5 Starting Pitchers the Cubs should consider: From the pricey to the bargain bin

5 Starting Pitchers the Cubs should consider: From the pricey to the bargain bin
Josh Johnson

With the return of Chris Bosio for two years, I have earmarked 5 pitchers the Cubs should look into this offseason.  I think that the slight tweaks Bosio makes combined with the approach of pounding the ball low in the zone, combined with the Cubs strong infield defense, could make these pitchers a good match for the Cubs.

1. Masahiro Tanaka

I like the idea of adding Masahiro Tanaka and from what I understand, the Cubs are willing to enter the bidding and make a serious push to sign the 24 year old NPB hurler who has put up ridiculous numbers this year.  We wrote him up here after I had the opportunity to ask a few scouts about him.

That said, the bidding will be heavy.  If they choose, the Dodgers can probably blow away any team on the bid without even flinching.  The Yankees and Red Sox are also said to be interested.  There are some serious heavyweights in the fray and the Cubs could simply lose out again no matter how hard they pursue him.

So you need alternatives when it comes to starting pitching.  I expect it to be an active offseason for the Cubs even if it's not one where we are expecting them to break the bank.  The Cubs have said they will up their payroll and spend, but as we've seen in their bid for Anibal Sanchez, they will take a shot if they see an opportunity to improve the team.  If they cannot land Tanaka, here are a few options that might interest them...

2. Josh Johnson

Still just 30 years old, Johnson probably has a few good years left in him...if he can stay healthy.  He's lost a couple of ticks on his fastball but he still throws plenty hard, averaging 93 mph.  Look away from his traditional stats.  They're hideous.  But one encouraging sign that his stuff is back?  Johnson struck out 9.18 batters per 9 IP.  That's higher than any season in which he's had 14 or more starts.  We know strikeouts don't tell the whole story, but swing and miss stuff is a good place to start.  Johnson's unusually high BABIP (.356), HR per flyball ratio (18.5% -- more than 10% higher than career worst), and low strand rate (63% -- again, much lower than his career rate of 74.2%), indicate he could be in for a big rebound.  I'd pay him solid money on a 1 or 2 year deal and if he performs, look to extend him.

3.  Scott Kazmir

Kazmir has made his way back after a promising career that was curtailed by injury.  Kazmir's velocity came all the way back, averaging 92.5 mph, well above average for a lefty and the highest it's been since his age 21 season.  He will be 30 on opening day but he looks like a brand new pitcher again.  And having a little balance in the rotation never hurts.  Kazmir missed bats (9.23 Ks/9 IP) and kept the walks down (2.68 walks/9 IP).  He had a little bad luck with BABIP and HRs, so he may even be a bit undervalued.  His xFIP of 3.36 was much better than his 4.07 ERA.

4. Dan Haren

Looking back now, this is the trade the Cubs should have made but they backed out because of Haren's medicals.  It's hard to believe now that the Cubs would have given up just Marmol and money for the resilient RHP.  Haren's numbers aren't all that flashy, 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA, but he keeps the walks way down (1.64 walks/9 IP) while also striking out about 8 batters per 9 IP.  Like the previous two pitchers, he had some bad luck with the long ball and if he can return that to a normal, league average rate, we can see Haren knock down up to a full run from that ERA to some in the mid 3.50s range.

5. Roberto Hernandez

No, not that Roberto Hernandez.  This one is the former Fausto Carmona, which we can all agree was a much more interesting name.  There are some more ghastly results-oriented numbers here as Hernandez went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA.  But as always, those kinds of numbers don't tell the whole story.  Carmona is no longer the hard throwing pitcher he once was, but he can still work in the low 90s which he plays up with an effective change-up.  Hernandez had all sorts of issues with the long ball (a huge 21% HR/FB rate), but if Bosio can work with him to help pound the lower part of the zone as he has with other Cubs pitchers, we could see a drastic improvement.  He can be a solid 4 guy who puts up an ERA in the 3.50-3.75 range if he can keep the ball in the park better.

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  • I know you only posted 5, but if 5 gets you to Carmona, it doesn't sound like a good year to get a deal on SP like we have seen the last 2 years.

  • From this list, put me down for Kazmir. Tanaka is a no-brainer, but I don't think the money will be there without the renovations started.

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    Really intriguing addition who still may have some upside. And another LHP would be nice.

