Cubs Notes: Radio booth candidates emerge, AFL championship, Morrison, McLouth, and could the Cubs trade EJax instead?

Cubs Notes: Radio booth candidates emerge, AFL championship, Morrison, McLouth, and could the Cubs trade EJax instead?
Logan Morrison

The GM meetings are over but the team will meet again at the winter meetings which run from December 9th through December 12th.  Of course, that doesn't mean the Cubs won't make any moves before then, so we'll still keep our eye out.

The Cubs have yet to fill out their coaching staff but I did hear some good things about Rick Renteria, so I'm feeling better about that hire everyday.

Here are some news and notes to start the day...

Arizona Fall League Championship

We saw some top Cubs prospects lead Daytona to a Florida State League championship last season and now we are seeing a few more lead the Mesa Solar Sox for a shot at another title -- the Arizona Fall League championship.  The game is on at 2 p.m. CT and can be seen on MLB Network.

Here are some of the key Cubs prospects for the Solar Sox

  • Dallas Beeler will start the championship game for the Solar Sox.  Beeler is 4-1 with a 2.49 ERA and has walked just 5 batters in 21.2 innings.
  • Kris Bryant leads the AFL with 6 HRS and a 1.184 OPS.  He's hitting .364/.457/.727 on the year.
  • Despite being one of the youngest players in the league, 19 year old Albert Almora has thrived, hitting .307/.342/.480 and seemingly making at least one spectacular defensive play a game.
  • Jorge Soler still isn't 100% and hasn't played baseball since the all-star break but he has held his own with a .271/.311/.376 line.

Radio booth candidates

Bruce Miles runs through a list of candidates for the Cubs vacant radio color analyst position.  He  says that while it's in the early stages, we can already rule some candidates in and out.  And some of the names may surprise you.

Out: Kerry Wood, Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, and Eric Karros.

In: Dave Otto, Todd Hollandsworth, and Ron Coomer

Coomer is the surprise name here.  Like Miles said, it's still early, so I'm hoping to see Mick Gillispie added to that "in" list soon.

Keep Samardzija and trade...EJax?

Jeff Samardzija has been the hot topic in Chicago.  Teams have been calling on him and with good reason.   He's better than any free agent on the market with the possible exception of Masahiro Tanaka, he's cheap for two years, and he is still relatively young innings wise. He's a tremendous athlete with excellent stuff.

It's not a slam dunk that the Cubs will trade him.  They will try and see if they can hammer out a deal this offseason.  Some here, including our man Fels, think the Cubs need to keep Samardzija and I agree -- if they can extend his deal in a way that makes sense for both sides.  I've also heard similar sentiment from some in the industry.

Samardzija ranks 18th in all of baseball in xFIP the past two seasons, his fastball is among the 2 or 3 best in the game, and his splitter was just ranked as the 3rd most unhittable pitch among starters.  He's also a leader and a strong competitor.  Shouldn't the Cubs be building around guys like that?

Meanwhile, MLB Network's Jim Bowden (h/t Michael C.) reports the Cubs are shopping Edwin Jackson and are willing to pay part of his remaining salary.  I don't have confirmation on that but it's an interesting idea.  Much of Jackson's money was paid upfront and he isn't outrageously priced at $33M oer the next 3 years.  If a team wants to gamble on a good arm at 5-7M a year, it may end up being a better idea than paying big on the free agent market.  The stuff is still very good and his peripherals were pretty much in line with what they have been in recent seasons.  I think Jackson will bounce back and have a solid year, but his upside isn't the same as Samardzija's.

Alternatives to Jacoby Ellsbury

I asked a few people about Ellsbury and nobody seems to think he makes a lot of sense for the Cubs.  Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus was among those who think the Cubs should pass.  I also asked an industry source who doesn't think the Cubs should sign Ellsbury -- even at 5/6 years and 80/90M.  A couple of interesting alternatives he gave were Nate McLouth and trading for Logan Morrison.

McLouth provides the kind of plate discipline the Cubs like, walking at an above average rate of 8.9% while providing some pop with 12 HRs.  He's no longer a great centerfielder but he can play an above average LF.

It's hard to believe Morrison just turned 26.  He's a LH hitter with very good plate discipline, walking in 11.4% of plate appearances in his career.  At 6'3", 245 lbs., he has the size to hit for power and did hit 23 for the Marlins in 2011.  He's a below average defender at every OF position.

McLouth would make a nice stopgap but Morrison has a shot to be more of a long term piece if he can stay healthy, regain his power, and improve his defense.  If they can buy low on him, I'd like to see the Cubs give him a shot.

