Cubs Notes: New scouting report on Suk-Min Yoon; plus notes on Ellsbury, Castillo, Edwards

Cubs Notes: New scouting report on Suk-Min Yoon; plus notes on Ellsbury, Castillo, Edwards

Let's start the day with a couple of scouting reports, one on rumored Cubs interest Suk-Min Yoon.  Once again, it doesn't fire up the imagination.  The next on one on Trea Turner, however, does...

Suk-Min Yoon

From an industry source,

Yoon is not Ryu obviously. He was primarily a starter in Korea, but he was always wearing down and having to be moved to the bullpen through his entire KBO career. I really don't know how things end up in the US. Fastball is 90-91. Good slider when he's on, but hasn't been on for a couple years. Also has a change and curveball.

For more info on Yoon, here's a handy Stat sheet from Dan of MyKBO, an excellent website to follow Korean baseball players.

I haven't personally been able to confirm the Cubs interest in Yoon, though the age range makes sense.  It's worth noting, however, that Scott Boras represents Yoon and he seems to have a habit of linking the Cubs to his clients.  If there is interest, the projection based on information I have is that he'd be a relief pitcher in the U.S.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Speaking of the Boras connection, Jon Heyman links the Cubs to Jacoby Ellsbury. But maybe this isn't necessarily the Boras PR machine at work.  It is entirely possible that the Cubs will gauge Ellsbury's interest in coming to Chicago.  There are plenty of things that make him a fit.  He's lefty, he gets on base, he runs the bases well, and he's a middle of the field defender.  That's significant in the NL because as players age  they can move to a corner position.  In this case Ellsbury can move to LF when Almora is ready.  Normally LF is a position you reserve for power hitters but lack of power doesn't figure to be an issue if things go according to plan for the Cubs.  What's more, Ellsbury has some pop and can make the adjustment and hit for more power if the situation calls for it down the road.  Speed players tend to retain their value longer, largely because they are athletic players who can make these kind of adjustments.

 Welington Castillo

Sahadev Sharma writes a nice article about Mike Borzello's work with Welington Castillo.  Castillo became a defensive stalwart behind the plate and Borzello is getting much of the credit.  Welly also improved on offense as the year went on.  There is some talk he could become one of the Cubs core players as he is just 26, but with the best in-prime free agents being LH hitting catchers, the Cubs may be forced to get a little creative.

C.J. Edwards

Edwards was named MiLB pitcher of the year and there is a great article here on him.  Edwards is likely a 3rd starter despite his great stuff because of a slight build that may affect his stamina.  Still, if you can get a 6 year cost-controlled mid rotation guy for 2 months of a player you had no plans to re-sign, that is outstanding value.

Looking back at the 2013 MLB Draft

Baseball America gave out the Cubs Draft Report Card (insider only) and as you might expect, Kris Bryant dominates the article.  He is the best pure hitter, best power hitter, best pro debut and closest to the majors of all the Cubs draftees.  Charcer Burks and Jacob Hanneman were considered the fastest players while C Will Remiliard made the list as one of the best defensive players.  Pitchers getting mention include the usual suspects: Rob Zastryzny, Tyler Skulina, Scott Frazier and Trey Masek.  Trevor Clifton gets mentioned as a good late round pick.

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  • With you , Tom L, and Heyman reporting it, there must be something to this talk.

    With regard to Welly, the Cubs might be subtly leveraging their financial resources by capitalizing on Welly's significant, cost-influenced trade value and rolling into a veteran, left-handed (albeit FA) at C.

    I think Shark's trade value will be pretty high , in light of what is shaping up to be a crazy mkt for FA SP( see Lincecum deal, Tanaka mania). I'm guessing Epstoyer will want a resolution there , one way or the other, fairly quickly.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    There's probably some smoke there. Thought it was just Boras again, but told it's not such a crazy idea. Could happen.

    The Shark, Salty talk are possibilities. Just have to see how things shake down. So many variables at this stage.

  • Ellsbury will be a nice pickup if the years and numbers work.
    What about loosing a comp pick in the draft?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    That's an excellent point and that would definitely be weighed into the decision. Right now it's just something to consider, lots of things can still happen between now and then.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    one way to offset the loss of 2nd rounder for a free agent singing would be to trade for a competitive balance pick. Rockies, Orioles, Indians all could be teams looking to swap a pick for talent. Orioles and Indians are borderline contenders and might look at a prospect or player on the Cubs as an upgrade, or Rockies may look to move it for a prospect to help along their retooling (Gaby Sanchez netted Miami #35 from Pittsburgh)

    one question I have on that subject; can a pick be traded for international slots? If I remember, the Cubs will have top 5 money next year but won't be able to spend of 250k at a time. If they have a few huge slots, could (on June 2nd or whatever day the gates open) pass one or two or all of the slots to get one of these picks?

  • I disagree that "speed players" hold their value longer. If a large percentage of a player's value offensively and defensively is predicated on what they can do with their legs where does their value go as they lose speed to age and/or injury.

    I may be mistaken but I could have sworn you were down on Bourne last year (and rightfully so) because his value was based on his legs. Granted , Ellsbury is a better hitter but there are similarities.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Have you read Tango Tiger? Did a great study on that. Also works for the Cubs as a consultant.

    However, I didn't think Bourn was that good a player. His value is strictly based on his legs (SBs, range in CF), but that was more my opinion. I could have been wrong. Still could.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have not read that. I like Ellsbury and maybe he keeps his speed into his mid-30s. I think we've seen the power from a couple years ago was a clear outlier. I just have a hard time making a potential 9 figure investment in someone with so much of the value tied up in speed. Like you, if the Cubs were to make a sizeable investment this offseason I'd much prefer Tanaka.

  • In reply to Eric:

    They may not make that investment when all is said and done, but was told it wasn't as out of the question as I assumed it was.

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    In reply to Eric:

    Eric, I agree with you completely. Christian Guzman, Luis Castillo, Roger Cedeno and many, many more seem to support your theory as well. The legs go, usually in the early 30's, and there isn't much of a major leaguer left after that.

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    In reply to Eric:

    I think Ellsbury's value is his ob% more than his legs. The speed certainly adds but I think the ob% is the main attraction.

  • John, that's a great article on CJ Edwards. Must read, really. The excitement builds! Thanks.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    It's impossible not to root for this kid after reading that.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Pretty much what I was thinking.

  • My personal definition of a core player would be someone who puts together two good seasons in a row that is in their 20's. Exceptions can be made.