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    Two years in a row, this FO has signed an undervalued FA starting pitcher, and gotten good mileage out of them; I am thinking of Maholm and Feldman. Will they do that this year?

    Cubs rotation, barring another trade, would appear to have 4 slots taken in Shark, Wood, E-Jax, and Arrieta, though I think there is room for 2 more.........I'm not sold on Jake.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think you can add one more at the least. You do have Rusin, Villanueva, and later Hendricks if Arrieta falters.

  • I like the idea of both Johnson and Kazmir (& picked them for the FA contest). Johnson has all the earmarks of recent Cub signing (coming off injury, good peripherals despite bad traditional numbers, ready for bouceback).

    And of course I like Tanaka, but I can only see the change in the posting system to allow multiple bids, a big contract, and a lot of convincing to pry him away from the Yankees or Dodgers.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    I agree Johnson seems like the best fit for both sides. The Cubs offer a 1 year showcase in the NL on a team where he probably isn't going to lose his starting job even if he struggles early. With any rebound he would end up traded to a playoff contender with a big contract coming the following year or extended by the Cubs.

    I also thought Phil Hughes was interesting on a similar deal. Talented pitchers have struggled in NY and found success elsewhere (Javier Vasquez)

  • I would rather send Rusin, Arrita or Carlos Villenuaeva out there than sign Haren or hernandez

  • In reply to Craig:

    I couldn't agree more. Give our own guys a chance. Weed out OUR winners. We aren't goin very far this coming season anyway. Save your powder!!!

  • In reply to Craig:

    I agree. Those guys may surprise. Go all out on Tanaka. He's young, and will still be when the Cubs are ready in 2-3 years to really challenge. The other guys? Save the money (I can't believe I said that.)...and give it to Shark.

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    In reply to xhooper:

    I agree. Go all in on Tanaka, get a closer, and a middle of the order bat to protect the young hitters and watch this team surprise the league next year.

    Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Jackson, and Arrietta or whomever. I like the Cubs chances a whole lot

  • Tanaka is the obvious one. Though it's a low probability we win him.

    Why no mention of Scott Baker? Kazmir is intriguing. I'll pass on Haren & Hernandez....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'd be okay with keeping Baker. He was on my list last year so I'd be willing to give him another shot. I was focusing on names outside organization.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It seems to me, you have them listed in order perfectly.

  • I think Phil Hughes should be added to the list. He has good stuff and is only 27. Seems like someone that could fit short and long-term with some corrections from Bosio. I put him in the Francisco Liriano category from last year. A lot of upside if you fix him.

  • In reply to JayO:

    I considered him, asked around, but didn't get a good vibe.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Did you get any specifics as to why? Would be interested to hear. I would put him and Josh Johnson at the top of my list.

  • In reply to JayO:

    Said he needs to pitch in a big park with a good team as a 4/5 guy. Release point will always leave him high in the zone and susceptible to long ball. Release point isn't something you can fix as well as something such as adjusting pitch grip (which Bosio does quite well, by the way) Suggested LA, Giants, and Mariners (assuming they add talent all around, which I expect). Talent wise he belongs on the list but he just didn't see him as a good fit for the team or park.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John... Sounds like SD would be a reasonable landing place for someone like Hughes.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd also add Hughes to the list, and probably over Carmona-whatever and Haren.

    Hughes' baBIP was a little high, but his walk% is low and his K% is in the 7s. His FIP is still in the mid 4s, but you take him out of the ALE, I think he'd have a much better campaign. But because of that, I imagine San Diego and the spacious caverns of Petco will lure him on a 1-2 year deal.

    Of the ones in your list not named Tanaka, I like Kazmir most and Johnson second.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    With Hughes, it's a question of fit more than talent, as I explained to Jay in that response. He may well bounce back, but has a better chance to do that elsewhere.

  • In reply to JayO:

    Why does everyone think Bosio can do what Rothschild can't ?Wasn't Larry one of the most respected pitching coaches and as far as I know still has that reputation.

  • Of course, most everybody wants Tanaka, which would be outstanding. I'm ok with either Johnson or Kazmir. They are both due to have a bounce back season. Gives Hendricks and company another year to tweak and get better. Now that we know who the manager and pitching coaches are, let the fun begin. John, what's the timeline on all the Tanaka stuff? Does it follow the regular free agent timelines? As always, thanks for the good work and all that you do for us Cub fans.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    Thanks Bob. The timeline is similar once he becomes a free agent, which hasn't happened yet. Even after it does, there is the posting process so I don't expect Tanaka to sign until late December or early January.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So most likely all the other pitchers on this list will be long gone by then?

