, somewhere in between, surely................

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Who is the minor league hitting coordinator? I know he came on the recommendation of the Astros major league coordinator, who was offered the minor league job by the Cubs (and is from my neighborhood on southeast side of Chicago). Perhaps we bring him to the major league level.

    Or we could hire Jamarillo...I hear he is a miracle worker!

  • In reply to springs:

    Carmelo Martinez is the guy

  • Bourn got 4 years $48 mil. I'd take Choo or Ellsbury for that or something close to that.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    I've felt Choo was the more likely option because I've assumed he would cost less and that Ellsbury would command a longer term. But if $$ and term were equal, by all means I'd give up a little OPS for youth, speed, and defense up the middle.

  • So I'm sitting here, trying to put together the parameters for Theo Simulator 2014. What I've got:

    LF/CF starter (depending on where Lake fits)
    RF to platoon with Scheirholtz/possibly take over if Nate is traded at the deadline in '14
    3B for a sign-and-trade (please fix things early next year Olt)
    LH batter at at least one of the two starting positions
    C to backup Welington (assuming Navarro leaves for greener pastures)
    Someone in the bullpen not named Pedro Strop or James Russell

    What I came up with:

    LF: David Murphy. Coming off a rough year, the OBP is still nice, he's Theo's first ever draft pick, hits left-handed, and hasn't had his stats get ridiculously inflated in Texas (home/road splits aren't all too bad). Plan B: Nate McLouth. He's having a nice resurgence in Baltimore.
    CF: Lake. Not much out there in FA to fill in center. I suppose you could pursue Ellsbury if really desired, but I think Boston keeps him around. Plan B: McLouth, Lake plays LF.
    RF: Mike Morse. Another guy with a rough '13 campaign, he still offers a ton of pop from the right side, and could fill in better at 1B should something happen to Rizzo than the likes of a Brad Nelson. Plan B is Rajai Davis. Totally different player, but would add a nice dynamic to the team. Either one works for me.
    3B: Jhonny Peralta. Biogenesis stuff aside, Peralta's still a very productive player. I'm speculating that his FA interest will be down since due to the suspension, but if he can still hit, flip him to a contender whenever it is Olt's ready. Plan B: Valbuena/Murphy platoon.
    C: Dioner Navarro. He's been great offensively, always smiling, a seemingly great guy, and seems to have a wonderful relationship with Castillo. Plan B: Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Lavarnway/Ross is the catching tandem for Boston in 2014, so Salty's probably the best option of everyone out there, assuming he can be had. Plan C: John Buck. A backup now, he's still an acceptable MLB catcher.

    For the pen, let's go with Villanueva, Parker, Strop, Russell, Gregg, Boone Logan, and Chad Qualls.

  • Our farm system just got weaker. Junior Lake has over 130 at-bats at the MLB level so he no longer qualifies as a prospect anymore. But he is hitting .316/.350/.481 with the Cubs so that's not hard to take. That is exactly what we want to have happen.

  • Well said, Tom.

  • In reply to Julie DiCaro:

    I remember you from BCB years ago. Well hello.

  • Been a lurker here for some time, decided to make my first post.

    I was wondering about any thoughts anyone might have on signing Hart, or Beltran for a short term deal?

  • In reply to Todd B 71:

    Excellent post and welcome!

    Those two players are very intriguing possibilities.

    I like this idea a lot, because I think we could get one of either Hart or Beltran for a shorter-term deal (then Choo or Ellsbury) and still have someone who provides above-average offense and plus-power for the position.

    1-2 year deal would provide a nice bridge to the boys coming up from the minors.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Exactly, what i was thinking.

    And thanks for the warm welcome. :)

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    In reply to Todd B 71:

    Only problem is that signing Beltran is going to send away one of our draft picks.....to the Cardinals.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Beltran's not leaving St. Louis. He wants a ring.