    Welly and Wood are halfway there. I'll give Starlin a pass even though his future can be considered murky with the club. Besides that I don't really see any core players. I'm not going to call any of the prospects core players until they prove they can play at the major league level.

    Funny story about Welington. I saw him stretching pregame with Dolis and a fan yelled out "Beef" the look on Castillo's face was the same look I have seen countless times on my friend Adrian's face. When Adrian meets someone new nine times out of ten people say "Adrian?!? Like from Rocky? Yo Adrian!" (In Rocky's voice), it was the same uncomfortable annoyed smile Adrian gives instead of telling everyone "Don't say that!!!" Dolis found it funny though.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I agree with that definition and that exceptions can be made. I also feel like there is a separate category called 'expected core players'. We have several guys who are safe to make certain assumptions about. Your definition of core is the one that counts more.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I couldn't get to it last night, but I wanted to say it was enjoyable going and forth with you even if we didn't see eye to eye on everything.


  • In reply to Yemi:

    It was indeed. Cheers.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Not sure if castro's future is that murky in chicago. I think they will give him every chance to keep the job and I have no worrIes that he will be back to himself. I agree with the rest of what you are saying.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    I think the key to defining your core players is that they be "impact" players. You can define that a variety of ways-WAR, etc. but I think that's where the rubber meets the road. The past two years, we've had a slew of replacement level players that provided value at a low dollar. We don't want to get too in love with average players just because of their age or contract. From that standpoint, I'd be less inclined to trade Baez or Bryant than really anyone in the organization. I'm not convinced the FO is committed to anyone at this point. I think it's possible that Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija, Wood or Castillo could be traded. Maybe not likely -but certainly possible.

  • I don't really understand the need or the want for Yoon. He is a fifth starter at best and a long relief type of guy. We all ready have that guy in Carlos Villanueva. Why waste money on that type of guy? We can use that money to get a real free agent. A fifth starter and a bullpen guy can be filled within a system.

    Has anyone heard how Wellington is doing after the knee surgery? I would be happy with Ellsbury.

    Would the cubs ever talk to Ozzie Guillen?

  • I wouldn't have any problem adding a guy like Ellsbury to the line-up. I'm glad they're at least going to gauge his interest. I find it hard to believe he'd want to leave Boston for Chicago especially if they're reigning World Champs.

    I have two questions. How likely is Boston to want him back? Would that likelihood change if they win the WS?

    He'd be a great get for at least the next 3 seasons. A nine figure deal??

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I think Boston has some younger guys they'd rather go with so they can allocate Ellsbury money elsewhere.

  • That is a nice article on CJ Edwards. A pitcher's performance depends as much on the size of his heart than the rest of him. Lincecum does ok with his slight build - Chris Volstad didn't get too much help with his 6' 8" stature.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    nice post.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    That great mental makeup will take him a long way. I'd be happy if he's a #3, though. Not sure why that's a bad thing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Having a young, solid, mentally in the game #3 pitcher is never a bad thing. Aces are nice - but you got to have 4 other guys you can depend on to cover the rotation spots.

    Frankly - if the Cubs could put together a rotation just made up of 5-6 solid & healthy #2 and #3 guys - even sans a 'shut down' Ace - by 2015 when the youngsters mashing in MiLB start to have an impact - they would have a team that is built to contend for years to come. At least as long as they have a dependable bullpen to go with the rotation.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I have a gut feeling that Edward will be traded against when the Cubs are ready to win to get a top of the rotation Pitcher.

  • I think the Ellsbury thing makes sense. I'm just not crazy about giving up a draft pic. I've always liked him better than Choo though. But still, his contract isn't likely to come at a discount, plus we would have to forfeit a pic that could net us another SP prospect on the same level as a "Rob Zastryzny". That makes the price too high, assuming Almora is ready in 2016. That's a big "if" (not a knock on him) and we have no plan "B" other than trade/FA so.....

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    this is strictly, strictly hindsight but based on what we've seen from both Edwards and Garza since the trade, and based on our lack of interest in keeping Garza, we would've made that trade straight up one for one. Throw in Ramirez and the potential of Olt (Grimm I'm not so high on yet), and considering what kind of contract Garza would have wanted to stay, this trade looks like highway robbery. One for the good guys for a change.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Agreed. I think both major trades (Feldman for Strop/Arrieta) last year will come to look like highway robbery.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Agreed. I think it would have been a good trade if it were one for one.

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    "...this isn't necessarily the Boras PR machine at twork."

    I think you meant to say, "at twerk".

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    I'm not that hip.

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    1. No on Ellsbury.
    If we need to spend money on a position player, and commit 9 figures to him...I expect more consistency and less injury history. If he'll take 2-3 years, sure! But it's a risky contract.

    2. High on Edwards. Even with the durability questions. 5 quality innings are still valuable. I want to see what Derek Johnson can do with this kid.

    3. Unless Wellington Castillo can bring back a top of the rotation-esq prospect, there's no reason to trade him. He may put together a season nearly equal to Salty. Save that money and go big for Tanaka.

    Next offseason is when I think we should start taking free agency seriously.

  • C.J. Edward story reads just like one of those old John Tunis novels of yesteryear, you just got to pull for this kid to reach the majors.After reading all this trash talk about Davy Martinez's past, it was great to read an article what baseball is all about.

  • Was the front office truly serious about Bourn last year or was that simply speculation? If they considered him then I would have to think they are seriously intrigued by Ellsbury.

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    I don't think they were serious about him.

  • Watching kozma make 2 misplays in the world series. More proof that there is NO DAMN CURSE. It can happen to anyone

  • God I hope the Ellsbury talk is just smoke in the mirrors.

    The team cannot afford to sign him and have him be a liability in two or three years.

    As one of the posters mentioned above, hopefully whatever funds the organization DOES have is allocated towards Tanaka.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Great report came out today on Bloomberg business, Cubs listed as 4th highest revenue in baseball, at 320 million. 400 million increase in team value, to 1.32 billion since Ricketts bought the team.
    This bill of goods they are selling, that a 90 mil. payroll is all they can afford, is not going to fly much longer. Payroll should be at 140 million.

  • fb_avatar

    Revenue ≠ profit

    Ricketts incurred massive debt from the purchase and the debt keeps growing.

    I'm not saying they couldn't afford the $140M you mentioned but its odd to say the payroll should be higher. Why? Should he be spending money just for appearances. They made a really legitimate effort to acquire Annibal this year and it didn't work out.

    I don't want them throwing money at anybody just to have payroll at an acceptably high level. That's absurd.