Odds and Ends

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  • Nice to see the Cubs being represented (as most of us figured) throughout the line-up in today's game. Beeler starting, Bryant 3rd, Soler 7th and I would venture to guess Almora might have started if he didn't exit the other day with his minor injury.

    I am for trading EJax and keeping Shark for all the reasons noted above. Shark has the stuff, lets hope he learns a little more of how to pitch. He is getting there and he would be a strong #2.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    He definitely started...but you never know, it may have been at Soler's expense.

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    I think you absolutely want to build around Shark -- if you can extend him. I'm assuming the front office has done and will continue to do everything possible to get that extension. But, if they can't work out a deal that both sides are comfortable with, we have to be honest. 2 years of Shark is worth a lot more to other teams that it is to us right now. We're better off taking advantage of that difference in valuation.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, I think that's very well put. Agreed.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Didn't shark want a no trade clause, which theo doesn't want?

  • Would Logan play rf or lf ? You would think a team really needing a 1st baseman would nab him.

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    I think he's better suited defensively for 1B but he is not a terrible athlete, so I hope he could be passable in LF.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My thought is LF is the easiest and least consequential position in the game. The LF may have to field a couple of fly balls, but every other infielder throws to the first baseman and he's also the cutoff man on throws home from the OF. And turning a 3-6-3 DP takes more agility than shagging a fly ball. You can hide an immobile guy at first, but if he can't pick it and his footwork stinks, he has way more opportunities to hurt you than the LF does.

  • Great points on Jackson. That signing bonus I always thought a shrewd way to bring down sticker shock for a later trade. Still, Jackson will unfortunately probably need to have a bounce-back first half to have much trade value.

    Regarding Shark, "Samardzija ranks 18th in all of baseball in xFIP... His fastball is among the 2 or 3 best in the game... his splitter was just ranked as the 3rd most unhittable pitch among starters. He's also a leader and a strong competitor." Wow. Hard to believe this guy had a 4.34 ERA last year, only managed 8 wins, wasn't even the staff's best starter, and posted his highest WHIP yet for a full season in the majors. But if the first set of sanguine stats help improve his trade value, I'm loving it. I'm all for trading a soon-to-be 29-year-old pitcher still mostly valued for his "potential."

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Thanks. Looks like Mooney mentioned the Jackson option as well. But I have to say that wins and ERA aren;t particulary useful when projecting future performance -- or even present performance. There are factors involved which are outside the pitchers control, so they really aren't used as a measurement of value anymore.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In my opinion, Shark's basic numbers are fair reflections of what I see when he pitches: a lack of command and consistency. He throws hards and wracks up the K's, but teams also wrack up the hits as the game progresses. His inability to pitch to contact, get quick outs and above average BB/9 innings jacks up his pitch counts and increases his propensity for the "one big inning" -- which in my book is a huge explanation for his 4.34 ERA and inability to pass off more games to the back of our bullpen versus the middle of the bullpen. But I hope he has a great first half. I actually don't think the Cubs are really eager to sign him long-term except at a Rizzo-like contract (which Shark will never sign). But they want to do what they can to keep Shark mentally positive so he has a good first half and then trade at the deadline... unless someone overpays this winter, which I'm not expecting.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Spellchecks weakness is durability, and im talking within games. When he had high k numbers early in games hed run out of gas by the 5th inning. He needs a better 2 seam FB so that he wont be running up 20-30 pitch innings even when hes not getting hit.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I agree. Great point. Can he learn this at the age of 29? Some will roll the dice and gamble he will; others wouldn't take the bet. It will those who roll the dice who we will deal with at the trade deadline. Provided he has a good first half, which if he is the superb competitor that John feels he is, then he will definitely start the season with something to prove.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I think he needs an off speed pitch. His splitter is nasty when it's on, but when he can't locate it, he becomes one dimensional. Then he just tries to over power everyone, which doesn't permit him to go deep into the game. Yes, if he'd pitch to contact it'd help... but what he really needs is an off speed pitch so they cant sit on that 96-98 FB.

  • I'm curious to see if Beeler's AFL performance was enough to earn him a 40 man roster spot. He's pitched well enough that I could easily see a team taking him in the Rule 5, but I'm not sure the Cubs will protect him.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    If Beeler playing in the AFL had any potential meaningful consequence, I think it spurs the Cubs to find a place to stash him on the 40 man, assuming they're as impressed w/ his production there as his basic stats impress me.

  • Morrison is a good idea for an AL team as a DH. Low cost and at best a 1B guy with bad bad OF defense,IMO he doesn't fit with the Theo/Jed Cub way.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Agree with you for the most part. But, I'd kick the tires on Morrison. I like his upside of being a power LH'd bat. He could become a valuable commodity as we have some of our hopefuls coming up.