  • I'm going to provide my own free agency plan:

    Sign: Joe Smith (CLE), Jason Frasor (TEX), Delmon Young (TB), Andres Torres (SF), Michael Morse (SEA), Erik Bedard (HOU), and Jason Vargas (LAA)
    Re-Sign: Dioner Navarro
    Gone: Kevin Gregg, Matt Guerrier, Scott Baker, All the bench outfielders
    Re-Call: Zach Rosscup

    2014 Lineup:

    1. Junior Lake (CF)
    2. Starlin Castro (SS)
    3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
    4. Mike Morse (LF)
    5. Nate Schierholtz (RF)
    6. Luis Valbuena/Donnie Murphy (3B)
    7. Welington Castillo (C)
    8. Darwin Barney (2B)
    BENCH: Delmon Young (RF platoon with Schierholtz who starts against lefties); Andres Torres (can basically play LF and CF, who is a nice switch hitter and can get on base from either side of the plate); Luis Valbuena/Donnie Murphy; Dioner Navarro; Logan Watkins

    Rotation:
    1. Shark
    2. Wood
    3. Jackson
    4. Bedard/Vargas
    5. Arrieta (If Arietta isn't ready then one of the above becomes the fifth starter)

    Bullpen:
    Swing: Carlos Villanueva
    RHP: Blake Parker
    LHP: Zach Rosscup
    LR: James Russell
    LR: Joe Smith
    SU: Jason Frasor
    CL: Pedro Strop

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Both Cabrera and Arrieta are out of options, so I think both will be on the team.

    Also are Olt, Vitters and Villaneuva all going to be at AAA?

    Otherwise, interesting and, I believe, realistic outline. I am quite impressed with the way you thought about reasonable options with good upside.

  • In reply to springs:

    I think that Arrieta starts off on the active roster for next season. As far as his role, that's TBD. If he pitches the rest of the year like he did in his first two starts, he'll absolutely be guaranteed a starting spot. But, if he pitches like he did yesterday, then he's certainly not. He's a question mark and I think the Cubs would certainly like to have him next season. The question is, can he be counted upon?

    Cabrera did a good job starting in Double-A, but since being converted to a reliever in Triple-A he has been pretty bad. His FIP indicates that his ERA should be lower than it actually is, but not by too much. He has a live arm and is capable of striking out batters, but thus far in Triple-A he has a 5.71 BB/9 and definitely needs to work on his command. It'll be interesting to see what the team does with him, but I don't think they should plan around him.

    Vitters is out of options. Love how his walk-rate has gone up and he's really starting to reach base more often, but it's a small sample size (under 30 games). Hopefully he finishes the year strong, but for now, he's not really in the picture in my opinion. Mike Olt is no where near ready for the big leagues. He has put up putrid numbers with the Cubs. Whether it's his vision or concussion-related problems, he is not ready to take over as the starting third-baseman. I think he needs a full off-season to heal/recover, and he definitely needs to start in the minors next season. He's still young so he has time, but he certainly hasn't showed that he's worthy of starting at third next season, yet. In regards to Villanueva, I don't think that he's going to be a third base-man at the major league level. I think that he's going to end up transitioning over to second base. He's listed at 5'11" and 160 LBS, and that is too small to man the corner. He's got a good glove and I think he'll end up sliding over. That'll take time to adjust to, and I think he's still not ready for the majors. Maybe he is the solution to being the 2B of the future. In essence, I don't think any of our third basemen in the minors (even Bryant) aren't ready yet. They all have to further develop before they get their chance. I want to see a youth movement ASAP, but I don't want to rush them because they clearly aren't ready. Hopefully they continue to grow.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Not bad. Like short term (no more than 2 yrs) for D.Young and Morse Like J.Smith a lot. Don't like:

    1. No need to give up on Baker
    2. Andres Torres doesn't excite me at all. Would rather keep Sweeney and/or Bogey.
    3. Frasor has been good but he'll be approaching 38 years old next season.
    4. I love his defense but I can't take more of Barney hitting .218. Was really hoping he'd take a step forward on offense and maybe hit over .280 this year and that's been one of this year's biggest disappointments. So I'm seeing him as a short term assets to move.
    5. We need Olt to come to camp on fire next spring. D.Murphy has to return to earth. And maybe even Vitters gets a shot. It's now or never for him next year.
    6. Wish we still had Garza. Let's sign him!

