Bullpen Update

Bullpen Update

On November 29 I wrote a piece looking at the Cubs potential bullpen set up for 2014. With the signings of Wesley Wright and Jose Veras their end of game formula has changed quite a bit.

This is how I envisioned their bullpen shaking out for 2014 then:

And this is what it looks like now according to MLB Depth Charts:

cubs bullpen

 

It's a pretty far cry from the collection of question marks the Cubs had back in November. Jose Veras will close which pushes Strop and Russell back into the 7th and 8th innings. Blake Parker is listed as a middle reliever but I think he makes a case for being a high leverage guy by the time Spring Training is over. It's been said quite a bit by a multitude of voices but it bears repeating; a bad bullpen is the easiest thing to fix on a ballclub. We'll have to wait to see the game results to declare this fixed but I'm highly optimistic that this version of the 'pen will be more successful than the 2013 version which relied on Kevin Gregg for a vast stretch of the season.

Let's take a look at the two new guys.

Jose Veras

Last year was Veras' best as he posted career bests in WHIP (1.06), ERA (3.02), and strikeout to walk ratio (2.73). Veras is consistently above the 20% threshold when it comes to strikeout ratio but last year saw a slight downtick from previous performance as he dropped from 26.3% to 23.6%. It came with better control, however so it's a dip I think we can live with. Veras will be the Cubs closer entering 2014 as he pushes out Pedro Strop of the role. I would expect Veras to perform more than competently in the role and bring stability to a position that's been the center of much controversy for the Cubs since time immemorial.

Wesley Wright

2013 was a weird year for Wright's platoon splits. He handled lefties and righties about the same (Vs RHB: .253/.321/.465 - Vs. LHB: .269/.336/.417) which doesn't jive with the rest of his career (Vs. RHB .266/.356/.500 - Vs. LHB .231/.313/.342). We can likely chalk that up to small sample noise considering the career resume. Wright enters the Cubs fray as a LOOGY with an efficent strikeout rate. His presence makes James Russell expendable in my mind which makes me think Wright survives the trade deadline selling spree.

Filed under: Analysis

Tags: bullpen, Jose Veras, wesley wright

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  • More importantly is the depth we are accumulating at Iowa. They will be needed as the BP is highly volatile...

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    Thanks for the dose of optimism Mauricio. We'll see what happens when the games begin, but it sure feels like the result will be much better than the many end-of-game meltdowns we saw in the first half last year.

  • also Optimism this list does not even include Daniel Bard. Will he be a starter or in Iowa?

    by my estimation and some calculation the Cubs bullpen is around 14M
    Anywhere to see where that ranks. I have to feel like that is one of the lowest.

    I also agree a bullpen should be lower because you can fill it with arms from the minors 3-4 arms in every bullpen should be cost controlled, Cubs have 5.

  • In reply to waitingOn2015:

    Bard was brutally bad in fall ball from what I heard. Sounds like he went Rick Ankiel wild.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    I had not heard anything on him recently. Hopefully, he rebounds he could add nice depth to this bullpen mix

  • In reply to waitingOn2015:

    Bard was non-tendered by the Cubs. He is no longer with the organization.

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    Ill actually be kind of disappointed if they can't find a spot for Justin Grimm.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Starters are more valuable than relievers, and J Grimm still has a chance to be an acceptable back-end SP.

  • I'm thinking Vizcaino is in there somewhere around Strop and Veras. Why aren't you including him?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    He hasn't pitched in two seasons... Velocity is reportedly back so we'll see....

    Him, Rondon, and Strop could make a wicked trio for years... assuming Rondon & Vizcaino aren't converted back to SP's

  • In reply to SFToby:

    He has to be healthy. He's out of the picture right now but he'll make a case if he pitches all year.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Theo didn't make it sound like he's out of he question when he said he's throwing 98 again with his usual good command and will be at spring training.

    I think the only way he doesn't break camp with the big club is if he blows out his arm again.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I remember reading somewhere where Vizcaino is going to AAA no matter what happens this spring.

