Cubs Notes: Epstein say to expect minimal use of free agency; Cards interested in Castro? Scouting report/video of Kris Bryant

We don't expect the Cubs to sign many big name free agents and I'm fine with that.  Not because the Cubs don't need them, but because there really isn't a whole lot out there worth pursuing -- at least not at the expected costs.

The Cubs are saying to expect minimal use of free agency.  As we've stated, we don't think it's so much because of a lack of funds, but because it's an inefficient, short-sighted way to build a team.  Epstein says something similar here,

"I don't think we're going to get to where we need to be through free agency for the short term, honestly," Epstein said. "Given the needs that we have and where we are, and the likely price tags on the market, I don't think we'll have the ability to add multiple impact pieces in free agency.

"We're going to have to take a multi-dimensional approach to changing things," Epstein said. "We won't solve our problems through free agency. It's a very viable and sometimes attractive way to add talent and to be a great organization you have to do it from time to time. Given our situation on a lot of fronts, it's not the cure for our ills."

The one free agent that still makes the most sense is Masahiro Tanaka, who will be in his prime as the Cubs expect to become contenders.  He also won't cost the Cubs any players or comp picks.  We wrote about Tanaka here.

The Cubs offseason in free agency may look more like what we wrote about in this previous article.

Free Agency Notes:

Keep checking back as we'll update if there is any interesting news to update.

UPDATE 5:02: One source told me he thinks it would take 2 of Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins and then Peter Kozma (to fill in until Javier Baez is ready to take over at SS) to pry Baez loose.

UPDATE 3:56: MLB Radio (h/t Michael Caldwell) that the Cardinals are looking at a shortstop and sources speculate they will ask the Cubs about Starlin Castro.  It's enticing to think about because of all the young power pitching in the Cardinals system, both in at the major and minor league level.  I was able to confirm that the Cardinals would indeed be interested (why wouldn't they be?) but I don't have any other info at this time.  The problem, as always, will be matching up value.  It seems the Cardinals may be looking to buy low, but it's worth noting the rumor is they offered Carlos Martinez for Alexei Ramirez.  Castro is younger and more talented.  I'm a huge fan of Castro but if they can get 2 top young SPs in return, it's worth listening.  Bear in mind that the report is highly speculative and we should expect the Cards to be interested in a SS like Castro.  If it is even true, it's probably just due diligence on their part.  On the other hand, while the Cubs don't want to trade Castro, they don't have any untouchables.

Nothing to get too excited about at this point one way or the other.  Remember the Diamondbacks inquired on Castro last year and they quickly hung up when Epstein stated what it would take to get them to listen.  I expect something similar to happen here.

  • Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew have already received a combined 11 calls from teams, so the competition will be tough for those few free agents that are available.  The word is that the Cubs have interest in Ellsbury because he adds a few elements that they lack, but they can probably put to rest any hopes that they can get him at a discount.  Interestingly, Drew, Ellsbury and Mike Napoli are getting  qualifying offers, according to Jon Heyman.  The QO amount this year is $14.1M.
  • More On Ellsbury from MLB Trade Rumors via ESPN's Buster Olney:

    According to Olney, Boston offered Ellsbury an extension that fell just shy of $100MM following his runner-up finish in the 2011 AL MVP voting. Agent Scott Boras countered with a $130MM proposal, and the two sides weren't able to strike a deal. Last winter, the Sox again tried to extend Ellsbury, this time for something in the neighborhood of B.J. Upton's five-year, $75.25MM deal with the Braves (Ellsbury had a down season in 2012, hence the decreased offer).

    Now, Ellsbury is primed to hit free agency, and reports have indicated that Boston may not go far beyond $100MM to retain him. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes opined recently that the question shouldn't be whether or not Ellsbury crosses the $100MM barrier, but rather whether or not he can reach $150MM. According to Olney, the Rangers and Mariners will be two of the most aggressive teams on the Ellsbury market this winter.

  • We also heard yesterday that Nelson Cruz is getting a qualifying offer.  I wasn't a huge fan of bringing him to Chicago, but the QO and loss of comp pick all but eliminates him from consideration.
  • Remember Chris Perez?  He's the Indians closer who was the main source of quotes when it came to criticism of Manny Acta in the clubhouse, blaming him for not giving speeches and motivating the team.  Perez has been released at just 28 years old after an off season.  He had some success in the past (ironically under Acta) and it's possible the Cubs take a flyer, but I'm not sure he's a guy they want in the clubhouse.  More importantly, his velocity has been decreasing of late.
  • Speaking of building...Theo Epstein may be trying to build a winner in Chicago, but he isn't yet done helping build champions in Boston, according to Jon Heyman.  Epstein won't talk about it but he had a major influence on the current Red Sox roster, including hitting hero David Ortiz and Game 6 winner John Lackey.  He also helped prepare current GM Ben Cherington for the job.

Prospect News

  • We wrote about Almora earlier today but there is still some national buzz about Kris Bryant.  Peter Gammons via Baseball America speaks to a scout who gives  his report/grades and some video.   Link is insider only but scout gives above average grades for hitting (60), power (70), and arm (60).


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  • A bit dissapointing out of Theo but not unexpected. Probably gong to see anothe rseason of 85-90 losses next year.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Possibly, but do you see any real value out there other than maybe Tanaka?

    And don't rule out trades either.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ellsbury. Cubs need 1) a left handed bat 2) someone that gets on base 3) an accomplished winner to guide the young kids. He checks all of those boxes. Plus I'm hoping this is the last year they will only have to give up a 2nd round pick to sign a qualified free agent.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I think Choo is the cheaper, and I use that term loosely alternative.

    Theo said multiple impact pieces, Choo is only one. Hopefully we fail on Tanaka quick to put that money somewhere else.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I hope we are successful on getting Tanaka.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    disappointing is the wrong choice of words... More like refreshing that he is able to stay the course until we are ready to go from worse to first.

    remember, "progress isn't linear."

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think the quote is "progress isn't ALWAYS linear". If we're going to wait to all of a sudden go from worst to first, we'll be waiting longer than the term of Theo's contract.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Right, you have to get players when they are available. You can't wait until 2016 and then say, now we'll spend $200 mil in free agency....what if there aren't any players there?

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    In reply to Ike03:

    Then we use our stacked minor league system to trade for them.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I want Kris Bryant and Albert Almora from your system for David Price, Max Scherzer, GioCarlo Stanton, or whomever. You'd do that. Don't think so, Mike. But it's nice to say, right?

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    It's about timing.

    Right now? Absolutely not. No way, no how.

    If we're competitive and one or two great players away from making a serious run at the World Series? Hell, yes. The top prospect is GONE TOMORROW to fill in that hole.

    The problem right now is that we have too many holes, and not one of those players gets us into the World Series -- as demonstrated by the fact that they didn't get any of their current teams into the World Series.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    No way! Kris Bryant for a chance to get at the WS. No. Not after the LONG rebuild wait.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    But they players you want will be into their mid-thirties by 2016.

    I agree with your point that you have to sign free agents while they're available, but that's ineffective if their productive year will not coincide with the years you have potential.

    The Cubs don't even have a major league caliber offense right now.

    Everybody acts like waiting for some of the prospects to reach is such an awful thing, but when they do reach, they'll still be plenty young and you'll have a better idea of where the holes are or will be.

    We're too far away right now to be signing guys that will be thrity before opening day 2014 even hits.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    Maybe what they're saying is that the players aren't there this year...I think Theo's pretty aware of what Ellsbury is/ isn't.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Well, think of all the exposure Ellsbury got in the playoffs and WS. No wonder why he's not available.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Great point, can't keep trotting Sweeney's and Barney's out there and pray they work.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I have no problem with what Theo said. Stay the course, build a firm foundation, a dynasty, that won't crumble in a few years.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    You can continue to build a minor league system and spend money at the major league level. They aren't mutually exclusive.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    That's the problem. There's nothing worth spending it on that makes sense. Could Choo or Ellsbury help the team next year? Sure. Maybe even the year after. But then when they hit 33-34 and start to deteriorate with 2-3 years left on their contract while Blocking a good young player we'll look back and say "That was a bad move".