  • I'm good with the first three, and Baker. If we only get one of these, we're fine. If we trade Samardzija, we need more.

    But it won't mean much in 2014 if we don't fix this horrible offense. Gonna be hard to attract some guys.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I've been crying for at least another two bats to add to our currently puny offense.Rizzo and Castro could pare that down to 1 regular (OF) and 1 platoon OF'er to add to the Schierholtz and Sweeney outfield. Lake still a big question mark to me,but even if he succeeds we still need another RH bat..

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    I'm still thinking Franklin Gutierrez platoon in CF with Sweeney. A cheap sign likely also.

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    In reply to TheRiot2:

    Absolutely. They have to find someone to provide that protection Soriano provided. Someone in the lineup the other team has to always worry about his spot coming up.

    Side not, doesn't look like Soriano is slowing down, if he keeps it up for 3-4 more years, is he a HOFer??

  • I am not going to hold my breath for Tanaka. I think Kazmir and Johnson appeal to me in that order.

    John, do you have a personal favorite for replacing Moreland?

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I like the idea of an outside the box guy more than a celebrity. I think a guy familiar with the Cubs process would be a nice fit too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The thought of hiring a broadcaster to pair with Pat Hughes is a daunting task. Hughes smooth as silk and Santo/Moreland like a scratchy blackboard. I used to think that also when Boudreau was partnered with Quinlan,but later realized they were gems. Wieboldt's commercial was priceless with those two pitching ladies foundation garments,brought tears of joy laughter too my eyes.

  • This won't be the year for spending big on pitching I'm afraid. I believe Tanaka ends up with the Yanks and the Cubs will resign Baker and pick up Roberto Hernandez as a potential flip candidate at the deadline. If the Cubs can deal Shark for a TOR prospect that's only a year away from the majors they need to go for it and bring in guys like Arrieta and Hendricks to see what they can do. 2015/16 will be the time to spend money for FA pitchers.

  • Kazmir is my guy. Well, Tanaka is #1 but I just don't see them winning the blind posting.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Yeah, they haven't had a lot of luck with that. Ryu was one they thought they bid enough to win, but Dodgers skew market.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    We have to hope two things, 1. Dodgers want to make sure they give Kershaw all that he wants and locks him up

    2. Tanaka wants to be a #1 on his own team, not be a secondary piece. Of course if hes a 2 or 3 starter, the odds of his team being playoff bound is HUGE and potentially the pressure would be less although I am not sure world class athletes are really concerned about pressure and expectations. Hopefully he's aware of the Cubs history has a gigantic EGO. He could potentially leave his footprint on this city w success.

  • Gavin Floyd and Clayton Richard are two that I think could be on this list. Both are coming off of throw away seasons due to injury so they could be had cheap. Both are also 30 which is right in the age range (maybe a year older) where Theo/Jed like to make their moves. Both have had extremely promising seasons and still have decent peripherals, so I think Bosio could get either of them back into their top form. Richard is also a lefty, which would be nice.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I like very much the idea of going cost effective with Floyd and Richard. Like you said, they are young, will go for a cheap, short term contract that can be flipped later if needed. I also would like Baker back as well.

    I don't understand why people say that the Cubs are lacking in pitching. Their bullpen is really starting to shape up with Strop and Grimm. Plus they have Russell, if he isn't burnt out, Parker, Rondon (who has really come into his own at the end of last season), and the swingman Villanueva. The pen has been overhauled tremendously compared to the last few years. I believe it will be a much needed strength for a growing team. Also, barring trades, the rotation should still be pretty solid, if not deep. Shark, Wood, Arriata, Jackson, plus a sneak peak of Hendricks and possibly a return of Baker.

    Honestly, the reason why the Cubs did not progress last year, and lost more games than they should, was because of the lack of offense. I want the majority of the offseason money to come in the form of a young, cost controlled outfielder who can play center.

    John, I still think your idea of going hard for Carlos Gonzalez is exactly what would make this a successful off-season. We don't need him to be a stud. Just a Matt Holliday type who can be solid year in and year out, even if they don't have video game stats.

  • In reply to the real alman:

    I agree the disparity is on the offensive end. For a good portion of the season our rotation was one of the best in the NL. It was pretty darn solid. Shore up the bullpen with our own arms and then get some offensive help, because that is the biggest hole on this team.