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    In reply to SFToby:

    I think it would have to come together extremely fast for him to start the year in Chicago. He hasn't pitched in two years, he'll likely start in AAA.

  • It would not surprise me to see a reliever or two go in a trade before the season opens. If not, then at the deadline we could find someone desperate. Might be just the incentive to up the return for Samardzja and get that TOR prospect we have been hoping for. In any case trading for longer term assets is always going to be a part of the strategy going forward. It might change nearer term as we become competitive, but once we have the team we want and the farm to keep feeding it we will still need to maintain value buy trading pieces with limited future value for more extensive future value.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    J Russell is at peak trade value.

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    Ceteris paribus with Veras/Strop/Russell/Wright/Villanueva, it'll be a great spring training battle between Parker, Rondon, Cabrera, Grimm, and Zach Rosscup for the 6th and 7th spots in the pen - and that's not even considering ST Invitees such as Wada and others.

  • I smell trade(s) by the end of Spring Training with our relievers.......unless there is some DL candidates......so far Fujikawa will be one for sure.....

    April carries only 4 starters........11 pitchers total...maybe 12......

    Samardzija
    Wood
    Jackson
    Arietta

    odd man out is Villanuava & Rusin....bull pen or trade for these two?....and what about L. Hendricks?.....

    Locked in for bullpen....

    Veras
    Strop
    Russell
    Wright

    Riding the fence are ....

    Rondon
    Parker
    Rosscup
    Cabrera (out of options)
    Grimm
    Raley

    July call ups ( Post Samardzija ) will be ...

    K. Hendricks
    Vizcaino
    Ramirez

    Spring Training will be interesting who steps up........

    and with all this speculation, I never mention if Scott Baker will be coming back to the Cubs......or would you rather have Dallas Beeler?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I'd rather roll dice with Scott Baker but Dallas Beeler acquitted himself well in the AFL.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Baker if you can get him signed to a good-term, friendly, flippable contract. Otherwise agreed about Beeler. He'll likely do and at a very good price-point.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Apple, orange. You expect attrition, so you accumulate depth. You simply let the various apples, oranges rank themselves at every stage of the season.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    The pitchers I'll be following for 2014 are,
    1-Pierce Johnson
    2-C J Edwards
    3-Neil Ramirez
    4-Paul Blackburn
    5-Duane Underwood

    If half(2-3) of these guys make to the 25 man and the rest are spun off in any deals for needed parts,then I say good job.Edwards & Ramirez are likely 25 man roster material.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    I agree with your list, though I am not as optimistic about Ramirez. I assume you are referring to the 25 man roster in 2014? Obviously Blackburn and Underwood have about 0 chance of making the roster in 2014, but I'd be much more interested in trading Ramirez than either of them (or, for that matter, Maples, Skulina, Clifton, Rob Z or other lower level prospects with higher ceilings).

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    This sums it up pretty well. I think Liam Hendriks is in the mix for that 5th spot with Rusin and Villanueva -- but I do think the Cubs will add another veteran. If it's not Tanaka, then it could well be Baker.

    I think Beeler is depth at AAA for now along with Kyle Hendricks as far as starters go. And it will be interesting to watch the pitchers one level down -- Edwards, P.Johnson, Ben Wells, Pineyro, Black, Cates and more could all be there. Not hard to see one or two of those guys knocking on the door by the end of the season in some role.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Keep forgetting about Hendriks for some reason.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Because he's the newest fringe guy....to go with our many other fringe guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yo John...what about Neil Ramirez & Barrett Loux? Do you think they can contribute soon?

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I disagree somewhat on the bullpen; Blake Parker earned a job with a terrific year, as good as anyone had. Raley showed nothing and really shouldn't be under consideration unless he has a blowout spring.

