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Cubs Notes: Thoughts on Castro, Price, Castillo, Sleeper prospects, and the most photographed barn in America

Cubs Notes: Thoughts on Castro, Price, Castillo, Sleeper prospects, and the most photographed barn in America

Last updated 1:00 PM

It's time to catch up on some activity around the league.  We'll officially start to see movement in terms of roster decisions, the Cubs managerial search, and perhaps the proverbial kicking of a tire or three -- including some very interesting  left-handed tires.

Roster Moves

The Cubs today activated 3 players from the 60 Day DL which adds them back to the 40 man roster.  Those players are Arodys Vizcaino, Matt Gamel, and Kyuji Fujikawa.  The roster now stands at 37 as the Cubs head into the GM meetings.  As it stands now, presuming  the Cubs would only protect two players from the Rule 5 draft.   Arismendy Alcantara and someone else, maybe Dallas Beeler.  I know that if I were a team out there, I would be looking at Beeler above some of the other draft eligibles --  the stuff, command and approach is probably good enough for him to be a viable bullpen guy with starter potential.  But that's just me.  A 6'5" guy with a heavy 92-93 mph 2-seamer, a hard slider, and solid command is a guy who can make it in this league in a variety of roles.  Still work to be done, but you have a nice starter kit for something there.

Wood Contract Extension?

As we've talked about in the past -- as early as this past May, the Cubs are working to make Wood a part of their core.  They are currently looking to sign him to an extension.  It's a no-brainer in my opinion.  Wood is entering his prime years, he's a rare commodity in that he's a talented left-handed pitcher, and he is about to see a significant increase in salary anyway.

Starlin Castro, David Price, and asset depth/flexibility

I talked to one scout who is a bit down on Starlin Castro.  Not in a "he's terrible and will never be good" kind of way, actually quite the opposite.   He thinks he has more ability than Jurickson Profar, even star potential -- a Hanley Ramirez type, but he is down on his ability to reach that ceiling, believing he needs to mature and learn better from his mistakes.  He can still be very good, but the feeling is more in the sense that if he doesn't learn better pitch recognition/selection he may not play up to his God-given ability and won't be an essential piece of the puzzle once the Cubs become competitive.  He  may have greater value in what he can bring back, saying that getting Castro cheap for 7 years is about worth 2-3 top shelf prospects alone.

He also sees the Cubs as a team with the prospect depth to package Castro that would include one of their 3B prospects (perhaps Carlos Villanueva) to try to acquire a young cheap arm and perhaps a young corner outfielder with power and some cost control.  He also said the Cubs even have the depth to make a run at David Price.

Now that would make the offseason exciting.  And it's certainly a way to add impact talent without adding too much to the 2014 payroll.  By the time Price really gets paid, the Cubs should be ready to expand their payroll.  Dealing with the Rays, however, is never an easy task.

It's an intriguing idea.  The Cubs have built depth and have stashed quite a few assets.  We've talked about that at some point, the plan is to rearrange some of the current assets and perhaps obtain equal value at positions where the Cubs have holes and lack depth.

Could it be the time to do that now?  My feeling is that as long as you don't completely deviate from the long term plan, there is no time frame to make these kinds of moves.  You do it if the opportunity presents itself.

The Catcher Roulette and the search for a lefty bat...could Curtis Granderson come home?

The possibility of dealing Welington Castillo has been broached before.  Not because the Cubs are unhappy with him.  Quite the contrary.  They know he's a great asset at just 26 years old and a budding defensive star with offensive potential at a premium position.  He is going to be a big factor in the Cubs long term success one way or the other.

We've talked in the past about how we should look at the Cubs talent as inventory or assets.  I've used the analogy of it not being a jigsaw puzzle but more like a game of Settlers of Cataan.   The key is to use your assets wisely -- using some, exchanging others, and sometimes buying what you need.  You do not build a team a piece at a time -- at least not at this stage of the process.

So getting back to Castillo, we see the Cubs heavy on young RH hitters and short on LH hitters and pitching.   Today we learned that Brian McCann received a qualifying offer but Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not.  Is Saltalamacchia a better long term prospect than Castillo?  Probably not, but he does add a much needed LH bat and allows the Cubs to perhaps use Castillo to fill another need -- pitching.  Maybe he even becomes part of the David Price package we alluded to above.  Of course, that's just speculation, but the point is to show that the Cubs may need to get creative in the use of their inventory/assets and while they may not want to lose a player of Castillo's talent, you certainly wouldn't pass up an opportunity to improve the team overall.

Speaking of lefty bats, another source tells me to keep an eye on Curtis Granderson if he's not given a qualifying offer.  Granderson may want to come home to Chicago and unlike Ellsbury he could be had on a 3 year deal -- a perfect situation for the Cubs right now.

UPDATE:  Curtis Granderson received a qualifying offer.  So much for that.

Sleeper Prospects

The same scout gave me 4 deep sleepers to watch in the Cubs system:

  • IF Daniel Lockhart
  • OF Charcer Burks
  • RHP Erling Moreno
  • LHP Jesus Perez

The one I know the most about is Daniel Lockhart because I had the opportunity to talk about some Cubs people about prospects at length while at the Kane County game.  Lockhart is a tremendous instinctual player with a high baseball IQ, solid athleticism, and bat to ball skills that should allow him to hit for a decent average.  He's not a big kid, so he won't hit for much more than doubles power, but he's a guy to watch.  Good bloodlines.  His father, Keith Lockhart was an MLB player himself.

Charcer Burks is a quick twitch athlete with great speed, quick hand and surprisingly advanced ability to make consistent hard contact for a prospect considered to be raw.  The Cubs pounced on him in the 9th round and signed him to an overslot deal.

I admit I don't know as much yet about Moreno and Perez, but if I get some more info on them, I will pass it on.

A Post Modern Manager Search 

We've scaled back our speculation on the manager search simply because it's all been covered.  In it's place, there has been a sense that most people want it done and over with.  Reader Mike Partipillo took a humorous look at a previously unconsidered criteria -- facial hair, and our colleague Mauricio Rubio of World Series Dreaming takes an existential look at the search.

As for the coverage of the search, I'm strangely reminded of a passage in the book White Noise by Don DeLillo where, while on the road, a driver heads down seeing signs alerting to a tourist destination -- the "Most Photographed Barn in America".  As the driver proceeds down the road, the signs excitedly announce the pending location of this barn -- "10 more miles to see the most photographed barn", "Just 2 more miles!!", etc.  When the driver finally arrives at the destination, he sees a crowd of people taking pictures.

But there is no barn.

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  • The recent chat about not only trading Castro but specifically dealing him to the Cardinals for pitching made me cringe. Now the reference above to the possible inability to realize his potential makes me think the Cardinals would be just the team to deal for him and maximize his talent. I lived through Brock for Broglie. I am not against dealing Castro but not to the Cardinals. AARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Haha. That scout's take is both interesting and frightening at the same time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Even the Welly Castillo/David Price scenario is interesting and frightening at the same time... Just picture this... We send Welly Castillo, Alcantara and Pierce Johnson to the Rays for Price... And Castillo turns out to be a .250/.320/.420 type of hitter with above average defense, Alcantara becomes nothing more than a utility player with not much of a bat, but versatility and speed... And Pierce Johnson becomes a 3.70 era type of #3 starter... In the other hand... David Price continues to lose velocity on his fastball and becomes a #3... Worse yet, he starts getting injured like Garza and we have to watch the players we gave up flourish.