    Personally, I'd rather take a chance on Morrison (at the right price) than to sign an Ellsbury or Choo right now.

  • I couldn't agree more. Spending the kind of money it would take to get either Ellsbury or Choo right now doesn't make a lot of sense. If we were a little closer to competing than I would think it be more likely, but neither player would make them contenders right now. There are still too many holes on this team to warrant that kind of a deal.

  • I think it makes strategic sense to talk about Jackson being available if the FO feels Samardzija will not sign the extension nd they know they have to trade him before the trade deadline this year to maximize his remaining value. In that, the FO can not appear desperate to just trade Jeff, even if that is the reality "yea we are willing to trade a few starters, but if you want Jeff that is gonna cost a lot, would you be interested in a far inferior option B?". They may think he isn't going to budge on the extension so theyhave to

  • Make it seem that an extension is still an option.

  • Surprised at the list of Non radio booth contenders. Ron Coomer? He was up here with the Twins, real knowledgeable in the game with lots of humor added. Poor Sutcliffe, just can't catch a break from the Cubs. What bridge did he burn?

  • Lomo! Pretty funny guy to follow on Twitter but not sure he's much of an OF anymore. Would still be an upgrade offensively at least

  • I like Coomer. He's always good whenever he's on with Mac & Speigs. Also I'd like to see Matt Szczur get a shot in CF. At least in a platoon. Better than betting on someone else's failure. I completely agree with passing on Ellsbury. When he was drafted Jacob Hanneman drew comps to Jacoby. Maybe they already have that dude in the system. I also agree with keeping Shark, but only if insane value doesn't come knocking on their door. I'm a huge value guy. Always gamble on value. Especially in numbers.

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    I'm strongly in favor of trading EJax AND Shark.

    Although, for different reasons.
    I really like Shark and would prefer he stay a Cub, but he wants too much $ and a NTC so I'm being pragmatic about the fact that his value will never be higher than now.

    As for EJax. I didn't like the signing then, and while I don't think he as bad a season as his stats show, I'd prefer prospects over him.

    And considering the extremely weak class of FA pitchers, he may yield more value now than at any other juncture, especially if they're willing to throw some money behind him.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I concur on both counts. I want to like Shark but I cannot see giving him the deal he seeks and I cringed when they signed Jackson. Maybe the best part of the latter was setting up the financials to make him easier to deal now.

    As regards radio job, I will always be grateful for Sutcliffe and '84 but his voice strikes me as a knuckle dragging jock. Nearly as difficult for me to listen to as Mitch Williams.

  • I'm for moving Samardj, if you get a good return. He's got a good arm but he still hasn't learned to pitch. When he gets in a jam, he tries to throw it through a wall and that only leads to problems.

    Interesting that they might shop EJax. He might bring you something good in return. I always sort of wondered about signing him in the first place because he hadn't pitched well in Wrigley, at any time in his career, really.

    McLouth I like; I've always liked the way he plays the game. He doesn't have much of an arm, which is less of a problem in LF than anywhere. He struggled quite a bit in his stay with the Braves (he was battling injury a lot of the time). His big flaw there was his K total. He seems to have gotten that worked out at Baltimore. One thing I do like about him is that when the Braves sent him down to AAA, there's was no whining, pouting, etc. He kept his mouth shut, went down, and worked his away back. Like any other deal, it all depends on the price.

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    And I think Morrison might be a better fit than first glance.

    He may be weak on D, but as much as the FO likes D, they also like surplus value a lot.

    If they can get him for cheap, he could be a great pickup to flip OR keep.
    He's a great age to keep and we need LH bats in the OF. And if we can improve Soriano's defense I'll give him a chance, too.

    But 1B is a weak spot on a lot if MLB rosters, so that might compel a team to over surplus value for him.

  • Forgot to comment on the radio guys (I know y'all are just dying to hear my opinion lol ). I really don't care among the 3 mentioned. Of course, it's the ball game I'm tuning in to hear, so unless it's John Sterling or Hawk Harrelson, I can live with most anybody.

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    I went to Randy Hundleys fantasy camp a few years ago-Coomer was an instructor as was Zonk . Coomer is a dick.

    I like Morrison's bat -I think his make up and attitude are questionable.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Logan Morrison=Ian Stewart.

    left handed power hitter who had one good power season.

    I'm not sure the Cubs saddle a new manager with a bad clubhouse guy. No thanks.

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    In reply to djriz:

    While Stewart clearly didn't work, the team is no worse off because if it.

    He was a low risk flyer that got paid very little.

    So if we pick up Morrison cheap and he doesn't pan out, meh. If he does, we look brilliant.

