What to expect from the Cubs in the 2013 Winter Meetings

With all the trades and major signings and trades so far, in some ways it feels like the winter meetings have already begun.  That isn't necessarily true of the Cubs, who have picked up potential role players in backup catcher George Kottaras and LH reliever Wesley Wright as well as players who will provide depth and compete for jobs such as OF Casper Wells and IF Chris Valaika.

But be patient.

Cubs fans are itching for the Cubs to make the big move but don't expect the Cubs to suddenly turn into the Dodgers or Yankees this winter.  Expect them to stay the course and follow their trusted process.

That isn't mutually exclusive from a significant move or three, however.  Just don't equate "signficant" with a big money, win-now, don't worry about the future type of move.  That is the one thing we can be sure won't happen.  So forget about Robinson Cano or Shin-Soo Choo.  Forget about David Price.  Those are the kinds of moves reserved for teams with shorter term goals and who are willing to sacrifice some long term value.  The Cubs are not there.  Not yet.

A while back, I talked about what to expect at the GM meetings and the basic conclusion there was to expect the Cubs to lay a lot of groundwork for future deals.  The groundwork has been laid and that future, in terms of this particular offseason, is now arriving.   The offseason has been active so far and I expect the Cubs to join the fray soon.

With all that said, here is what to expect...

1. Some sort of resolution with Jeff Samardzija

The Cubs haven't given up on re-signing their de facto ace, and there seems to have been some progress made, but if they feel they will not be able to extend him at some sort of long term value to the organization, then we can expect the Cubs to focus on obtaining long term value through trade.

It is a seller's market for starting pitching this year as there are many teams are looking to improve their rotations.  Agents know this so free agents are capitalizing by asking for large dollar amounts.  Those high prices, in turn, will focus attention on the trade market where David Price and Jeff Samardzija are the potential headliners.

The potential trade market for Samardzija includes the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Diamondbacks though there may be as many as 10 teams in total lurking in the weeds and looking for an opportunity to obtain the 29 year old power pitcher.

What the Cubs can expect to gain surplus value through cost control.  That is, we can expect the Cubs to get some short term MLB ready help -- but that by definition will be a downgrade.  Why?   Because why would a team return equal MLB talent with greater cost control?  On the other hand, the Cubs will also pick up higher ceiling/higher risk players for the long run.  It's difficult to say what the Cubs can obtain here.  The expectations are low level prospects who are still 2-3 years away, but markets aren't always rational.  We saw this first hand at the unexpected return the Cubs got for Matt Garza.

Can the Cubs depend on market irrationality?  Of course not, but it would be hasty to act before they rule out the possibility.

Realistically though, we should expect  a deal more like we outlined above.

2. Entering the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes...if there are sweepstakes

With the changes in the posting system, you can pretty much be assured the Cubs will be in on Tanaka.  The posting fee is $20M, less than the Cubs were willing to pay for a lesser pitcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu, last season.  That said, there will be competition as we can expect multiple teams to match that bid.

Tanaka is the rare "free agent" who has yet to enter his peak performance years.  He's just 25 so he fits squarely into the team's rebuilding timeline while also potentially filling the dire organization need of a top of the rotation type starter.  I first wrote about the Tanaka possibility in early September and you can get scouting information at this link.

Cynics may point to the Cubs supposed lack of funds while potential rivals like the Yankees and Dodgers are awash in TV revenue money.  I think it's vastly overstated on both counts.

The Yankees may be looking to spend money elsewhere (Ellsbury, Cano, the FA SP market) while the Dodgers have already been trying to shed big salaries while they look to free up money to extend Clayton Kershaw.  Some also expect them to make a run at David Price.

There is still plenty of competition when you talk about a pitcher with Tanaka's combination of talent, skill, youth, and the fact that the cost is "only money",  but the Cubs chances may be better than you think.

The bigger hang-up may be whether Tanaka is posted at all, as his NPB team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, are disappointed in the new posting system and may not let their ace go for a mere $20M.  In the end, I expect they will post him, but that is still anything but certain.

But if he's there, expect the Cubs to make every effort within reason to sign him.

