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Cubs offseason: 6 burning questions

Cubs offseason: 6 burning questions

After watching the last two games, it’s really hard not to want to jump ahead to the offseason.

Looking forward leaves us with a lot of questions. The plan is to get some answers soon. For now let’s just get these burning questions out of my head and into cyberspace, would Dale call it saberspace?

Will the Cubs have significant money to spend in the offseason?

It is a valid question. Theo Epstein was just on my radio this past Sunday harping about potential TV deals. That isn’t very comforting. They found the money to go after Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson last offseason. Will they make another big play? The Cubs may end up being players for Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsburry, but they are much more likely to be bidding on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

Can the Cubs land a 24 year-old top of the rotation candidate? Or are they going to watch the next Yu Darvish go to an actual big market club? That hurts just typing it.

Will Starlin Castro be the SS in 2014?

Castro has been showing signs of coming back into his pre-2013 form. A development that could actually lead him out of town. I don’t want to see it happen. However, I just get the sense the Cubs aren’t serious about moving Javy Baez off of shortstop anytime soon.

At the same time, I don’t see Castro being happy about playing anywhere but his current position. This will be the most watched story line in the offseason.

Will Dale Sveum get extended?

You may think it’s silly for a manager to not be able to work on a one-year deal. However, I would expect Sveum to feel like he needs the security to continue leading this clubhouse.

An easy knock against Sveum are the struggles of both Castro and Anthony Rizzo this season. Epstein had a quote that caught my eye the other day.

"The big league picture hasn't been as pretty. When you are pushing forward in your farm system it is because you have high draft picks, because you are making trades and there is a price to pay at the big league level. That said, we can't help but feel a little bit disappointed that we haven't provided more consistent improvement with the young players at the big league level."

Does this front office see Sveum as the point B guy? We should find out this offseason.

Where does Junior Lake factor in?

Lake has been intriguing, the rookie has shown some flashes. Can the Cubs count on him in the outfield for ’14? They may not have much of a choice. The reality is it won’t hurt at all to plan on running him out there every day next season and see if he can make the adjustments to be a regular.

My gut says Lake will be around, and somehow be an asset when this team matters again.

Who will close next year?

There has been talk Kevin Gregg will be brought back next year. I have little problem with that, as the bullpen will need some veteran presence. I for one don’t want to rush Pedro Strop into the closer’s role.

I’m not advocating Gregg keeps the gig. I just think the Cubs have themselves a late inning factor no matter if Strop pitches in the eighth or ninth inning. I would prefer they give him another season to flourish in the eighth before handing over the extra stress of getting the last 3 outs.

Will James Russell still have a left arm?

I’m looking at an article yesterday about his approaching 80 appearances. This is why we can’t have nice things. We have seen this movie before, it’s kind of like a baseball version of a snuff film unfortunately.

I’m not in the camp of necessarily babying arms, but I wish there were a DCFS type organization I could call about the abuse Sveum has committed here with Russell's.

Well, we could do this all day, and we will address these issues very soon. I just wish I wasn’t so ready to get to it after games like last night.

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  • fb_avatar

    "I just get the sense the Cubs aren’t serious about moving Javy Baez off of shortstop anytime soon."

    Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. So glad to hear someone else say this.

    I'm also completely with you on Russell. I'm pretty much assuming he's finished but my hope is that Jed and Theo can put restraints on Dale so he doesn't ruin Rosscup, Strop, or Cabrera on his way out of town. If they are going to intercede on behalf of Castro (and they clearly did), I wish they'd intercede on behalf of their bullpen, too.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I need to dig but I can't feel they are thrilled with it.

  • It seems to be rarely mentioned, but it's baffled me that the Cubs have not pursued a long lefty swingman. These guys seem kinda crucial.

    After seeing all the mismatches this year, and us getting bombed, you might think this could be a priority next year to take the pressure off Russell, and to have a guy you can put in the rotation against left handed heavy teams.

    Even with Baez waiting in the wings, I don't see the Cubs giving up on Castro yet unless they are blown away. The Cubs know what they have, or at least think they do with Castro.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Maybe Rusin fits the bill?

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I wouldn't say they would give up on Castro but it bears watching how it plays out with Baez. Wonder if he plays any 3b in AFL?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Jed said they wanted both Baez and Bryant to get experience at new positions, so I'd guess 3rd and right field, respectively.

  • Interesting questions, Tom. My gut reactions as follows.
    1 Cubs have money, but are not in the frame of mind to overpay for anyone at this time.
    2 What's the hurry to trade Castro? I do think Baez is penciled in to SS for 2015.
    3 I cannot imagine that they extend Sveum, but he may finish his contract.
    4 Lake has 2014 to show if or where he fits. Stiff competition on the horizon for OF spots.
    5 I like the idea of bringing back Gregg. He has done a good job. Throws strikes and models a closers mentality.
    6 Russell's overuse is a mystery to me.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'd agree 100% with each of those. I'll add that I've always believed Baez to be a better SS than Castro. The difference is certainly debatable and negligible, so maybe they do move Javier. But both of them have max value at SS. The same can be said about Alcantar, but clearly at least one of them is moved by 2015...

    I'll also add that a local HS coach here has made it a practice to expose players to other positions. Not so much for their own versatility, though thats part of it for some... but playing some 2B & 3B will also help your SS understand the SS position from a different angle.

    So far as Tanaka goes, he is intriguing, but he's probably a notch below Yu darvish and may cost similar money... why not save a bundle and get a guy like Garza or Lincecum, etc for a #2 type? Which still leads us to who is our Ace? Shark still has that *by default status... We'll see how it goes and while they're more likely to overpay for a 24yo than a 29yo arm... I don't see them overpaying for anyone just yet....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Alcantara moved to 2B when Baez was promoted to AA. That's probably a better spot for him, although his defense can best be described as "erratic" no matter where he plays

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I think he will grow into the position as he has the skills needed..