    We're rebuilding. We should spend money when there is money to be spent.

  • I really haven't heard anyone on the Cubs say that 90 million payroll is all they can afford. I HAVE heard some of them say that this is not the time to spend big on the free agent market, but that is hardly the same thing.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Truth. No need to spend recklessly just because you have the means.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Adding a bat to a team that was 28th in runs in back to back years would be beneficial.

    Cubs are looking at another 90-95 loss season if they don't upgrade the offense. Adding a proven bat doesn't necessarily mean they are spending recklessly, especially because they have a lot of money coming off the books. They could afford to sign Choo or Ellsbury and their payroll would be lower than last season.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    I do agree with you. But spend the money wisely, not just because you have it. Conjures up images of my ex. Sheesh!

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I think Choo is wise. It's not like he's going to all of a sudden forget how to get on base when he's 34/35 years old. He's a great table setter.

    Obviously not at any price but I think just because his agent or whoever it was said he's looking for $100 million means he's going to get it.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Pass on Choo's awful defense. He is absolutely terrible. If he doesn't hit, he is a gaping hole of a roster spot.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    How many games is his defense going to cost the Cubs in a given season?

    He can't be worse than Soriano on that front. McKay improved Soriano. Adding him to a corner spot, or hiding if you will, will be better than playing him in center like the Reds did. Play Lake in center, better athlete anyway.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Shio-Soo Choo roughly translates to "defensive butcher". His career UZR is -20.9 and in Soriano's worst year he was a -2.9. In fact, during the years Soriano was most criticized he was average at best and at worst. Only Lucas Duda is more of a butcher than Shin-Soo Choo. Pass.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    You're comparing Choo as a CF/RF to Soriano as a LF. That's not a fair comparison.

    I never envisioned Choo playing CF/RF for the Cubs either.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Positional comparison aside Choo is horrible as a fielder. At a -20.9 UZR he should be a DH. If you want to compare apples to apples, fine, put Choo in LF but the results won't be much better. Besides, I am not comparing him to Soriano, I am saying that Ellsbury is a better acquisition. Ellsbury is a career +43.7 and his defensive skill set is unlikely to diminish. You brought up Soriano for the record, which is why I made that reference.

  • Really encouraging information. I seem to remember sometime last year John had an article that placed the Cubs revenue somewhere in the middle of the pack. To go from the middle of the pack to 4th highest sounds like fantastic news. Just curious who were the teams in front of the Cubs and what was their revenue?

  • In reply to John57:

    Yankees - $570M
    Dodgers - $325M
    Red Sox - $405M
    That's team revenue (not including sports networks and lots of other stuff). Here's the link if you want to research more:

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    Thanks, I have to look at that article. Seems a little funny if the Dodgers are only 5 million more than the Cubs.

  • I like the Ellsbury possibility for even more than the measurables. This Cubs team needs a winning veteran who plays the game the way that Epstein desires. I think he could serve as a tremendous mentor and leader on a team that desperately needs one.

    Also, other than my first Cubs Den comment which was to thank John for his tremendous work on this site (which I can not live without), this is my second post on this fine page. I hope to step out a bit more and contribute to the passion that you all bring for this club that has caused us all our fair share (plus some) of suffering. ;) It will be glorious day when the Cubs win the pennant. Of course I say that while recognizing that my Grandpa was saying the same thing. Go Cubs!

  • I'm a bit less concerned about the draft pick component of an Ellsbury signing. We'd be losing a 2nd rd pick in this case , not like we'd be forgoing a sure-fire, impact talent- that the forfeit of a 1st rder. At this point in iur farm system's evolution, the impact of losing a 2nd rounder isn't that significant, as we're absolutely loaded with depth-if not stud SP prospects. If we were talking about sacrificing a top-20 pick, I'd be singing a different tune.

    All that being said, there are other reasons to be concerned about an Ellsbury signing-I.e contract length, potential speed deterioration,etc.)

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    I don't know why people dismiss the 2nd round pick.

    Our 2nd rounder last year was equal to a 1st round sandwich pick in '09 or '10.

    Plenty of impact players we'd love to have were taken around there. Syndegaard, A Sanchez, Olt, Taijuan Walker etc etc etc were guys taken around the same area our 2nd rounder will be. It is not a pick to be undervalued or discounted.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I agree. Stockpile as many high draft picks as possible.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    What would you estimate the odds of a second round pick being equal or better than that of the player signed to give away that pick? I'd say less than 10%.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Better? Maybe.

    More likely to help us win? Very debatable. If we give Ellsbury 100 million and he gets injured again, or his speed disappears then we really haven't improved the team.

    ESPECIALLY considering the likelihood that the 2nd round pick would be pitching we sorely need. Thro has shown a string preference for position players with our 1st pick and pitching heavy after that.

    Better is a very subjective term here. Ellsbury would be better NOW but now is not when we want to be good.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    What's the odds of a second round pick even making the major leagues? I don't have any stats, I don't know, it's a question for anyone out there to answer.

    Pulling numbers out of my ass I'd have to guess less than 25%-30%
    Making an impact at a major league level...10%?
    Sure there's second round picks that work out but it shouldn't stop the Cubs from signing a free agent they want.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You still can't dispute that a couple of prime years of a known commodity is more valuable to a franchise than a random 2nd round pick's potential value. There is value to that pick but the known commodity in the prime years blows that out of the water.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    But you are not just paying a "2nd round pick". You are also paying a 100 Million contract so of course the player is/should be worth more than just a 2nd round pick. He should be worth a 2nd round pick plus 100 million.

  • In reply to John57:

    I don't think anyone is saying it's only paying a 2nd round pick.

    We understand it's going to cost money to get the player, just saying it's not a big deal to lose the 2nd round pick because less than 10% make successful big leaguers.

    $100 million is also an estimate. Nationals gave up a comp pick to get Rafael Soriano and his contract was for $22 million. Not every qualifying offer player is going to cost $100 million.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Yes but in the thread, all they are comparing is the value of a 2nd round pick with the value of the veteran FA. Of course the value of the veteran is going to be higher than that of a draft pick.

    Ellsbury is currently asking for 100 million. I don't know if he gets it though. You are right.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Actually, you can. That "known commodity's" value is relative to each franchise. Ellsbury (or whomever) has a different value to different franchises. The point being that to some franchises (Astros, presumably the Cubs et al) his value would be much lower over the next year or so than to other clubs (Red Sox, Tigers, etc) simply because of the place those franchises are at. What is being compared here is temporary "known commodity"'s value to a potential prospect's long-term possible value. For the team not in position to win now, the latter should almost certainly have more value.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    That is my point. Play the percentages. If you really like the player & you don't have a system like the White Sox, it shouldn't be a deterrent. Not something you want to make a habit of but it needs to be done , from time to time. I'm not necessarily saying I want to sign Ellsbury but just that pick wouldn't stop me.

