Cubs Notes: Fall League; Parks and Law on Cubs prospects; Tanaka; Latest on manager search

We missed the last fall league round-up but nobody stood out, so we'll forge ahead with today's news.  Cubs prospects are starting to generate some serious buzz and some minor stuff on the the manager search.

Fall League Recap

  • Albert Almora went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk.  He also scored a run and drove in 2.  He's hitting .571 so far.
  • Jorge Soler went 1 for 5.  He looks like he's still getting his timing back ,but when he does, he's going to be a problem for opposing pitchers again.  He's hitting just .192 right now.
  • Armando Rivero pitched an inning and gave up a run on 2 hits.  It's the first run he's given up in 3 innings so far.

Professor Parks has some fantastic stuff at Baseball Prospectus on Cubs prospects.  Among the highlights...

  • His Top 4 farm systems are the Twins, Cubs, Astros, and Pirates -- though not necessarily in that order.
  • Parks was asked why he's not as high on C.J. Edwards as Keith Law and some other prospect gurus.  Parks' response is that he has seen Edwards a ton and loves his stuff, but feels his build will hold him back from being a frontline starter.  He adds that he doesn't believe Edwards has the frame to put on weight.  He thinks he can still be a good prospect who will dominate in spurts, but hasn't spoken to one scout who believes he's a frontline guy. For what it's worth, I have heard the same thing from those I have spoken with on Edwards.
  • He considers Kris Bryant a top 10 prospect, slotting him just below highly touted Cardinals OF prospect Oscar Tavares.  He believes Bryant will play RF and is a "polished offensive monster" who could be in the big leagues by 2014.
  • Albert Almora is a top 20 prospect and Parks believes he has the skill set to handle AA, though the Cubs have no real reason to rush him.
  • Javier Baez ends up at 3B because of his good hands and good arm -- but "his bat is his glory".
  • Corey Black is certain to end up in the bullpen but Parks feels he will be a major leaguer.
  • And finally he rates the Cubs top 4 prospects on the 2-8 scale with 6 being an everyday, above average MLB player: Baez 7, Bryant (high 6) and Almora and Soler are both a 6.  He does think it is likely that at least one will underwhelm, however.

Keith Law has his take on AFL prospects and kicks it off with the 3 Cubs stars...

  • Jorge Soler is visibly bigger and stronger than when Law last saw him.  Law hasn't seen him since he first broke in at Rookie Level Arizona, however.  He also said Soler looked like the most improved of the 3 prospects but that's partly because Bryant and Almora were already so advanced.  In other words, Soler had the most room to grow.
  • He missed Albert Almora's 4 hit day but saw him get 2 hits including a hard triple off of hard throwing RP John Stilson.
  • Bryant put on a big time power show in BP and was easily squaring up 97 mph fastballs.   Hard to figure out how pitchers are going to approach him at this time.  He's going to be a tough out.

Manager Search

  • Parks also weighed in on the Cubs manager and his choice is A.J. Hinch.
  • There was an internet rumor that Tony Pena had an interview and was the "frontrunner" for the job.  The rumor is incorrect.  He is not in the mix at all at this point.
  • One scout suggested ex-Pirate manager John Russell and Red Sox 3B coach Brian Butterfield as candidates but I have since learned neither are considered candidates.  Butterfield is an interesting suggestion, however.  He is familiar with the Red Sox philosophy and his father was a scouting/development guy in the majors.
  • Several such as Pedro Gomez, Buster Olney of ESPN and Bob Nightengale of USA Today have suggested that Rick Renteria is the front runner but I'm told there is no favorite at this point.  It's rather odd to have named a candidate a favorite before that candidate has even interviewed.  It's also unlikely there would be a favorite before every candidate has interviewed.  It's doubtful such information would come from the front office.  For what it's worth, I think this is a good group and I honestly can't say I'd be disappointed with any of them, but as I've said, I've personally gotten the most positive feedback on Acta and Hinch so far.
  • The Cubs appear to be happy with their final 4, so don't expect to hear any new names to pop up.
  • The Cubs will interview Dave Martinez and he appears to be excited about the opportunity.  He's definitely an innovative, high energy manager and while he may be the long shot in the group, you never know what can happen in an interview.  We'll have a guest post on Dave Martinez in the next couple of days.