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hoosier, living in Japan, I completely concur on Tanaka - very intriguing, but indeed a notch below Darvish. Tanaka is having an incredible year, though, which will definitely make the bidding Darvish level.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    Kevin Gregg has been, well sadly, Kevin Gregg since about mid July. His K/BB ratio in that time sucks and he's given up his share of long balls, just like he's always done. I think they should have traded him when they had the chance. Bring him back on the cheap and make him earn a job? Sure. Give him a guaranteed role next year, no way.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Were the Cubs offered anything of value? I think he is comfortable here and will be a good place to start giving Strop a little more room and a mentor.

  • Another great article, Tom, and thanks so much for asking the serious questions.
    Tom or anyone here, we heard from Theo that Rob Zastryzny was reaching 93 on his fastball right before the draft. Does anyone know if he has approached that speed on a consistent basis since her turned pro?

  • In reply to shalin:

    He was more 88-91 in the pros but not unusual for the end of the year. We could see that rise again after some rest this offseason.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Thanks Shalin.

  • Another question is:
    Why doesn't Sveum want to get a look at Logan watkins?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I don't think the Cubs have any illusions that Watkins is anything but a utility player. He's also been very slow to adjust at each level, so maybe Cubs trying not to overwhelm him right now. Remember that Watkins never really mastered AAA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Then it was a mistake by the FO in bringing him up when they did.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SFToby:

    At the time they brought him up, they didn't have much of a choice. He was literally the only healthy body left on the 40-man they could bring up. Leaving him at Iowa would have required a DFA off 40-man somewhere, and signing someone off the street.

  • Very good articles and questions. As far as free agents go, I don't think there is anyone out there that can help us out for the long term. I do not want to over pay for Choo or Elsberry and they are only around for 1-2 years. I would rather let young guys develop and weed themselves out and see what we need, then go out and find someone to pick up our weakness.
    I think we need Lake around, he brings skills to the table that we lack. His speed is something we don't have and he can make things happen. This is why we are last in going from 1st to 3rd on a single. No speed.
    I would like to keep Castro unless a package deal is to good to pass up on. I would like to see Castro move to 3b with his frame he will put on weight and fill out.
    Then the obvious... Dale must go!!!

  • In reply to WinSoon:

    No Tanaka only real FA that stands out.

  • Where does this Castro stuff come from? Seriously? In regards to moving to a different position or trading him. Has this come from someone in the cubs front office. Or is this pure speculation to try and create a story?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Firstly there's no wrong in asking the question who's going to play shortstop next year. Secondly there are some of my sources who truly believe the Cubs see Baez as shortstop of the future where does that leave Castro? legit question.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    OK. Speculation. That's what I was wondering. Thanks

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    So you don't think they've had internal discussions about this?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I'm with you, Tom. I don't understand why some people are so blown away by the idea that the Cubs could trade Castro.

    Due to the limitations with his bat, almost all of his value is tied into his ability to play SS. If the front office is sold on a few of the younger infielders coming up (particularly Baez sticking at short as you pointed out), then they'd be silly not to at least see what's out there as far as a trade of Castro is concerned.

    Obviously they wouldn't just give him away, but if they could get a decent deal, and clear the way for some younger players they like more, I don't see why that's such a strange idea.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    One bad year doesn't mean he has limitations with the bat. Career wise he's a well above average hitter at the position. And that's the problem -- this is very much based on a one year analysis.

    Ask yourself if we'd be talking about trading Castro if he had a good year -- say .300/.350/.475 with 20-25 HRs -- not outlandish because some people thought that was possible at the beginning of the year. Would we be talking about trading him? We'd probably be excited about pairing him up with Baez somewhere.

    And if the answer no, you wouldn't trade Castro if he was having a big year, then this is absolutely based on a one year sample and that's not something this front office is going to engage in. OF course, we could always say, "if we trade him for value" but that's a theoretical statement you can say about any player in baseball. It doesn't make it realistic. Do we trade Baez if we get value? Bryant? If the answer is yes for Castro then theoretically it should be yes for all of these players, regardless of the kind of year they are having.

    But the reason why we aren't talking about trading Baez or Bryant (when he becomes eligible) is that they are having good years. And if the current sample of data is the reason why we talk about trading some players and not others, then that means the team is making short-sighted moves that, one way or the other, will have long term consequences.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    THANK YOU !!!!!!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it's fair to question whether 300/.350/.475 with 20-25 HRs is a reasonable ceiling for him any more. People were predicting that kind of production if he got better at identifying strikes and forcing pitchers to throw balls he can hit.

    Now, with the two home runs in the last week, maybe he's quietly done that. But, if the Cubs conclude after this year that he's just a .300/.330/.450, 15 HR hitter, that's going to change things.

    You say below that the Cubs don't change their mind after a season, but we've seen them do exactly that. I don't think they made the Ian Stewart trade lightly and yet he was clearly persona non grata after one year. They essentially got stuck with him for a second year, but he didn't seem to understand that he had to earn playing time. At the same time, there was significant speculation in March that the Cubs would move Baez for pitching this winter. That speculation appears to be all but gone. And it isn't because of the numbers Baez put up, it's because of the changes in approach that led to the numbers: better pitch recognition, better approach, working the count, taking walks. So while it's not fair to say that his numbers caused Theo and Jed to change their minds, I think it is fair to say they've changed their tune on him this year.

    So, if Jed and Theo changed their opinions on those two based on fundamental analysis. I think it's also possible the same is true of Castro. As proof, I offer their changing verbage with respect to Baez's position change. I'd also point out that when Castro signed the contract, he was called "coachable" so often I thought his full name was Starlin Coachable Castro. I have heard him described as such during the slump.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Whether or not that's his ceiling is not the question. The question is hypothetical -- would we be talking about trading him if he was having that kind of year. I suspect very much that we would not and that only reinforces the idea that the reason why we want to trade him is he had a bad year.

    Ian Stewart was a low investment flyer who had already had 3 horrific seasons by the time they cut him. That's not even close to being an equal comparison.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Heh, I thought I was agreeing with you. Guess not.