  • One thing I would like to point out about the closer situation with Strop/Veras:

    Strop is not a free agent until the 2018 season, and is arbitration eligible the three seasons prior to that. Usually arbitration uses player comps as far as stats like wins and more importantly, saves. It seems archaic, but they still do it. So by signing Veras for relatively cheap, we have a player who will soak up all the saves for the next 3/4-2 years. If Strop were the one accruing all of the saves starting opening day, he would get very expensive via arbitration by 2018. This is a clever way of keeping a good high leverage reliever cheaper longer. By the time he takes over as closer next season or 2015, he will still be relatively cheap and won't accrue as many saves by his final arbitration years.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I hadn't thought of that and I wish I did. Excellent point.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Interesting point. I think you get a lot of value this way now that I think about it.

    You build up Veras' value by making him a "proven" closer.
    He's a cheap closer at that when we see the prices around for other similar arms this year in FA. You give Strop some time to ease into the role while at the same time, as you said, keeping his salary down if he eventually does become a closer. Strop could be an inexpensive closer by the time the Cubs are ready to compete. That's a lot of potential value created there.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    That is a very good point.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Not sure if you're still in the area, but Hononegah is sending 4 players d1 this year, maybe we'll see one of them on an azl cubs roster in a few years.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I saw that. That's awesome. And yes, I'm just down the road, in the sub div opposite the video store. My son didn't play at Hononegah, though, as he went to Boylan. A lot of my travel ball players came from Hononegah, however. Most of them were about your age, I think. Class of '09

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    to add to your point, Strop is a "super-two" so it makes it even more important to hold his value down, as arbitration will come earlier for him.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Very true. I missed that, so its actually four arb years not three.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    This is why I read this blog.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    And why we read the comments.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I actually wrote something very similar today in a post about using Putz over Reed in the closer spot. Archaic is right. And it's an inefficiency in the wrong direction... we will probably start to see fewer and fewer young guys close without having first signed a guaranteed deal.

  • I am a big believer in events sequence, especially when it comes to the bullpen.

    I'm not a believer in stats like saves to measure the worth of a closer, but I do believe it takes a certain type of pitcher to successfully and consistently do well in high leverage situations.

    Last year the Cubs trotted out Camp, Russell, and sometimes Villanueva in roles I don't think they were well suited for. And the innings they should have been pitching were instead filled by pitchers plucked from the waiver wire.

    Adding Veras and Strop make a big diffference in that back end. Fujikawa could add a boost later. And adding Wright to the lefty equation with Russell will allow the Cubs to use them both in roles where they are more likely to succeed. And you look up and down that depth chart and you can see how the Cubs are replacing those past prime waiver wire pitchers with in-prime arms who can refine their craft in low leverage situations first. I like the idea of having a guy like Parker or Rondon as a guy you can bring in early rather than having to rely on them late. The same goes for Grimm, Rosscup or Cabrera if they should make the team.

    I think with better depth the Cubs can slot guys into roles to which they are better suited and that will give them a shot to improve that sequencing I've been harping on. Sometimes it's when you pitch (or hit) well that matters and I think the Cubs have given themselves a chance to havea much better bullpen this year. We already saw glimpses of it late last season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Completely agreed here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I disagree, because many teams in contention will pay up more in trade for "the proven closer." You're going by how teams should weigh RP's, rather than how they actually do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    High leverage situations usually call for pitchers that can miss bats because it can eliminate the luck factor as much as possible. Camp allowed too much contact, Russell was only effective against lefties but was forced to face hitters from both sides, and Marmol walked too many guys and no longer had the slider that could get him out of any jam with a K. The warnings signs were there for all three going into last season, but it was hard to believe that all 3 would struggle the way they did, all at the same time. Fujikawa was supposed to be the other piece but he obviously went down very early.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think that Rondon is going to be the sleeper of the year for the Cubs. When the season ended, he was an entirely different pitcher than he was in the beginning, or even middle of the season. If they do not make a starter out of him, I think he will be one of the better pitchers in the pen.

  • Any chance adding a Spanish-speaking veteran to the BP mix was a factor in the Veras signing? It sure couldn't hurt to have an established closer hanging out in the 'pen with the future closer(s).