    We need to remember the rebuild is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Couldn't agree more. I'm not too excited about a 2nd round pick that might START to help up in 3-4 years down the road but is more likely to not make the majors at all.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    What's the difference between a 2nd round pick that "might START to help up in 3-4 years down the road" and a FA signing that will cost that pick who will provide much of his help in the first 2 years or so, and that "help" will most likely merely helping a team like the Cubs finish at .500 and/or 3rd or 4th in the division? I just don't see how there is really value in the FA at that point. If we're having this conversation in a year or so or there is a really talented FA who is available now/there aren't talented FAs projected to be available next off-season or the following, it is a bit different to talk about.

    I just don't see peoples' infatuation with giving up a high draft pick and loads of money for someone to merely help the team get to .500 the next couple or few years.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    There's no good free agents next year.

    No one is infatuated with giving up a pick. People are infatuated with improving an offense that was 28th in runs the past two seasons.

    We have to add a bat sometime. We're not going to put blind hope that 1st and 2nd year players save the offense.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    There's not many examples in recent baseball history of Hugh priced free agents actually helping their teams.

    The successful teams build through the draft and add FAs when is prudent and financially logical.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    My argument isn't that high priced free agents help teams. It's that 2nd round picks aren't more valuable than free agents.

    In your Ellsbury example you focus on him getting hurt, ok let's do the worst case example the pick, he doesn't make the majors, which is actually far more likely.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Here's an informative article I found with a quick google search...

    The data is from 1990-2006, the odds of finding a successful player in picks 26-30 is 10%. It only goes to the end of the first round. Judging by the graph, you can expect the numbers to go lower as you get into the second round.

    So yeah, less than 10% chance you get a successful player with the 2nd round pick. I'd be very disappointed if the reason the front office doesn't go after a player is because of a draft pick. If he's too much, fine. If he doesn't fit their philosophy, fine. But the draft pick should not hinder them at all.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    With our front office, I'd prefer to trust the scouts a d picks.

    Saying a second round pick is objectively NOT better than a free agent is short sighted.
    OK, he might not make the pro's. Sure. That's possible. Or we could pick up guys like John Lester or Dustin Pedroia. Two guys drafted buy OUR front office in the second round that are currently the best pitcher and position player, respectively, on a team currently in the world series.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yeah, two guys that fall into the less than 10% category. You're siding with lightning in a bottle. Who are the other 2nd round picks by Theo? Let's go through them 1 by 1.

    Lester was drafted in June of 2002. Theo became GM of the Red Sox in the fall of that year. He wasn't the GM when they drafted Lester.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Fair enough on Lester but the 10% is for everyone, including GMs that got fired for crap drafting.

    And as I suggested earlier, the new CBA has skewed the draft. Picks that used to be 1st round Comp picks are now the second round.

    And for a rebuilding team, aging veterqns , IMO, is not as helpful as trusting the process. Focus on FAs that dot cost picks.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I guess that's where we agree to disagree, the free agents who don't demand qualifying offers are not that great, they aren't offered QO for a reason.

    Not to say that players who receive QO's are slam dunks but I think we can agree that they are better players.

    After that it's about money and draft pick. The Cubs have money to spend, I don't think money will hold them back, and I'd like to believe the pick wouldn't hold them back either.

    I don't think it's fair to call any of the players who are going to receive QO's "aging vets". Beltran maybe, maybe Kuroda too, but that term doesn't at all apply to the guys the Cubs might potentially look at.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Not necessarily. A lot of guys don't get QOs because they're on teams with low payrolls that cant affordafford it.

    A QO is a lot of money. Small market teams can't afford to throw that around.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Who would you say is worthy of a QO offer this season that won't get one because the team is in a small market?

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Actually picks are more valuable per they are cheaper and teams have more control over them for a longer period of time. Especially to non playoff type teams. Like what the cubs are

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    If they are the 10% of players who are major leaguers. So yes, you're right, for 10%. The other 90% are of minimal or no value.

    Something that has a 90% rate of not having success doesn't sound valuable to me.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Also theo's track record on big free agent contracts - including Jackson - is pretty spotty. Might be his one weak spot.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I would estimate the odds at somewhat less than 10%, but that is only a portion of the story. Why give up not only a high draft pick, but also tie up a substantial salary for years to come for a guy that has been unable to play half his games in two of the last four years and is crossed over to the wrong side of 30.

    I would much rather spend the money on the best pitcher available.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I'm not really a fan of Ellsbury, my point was more tied to not caring about giving up a pick for any free agent, not just zeroing in on Ellsbury.

    If you like a player, go for him, damn the draft pick.

    The wrong side of 30 isn't a big deal to me. Lots of players are successful well into their 30's. Lots of people act once a guy is out of his prime he's going to shrivel up and die, yet they are counting out 22/23 year old prospects who aren't yet in their prime either to save the team. Doesn't make sense to me. The chief difference is those vets will cost a lot more but the Cubs payroll isn't really high and tied up with bad contracts. A 34/35 year old Choo doesn't scare me.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think its more likely that Ellsbury has an impact on a Major League roster than an unnamed future second rounder. Just because someone says they wouldn't mind losing a 2nd round pick to sign a good veteran doesn't mean "people are dismissing the 2nd round pick." That's a little extreme.

    Where would you put the likelihood that Rob Zastryzny has impact in the majors in the next 5 years?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    And tons more players were picked around the same area of our second rounder that did nothing. THats

  • In reply to Carl9730:


  • fb_avatar

    Unless Ellsbury was willing to come on a 3 year deal I'd stay away from him. Dont really want a 34 year old Ellsbury blocking one of our young players.

    He's going to get paid like the 30/30 guy he was for one year, a few years ago. Not for what he truly is. Wouldn't surprise me to see him get 80-100 mil from some team.

    I put it at 10 percent he comes here. Nothing wrong with kicking the tires though.

  • I'll definitely take the over on $80 mil. There is a lot of sloshing around MLB these days.

  • I hope they look into maybe trading some of their international
    picks ifs possible

  • I think they have no option other than to trade some of their international slot money. They won't be able to spend it themselves.

    I don't know what kind of market there is for it. Houston got Torreyez for an 800,000 dollar slot.