    Didn't mean to make it sound like I wanted them to trade him, it's just that I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility. Also, while several people keep banging the "It's only one bad year" drum, that is true, but that doesn't mean they (TheoJed) couldn't look at Castro's entire body of work in it's totality (good and bad) and still decide that they'd want to move him if the right deal came along.

    Meaning, even if he had one of his "typical" Castro seasons this year instead of an awful one, it's possible that they'd still decide that he's not a player they want to build around (and I know the contract may say otherwise, but they got him at such a good price that I hardly think the contract is telling in either direction).

    Also, when I mentioned "limitations with his bat", I wasn't saying that he's not a good hitter, I meant that he's limited as a player because his bat really only plays at SS.

    Personally, I don't put much thought into the Castro stuff. It may sound like a cop-out to weasel out of having an actual opinion, but basically, I just really trust the front office. Whatever they decide to do with him, and the rest of the infield, is cool with me. At least until they prove they're not worthy of my trust.

    The only point in my response above was that I find it silly when people dismiss the possibility of a Castro trade completely. With this front office, I don't think anything is out of the question. Particularly right now.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I'm not trying to argue so much as I'm trying to make a general point here about what I think is the reason this is even being talked about. It's not about you. I'm arguing against a narrative that was created in the media. Your post just triggered some ideas I have.

    I think what we call "trading him for value" is what we say to justify the idea of trading him. We don't talk about trading players having good seasons for value. It was meant to strip down the peripheral reasons and get to the core -- we talk about trading Castro essentially because he had a bad year and now we have doubts about his talent. If this year instead cemented his status as an all-star SS who is among the best in the game, would we be talking about trying to extract value? I hardly think so, so in essence is is very much about this poor season.

    I also think if they were concerned about his entire body of work they wouldn't have labeled him their core player and then signed him to a long term deal.. They would have certainly hedged their bets and waited if there was even a reasonable amount of concern.

    I trust the FO as well and for me that means I don't believe they'd decide to make a long term investment in a player, then change their mind the very next year and pretty much decide he's no longer a part of their future.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    For some reason I couldn't reply directly to John's post, so I guess I'll just reply here:

    Yeah, I definitely get what you're saying. There's no doubt the main reason we're hearing the Castro trade stuff is because he's having a poor year. And there's no doubt the logic behind that is highly questionable.

    But I can only speak for myself, and all I was getting at, is that a Castro trade could make sense from the front office's perspective whether he played like the guy we saw this year, or if he played like the Castro of old.

    I just don't think the contract, or the front office labeling him a core player has all that much to do with it.

    No, I don't think they signed him just to trade him. But I do think it could be as simple as, they saw on opportunity to lock up a young player that had value (either with the Cubs, or to another team), and they pulled the trigger.

    Also, I don't view Castro's struggles as a reason they might look to trade him, however I do think the fact that they tried so hard to change his approach, could be one. Obviously teams work with players all the time to improve, but it seems like they have a fundamental issue with the way he goes about his business at the plate. To me, that seems like a player they might be willing to move in the right scenario.

    For a comparison, Anthony Rizzo is having a somewhat poor season relative to most people's expectations, but I wouldn't expect a trade at all (unless they were absolutely blown away) because, not only is Rizzo young and can improve, but the way he plays seems to fit what the organization is trying to do.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Once there are too many replies, it doesn't allow you to reply to the same thread. I presume just because the reply box just gets too narrow after a while.

    Castro has seen more pitches per plate appearance than Rizzo and it's possible it may take him a little longer to get comfortable with that approach since Rizzo's approach was a bit more like what they were trying to teach.

    Again, they signed him to a deal and while they may have done it to get good value -- it would have been better value not to give him that contract and wait if they had any significant doubts.

    You are greatly diminishing that contract's importance now that he's had that bad season. It's not like they thought, "Ahh well. We don't really mean it. We're not sure we like him or if he's going to be a part of the future. It's just about opportunity." That's nonsense. You don't lock up any player for that length of time if you don't believe in him. They had 3 players in mind which are the 3 players they labeled their core in Castro, Rizzo, and Samardzija. They fully intend to keep all 3. We can revise it now because Castro had that bad season but this wasn't only about opportunity, this was about locking up a player they liked and considered a part of their future. That's really the main reason you extend any player.

    The more these kinds of things are brought up, the more I'm convinced this is all about trading him because he had a bad year and now people are changing their minds about him. It's hard for me to believe the front office does a complete 180 on their assessments just a year after making that kind of investment/commitment.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Replying to John again (and thanks for the explanation):

    Fair enough. I mostly agree with you. Again, I'm not personally saying I think they should trade him (pretty much the opposite, actually). I was just explaining why it made sense to me as a possibility. I don't think it's something that should be dismissed as a silly idea.

    And as far as Castro v. Rizzo in plate approach, I don't think PPP tells the story. I'm obviously not telling you anything you don't know, but Rizzo's taken 42 more walks than Castro. I think it's the approach with two strikes that's the problem for Castro. At times it seemed like he was taking pitches just to take pitches, and hacking with 2 strikes. Whereas Rizzo actually has knowledge of the strike zone, and has intelligent at bats.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    I agree that P/PA doesn't tell the whole story by any means. I do think it is a starting point. Developing a good approach is a process and results often lag behind. We saw that a bit with Javy Baez earlier this year and with Alcantara last year.

    Castro is trying to do it at the MLB level and that's difficult. Right now I agree with what your basically saying in that I think he doesn't quite have a plan up there, but part of that may have been having too many people in his ear. For me he has to incorporate his naturally aggressive approach and his excellent plate coverage and tailor his approach to fit those strengths. I've done training/developing all my life and often what i find is that processing new information can be overwhelming and it sometimes takes a while before it becomes natural and blended into what a person does well. At some point, it just clicks. And I think we're starting to see that with Castro lately. For me we need to see how he comes back and responds to his struggles before we make judgement.