    All big money FA signings have to make since short-term and long-term. With FA these days it rarely makes since. Contrary to a guy like Tanaka, who makes perfect sense.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    33-34 year olds can be pretty productive. "Deteriorate" is a strong word. That's like what 2 or so years out of a players prime, how is that any different then counting on 22/23 year olds to contribute that are 4/5 years out of their prime. They're both out of their prime but on different ends of the spectrum. Too many think players in their mid , well I guess in this case early thirties can't contribute because their out of their prime. It's a flawed way of thinking.

    I don't think they're blocking anyone. The guys that COULD be potentially block are in A ball. Who's to say those players don't even make it. No one ever wants to talk about the possibility of the prospects not making it when the odds suggest that's the route.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Couldn't disagree more...Josh Johnson and Curtis Granderson are totally worth spending $$$. We have NO LH power whatsoever besides Rizzo on this team or in the farm system. The idea you're paying for past performance....overrated.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Exactly!!! I love this post.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    You can spend money at the major league level and build the farm system, but it will be make building the farm system more difficult. It depends where you put your priority, the near term or long term. Theo said he will error towards the long term.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    i don't view this as disappointing in the least. free agency is not a cure all. it generally means over inflated contracts that gives team little flexibility on the back end.

    part of the reason the cubs got to this point was the spending spree for the ages hendry went on in the 06-07 offseason. it was so obvious that they would struggle on the backend of that and they sure as hell did and have.

    the key to this whole thing is exactly what they are doing. build an efficient top notch talent loaded player producing machine in your minors. it's not the easy approach. it takes time, patience and discipline but at the backend of this the cubs will be in a much better place. stay the course.

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    In reply to wpbc:

    And don't forget the spending sprees that THEO went on while with the Sox.

    He's talked pretty candidly about the lessons he learned from the big-time spending he did there, and how little it improved the team.

    They went through all the trouble last year of purging those contracts, signed a few guys to msart, cheap, short term deals, and look where they are now.

    I'm very happy to hear that FA isn't going to be a big thing this off season.

  • In reply to wpbc:

    The reason the Cubs were excellent in 07 and 08 were because of that spending. The reason they then got bad is that they had no young players in the pipe line to compliment them and take their place as they aged. Cubs would have been just fine if Soriano was a contributor instead of their sole power hitter the past several years.

    You can keep building a top notch minor league system while also spending money at the major league level. These things aren't mutually exclusive. Hell look at Boston, look at St. Louis.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    but they KNEW they had nothing in the pipeline and that doesn't excuse adding albatrosses to the payroll.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yes the cubs made bad decisions back then but the bad decisions were drafting and developing talent terribly. The top 20 prospects in 2006 illustrates this problem. This was before they went on their spending spree also.

    CHICAGO CUBS Top 20 Prospects

    Mark Pawelek, LHP, Grade B+
    Felix Pie, OF, Grade B+
    Ronny Cedeno, SS, B
    Eric Patterson, 2B, B
    Jae-Kuk Ryu, RHP, B
    Donald Veal, LHP, B
    Sean Gallagher, RHP, B
    Angel Guzman, RHP, B-
    Rich Hill, LHP, B-
    Carlos Marmol, RHP, B-
    Sean Marshall, LHP, B-
    Scott Moore, 3B, B-
    Ryan Harvey, OF, C+
    Mark Holliman, RHP, C+
    Mike Phelps, RHP, C+
    Brian Dopirak, 1B, C
    Brandon Sing, 1B, C
    Rick Rohlicek, LHP, C
    Randy Wells, RHP, C
    Grant Johnson, RHP, C

    there is one good player left from that pool and even he is a reliever (marshall). If this were a better farm, the relative albatrosses of Soriano and Zambrano would not have been a problem.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Yep,.... Pie, Hill, Cedeno, Marmol (although for a time he was a superior, if erratic set up guy & closer), and Marshall are still around,..... but none is a player to build a team around. None of the others amounted to much even for the few who hit the majors somewhere.

    The place the Cubs are in now was very predictable - given this sort of information.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    ya and it's easy to see why the red sox are where they are now because these were there top prospects in the same season


    Craig Hansen, RHP, Grade A-
    Jon Lester, LHP, Grade B+
    Jon Papelbon, RHP, B+
    Dustin Pedroia, 2B, B+
    Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, B
    Clay Buchholz, RHP, B
    Michael Bowden, RHP, B
    Manny Delcarmen, RHP, B-
    Jed Lowrie, 2B, B-
    Brandon Moss, OF, B-
    Luis Soto, OF, B-
    Edgar Martinez, RHP, C+
    Abe Alvarez, LHP, C+
    Jeff Corsaletti, OF, C+
    Yahmed Yema, OF, C+
    Cla Meredith, RHP, C
    David Murphy, OF, C
    Jermaine Van Buren, RHP, C
    Chris Turner, OF, C
    Andrew Pinkney, 3B, C

    This has so much more to do with their success than any of the approaches they took in free agency, and the reason I am not worried about the cubs taking risks in free agency. If Theo can get half the production that he got from Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Papelbon and buccholz out of the current cubs prospects, we'll be in a great position regardless of what free agents we sign.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Wow, great post. The contrast is nuts.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I wonder how many of those players would be considered core pieces in 2006.

    "Don't sign anyone, Ronny Cedeno is going to have SS covered for the next decade!"

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Cedeno is a fine defensive middle infielder,.... and has had a decent career as a Utility Guy, and replacement-level starter for some teams.

    But yeah,.... I just can't picture anybody stating that about Ronny.

    Pie had potential - but big flaws in his game as well. I just find myself wondering here how much of that was a LACK of work with him at the minor league levels to help him address those weaknesses before he made it to the ML. Same could be said in a lot of ways for Corey Patterson.

    What I mean to say is - IF those two were entering into the Cubs farm system now, with the staff and ethos now in place,.... would they have been the also-rans that they ended up being - or would they have been solid Major Leaguers?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Cedeno was a Top 100, barely but top 100 prospect at a time. Anyone that approaches that seems to future trade bait for an ace these days.

    But yes, those are good questions, shame that they'll be what-ifs :p

  • In reply to Andrew:

    That list will haunt my nightmares. Good lord is that all kinds of awful.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I get what you're saying, Ike. When a team has a well stocked pipeline that can be a great time to spend. Its definitely a safe time to spend. The market is unfortunate for me though. Its too bad a 4 year deal for Ellsbury isn't a realistic option. Now's not the time to give a guy like that 6 or 7 guaranteed years like somebody will. The bench and the bullpen are where I'd most like to see them spend. Overpay Jose Molina a little bit for his expertise. Bring in a closer reclamation project who will have value at the deadline if we're out of it. Improvements in the rotation and line-up can better be made via the trade. Other than Tanaka of course.

    Absolutely agree with what you're saying when it comes to building while spending. Sometimes it gets treated as though it's not possible to cultivate players and sign free agents at the same time. Not true.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    St Louis? Molina, Craig, Adams, Carpenter, Kozma, Descalso, Jay, Wacha, Miller, Lynn, Kelly, Rozenthal, Martinez, Maness, Seagrist, Wong, Cruz, Robinson...all drafted and developed by the Cardinals. Wainwright and Freese were obtained as minor leaguers for a couple of former all-stars and when home grown Albert Pujols got too expensive they let him walk. Even Matt Holiday was obtained via trade. The only FA of consequense was Beltran and the bargain priced Mujica.

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    If I were Napoli I'd seriously consider taking that QO. The draft pick is going to hit his value pretty hard. Ditto Drew.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. I wouldn't give up a 2nd round pick for either and I can't imagine any team would give up a 1st rounder.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    This basically gets down to the twisted logic why the Cubs made A Ram an offer a couple of years ago, figuring he wouldn't take it. Thus, maybe the Bosox are expecting the draft picks.

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    In reply to jack:

    Different scenarios. The price for signing ARam wasn't a first round pick, so the Cubs got a draft pick and the Brewers didn't lose theirs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Speaking of ARam, isn't his 3 year contract up and would he be a reasonably priced 2 year free agent?

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    1 more year. With Bryant, Olt, and Villanueva so close, I don't see it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Baez may be in the mix too.

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    In reply to John57:

    Absolutely. I tend to see him as a second baseman at the moment, but he has the tools to be an elite defensive 3B.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Alcantara seems to be the perfect 2B to me with Baez being a fine 3B. We need Alcantara for his speed, OBP and switch hitting. We are a tad heavy with RH hitters.