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    1. It all depends on his rehab process. If all goes according to plan, it's worth bringing him back on another minor league deal. If he has setbacks or anything of that sort, let him go.
    2. A couple years ago, he had 85 runs 16 HR and 26 SB. Although he is 35-years-old, he doesn't look the part and is still capable of stealing double-digit bases. He is capable of drawing walks and is a pretty good fielder. I like him merely as a reserve outfielder who is capable of filling in when necessary. The fact that he is a switch-hitter makes him that much more enticing.
    3. I don't want to say age is irrelevant for players, but it is the least relevant for relievers. That are plenty of relievers in today's game that are more than effective even though they are up there in age. Jason Frasor is a pretty good reliever. He's nothing special but he gets the job done. The Cubs need consistency out of their bullpen. Frasor is a Chicago kid as well, so maybe he signs on a cheaper deal as well.
    4. I agree with your opinion towards Darwin Barney. As good of a fielder as he is, I too can no longer tolerate that bat of his. Hitting .218 as a starter and having an OBP of under .300 is simply unacceptable. Barney's best fit is on an organization that is a winner where he can help defensively and not hurt them offensively. Unfortunately, the market is pretty bare. Maybe they trade him this off-season and bring in one of the kids (or sign a stop-gap who provides some sort of offense).
    5. I'm hoping Olt recovers this off-season.
    6. Garza is as good as good. I enjoyed his time here in Chicago, but he'll see greener pastures elsewhere.

  • Thanks for the article Tom. I've definitely been thinking along those lines with all the unhelpful hysteria I'm sure getting to Castro. If he and Rizzo didn't feel like they had to be the stars all the time they would relax and perform better.

    If we go after anything it should be left handed. Not sure we need or want to give up a draft pick though. Even a second rounder. Wish I had a suggestion. Guess I'll go digging.

  • fb_avatar

    While this is about offense, Fangraphs had another reminder of why it's a bad idea to spend money to improve the bullpen:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/multi-year-deals-for-relievers-an-ugly-retrospective/

    1-year flyers are OK, but multi-years are typically not a good use of money.

    One reason, probably, why Cubs FO seems intent to stock bullpen from within

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    Sveum on Baez's defense (link http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-no-september-call-javier-baez-forcing-issue):

    “The defense is coming to where it seems like most of the errors are just things that come with experience. It’s not like he’s booting balls. It’s a lot more mistakes on (plays where) he shouldn’t even throw.

    “It’s a lot of errors like that – which we all did at that age. But at least he’s making routine plays (and) it’s just cleaning some other stuff up."

    Not sure what's going to happen in the Castro-Baez showdown, but I think Sveum wants to use Baez at short.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    No disrespect but I think its you who wants baez at short.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to seankl:

    I do.

    But I also think that Sveum feels the same way, and the article above as well as Tom's article implies that rather heavily.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm sorry I thought tom's article was about getting offensive help for rizzo and castro. And I didn't take sveum's comments as him saying who he wants as his shortstop. The front office sees him on a daily bases and they probably feel for now he is best suited at another position based on there comments.

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    In reply to seankl:

    "If you are like me, you clearly see there is a disconnect between Sveum and Castro. At the very least, it seems Sveum tried some ultra tough love that has backfired."

    "There has been some speculation the Cubs would look to deal the shortstop in the offseason. The emergence of Javy Baez has only ignited that thought."

    "From what I’ve heard, some in the Cubs organization just do not think he is 'Their kind of player'"

    And then in the comments: "For the record I would like Castro to stay put. However if Sveum and Castro are at impasse...seems likely Sveum wins out at this point?"

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    In reply to seankl:

    Then this after the error: "There are only so many meetings, so many things you can say. When you've played this much baseball, you have to do it yourself.''

    Does that sound a little different to you than his praise of Baez?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He does't deal with baez on a daily bases, I'm not saying that as a knock on baez. If baez comes up and makes mistakes he is going to talk about baez to the media as well. And who says dale is going to be here anyway ? The front office will decide what is the best position for all the prospects.

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    In reply to seankl:

    Goalposts successfully moved. I'm done with this.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Time will tell.