    Rizzo has been taught this approach from day one and he still hasn't really mastered it. You're asking Castro to cram and basically catch up doing something new compared with something Rizzo has been taught to do his entire professional career -- and Castro is learning it all at once at the highest level of competition, whereas Rizzo had the opportunity to gradually develop that approach against lower level competition and essentially learn while his opponents were also learning. It's no surprise that Rizzo is more advanced, but I don't think it has to do with intelligence so much as it has to do with the quality of his experience as a professional.

  • In reply to Juiceboxjerry:

    Replying to John again:

    Yep. One thing's for sure, next year should be incredibly interesting. Between seeing how Castro/Rizzo further develop, and hopefully a major prospect or two getting called up, 2014 should be a hell of a lot more fun than this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, when you say below: "Developing a good approach is a process and results often lag behind. We saw that a bit with Javy Baez earlier this year...", I lol'd because I totally had forgotten about that!

    I'm so old I remember when back in April or May many people were wondering aloud whether Javy Baez was turning into a bust.

    Can you imagine living in that world!?

  • In reply to JeffG43:

    Haha! I wrote an article on it, I remember. Noticed he started taking pitches and working the count - -but he refused to walk. Would get to 3 balls and then he thought that meant he was free to swing away.

  • I agree that if Castro is moved for Baez he will not be happy at 2B. He does not seem to have the makeup to deal with disappointment and still perform. I hope I'm wrong, but we have quite a bit of 2B talent coming soon from the minors starting possibly late next year with Alcantara. Castro is more valuable to another team at SS than he would be for us at 2B. In my mind Starlin gets next year to prove his mettle otherwise changes will come quickly after that.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    There is no promise that Alcantara will pan out. It is good to have another options. If Castro isn't on board with trying to make a position move for the good of the team...then get something in return. I still think he would be good at 3b

  • In reply to WinSoon:

    I agree Castro would probably be fine defensively at 3B. Maybe even better since there is less time to think at the hot corner. But I would like more power at 3B too. Hoping Bryant or Olt will play there in the next couple years. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see Castro make good next year and force the FO to keep him where he is. But that may be all the time he has.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WinSoon:

    His bat only marginally plays at third. (Plays a hell of a lot better than Luis Valbuena's though, to be completely fair.) It's a decent move short term but, long term, you're going to want a higher OPS from your third baseman. The question -- if you decide to move him, which is the CubsDen version of talking about politics, sex, or religion -- is whether the hit to his value that comes from moving him to third is worth the short term boost he provides to the team there. In the long term, he will almost certainly be replaced at third.

    2B is more interesting. The bat does play there. In the short and, perhaps, long term, this is a very good solution. (Again, assuming they make the decision to move him for Baez.) The issue long term becomes if your infield is, for example, Bryant-Baez-Castro-Rizzo, that's an incredibly righty-dominated infield. If Castillo is the catcher (I think he will be), that almost requires two lefties in the outfield. If that's how it shakes out, then you spend the money or prospects to fill in those holes, but it is somewhat limiting. If Alcantara shows he can put up a similar OPS to Castro (he will never have Castro's average, but might have higher walk totals and power), he's a tempting replacement because of his speed and his switch hitting ability.

    In many ways, the best short term solution -- and potentially long term solution -- is Baez-Castro-Alcantara-Rizzo, because I think Baez is a better defensive third baseman than Castro would be, but if they've decided that Baez is the long term shortstop -- as Tom says, I kinda think they have -- this is just a short term solution.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't think the Cubs have decided on Baez as their SS at all. I see this organization as not overreacting to one good or bad year and throwing previous plans out the window. It'd be so unlike them to think that way. It seems to me we're imposing a fan mentality on them. That's not how they work. They're not that fickle. They understand the ups and downs of the game as well as any front office in baseball.

    Think about it. If Castro was on another team right now, he'd be exactly the kind of player they'd inquire on to see if they can buy low.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    They very well may inquire low, but if they traded for him there is no question in my mind he would be behind Baez on the depth chart.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's assuming Castro has been the plan at SS all along.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Well, they did sign him to that big extension and, while they're always open, the original intention was to get tremendous value at SS. They wouldn't have signed him for that kind of money if the intention was to make him a 2B or 3B. That was always a fallback position. I'd say SS was very much the plan for Castro.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I 100% agree with what you are saying. Not only that, but Baez is still a long way from proving he can handle short defensively, and there's not much else behind him at shortstop in the system. It will be very interesting (and telling, perhaps) to see where they play Baez in Iowa next year.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Exactly. There is time to sort these things out. The process of sorting it out should start this offseason but it doesn't mean a decision needs to be made right now.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I like this post because it points out the value of Alcantara. Speed, switch hitter, power, and OBP. These gifts fit in the top of the order and may be more valuable than another good right handed hitter. Neither Baez nor Castro have these skills and boy do the Cubs need that package at 2B.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Another option is Bryant-Castro-Baez-Rizzo, with Alcantara getting a shot at CF. Both Bryant and Baez are pretty likely to be up with the Cubs in late 2014.

    If Villanueva or Olt ever pan out down the road, Bryant could then move to an OF corner.

    What you mentioned about them needing LH OF bats is just one more reason why it makes sense for them to go after a guy like Choo. Not only for the LH bat, but to have an OPB machine getting on base ahead of a Baez/Rizzo/Bryant heart of the lineup.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I have never been one to have a set position has to deliver certain power numbers. Typically a ss is not a power spot, but if Baez can provide that at ss, then Castro can move to third. I believe as the years pass, Castro will fill out and become a guy who can hit 17-22 hr and hit .300. I'll take that at 3rd. They may move Bryant to outfield. And no 100 percent that olt will get it back.

  • In reply to WinSoon:

    We can't say for certain that a move by Castro would be best for the team. We can't assume that. There's a pretty good chance it isn't.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fair point John, but at the same time the contract is "friendly" enough that if there is a surplus of riches at SS in the organization in a year or 2 and Castro slides over to 2B its not the worst thing in the world. Starlin ain't getting crazy Jim Hendry type of money!