Here's a piece on Masahiro Tanaka.  Most scout seem to prefer Darvish but at least one prefers Tanaka because he throws more strikes.  For what it's worth, I also know of one scout who prefers Tanaka but in general Darvish gets the edge, but I didn't get the impression that any of them give Darvish a huge edge.  Most expect the bidding to be lower for Tanaka.


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  • You have to wonder, especially from seeing the great pitching this post season, when and where that TOR arm(s) will come from. With the passing on Gray last year per their philosophy, will the FO be pressed into taking a SP this year with their #1 pick? Say Hoffman, Kolek or Beede or will the BPA be a hitter, which again matches their philosophy of taking a hitter that high over a pitcher. Well, we see this post-season which one is winning out.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    The FO will always take the BPA but there's a good chance that will be a pitcher next year. We've said that for the last couple of years, however, but the Cubs seem to be very specific about the kind of pitcher they're willing to gamble on. They preferred the high floored Appel over the more risky Gray. But you can't argue with the Bryant choice. It seems most consider him the better prospect. Always take the BPA and if you create surplus, you can always use that to trade for the arm you want.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly!.... Assets are assets. I'm not suggesting we trade him,(which means I'm suggesting we DO NOT trade him); but when Bryant is peaking at AAA or better yet; in contention for ROY at the MLB.... Somebody would give up a premium 'MLB ready or proven' TOR SP prospect or two.

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    In reply to Buzz:

    I think they will make a very strong effort to land Tenaka.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I do as well. Just added a last minute link on a new article on him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nice read John, thanks for sharing. If what they are estimating his posting fee & potential contract is close to reality; he has to be a #1 to warrant spending $150MM+. There's still a wide difference of opinion on him. Some of the data and opinions suggest a #3 SP.

    I predict that unless the FO feels like he is a true ace and a "must have", our bid will fall short. If that happens, I look for the media and bulk of the fan base to blame it on ineptitude by the FO or Ricketts restricting the money, etc.... pity

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks Hoosier. I know that some within the Cubs organization do indeed like him very much. I expect them to be involved. Much of that money goes to posting fee, so it won't affect them long term.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's still $$$ though and if he's not a true ace, why spend just to spend? Which is what I'm detecting from some on here lately. I mean, he's obviously better than anything else we have right now. But there seems to be some who do not see him as a true ace. If our FO does and they pony up to get him, great! If they do not and won't spend foolishly, how can we be upset by that?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    There are some who think he can indeed be an ace and at least a #2. #1s are a small handful. If you can get a good #2, you're doing well.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I think the decision will be the best player available regardless of need. Whoever is the most likely to be an impact player, whether it be pitcher or position player. That being said, the best player available will most likely be a pitcher unless a Trea Turner or Bryant are there, which probably won't happen.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    This year's draft is going to be a little more pitcher heavy. I can name 3 that are easy top 5 and 2 that could be fast risers. As for the position players I see Trea Turner being a top 5 but maybe one or two players that might break into that top 5 outside of him. But I see that as least likely then the pitchers.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    KGallo would you mind sharing your lists ?

    I see this years top players as ......

    Pitchers: C. Rondon, J. Hoffman, T. Kolek, L. Weaver, T. Beede

    Position: T. Turner


  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Weaver will be a fast riser. But I think Beede needs to learn command or he is out of the top ten. However if he does you could have a top 5 pick. One other pitcher to keep an eye on is Sean Newcombe LHP. I am not promise he will be great but he could be a Gray just things need to fall into place for him.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I can see a smaller guy like Weaver slipping and some team, probably the Cardinals with our luck, will get a steal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He is 6'2 but he hit 97 so I don't see him slipping too far. A lot of people have him in the middle of the 1St rnd I think he moves up not backward.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'm curious if you think we missed on any of the SP's from 2012? Would you trade Almora straight up for anyone drafted after him? Wacha & Giolotta come to mind.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I liked Each a a lot more then others but was talked out of him early. I would have taken the chance on Giolitto but I am of a risk taker then Theo or Jed.