  • Can't argue with his logic here, don't see much available that we would want, not to mention the cost for basically medicore talent. I Iike Ellsbury but not at $100 mil.+.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    It really is hard to make a good case for any of the free agents out there. I think Josh Johnson would be an interesting flyer but Jays may try and lock him up quickly with the same idea.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Lackey was not a bad signing. Maybe too expensive, but he was signed to do exactly what he did last night, so mission accomplished. Too many people are injury experts now (oh how I loathe the "he's one pitch away from Tommy John" descriptions that permeate these boards) and claimed to "know" Lackey was going to be injured.

    There is risk in signing any pitcher because our arms and shoulders are not meant to repeatedly throw at that velocity and with the torque.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John I don't know who I was responding to but it was not you. Sorry. Not sure what happened there. I need bifocals.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    So do I. It's becoming a harsh reality for me now :) My dad said he got them at my age.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I've got trifocals now,.... age 48. Had them since ~42. Not so bad.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think the best case to be made for a major free agent is actually for Cano, since he'd provide left handed pop, could play at third as his range starts to decline, and provides real veteran leadership.

    But at the insane price he's going to come at and as stacked as we are at middle infield positions, I think that money would be best used on other things.

    From the minor free agents, I would really like them to make a serious run at Saltalamaccia. (Probably misspelled.) A switch hitter with some pop behind the plate would help solve a lot of problems.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I've never seen a man's jersey go from nipple to nipple... until I saw Saltalamacchia's jersey.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agree. Cano and JS are the best options. If the Cubs do make a move like that, then the idea of signing Beltran would be good as well. I don't think it will happen obviously, but that's probably the only way to get any interest from Beltran. Cubs would get good fast and I don't think these guys would block anyone that couldn't be used in a deal for pitching. I don't think the Cubs will get Tanaka. I think he'll be a Yankee.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What about Granderson? Coming off an injury-riddled year, he should be cheaper and looking for a shorter deal than Ellsbury and Choo. Plus, he has always been a high energy, high character player with multiple tools that was MVP caliber when healthy. He should be the 2nd FA priority after securing Tanaka.

    3rd would be resigning Navarro to a 2yr deal. The $$$ won't be much in comparison to what most FA cost and he also serves as probably the best PH off the bench. If he says he wants to start, give him a few more $$ to compensate. With an offense this bad, they cannot afford to let a guy hitting like Navarro go.

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    It is interesting to me how much crap Epstein got from the Lackey signing because Lackey was bad at first, but this year he has been a solid contributor. Without him, the Sox don't win the World Series. I guess it wasn't a bad signing after all.

  • In reply to Denvil Farley:

    Expecting anything out of Edwin Jackson?

  • In reply to jack:

    To be an innings eating middle of the rotation SP for 4 years.... Which is what he was signed to be.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thank you HoosierDaddy!!
    Someone who sees Jackson for what he was signed for--an innings eater, mid-lower rotation guy, and if he pitches well in the next year or two he become a trade asset.
    If not, he becomes a point A to C pitcher until someone better is signed or comes up from the minors.

  • In reply to Rusty Becker:

    He has a long way to go to be considered a bust but lets not paint this picture too rosy. You can get innings eaters for less than $13 million to put up his same ERA. As for a trade, yeah, if the Cubs eat 80% of the contract.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    The contract is front loaded, Jackson gets $11 Million a year which is very decent, he turns it around a bit this year and he will be a hot commodity come deadline time.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    To be a hot commodity by the trade deadline with...2.5 years and 27.5 million remaining on the deal he's going to have to completely pitch lights out the first half, pretty much at a starting the all-star game level. Never in his career has he shown that potential for an extended period of time.

    That's only assuming he's pitching well. What if he pitches like he expects to do... The same 4.50 ERA. That's not a hot commodity at all, he's only a hot commodity if he does something he has never done before. Even if he does pitch well it's just going to be considered a little streak, no one is going to give up top prospects for him. If a team is crazy enough to take him it will be a salary dump like Soriano.

    4.98 ERA, 18 losses, negative WAR in baseball references and ESPN's formula (0.6 on Baseball Prospectus and 2.0 on fan graphs). You can get that production from a full season of a bad Rusin or other AAA arms for millions cheaper.

    Lets not pretend his contract has even been the least bit worth it so far.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Jackson is moveable because he is due 11m per year. For what Jackson is as a pitcher that is a favorable contract. His FIP was 3.79 and his xFIP was 3.86 and you cannot attribute losses solely to a pitcher. Since Fangraphs bases their WAR on FIP that is your discrepancy with BP as they do not factor in FIP.

    Jackson is consistently a 2.2 - 3.2 WAR pitcher. A 2.2 WAR pitcher is worth $11m/year. That is what the Cubs are paying Jackson. If he gets to 3.2, and he has, the Cubs have an intrinsic value of $16 million dollars on an $11 million AAV. Make no mistake, this is a VERY FAVORABLE contract.

    Now comparing him to a full season of "bad" Chris Rusin is utterly ridiculous. Let's not pretend this post makes any sense at all.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    If he was moveable he would have been moved by now. No one is going to pay $11 million for subpar pitching and give up prospects to do it.

    His WAR has only been over 2.3 once if we use his baseball reference WAR. I can paint a picture one way too.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Why would the Cubs have moved him? Because he performed at value and they wanted way more? Also, if you are going to debate or argue, use one source for a point of reference for things like WAR, please.

    I also never said prospects would be involved. I merely said that he is "AT VALUE" and he is capable of overperforming making him worth $11M a year. If we are going to debate let's not put words in my mouth after the fact.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    The Cubs would have moved him because they could get the same production from Rusin, Arrieta, even Grimm for $10 million cheaper per year. The same PRODUCTION, not peripherals that show where he ERA should be. His stats say he's a 5th pitcher, his pretend stats are better but you it's better to judge someone on what they're actually doing instead of what they could do. I also never judged him solely on losses, you made that up.

    I feel it's better to look at all the sources, the more the better. Not surprisingly you used the only one that shows him to not be a trash can of a pitcher.

    Good try though.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    "If we are going to debate let's not put words in my mouth after the fact."

    "you cannot attribute losses solely to a pitcher"

    When did I do that?

    Practice what you preach.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    I never said you said that. You said he had 18 losses. I said you cannot equate losses solely to the pitcher. I probably wouldn't give you credit for saying that anyway when your line of thinking allows you to compare Edwin Jackson to a "bad version of Chris Rusin." That is something most people of baseball intelligence wouldn't state.

    As I said, let's not pretend this post makes any sense at all.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    "The Cubs would have moved him because they could get the same production from Rusin, Arrieta, even Grimm for $10 million cheaper per year."

    So why didn't they? I din't think he was even rumored to be moved. Secondly, they got Grimm in a trade consummated near the deadline and Arietta shortly before. You probably forgot that.

    "The same PRODUCTION, not peripherals that show where he ERA should be. His stats say he's a 5th pitcher, his pretend stats are better but you it's better to judge someone on what they're actually doing instead of what they could do."

    It is not a pretend stat, it is a real stat using calculable data and is probably the most-referenced utility in the data analysis of pitchers.

    "I also never judged him solely on losses, you made that up."

    Your initial judgement of Jackson was based on three things. THREE! And I quote -- "4.98 ERA, 18 losses, negative WAR in baseball references and ESPN's formula (0.6 on Baseball Prospectus and 2.0 on fan graphs). " Two of those data points are not solely attributed to the pitcher anyway (that would be ERA and Wins, Sharpie.)

    "I feel it's better to look at all the sources, the more the better. Not surprisingly you used the only one that shows him to not be a trash can of a pitcher."

    He is not a trash can of a pitcher. That is not just my opinion, but the opinion of most.

    Why don't you just use the most accurate source? Especially since your argument changes with each post. Is he a negative WAR? Is he a 2.0 WAR? Is he a 0.6 WAR? Is he a 2.3 WAR? Do you even know what WAR is? Do you even care if the data is measured correctly using all necessary inputs? You're just spitting out somebody else's useless data.

    I get it it. You hate Edwin Jackson. Yay for you, Yemi. Just say that and get it over with. If you reference fifteen diverging sources the only person you are trying to convince is yourself.

    "Good try"

    Thank you. I am sorry I cannot say the same thing about you.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    "So why didn't they? I din't think he was even rumored to be moved. Secondly, they got Grimm in a trade consummated near the deadline and Arietta shortly before. You probably forgot that.?"