    Can they trade them during the off season? I know you can't trade competitive compensation draft picks, but I don't know about international slot money.

  • Ellsbury (or Choo) is a necessity for this team over the next three-four years. If you carry him for five or six, well sometimes it's worth it.

    He fills every glaring need for a struggling offense that has nothing but youth and roster-fill to look forward to:

    Outstanding veteran leadership.
    Lefty hitter to complement a righty-heavy lineup to come.
    A leadoff hitter who can take a pitch and run.
    Plays outfield, where we have the most immediate needs. It helps that he is a great center fielder.

    Yes. We can afford to let go of a second round pick for a very good, established major league player - a guy who would instantly be the best player on the team.

    Jesus Christ!

    Obviously there are many ways to find another prospect or two in trade, so we don't have to cry about some second-rounder.

    We hope Ellsbury stays healthy.

    All this being said, I sure do like Choo also.

    This team was not quite as bad as it seemed. Sveum cost this team some victories. Castro and Barney didn't hit. Rizzo was weak. A LOT of low-scoring games. You get better years out of the you-know-who's, bring in an Ellsbury, maybe find something in Olt, then call up Bryant and maybe Baez.... We only scored a bit over 50 runs fewer than we gave up this year! This team is close to winning again.

    I do believe an Ellsbury could help to catalyze a big turnaround, and it's about the intangibles of who he is as much as it is about getting a guy on base at the top.

    For once in my lifetime!!!

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Player production typically falters after age 30. Not worth the risk IMO. We are close enough with our impact talent to wait and not make that mistake

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    The prospects coming up won't cost a lot of money for quite a while. Teams are locking up the best players into their thirties before they reach free agency. This is where players have to be signed now. The cubs have an opportunity to buy more good players, they should jump on it.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Most young stars are locked up to 30. Not past. If past 1 or maybe 2 yrs past. Ya know like oh I dunno. Pujols. Hamilton. Robinson cano

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    What impact talent would you consider close? A bunch of kids in their early 20's that are several years away from their prime?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Yes! It is ok to spend big on a free agent! I prefer Choo to Ellsbury, but I think either is what this team needs. The Cubs are at a big advantage this year in that they dont lose a first round pick (hopefully the last year they have that privilege). People can't just bank on prospects only. There are two good long term leadoff men available now and the cubs should strike now.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I disagree with you that signing Ellsbury or Choo is a necessity for this team. Either will obviously make the team record better next year and in the short term but that is not the priority of Epstein. His priority is the long term, not the short term. That being said I am not sure Epstein doesn't sign him. Ellsbury may be young enough to help the long term picture too. It is not clear to me if it would be a good signing now and Theo doesn't tell me what he is planning to do. My guess is Ellsbury does not end up on the Cubs.

  • In reply to John57:

    Theo was signed to a 5 year contract, 2 years are done and they were two of the worst seasons in team history.

    If he's going with the wait until the kids are up and producing route, he's not going to be around to see the plan unfold.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Theo said when he came in that the first two years were going to be real bad. So far he has hit the nail on the head. Then he said in 4 to 5 years we would be a competitive playoff team from then on. I say let's stick with the plan and watch the non linear improvement.

  • In reply to John57:

    He's right so far.

    He's got three years to turn it around. I can't see him signing an extension without a playoff berth or at least really really close to it.

    He already failed with his first manager selection and no one attacked him for him. His reputation saved him this go around. I believe it's going to start to wear thin if they don't start winning.

    I bet he wasn't envisioning the manager misstep when he said the first two years would be bad (I honestly don't remember him saying an exact number of years, but I'll take your word) so that has to rework the timeline a bit.

    Oh well three years to go, he's on the clock.

  • Have you guys read "diamond dollars"? Talks about the economics of baseball and the "win curve". Should give it a read if you havent

  • Too soon, too much. Freakin" Cardinals in 4 or 5.

  • If the Cubs don't add talent this off-season these are the free agents for next season...

    Utter trash.

    So ok, you stay the course, the offense was 28th in runs the past two seasons, I don't see it being much better this season. Even if Baez and Bryant come up I'm not holding my breath on a couple of 20-something's carrying the load. Another 90 loss season.

    Then with that free agent crop, I mean I don't even see anyone on offense besides Hanley (who is in contact extension talks) even worth getting a QO. Slim pickings.

    You're going into Year 4 of the regime counting on players who don't even have a full year of Major League Baseball under their belt to be big offensive contributors. I just don't see it happening. What happens if the players turn into big busts? I know going into this season #1 prospect Profar had sky high expectations, and he had a disappointing season. Not to say he can't have a very successful career but he played how you would expect a 20 year old to play. Overmatched, What happens if Baez goes through those same struggles? I think Baez struggling or being league average as a 1st/2nd year player, which won't help the offense much at all, is much more likely then the role of savior he's going to have to play to bring this team to be a respectable offense.

    My vote goes for Choo and I don't want to hear about him potentially blocking players, ones that are in A ball and are years away.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Profar wasn't what his numbers showed. He never really got consistent at-bats and had zero consistency with where he was played on D. On virtually any other team he'd have been able to stick at his position and thus had a lineup spot with much much more permanence.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The point was he had a disappointing season from what he expected from him at the beginning of the year. In retrospect you can say that he had no consistency but that just gets you a gold star for being a Monday-morning quarterback.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    No, not really. Even when he got brought up I remember reading more than one article citing how hard it will be for him to establish himself without any semblence of consistency.
    He was basically a pinch hitter/super utility guy. Being a rookie is hard enough. But to expect him to perform well while playing everywhere?
    I mean, if you still want to hold him to that standard, go nuts.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I'd love to read these articles that questioned his consistency going into the season, care to show us the links?

    Statements like "I remember reading..." doesn't do much for me. Show us the links.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    I have neither the interest nor the inclination to search for articles over 6 months old, but if you want to believe that a ROOKIE that is forced to play more 2B, DH, SS, 3B, and LF without any consistency should still perform to already sky-high expectations, then knock yourself out.

    (especially considering he had NEVER played LF in the minors, had exactly 1 game at third, and only played 9% of his minor league games at 2B, and never before 2012. So he's not a guy that has experience playing all over.)
    BTW, when he did play SS, where he would be comfortable, he batted 317/369/433

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I kind of figured you wouldn't be able to back it up.

    I clearly stated I don't believe 1st/2nd year players do very well, it's other people thinking he was going to be great immediately, same line of thinking with the Cubs big four.