    Of course, there's also the best scenario IMO, Price is still an ace and all the players we gave up do well... But there are some potential frightening outcomes there.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It would be interesting but want to say that part was just me speculating...not scout.

    He thinks Cubs can get Price with their depth. I find that very enticing but I hear you, it's a bit scary too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wonder if Price is on the downsize. The loss of velocity is troublesome. I'm against signing guys like Ellsbury who is definitly on the downsize. Why bother to sign over players 30 when we have a fantastic minor league system. I have NEVER been more excited about our farm system. Would it be better to sign Garza than to trade for Price??
    Castro is sooo young we have to stay with him. He has the ability and IMHO the light will come on.

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    In reply to Caps:

    There is no way Castillo, Johnson, Alcantara gets Price.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    So what if he is good for the Cardinals if the Cubs get good return.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That would be fine....I was cringing at the possibility of Brock -Broglie redo. Not that such a Cubbie occurrence could possibly take place. AARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    That would suck!

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    In reply to 44slug:

    What scares me about it is you're trading for two young pitchers the Cardinals are willing to give up. I'd still do it, but it scares me.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly. Though on the flip side. Maybe the Cards don't want to give them up, but SS has been a revolving door for them a long time. If giving up a combo of Kelly, Miller, or Martinez + Kozma gets them their SS for 5-7 yrs I could see them doing it.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Id lay off Martinez, Cards seem awfully willing to deal him for the right price, something they just dont do with young arms. Hes also a slinger who will have shoulder issues shortly.

  • I just think trading Castro at this point is so risky. He still as a ridiculous amount of potential. Obviously, it would depend on what the Cubs would receive back for him, but I would be against trading him unless it was for an extremely hefty return. But, I am also i huge fan of Castro, so I could be pretty biased about it.

  • In reply to jswick23:

    It is and I'm a fan too, but middle infield is a position of strength especially with Baez in the wings.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    But there's too much uncertainty. Say we trade Castro and Baez ends up on another position other than SS. Now that just went from a position of strength to a gaping hole. Unless the return is astronomic there's no way I trade Castro. Price is not astronomic because of his future financial cost relative to what he's actually giving you. No chance for surplus value with him.

  • In reply to jswick23:

    Any trade with the Cardinals would have to start with Macha and continue on from there.

  • No one will give what the Cubs would want for Castro

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    On Price, if we could get him for Castro and Villaneuva, then I say do it yesterday, but I have to think any Price trade will cut deeper. For a guy whose velocity has dipped and is coming off an inconsistent year, that scares me a bit.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The last sentence is why I don't even do Castro + Villa for him. I'm highly against trading any amount of young core players unless A. The player we bring back is the difference between a WS and a first-round exit or B. Like Theo said, trading a core player doesn't make sense unless you're getting two of them back.

    I prefer to be like the Cards, just hold on to everyone, develop them right, and go to the WS every year without ever having to blow up the farm or overspend on a FA.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    The trick there is the Cardinals are exceptional at developing TOR starters. The Cubs just aren't there yet. We're gonna need one to go toe-to-toe with Wainwright and Kershaw. If they think he's not in decline, a reduced David Price is still pretty good and trading from surplus for him makes sense to me. I just don't want to trade the entire surplus and then some.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Going toe to toe with wainwright and kershaw for that one game ? Because we would have price and a bunch of number 3's . And the time we have a complete team, price would be done.

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    In reply to seankl:

    You don't trade for Price without an extension in place -- and I meant in playoff matchups. If the Dodgers get 2 automatic wins when Kershaw starts, they likely win the series.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Gotcha, but I feel we have to know what we have in the players we have first before we go off and trade them for veteran players or porspects.If I were the GM I keep my young players and prospect and keep developing them and let them come up and perform at the major league level. See who can play and see what you have because we have a lot of holes that one or two trades aren't going to fill, It even might put us back.

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    In reply to seankl:

    Let me rephrase this in a way you'll agree with: if the cost is Rizzo and Villanueva, we should make the trade immediately.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't know what you mean, but like I said hold on to the young players and see what you have I don't care if it's rizzo or any of your core players or top prospects.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think the thing that people need to start realizing is that the Cubs are coming up on a whole lot of 40 man roster decisions. I know the decisions aren't impossible ones right now, but that day is on its way very soon. The Cubs need to start turning quantity into quality before it's too late. I wouldn't be all over a deal for Price is if he wasn't into an extension, I didn't have the money, or my scouts told me that he is truly in decline. Other than that, you have a TOR guy that people in the organization are familiar with.
    Mike, you've been a big Baez fan. If Castro is moved in adeal, do you feel that Baez is going to get a shot at shortstop or do you feel that the long-term shortstop is not in the organization in this scenario. Just curious.

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    In reply to seankl:

    I am not disputing that pitching is necessary to get to the big show... see the final four this year, DET, LAD, BOS and STL... Probably 3 of the four best staffs in baseball... but oddly enough the team with the worst of the four staffs won it all. Now still a very good staff but not close to the other three... The key is to have a staff that can get you to the post season year in and year out, because the hottest team wins. Boston won against DET with clutch hitting against a struggling pen... Detroit outhit them and out played them for most of the series, but Boston was clutch, and hit with runners on... Again their staff is great, but not the best and they now have their third set of WS rings in a decade.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's the problem, the "surplus" isn't here yet so I don't see it as something we should use. The Royals had already graduated most of their top prospects by the time they traded Myers. They had Perez, Cain, Hosmer, Moustakas, Gordon, Butler, Escobar, etc already on the big league club so they could afford to send a top position player prospect for a pitcher(even though I still think it was a bad move).

    When Almora, Baez, Bryant, Olt, Soler, Alcantara, Vogelbach, etc are all in the majors or at least half-season away then i'll call it surplus.

    Point taken on the Cards. Havn't figured out what form of black magic they use just yet.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I feel like the Rangers can offer Profar, Odor and a couple other upside prospects. I really think he ends up in Texas.

    I think Castro and Villanueva probably get us Hellickson.
    The Rays would demand at least one of the 4-Horsemen, and Alcantara. And probably Pierce Johnson, too.
    I'm not totally against trading Castro, but we would be selling low.

    Not worth the Price.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Would you do Castro, Castillo, Alcantara, and Johnson for Price? I would.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    2 current young core players and 2 potential ones for an overused used, soon-to-be-FA Pitcher who has lost velocity and starting to get injured? I don't see how that trade makes our organization better in anyway.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't disagree with the logic, but I think we can fairly assume that any trade for Price has a requirement of an extension.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I understand your logic, Marcel. I also think you're painting Price in a negative light because you've already decided you don't want the Cubs to trade for him.

    A Price to Cubs trade could also be described as the following:
    A good young, controllable catcher and three really good minor leaguers (I'm not including Castro in a package. Not convinced they'd even want him) for a Top of the Rotation lefty who's still in his prime and who's numbers will likely play up a tick in the NL.

    By the description you gave, I don't think you're giving Price enough credit as a legit front line starter.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    What an incredibly one-sided way to paint things. Sounds like you're describing Roy Halladay. If you want to play that game, why would the Rays want to trade an ace who won the Cy Young last season for an immature headcase who regressed badly last season, a middle of the road catcher and two prospects who haven't made a significant Top 100 list yet.