  • Really excited about learning more about Martinez. I know it's not what you want the interview to be about, but personally I'd love to pick his brain about Joe Maddon. Just an awesome and unique baseball mind. I'm just curious as to what Davey is like and how he compares to the other three as far as the FO is concerned. Seems like he's got real potential to jump out in front if the interview goes well.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Did you read this piece from Fangraphs? May answer some of your questions...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hadn't, but thanks it's a great read. Answers a lot of questions. He definitely interests me as a future manager. Might be the next up and coming great one that you don't want to miss out on, but without experience it's a risky call. Two things jumped out at me 1) the bit about not waiting around for HRs, doing all the little things like being aggressive to get a runner to third with less than two outs. If there is any one thing our offense needs to improve upon next year, it's that. 2) The amount of bunting.. Our FO is not a big fan and neither am I. That's not a huge deal though. I think I would trust him with the job. A very different resume from the other candidates, but variety is good.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think he's an interesting candidate. The link with Joe Maddon definitely makes him intriguing. I still consider him the darkhorse based on my conversations but you never know. A good interview can change things.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. The others probably have a hand up on him initially, but anything can happen after his impression during the interview.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That is what I called him when someone asked me about him. He has a great chance for becoming a ML manager but is he a fit. I think its possible but it does matter what anyone else thinks it matters what the Cubs think.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Those things stood out to me as well. Once big difference though. Sveum rarely called for bunts in obvious bunt situations. Unless it was the pitcher batting. DM is right in that you consider all of the data, and then the personnel and situation dictates the decision. How many times did we have Barney up there flailing away with a runner on 1B and less than 2 outs?... We knew we would struggle scoring runs, yet we didn't seem willing to do the little things to help score runs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for the Fangraphs interview. Great stuff in there. Love how the decision making is based on personnel/situation and not just doctrine. I always felt there was something about this guy back when he broke in with the Cubs. Great to see how far he has come. Good addition to the list of candidates.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    You're welcome. He's a good fit and I think there's a nice mix of candidates there. I think Martinez's probably the strongest in-game strategist of the bunch, but that may not be a priority in this search. I think he'll be a good manager but I'm not sure he'll be the best fit.

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    I hate to hear that on Edwards, as he is the only guy in the system with the possibility of being a #1 in the relatively near future. Theo and Jed seem quite high on him, so hopefully this is a case where they are right and the scouts wrong.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He has frontline stuff. It's a matter of him being able to pitch 200+ innings year after year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Pedro Martinez/Hudson have that slight frame and they turned out pretty good. Now because of that their shelf-life should be limited and that too is true for both. So, lets get a few cheap years out of him and look to move him before his eventual break-down.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    There are always exceptions. I hope he becomes one of them.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In the scouting video on youtube, his velocity drops the deeper he goes in games. If he can add stamina, which sounds a like a fairly big if at this point, he could turn out. I'm sure the Cubs will have him on a regiment this winter, but from reading his tweets, he's been on one for a while now...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    An aware manager and a strong bullpen can save bullets for a pitcher who lacks stamlna. On those occasions when one's has a good lead even horses should be given a rest. If Dusty had done that Prior might still be pitching.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Roy Oswalt. Jack McDowell was a top-flight starter for 6-8 years and was a stringbean at 6'5" and 190 lbs. John Smoltz was also a power pitcher who was stringbean like, even though he had to endure numerous arm problems. So, if Edwards pans out, we keep him 5 years and let him go before he breaks down. Or maybe shift him to the pen.

  • The Martinez learning under Maddon reminds me of Maddon learning under Scioscia. Based from the articles I would like Renteria or Martinez.

    Also, we should have the top 4 become top 5 with another great pick, which could potentially turn into 5 in the top 30. Man good times finally might be here. That being said, how does the current top 4 compare to previous top 3,4? Say during the early 2000's or mid 80's etc?