  • really feel for T Wood. every time he pitches Cubs forget to bring their bats.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    he is my favourite from the current rooster, but he did not help himself today... rbi single to the opposing pitcher, 2BB/7H...not particularly stellar

    but i agree... the offense, well it's the ususal lame offense. i love baseball, but i can't wait for the season to be over.

  • I agree with spending money, but not with overpaying. You can't force something that's not there with respect to taking the pressure off Rizzo/Castro. If you make a bad signing then all you've really done is make the pressure problem a long term problem because you only have so much money to use on free agent bullets.

    How I would approach 2014:
    C: Welington
    1B: Rizzo
    2B: Barney
    3B: Olt/Villanueva/Murphy/Valbuena
    SS: Castro
    LF: David Murphy
    CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
    RF: Schierholtz and Lake platoon

    Reasoning:
    I'm a defense kind of guy, and adding Murphy and Ellsbury gives us two lefties that play good D and don't need a caddy against left handed pitchers (historically). Also, Murphy won't require a contract that will block the guys coming up. Murphy and Ellsbury also both bring speed and obp, something the Cubs are sorely lacking and something that would blend well with all the power bats down on the farm. Ellsbury because he fills a role the Cubs don't have that is close to being MLB ready and because he's 30 and will probably still be playing at a high level for the length of a 4 year contract.

    Finally, I'd add a lefty masher to use off the bench. Preferably a guy like Casper Wells should he become available again, because he also plays good defense and between Wells and Lake you'd have multiple ways of giving a breather to any of the three starting OFs.

    That lineup is only really lacking right handed power. But since right handed power is the deepest commodity of the Cubs system, particularly in the infield, this lineup would be very strong when those waves of talent make it to the bigs.

  • Here's my case for Robinson Cano.

    I was against going after Pujols, Fielder, Hamilton, Greinke etc. the past two off-seasons.

    That being said I'd go for Cano. You know what you're getting out of Robinson Cano, great numbers, championship pedigree, and a team leader from Day 1.

    I know people will bring up the front office saying they'd be hesitant to go after guys on the wrong side of 30. Then again, how many top free agents hit the market in their 20's anyway? This is also the same regime that said players will go through 500 AAA at-bats before reaching the big leagues. Point being, there are exceptions.

    I know people will also bring up the Soriano contract. I don't get why. As if Soriano not panning out as expected somehow holds any barring on a potential Cano courting. They are separate, lets leave them that way. All of our talent won't be homegrown.

    This team is lacking a true leader. Even when the kids come up that problem isn't solved. Even bringing back DDJ doesn't solve that. I look at him as a veteran, not a leader. I want the kids learning from a true professional like Cano. He plays in a city where the lights are the brightest and you never hear a negative story or thing said about him. I LOVE the Werth/Rolen comparisons. Get a leader in already before the kids get here. There might not be one to grab when they're already here. Next years free agent class is awful...and that's putting it nicely.

    Another reason people don't want to go after him is our middle IF depth. That opens up the trade market to get good pitchers. An offer of Barney (a perfect utility IF/defensive replacement) and Alcantara (Top 100) prospect) would bring back a solid arm. Or even keep Barney, I think he'd flourish in a utility role.

    Cano would also provide major protection for Castro/Rizzo next season. That would be huge in helping them bounce back.

    The angle to woo him would have to be played perfect because it is hard to envision him leaving the Yankees. You'd have to tell him if he signs this is his team and he'd be remembered forever in baseball history if he was the face of the Cubs when they won it all. Streets and babies would be named after him. As opposed to just another great Yankee in a long list of them. It gives him the opportunity to leave Jeter'a shadow (not that he's going to be playing much longer anyway) and take the reins in Chicago.

    I believe players play for four main reasons (in no order)1. Winning 2. Money 3. Legacy 4. Love of the game. He's going to get paid whenever he goes. It's not the Yankees of 10 years ago when George was running it and winning was above everything else.They aren't the spenders they once were. There big contracts are going to come back to bite them, I believe the Cubs have a better team outlook for the next 5-10 years. I also believe his best shot to cement a legacy comes with bringing the Cubs a WS title.