    People love to beat up on potential trade acquisitions to justify the Cubs giving up smaller packages to get them. Like how when Gonzalez was mentioned his home/road splits and injury history (same for injury history for Stanton) kept getting brought up and magnified. This is like the 90-10 theory that Bill Simmons has. No player is perfect but some people like to focus too much on the flawed 10% opposed to everything as a whole. People also like to fluff up Cubs players, like calling Castillo a core piece. That post was Exhibit A in doing so.

    He doesn't has much injury history and he isn't overused. He does have seasons with over 200 IP but he's a dependable horse, don't try and paint that as a bad thing.

    Curt Schilling addressed the dip in Price's velocity on Baseball Tonight prior to him getting injured. He said it's normal and something every pitcher goes through. He's making the transition from thrower to pitcher, Curt said he went through it too. He said that Price has to talent to make the transition (which he seemed to do when he came back). Curt called the drop in velocity a non-issue.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Agree. I really try to create trade scenarios that make sense. Of course I can only use the knowledge base that I have, which is limited. I've seen Price, Castillo, and Castro play. I've read about the others. Your post sums up my feelings on the issue. I would do this trade and try to buy out Price's last two years and had 8 more.
    Maybe Samardzija is expendable in that case as well. I wouldn't mind giving Halladay and Santana incentive-laden deals if they can make a deal for Price as well. If the Cubs are willing to spend the money, they can go from worst to first this offseason. There is a possibility. I know how good the division is. If they are really going to give the young guys a shot, let's create a possibility for them to hit down in the order.
    I've said a few times that I don't think it will happen, but this is what I'd like to see.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    I would hold back. Giving a lot up for a question mark. Two young cost controlled starters, our best pitching prospect, and a top of the order guy with success in AA.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks.
    The organization has put itself in position to make big moves to compete fast. It's hard not to want to put your hand in the cookie jar as a fan right now. It seems like winning is on the tip of the tongue so to speak. The big worry I have is that the Rule V draft is about to become a significant enemy to the Cubs.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    Rule V is an issue, but not quite as big as you might expect. For example, right now the Cubs have to keep both Darwin Barney and Arismendy Alcantara on the 40-man. But by next year, AA may well have taken the starting spot, meaning only one 40 man slot used. Bryant is coming sooner rather than later, meaning you don't need to keep platoon guys for 3B or RF. Soler also knocks frees up a slot on the 40 man. So graduation of prospects will take care of the issue.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    When did David Price fall into the question mark category? Aren't Phil Hughes and Josh Johnson question marks?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    The difference is Hughes and Johnson will only cost money, as they are free agents. Price, although signifcantly better would cost the Cubs a huge chunk of prospects + money in an extension. Not sure this a fair comparison.

  • In reply to NathanE:

    I'm not referring to the cost. I have a firm grasp on that. The difference is actually the track record and the output. You said yourself that Price is significantly better. I agree. That why I'm saying he's not a question mark. Phil Hughes. Josh Johnson. Question marks.

    The REAL question marks in this case are the young players we would be sending their way. Price is the known commodity.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    You're right, question mark isn't quite the right way to put that. But, if we trade for him, the Rays will be expecting compensation as though he was the David Price of 2012 who won 20 games and the Cy Young. He wasn't even close to that pitcher last year -- with lost velocity (most concerning) and injuries. If we trade for a Cy Young winner and get a #2, the loss in prospect value could hurt pretty badly.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's totally fair. Its going to be a nice haul form somebody. I share your concerns about Price. I think he's likely to be a CY candidate for three or four more years. That's no sure thing though. If we end up getting a #2, that's a major upgrade anyway. One could argue that a #2 is worth a top shelf prospect and a couple more solid ones as well.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Curt Schilling said the velocity is a non issue and his stats after coming off of the DL show he's fine. You used injuries as plural. I only know of the triceps injury, was there another?

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    In reply to Ben20:

    The only question mark with David Price is what team is willing to overpay to acquire him. It will not be the Cubs.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    It might be the Cubs.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    It might be the Astros.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    No way.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Not even with a contract extension in hand.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    no way... all four of the players traded will be coming into their prime when the cubs hope to contend, Price will either be half way through or already on the decline... stay "the course" and avoid perpetuating "the curse"

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    No. Why not sign Jiminez, Garza, Kazmir rather give up young talent for Price. I didn't check but I think those guys numbers were as good as Price last year.
    I'm amazed that so many are willing to trade Castro who has such enormus talent and is so young. Castro's don't come around often.
    Johnson has good potential. Castillo is a good player. Alcantara could be are next 2nd baseman.
    I think thats to much for a expensive for a player whose may be losing his velocity.
    The other problem I have is we are selling low on Castro and Castillo. Not a good idea.

  • I almost like Tom LOmax and yourself are Salty's agent. Every post mentions launching Castillo and replacing him with somebody who was benched in the World Series so a 38 yr old could start. If Salty is such a stud LH bat why would he sit against the Cards who feature RH starting pitching exclusively? Wellington was by far our best player in the 2nd Half of the season and one of the only reasons I would actually tune into the games. He matured at the plate and calling games. He could be a future Yadier Molina with more power. Why would we trade him(and 4 other prospects) for a pitcher coming off a DL stint who has lost 5MPH on his fastball in the last 3 seasons?

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    I don't want to specifically launch Castillo. He's probably my favorite player on the Cubs. It's more a point of how you can move assets around and improve the whole. Sometimes you don't have a lot of options.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree.
    I'm in favor of holding onto Castillo.
    But you're right- Those are the tough decisions successful teams need to make in order to keep a consistent flow of talent in the system.

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Can you do me a favor and posts Price's stats after he came off of the DL?

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    What guarantee is Wellington Castillo? He has had one good year. He is not as strong defensively as everyone seems to think he is. What he is however is a sell high candidate with an incredibly favorable contract. So if you can bring back surplus assets and then sign a relatively inexpensive replacement who is better offensively, you do that.

    Forget about him being benched in the World Series. He was benched after his bad decision to throw to third base allowed the Cardinals to score the winning run in Game 3 – but the Red Sox never even get to that point without Saltalamacchia’s contributions. 55 HR over the last three years. And this: 2013 --- .273/.338/.466, 14 HR, 21% CS. Oh, he's 28 and has been incredibly consistent over three years.

    That's why you sign Saltalamacchia.

  • I could see Curtis Granderson signing with a Chicago team ... only with the OTHER one. He's from the south-side and the White Sox would love to bring him back home.

    But if they do sign him, that likely means that one of Dayan Viciedo or Alejandro De Aza will be on the shopping block.

    De Aza could be a nice, cheap addition to the team at the top of the order. He provides some power and the ability to steal bases as well. He's got a decent OBP as well.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Decent career .336 OBP and surprising pop last year (17 HR) but 147 K's from a lead off man scares me, as does the 8 CS in just 28 attempts.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Curtis is not from south-side, but from south suburb of Lynwood and attended TF South in Lansing. He was kind enough to visit with my son's 13 year old baseball team 6 year ago or so. Great guy. Kids loved him. I'm pretty sure he said he grew up a Cubs fan!

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    You have obviously no idea who Curtis Granderson is, he is south-side like Dekalb is the "west-side".

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    Why would we make any trade with the Rays that involves sending a huge package of players for David Price? History has shown that the Rays always come out on top in this deals.

    They are a well run team and most of the time if they are willing to trade you their Price or Shields then they feel the players coming to them will provide more overall value than what they send.