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    They can move him, of course. They can also move Baez. I like Baez just a bit better at SS but I don't think either of them are much better than average at the position at best. If the Cubs feel the same way, then Baez is probably more likely to move because it's the easier transition for the organization.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John... a casual look at the Cubs stats shows Castro with 140 hits on the year. 23 games left. Let's say another 30 hits in those 23 games.

    170 hits in a (pretty safe to say) ghastly year. You'll give me all the other stuff. Fine. But 170 hits is still a pretty damn good year for a kid in his 4th season who got mind *#%ked by all the noise in his ear.

    I'm as excited as everyone else about Bryant and Baez. I still suspect Bryant will be here sooner. We'll see how it all plays out. Like you, end of day I do not believe *this* FO will pull the trigger on any deal in the foreseeable future.

    Gotta love me some Donnie Baseball !!!!!!!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I think Castro has shown flashes of being that good hitter we all know he can be -- and I'm not convinced he won't subconsciously keep some of the things they taught him. He's still taking pitches and working the count -- only now he's hitting the ball. I think he's figuring out how to incorporate his strengths with the approach they're trying to teach him.

    To me this offseason is still too early to deal any of these guys -- barring somebody making an irresistible offer, but I really do find that unlikely.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's a really good *and* very valid point, John.... probably best of both worlds... going back to being the 'see it, hit it' guy and working the count!!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How can moving a kid that can get 200 hits a season to 3rd base not be for the good of the team?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It might end up being a good move, but there are also reasons why it may not (i.e. Baez doesn't pan out). The only thing I'm saying is that dismissing any young talented player because of an off year would be short-sighted.

    As far as positon, I've even gone on record as saying I like Baez as a SS a bit better -- though I don't think either are going to win Gold Gloves. I like Baez's instincts a bit better at the position, so I give him a slight edge. Whether that's the right move or not remains to be seen. Most would call Castro about a 5 at SS (average). Baez may be a 5.5, so he's slightly better. But, hypothetically, what if Baez grades as a 6.5 or even a 7 at 3B while Castro would only rate a 6? Then the move as a whole may weaken your defense. So maybe it's a good move in one respect, maybe not in another. I think the Cubs are still in the process of sorting these things out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I just think that we have room for Baez and Castro on the infield. I do not care who goes where. I just want both bats in our line up. I am not worried about Castro cause of this year. The kid can hit.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Agreed.

  • I hope the FO doesn't extend Sveum. I know he's going to be back in 2014 but they need to let him know he's managing for his job and no more free passes. If they do that you can bet Barney gets lifted for a pinch hitter more often( or once). Not expecting a playoff team next year but looking for something more than this.

  • John,

    I startled a tad when I read that Castro being traded is possibly on the horizon. I just don't see it, and I really don't see it this offseason, when his value is at it's nadir. That's not how Jed and Theo operate.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Agree. Castro will likely not be traded this offseason unless someone overwhelms the FO with their offer.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Agreed. I don't see it either. I think trading established young players before their peak seasons is very unlike them as well -- so even if he has a rebound year and raises his value, I don't see a trade as likely unless someone offers them another core, pre-peak player in a trade that's a better fit for both teams. And that type of trade very, very rarely happens.

  • The Cubs need to bring in some major league talent, or do something, to speed up this rebuilding process. This team is not significantly better than last year's, and the young core Cubs have (at best) only made minor improvements.
    I think the answer is to spend what is necessary to acquire some of these international free agents because they don't cost draft picks. There have been reports that the Cubs were bidders on some of the ones that go away, like Darvish and Puig. They need to do more than put in a plausible bid; they need to put away the piggy bank and get out the Visa.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    They got Soler. And Fujikawa.

    Puig was such an extreme overpay that it only made sense for the Dodgers. To be fair, given where the Dodgers were, it was a brilliant and logical move. They money means nothing to them if he falls flat.

    I do wish they'd gone higher for Ryu, though.

    There's a lot of money coming off the books this year. (Most notably: Garza's contract.) I'm hopeful that that money is going straight to Tanaka.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Problem is Dodgers and Yankees also very interested in Tanaka that doesn't bode well for us.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm glad they got Soler but he likely won't greatly benefit the Cubs for years, if at all. I don't consider Fuji a major effort to improve the team.

    I appreciate that Ryu, Darvish and Puig are expensive, but If the Cubs scouts feel that some of these IFAs are legit stars then they need to spend big bucks and give the team a talent infusion. They can't just tread water as a losing team (a generous description of the Cubs) for year after year. The Cubs have been losing **lots of games** for four years running, and it's not looking so hot for next year either. They could have added a star quality IFA last year and this year and they'd have two additional core pieces in place moving forward.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    Soler was generally considered a night-and-day better prospect than Puig. Puig was unknown, and the absolute chaos that surrounded his defection didn't improve things. The Dodgers gave $42 million to guy they'd seen take batting practice. (That is literally true.)

    It's just an insane overpay.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Doesn't invalidate your point, but the Dodgers did see Puig play in game action long before that infamous "bp only, watched over by an armed drug cartel" session:

    http://www.thinkbluela.com/index.php/2013/06/05/an-interview-with-the-man-who-discovered-yasiel-puig/

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't know off the top of my head how many yrs Puig signed for. Puig isn't perfect, but I def think the dodgers did the right thing.

    I don't know how anybody here wouldn't be happy having that arm in RF. Shaded of the Hawk Andre Dawson, perhaps even a better arm.

    Yes, they got Soler, but he may never even make the show. Puig is on his way to possible ROY ( he won't get it, Jose Fernandez ) He could totally fall flat on his face, but he's looking like a perennial all star and IMHO, that's quite an UNDERpay.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    The FO is going as fast as they can without messing with the future. They said the first 2 years were going to be bad. And they have been right. They said it would take 4 to 5 years to get to be a consistent playoff team. You seem to want to get there faster than their plan calls for. Doing that is what the Cubs have done before and we haven't won a WS for 105 years. Is that what you want to continue to do? Hopefully we can land Tanaka but it doesn't look likely with the Yankees, Rangers and Dodgers very interested in him too.