    A potential 2015 Opening Day line-up of
    1. Almora
    2. Castro
    3. Cano
    4. Bryant
    5. Rizzo
    6. Baez
    7. Soler
    8. Castillo

    Looks DANGEROUS! (Loving the R/L switch-off from 2-6. Of course you can mix and match 100 different ways, and this is obviously assuming they all make it, which realistically won't happen, just saying)

    I think the Soriano deal soured people's opinion of any big bucks deal. Cano is different. A 5/6 year deal will probably give us 2/3 prime years, 2 good years and natural regression at the end. Even if it brings 1 World Series (or provides the leader that molds to kids into WS winners even after he's gone) its worth it.

    As always though, "In Theo I trust" and I'm sure he knows Cano really well from his Boston days and I back whatever he chooses to do.

    But I mean ... he's probably staying in NY and/or the Cubs don't even look his way, fun to dream though...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to GoCubsGo:

    1. NO WAY Cano takes a 5-6 year deal. why leave 75-100 million on the table. He'll get 10 years. probably from an AL team.

    2. It's not JUST the Soriano contract. It's Pujols. It's Hamilton. It's Fielder. It's Carl Crawford. It's Alex-friggin-Rodriguez.

    Soriano is not magically separate just because they're different people. This is why the phrase "those who refuse to learn from their mistakes are bound to repeat them." exists

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    75-100 million on the table from who? Can you name all the teams that would show interest? You said you see him getting 10 years 200+ million from an AL team. I outlined the AL in the other thread (I'll copy and paste here)

    Just looking at AL teams that would stash him at DH in his later years as you suggested, there aren't many...

    Yankees- yes
    Red Sox- no (I'm going to assume playing him at 1B was a joke...)
    Orioles- no (They don't have a history of giving out big contracts, plus they'll be saving their money to lock up Chris Davis)
    Blue Jays- no (doesn't have a history of giving out big contracts, which isn't to say they're 100% out, just highly unlikely)
    Rays- no

    Tigers- no (Scherzer/Miggy will be getting new contracts soon.
    The rest of the division doesn't have a history of spending big. It would be really out of character.

    Rangers- no (they have the money, they just have a ton of talented IF's already)
    Angels- no (no more big contracts until Trout)
    A's- no
    Astros- no (not close to contention)
    Mariners- maybe (they need a bat...whether the interest is mutual is another story)

    Not a big market for a guy like Cano in the AL as you suggested. Where is this 10 year/200 million offer going to come from in the AL?

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I'd love a guy like Cano, but it won't happen for multiple reasons. 5-6 years is definitely not enough. You have to look at the Yankees more in-depth when you list them. This is their face of the franchise (if he wasn't already) now that Mo is leaving and Jeter is on his was out. There is no price on that, especially not for the Yankees. Even if they decide to move on from their golden boy, there is no way the Cubs will outbid the Dodgers. The Dodgers are willing to pay stupid money for talent, while Theo wants to pay minimal for undervalued talent. Plus, now there isn't a guy higher than Theo pulling the strings and telling him what to do. There are plenty of AL teams that would be willing to move some assets around to sign a marquee player like Robinson Cano, so I don't think you can really count any of them out other than the Red Sox if you consider how much the Cubs will be willing to bid (not to mention the NL teams as well). Lastly, do you really want a Josh Hamilton/Albert Pujols situation? Sure Cano could kind of live up to his contract like Fielder is, but is that worth it? And there is no DH to throw him in if he loses a step in this 8-10 year contract. It doesn't make any sense for this club to sign Cano.

  • In reply to HailSzczur:

    Dodgers don't plan to persue Cano.
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/robinson_cano/

    The deal won't get to 8-10 years because of the lack of suitors. Much like how Hamilton was looking for 8+ and could only get 5 million. The bad contracts you mention are going to keep teams from persuing, thus lowering the amount of years he will get.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I'm with you. Cano signing would be awesome, IMO. I'm pretty sure he gets at least 8 years though. Probably 10. I bet you Ellsbury and Choo get at least five each unless they take the QO.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Your points are also contradicting. Those big contracts didn't work out, you're correct.