    So why wouldn't we just hold on to that value then if there's no logjam? Why trade Castro + other good assets when their cheap and good for a soon-to-be FA pitcher with lots of mileage on his arm seeking money he probably won't be worth? Wouldn't the team be better off OVERALL just holding on to all those assets (like the Cardinals do) instead of dumping them into one player? I'm pretty sure we'd kill to have Chris Archer back(even though CJ Edwards excites me as well). Pretty sure the Royals could use Wil Myers much more than James Shields(who might bolt next year).

    I just don't these "3-4 top prospects for star veterans with 2yrs left on contract" deals working out. They almost never do. If that one player is the difference between a WS appearance or not, then sure. But are we an overused-David Price away from a WS. No. So why are we talking about trading Starlin Castro with 6yrs left on his contract or top prospects who could be worth more than Price alone for him? Just my opinion

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Because other teams value Price, Shields, and Garza more than the Rays do. It's not like Friedman's down there just chomping at the bit to send these guys out of town. He has to because they can't afford them all. Good young players in return happen to be a pleasant byproduct.

    Like you, I don't think Starlin/Villa is the right package. Longoria's presence calls Villa into question for me as does Starlin's financial commitment. I want to keep Starlin but would be OKAY with the FO going for it with a big package.

    Its also not like we wouldn't still have a very strong farm system if we sent Welly and two or three good minor leaguers to Tampa.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Why do you keep calling Price overused? Do you have anything to back that up? Was it his 1 DL stint where he absolutely dominated afterwards?

    Stop looking at things so close-minded.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Price's performance last year declined as much or more than Castro's performance declined last year.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Disagree.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I certainly wouldn't trade the group we got for Garza (Edwards, Ramirez, Olt and Grimm) for the group we gave up to get him (Archer, Lee, Chirinos, Guyer and Fuld). That is not even considering we also got Rosscup in addition to Garza.

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    What about trading Castro, Castillo and ??? to the Rays for Price and ??? This assumes of course that Price would agree to an extension before the trade and he wouldn't be all that was coming back from the Rays. The Cubs could then sign a stop-gap to play shortstop until the system provided an adequate replacement or perhaps that stop gap could be included with the players coming back from the Rays. Just trying to think outside of the box here.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think there are a lot of ways they can approach this. Trading two core pieces would be a big blow, even for a guy like Price.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I like it. Maybe Barney at short.
    I still really like Gregorius from Arizona. Maybe Samardzija, Barney, and Shierholtz to Arizona for Skaags, Gregorius, Eaton and a pitching prospect or two. The catcher Arizona drafted seems like a pretty good player too. Not sure how anyone feels on Skaags anymore???

  • I say hold on to castro and see what the new manager can do with him. He probably see something in him, and I don't like the Idea of trading everyday players for pitchers. There is so much that can go wrong with pitchers with injuries and flaming out at the major league level.

  • If you watched 'Shoot the Puck' intermission during last night's Blackhawks game, Granderson was asked about staying in Chicago. He indicated he's a Chicago-boy and that it would be an interesting free agency if Yankees don't make qualifying offer.

  • Always nice to start a Monday off out here on the west coast with a great read! Thanks again, John.

    Hate to agree with the scout wholeheartedly about Starlin but I do. He's got so much talent in there but between the ears he's a 3. You mentioned a scout's take on Phil Hughes a while back and I think he's kinda the pitching version of Castro. They should both be way better than they are. I'm so afraid Starlin will blossom on another team, especially if that team has several older, better hitters than him.

    Would never want to see Welly go at this point unless there were a bona fide star level player coming back. Price is a guy. I'm sure TB will most likely let Tanaka sign before making a trade and I hope the Cubs make a serious offer for both guys. I'd be okay with a package of Welly/Baez/Johnson and then signing a Catcher. Not a huge fan of Saltalamacchia but he makes sense. I think he may have already had the best year he will ever have.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I feel like Castro could be a great #6-7 hitter once the Cubs are winning. Maybe there's too much pressure on him, right now.
    But we've been making excuses for the kid for quite a while. It's got to stop either this year or next.

    If someone makes the right offer on Castro, it's got to be considered.
    He's such an enigma. Should we sell low? The talent is there, but like you said- He might be a mental 3.
    Personally, unless he's bringing back a young ace, I'm trotting him out there next year. If Alcantara and Baez look like the middle infield of the future, maybe it's time to consider some offers towards the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    The deadline is a good call. I'd hate to pull the trigger on that one until Javy and Alcantara are right there. As much as we all hate to admit it, there's still time for Javy and Arismendy to NOT make it. What's going to happen if both of those guys are somehow struggling mightily next year and Starlin has been traded?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I think that has to be a factor, agreed. Not only aren't we sure they'll make it, we aren't sure they'll play SS in the majors even if they do make it.

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    Erling Moreno was one of the top rated international prospects this year. That's hardly a sleeper.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    I think you overvalue the rankings and the likelihood that those good, but not elite ranked int'l prospects make it. He didn't even make our top 50 list.

    He's most definitely a sleeper.

    I do have to say it's pretty cool when we as fans now know the Cubs 3rd or 4th best amateur international signing's name.

  • I'm not convinced that Castro can turn the corner and live up to his potential.. This past year when the cubs tried to change to many things with him may tings in his batting approach may cause problems in the future. Rather than Price I'd look and see what other teams have to offer and want in a potential deal. As for other player that could be included, the one player I'd hang on to whose been mentioned as being part of a package is Vogelbach.

  • I agree with Moody on trading Castro and Villenueava for Price (with an extension) I might throw in Burks too.

  • OK, we can forget about Granderson... He got a QO... I don't think the Cubs will give up their 2nd round pick for him.

  • C. Granderson receives QO from Yankees.

  • Many of our possible free agents doors will be closing due to QO and $$. If the Cubs are going to get competitive in 2014 it will most likely be through some painful trades. Not a handful of top 100 or close prospects, but established players of value like Castro, Castillo, and possibly Samardzija.

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    I'd only really want Granderson on a 2 year deal with a 3rd year option.

    That would allow us to add Shierholtz in a greater package with Samardzija for young pitching. At this point, the draft pick compensation doesn't bother me.
    The 4th overall pick is protected. Our farm system is top 5 in a conservative estimate. We can afford the pick.
    Especially if we can trade Granderson once Almora/Soler are ready. That will help restock the farm anyway.
    And depending on his performance...May yield a greater return than a single supplemental pick.

    Not an awful risk to take at this point.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    There is risk though and a lot of moving parts involved to make it work, but the greater questions are what's the reward and is it that reward (probably an extra couple of wins) worth that risk?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Valid point.
    I still view this rebuild as a big picture project that won't start paying dividends until 2015.
    But a guy like Granderson wouldn't require the outrageous money it would take to get Choo or Ellsbury. And he'd provide some protection for the youngsters in the heart of our lineup.
    Granderson probably wouldn't be a Cub by the time we're winning.
    It would a risky calculated gamble, that his numbers are padded by the NL with intent of developing an asset to eventually trade.

    But to your point: A couple of wins during a rebuilding year isn't worth handing over a draft pick. I absolutely see where you're coming from.
    My scenario is a pretty decent sized gamble that could go very wrong. But I do feel we're in a good enough position depth wise to give it a shot.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    I would have really liked Granderson before the comp offer, I don't now --- but I understand fans wanting to take that gamble. It'd be nice to have that kind of bat in the middle of the lineup and if the FO feels that would be beneficial to the kids, maybe they swallow the costs in terms of money and pick -- but I think if they can get a similar player that's just money, they'd probably rather do that.