  • Not excited about the "IN" list for the Cubs radio job. Dave Otto: "Boy that Rizzo kid is some kinda strong". No thanks.

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    Love Bryant's OBP almost 100 points higher than the BA. That kid -- I just can't wait for next summer.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hope he doesn't foul out on 2-0 pitches with the bases loaded and his team down by one too often like he did today in the AFL game! He had a couple of ugly, Cubbies-style AB's today.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    THIS is why we can't have nice things.

    Two points: in a critical at-bat he worked a 2-0 count, got his pitch, and missed it. That's going to happen. But the approach will make him successful in the long run.

    Second, even if you want to criticize it, it was one bad game after a remarkable season, and suddenly he's the epitome of Cub failures.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Yeah. He's not even close to perfect. What the hell.

    All he could manage is league MVP. I mean, he's played a whole 36 games in the minors including 16 at A+ ball. Why's he developing so slow?

    I bet he'll never even manage a 400 BA. Waste of a pick.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    He hit 378 with runners in scoring position during the season and 390 something with men in base. So get the hell off the kids back and done judge players on a couple games. That my biggest pet peeve of writes and fan.

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    Anyone see a lineup yet for today's Championship game in AZ? Less than 1 hour to go!!!

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_11_16_msswin_surwin_1&t=g_box&sid=l119

    Bryant hitting 3rd, Soler 7th

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanx Mike!

  • I can agree with McLouth,providing hes not outrageously overpaid, or even someone like Daniel Murphy. Cubs do need a RH bat to emerge in 2014 if they hope to b e competitive. I still see a Franklin Guittierrez or a Chris Young as a possability.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Even if he's overpaid a bit for 1 year, two at most, doesn't really hurt us. Veteran stopgap.

  • I always think the rumor that Castro could be traded right now, when his value is the lowest it's ever been, is crazy. That same reasoning should apply to Edwin Jackson as well but it doesn't for me, because my gut tells me that dude was a cancer for the Sveum clubhouse and I wouldn't be surprised if the FO wants him gone. Go check out the video of the Samardzija-David Bell dugout argument sometime - you have Sveum come in and walk Bell away, a bunch of people looking around uncomfortably, and then Jackson comes into frame trailing Sveum, big ole smile on his face.

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    In reply to Carne Harris:

    I don't think a lot of players liked Dale. I know I didn't like how he'd call his players out in the media. Dempster and DeRosa couldn't stand Piniella, yet the Cubs won more games than any other NL team in 2008. Jackson may very well be a different man with Renteria in the dugout. Then again, there may be a reason why Jackson has been on 64 teams in nine years.

  • I'm for trading which ever pitcher gives us the best top pitching
    prospects in return. Also package Nate or Barney in the deal

  • Trade arrogant Shark while his value is sky high. A very overrated
    pitcher.

  • In reply to ELAN:

    Agree not worth his high price

  • In reply to ELAN:

    I don't understand how a guy can evolve like Samardzija has, yet peeps say things like you just did! I love his stuff. If he can harness it more, he's potentially better than Wainwright. Just my opinion.

    If he doesn't want extended soon, then I listen to offers. In the meantime, let's keep hopin' he keeps evolvin'!

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    Gotta love that Bryant is playing for his second championship in a Cubs uniform less than a year after being drafted!

  • I agree with Giffmo above, I like the idea of trading Shark AND EJax, although I feel like the trade deadline might be the right time to trade EJax. It's looking more and more like we'd only get 1 year of EJax in the contending window and if that's the case, someone else will find value in his cheap deal at 3 years, $33M. I realize his peripherals look solid, but I feel like the Cubs would still be selling low on him by trading him this offseason. Wouldn't surprise me if they tried to let him repair some of his value in the first half of the year and then tried to trade him at the deadline.

    As for Shark, I'd love to extend him, but it seems like he's not interested in doing it at a rate the Cubs are comfortable with. If that's the case, you have to try and deal him this offseason (or, at worst, the trade deadline) in order to get a top of the rotation quality arm.

    If you take what the farm has now, take EJax and Shark and turn them into more pitching prospects and remove those contracts, that's a ridiculous farm with a ridiculous amount of payroll flexibility.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Nice post.

    I actually was originally going to suggest the same thing, that Shark is a bwtter trade now and EJax would be a better trade at the deadline after his primaries more closely resemble his peripherals.

    But I changed my mind because next winter should be an amazing FA pitcher class and therefore, if any of their team a struggle they could be dangled at the deadline, effectively completely killing any market for EJax.

    IMO even with a down year his value is best in the present market.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    While true, we heard it a lot at the deadline that teams wanted to trade for controllable starting pitchers that just weren't there.