3. Exploring opportunities for players who may be undervalued but project as potential breakthrough candidates

In other words, expect the Cubs to pursue more Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop type acquisitions as players who can contribute in the short term while still still factoring in as part of the long term puzzle.   They are also not going to sacrifice players who fit the long term plan in order to pursue these type of players, so that rules out guys like David Price.  A couple of younger players I would like the Cubs to take a long look at:

  • Brett Anderson:  He'd be relatively expensive compared to the other players on this list and may cost the Cubs a prospect or two, but his larger salary ($8M) might lessen the quality of those prospects. Anderson is a potential long term rotation member if healthy and amenable to a long term extension.  He's at prime age and was once considered a potential TOR pitcher.  His talent hasn't gone away but he is coming off a terrible season and has been squeezed out by a deep A's rotation.  If the Cubs can obtain him for a player at a position in which they have significant organizational depth and some salary relief, they should consider adding Anderson, as young LH SP is a scarce commodity in the Cubs organization as a whole.
  • Ryan Kalish:  A low cost flyer because he has been extremely unproductive as an MLB player yet but he really hasn't gotten a fair shake due to injuries and lack of opportunity.  He's an athletic player who can play off 3 OF positions but fits best in the corners defensively -- yet doesn't yet have the usable game power to profile their offensively.  In baseball lingo, that is known as a 'tweener, but the Cubs have shown some success in tapping into a player's raw power potential and he has a naturally good approach, so he may be worth a look.  Kalish must learn to tone down his aggressive, all-out style of play a notch, as it has resulted in more than his share of injuries.
  • Dustin Ackley:, 2B-OF  I don't know if he's available, but he has the kind of approach the Cubs like but has struggled in Seattle.  Perhaps he could provide a potential breakthrough at low cost.  The Mariners are looking for short term help on offense, so it's a tough match-up for the Cubs but it's one they should at least explore.  He is the type of player the Cubs should be pursuing.
  • Reymond Fuentes:  A toolsy CF who made great strides for the Padres, yet MLB.com has him rated as their 17th rated prospect.  He is developing a better approach and a bit of pop to go with this speed and defense.   The Cubs appeared to show interest in him in the past and as a Padres prospect and former 1st round pick by the current front office,  it isn't hard to see why.  He could help as soon as mid-season.

4. Continue pursuing role players that add value at the margins.

These means more moves like Kottaras and Wright.  The Cubs aren't going to try and add wins in one fell swoop with an expensive 5+ win player whose best years will almost certainly be during the next 2 years, a time when the Cubs will still be focused on the rebuilding process.  But you might see them add several players who may add around a win, the way players like Ryan Sweeney, Donnie Murphy, Bryan Bogusevic, Dioner Navarro, and Nate Shierholtz did last year.  Those 5 players added 6 wins while costing the Cubs roughly $6M.  That is huge value in today's market.

Here are some possible value signings/role players that, collectively, could add a few more wins

  • Andrew Bailey, RP: Injured but he'd be a buy low experienced reliever who may  look or an opportunity to rebuild value.
  • John Axford, RP: He's erratic but has some experience in high leverage situations. Could be a fallback type if Cubs young closers struggle.
  • Franklin Gutierrez, OF: Not the same player he was a few years ago but he can defend all 3 OF positions well and hit LHP with a little pop.
  • Nate McLouth, OF:  A bit redundant to what the Cubs already have but acquiring him could afford the Cubs some flexibility to deal Schierholtz if the opportunity arises.  While the Cubs aren't actively shopping him, Schierholtz is a player that has drawn some interest.
  • Roberto Hernandez, SP: An undervalued starter who could be this year's version of Scott Feldman -- a buy low candidate who could thrive with a change of scenery and perhaps a tweak or two to help him keep the ball in the park.
  • Grady Sizemore, OF: An alternative to Gutierrez, Sizemore is a bigger upside play but has even bigger health issues.
  • Juan Uribe, 3B: An unlikely signing but fits the mold of the kind of veteran role player the Cubs would like to add.
  • Suk-Min Yoon, SP-RP: The Cubs have delved into Pacific Rim market often and Yoon may provide some value as a 27 year old with some productive years left -- if he's healthy. Shoulder issues and durabilty are concerns.  Scout I spoke to sees him as more of a 7th inning guy.
  • Ryan Webb, RP: Webb was with the Padres organization at the same time Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were there (though he was acquired by Kevin Towers)  and had perhaps his best season in 2010.  Hoyer then traded him with Edward Mujica for Cameron Maybin.  Hoyer missed out on getting Mujica back, but  Webb is 6'6" and his mid 90s fastball is still available. I asked a scout who told me he pitches with good plane, struggles with command but may be a late bloomer type.  For now, I think he has the GB numbers and low HR rates that play well at Wrigley.  Worth throwing into the mix, in my opinion.  UPDATE: Webb has signed with the Orioles for 2 years and $4.5M.