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    It's certainly possible, though it's worth mentioning the Cubs also strongly considered John Axford. Axford got an offer for more money on a better team -- that's a no-brainer for him. The Cubs would have to overpay beyond the Indians' overpay to land him, which doesn't make sense for them.

    But I do think you are right, it is a bonus that Veras speaks Spanish and is an experienced bullpen arm. It can help and it certainly doesn't hurt.

  • Hypothetical scenario... Let's say Strop, Vizcaino, and Rondon all hit their ceilings... how do you see this playing out in 2015?

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Personally, if all goes well as you suggest, I would think Viz returns to the rotation, Rondon sets up and Strop closes.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I don't think the Cubs will risk Vizcaino's arm by making him a starter this year. I think (and hope) that they will use the "Smoltz" method, and let him build up his arm in the bullpen for at least a full year.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That could be a very good problem to find ourselves facing. Although if Vizciano's ceiling is as a solid starting rotation piece, rather than a BP closer, the 'problem' shifts into the rotation rather than the bullpen.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Vizcaino starts, Rondon sets up and Strop closes and everything would be amazing.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Please drink several gallons of neutral objectivity, Mauricio.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    question was framed thusly: "if they all hit their ceilings," which is a dream.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Rondon was once a highly rated prospect in CLE's farm until the elbow injuries began. The way his FB and Slider looked last year; if he can get that CU to average and stay healthy... he has TOR potential too. Granted, lots of "IF's"...

    But my point just demonstrates why Epstoyer has targeted high upside arms with volume...

  • I like the idea of having a manager that is bi-lingual, but we had a manager last year that spoke pretty good english as well, and most of the players understood him when he talked, so we shall see.

    I guess it means more about what you are actually "saying", right? :)

    Everyone seems to forget Fujikawa. I've never seen a pitcher so quickly forgotten.

    The 9th inning is such a tough spot to fill. Do you go with guys like Strop or Bard (yes, I know he is gone), or do you go with guys that can pitch to contact and throw strikes?

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    Per MLB.com, the Cubs asked the Braves for Heyward or Upton in any potential Samardzija trade.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Major difference betw Justin, B. J. You don't state which.

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    In reply to michaelc:

    Justin.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Doesnt seem to crazy. Upton has 2 years left at 16 million. Shark has 2 years at a lower cost. They both flash dominance but havent put it together. The value is almost equal.

  • In reply to Ray:

    That just shows how poor the Braves farm system is.

  • It looks like a decent, improved bullpen that could make the difference between 71-ish and 74-ish wins. Which doesn't matter much in the big rebuild picture. Bullpens fluctuate a whole bunch in both personnel and quality from year to year. We start to get serious about the winning thing in '16. A few too many homerishly spun articles on this board.

  • mlbtr is reporting that Choo turned down 7yrs & $140M from the Yankees.... WTF?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I saw that. That is crazy.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Because he wants a little over 150, like Ellsbury, and likely will get it in this extremely flush market.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    I'm not so sure about that. The offer from the Yanks for $140 Million was before they signed Carlos Beltran. They are no longer in the running for Choo. That takes away leverage from Boras.

    We will see what happens. Seattle could always bid against themselves again, but their is a chance that Choo ends up kicking himself for not taking the Yankees offer when he had the chance. In any case, he is going to be a very rich man, so he won't be kicking himself too hard, even if he does have to settle for a bit less.

  • Fwiw, I got a question answered on the professor parks chat yesterday about soler and alcantara. He seemed to agree with my opinion that AA may be a better bet to hit his ceiling even though soler's is much higher, calling AA a possible jose reyes-lite and soler a possible AAAA player but the potential for 30+ mlb hrs

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    and then their are other scout that say that AA will be nothing more than a utility player because he has too much swing and miss in his game, and think that Soler will be a superstar and the best of our big 4.