  • I dont see why you dismiss granderson because of the QO. If he doesnt take it, he is going to be a lot cheaper because of it and would be cheapest to a team with a protected pick than anyone else. It's just a second round pick for god's sake. The team of the future will not hinge on whether or not we have a 2nd rounder. How over-simplified is that to just decide all players that are tied to compensation are not worth anything.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Not worried about price tag, but there seems little reason to throw away a top 40-45 pick, a solid long term asset, for a guy who will be here for 2 years and won't contribute more than a couple extra wins. Granderson has been worth less than 4 wins over the past two seasons...combined.

    That's worth it to you?

    It's not an oversimplification because you consider where the team is and it's direction. To me that's a hefty price to pay for a couple of meaningless extra wins.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    historically speaking a 40-45 pick is not a solid long term asset. It is a solid organizational filler most likely. It is an over simplification because it ignores that Granderson could have a bounce back season and his value is potentially deflated because of the comp pick and his last season that ended in injury. If the cubs think he is more valuable to the team than whatever his contract costs, he would be a good addition. the 2014 team could be decent and the 2015 team better be pretty good. Granderson producing 3 wins is a very good possibility (Steamer has him projected for 3.4 wins in 2014) . He was on track to do that last season before being injured and in 2012 he would have done that if not for a very deflated BABIP (.260 compared to .305 career). Why do we already have to punt the next two seasons to make sure we have another Zastryzni? The next years OF FA crop is god awful and there's a good chance we wont have another protected pick either. No wins are meaningless. You were the one who made the case that the team could possibly contend in 2014 and I'm sure you would agree they should be ready to contend in 2015.

    Also saying: "Granderson has been worth less than 4 wins over the past two seasons...combined." is pretty dumb because one of those seasons was only 245 PA and if you extend your range of years to 3, all of a sudden the statement is "Granderson has been worth over 10 wins over the past three seasons...combined."

    The fact is the value of Granderson's contract should be determined by what he will be willing to accept. If the pick compensation lowers his contract value sufficiently, the cubs would be at a unique advantage to sign him.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Umm... injuries are part of the equation.

    Of course, getting Granderson will mean the Cubs aren't punting. It's a sure sign they're going for it!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What an excellent response to my well warranted arguments.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    If more was warranted and you were respectful, I would have given a more thoughtful, respectful answer as I did with Nondorf. As it were, I don't think your response deserved more than what I gave it. You want a respectful response, ask questions respectfully.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How was I disrespectful? I pointed out a statement that I thought was dumb and you chose not to defend that statement. What was I saying that wasn't warranted? I made the case that he could have a good bounce back year based on the fact that he lost last year to an injury and underperformed his peripherals the year before. Do you need more evidence that generally 2nd round picks dont do anything? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Major_League_Baseball_Draft. The 2005 draft is largely considered one of the best in recent memory, and still maybe 10 % of the supplemental first round picks did anything. There is Clay buccholz, Jed Lowrie, and then a bunch of nothing. You are far more likely to get a nobody in the 2nd round than anything of any value. Especially nowadays when you cant make a big overslot signing in the 2nd round due to the CBA.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I have no problems responding. I've answered this type of question many times and I'll be happy to do it again, but I have no inclination to respond to this kind of aggressive tone. When you're ready to ask me, I'll answer. I'm a pretty patient guy. I'm like Caine from Kung Fu.

    Or is it Obi-Wan Kenobi?

    Tough choice.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I don't know what you're not responding to. I'm not being aggressive as I never made a personal attack on you. I disagreed with the things that you said and gave reasons as to why I disagreed. Where is the problem in that?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    but no it's not an indication that they aren't punting, but it is an indication that they will try to secure valuable players by any means necessary, even if it involves a bit of risk and costs them a 2nd round pick. I'd be fine if they picked him up and then traded him because he outperformed his contract as well because it would net more talent to the team than a 2nd round pick would. The outfield outlook for next year is pretty grim and its honestly not getting much better in the next two years.

    All in all, I really don't care that much about granderson. I think he's a good player but I don't think hes the best place to spend money either. My problem is your simple dismissal of him as an option because of a 2nd round pick with the possible blanket oversimplified statement of "all over 30 players are bad investments". If you didnt like him because of his K rate which is somewhat alarming, or the fact that his injury might linger next year, then I wouldn't care. But simply saying: never mind he got a QO, who cares about him, yes is way oversimplifying.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Steamer projects David Murphy to be 2.9 WAR. Given that Granderson (steamer projected 3.4 WAR) will probably command more in terms of dollars for less years of control in addition to the Cubs second round pick, it doesn't make sense to me to go the Granderson route when there are other options that cost significantly less and are almost as good. The difference between a 2.9 WAR player and a 3.4 WAR player isn't worth the cost to the Cubs as a rebuilding franchise.

  • In reply to StatHead:

    Plus there's always the hope that Murphy may enjoy a rebound year after this season's misfire. Murphy lacks Granderson's power but like Granderson, has nice OBP.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, one thing to look at is what could Granderson bring back in a trade with a good season. If the Cubs signed him to a 2-3 year deal and he plays well. He could bring back a good prospect in a trade as well. Overall, I am with you though. I value the Cubs draft picks fairly highly, as I believe Theo, Hoyer, Mcleod will draft well. Especially second round picks.

  • In reply to NathanE:

    That is a consideration and it gets complicated. You'd have to make a deal in which the value of the players obtained are greater than the sum of value of the money paid out to Granderson plus the value of the second round pick. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it necessary? I don't know. My inclination is no. The Cubs have been able to reap value in trades from players that did not require compensation (i.e. Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman). You'd have to believe you could get more than a 2nd rounds pick extra over the value brought in from those kinds of deals for Granderson to make that part of the equation worthwhile -- and I'm not sure that you can.

  • agree a high 2nd rd pick is far more valuable than the 1-3 wins Granderson might help the Cubs gain in a year they wont contend . JMO

  • Could someone tell me the ins and outs of the Rule 5 draft? And what the the point is. Thanks.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I'm not sure what your question is, but the point of the draft is to bring in an unprotected prospect that you believe is worth the burden of carrying him on your 25 and 40 man prospect for a full year.

    When the Cubs drafted Rondon last winter, the did it expecting (or hoping) that he would turn out to be better than whoever they decided not to protect on their 40 man roster.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    So anyone not on 40 man roster is fair game? And how many rounds are there?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Here's a quick rundown of the eligibility:

    http://www.thecubreporter.com/rule-5-draft-eligibility

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Thanks

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Rule 5 was created so that teams couldn't stash prospects in the minors indefinitely.

  • So Cubs haven't yet asked permission on Lovullo yet.

    Interesting considering they've pretty much stated they want to get it done this week (before GM meetings).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This seems odd. Don't know what to think of this situation.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Just a guess, but makes me think they've decided on one or two candidates and are ready to wrap this up either with 2nd interviews (if not done already) or an actual announcement.

  • I don't know, John. I'd seriously consider trading Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood or Rob Zastryzny for 4 years of Granderson.

    And do you really rely on WAR so mechanically?

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    WAR is reference and it gives an objective, realistic look at a player's true worth based on their statistical production. Without it, we would think, "Oh wow Granderson is a huge difference maker that will put the Cubs in contention!"

    Statistically, our only objective measurement on this, says nothing could be further from the truth.

    The Cubs have to put their research into objective measurements to avoid making mistakes on guys whose name value is larger than their production. It may not be WAR specifically, but it is likely something similar. I can pretty much assure you they'll use some measurement of projected value based on predictive statistics and that it likely tells us such a signing won't make a significant enough impact to make it worthwhile given where the Cubs are at right now.