    Exactly, that's the entire point. He wasn't going to be moved because of his contract. Thanks for making my points for me.

    Funny how you think the most accurate source is the only one, yes ONE, that agrees with you. And it only gave him a WAR of 2 last year.

    Everything else you ignore goes against what you say. I'd use one point of reference too if that was the case.

    My initial judgement of what I wrote down was three, not my initial judgement, you're putting words in my mouth again.

    Even If did reference 15 sources you would ignore them because one said it wasn't so.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    That's like saying I think Cabrera should win MVP because he has .340/40/120.

    and you think those are the only stats I judge him on.

    Stop being so short-sighted. I shouldn't have to spoon-feed every detail for you, you're a big boy, I hope.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Is he a negative WAR? Is he a 2.0 WAR? Is he a 0.6 WAR? Is he a 2.3 WAR?

    He is all of them based on different WAR formulas. The spoon-feeding continues.

    Write down your email, everyone else shouldn't have to read such basic questions.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Yemi:

    Shortsightedness is arguing from different points of view. Shortsightedness is saying things like FIP and xFIP are "pretend stats" when in reality, stats like Wins and ERA, which are not pitcher-dependent stats, actually are.

    And for the record, I hardly think you are spoon-feeding me. In fact, it is apparent the opposite is true. The most accurate source is not the one that necessarily agrees with me, it is simply the most accurate source, and accuracy, or rather, accurate textual reference, should be the determining factor big guy. Are you for real?

    How did Miguel Cabrera get thrown into this argument? I don't know who you voted for in the MVP Race and I don't care. Maybe it was Chris Rusin. Obviously by your desire to deflect you are still not confident in the accuracy of your argument. Maybe we should go back to the Ellsbury-Choo debate and you can try to convince yourself that such a thing as a defensive liability doesn't exist, that is, if you want to bring non-pitchers into this argument.

    And......No I will not give you my e-mail address.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Shortsightedness is calling the information that doesn't agree with you useless.

    Shortsightedness is calling the one you use, the most accurate.

    You left out a couple.

    You know what, I think Baseball Reference is the most accurate. Everything else is useless because I said so!

  • In reply to Yemi:

    As as Choo's defensive liability. You were comparing Choo as a CF/RF to Soriano as a LF so it wasn't a fair comparison. Of course you stopped posting after I brought that up.

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    In reply to Yemi:

    Chuckie, please get a grip. If you cannot field, you cannot field, It doesn't matter where they play you. If you want to use Baseball Reference's calculation of WAR then at least you have a legitimate frame of reference. Thank God.

    So they say Jackson is a -2.7 WAR, a statistical value that includes additional value for high leverage situations (which are not defined by the way) which makes Jackson BELOW replacement value according to their benchmark values. The WAR explanatory page is more than 1,500 words, including several paragraphs explaining how the formula has changed (but not including the list of the players who were helped and hurt the most by those changes). It's not a formula in as much as it is a literary work.

    The problem is when WAR is used as the DEFINITIVE measure. For that reason, I included those "pretend stats" that you alluded to to back up Jackson's value. You keep going back to WAR, and then in some haphazard moment of complete chaos, you actually said "He is all of them [the various WAR calculations of different sites] based on different WAR formulas. "

    I'll trust Fangraphs, thank you, I did not end the debate when you compared positional discrepancies in the Choo vs. Ellsbury debate, thank you, I am still not sure why you bring up other players like Chris Rusin and Miguel Cabrera to prove your point and I have wasted entirely too much time debating whether Edwin Jackson is worth $11 million dollars per year, which was my argument to begin with, thank you. If you are confused on what I am arguing vs. what you are saying I am arguing, scroll up to the first post, Sharpie and give your thought process and your keyboard a rest.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Lets also mention that Jackson got a $8 million signing bonus when he signed his contract. So in the last year the Cubs have paid him $19 million.

    You can't ignore the signing bonus and only look at what he got as salary. It was money paid to him that came out of the Cubs budget.

    3 out of the 4 WAR formulas from reputable sources have him under 1 win above a replacement player.
    2 of those have him at negative.
    The only one that shows him favorably is 2 wins above replacement. That's it 2 wins for $19 million. And that's one of out four sources.

    Go ahead and poll Cubs fans and see if they think he has lived up to his contract. If he had a very favorable contract he would have been traded by now. If any GM called Theo and said they would take his contract and wanted to give up no players, Theo would take it in an instant. Those 2 wins (I'll throw you a bone and use "the most accurate source") can be replaced for millions upon millions cheaper. The Cubs currently have Shark, Wood, Arrieta, Rusin, Villabuena, Grimm and possibly adding Tanaka or Baker for rotation spots. The reason he won't be traded isn't because he's worth it, because that subpar production that be duplicated for millions cheaper, it's because no one is going to want to trade for him.

    The guy had a shitty year, live with it.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    "It's not a formula in as much as it is a literary work."

    LOL, translation...too long for me to read.

    With sound logic like that who can argue?

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    In reply to Yemi:

    OK now you are being stupid and skewing the argument to fit your purpose. I said that at $11 million Jackson has a very favorable contract should the Cubs want to trade him. How does is signing bonus figure into that? If the Cubs trade him does the acquiring team pay that bonus back to the Cubs? So to end that argument and another deflection from the original argument on your part, his AAV going forward is $11M - that is not even debatable.

    Was he worth $19 million last year. Hardly. He was worth $11 million dollars, no matter who shitty you think his year was as he pitched into some bad luck, which his FIP and xFIP clearly indicate. But I said he earned $11 million dollars. I never said he earned $19 million dollars.

    Again and for the LAST TIME, I don't care what is aggregate WAR is when it is compiled from sites that are subjective in their view of calculating that WAR. I used one as a point of reference, Fangraphs, and to back up my argument because I know that WAR is a highly subjective stat, I gave you FIP and xFIP. You remember those. They are what you call pretend stats. I disregarded ERA and Win totals because they aren't as meaningful and are not player-dependent stats.

    Now if Jackson was paid $11 million dollars (that was his salary regardless of signing bonus) and he earned $11 million dollars, by definition that is not a shitty year. It is a shitty year if you expected him to be something better than what he projects as, which again, in comparison, is pretty similar to last year when you look at his career numbers. However, by definition, anything above that would be an above average year, or maybe you were expecting a career year, I'm not sure.

    Now when you add all of that up, no matter what source you use or what you think WAR actually is, Edwin Jackson pitched nearly identical to his career averages and he earned $11 million dollars, therefore, if the Cubs wanted to move him, and they do not, at least so far, he would at least be AT VALUE for the acquiring team.

    I understand finance and valuation are tough subjects for you, especially since you obviously grade players on WAR alone and refuse to include measurable statistics like FIP or UZR. It's okay. If you think Jackson is a shitty player, the lucky thing for you is, you didn't sign him and you don't have to pay him. I disagree with your assessment, and until you can give me something tangible to prove your point or explain your line of thinking, I will continue to disagree with you.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    "OK now you are being stupid and skewing the argument to fit your purpose."

    You do realize you been doing that the entire time by only using one set of data when there are four sets of data, right?

    The pot calling the kettle black.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Okay guys. This is starting to escalate. Let's cool it. I know this has been a spirited debate but no need for either of you to get personal.

  • In reply to Rusty Becker:

    I thought that that was the prevailing view of Jackson. I haven't seen anyone claim he was expected to be a #1 starter.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I know he wasn't brought in here to be a #1, but a middle rotation guy even if they gave him large contract.
    Hopefully he can turn it around this season which means less loses & more wins for the Cubs. Along with a better season from Jeff S (if he's still here) should give us a least 5-8 more wins.

  • I'm basing this entirely on some of the comments he made about Acta and some of his other comments criticizing people, but I'd vote "no" on Perez. Not like my vote matters, but luckily I don't think Theo would bring him in either.

  • Just added a prospect notes section including a scouting report and video of Kris Bryant courtesy of Peter Gammons and Baseball America.