    It's all just opinion, assumption, and projection. Both AA and Soler are talented players. Solers physical tools are better, but they will both get out exactly what they put in. If they work hard to be the best players they can I see them both succeeding

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I certainly hope both do, and I wouldn't be surprised with either outcome for either player based on the unpredictable nature of prospects, its just fun to hear one expert's specific opinion on a comparison.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Definitely, I'm always searching for tidbits about the Cubs prospects.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I saw that, that was you? Nice!

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Haha yes it was, always fun to get on the Parks chats

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    By the way, very cool the way you asked the question.

    Two snips from the chat that I thought were interesting on Beaz & Almora...

    Albert Almora (Chicago): Which of my tools is my best asset? Thanks!

    Jason Parks: Hit tool. But I think you are a sum player; a combination of average (to solid-avg) tools that should play up because of your overall feel and instincts for the game. You have playable skills. You will play in the majors. Are you a star or more of a solid-avg regular type? That's a big debate among my scouting sources. It ranges from role 5 to role high 6 (if you think the power shows up).

    -----------------------

    Cal Guy (Cal): Prospect Smackdown: A. Bradley vs T. Walker... who wins? C. Correa vs. any and all SS prospects... who is last SS standing?

    Jason Parks: Bradley will win long-term; Walker wins now. Lindor is the safest bet, with Russell close behind, but Baez has one of the highest ceilings in the minors, and if he reaches it, he's the best shortstop in the game and a perennial all-star. Higher risk, of course, but higher upside.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Ha. I read that too. It easier to get parks to answer questions than some other chats. BTW, great question. Imnot really surprised by his answer. He was just saying that alacantras ceiling is higher than Solers floor, which isn't that much of a shocker. I don't think he predicts that to happen. I do love that ceiling for arismendy.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Classic. I always like it when people use a players name and ask a question about said player. Was really surprised when he said Almora's best tool was his bat. I though for sure he would have said defense. I keep hearing that he is an elite CF and is expected to be a GG candidate. If his hit tool is better than that - I can't imagine his upside...

  • Rockies are acquiring all the guys you wanted John. First Brett Anderson and now Drew Stubbs

  • Nothing we don't already know, but Bernie Pleskoff scouted Almora in the AFL.

    http://wapc.mlb.com/chc/play/?content_id=31270693&topic_id=8878538&c_id=chc

  • Long time reader, first time poster.

    John I love the site, you do great work.

    As a poster up above mentioned i wonder if Rondon is going to get the Smardzija treatment and is stretched out for the rotation. He was pretty durable starter for four years in the minors before his arm fell off and now after a season of building up arm strength he could be a good candidate.
    From a value standpoint it makes sense in a lost year also as even s 3/4 starter is much more valuable than a reliever.

  • In reply to UIowaCory:

    I think that will come down to his Change-up. He thrived in the minors on a plus FB and hard slider. His secondary is more of a slurve now and the FB is still plus... but his CU is meh. Bosio may be able to work a little magic with him though. If it happens, it won't be until next winter though.

  • In reply to UIowaCory:

    I think if they can get a good reliever out of Rondon, it's already a win for the Cubs. He hasn't even shown that he can be a good reliever yet, so I think talk of switching him back to starting is a bit premature. His numbers last year were nothing to write home about. A solid late inning reliever is a valuable commodity as well, in my opinion.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    He did finish very strong. His velocity was up in the high 90's and he had nine straight scoreless outings to close out 2013. Not a very large sample, I know. But something positive that hopefully will be an indication of things to come.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Oh I agree, I have high hopes for Rondon based on exactly that, but as you said it's a tiny sample size.

    If he does it this year, we have something.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I agree that he hasnt proven himself yet and agree that its a big jump but it appears that was the trajectory his career was on prior to injury.
    My guess was based solely on reports I read about him when we first drafted him last year and of course his strong finish to the season.
    The argument for it is more based on value and establishing a template for Vizcaino rather than the fact that he has "earnrd it".

  • I heard some discussion the other day on MLB network. A fellow whose name I did not get but who had played in Japan said Tanaka was a 2 or 3. Anyone else see that? Thoughts?