    Your post is misguided.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    "he had a disappointing season"
    your words, asshat.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Yeah, he hit under .240, id say that's disappointing. You just said I had sky high expectations. Please keep proving my point for me.

    Again, misguided post.

    I find it interesting you were able to look up his stats as a SS but couldn't be bothered to look up those "articles"? Just admit you made it up.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Harper and trout had huge expectations too didn't they? Along with prince fielder and Ryan Braun? How bout mauer and Posey?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    It's easy to name the successful guys, its a lot hardrer to notice all the guys that didnt do anything their first few years. Even most of the players you mentioned weren't superstars that could carry a team on their backs in their first 1.5 years or so. theres nothing in terms of outfield free agents in 2015 and Soler and almora will still be in the minors. there are two good outfielders now, they should strike now to improve an area of longterm need, left handed hitting outfielders.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    For every Fielder, Braun, Mauer, Posey I can name 100 guys who fell flat on their face. No one said it never happened in baseball history, it's just extremely rare. You're in for a rude awakening if you're expecting that from Baez.

  • i would rather try to trade for a Micheal Brantley type than Choo

  • fb_avatar

    I like Ellsbury and the more I think about it, like the idea of the Cubs making a push for him... I think about what Jockety did in Cinci-he went young and cheap and then got Scott Rolen. There is no question the Cubs need a player in his actual prime.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Same with Washington and Werth.

    That's another thing the Cubs don't have. A veteran presence, that's something Ellsbury would bring.

    Who's going to lead these kids? We need someone to lead them.

    Soriano/Garza/DeJesus are all gone. I guess you can bring back DeJesus, but I was hoping our last OF spot would go to a better player, a OF of Schierholtz, Bogey, Sweeney, Lake and DeJesus strikes fear in no one.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    30 and beyond isn't considered a players prime anymore. Its 24-28

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I wouldn't call any 24 year olds prime. That's like the 2nd year of baseball for most guys.

  • pujols 2 best years - ill go with his age 23,and 28 yrs
    worst last 2 -age 32 and 33

    hamilton - falling off the map at 32

    shin soo choo - best 2 seasons- ill go with his age 26 and 27 seasons - decent year this year

    J Ellsbury 2 best offensive yrs to date - his age 25 and 27 yrs. been study

    players best seasons typically happen in those years..there some exceptions. most of em are hof'er types or have ped clouds over their heads.. but for the most part - a players best years happen from 24-28 and they start tailing off after 30.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    With a sample size like that who can argue?

    If I show five guys that had better seasons in their 30's does that make me right?

  • No you picked players that are either injuried or still in their prime. Hell one isn't even 30 yet. Dave Parker had one of his best years at age 35. The prime years are normally 28 to 33 a 6 year period where their tools and understanding are at the same level. I could pull a ton of players who had their years at those ages out of the 70s and 80s. The only example you are pulling are ones just hitting those times and injury proned players.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agree 100%. I don't know why everybody thinks 30 is the end of players usefulness. Looking back 27-32,33 are the best seasons of a lot of our own favorites, Dawson, Sandburg, Grace, Santo, Williams, Banks and many many more.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Pime typically means Peak years.

    Rynos peak was 29 and 30 - was he productive after that? yes. did his numbers start to decline - yes - thats my point

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    But if his numbers decline but he is still way above replacement value is that a bad thing? Still, a lot of players peak after 30 and some still produce at a high level. Assigning one number or two to "peak age" vastly oversimplifies the situation. Sure, if we're playing a probability game of "given no other information than his age, when can we expect this guy's peak?", then 27 is the best guess, I guess. But if you crunch numbers you will find that players exhibit peak years at different ages. Some decline slower than others. Some downtick and then uptick again.

    Conversely, you can sign a guy going into his alleged peak years and he could be a complete bust out.

    I think it is better to look at the statistical trends of the player in question rather than some *magical age* where a player's skills allegedly diminish.

    Andre Dawson was 33 when he signed with the Cubs. I'd say that alone disproves your argument.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    for the most part. players production start to dramatically diminish after 30.. will it be at 32 or 34??? no one knows.. its different for everyone.. but for the cubs who arent a playoff team. there is no real reason to take that gamble.

    sorry, but I dont see the difference between being a bad non playoff team without him, than being an average nonplayoff team with him

    if we were in the hunt for the playoffs.. Id be all for going after ellsbury.. till then. no thanks - cheaper options are a better option imo

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    So you don't think the Cubs will be a playoff team in the next four years then? Correct? Not saying you are wrong, nobody can predict that, but based on where the team sits now you do not see that happening?

    You cannot rebuild forever.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I do. BUT. I don't see ellsbury as a building block with a contract he will most likely request with his age.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I disagree 100% plus an Ellsbury signing would be more complimentary piece than building block. He fills a number of needs and his contract will not be prohibitive - if you are talking 6/100 that is an AAV of $16.67 M.

    I don't need to argue for or against Ellsbury because it is a matter of opinion anyway and I have done it enough throughout this thread. But he will be an all-star caliber player in Chicago and anybody who disagrees with the signing now will love it over the course of that contract.

    As far as giving up the comp pick - there are ways to get it back by trading for a competitive balance pick or by packaging one asset for more assets in the offseason.

  • Yemi's points are spot on. The "plan" had better not be to just wait til '15 and assume/hope Bryant & Baez are 5 win players right out of the gate. That's not how it works. If that were to happen, great ,but if that's the plan , it isn't a sound one. I'm sure those aren't the assumptions being made by Theo/ Jed. I have been/ am a big supporter of the rebuild but we're moving beyond the point of "flips" and protecting 2nd rd picks like our first borns. That stage of the process was for building system depth: mission accomplished. We need impact players on the big-league roster, look around the division . Obviously, we have a ton invested in the Big 4 but they need help & mentoring. As far as the $ issue, I'm growing tired of people worrying about Ricketts' pocketbook , like it's their own. I'm not suggesting going crazy in FA but they can handle some payroll. With the inexpensive current group + prospects on the rise, dare I say it: they can even afford to whiff on an expensive FA without it handcuffing their future plans. Time to take off the training wheels and start riding the bike; STL & PIT are way out in front of us.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carl9730:

    The Cubs have to get to a point where they can sign or trade for impact starting pitching and make it worth acquiring those guys. It is easy to see what they have done the last two years: Acquire projectable offense and relief pitching in the draft and via trades.

    So does this make 2014 another potential rebuild year with flipping short term assets for long term assets? Probably. Unless Tanaka somehow falls into their laps (and they will not overpay - and when I say that, remember baseball is flush with cash because of the new rules, so I mean they will not significantly go over market) and they can get Ellsbury on a team-friendly deal, it may be another year like last year.