  • I am trying to be patient, but I don't foresee a winning season until maybe 2016. I find it frustrating but I wouldn't want them to overpay anyone in this FA class. I don't see much impact talent in FA and the Cubs impact talent is still a little bit away. I hope they will be able to pursue someone decent next offseason
    Thanks for the article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    You're welcome. I hear ya. But I think it's very possible the Cubs get better quickly without any major moves.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, if the Cubs just add Tanaka and a secondary RH bat, say Rajai Davis or Kelly Johnson, how many wins would you expect from that club next year?

  • fb_avatar

    It's fun watching Kris Bryant hit.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Are you in Mesa?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I added a video to post.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hey, look at that, thanks.

  • There are, what, four roles for free agency?

    1) Fill holes

    2) Add a great talent (I suppose this could be 1b)

    3) Obtaining assets to flip for assets with potential

    4) On-the-field mentoring and/or coaching.

    I think #4 gets overlooked a lot. The causal fan sees FA as mostly just about #2. #1 is acknowledged, but it generally isn't what gets anybody excited. I've come to see the value in #3, but I've rarely heard #4 mentioned. Hearing LaRussa get interviewed and talk about the value of his vets, and watching the WS and hearing all the talk about Gomes, I think of the Reed Johnsons.

    John, I know we've heard about Tanaka a lot to fulfill are desire for #2 above. You've even talked about #3 above. But who out there might bring that veteran leadership out there to help develop these young guys? Anybody out there? If so, how do we monetarily quantify their value in respect to the actual non-baseball (non-WAR) performance side of it? Is there any real value for those guys?

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    IMO, A vet who can't play (like Lindsey hunter with the Bulls) is just a wasted roster spot. A major lg dugout isn't an NBA bench. You simply can't de-activate him or DL him and dress him in a suit and stick him on your bench as a defacto coach.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I'm not talking about someone who doesn't have any talent. As I mentioned, was thinking of the Reed Johnsons and Johnny Gomes.

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    Ok. Gotcha. My friend caps was all about Johnny Gomes last winter. instead we got Hairston. :-(

  • John,

    Could we have seen the last of Barney on the Cubs ?

    Barney, who won a Gold Glove Award in 2012, had another solid year defensively, but wasn't able to contribute much at the plate, batting a career-low .208. Barney is arbitration-eligible, and there's a chance he is non-tendered. The Cubs could shift Valbuena to second or go young with rookie Logan Watkins, who compiled a .365 on-base percentage in the Minors.

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    In reply to SouthsideB:

    we should be so lucky.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I was wondering whether Barney would file for arbitration and actually ask for a raise...

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I think it's a possibility. Could get too expensive given his lack of offensive production.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Mark Ellis was just released by the Dodgers, I would take him on a 1 yr deal if possible.

    Ellis, 36, batted .270/.323/.351 with six homers and four steals in 126 games (480 plate appearances) for the Dodgers this season. As is typically the case, he was a standout defender at second base, posting marks of +7.6 in UZR/150 and +12 in The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I'll give you a two word reason for not unloading Darwin Barney just yet. Ozzie Smith.

    Before anyone gets all redneck on me over my observation I just want to make a point that some defensive specialists do become better hitters over the course of their careers. In Barney's 1800 PAs thus far he has a line of .246/.293/.336/.629 with a weighted OBA of .278. Smith was .233/.296/.283/.579 with a weighted OBA of .269 after 2029 PAs. Where Barney offers more power than Smith, Ozzie was a much better contact hitter with 50% the K rate and his plate discipline sky-rocketed after joining the Cards.

    The point is that Barney will never have another season with a ridiculously low .222 BABIP in his career and he began making some strides by walking at a 6.5% rate where it was only 3.9% in his first full season. The defensive ability will always be there. He comes from a winning college program and is the best option the Cubs have until he becomes too expensive. I don't think he'll improve like Smith and wind up with an OBP of .350-.390 during his peak years, but holding onto Darwin for another year or two might make some sense. A better start for him next year will make all the difference in the world.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Paulson:

    Ozzie was a far better defender at a more premium defensive position...much easier to swallow that kind of meager OPS. It would also be easier to handle if he were a piece on a winning team.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I can't imagine they would go with Watkins. If the fans are upset about Barney's offense, wait until they see Watkins facing ML pitching full time.

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    Well, if there's one way to guarantee Starlin Castro hits his extreme ceiling and becomes the best shortstop of all time, it's to trade him to the Cardinals.

    This trade makes a lot of sense, but it's a potential public relations fiasco for both teams. Still, if you made a list of teams with whom a Castro trade makes sense, the Cardinals would be right at the top of it. Wonder if we could pry Taveras and Martinez free?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Castro and Soler for Taveras, Miller (aka Milk Carton Boy), and Martinez.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    No way that's worth throwing Soler in.

    Castro and someone like Trey martin maybe.

    The deal is unlikely if for no other reason than the Cubs are going to try to take a LOT from the Cards to make it worthwhile.

    But Tavares and Miller would be mighty tempting.

    Or go all-pitching since it's still what we lack.

    But I'm guessing it never happens.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Taveras is a better prospect than Soler, so essentially its using Castro to upgrade Soler and get two of their best young pitchers.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    No way they give up all three of those guys for anyone. Plus I don't see the Cardinals as a team willing to take on the 25M of a guy that has yet to appear in Double A. That's something a desperate team like Toronto or KC would do.

    That would be a GIANT haul for the Cubs. IF they decided to trade those three at once it would likely be to COL for Tulo.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I'm not trading Castro to the Cardinals for anything less than a giant haul. Those are their two best young pitchers not named Michael Wacha.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh me neither! You and I agree on that, Mike. I was just saying that I thought they would never consider that much since they aren't "a shortstop away" from contention or anything. I don't see them giving up two brilliant looking young arms as well as their top prospect for Starlin. Maybe Miller and Piscotty. Maybe.

    They should just sign Stephen Drew to a 3 year deal worth right around what Starlin is making and keep the three young players. Easy. Matt Adams could be used as a nice chip with the presence of both Craig and Taveras. Perhaps the Rangers would like him. Colorado certainly would.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ben20:

    John just said Cubs are looking for 2 of Miller/Martinez/Jenkins plus a SS, probably Kozma. Soler is a top 30 prospect in his own right, with a ceiling perhaps higher than Taveras, so that trade may appeal to the Cardinals more than Miller/Martinez/Kozma.

    Stephen Drew comes with a lost draft pick. That's a pretty harsh price for an average shortstop -- though it's a very late draft pick for the Cardinals.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha, yeah I just saw that update a minute ago. I'm good with the Cubs looking for that. I was just saying that I don't think the Cards would do that. You make good points about Soler and Drew. Its gotta be fun to be John Mozeliak since there's pretty much any option a GM could want to upgrade at short.

    If ever there were a team that could afford to tank a draft pick and sign a young veteran, the Cards are it. Some would call Drew average. Some would call him solid.

    The best part about it for St. Louis is that they know they'll still be contenders if not favorites with Kozma/Carpenter/Descalso playing short. Sick.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    There was talk about the Cards going after Tulo.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Tulo is on a whole different level, that deal wouldn't be enough to get him. Wacha would be a must and then two more like Martinez and Tavaras. Tulo is a super elite player and it would take a massive haul to get him.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Disagree. Matt Adams, Martinez, Wong, and Piscotty or another pitcher like Jenkins would be enough. Don't forget that there is 118M involved. The Cards relieving Colorado of that is part of the reward for the Rockies.

    Rockies owner has also recently said its not going to happen but who knows?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    $118M is not a burden when a player is an elite SS. Relieving salary is an issue when a guy isn't worth the contract anymore, ala Soriano. If Tulo was a FA this offseason the Cards would have to pay more than that.

    I'm guessing you are a Cardinals fan with the names you have up there. Only Martinez is a top piece and IMO #2 type piece in a Tulo trade. The other three our filling out the trade type, one of those as a fourth piece.

    As you say the owner has spoke on this but who knows. What I do know is likely from his statements is the team isn't giving its elite players up on the cheap. Bring a Brinks truck full of top talent of don't call.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly Mike.

    Has 'Lou Brock' kind of potential written all over it,..... YIKES!

  • Ah crud...I think I zapped the video. Happens everytime I update an already published article.

  • I would not deal with the cardinals at all !!!! It just feels like castro would be there to haunt us for years(the kid is 23 and be around winners for the first time) and all the prospects we get back would become bullpen arms with arm problems.