  • Since PP thinks Bryant may come up to the big leagues next year and be in RF, is that because he thinks Baez will already be at 3B, and when will these two young players switch positions, before or after they get here?

  • In reply to Cleme:

    Didn't say. Just said he thinks he's a RF'er. I took it to mean that he felt that was his best position.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Bryant's getting a lot of positive reports on his play at third thus far in the AFL. An infield of Bryant, Castro, Baez and Rizzo coming into their prime in 3 years, is very intriguing. Outfielders are easier to acquire than 3B. Here's hoping the Professor is wrong on this one.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    It'd be nice if he can stay at 3B. He's a big kid and he's young. My biggest fear is that he'll fill out and lose quickness as he physically matures.

    In the end, I don't care too much how the pieces fit together. If somehow Bryant, Baez, Soler, Castro, Almora, and Rizzo all find their way into the lineup and perform up to expectations, the Cubs will be in great shape.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


    Also...Tanaka. 'Nuff said.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When you get a chance to see him, before the game watch him stretch. (This was pointed out to me and is now something I watch for) He is very flexible this is a big factor in maintaining quickness as he fill out.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    He's an impressive athlete. I was surprised with his agility and smoothness moving to both sides. Kept his feet moving and didn't just bend and lean like most "tall/lanky' guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wouldn't mind Alcantara in there too, which would mean Baez at 3rd, Bryant in RF. He would give the offense a different look with his speed & switch hitting. & I want to keep Beef - he just keeps getting better.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know if I would say better fit for him. I think it makes the puzzle pieces fit better for the cubs though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And if Soler pans out, Bryant to LF. Then all we need is for the NL to adopt the DH and stick Vogelbomb in there in 3 years.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    have heard it would be Soler would be the one moving.

  • Seeing all the top flight pitching that's going on this postseason is really making me jealous. My biggest criticism of this FO is their inability thus far to add a blue chip arm. Talent is talent though and I definitely can't criticize them for the overall talent infusion to the system. Hopefully some of the arms like Skulina and Maples will emerge next season as bigger pieces than they currently are. Tanaka would clearly be a great get but I'm a little troubled that I haven't really seen any serious Cubs speculation other than here at Cubs Den. Not saying that's not good enough for me. Perhaps missing out on Tanaka could merit a run at Ubaldo or Johnson. The common theme in the post season is big horses that throw hard and are nasty. Samardzija seems tailor made for the post season if we can just get him there!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Don't count on Maples. I think he is more of a candidate to be released than make it to the Majors.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He's not a candidate to be released for another three years.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Don't be troubled. You should know by now that we have beaten the national media to the punch many times! I fully expect the Cubs to make a run on Tanaka.

    And on Samardzija, there's a reason the Cub would rather hang on to him. I don't expect the Cubs to deal him until they feel there really is no other choice.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hey, I come here first for good reason! :)

  • I will also say that I'm just as happy with the quality of the second tier guys in the system as I am with the quality of the elite guys.

    Having Olt/Alcantara/Vogelbach/Johnson/Edwards as that second tier is really nice. Big year for Vogelbach value wise in 2014. If he gets proportionately better again and makes it to AA he'll start to have some serious value. I also like Johnson to have a Lance Lynn type impact. Love our top ten list against anyone's! I still kinda wish Mark Appel was on it. Looks like we may have found our 3 hitter instead so I guess I'll live.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Bryant now grades out higher then Appel. It would be nice to have a top 5 pitcher but a top 5 hitter don't grow on trees either. The cubs are trying to acquire those pitcher via trade.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    The question naturally becomes - what are we going to have to give up to acquire that TOR pitcher. I don't know what to think about that exactly. I guess if we do indeed have enough depth in position players to move some of them in that effort, I'm for it. I just know the other FO is going to be very reluctant to give up their stud for prospects, so they'll have to be blown away with the offer. Will our own pitching prospects be good enough to keep us in games until the bats we envision take over? Let's also keep in mind that our future defense should be above average, also. But then the question becomes - would the bat heavy, very good defense, and just a "decent" rotation get us to the show. Old school says that pitching and defense is the way, so I'm not sure.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Who says they can get a stud like Archie Bradley or Tallion? It may cost Samarjiza or Castro but its possible. Matt Scherzer and Shiels will be a FAs next year and maybe they go that route. It is possible to get pitching.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Of course, it's possible - I never said anything different. I'm just wondering what it will take and if giving up resources is the best route to take at this time.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    My stance is that if a team were willing to trade ML ready, high end pitching for Samardzija, they'd be better off just letting those guys pitch instead.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Good pitching beats good hitting except in the draft. There good hitting can be used to acquire good pitching that survives arm injury.