  • I like Clayton Richards, Floyd not so much. Tanaka, I'm afraid, will be too expensive. The feeling I have is that the Dodgers will outbid everyone by a mile and get him

  • John: Do you think Theo & Jed would give up a draft pick to sign Ubaldo Jimenez? I've been wondering whether doing that might allow them to trade Samardzija while his value his relatively high. To be clear, I like Shark and don't necessarily want to see him traded. But I think he might represent an opportunity akin to the one Theo & Jed missed a couple of off-seasons ago when they didn't trade Matt Garza.

  • In reply to datcubfandaver:

    I don't think it's worth it because I think you can get similar production elsewhere without paying that price. If I had a choice between Ubaldo and Shark, I'd choose Shark for the long term -- but if you add to the equation, and make it Ubaldo minus draft pick + prospects you can potentially get for Shark, you may end up ahead.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's kind of what I was thinking -- the prospects from the Shark trade could make up for the lost draft pick. And I think there's a good chance Jimenez could at least equal Samardzija's production over the next couple of seasons (2-4 fWAR).

    An alternate idea might be to keep Samardzija and use Jimenez to sidestep the Tanaka bidding, which could get pretty out of control for a guy who's reportedly not a TOR pitcher.

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    Tanaka and Kashmir aside I actually like our in house candidates more than I do the other guys.

    I'd give our young pitchers with solid stuff like Grimm or Cabrera a shot to see what they can do (if they pitch well in ST) and if that doesn't go well you've got some safe options like Rusin, Hendricks, and Villanueva to back them up.

    I'm very high on Arrieta so I think 4 spots are out barring a trade. It should be Tanaka and everyone else. Dont trade Shark yet unless it's a deal you can't refuse.

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    Surprised you'd pick Fausto/Roberto over Bronson Arroyo. Must be age bias!

    I think if someone could convince Josh Johnson to be a closer he would be worth a two or three year contract rather than just one year. He has the stuff and he definitely has the attitude. I doubt it will happen and I don't see Johnson forgoing starter money at this stage of his career. Still, if you get him on a 1/8M deal and he fails as a starter, it might be a great experiment.

    I am going to assume we do not get Tanaka - but a pick up of Kazmir and Johnson and maybe a guy like Arroyo would give the Cubs a lot of options next year.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I considered an other category when I wrote this with guys like Arroyo, Jason Vargas, Suk-Min Yoon (if Cubs think he's a starter), Phil Hughes (numbers fit but style/approach probably doesn't), Ubaldo Jimenez (good pitcher but don't see great value), Scott Baker, etc. but even wheh I add an "other" category, there's still names that get left off, so I just figured I'd let you guys chime in some names. The 5 I picked were the most interesting to me in terms of fit, upside and value.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Has the value of back end Starters approached the level money wise of say a mid level # 3 Starter or even a # 2? It seems guys like Hughes,Johnson and Hernandez will be seeking around 8 M per year so they could be a hard sign I'm thinking.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I love the idea of Kazmir. Arroyo would be tough to watch in Wrigley field.

  • Given that we have 3 spots set (Jackson, Wood, Samardzija) and one that will likely be set in Arrieta... I see the Cubs getting one guy from this list and someone else without a guaranteed spot in the rotation like Jeff Karstens or Phil Hughes, both of them could go to the pen if they lose... Or they could give Scott Baker a minor league deal, if he was to accept it.

    Of course, there's also the chance we do trade Samardzija and we have at least 2 spots open... In that case, Tanaka is the no brainer, regardless of what scenario you're looking at, he's a must-go-for... But it's going to be hard to get him... The 2nd one I like is Scott Kazmir, the 3rd one would be Josh Johnson... And I rather take my chances with Karstens, Hughes, Baker, Villanueva and Rusin than Haren and/or Hernandez.