    That kind of analysis factored into why I said the Cubs would not pursue Prince Fielder and Michael Bourn, and why they'd pursue guys like Scott Feldman instead. It may cause me a lot of grief and disagreement, but I will always stick to my guns.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The problem with this is that WAR hasn't been bad to Granderson. Hes only two years removed from an incredible 6+ WAR season. His 2012 season probably would have been somewhere around 3-4 WAR if his BABIP were closer to his career average, and he was on track for about 4 WAR before going down due to injury last year. Looking at WAR totals over the last two years without looking at context is dumb. If we looked at Rizzo's last season's WAR of 1.6, we'd be missing a lot of things that suggest that he will likely perform much better than that in the future (i.e. walks strikeouts and ISO). It's the equivalent of looking at a pitcher's ERA to determine what he'll do next year without looking at his peripheral statistics.

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    In reply to Andrew:

    I think this is kind of a moot point because according to Joel Sherman Granderson will probably accept the QO from the Yankees.

    Hey John, BTW, River Avenue Blues has a great article about Replicating the 2013 Red Sox. Worth reading of you have an extra few minutes.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    After what happened to Lohse and Bourn last winter, he would be crazy not to.

    I'm really interested to see the decisions the players make on QOs this time around.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree. 13 players got qualifying offers.

    I think Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales are almost certain to accept them.

    I think Beltran will negotiate a two-year deal to stay in St. Louis. I think Cano will stay with the Yankees.

    I think Choo, Ellsbury, Jimenez, McCann and Santana will have new teams next year.

    I expect Santana will be this year's Kyle Lohse, maybe Choo as well (only because I think Choo is asking for too much and will hold out for far too long).

  • First off, as a Cubs fan I feel fortunate to have a site to visit where we receive outstanding coverage on a daily basis; and one that stimulates such diverse, respectful and well thought out opinions. I'm finding the feedback as interesting as the article today. With that said, count me as someone who doesn't see Castro as a long-term solution in the Cubs quest for sustained excellence. As others have stated, it seems the tinkering this year has been counter-productive to his development-not sure he is someone who can work through the adjustments and come out the other side with more of the traits the FO is seeking. Despite this, I am reluctant to trade him at this point, and instead have a suggestion on how to approach him in 2014-let him go with what works for him from a hitting standpoint regardless of whether it is in sync with the FO philosophical view. In all likelihood, the Cubs are not ready to contend yet for a playoff spot this upcoming season. If we let Castro be Castro, we may have a guy on our hands that gets hot, increases his trade value in the process, and results in an improved haul of young talent. There would still be a lot of years left on a reasonable contract-and we'd end up maximizing a return for him. I also agree that now is not the time to trade some of our young, emerging assets. I realize you have to take opportunities when they come up; but if it were Price-type pitcher in the winter of 2014 or 2015-that is the time to pull the trigger; and the farm should only be growing healthier in the meantime. Keep up the great work fellas!

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    There is always the possibility that Castro(Castillo too) will have down years in 2014 and have less trade value next year than they do now.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    There is always that chance, but in Castro's case I would roll that dice with the hopes that Castro can rebound statistically in some respects and thus improve the potential return.

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    I like Castro's chances of doing just that, but if an organization sees Starlin as their SS and ignores his struggles and offers a good return then the Cubs should go for it.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    There certainly is. Just as there is the possibility that Price (or whoever is traded for) could have a down year in 2014 and be essentially worthless to the team.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I was wondering if anyone is concerned that the Rays really want to get rid of Price???

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    In reply to rockyje:

    Nope. They don't have money and are going to lose him for nothing in two years. It's how they operate.

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    In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    Well said!

  • John, thanks for responding to that. I don't know enough to write a counterpoint, but here's my concern with that type of analysis:

    I finally worked up the strength and courage to watch "5 Outs" and relive that agony. The team took off when we got Aramis and Lofton. Following the trade, I suspect their combined WAR for the remainder of the season is far below the number of games the Cubs won over .500 the rest of the way. Their combined presence in the line up lifted all boats. And I suspect someone like Granderson or Ellsbury or some others will impact the team in positive ways not accounted for in their own WARs. I am wrong about?

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I think there can be some impact outside of statistics, but then you're dealing in terms of things that can't be measured and are not factored into value-based analysis. That's not to say it's ignored. For example, the Cubs were getting David DeJesus for more than his numbers, they liked his presence and his leadership. They thought he was a good fit overall.

    But there will always be guys who can provide similar value to a Granderson who have lesser name. So much of how we value things is based on perception and sometimes that perception is wrong.

    The Cubs will have to evaluate Granderson from an objective standpoint. There isn't much in terms of statistical projection models out, but based on things like Granderson's age and recent statistical patterns, one system has him hitting .238 with 28 HRs (.327 OBP). It's actually a nice bounce back year for him, but those numbers translate to 2 extra wins over what Schierholtz or DeJesus did when they were signed on to play RF.

    Is it worth a 2nd pick? Sometimes. I think it really depends on where your team as at. When you have a team like Boston who despite their lost season were considered a contender, the 2 extra wins Shane Victorino provided over Carl Crawford can make a meaningful difference. That would be worth a 2nd round pick for them (though it did not cost them that).

    Is it worth it for a team in the position the Cubs are in? I think that's very debatable and I think most teams in the Cubs position would say it's not worth it.

    And it's very possible that Granderson's intangible value might add something more to a young team, the way DeJesus' did, and if that is the case, then you can also factor that in, but I think you feel much more comfortable adding that intangible component when it doesn't come with a tangible cost, which in this case is a top 45 pick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But the one thing I think you're missing in all of this is that most of the other teams that would be interested in signing Granderson will lose a first round pick instead of a second round pick. That is a huge difference. That means that other teams will not make as big of offers to Granderson and the Cubs are in a position to get a discounted player at the cost of a 2nd rounder that isn't likely to do much. First rounders all have an ok chance to make it, 2nd rounders don't. The cubs are in the business of finding surplus value. the fact that they have a protected pick gives them a unique chance to find surplus value over other teams.

  • In reply to Andrew:

    The difference between late first round picks and early 2nd round picks in terms of value is diminishing in recent years. I don't see that as a big factor, especially since teams with late picks are more likely to see meaningful gain from signing short term value. I think it more than cancels it out.

    Now the following is a basic explanation, there are always nuances that can affect the equation both ways, but for the sake of what we're talking about here, it should suffice...

    With regard to the way you see second round picks, you're are evaluating them from a results-oriented perspective. Teams can't afford to look at things that way because some 2nd round picks are very good and turn out to be stars (i.e. Dustin Pedroia) while others don't get to AAA ball. So even if it's likely that you don't get yourself a star player or even a MLB'er, there is a chance that you will. That chance has value. Since you don't know if you'll hit or miss you cannot evaluate it in terms of either a grand success or a grand failure. There is a wide gulf there. You evaluate what value that pick itself holds overall from a historical standpoint.