  • In reply to John57:

    It's not just me that wants to go faster. Theo does too. He said so in his recent interview that he would have added major league talent but that the budget didn't allow it. Refraining from adding real major league talent wasn't a strategic decision, it was a restriction.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I agree with you, we are restricted by money. We don't have enough money to go full blast acquiring IFA prospects (This year we spent ~10 million on 6 IFAs and last year we signed Soler and Concepsion for 36 million.) and signing veteran FAs that cost money and draft picks. Of course Theo would love to do both but we can't. If we spend money on veteran FAs then we don't have the money to go aggressively after the prospects which is the better more cost effective way to go.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    LOL, Budget.............that's hilarious. Jedstein sure is good at the propaganda

  • Let the record show if it hasn't already I prefer they find a way to keep both Baez and Castro. Maybe it's Castro ultimately forces a move.

  • The last month or so I've noticed Castro throwing much more sidearm than he used to. Is this an attempt to get rid of the ball faster, or the result of a sore arm?

    I see Castro as an outstanding second baseman in the future. Not sure if Baez is a better SS, though.One thing for sure, you never have too much talent. Just look at how many top prospects never pan out.

  • It makes sense to me that if the Cubs have two quality MLB SS, that one may be used to trade for a needed piece. The same could be said for 3B and 1B. A package of one of each could bring back a nice haul for the bump.

  • The way I look at Castro and Baez situation is this...

    The Cubs FO probably wouldn't say anything other than maybe saying they are exploring all options -- which they should. But to say that means they are considering displacing Castro for Baez next year is a huge stretch of the imagination.

    I highly doubt they would be settled on a SS who has had less than a half year in AA over one that has had 3 good MLB seasons under his belt -- to think they would completely reverse plans after one good and bad season is completely contrary to this front office's mentality. As I've said, that is a fan's mentality. Good front offices think long term and big picture. Making decisions based on one year is a great way to make monumental mistakes.

    It goes against previous history to trade established, pre-peak MLB players who are cost-controlled. When is the last time they've done that? Maybe the Cashner for Rizzo trade is the closest, but the key there is that they also got a pre-peak top talent in return. Yet, those trades are pretty rare. So we shouldn't expect the same will happen with Castro at any point, much less this offseason. It's highly unlikely, in fact.

    The Cubs simply aren't in a position to give up on young MLB talent to roll the dice on a prospect. I think that's unfair to the fans -- even if they think they want that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    But certainly the change in tone is significant here. Last year, Baez was moving, no doubt about it, the trick was to find a new spot for him.

    This year, Jed sounds decidedly more non-committal: "You watch the Cardinals and I think their versatility really helps them. They can move guys all over the field. The more versatility our guys have, the better. I think you will see some guys move around the diamond. That doesn’t mean we’re thinking about moving him off the primary position. It just means that they can help us more up here."

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And I don't think they'll trade Castro this off-season. The very earliest you consider it is next July if Baez is ripping up AAA. And even then, you probably promote Baez, let him play third for the rest of the season, and then get serious about trading Castro next off-season.

    But I do think they are, at the very least, considering moving Castro. And it isn't because of his poor numbers this year, it's because he simply isn't becoming the player they want him to be. The decision to throw up their hands and let him go back to see-ball-hit-ball could be interpreted as taking him for what he is, or could be interpreted as doing anything they can to improve his value in trade.

    It's been a while since there's been a situation exactly like this, so it's difficult to quote past history. And by that, I mean: Baez is, flat out, a better defender than Castro at the most important defensive position on the field. He also may have a better bat -- though he has to prove that. And he's faster. He upgrades over Castro on every tool but the hit tool at the most important position on the field. That's very unique situation.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    When did it become decided that Baez was a flat out better defender than Castro?

    By the stats at Baseball Reference, Baez has better range, but Castro has a better fielding percentage (2013).

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Callis has said it and the eyeball test tell you it. Many of Baez's errors have been of the learning variety, but as John points out below his instincts are very good and he's been improving almost beyond recognition.

    Also, the range you cite is important. He's getting to a bunch of balls at the very edge of his range, and is making errors by trying to throw the runner out and throwing the ball away. As he learns which plays he can and can't make, he'll hold onto those and the error won't happen.

    He's a better defender. The danger is that he fills out, but the Cubs haven't shown a lot of fear there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sure, but even when the Cubs signed Castro to a long term deal they didn't commit to him at SS. I remember them saying something to the effect that it can still be good value even if he changes positions I don't think that's changed. The only difference is Baez is closer to the majors, has stuck at SS, and the question has become much more tangible than theoretical.

    For the record, in a vacuum, I like Baez better as a SS because I like his instincts at the position. Neither player has crazy range or Ozzie Smith like ability, so in those situations, I lean toward the guy with better instincts and that to me is Baez (that is not to say Castro has poor instincts, by the way, I just like Baez better in that aspect).

    The larger question for me, as you know, is whether it's a good move overall for the infield. If the Cubs decide that is the case, I'm okay with the move. What I'm saying is that I don't think this that I don't think the Cubs FO has pulled a 180 -- but I agree with you that Baez's progress on both sides of the ball is making the decision harder for them.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know how you can say Castro doesn't have crazy range. He's led the league in assists in both 2011 $ 2012. Last year, he accounted for 154 more defensive outs than did GG winner Jimmy Rollins in about the name number of innings played. I don't know how much crazier you want his range to be.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Exactly. I think some want him to cover short center as well. His range is pretty damn good in the games I watch

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I didn't mean this winter, but if it plays out that both are top shelf major league shortstops, one may be playing for another team.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It's always possible. I think with Castro it has to be a deal for a young MLB ready player. The Cubs shouldn't take a step back from their MLB core and gain prospects instead.