  • Also I have a question about BABIP.. It doesn't really have to do with the article, just the statistic in general. It is used as an indicator for who could have been lucky or unlucky in a previous season, but I don't think it is as good of one as most people. The basic idea from a pitcher's standpoint is that if one has a season with an unusually high BABIP leading to a higher amount of surrendered runs, that if the same amount of balls were hit again next year, there would be a correction in his luck and the BABIP would reduce, leading to less runs surrendered, which is a more realistic number for this particular pitcher. I see how it works and it definitely is a small piece that can be used, but in a lot of cases I see a high BABIP for a pitcher or a low BABIP for a batter as an indication of a slight bit of regression due to a loss of velocity or command leading to a pitcher simply getting hit harder or in the batter's case a loss in the ability to square up the ball. Therefore, I believe a regression in skill is a much more likely cause for inflated BABIPs than luck, but not in all cases. Two that I think prove this the best are Anthony Rizzo and Mike Olt, simply because I am more familiar with both. In the case of Mike Olt, before his eye problems (2010-part of 2012) his BABIP was around .325-.350 cumulatively. After (2012-2013) it reduced to the mid .200's. I think it is safe to say that his reduction in BABIP was due to a lack in ability to square up the ball rather than bad luck. If that is too isolated of an incident, look at Anthony Rizzo. In 2012 he had a BABIP of .310, yet in 2013 it was down to .258. I think that this was just a case of him not squaring the ball up rather than bad luck. In 2012, when he made contact it was solid, leading to a higher BABIP. In 2013 he did not look comfortable at the plate and hit an abnormal amount of soft groundballs to the right side. I think that no matter how "lucky" he could have been, that soft of contact would never have turned into base hits. I guess this was just a longwinded way of saying I just don't trust that it's mostly about luck. That being said, I think both can get back on track and start squaring it up, but you get the point I'm trying to make about the stat. Had to get that off of my chest, nowhere else has readers that care very much, and the readers here are pretty intelligent.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    The BABIP #s on Barney and Rizzo are main reasons I think both will have much better seasons in 2014 (along with Castro) and why Castillo might regress slightly- even if his power numbers improve. If those players performed to their norms or potential it could easily be worth another 7-8 wins next year.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    I pray your right, but I don't think anything could help Barney at the plate minus an aluminum bat.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I think they may, that isn't the point I'm trying to make. My argument is for what reason this will happen. Maybe what I'm arguing is a moot point. I think that Castro and Rizzo are going to put up better numbers next year because they go in with approaches that they are more comfortable with and are able to hit pitches they like and square the ball up more, not because they will have a similar approach as last year but have luckier placement. I think Barney on the other hand, will never have the ability or approach to square it up against major league pitching on a consistent basis, so I don't see his climbing back up much over .250. Does that make any sense?

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Great writeup. I see both sides of the argument.

    I just hope for once we get the best pitcher available and that tough acting tanaka and 1 of the other 4 ( Johnson would be perfect as he can really hit too! Problem is someone is going to over pay him, and I don't think there is any pitcher worth over paying this yr except Tanaka) so Theo can keep his options open in a deal for Shark.

    I think the starters we have are pretty solid, but we need to help them out w some offense. Also getting a real closer will make that bullpen so much stronger as everyone falls into there specific roles.

    By the way, great article John

  • Haren is someone I've been hoping they go after for a while. He stands the best chance to make a big improvement this year I think. strikeout and walk rates historically are hard to change, and injury comebacks are a crapshoot, but getting more groundballs seems to be something bosio really excels at

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Haren has long been one of my favorite pitchers. Groundballs and strikeouts and a great pitchability suggests he should remain effective even while he gets farther away from his peak years. I wonder, though, was there any lost love b/w he and the FO in the failed trade?

  • I also put Kazmir on my FA list, because I view him as a potential closer candidate at this stage in his career. It would be great to have a lefty that can throw hard and keep the ball down in the late innings.

  • I was reading that NPB/MLB a new posting agreement might take a while to iron out. Im thinking it might be proactive to scoop up a starter or 2, before the winter meetings (much like they did with Feldman & Baker) & while everyone's waiting to bid for Tanaka.

  • Strikeouts can be highly over-rated, especially with a starting pitcher. One thing they do is get you in a deep pitch count and into your bullpen by the 6th inning.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    You definitely want a higher K rate for relievers. Low WHIP for starters with a low BB rate seems to be a good formula for success for starters.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I'm all about the low WHIP and low BBs for starters. Walks will kill you.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I would take high K rate and low WHIP and BB rate from anybody lol.

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    4 years/$52M for Jackson, but they're not willing to go 5/75 for Santana or Garza? What about 4 for Jimenez? I'm all for these short term solutions, but I honestly don't see much of a difference between Tanaka and Santana or Garza.

    For about $40 million less than Tanaka, they could have a legit #2 for 5 years, and one who is a legit clubhouse leader in Garza... Seems backward to me.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    I totally get your point, but Tanaka is much younger then both of those free agent options.