  • Totally agree with you, John. Other than Tanaka there's not much out there that makes sense. I don't think the FO would/will be averse to adding the right FA's. Hard to get excited about guys like Johnson, Hughes, etc. Gavin Floyd intrigues me a tiny bit. One of my favorite pitchers, Tim Hudson is out there but no chance he'd want to come since we're not close. I'd be ok with bringing Baker back on a loyalty discount (hopefully) and letting Hendricks, Rusin, Beller (?), etc. fight it out for that 6th spot.

    Nowhere near Chris Perez.

    As far as the Starlin to St. Louis idea. Yikes! I'd hate to pull the trigger on that one even though they are so loaded. If I were St. Louis I'd be looking at Starlin, Andrus, Profar, and Tulo. Tulo would be a killer fit there. Matt Adams, Carlos Martinez, and Kolten Wong or Piscotty for Tulo?? Starlin's contract is certainly a plus. They certainly have the goods to get whoever they want. Do you really think we could get two starters for Castro? Who would be your first choice?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Adams, Martinez & Wong for Tulowitzki? Colorado hangs up on you before you get done speaking.

  • What financial penalty do the Cubs face if they field the same ~100 game losing team in 2014?

    That is, how much do they lose per game if 20000 fans decide to stay home? Assuming that road teams still get a piece of the home ticket sales, how much do they lose when 20000 transplanted Chicagoans decide not to make the drive over to Atlanta, for example?

    Thanks and have a good one!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Probably not much. The majority of tickets are season tickets or partial season tickets. And with more night games this year, there are more home dates falling into the "nights and weekends" plan. The paid attendance will be higher than the physical attendance a lot of times. Ownership misses out on the concessions sales I guess.

    I don't know that the road team gets any of the action for away games. Isn't that all kind of sorted out via revenue sharing?

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    If it hasn't changed, the road team does get a percentage of the gate. I don't remember what the figure was.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ratmoss:

    report I read was the cubs attendance was down 240,000 in '13 compared to '12, and that translated to $17 mil in revenue. Tanaka/Ellsbury money.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DropThePuck:

    The Astros barely had any fans at all in the seats this year and set a record for most profits.

    Granted, their payrll for the whole team was less than the single year salary of a couple dozen different players. The Cubs payroll, while getting lower, is nowhere remotely close to that range.

    Still, my point is that short term attendance drops is really not a massive deterrent.

  • awesome to hear. dont see the point/value of spending money on free agents if that money spent doesnt make us a 90+ win/playoff team

  • If B J Upton had a down season in 2012, he sho' nuff had a down season in 2013. Buyer beware in the FA market.

  • Interesting to think about the price for Castro from the Cards: Taveras, Martinez, +1?

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    Don't want to see Starlin go to St. Louis and become a superstar while the guys we end up are probably good but give us less overall value.

    Come on, this is the Cardinals we're talking about....of course that's what will happen.

    On a serious note, I don't even entertain trading Castro unless Baez is a hot streak away from coming to Wrigley. With our luck we trade Castro, then Baez bombs, not we're looking for a SS the next 10yrs while the Cards have theirs.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Even if Baez is a hot streak away, who's to say he keeps it up. Im not for trading Starlin because Baez has a couple good weeks at AAA.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Castro ceiling isn't a superstar anymore its dropped. The FO tried to change his approach because everyone thought he had his amazing ability to adapt. He didn't which to me throw up a red flag. I have always seen red flag with Castro and never saw him as a major impact player. If they didn't have someone like Baez waiting in the wings I won't trade him but they do.

    Is Baez a Gold glove SS no but neither is Castro. Baez would at the very least give you Arod power number from the SS position.

  • fb_avatar

    Confirmation is coming down: Castro to the Cards for Ernie Broglio.

  • no way i trade Castro Unless the package is Miller / Martinez AND Tavares .

  • No to Jenkins, coming off shoulder surgery . unless he is a afterthought throw in .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Meh...Guys like him grow on trees. Paniagua, Dolis, Cabrera, Rivero...

    Sounds like a slightly more advanced Duane Underwood.

  • fb_avatar

    Just saw the most recent update.

    2 of Miller, Martinez, and Jenkins?

    How is Jenkins even on a list with those two? Jenkins hasn't done aaaanything. None of his numbers are promising. He doesn't even have good strikeout stats. that is... WEIRD.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    Outstanding fastball. He's developed slowly, but the raw stuff is very good. Having said that, I'd rather have the other two.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, that's my point, really.

    I believe his curve is supposed to be pretty good too.
    I know the potential is there but he hasn't lived up to ANY of it.
    It's all projection and athleticism tight now.
    Which is GREAT if he was a throw in, but if you're saying "2 of these three" what's the point of even bringing his name up?

    Like if you said 2 of Miller, Kelly, and Wacha. OK, there's some analysis to be done. Pros and Cons to be weighed. Most would probably lean Wacha and Miller but Kelly looked really good in the postseason too. Hell of a fastball there.

    But Miller, Martinez, and Jenkins.
    A wise man once said "one of these things is not like the other... one of these things just doesn't belong."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    If John's right and that's what the Cubs want, my guess is they have Jenkins ranked higher than the prospect gurus.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Jenkins is a pure upside guy. Lots of talent, but still pretty raw.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    what gurus?

    I'm talking about Jenkins vs Miller and Martinez. One of whom is a ROY candidate and the other just had a pretty great postseason performance for a rookie.

    I believe Jenkins has only made it to high-A and his numbers are abysmal.

    I'm not suggesting he's not a promising prospect anymore, just that he doesn't belong in a "2 of three" conversation with those guys.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    To paraphrase another wise man, "These are not the prospects you are looking for."

  • Just saw the most recent update. I can't believe there'd be any way the Cards would part with BOTH Martinez and Miller in the same deal. Maybe Martinez and Lynn. Miller and Lynn. Especially since they'll probably bring Carp back on a 1 year deal and will need all of their young arms. Westbrook's gone.
    1. Wainwright
    2. Wacha
    3. Kelly
    4. Miller
    5. Carpenter/Lynn/Garcia/Martinez
    They'll need insurance for Carp and Garcia coming back and Motte as well. If we had this pitching staff would we want to trade two of the young ones at once?!

    Sign Drew. Keep Kozma and the pitching.

    Even if we do get that kind of senseless haul I'll be bitter. You just know he'd end up blossoming into a hall of famer!

    By the way, it was so enjoyable to finally watch Michael Wacha wet the bed! Welcome to the big leagues, Meat! Miss a bat one time!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ben20:

    My guess is this is why it doesn't happen. Cubs will insist on both, Cards will refuse. Next batter.

    I don't think there's a change the Cardinals give up their first round pick for Drew. They'd be just as happy keeping Kozma there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


    I think there is a chance. Perhaps not a likelihood. I don't know about "just as happy" but I think they know they're okay with Kozma and Descalso. Drew would be a nice upgrade, albeit not a major one. I don't see the draft pick alone deterring the Cards from upgrading at this stage of their FO's tenure. Especially coming off a World Series loss. They'll hit on their second round guy.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    And their 3rd, 5th and possibly their 11th - it's the "Cardinal Way".

    (Partial) Kidding aside, the only way the Cards go w/ the proposed Castro deal or sign Drew, IMO is if they are as convinced as they can be that the deal solves the "problem". In that respect, the Castro deal might have more promise than the Option w/ Drew. Obviously the proposed price seems a bit steep, even if you're the Cardinals, but if you think a revived Castro is the difference, it makes sense.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    The main upside of the Drew option is that it would allow them to upgrade at short as well as hanging onto all of their prized young arms. Castro, Tulo, Andrus, all of those guys are already paid so its not a team control issue. They may be nowhere near Drew anyway. That was just speculation on my part.

    Adams/Wong/Martinez/Jenkins for Tulo and his 118M
    Adams/Martinez/Piscotty for Andrus
    Miller/Adams for Profar and a low level minor leaguer
    Keep Kozma/Descalso
    Sign Drew to a 3 year/36M deal and forfeit a draft pick
    Sign Alexi Casilla for nothing and create a little more competition
    Sign Jhonny Peralta
    Bring backBrendan Ryan for nothing

    They have every option imaginable.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Fair points, all. This offseason may surprise and prove much more active trade wise than I initially may have assumed

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Its very likely that Carpenter retires. In fact I think most Cards fans believe thats what he will do

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    All said, though, I see the cards filling the SS spot with a trade to someone else. Other teams could use players they don't need as much and have less leverage than us.