  • Another good article. I'm hopeful the Cubs will be right in on Tanaka as well. I still think Granderson might be a better fit than Ellsbury or Choo. I think adding a piece to the middle of the lineup instead of the top of the line up would take the pressure off Castro and Rizzo. I also think in terms of dollars/years he'll be more reasonable.
    I still can't stand the thought of locking up a 30 year old player whose biggest asset is his legs. He's a cold April pulled hammy away from being worthless.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    It's not your money. These top free agents are only too expensive if the team can't afford it. I want the Cubs to grab the best players they can afford. If that's Cano or Ellsbury or Choo and they can afford to write off the end of the contract as a cost of being a major market team, then they should do it. And if the loss of a 2nd round pick is too much to bear, then they should splurge on IFAs. I wish they could afford to do both. Theo and Jed are great at selecting the right players; just think if they had the Angels/Rangers/Red Sox/Yankees payroll for them to play with.
    If they can't afford to spend like a major market team then we'll have to continue rely on ordering more delicious appetizers like Schierholtz and Feldman. Thank god Jed is good at reading the menu. But that could mean two or three more years of losing.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    No its not my money. But Choo is coming off a career year. You're paying him for future performance not past performance. He's a quality player, but I'd expect a slide in performance. Ellsbury's value is his legs. I'd hate to see him signed to a 5 or 6 year deal. His value will decline with age significantly and if he blows a tire, what's his value with middling speed. Pretty negligible.

    Granderson has some swing and miss, but he does take walks. Has plenty of power. Can play a decent CF, and his tools will transition better with age. On top of that. I think he signs a shorter term deal 3-4 year, opposed to 5-6. The back half of a 6 year deal with Ellsbury could look ugly.

    Even though its not my money, I'd like to see them spend it wisely.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Right, I agree that I'd like them to choose players wisely. Theo and Jed seem to be awesome at that. The issue isn't waste or don't waste money, the issue is having the money to spend in the first place. I'm saying that the Cubs shouldn't be avoiding players that Theo and Jed believe will continue to be stars for years to come just because these players are really expensive. That goes for major league free agents and for IFAs. If they really thought Ryu or Darvish, for example, were going to be this good then they should have paid through the nose for them.
    I don't want them to throw big money at players they don't believe will continue to produce. I want them to throw big money at players they think can be stars for five years.

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    In reply to baseballet:

    Excuse me, NEWS FLASH the Cubs are a big market team. A bigger market then Dallas/Arlington but it is catching up

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Granderson is a hometown guy - so I guess its a possibility.

    I assume he would be expensive though. Has a lot of swing and miss to his game if I recall - which is something we already have a lot of...

  • Cubs claimed Daniel Bard. DFA'd Gillespie. Story coming.

  • I like Castro, and really hope he stays with us, either at SS or 2B, although I think SS is his best spot. But, I would not be surprised if he is packaged with Olt and two other minor league pitchers (or whatever it takes) for Giancarlo Stanton. He is the LH power OF they need for the future RH dominated line-up (Bryant, Baez, Almora, Solar, Castro, Castillo). If that trade were to occur, Murphy can handle SS until Baez is ready.

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    That's the only way a Castro deal makes sense for me is for that type of deal -- for another established MLB talent that is also young and still not in his prime years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes I can't see anything short of another established player or pitcher.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    If it's a hitter, it's probably a lefty slugger. Which reduces the options even further. Perhaps Dom Brown in a season or two?

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Stanton is a righty too

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Donnie Murphy is a 30 yr old journeyman with a .215 career average. Just my opinion, but I think that despite his career "two-weeks", he most certainly could not hold down the fort at SS until someone else emerges.

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    I could see a Castro-for-CarGo deal, if the Rockies weren't absolutely set at shortstop.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't get trade castro for this and that. And I'm not pointing you out mike. But there are eight other positions on the field, why can't the cubs do like texas did with andrus and profar ? There is more than enough room for both. With the lineup we put out there now we need all the bats we can get.

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    In reply to seankl:

    They can, and they might.

    The real question -- and this is more debatable than you want to admit -- is whether or not the team is better off long term with Baez as the starting shortstop instead of Castro. If they decide the answer to this question is yes, big if, then the question becomes how to maximize Castro's value, either through a trade or a position change.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Maximizing castro's value is simple, put better talent around him. I just don't get how the only player who has success on the major league roster is always the one that is trade bait. If you look around at real organizations they don't trade young talent years away from his prime to get minor league players that might not pan out.

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    In reply to seankl:

    Are you saying that Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Gonzalez are minor league players who might not pan out?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    No I am not, first why would they trade cargo for castro and they have tulo ? stanton has bad knees and has been injured with leg problems. And miami has a shortstop, My problem is we have faith in players from the minors and players who have been in the majors before castro(shark) but has done nothing and a first basemen who is not proven anything but the player who has had success in the majors is easily replaceable.

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    In reply to seankl:

    "No I am not, first why would they trade cargo for castro and they have tulo ? stanton has bad knees and has been injured with leg problems. And miami has a shortstop,"

    The point is you are fighting a strawman. People were specifically suggesting trading Castro for established major league players, and you argued that we wanted to trade him for minor leaguers. I said that CarGo wouldn't work because of Tulo, but he's exactly the kind of guy you'd move Castro for. No one -- literally no one -- is suggesting moving Castro for a bunch of A-ball lottery tickets.

    Also, your argument here cuts both ways. If the Cubs would crazy to replace Starlin Castro with Javier Baez, then the Marlins would presumably fall all over themselves to replace a 24-year old with a career OPS+ of 60 with Starlin Castro. Further, is there any doubt the Marlins would love nothing more than to replace Hechavarria with Baez? That implies Baez > Hechavarria. If you believe Castro > Baez, then Castro is likely better than Hechavarria by a significant amount.

    "My problem is we have faith in players from the minors and players who have been in the majors before castro(shark) but has done nothing and a first basemen who is not proven anything"

    Again, everyone who has been talking about this today is saying that if -- IF -- Baez shows he can hit major league pitching and establishes himself as a better defensive shortstop, then it might make sense to move him to short and find something else to do with Castro. This is not at all what you are suggesting above.

    "but the player who has had success in the majors is easily replaceable."

    Easily replaceable? We're talking about moving him for a guy that has been compared favorably to Miguel Cabrera by two different people in the last week. Does this really sound like just picking a guy randomly out of the minors and sticking him at shortstop because we don't want Castro any more?