    The Cubs also need a 3B, so how Olt performs this spring will go a long way toward determining the direction they take as well.

    Nobody expects Bryant, Almora, Baez, et al to be 5-win players out of the gate. Wellington Castillo was 3.2 wins over replacement this year and that topped the team. They had ZERO .300 hitters. Their best pitcher statistically, Travis Wood, would probably be a #3 or #4 on most teams.

    As far as acquiring impact system players (minor leagues) the Cubs are way ahead of the curve. At the major league level, they are woefully behind the curve.

    I think a smart baseball person like Theo Epstein realizes all of this and stays the course, which means, buy players on long term contracts that are affordable and can help 3-6 years down the road and otherwise accumulate "flip projects" to use to continue accumulating long term assets while you wait for some of those current assets to close the gap and become major league players.

    STL & PIT are way out in front of us, and you forgot the Reds, because Pittsburgh was patient and stopped trading young guys about to hit their primes and started waiting on the development of their core players, rather than rush them up to fill positions they couldn't afford to buy on the open market. They made some great trades. They haven't signed any significant free agents.

    St. Louis had built a system that can feed better than replacement players to plug into any starting or reserve position on that team. The Cubs are miles away from St. Louis in that respect unless some of their lower draft picks develop in the way that this front office expects them to.

  • I see our trajectory being kind of like the Nationals has been for the last several years. They went through a similar kind of rebuild.

    Two seasons ago - their core of Youngsters (excluding Werth and LaRoche) overachieved AND stayed healthy. Result - a playoff appearnce.

    Last season - their core regressed a bit, LaRoche had a more 'typical' year for him, and their were injuries and down time for Zimmerman, Harper, and several other key players in the pitching staff.

    Next season - that core remains generally intact - and 'we' (I live in the DC area and loosly follow the Nats and Orioles) get to see whether the team from 2 years ago, or the one of last year, is the more typical.

    I think that Cubs are a season or two from being where the Nats were 2 years ago.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    On the Nats trajectory, yes. This is when we sign our Werth. The Nats overpaid, but Werth is a wonderful player who offers the support that team needed in leadership and skill, playing the game right. Ellsbury and Choo are that kind of player. Ellsbury is going to be like another coach. And unlike DeJesus, he can run, he can hit a lefty, and he can play a great CF.

    Beyond this signing, there is little else that the Cubs will need to obtain over the next five years. The offense is deep at all positions in the minors, except catcher. Money will go towards extensions. Waves of talent will come.

    Next up for an article request: flip Samardzija for a future ace. Save money and shed an overrated pitcher while gaining young talent. Win-Win. In my eyes, this money we might waste on this very average starter should go to Choo or Ellsbury now instead.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    " flip Samardzija for a future ace".....I would too!

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    In reply to Hubbs16:

    I would have traded Samardzijia last July.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Still not 'sold' on the need to make a huge run at Ellsbury - but far more sold on him than making a run at Choo - who I like, don't get me wrong, but who seems to have begun the regression and has a generally significant injury history over his career.

    I think a run at Ellsbury by the Cubs is a year or two premature - given he will be off the market next year (barring something interesting). However - I also had the same opinion about overpaying for Werth by the Nats, and that seems to be paying off nicely,......

    There's a reason I am not a ML GM or manager.

    I would still like to see the Cubs make an incentive-laden offer to Granderson - although he isn't able to play CF effectively at this stage, and his BA and OBP have never been his strongest points - and that's what the team needs more than an aging power-hitter who Ks a lot.

  • I think the Cubs were serious about Michael Bourn, but not in the sense they'd bid for his services. I think they were serious that if he was left twisting in the wind long enough, the Cubs would offer a win contract to him. But really that was the only way.

    On another note, I really don't get this Ellsbury love. He's had only 2 seasons when he's been an above average hitter, while playing in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. 100+ million for CF defense and some SB, and a really good chance he's a below avg hitter away from Fenway. I'd much rather roll with Sweeney.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Ellsbury is not a below average hitter. Ellsbury has averaged 5.8 WAR per 600 PA over last three seasons. How do you not love a baseball player like that? He also has averaged 564 PA and 5.4 WAR over last three seasons. I am not sure what you define as a "better than average" hitter.

    2008 he was a rookie who scored 98 runs and stole 50 bases and hit .280
    2009 he scored 94 runs and stole 70 bases and hit .301
    2010 he broke 4 ribs in an OF collision and missed most of the season.
    2011 he hit 32 HR, stole 39 bases, scored 119 runs and batted .321 with a 9.1 WAR - that's Mike Trout-like.
    2012 he batted .271 bit with a 30-point regression in BABIP, plus he only had 74 games played/323 plate appearances due to a separated shoulder.
    2013 he batted .298 with 92 runs and 52 SB and was a 5.2 WAR player.
    Of those six seasons, which 4 would you consider below average? Other than 2012, if you put Ellsbury from any year on the 2013 Cubs he would have been far and away their best player.

    Is he worth $100 million and a compensatory pick? That is the market and someone will pay it, so why not the Cubs if he fits so many needs?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I love this post. You also have to say he has an all out leadership quality. He would help carry a team with his bat, Defense and Speed. He could stay at the top at the batting order even after he is moved to LF.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Great points and thank you Kevin.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    His OPS and OPS+:
    2008 - .729 - 88
    2009 - .770 - 98
    2010 - .485 - 30 (missed the year basically)
    2011 - .928 - 146
    2012 - .682 - 84
    2013 - .781 - 114
    2 seasons as an above avg hitter. Also playing in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. You're paying for SBs, def, and likely a below avg hitter. I can think of a lot better ways to spend a 100+ million.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I agree with you Senator, 2011 was a fluke. He has never hit more than 9 HR's any other year. Also he will get a 5 year contract at minimum and the Cubs have a kid named Almora who will be here in 2.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Might be here in two. Lets not keep a gaping hole in the OF because kids might come up.

    What happens if we don't sign Ellsbury and 2 of the top 4 kids don't work out? The timeline is now pushed to like 2020 to start winning.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Ellsbury or add a significant OF. Let me make that clear. I personally prefer Choo.

  • Choo and Ellsbury are over 30 and do not fit as Werth did for the Nats. Theo made it pretty clear that he did not want to be paying for past performance. The Cubs may need a veteran presents, but it only be one of those two if the years(3w/option) are right.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    My name is Giffmo, and I support this message.