    Tulowitski is certainly better than Castro but many believe that the Rockies payroll is higher than they'd like it to be. Matt Adams would be a pretty solid replacement for a just retired Helton. Add Kozma and maybe Martinez and pieces and that probably works out.
    (God Tulo on the Cards is a terrifying concept)


    My prediction (strictly speculative on my part, I haven't read anything of this and it probably has no basis in reality)

    The Cards send Kozma and Freese + a non star reliever or two to San Diego for Everth Cabrera.
    (which allows SD to trade Headley or make three team trade happen to move him that way)
    The Cards really don't need to go all-in at SS and they don't want to give up any young guys they don't have to. They don't need a star SS, really they just need not-Kozma.

    Everth seems to me the kind of player they can get steal from another team in a trade they come out WAY better on than the other team. He's an upgrade over Kozma and probably only gets better with Cardinals coaching. And he won't cost them the prospects that Tulo would.

  • Fozzy Bear for Castro is intriguing.

  • If the Cubs offseason consisted of signing a catcher like Pena or Suzuki, Mark Ellis, one of Sizemore/McClouth/Morse, a SP such as a Phil Hughes, Jason Vargas, or Josh Johnson on a one year make-good and flip contract, along with a LH bullpen arm such as JP Howell or Oliver Perez, I would consider it a success. All would be on cost conscious, short deals and would improve the record as well as provide some veteran presence.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    agreed. The way we've approached free agency for the past two years is best still.

    Another Maholm. Another Feldman.
    Best way.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Can't argue with the 'success' that this approach has had so far.

    Some fine long-term farm system adds, and some possible players for the pen or perhaps starters next season (Strop & Arietta) added at the cost of some short-term contracts,..... sounds good to me.

    I think that 'we' should take a flier on Baker as well (if his terms are reasonable) as a FA over the Winter as well. He kind of owes the Cubs a performance or two after sitting (no fault of his) out the bulk of the season and raking in several $Million.

  • It seems to me we are not going to see Almora in here for at least 2 seasons and Bryant at the earliest next August. With that being the case we could use a right handed bat, who could play centerfield for a couple of years ala Scherholtz in right field.

  • In reply to Leo the Lip:

    like Junior Lake?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I meant in addition to Junior Lake. Normally you like to have at least two right handed hitters out of the five outfielders you normally carry.

  • I don't see Trading Castro as a bad time. It frees up a spot in the IF. If they can get 2 power arms for the rotation like Martinez (Who I like more than Miller) and Miller. I would do it

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I like that trade. Another one would be Castro for David Price as long as Price agrees to a 5 or 6 year contract. I don't want to lose him in 2 years.

  • In reply to John57:

    They're going to want more than Castro for Price. They're going to want multiple pieces. Hard to see a 1 for 1 trade.

    That would have maybe worked last spring training not after a bad year from Castro and you know the Rays are going to continue to harp on the down year in any trade talks.

  • Nice article. I'm still holding out hope that the Cubs snag David Murphy. I'd also like to see them sign Casper Wells to a minor league deal with an invitation to camp. He could pair nicely with Sweeney/Schierholtz. Last year was a lost year for him, but I was a fan of his during his time with the Mariners. An OF of Murphy/Sweeney/Schierholtz with Lake and Wells on the bench, or something like it is what I'm hoping for. It's a shame Ellsbury will probably be too expensive but I'd much rather see the Cubs continue to make smart signings than statement signings. Use the savings and make some high upside pen signings. Hanrahan/O'Flaherty/JP Howell/Frank Francisco/Mujica could all be good signings depending on the market. Help at Third and Second hopefully comes from within the system.

    With the Cards, I don't think we should be afraid to deal with them. Just make sure any return package is clearly preferable to Castro.

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    I think in your update you meant to write to "pry Castro loose."

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    I don't think signing Saltalamacchia to a 3 or 4 yr deal at $27-$36 million would be a bad thing. I think it is a good time to trade Castillo because he is coming off a good season and he is young enough to get pitching in return. Depends on whether he gets a QO I guess.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I would really love to see that signing -- and I think Castillo is pretty good. Saltalamacchia fills in a lot if holes. My only fear is catchers tend to wear out early -- that's where I trust our trainers to evaluate him.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I still like just resigning D. Navarro. He complemented Wellington very well.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Saltalamacchia was the 3rd catcher on the BoSox in the WS. They lost confidence in him because of his defense and I can't imagine this FO, who values defense, would trade Castillo for Salthy.

    A career year for sure, but no way he is worth signing.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I just don't see what, besides switch-hitting, is attractive about his game. He really has had one above-average offensive year, and the d is subpar.

  • I can't help but think that if the Cards are indeed serious about acquiring Castro that they're willing to give something of value or the whole exercise would be a waste of time and they also think Starlin's 2013 season was a fluke. If Miller and Martinez are offered along with Kozma that's a fair trade.

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    I'm confused. To pry Baez loose or Castro?

  • John what type of stats do you estimate a 60 bat and 70 power play out as?

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    60 hit is around .280, .285. 70 power is 30-35 HRs.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Thanks. I'll take that!

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Who wouldn't? Lets not forgot 90% of prospects don't reach their potential.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    It more like 280 to 295.

  • Man, with Baez and Alcantara both having SS chops, I don't know how you wouldn't want to do Castro for Miller and Martinez. I'll swap two contributing starters for one all day long, especially if I have young replacements at the ready for the departed SS.

    If they did this, there would now be room for all of Olt, Bryant, Baez and Alcantara. With Starlin still here, one of those 4 doesn't have room to play.

  • Shelby Miller & Carlos Martinez for Starlin Castro. Do it.

  • Right now considering we are going for improvement, I say deffinitely do the trade. I would however sweeten the pot a little one way or the other and try to get Kozma also. That gives us even more money to throw at Tanaka. A starting rotation of Tanaka, Miller, Rosenthal, Wood, and E Jax would be hard core and very very young. Kozma would be a good short stop with Olt or Villenueva at third and Valbuena at second and Rizzo at first. Then the pre discussed outfield as it stands or trade Shark for a left handed hitting out fielder. This way no matter what the prospects give us or not we are way better next year. Even if we don't sign Tanaka we would also still have a good starting rotation. If we do sign him I instantly put Arrietta at closer and our bullpen is finished as well. Heck in Baez and or Bryant do keep killing it they could be our trade deadline additions while using Olt and or Vallenueva and Valbuena as trade chips to restock the farm. You could maybe even throw in Schierholtz on the restock plan. Good lord this could be the greatest thing that has smacked the cubs in the face for the last century. Even if Castro goes all HOF as a Card we may still end up with the better end of the deal. Yup I'm on board.

  • Oh sorry belive in my last post I said Rosenthal as the second trade chip if I did sorry. But Martinez well that still works and I still do the trade.

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    If I were the Cardinals, I'd be calling Texas about a shortstop. The Rangers' system is in need of young power arms, and they have excess in the middle-infield. They could probably acquire Profar in a one for one deal and not hurt their system to badly.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Profar is not going anywhere unless its for a big name like Stanton or Price.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    What about Andrus for Martinez and lesser prospects?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Aren't the Rangers thinking about trading Kinsler and moving one of Andrus/Profar to 2B or moving Kinsler to 1B or DH?

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I don't see why not. It's a win-win for both teams. They'd both simply be dealing a long term asset at a position of strength for a long term asset at a position of weakness. Though not common, it's also not a concept that is completely unheard of in baseball, and both GM's are known as outside the box thinkers.

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    What is so wrong with trading Castro? Seriously. The Cubs are a 65 win team with few trading chips at the major league level. If the return on Castro is worth moving him and you have two guys in the minors who could play SS why not move Castro?

    And if you are willing to move Castro, be realistic about what the return would be. The Cardinals, for instance are not going to trade Oscar Tavares AND Carlos Martinez AND Shelby Miller. But if you get two of those guys and (maybe) Jenkins along with Kozma you don't immediately say no.

    So now we have three things that the consensus is against:

    1. Signing free agents
    2. Trading minor league players
    3. Trading Starlin Castro or Wellington Castillo

    So what you are really saying is that you love this current team and crave losing seasons. Stop falling in love with your own players and disliking (or diminishing the potential impacts) of others.

