We took a break from the rumors today and there still isn't much going on, but there are some interesting news and notes to cover from around the web..
"Baseball teams are very mathematical. You can have a star player like Mike Trout and completely nullify his performance if you have two players that are really bad. We don't have really bad players. All 25 players are very specific players with very specific roles. We're a mutual fund and we're a value fund. We've got a bunch of equities earning 3 to 9 percent. We don't have a 20% and we don't have a negative 20 percent."
I wish I would have used this analogy in my own recent article, when I said,
The Cubs don't need to act like a big market team to win. They just need to act like a smart, efficient team that understands value and the importance of squeezing as much talent as they can onto a roster. They can't do that if they're still paying guys big money who are in the declining years of their careers. So let's cut the nonsense here. Good teams succeed because they know how and when to spend money. They don't spend it just because they have it. If you want that, then why bother bringing in a front office who understands long term value and roster management as well or better than any FO in baseball?
There were 5 teams in the playoffs who had a smaller payroll than the Cubs in 2013. They were better because their money was being spread out over more talent without a large percentage of it going to declining players like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol.
Verducci then goes on to look at those negative 20% players and for 2B, he picks Darwin Barney of the Cubs, saying there's a point where his glove just isn't enough to secure his job. He does say, however, that the Cubs should give Barney another chance and if he doesn't turn it around, the solution would be a middle infield of Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.
Possible Players of Interest
- The Royals released former Cubs killer George Kottaras (okay, he's not a Cubs killer, but an .848 career OPS from a career backup catcher is close enough). He's lefty, he has some good pop, and he's not going to hurt you behind the plate.
- The Detroit Tigers are making their young CF Austin Jackson available. Jackson is heading into his age 27 season after hitting .272/.337/.417 with 12 HRs and 8 SBs. It was a bit of an off year for him but he still managed to be just over a 3 WAR player, which would be better than any current Cubs outfielder by a good margin. Not sure the cost on this but it's worth looking into.
- The Cubs were indeed one of the 4 NL Teams in on Josh Johnson but he had a clear preference for the west coast. Sad to hear they are missing out but glad to see them trying to get in on a potential impact free agent -- even if he's also a value guy.
- One interesting player that was just made available was LHP Fernando Abad. Yesterday I noted on twitter (though I originally called him Francisco...sorry Fernando) that Abad could be a nice fit for the Cubs. He's in his prime, he is more of a power lefty to complement James Russell, and he throws enough strikes to be effective (2.39 walks per 9 IP). He put up a 3.35 ERA last year (3.26 FIP).
Odds and Ends..
- Per Bruce Levine, the Cubs should be announcing their coaching staff soon. Former Cub Mike Brumley is the latest to interview.
- I don't normally cover the Wrigley renovation saga, so I leave that to Bleacher Nation and Bleed Cubbie Blue.
More updates as the come...
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