    Off the top of my head, I seem to remember the Orioles, Jays and Diamondbacks all expressing how they wanted to trade for controllable pitchers. Of course, the DBacks and Jays eventually fell off, but the Orioles eventually acquired Bud Norris.

    I also think several of those guys sign long term deals before next season, so I think that market will get thinned out a bit. Although hopefully not too much, there's a couple of guys in that pitching class that I think the Cubs will have a lot of interest in.

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    Bowden seemed to think both Shark and EJaxx would be traded, though an EJaxx trade probably comes later. Lets be honest. Even if the Cubs throw in cash, there is no chance you're going to get anyone's top prospect for 3 years of EJaxx.

    The problem with EJaxx, putting popular and peripheral stats aside, is and always has been that there is no consistency to his game. You never know what you're going to get from him from one start to the next. He's as often bad as he is good. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde he most certainly is, but none of this surprise to anyone, or, at least, it shouldn't be.

    I supported the signing of EJaxx, though I had my reservations. I think the FO jumped the gun in terms of where they were in the rebuild. However, it wouldn't surprise me if they thought they could create some serious surplus value with that contract should he ever become consistently good.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Maybe not the team's top prospect, but I think if EJax rebounds in the first half this year he could be really valuable at the deadline.

    We're about to enter a period of rapid salary inflation and if EJax can look like the #3/4 that he was expected to be when the Cubs acquired him, teams are going to be really interested in getting him for 2.5 years at ~$27M.

    Agreed with your comments on rushing the window by signing EJax, although I wasn't a huge fan of the signing at the time. If they can cut bait and deal him for valuable pieces, though, I'll be happy.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Corey Brock has a nice story on Renteria on MLB.com.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/chc/chicago-cubs-new-manager-rick-renteria-navigates-post-surgery-interview-process?ymd=20131115&content_id=63966268&vkey=news_chc

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    While I agree that EJax doesn't yield a top prospect, and maybe not a top 100, that doesn't mean we can't get value.

    We have a strong scouting FO for a reason. CJ Edwards wasn't on many radars before the Garza trade but now is viewed as an extremely shrewd move.

    I think for 2.5 to 3 years of a good, if unspectacular pitcher (+cash) we could get some very nice prospects that most people don't know about.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    That seems logical enough on the surface. There is always that kid in A-ball who hasn't blown up yet. Chris Archer was kind of one of those.

  • Let me give everyone an unemotional outlook on Samardzija. He is a #3 with potential to be a #2. That being said he is almost a carbon copy of how people viewed Garza when the Cubs traded for Garza. If the Cubs could get a similar or better (I think the Rangers package was better) package for Samardzija that the Rays got for Garza they have to consider it. Now if the Cubs can get Samardzija on a 5 yr 63 to 65mil dollar deal with no NTC, I think they should take it and hope he can develop into that #2.

    The question is would Samardzija take that I doubt it. The thing is Samardzija know what the Cubs want to pay him and what they are willing to put in the contract. The same goes in reverse. So someone has to brake and if Samardzija want to stay in Chicago it will have to be him.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    That's kind of where I'm at. I doubt he'll take that deal, and to be honest, if Garza would've taken that kind of deal, he might still be a Cub.

  • Looks like Bryant having a rough time today. 2 Ks and a pop up with the bases loaded. Beeler on the other hand looking pretty good.

  • Jackson may have had some plausible numbers, but he sure didn't pass the eye test. HIs FB was straight as a string, his slider was the same speed with very little dip through the zone, and he never had any confidence in his curve. Finding a taker for him will be difficult, but if one comes up, the Cubs should jump on it immediately, even if it means taking a bad contract back. Heck, rather than watch a rerun of burn out the bullpen starring EJax for three more seasons, I'd pay full freight on Adam Dunn, watch him butcher balls in LF and SO 200 times, then release him if I couldn't trade him at the 2014 deadline. It would end up costing way less and be more entertaining.

    LY, I would have rather kept Villanueva in the rotation and made EJax the swingman for that matter, but alas, it's yet another example of why FA spending is caveat emptor. If not for the contract, would EJax have stayed in the rotation? Me thinks not. If Scott Baker or Arodys Vizcaino were completely healthy and pitching well, would EJax have stayed in the rotation. Again me thinks not.

  • John, would the media and fans be able to take Theo trading
    away veterans for top pitching prospects we need to make
    our farm system complete. Us real Cub fans know that this is the
    way to go

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm confident that Theo & co. Have little to no interest in being influenced by media and fan pressure. (Hoyer said just the other day that he will not rush any part of the plan due to fan impatience.)