    That's why he's not going to get a contract like that....

  • I agree with this. You know the only way it happens is if the Yankees decide they don't want to pay up. In that case, the Cubs should be all over this. The argument you always hear is that all of their big prospects are right-handed. This would give you one of the best left-handed hitters in the game and he plays a position where you don't often find quality production, especially from the left side. He's a perfect fit.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Alcantara? Of course, he is no Cano, but he could be pretty good and much better value.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree. Cubs won't sign Cano. I don't see how he doesn't finish his career as a Yankee. Just sayin'; if Cano is out there, I hope the Cubs are all over him. He's a perfect fit. I would imagine Alcantara would be interesting to other teams.

    Again, don't see this happening and I understand the point you're making (Alcantara's a switch hitter).

    I just think it would be so cool if the Cubs signed Cano.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    It is thought provoking.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    If Albert could leave St. Louis and Lebron James the Cavs, then ANYTHING is possible.

    Up until a couple months ago the Los Angeles Lakers have NEVER lost a big time free agent in history, they all re-signed. Jerry Buss wouldn't have allowed it, but he's dead now.

    I can see the same thing happening with the Yankees. And I mean George is dead too...these aren't the same Yankees.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    We said the same thing about Soriano!

  • I loved Soriano. One of my favorite Cubs ever. Wish they didn't trade him.

  • fb_avatar

    Cano will not come to Chicago, period. He is a Yankee down to his core and they Yankees will pay just enough to keep him. Both sides want this relationship to continue. No way the Cubs can sneak in and sign him.

    They might throw out a bid but it's just for show. And besides, we are about 1 year away from the first waves of talent to start making the show. Do we get our hand all tied up with a large contract again? Didn't we just learn that this doesn't work?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Actually...they are been negotiating for quite some time and haven't made much progress. It's not that far-fetched.

    Your other logic doesn't make sense. Because Soriano didn't work out as a big contract it means Cano wouldn't work out?

  • I gotta say this:

    Choo is not a bridge player. Choo is a VERY GOOD player. Consistently. OBP with some speed and power, and low K totals for a guy like that. With all the righty talent coming up, we need a left bat.

    Blocking someone? Blocking who? Last I looked, prospects were still prospects, and of our top five prospects, the two playing the outfield have been injured half the season. You need 3 outfielders anyhow.

    I think Choo is an exquisite choice to support these waves of young talent. He fills all kinds of holes in one player. 4 years is not unreasonable at all, and I'd do 5 if I had to. Just no Hendry clauses if we need to flip him.

    Somebody has to catalyze a shift in how this team creates offense. Next year is a good year to start.

  • Thanks for the article, Tom! I like Choo a lot as well as David Murphy. I'm not sure Choo would sign with the Cubs. He should be getting offers from several contenders.

  • Thanks Ben. Choo is someone Mooney has heard it makes sense.

  • Top 10 reasons a Top Free Agent will sign with Chicago:

    1. It isn't the money, I like the ivy!
    2. I will retire now when I am 45
    3. My wife loves the shopping
    4. My wife's family is from here
    5. I like day games because I like strip-clubs
    6. I'm pissed that I held out too long
    7. I love snow in April
    8. I like a really, really, really big challenge
    9. I was drunk!
    10. My mother-in-law hates the Cubs

    Good luck dreamers!

  • Sveum and Rowson work with Brett Jackson for a week to improve his swing!

    Sveum works over Castro's head for a season to improve his swing.
    Rizzo understands he has to make better choices, so now he can't hit a 93mph fastball inside.

    The majors isn't when these guys should be learning fundamentals, whether taking an extra base down 3 runs in the ninth, or stealing 3rd with 2 outs! Some coaches shouldn't have jobs at lower levels perhaps!

    I teach coaches in Europe. I tell them, teach and train your players from "where they are at", not from "where you want them to be". That means typically one step at a time. Typically simplest to most complex - bottom up! When you base your swing timing on a "choice" rather than timing the pitch, you are going to be late. You have approx. .4 seconds, to make contact.

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