  • If the Tanaka bid doesn't work out, do we assume that Epstoyer will be in the market for "value" FA signings( J Johnson, Kazmir, et al) or are there actually legs to the Price talk? Personally, I've come to grips with the reality that, at some point in the process, we'll need to trade prospects for young vets but isn't it too early to go all in on someone like Price? What do you guys think of Bauer as a potential buy-low candidate? With the emergence of Salazar, they might be more amenable to moving him. Gallo , what are your people saying about Bauer-obviously a tough year?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Bauer, is an interesting pitcher but I am not sure about his ability to handle the ML mental. I think he will have a hard time adjusting to everyday life because of his before fame traditions.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kev, Id stay away from Bauer. Mechanics are inconsistent and hes a head case when it comes to coachability.

  • I totally understand the jealousy with respect to the great pitchers we're seeing in the playoffs.

    But if we read John's recent two articles in tandem, it kind of makes me a little psyched that we have so many high potential impact batters at the top of our prospect list now. Why? Because as we look back at the 2002-2004 era, losing our two stud pitchers to injuries was probably the biggest downfall (well before Hendry spent like a drunken sailor). With high impact bats and pitchers in volume in the system, maybe we've got a better recipe this time.

    Yeah, we're gonna need a stud pitcher or two, but they come from many places in the draft and internationally.

  • I am willing to wager that the Cubs will be one of the 3 Tanaka can choose from when it comes to signing.

    Not many pundits that I follow are even considering the Cubs as a destination for him, and I think the Cubs are just laying in the weeds until it comes time to submit their bid.

    There have been concerns that there isn't money to spend right now, but I am not buying that. They will be very aggressive in signing him and think we have a fair shot to land him.

  • I hear you on the idea of multiple routes to arms. However, given the scarcity of attractive , young FA arms on the mkt & in international mkt, developing them internally is more is more important than ever. The cost in trades has gotten pretty ridiculous- see Shields & even Garza deals.

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    I understand Parks' concerns about Edwards, and I have them too, but stuff is stuff. The ability to locate that stuff is more. I make no bones. I wanted him included in that trade, and no one was happier when it happened. If he doesn't make it as a starter, my guess is he still makes it, and whatever he becomes, he is going to be good at it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think the fear is that he might be Juan Cruz, not Pedro Martinez. Cruz was dazzling as a prospect, but he couldn't get past 90 pitches. I believe that more guys have trouble adding strength and stamina. So the odds are stacked against him. Time for Camp Colvin.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    I'm not sure the Cruz/Edwards comp is a good one, except in terms of physical stature. Cruz never had Edwards movement on his fastball or his command of it. There was never a point in Cruz's minor league career where you could look at him and say he flat out dominated.

    A better comp might be Tom Gordon, who was very dominant as a prospect in the same way Edwards is now. Though much shorter than Edwards or Cruz, Gordon had about the same body type. He also got the same kind of remarks from the prognosticators as Edwards gets now. Their stuff is similar and so is the command of it.

    Gordon just never could stand up to the riggers of life in a major league rotation. His IP per 162 as a starter was around 167.2. He just didn't have the stamina. The best thing that ever happened to him was Boston putting him in the bullpen. He quickly found his niche.

    I look at Edwards and I can't help but think, if he doesn't make it as a starter, there might be a dominant late inning reliever inside of him.