    I also think Ricketts is 100% behind the plan.

    Fans might freak and journalists might pout, but they'll all claim that they were on board from the beginning when the team is good.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed!

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm not John, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Well, not really. Seriously though, the media and the fans would probably be happy if EJaxx were traded, and as for Samardzija, I think the idea has been out there long enough that it wouldn't be shocking to anyone who even remotely keeps up with the Cubs. It's generally accepted as fact that you try to lock guys up through their prime years, and if you can't, you trade them.

  • I like the idea of looking into signing Morrison. Seattle's hitters are like AL East pitchers, their numbers should improve once they are out of there. Hitter's confidence is such a fragile thing, I do not think home and away splits tell the whole story.

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    In reply to ejs1:

    Um, Dude, Morrison's a Marlin, not a Mariner.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Jeez, a two letter difference and you're gonna get all pedantic?

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Shallow and pedantic, Lois

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    And he wasn't off by two letters. He said "Seattle."

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Those was jokes.

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    Dallas Beeler is a journeyman long reliever at the big league level. Unfortunately for him, the Cubs have better relief prospects in their system. But it's a good story, 41st round draft pick pitching an AFL championship game. My guess is he ends up scouting for the Cubs, based on the way he has embraced technology and player analysis according to a few articles I've read.

    First time I've seen him pitch. There are a million guys with similar stuff and makeup. I hope he surprises me, but I see a long reliever with a 1-2 year max MLB shelf life.

    Three days of Samardzjia rumors is brain numbing, and since I haven't listened to a radio broadcast since 1984 not sure I care who gets the job. How about some Castillo rumors? What could we get?

    I will say this to those who believe Ricketts is tight and won't increase payroll: watch next offseason. The free agent class is significantly better, the team will have a better idea about their younger players, their bullpen will be significantly better and they will have room to spend $100 million+ dollars, even if they do win the Tanaka sweepstakes. That's why they are not inclined to sign and flip players this year. 2014 will be used to get acclimated to a new manager, define rolls going forward, get some prospects major league experience, and then roll into the 2014 offseason armed with a ton of money, a top ranked system full of long term assets, and an opportunity to compete in 2015 and 5-6 years beyond. Not only that, a new television contract, newer revenue streams, and probably baseball's most talked about franchise. Have a good weekend.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Roles, not rolls. Although comments on the clubhouse after game spread are always welcome.

  • Kevin's analysis is pretty spot on. Unfortunately , the net result here is a likely trade. I think we all agree that getting the highest-ceiling SP prospect should be the objective, even if it means a smaller number of players coming back.

  • I hope they sign at least 1 released player (under 32 yr) before
    Nov. 20 (deadline to turn in your 40-man roster list)

  • I think the idea that you have to lock up your core guys is overrated. TB and Oak. win almost every year and almost never lock guys up beyond age 30 especially pitchers. That said, I don't feel a rush to trade Shark. His value may be higher in July when there are no free agents to contend with. Give him 4 more months to prove he's better than some of his numbers and see where you are.

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    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I'm absolutely positive that they'd prefer to look up some of those guys.

    Not to mention, even those teams have key members they felt they had to lock up. TB gave 9 figures to Longoria.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    You don't know that if he gets hurt like Garza did. Its always a crap shoot.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    The key with locking up your core guys is locking them up for what you think will be under market value.

    That's what they felt they were doing with Rizzo and Castro.

    Locking up your core guys with market value deals doesn't really have a whole lot of value. If Shark wants a market value deal, I'll suspect they trade him, because they'd rather have the prospects + a Shark-like pitcher at market value than just a Shark-like pitcher at market value.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Very hood thought process.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I am also beginning to think a straight up one for one deal might also be a positive move. If we land a guy like Sanchez or Tallion straight up for Shark it could be a win/win for everyone. Pittsburgh or Toronto are more in a "win now" situation while the Cubs are more like 2 years away. So the Cubs get more time with a cost controlled guy. And all 3 of these guys probably grade out similar as far as stuff wise.

    Just an opinion....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think they get more then that from the Jays.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    You may be right. But at this point I'd be leaning towards showing Shark to the bus station with a one way ticket. Even though is age isn't really a factor, I'd still prefer a 21 or 22 year old. It's just a timing thing for the Cubs.....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think because the Jays don't have the high quality prospects. Although I do like Sanchez and think he will turn into a true #1.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    The Jays make a lot of sense. I think the Royals could be players, too. I'd guess they'd want Shark and Nate. They'd also want Castro, but I don't think they have the prospects for him.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Absolutely.
    Even with a bad season, Castro and Rizzo are incredibly high value. I hope Castillo gets a similar deal very soon.