    In regards to Jackson, whats done cannot be undone. I am all for bringing Garza back as I loved his attitude, but this FO feels he has peaked or at his peak level and will be on the downhill once they decide to right this ship.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    I agree in principle, but Santana likely just had his career year and is tied to compensation and Garza will almost certainly not come back to an org that has been dangling him as bait for the past 2.5 seasons, he wants to win next year. Also Tanaka is much much younger.

  • I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Scott Feldman. I'd actually prefer Kazmir over Feldman, but I'd rather have Feldman than gamble again on Scott Baker. I'd love to have Tanaka, but the money that would take could be better spent elsewhere.

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    In reply to cubsin:

    Well they aren't going to use the money on Cano and I don't see another major long term impact bat out there so where should the money go to?

  • I'm all about Tanka (fills a huge need, young, could be #1, etc.) - but I doubt we land him. It might cost $70/$70 and that is a huge, huge investment for a guy with no MLB experience.

    If Tanaka is the real deal, signing a few other guys wont match up with the value - but if Tanaka is a really good #3 or a solid #2 - signing a Josh Johnson and/or Kazmir for 1/5 of the years and an 80% discount might be the way to go. Those are the signings that wont break the bank - but could lead to almost as much success. STL / ATL are never in these conversations that they are always in the playoffs.

  • I know tanaka is a potential #1. But what are the cubs hoping for this off season? Are they gonna try to find arms that will be around in 3 yrs to help build around? Or do the just want a 1-2 stop bleeding pitchers? Or do they want a low risk guy and hope he bounces back and can trade him for prospects?

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Probably all of the above. One thing you can guarantee about this FO is that they consider every option, and even options most can't even comprehend.

  • Tanaka is my first wish but it is unlikely we get him.

    Second I want Scott Baker. Good pitcher and veteran leadership. Will be a reasonable contract.

    Third I want Kazmir. It would balance the rotation.

    We still have Villianueva, Rusin, Hendricks, Cabrera to choose from so I think we only need to sign one SP. Two if we are going to flip one.

    Don't really want Garza. He can't field his position.

  • In reply to John57:

    I love Garza. He throws hard and is a great competitor. The one good thing about this discussion is no mention of Price. I'm still wondering why (taking Prices Price in consideration) Price is rated sp much higher than Kazmir, Jiminez and Garza.

  • The Dodgers and their $300M a year broadcasting rights seem to have bottomless pockets, John, any idea how much if any of that gets shared with other teams. If none then the whole revenue sharing things needs to be completely redone. Of course if and when the Cubs sign their huge payday I won't be complaining as much.

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    In reply to ruby2626:

    I don't know but I do recall reading the Dodgers saying that they can't afford to sign Cano, and want to lock up Kershaw this winter and believe it will be the richest contract in MLB history.

  • Good article, John. I like those names but I have a couple of questions.

    Josh Johnson,1 OR 2 years, solid money and then explore an extension?? So you don't have him as a sign and flip guy?

    Every pitching coach on Earth preaches pounding the lower part of the strike zone. Is there a particular mechanical tweak you expect him to make to these guys? I understand that a change of scenery, new pitching coach, new eyes, etc can help a guy bounce back. I'm not a Bosio detractor at all and not trying to be argumentative. I guess I just don't see why he specifically would be any better for a guy's career than any new pitching coach would be. Perhaps you can shed some light on that for me. From what I've seen on the field and the research I've done, the staff has been average to above average. I haven't noticed a marked improvement in the overall pitching of the club over the last two years.

  • If they could get Kazmir for 2 years @ $24 Million with an option for a 3rd year at another $12 Million and $1 Million dollar buyout... or something similiar then that would be good value and give the Cubs a possible trading chip down the road.

    Johnson on a 1 year - $10 Million contract - add in $2 million in incentives with a mutual option for a 2nd year at $12 million. That could also make him a tradeable commodity down the road.

  • Also, what do you know about Raciel Iglesias? If the FA contest was one day later I might have put him on my list, lol. Supposedly 23 with really good stuff and not attatched to the int'l bonus pool. Doesn't that put him in the wheelhouse?

  • The high pitch counts on Tanaka are a red flag for me, especially for the investment that has to be made to secure him. It seems with these Japanese pitchers, you either get a Dice K or a Yu Darvish, but the risk is to high, and the money invested could be better spent elsewere.

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