  • Should there be a concern about Dave Martinez that the Tampa system has not developed Latin players so his exposure to those players is limited? Tampa has never spent big dollars in that arena.

  • Everyone keeps assuming that Castro is in the long term future of this team thus forcing positional moves of both Bryant and Baez. Alcantara has already relocated for Baez. Castro's deal is moveable and he could warrant decent pitching in return. It is something that is not out of the realm of possibility with good teams needing long term shortstop help.

  • In reply to Gator:

    It is possible but, one cannot assume that Baez will be a better SS or that Alcantara and Bryant will be better options at 2b and 3b. Time will tell but, I think Castro stays in the picture as our shortstop.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I predict a huge bounce back year for Starlin next season. Along with continued improved defense.

  • John, I don't want to put too much pressure on a kid like Almora. Therefore I'll assume that when he finally is ready for Big League ball Almora will only hit .371 for the season as opposed to the .571 he is hitting now. Fair? :)

  • You can find good pitching. The hardest thing for a team to develop is power hitting impact bats, who are consistent threats at the plate. You probably noticed this watching the Cubs play last season.
    The Cubs lineup has a chance to get really good pretty fast over the next few years.

  • I would love to see Tanaka a Cub, but the free agencies these past few years tells me the cubs are not going to join a bidding war for this guy.

  • In reply to Mick:

    They tried to give Anibal Sanchez $85 mil, why would you think they wouldn't spend when given the chance? They are at a different spot in the rebuild now as opposed to 2 years ago.

  • In reply to Mick:

    That's not what I'm worried about. I believe they'll put in a great bid, probably one that some would consider too high, but I can't really blame them if they get beat out by a ridiculously high bid. I hope the new rules kick in this year, allowing 3 teams to negotiate. Could drive up the annual salary, but at least then the Cubs would know what they were competing with.

  • Seeing all of the success for Darvish, Ryu, Cespedes, Puig, etc, really hope the Cubs muscle up on their bid. There doesn't seem to be a lot chances to get young, mature pitching. Really hope it works out.

  • I don't think that the Cubs should get in a bidding war period. Those too high and too many years contracts take a huge toll on being able to afford FA pieces down the road. I do think that a given FA might be worth more to the Cubs than they would be to other teams, but no bidding wars please.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Its not a bidding war. You post a silent bid, one time, and the highest bid gets a window to negotiate a contract while the post is in escrow or if the deadline passes with no contract the money is returned. So you are only posting what you deem as a number or amount worthy of an exclusive negotiating window. I believe that is how it works.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    My bad, misunderstood your meaning. Sorry for reading it incorrectly.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Id disagree with Tanaka(just like with Darvish) because they are relatively young. Tanaka should be a decent ML arm for the duration of his contract, if he pitches anything close to what Darvish has done so far.

  • My gut instinct tells me Baez is destined for 2B due to his footwork with Bryant starting his career at 3B while Castro mans SS in the next few years. Olt and Lake will be super-utility type players. Alcantara is intriguing due to his switch hitting.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Does Olt have the athletic ability to play anywhere other than 3B and the corner outfield positions?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    No...he can play 1B, but I'm sure you figured that already.

  • John, what is your opinion of taking a run at Schertzer? Not that it's out there, Cole Hamels? Philly is older and needs to she'd some payroll to be players in other deals.

  • To justify $100 million, I'd say he would have to average 16+ wins, sub 3.00 ERA, and 200+ innings pitched per season. That's my completely unscientific way of looking at things. It just feels to me that those numbers would constitute getting paid that kind of money.

    I don't think wins are important for things like awards but over recent seasons they have been dismissed so much by stat geeks that I think they're now underrated.

    Granted, I personally look at things like FIP, WHIP, QS, etc, etc before wins, but the point is to win the game. I know a guy could have a 2.50 ERA and 10 wins, but that tells me the team shouldn't be shelling out $100 million if they don't have the proper players to give their ace run support. That goes for most circumstances, not all. Because you will see a Kershaw with a potent line-up "only" get 16 wins as he did this year. Things like that will happen, so I hope no one tries to paint it as "Oh so you think Kershaw is barely an ace because he just reached your 16 win benchmark, would he not be an ace if he only got 15 wins?"