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    I'm curious to know what Tanaka's PC was as a high schooler at Koshien. After seeing this, http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9452014/pitcher-tomohiro-anraku-future-japanese-baseball-espn-magazine, I'm very wary of signing Japanese pitchers.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't get this. I'm wary of signing any pitcher long term. The wheels can come off any arm at any time, I don't think the Japanese pitchers have a significantly hire blow out rate.

    Like when Darvish was up, there were a ton of fans who said "I don't want him, because Matsuzaka bombed with Boston". Which was really misleading. He had a good rookie year. A great 2nd year. Then 3 years of crap going up and down with injuries. Like that never happens to American pitchers.

  • How does Baez compare defensively to Manny Machado? Machado's a SS that was put at 3B. He seems to be doing well but I don't watch the Orioles all the time. Is this even comparable?

  • In reply to Cubswin:

    I think there are some similarities but Machado has a cannon arm and is a bit more athletic. Machado has become a gold glove caliber 3B. I think Baez has the ability to do that, but I also think Baez can be a better SS than Castro. I think the Cubs decision has to consider the whole picture in the infield.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I really like watching the Rockies Nolan Arenado play 3B. They should just pencil him in for the GG for the next decade or so.

  • Will the Cubs have significant money to spend in the offseason?

    I have no idea.

    Will Starlin Castro be the SS in 2014?

    I do not understand how this is even a question. Of course he is.

    Will Dale Sveum get extended?

    Yes. Maybe only one year, but yes. If only because a manager on his last year of contract is widely considered to be a lame duck. The extension does not mean that he will be the manager in 2015.

    Where does Junior Lake factor in?

    He will be an outfielder next year.

    Who will close next year?

    I have no idea. I would be ok if they bring Gregg back.

    Why must we watch James Russell get abused?

    This does not seem like an off season question. More like a question for this season. Because he was the only lefty in the pen?

    Will next season be as bad as this season?

    Probably not

    Will the Cubs contend next season?

    No.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Thanks Richard. Now we can all move on. I wouldn't bet heavily on that Sveum extension though.

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Please, he should certainly bet heavily on it.

    Since I'm a nice guy, I'll take the other side of that bet.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sorry. I have not placed any bets since high school (excepting the occasional lottery ticket and a couple of times at the track).

    I'm not about to start now.

    But I appreciate your generous offer.

  • Question for my fellow readers: which current Cub would you like to see at bat in a crucial situation? Not necessarily needing an hr, just a hit to drive in the tying or winning run? I'm having a hard time choosing.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    David DeJesus. Just kidding. I guess I'd pick Navarro.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    Dioner or Nate! Maybe Murphy.

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    I'm gonna keep saying that Starlin is getting traded just so he'll keep doing this.

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    I'm really confused and frustrated as to how payroll wouldn't allow any move the FO would want to make at this point. Look at what the payroll was when Theo took over. Look at it now. Also, look at the ticket prices and revenue streams. The payroll has been slashed, ticket prices still at a premium. I'm guessing they haven't discounted their advertising spots either. Ownerhip should put money back into the team, drop ticket and concession prices or consider selling the team and going and buying a small market team if that's what it wants to own.

  • In reply to Darren Bizarri:

    +1 on Darren's comment. Is all of the savings in payroll just helping the Rickett's pay down debt from the transaction? I understand not acting like the Dodgers of the Midwest, but this nickel and diming lately is a bit ridiculous. The DDJ waiver move with the Nats may have helped a smidge incrementally with payroll, but it felt like we were the friggin Royals!

    As my man Z once said......we stinks, and we could use some FA help, either from overseas or in the offseason from another club. I will be seriously disappointed if we don't take a good hard look at Ellsbury and some of the other options out there this offseason. It has been a long, long 2013 season......

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    In reply to Darren Bizarri:

    Tommy Nickels is either saving that money to buy another team or he has a vault full of gold and cash stashed somewhere on the northside and he goes and swims in it after cubs losses a la scrooge mcduck

  • I think my point on Castro was his value could soon be up to where he would garner interest. Scenario where they have a SS they really like and a player who may not want to change positions. I didn't advocate much more than that.

  • One thing we should know by now, we've been writing about it for 3 years here -- this front office isn't fickle about one year performances. They don't think like the average fan.

    They don't completely change their minds one year after signing him to an extension. There was obviously a lot of thought put into that decision. Now...one year later, they're going to give up on him in favor of a guy who had a great two months in AA? I love Baez, but this whole train of thought lacks perspective.

    It's fine to say you trade him for equal value -- but that's highly theoretical and it's almost certainly not going to happen in the real world. Any team approaching the Cubs about Castro will do so with the intention of buying low and gaining value -- and if you guys think the Cubs are going to go for that, then you haven't been paying attention.

    I don't buy the narrative on Castro that's been created by certain members of the media. The Cubs haven't given up on him and they aren't sitting there on the edge of their seats waiting to trade Castro the moment he raises his value. What hasn't been mentioned enough is the obvious -- that there's something to be said for holding on to that value too -- especially in the likely event that no team will offer fair value in return.

    It's almost impossible to imagine any scenario in which Starlin Castro isn't the Cubs starting SS on Opening Day in 2014.

  • John first time commenting but I would like to say I have been reading you and tom and felzz for awhile. I would like to say thanks to you,tom,and felzz for the insight, you guys are the best and I recommend all logical thinking cub fans to this site. I would like to comment on the castro thing, would it be better if the cubs used castro and baez on the middle infield ?

  • In reply to scarter:

    Thanks scarter. I like Baez in the middle infield and I think it's much easier to move him to 3B if you try him at 2B first rather than the other way around (the success with Ryne Sandberg not withstanding). I think his instincts are better served in the middle infield, whether that is at 2b or SS than they are at 3B.

    Maybe you try him at 2B and that buys some time with Olt, Villanueva, Bryant, etc. and if those guys don't seem to be long term answers then I think you can always switch him to 3B if you want to and try someone like Alcantara at 2B.

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