    A pick in the 31-60 range is typically worth between 2 and 2.5 wins and comes at a cost of about 1.2M (signing bonus) to the team. So you're paying roughly half a million per win to acquire that player. That is very good value. When you get Curtis Granderson for say one year, you are looking at getting 3.4 wins (per one projection) for somewhere around 10 to 15M. So now you're paying about 3 or 4 million per each win. That's much more expensive. There is a loss in value there strictly looking at it from a value perspective. We don't even need to go into what those 2 to 3 wins mean to a struggling team, which really isn't a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. But if I'm a team in dire need of a couple more regular season wins (say, the Washington Nationals) then I am more inclined to pay that extra value.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The problem with valuing the pick at around 2 wins is that those wins are also spread out over the 6 years of control the team gets so its really only about half a win per year which you still have to pay salary for albeit a small salary. Also those wins being spread out greatly diminishes their value to any team. The thing is that the cubs are getting a lottery ticket with a 2nd round pick. I think the chances of that pick are so low that it is more likely that the player obtained outperforms his contract. I think it is more likely that Granderson is worth

  • In reply to Andrew:

    You went straight back to that results thinking. Not how they'll analyze it and it's not to be taken so literally. It's an abstract measure of value. You can hold to your results oriented view of value if you want, but I'm just telling you it's not going to be looked at that way.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Very well said John. That was an excellent read.

    The only variable is the fact that just like any draft pick outside the top 10 ( sometimes even in) are lottery tickets.

    Also Andrew, who knows what Granderson even has left in the tank. He really looked bad at the end of the year, could be rust/ not being comfortable yet, but nobody knows if you can even get that bottom basement WAR out of him but you surely will have to pay him that money!

  • In reply to Andrew:

    The gap between the 25th pick and the 50th pick is not as wide as you are saying it is. If you look at the first, sandwich, and second rounds as a top 100 list, the gap doesn't seem as wide. Plus we're talking about the 4th pick in the 2nd round. That's a top 50 player in the country.

  • Over at SB Nation they are doing a simulated offseason where there is a fake GM for each team and Josh Timmers of Bleed Cubbie Blue is representing the Cubs. There are a bunch of ridiculous trades going on that have no chance of happening at all. But, he just traded Castro for Trevor Rosenthal and Tyrell Jenkins. I just do not think that is enough value for trading Castro. I think you have to get an amazing offer for a trade of Castro to make sense.

  • In reply to jswick23:

    I agree with you, man. That's not enough. We're going to need a team to overpay US to move him. Agreed.

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    In reply to jswick23:

    LOL. Can Rosenthal start? I don't think he can so there is ZERO chance of that trade.

    I think the Cubs could trade Castro for Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, they should do it. Shelby Miller is safe pitcher, probably be a solid 4 starter for 5 years and Carlos Martinez could turn into a Pedro Martinez or end up a reliever/ closer.

    To me if Jedstein and co have good numbers/grades on Martinez and his projections, its a no brainer.

    If they want to get wild

    Shark/Castro/Russell/ Justin Grimm and another piece

    Joe Kelly/ Oscar Taveras / Carlos Martinez /Tyrell Jenkins

  • Is anyone else worried that by the time the Cubs have the payroll to spend on free agents that there won't be any good ones left?

    Everything seems to trend more and more toward free agents making less of an impact -- qualifying offers, early career contract lock-ups, and the reduced supply which leads to rising costs which leads to reduced value.

    It seems like 90-95% of free agents now fall into one of four categories:

    1. Talented, but wildly overpriced
    2. Moderately talented, but received a QO and will cost you a draft pick
    3. A flyer on a player post-injury or after a substandard season
    4. Minimal value player

    I guess this makes Theo & Co.'s asset build-up even more valuable, but I fear that last step, light at the end of the tunnel won't be so bright.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Great post. The main reason I am in favor of making a run at Price.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    I love the idea, but I think they only go make a run at price if they don't get Tanaka but in my dream scenario is they make a run at price do get Tanaka and are planning on grabbing a bat too and truly plan on putting the best team they can possibly put on the field come April and let them play for a couple months and let Jedstein do his magic w promoting some of the young kids or making the moves to push this team even further.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Making a run at Price makes no sense. They would deplete their strength in the minors for a player they would only have for 2 years and they aren't ready to compete.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Yea, no point in getting a proven ace when most likely a couple of out highly rated prospects will turn out to become TOR arms.

    I probably don't believe in Jedstein as much as others, but even I believe that if he dealt for Price, he would make sure he had an extension in place.

  • I'm starting to wonder maybe Rentria is the guy? Maybe not announced because of the hip surgery that he had done, and not being able to travel? Also maybe Boston wants comp? Would not suprise me !

  • In reply to Cubs26:

    The Trib and Muskat are reporting that Cherington has stated that not one team has come asking for permission to speak with Lovullo. So maybe you are right. And it would punctuate how silly the media circus around this process has been. Definitely taking pictures of the non-barn.

  • I see a myriad of potential trading partners for the Cubs, but Tampa Bay is not one of them. That's because the Cubs are the new Tampa Bay, looking to squeeze every team they deal with for a major haul of prospects. Once the dust settles, my guess is that Castro and Castillo will be in Cubs uniforms next season, but the Shark may be taking his pearly whites to another locale. I just don't think they can wring enough value out of Castro or Castillo to make it worth their while, but with Shark they are more likely to decide if they will fish or cut bait.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    Agreed. They both work very hard to extract long term surplus value. It's very difficult for two such teams to make a deal. They both want the same thing.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    I agree. This FO has said they don't want to pay for past performance and I think this goes for trades also. Don't see them trading core pieces for older players

  • In reply to Cleme:

    I agree. If there is a big trade this off-season my guess it will be Shark, and I think that might be the right move. As much as I love Shark, trading him to the Nationals or Diamondbacks could bring back a very nice return.

  • There's a really fun event going on at Royals Review, the whole mock offseason deal. Seems like it would be a blast to be a part of, but some of the "GMs" just aren't quite up to par. I'd like to say that if the Cubs were represented by one John Arguello they would be mopping the floor with the competition.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Haha, thanks :)

  • I'm curious...why is everyone so convinced that the Rays would even want Starlin. If the Cubs get Price they're likely not going to eat any of Starlin's money as well. Rather than take on his salary, I would think the Rays would attempt to extend Wil Myers or Alex Cobb first. Maybe even Zobrist even though they have another option on him next year. They can't handle more than one or two 60M deals. Isn't that why they trade their guys in the first place? I don't see their need for Villanueva either. I can definitely see them wanting Welly but not Starlin.

  • Granderson received a QO...

  • I don't think the QO precludes the Cubs from going after Granderson. It may help them. It means Granderson will likely be forced into a team friendly contract. 3 x 13? Similar to Bourn with the Indians. Granderson at a reasonable term and length would also be a valuable trade chip. If he has a decent season the Cubs likely aren't really playing for anything over the next 1.5 years. They would stand a very good chance of recouping a 2nd rounder plus, while giving some of their young hitters some protection and time to develop.

  • John,

    Did you read Rosenthal's article on why the Cubs haven't interviewed Lovullo? Ridiculous!

    http://mlbbuzz.yardbarker.com/blog/mlbbuzz/article/explaining_the_holdup_on_lovullo/14968745?new_post=true

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I did. May have to write on that later. Right now, not a lot to go on.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Heyman has an article on it too now.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Yeah, they usually follow each other. They're news breaking type reporters so they have to get it out there quickly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't shake the feeling it was a mistake to fire Sveum. This has not gone well.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I tend to agree. I was never crazy about the idea. To me it was only worth doing if you really felt he was doing harm. I think the Cubs could have gotten by with him for one more year.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Hahahaha - that's rich. Why on earth would you stand in the way of an employee getting a better opportunity just because you have ill will toward your ex-GM.

    Head scratcher.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    typical Luccino. Always been jealous of Theo. But to hurt your own employees chance at a managerial job is beyond comprehension.