    I think giving Tanaka $100+ million handcuffs the Cubs budget on what they could do as far as free agency goes for the next couple years. That they'll be more inclined to let free agent hitters pass them by as they wait for the kids to come. Fast forward to 2016 as one of the big four doesn't make it, one is a marginal player going through typical young player struggles, one shows flashes of breaking out, and one is a stud. Yet we're 9th in the NL in runs scored as Tanaka pitches another 7 inning, 2 run gem then leaves the game with another no-decision. And that's just me playing along to the tune that this guy is an ace.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Only roughly half of that commitment would affect payroll space though. The other half is posting fee. I'm going to guess its 6yrs 62 MM. That's 200 innings of 3.50 and below for me. He, like Darvish is doing is going to have a great chance to out-pitch his salary.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    It's still spending $100 million, I don't think it matters if it's all posting fee, or all payroll space, they're going to have to give up $100 million regardless.

    Say it was $90 million posting fee and a $10 million contract, or a $90 million contract with $10 million posting fee, it's all the same to me because you're paying the same money.

    I wouldn't say the odds are with him, or any player for that matter, to live up to that contract, let alone call it a great chance.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    It's not the same. The posting fee money doesn't come out of the budget for payroll because its a one time fee, not amortized over the life of the contract.

    Regardless, the contract itself will be in the neighborhood of Darvish's 6yr 56 MM. To put that in perspective, Edwin Jackson makes three million more per year than Yu Darvish. Jackson will make 13 next year and Darvish will make 10!! On the open market, the season Darvish just had would be worth around 20 MM. They got him for half that. As a matter of fact he only made 9.5 this year. That's what I mean when I say out-pitch the contract. Tanaka has a good chance to be better than his actual pay grade. You have to understand, as far as AAV, he'll be in the same pay grade as Feldman, Josh Johnson, Dan Haren...but if he's a TOR guy, that's like getting a 50% discount. That's why teams are so happy to throw 50 million at a guy. That plus the fact that that 50 MM doesn't have to stay on the books for half a decade or more. Teams have ways of recouping millions of dollars much faster than you think.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    It's Rickett's spending $100 million either way, it's the same.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Oh. My bad, Yemi.

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    Assuming Castro hasn't been ruined forcing Baez to move to another position, there is still and argument to be made for keep Alcantara around. I like power hitting teams as much as anyone, but when you look at the great dynasties in baseball, those teams were well balanced. They had an ability to do it all on offense.

    The Cubs own history suggest this is so. Live by the home run and you'll die by the home run. The 2003 team was a lot like that. The 1984 team was more well rounded. Considering some of the power hitters coming up through the ranks, keeping an Alcantara around has some value.

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    My best hope for the 2014 draft is still that Trea Turner slips to the Cubs. A college shortstop with a plus hit tool and elite speed could easily be the centerpiece for the TOR starter we need so badly.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just my thoughts, Mike. But I don't think you ever draft a player with the intention of trading him. And I'm sure you're aware, any player drafted in 2014 wouldn't be eligible to be traded until the following draft.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    You'd draft him as an asset at an important position that's pretty filled at the major league level. Perhaps he plays so well that Castro or Baez is the one who is traded. But it's going to be difficult to impossible to get playing time for him, Baez, Castro, and Alcantara.

    So, yeah, I'd agree you don't draft him bound and determined to trade him at all costs, but with the knowledge that, realistically, he's a backup in the long term plan and likely to be more valuable as a trade piece than a major leaguer. I think Hannemann from the last draft falls into that category, as well.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    First of all Trea Turner is probably not a back up and second, were he, why would you use a #4 pick for a guy who projects to be a backup when you need pitching?

    I'd say draft Turner if he is available and positioning will work itself out. But if you think he is a backup then you are either too high on your organization or you are not taking the BPA.

  • What are the Cubs chances, if they are even looking, of landing Alex Guerrero?

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    Excellent article.

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