    (and I'll even say that if the Reds can't give Choo a QO, I'd be ok with giving him 4, maybe even 5 years. His OBP is outstanding and we could use a lead-by-example role model. However I've read rumors that he wants a 100M deal, in which case, no tank you)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    So the only thing stopping you from actually wanting choo is losing a second round pick? that's silly. there is so little chance that a 2nd round pick ends up doing anything that the inability to sign one should be at the very back of negotiations. If he gets a QO, it's all the more better for the cubs as theyd be one of few teams that won't lose a first round pick for signing him.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Look at what Werth just did this season and tell me that deal set their team back.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Werth was also only 2 months younger than choo when he hit free agency.

  • My only problem with Ellsbury is age and injuries, also add in what he wants. Hes not signing a 3 year contract, he likely wants 5/80 plus, and some one will likely give it to him. I say pass, unless his price copmes way down.

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    If you can get Ellsbury on a three year deal I think the Cubs have to do it. They may lose a 2nd round pick but they need some veteran presence in this line up. He may decline toward the end of the contract but by that time the young guys will be up to pick up those numbers.

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    This is a VERY long post regarding free agency (Ellsbury) so I am burying it in an archived article. Read or completely disregard.

    I just want to point out a contradictory attitude about free agency.

    The players that are willing to sign 2-3 year deals are usually reclamation projects, or rather, a player coming off a reclamation year (Scott Kazmir in free-agency this upcoming year comes to mind). These types of players, while certainly helpful, still carry significant risk over the life of that contract.

    A 2-3 year contract may also be representative for an aging player who based on past performance offers some hope for future potential. Mike Morse comes to mind here. A rather inconsistent career with some extreme upside and downside swings.

    A 2-3 year contract may also get you a player who simply never turned the corner and skewed closer to his ceiling. These never-got-off-the-floor players still carry a lot of risk, but their last strand of hope and potential minimizes that risk somewhat. There were no such players like that last year, well, maybe Grady Sizemore, maybe James Loney, maybe Delmon Young.

    A lot of you talk about not signing free agents who are over 30 years of age and not paying for past performance but the trend in baseball is for teams to lock up younger players long term and allow older players to test the market. They get expensive, and yes, on six-year deals you are looking at a situation where each dollar yields diminishing returns. That is the nature of the beast.

    Last year the aggregate age of the top 50 free agents was 32.9 years old.

    Free agency is a different animal now than it used to be. There is a reason for that - it levels the playing field for teams that are willing to develop within rather than spend money to buy championships. The players available are older. There is more downside risk attached to the final years of those contracts.

    A strategy of simply buying players closes your championship window a lot sooner and could lead to a disastrous future, as we are witnessing with the Cubs of the past two years and what we will see in the short term with the Angels and long term with the Dodgers. You have to hedge that risk in other ways. Internal development and strong drafting is the best way. International free agency is another. Counting on market inflation helps.

    Many of you want the Cubs to spend money but what you want them to spend it on is simply not available. You have become a society of mini-bloggers that looks immediately to the age of the player rather than the things that really matter and you look at counting statistics rather than peripherals and intangibles and mostly, for those of you who love Choo, why do you ignore defense? There is more to a player than OPS. That is too limiting of an evaluation tool.

    Going to his age 30 or 31 season as a free agent, Jacoby Ellsbury represents the upside of that trend. And it is not impossible to think that in the last three years of that contract he will be worth 16.67M per year when you compare the 2013 market to the 2016 market and when you compare 2013 dollars to 2016 dollars.

    That is what the Nationals did with Jayson Werth. The comparison you are looking for is not statistical nor does it lie in his age when he signed the contract or what he meant to the Nationals at the time of the signing - it is the relation with which the value of the final three years of that contract will be as compared to the market rate of a player with Werth's skill set during those years of diminishing returns. In fact, that is factored into all free agent contracts.

    That is why AAV is sort of a misnomer. We look at a 6 year/100 M contract as an AAV of 16.67M because that is the financial obligation involved. But that is not always the case.

    It would help if a team can structure a deal where the final years of a contract pay those players less dollars but player agents and the MLBPA won't let that happen. So you have to look at the structure differently. Maybe in that contract you use the 40-35-25 rule - meaning that from the status of the organizational balance sheet 40% of the contract is dedicated to the first two years, 35% to the next two years and 25% for the final two years and you adjust your books and budget accordingly. In dollars and cents that is not the case. But $16.67 million dollars will have an entirely different value in 2014 then it will in 2019. This is known as inflation conversion. It still means you are overpaying in 2018-19, but you are not overpaying as much. You are buying tomorrow's statistics with today's dollars.

    The Cubs have a policy in place: develop within, trade short term assets for long term assets, and augment the team via free agency. If you want the Cubs to spend money, as many of you do, what should they spend it on? If you sign a 33-year old player to a 3-year 40-million dollar contract what is the difference in signing Ellsbury to a 6/100 deal? You say 3.3 million in AAV (which really isn't a lot and makes Ellsbury in fact, far more worth a $16.67M hit), but you are REALLY paying the premium (57.5% as stated above) for the first three years of the contract when Ellsbury is still in his prime.

    To me that means Ellsbury offers the Cubs an opportunity that may not be available in 2015 or 2016 when they are ready to compete and one they should jump on if given the opportunity. You pay the premium short term for the skill set, hope he has the physical ability to slow the rate at which his skills will diminish, bank on the intangibles and then hedge that against inflated dollars and scarcity in the marketplace.

    We'd all give Ellsbury the money he wants if he was 26 or 27 years old. But the fact is, that player, at that age, with that skill set, is no longer available via free agency. To get that, you have to trade commodities [prospects, young players] that could be more valuable than a few dollars. Looking at the return for Matt Garza should be enough to simplify that.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Every report I've seen is that he's asking for 150M.

    He's just not worth it.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    EVERY report? Doubtful. First of all, he can't ask for anything right now because he is still under contract and his team is still playing.

    A few sources have indicated a contract could go as high as $150M. Most sources indicate his value (not his demands) as slightly over $100M for six years.

    Like I asked before, I am interested to see what you feel Ellsbury is worth on the open market.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I've seen one person indicate that Ellsbury will get $100 M and that is Tim Dierkes. Whether he is qualified to make that declaration is not my call. He has a clearing house website that posts a lot of blog and industry links and tweets. Informative. What he writes as his opinion is purely speculative.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Sorry, Dierkes said $150. Typo.

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    I disagree that Ellsbury is "not worth it." But I respect your opinion. Time will tell.

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