    I think most Cubs fans wouldn't know what to do if there was a consistently winning team in Chicago. Oh yeah, you would complain about all the bandwagon fans and unavailability of tickets.

    I would hate to own the Cubs for that reason alone.

    Sign Saltalamacchia. Trade Castillo for a SP or dependable bullpen help. Find a steady closer. Sign Phil Hughes to a one-year deal and hope you can flip him. I doubt he gets more than a 1/8m deal from anybody. Sign Ellsbury. Sign a back up catcher. Maybe Kelly Shoppach, or an equivalent, unless you can talk Navarro into being your twice-a-week catcher. Trade Samardzjia for pitching. If you can REALLY get some combination of Jenkins/Miller/Martinez/Tavares for Castro make that trade too.

    Right there you have a team that is vastly improved over next year and a core to perennially contend when considering the current farm system. And stop worrying about who is blocking whom because too many good players is a GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE. Th teams that win usually have an embarrassment of riches, not a patchwork roster that shuffles 150+ players to the bigs during a two year period. Give me a break.

    After 2014 open up the vaults and sign Clayton Kershaw. Give him WHATEVER he wants because the Cubs need an ace. I am not in love with anybody on a 65-win team. Cut the cord fellas. Do you want to win, or do you want to talk about pathetic underperformance for another twenty years?

    Every move should show measurable improvement. But every non-move should as well. To be able to navigate those waters is what separates a team like the Cardinals from a team like the Cubs.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Because when making a trade with our biggest rivals that could haunt us for a decade or more, the guiding principle should be: "Be reasonable." Especially when *they* are the ones behind the eight ball in this case.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    If it was me, I don't care who the trading partner is as long as the return is favorable. Epstein has traded with the Reds and has shown a willingness to trade with the Pirates.

    As far as being behind the eight ball, I hardly think a team with the Cardinals' track record is in that position unless there is a catastrophic injury to one of their core players, and even then, they have shown a propensity to promote better than replacement players from within their system.

    Castro is not a need. He is an upgrade to what they have in place. They are not motivated by anything other than trying to make their team better. Is Castro the difference between winning and losing that series with Boston? Maybe. Is it worth overpaying for? Probably not. The Cardinals have never been motivated by need and they never play a bad hand.

    If their shortstop is a 1WAR player and they want to add 4 wins, they find ways to do that at other positions without exposing their minor league system and without overpaying financially. Adding a shortstop is a pricey proposition because of position scarcity. They don't care how they find those 4 wins, just that they do find them on their terms. They will not overpay, trust me.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    The trades with the Reds and the Pirates are entirely different than trading the most talented player on your major league roster within division. We make a trade for Martinez, Jenkins, and lesser parts, and Jenkins never recovers from shoulder surgery, Martinez stays in the bullpen, and Castro blossoms into the best shortstop in the division, that is a HUGE advantage we've just given the Cardinals. Even a best case for Sean Marshall gave the Reds a very minor advantage. And we were discussing trading two years of Nate Schierholtz to the Pirates. These are not comparable.

    The Cardinals want a better shortstop. They've telegraphed that to the world. You can dress it up however you want, but *they* called *us*. This isn't like we're desperately trying to trade him and they're being nice enough to give us a top prospect or two for him.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    They called something like eleven teams about shortstops. I am not dressing up anything. Martinez is not staying in the bullpen. Jenkins will probably be okay or the Cubs wouldn't suggest he be part of any potential trade. Castro is not going to blossom into the best SS in baseball. He is going into his fifth year. He is average defensively and inconsistent offensively (2013).

    My point is that historically the Cardinals do not overpay and matching up with the Cubs, who want an overpay, is not likely.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    You can't give the "best case scenario" on one side of a potential trade and the "worst case scenario" on the other Mike. It just doesn't work that way. A trade is an exchange of assets and where those assets' potential meet production is 100% speculative whether you are talking about potential regression or potential capture. That is the point of trading. No GM wins every trade and most GMs do not lose every trade. In fact the best trades benefit both teams.

    Were the Cubs to trade Castro to the Cardinals, it would be a crapshoot at the consummation of that deal as to who will win the trade. You weigh what you are acquiring vs. what you are giving up, not what if or what might happen in a skewed analysis where one side projects the worst possible outcome and one side projects the best possible outcome.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    No, the best case scenario is Starlin Castro follows Lou Brock into the Hall of Fame.

    Any way this is sliced, the established, reliable major league player with a track record of success at the major league level being traded is Starlin Castro. He is the best player in this deal. That track record means you predict future success -- regardless of how bad his last season may have been.

    We're getting prospects. Carlos Martinez has had success in the bullpen and the Cardinals -- probably the best evaluators of talent in the business didn't trust Shelby Miller enough to pitch him in the playoffs. They can have all the pedigree in the world but predicting anything for pitching prospects is risky. TANSTAAPP.

    This is not a crapshoot. We have one player on the major league team with an elite tool. His name is Starlin Castro. We're giving him to a team we need to beat to make the playoffs. We damn well need to be sure we get at least one impact player out of that deal.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    What is Castro's "elite" tool? I haven't seen any part of his game that is elite.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Plate coverage/hand-eye-coordination. Easily one of the best to ever play.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'd say it's very good, but not elite. When describing that specific tool elite describes players like Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente and Derek Jeter. I wouldn't put Castro in with any of those players, not after 4 seasons and coming off of a very inconsistent year.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Well, I'd put it this both have a point. If you were to grade Castro's plate coverage/hand eye coordination on 2-8 scouting scale, I'd give it at least a 7, which would make him one of the best in the game. I do agree that calling anyone the best of all time at age 23 is premature.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Also - why wouldn't St. Louis just sign Jhonny Peralta? He's 32, won't get a QO, is a 3.2 WAR player and he actually fields better than Castro. That's a 4-win upgrade over Descalso and will cost them nothing but a 2 or 3-year contract at about 7 - 8.5M per, slightly more than Marco Scutaro money.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't think the trade is happening. But I also don't think we should be reasonable just to get some kind of trade for pitching worked out.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    It is not happening. The Cardinals will not be that desperate to get Castro unless they see something nobody else does. And though I have enjoyed this debate and you make some excellent points, you have to remember that the Cardinals, nor anybody else, heck even the Cubs, do not have the emotional ties to specific players that we do as fans.

    I get accused of having an anti-Cubs bias because I play Devil's advocate a whole bunch. I agree with you 100% that the Cubs are better off keeping Castro unless they can get an overpay from St. Louis or anybody.

    But St. Louis is the least likely team to assume that much risk, and let's be honest, in these scenarios, the Cardinals would be assuming just as much risk on the potential/production side when you are talking about the quality prospects involved.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Excellent post.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Thank you.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    "Castro is not a need"

    This is just an absurd statement. Honestly nonsense.

    Look, if the Cards are willing to give up Miller, Martinez, Jenkins and Kozma for Castro and you want Theo to pull the trigger, that's fine. I WOULD TOO.

    But to say that a 23 year old who can flat out hit, and play decent defense at THE premium position in baseball is just nuts.
    A year ago, any Cubs fan that said this would be tried for heresy in the bleachers.
    He's had 1 bad offensive season and three VERY good ones. He's young enough to improve significantly on defense (hell, most players haven't even made it to the big leagues at his age, forget notching four seasons).

    Fans were outraged when Theo traded Sean Marshall. A good, not great reliever that was going to be turning 30 the season he was traded. To say that Castro is not a need is mind-boggling.

    If you think a trade is worth it, cool. But he is DEFINITELY a need.

  • I have no problem going out and signing a few free agents. I would rather over pay on a few guys then trade anybody in our top 15-20 prospects list. We finally have a farm system to be proud of and we need to show it off in cubbie blue not another uniform. As far as trading Castro I would be all for it, if price was right. But I do not see anyone wanting to raid their farm system or give up a handful of young talent for Castro. His value has come down. I think this season should be about getting the right coaching staff and if have a chance to sign someone that can stick around and help then do it. Just stop adding these band aide players to the team. I do not know who is available next off season but the crystal ball will be much clearer then and we will know more then.

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    John Arguello - you may have to start a "live chat" one of these days.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I've done those before, especially 2-3 years ago. I like them, but they are hectic to manage without a moderator these days.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You need a guy who has lost a majority of his hair to moderate for you, that way they have nothing to pull out.

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