  • It's hilarious how people pile on a pitcher like David Price like he's some nobody.

    "overused used, soon-to-be-FA Pitcher who has lost velocity and starting to get injured"

    His scouting report for Miguel Cabrera is ...
    An aging, slow, fat, injury prone defensive liability.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    Yeah. The real question marks are the unproven young guys that we'd be sending their way. The Rays have been pretty lucky so far in their hauls. Archer could have easily flamed out (and could still) and never made it. Where is Hak Ju Lee three years later? Three years is a long time. Wil Myers looks like a stud but so have a lot of guys for 88 games.

    If they could afford Price, they'd lock him up. Andrew Friedman would rather have his ace in a Rays uniform for the next 7 years over three young unknowns. Guaranteed. Its just not an option for him.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Spot on post.

  • John,

    If they want to deal Castro, it makes a lot more sense to deal him in July when 1) Baez is presumably ready; and 2) Castro has had a chance to reestablish his value.

    IMO dealing Castro makes a lot of sense in that he's probably never going to really be either a true table setter or true RBI guy, and his defense is probably never going to be above average. He'll still have quite a bit of value, but if he can once again hit .300, his perceived value will be greater than his actual value.

    A guy like Baez, on the contrary, has about the same defensive upside as Castro, yet can be a true RBI/middle-of-the-order type. The catch is that his glove is behind his bat, and his glove may not be truly MLB-ready (as a shortstop) for another year or two. Will that complicate his MLB debut? Will the pressure to be something he is not (yet) defensively affect him at the plate?

    Another benefit of dealing Castro is that it keeps not only Baez, but also Alcantara and one of Bryant/Olt/Villanueva in the infield--but especially Alcantara, who has a lot more value in the INF and who would be blocking Almora if moved to CF.

    My gut tells me that, long term, guys like Baez/Alcantara/Villanueva are more the kind of player this FO likes than Castro. Plus, Castro has the benefit of a MLB track record and inexpensive long term deal--he really could bring back a significant power arm.

    Imagine the hype that would surround a deadline deal that includes a healthy and productive Castro...

    Regarding Granderson, IMO it is dangerous to sign 30+ y.o. hitters who are trending upward sharply in their K-rate. That's often the sign of decreasing reaction time (the very thing that forced Sori to go to a lighter bat last year). It's really not a good sign, and I would NOT sign a guy like Granderson to more than a one year deal. Granderson doesn't really address their offensive needs, either (OBP).

    I also really wonder if Choo is out of the Cubs' picture. If it's true that the Cubs are upping their budget by around 20 mil, then they would have room for him--and signing him would really address the Cubs biggest need, even if they have to overpay a bit. I'm also a little skeptical that the SFG contracts (Pence and Lincecum) are really reflective of the new market. Surely market prices have risen, but IMO the SFG signings are probably big overpays, even in the new market.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I agree. It may be better to wait, especially since Castro has so many years of cost control left and there is no sure thing yet with regard to Baez. And who knows? If you wait and Castro grows up, maybe you'll be glad you never made the deal.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Following their last WS win, the Giant's FO has been very aggressive in retaining the bulk of their starters following the end of their contracts. The Pence and Lincecum contracts appear to me to follow that pattern.

  • So Granderson will replace Soriano? If you are going to get rid of Soriano, why would you sign Granderson as a stop gap? And if this is your philosophy, then what are you going to do to balance your all lefty outfield?
    And David Price will be 29 next year, and 32 when the Cubs are ready to start contending? I am patient!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Good points. You'll basically get Soriano like production from Granderson but with better walks/OBP -- but the LH hitting thing is an issue when you're only talking short term.

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    Maybe i'm missing something about David Price. He would be under contract for only 2014 and 2015, right? I could see why he would be a fantastic asset in 2015 when we're trying to contend, but it seems inconsistent with the overall plan to deal prospects (or a guy like Castro) for him b.c we're trying to build a consistent winner for 2015 and beyond. What am I missing?

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    You'd ask for permission to work out an extension before the trade is finalized.

  • Yep. Even still 68 starts and 450 IP of David Price over the next two years should make the Cubs significantly better. Hopefully we would get that. 2015 is the year anyway, right?

  • Buster tweeting about CHi/ARI talks on Shark- that didn't take long.

    Kevin and Tulane, what are your respective price tags from DBacks?

    Why do I not find it hard to fathom both Shark & Castro being moved? If done well, it could really help address the long-term SP and LH hitting issues he org faces. Cannot afford to play games with Shark, extend or move him by ST. They can be much more patient with Castro; his value ain't going lower & contract will continue to make him attractive.

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    I like a granderson signing. why do we act as if the cubs dont have money to spend. surplus value is wanted but not needed in every decision. i think granderson can be a solid player for them. and you can easily get better value than the pick by trading him midseason assuming he bounces back. you can get a chip much closer to the bigs than the draft pick would have been. im for making this team a contender sooner than later. this is a deal that doesnt take away from our current top 5 system. its a no brainer to me. also tampa just picked up escobars option so i really dont think they want castro. they still have our shortstop from the garza deal and tim beckham in the minors i believe...

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    If we are able to make the trade for Price contingent upon him signing an extension, then I would be open to trading for him. However in a scenario where we can't extend Price (and this has to do with some of the Granderson chatter, as well), by improving the team in 2014, we may hurt our ability to be a better team in 2015 and beyond. Obviously the draft picks wouldn't be as good, but more importantly, if the Cubs are in a situation where they are buyers at the trade deadline instead of sellers, they will lose a key advantage that they have had since the new FO: Leveraging our willingness to lose in the short-term to build a consistent winner. Last season there were only a few sellers in the marketplace at the trade deadline (and in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline!), but there were plenty of buyers.

    The farm system has been drastically improved, but IMO we still need another season of deals like the ones for Feldman, Hairston, Garza, etc before we can feel really really good about our future. Something tells me Theo is thinking about 2014 in the much same way as he did 2013. Thoughts?

  • Maybe the Cubbs have already decided on their manager--Renteria. It is just that he is not able to fly, so the announcement has been postponed?

  • How about bringing back Garza?

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    In reply to GoCubs:

    IMO, no thank you. Garza will be looking for a deal better than the 5 yr/$80 mil that Anibal Sanchez got from Detroit. Way too much of a commitment for a guy who has been on the DL in each of the past three seasons.

  • Price has only been on the DL once in his career as far as I can tell.

    He pitched 138.2 innings in 19 starts after coming off the DL this season (including the playoffs). He didn't pitch below 5 innings in any of those 19 starts. He went 7 innings or more in 15 of those starts (79%) with 5 complete games (26%).

    His ERA was 2.86. He gave up 2 runs or less in 14 of 19 starts (74%). He had 107 K's with only 15 walks.

    He walked 2 or less in 18 of 19 starts (3 was the other start.) He walked 1 or less in 16 of 19 starts (84%).

    Seems fine to me. People are worried about this?!?!?

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I'm not worried about his health. Technically, he's still in his prime and with his athleticism he should be good beyond it. I'm worried about the haul of prospects it will take to get him. I've been a proponent of trading for him in the past.

  • Signing David Murphy to play left while mixing in Lake against LHP and moving Lake around the OF to get him more at bats could be really good.

    Murphy against RHP - .280/.347/.469
    Lake against LHP - .377/.415/.541

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Or possibly Lake platooning CF and RF and Vitters platooning with Murphy in LF assuming he hits enough during ST...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I like Murph as a player but we have three Murph's already.

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