    Look how many players are out there whose contract has become a problem for their own team and also Made them impossible to trade.

  • Not to blow smoke up their arses, but I advocate KG & Tulane doing some hot stove pieces. We don't need Tulane wasting his analysis at that other, unnamed Cub site. John, thoughts???

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    I don't think Jackson's going anywhere. His value is at an all-time low. You've got to give him half-a season in 2014, or else you're essentially eating money with no return for a guy who just lost 18 games.

    Some of these fictional Samardzija packages, wouldn't be half bad. I'm not huge on Sanchez...But if you toss in Drabek, the conversation continues. Taillon, Kingham/Glasnow. But I have no interest in Tyler Skaggs. I really want Giolito, though.
    On a side note, I'm really hoping for a good year from Dillon Maples next season. Simplifying his repertoire, trying to gain some command. I know it's a longshot, but I like the kid.

    I'm no on Ellsbury- Yes, on McLouth.
    Addition of a little speed. Ricky wants to run more.
    Plus a little pop, decent defense and a veteran voice in the clubhouse. Minimal financial requirement. And another asset between the next wave of talent. The strikeouts are bad. But he costs no prospects, and gives you a couple extra minor attributes that could win you a couple of games. He's better than Bogusevic.
    Morrison would cost us a decent prospect. They're rebuilding too.

    Really interested in what happens with Samardzija. That's huge.

  • Eric, I agree with almost all of that post. Trading EJax is a crappy idea because the only beneficiary will be Ricketts' pocketbook.

    I think people are deluding themselves if they think we'll get something good back. All that we'd get would be filler/depth for what is already a very deep system. In the meantime, he'll give us 200 IP of above-avg-avg performance & save wear and tear on pen- all at a reasonable cost.He's worth more to us on team than in a trade. Shark is a different story.

    Skaggs is a guy we need to stay away from . I've seen him and there were several things about him that I didn't like... If he's the centerpiece of a Shark deal, I'll be underwhelmed.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    Edwin Jackson has enough value and a good contract to get a decent return, especially if the Cubs eat some salary. He's never been a guy that gets you a top prospect, but last season didn't hurt his value. Every GM knows what he is and what he is capable of and his peripherals last season were in line with his career norms. He's not going to increase in value if he outperforms his norms because he has been incredibly consistent his entire career.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    You aren't familiar with his stats. He hasn't been "incredibly consistent his entire career", and he's coming off his worst year since 2007. He isn't going anywhere, because the Cubs won't eat enough salary to make him attractive to other teams.

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    In reply to princeton92:

    Every year since 2008 looks pretty consistent to me...6-7 k/9, right around 3 bb/9, ERA in the high 3's to low/mid 4's, and an FIP under 4. Hasn't missed a start and winds up with 180-200 IP.

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    In reply to princeton92:

    What stats are you looking at? How was this year his worst year since '07?

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Clearly, he's looking at ERA and W/L, the true measure of a pitcher!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    We can debate the stats/peripherals, but did you watch him pitch last year? He won 8 games and was not good. Theo basically admitted he was a bad signing - more about timing than ability but I doubt he would have said that if he felt Jackson had a good or even "avg" year.

    You can't trade him now - off a bad year - and expect to get his value in return.

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    In reply to princeton92:

    Eight wins.

    If pitchers are directly responsible for wins than Clayton Kershaw was the biggest failure in baseball. He should have won 30 games with a sub 2.00 ERA and a sub 1.00 WHIP.

    And how many games did Samardzjia win with his stat line? If the Cubs trade him they'd be lucky to get a warm body and a cup if soup.

    I think everybody needs to temper their expectations on Jackson. If you just don't like him, fine. But he provided everything the Cubs paid him to provide. He earned his contract. In that sense, the only problem with the Jackson signing is that the Cubs front office jumped the gun a little on the signing, which they've admitted.

    To me, it looks like they felt that they had to sign somebody after missing out on Sanchez. But it wasn't a horrible signing and he will either be a decent option as a #4 starter in '14 or a possible trade chip. He probably will have more value at the all-star break. You can point to the number of impending free agents after this season but most of those guys won't get moved, and Jackson is already cost controlled, which works in his favor. Inevitably, contending teams will lose pitching to injury. That is what will ultimately increase Jackson's trade value.

    PS, if the Cubs are looking at another reclamation one-year make good pitching candidate, what about Roy Halladay?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Kershaw won 16 games and was paid $10MM. That's not failure.