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I've heard he was a solid 2 who could become an ace

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Thanks for comment. Hearing 3 rattled me a bit after so much TOR talk.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    The Red Sox have said that they believe he is a #3 as well, and that they won't be in on the bidding if he's posted.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Keep in mind TOR means #1 or #2, not necessarily ACE. Opinions vary, but there have been a few that say #3 and a few #1... most are in the #2 park...

    Even though they are not the same types of pitchers, Darvish is widely considered to be a bit better.

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    Angel Guzman back with Cubs as minor league pitching coach.

  • My sleeper for the bullpen is Marcus Hatley, who probably goes to Iowa, but I can see him having a Blake Parker type impact as a late bloomer.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The sleeper IN the bullpen used to be Kyle Farnsworth. lol

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    Interesting trade where the Cubs could land Mike Trout. It won't happen but it is the kinda deal that could benefit both the Angels and the Cubs.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22425#.UrISF78Xybs.twitter

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I don't think Theo would do that trade. It is essentially a 4 for 1. Trout is very good but Theo is not giving up 4 core pieces for 1. Just my 2 cents.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Samardzija, Baez, Soler, Vogelbach, and another prospect, for 4 years of Trout?

    No thanks.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    do it in a heart beat

    trout is the best player in the game

    Soler and Vogelbach may never have more than a cup of coffee
    (why couldnt they become Vitters and Brett jackson)
    are you kidding me - you do that trade in an instant.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    You are getting 4 years of Trout. The Cubs are not going to be good for another 2 probably. Baez is an elite prospect. Samardzija will get us a few more top prospects.

    In your scenario you mortgage the future of the team and just when we are ready to win Trout is a free agent anyway.

    So are you telling me you are willing to give up Shark, Baez, Soler, Vogelbach and another prospect for the right to negotiate with Trout before everyone else? He will test free agency unless you give him $300 Million plus, and if that's the case why not keep the prospects and just give him that contract when he becomes a free agent.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Per Jason Parks today...

    Prospect Smackdown: C. Correa vs. any and all SS prospects... who is last SS standing?

    Jason Parks: Lindor is the safest bet, with Russell close behind, but Baez has one of the highest ceilings in the minors, and if he reaches it, he's the best shortstop in the game and a perennial all-star.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Yes, I'd have to agree with him on all counts, but the big question is if he reaches that ceiling. He still has a lot of work to get there.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    It's Mike Trout. I'd have to agree on this one. We're talking about 4 years of a 10 WAR player in a league where a 4 WAR player can be an all star. Hard to pass that up. I think Trout is probably about as unobtainable as any player in baseball.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Why not keep the prospects and go for him in free agency in 4 years. Do you really feel like us trading for him will make it any more likely that he resigns with the Cubs.

    If we trade away our best pitcher in Shark, and our best and closest prospect in Baez (along with Soler, Vogs, and say Alcantara) what makes you think that Trout will push the Cubs into contention?

    The Angels have Pujols, Hamilton, etc, with Trout a lot better team than the Cubs currently have and after we trade away Shark the Cubs definitely won't be contenders.

    I say if we want Trout, offer him 300+ Million in Free Agency in 4 years.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Unless you are down for completely blowing up the rebuild plan right now... start trading prsopects for overpaid vets, etc etc. otherwise the Cubs will be a crappy team with Mike Trout and what is the purpose of that.

    So we can be in the exact same place we started from in 4 years when Trout leaves cuz' the Cubs suck and he wants to play for a contender?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    You make exceptions for guys like Trout. He is a huge difference maker. In 2 years you can have a lineup of Alcantara (2B), Almora (CF), Trout (LF), Bryant (RF), Rizzo (1B), Castro (SS), Castillo (C) and then Villanueva, Candelario or Olt or whomever you can sign to play 3B. That is a pretty good lineup and those prospects in that lineup right now are the higher floor guys who have a higher probability of making it.

    Not that it matters because the Angels aren't trading Trout.

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