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    In reply to princeton92:

    I didn't say he was a failure. And neither was Edwin Jackson, But basing pitcher's worth, or rate of success on wins alone is an enormous failure. Basing it on ERA would be a close second. Obviously with a sub 2.00 ERA and a sub 1.00 WHIP, Kershaw can't be blamed for not having more wins. Yet he pitched astronomically better than a 16-win pitcher. It's hard not to win games when you give up two runs or less, on average, every time out. Unless your team scores even less, that is.

    Edwin Jackson is the same pitcher every year without fail. Every year. 33 starts, 190 innings, 6.9 K/9, blah blah blah blah. He won only 8 games, 12% of the team's entire win total, mind you, because the Cubs, from roster spot 1-25, completely sucked.

    Just say you simply don't like Edwin Jackson and move on. He is nothing that you claim he is. He's a fourth starter and innings eater being paid exactly what a fourth starter and innings eater gets paid in this market.

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    In reply to princeton92:

    Inconsistency can be in more than just stats. EJax, on pure stuff alone, is up there with some of the best in the league. And every now and then he shows it. Then every now & again the wheels fall off.

    And it happens year after year.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    EJax has been a consistent bum. He'll throw one gem for every four or five clunkers. I was stunned that this FO threw that kind of money at him. Seemed like a knee jerk panic move after Sanchez stayed with Detroit. Would love to see Shark stay and EJax go.

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    In reply to Nondorf:

    He's not a bum. Stop making the guy a scapegoat. On a team with 67 wins, he certainly outperformed a number of players. Teams need reliable innings eaters and 4th starters, too. And he hardly had one good game out of every six starts. That's stretching it considerably. If you hate him, fine. But justify hate by simply saying you hate him, not by throwing out non-researched facts.

    I hate the definition of quality starts, but for the purpose of responding to this post, EJ had 14/31 quality starts last year. 16/31 would be near-average.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    As KG says, he really should be better than he is given his stuff. I say he's a bum cause to my eye he has no fire, guts, passion. Sure others underperformed, but he and Marmol were by far the biggest dollar for dollar under performers. I don't hate him, I just think he sucks. Yes he had a few gems, but I don't need to thoroughly research his stats to recall that I want to kick the TV in about the 4th inning of most games he started.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    Looking at Jackson's stuff he really should be better then he is. Will he be I doubt it but that is way the after after keep taking flyers on him.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    And by the way I think they both go.

  • I'm in favor of trading EJax (who isn't). He's a solid pitcher with good stuff. I don't think I would ever categorize his stuff as "very good" the way John does in the piece but he flashes it. Not a huge fan of his. I liked the signing but I've backed out on him. He's never a comfortable watch. I think at this stage we'd be just as good with Hendricks, Rusin, Ramirez, or another guy in there. Hell, after watching Beeler pitch today I am now a Dallas Beeler fan! The other two really disappointed me today, especially Bryant with a couple of terrible at bats. Who cares?!

    I'm out on Morrison. I've seen some posts on this thread, "If we can get him for cheap, if we can get him for ch..." He will be cheap. For a reason. No need to keep putting that qualifier on it. Given the presence of the three guys we have who are also good defenders, and the Mat Gamel pick up, I don't see how he offers much value, surplus of otherwise. He does contribute to a surplus of mediocre LH hitters. Giffmo did make a nice point above in saying, "if it doesn't work out, meh" which is true. Cheap players won't ever kill you, so I agree on that front. And he IS from the same hometown as one of my favorite recent Cubs (Fontenot. Slidell, LA). But, a resounding NO from me on LoMo.

    We could use a RH OF who can handle center and I like Ruggiano much better.

    All in all I'm good with the 'no glory in 5 more wins' theory. I'd just as soon see Lake, Szczur, Jackson, Andreoli, getting the PT instead of a guy like Morrison simply because of the athleticism, good character reputation, and defense/base running that they bring to the table. If they struggle at the dish, so what. We're a losing team right? I don't think Morrison's value to the big league roster or the organization as a whole is that many, if any ticks above those young guys.

    *If Schierholtz is moved, little bit of a different story but I'd still much prefer McLouth or Bogusevic to get the playing time out there.

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    I want Samardzjia dealt for 2 reasons, first I don't want the cubs to overpay for a guy whose literally sucked the 2nd half of the last 2 seasons , he blows his wad early in the game by throwing way too many pitches and he implodes.. There is no doubt he has talent but if the Cubs could get a Garza like return for this guy, it fortifies this rebuild and could set this team up for the next 6-7 years.. Move the mullet and Edwin can just leave, I trust the FO can find 2 or 3 diamonds in the lower levels of some teams system for him, never crazy about that guy,try The Brewers they may be one of The few Who havent had jackson yet

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Hard to find much in that system. It's near the bottom.

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