What the Cubs are looking to do here is threefold.  The first, as mentioned already, is to add a few wins at the margins.  The second is to provide the team with some veteran leadership.  The third is simply to add depth and flexibility, especially as it pertains to the bullpen.  What the Cubs have are a lot of good arms but no sure things. Simply increasing the pool from which to choose their bullpen while simultaneously increasing depth is in itself a huge asset.  Relief pitcher performance tends to be volatile and difficult to predict.  The more options you have internally, the better your odds of finding the right group.  As such, I expect the Cubs to look for value on the RP market, perhaps a non-tendered pitcher and/or a pitcher coming off an injury or off season.  Recent acquistion Wesley Wright fits that profile, as do some of the relief pitchers in the list above.

Expect a continuation of  the process and a focus on the big picture

As I've said in the past, when the Cubs say every season and every opportunity to win is precious, I believe them.  So I don't expect them to try and tank another season from the get-go.  I expect them to try and add a few pieces in a way that won't hurt them in the long run.  Last year the Cubs were 7 games under in late July despite off seasons by their core players and their bullpen.   A resurgence in those two areas alone will help and if the Cubs can add a key piece, plus maybe a flyer or two that works out, and then another few wins at the margins, then the improbable suddenly becomes possible.

Realistically, however, that kind of scenario is a long shot.  It would take a lot of things to break the Cubs way but I expect the front office to try and create some of that luck creatively and efficiently.  If you are looking for short term success, that is the way it's going to have to happen.  Don't expect the Cubs to go all in at the meetings to try and piece together a contender with expensive short term parts.  That is a bygone era in Cubs baseball and while the Cubs won't neglect the short term, their eyes are still focused on the big picture.

Patience is the key.  Or as Theo put it,

"It takes courage to have patience."

As a front office, you have to develop a process that you trust and stick to it. You don’t waver from it because of fan or media pressure.  You can always tweak it. You have to learn from mistakes to survive and, eventually, improve. The Cubs admitted they have made a few mistakes.  No front office is perfect.

But here is the bottom line: You cannot control results. There are too many variables that are out of your control. You can only control process.  So as a front office, you develop a process that you trust will increase your odds of finding that success.  The process should always be consistent, but not to the point of linear thinking or at the expense of creativity.

Is all of this going to work?  We have no way of really knowing, but what we are looking at is a long term, big picture process and we have to at least give it a chance to work before giving up and going in an entirely different direction.



Leave a comment
  • Dustin Ackley-perfect fit for what they're trying to do.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    One of my favorites for a flyer. I had to throw him in :)

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    What do you think the Cubs would have to give up in order to get Ackley? I agree - he's got great potential, if they can figure out where to play him.

    2B is a possibility - but with one of Castro/Baez/Alcantara slotting into that spot in the future, and with Barney (if retained) or Watkins also kind of there,... where do the play him?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Apparently, the Mariners are signing Cano for 240m/10 yrs., so maybe they will make Nick Franklin available. He could be a good fit for us.

  • In reply to krn99:

    Could be a piece in a Price deal if it comes to that.

  • In Theo we trust. I believe that he will make the right moves for
    the team and not the fans and media. 1 great trade, 2 usefull
    non-tendered pickups and 1 great draft and were are closer
    to the promise land.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    In Theo we trust, all others pay cash.

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    If the Mariners want Price, why trade Walker. Why not trade Hultzen in package to Cubs for Shark? Based on Dave Cameron's analysis, this doesn't make sense.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    It does. I think the cubs would do it.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    No, I don't mean the trade of Shark. I mean giving up Walker for Price.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I had a theory on this. It's a way to guarantee -- or come close to it -- that they get David Price and making a move like that would help convince Robinson Cano they're serious about winning. And Cano appears to be the whole ball of wax for them -- much like Tanaka is for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think being willing to spend 200MM plus on a win now player is enough of a sign by itself. This will come down to money and money only unless the gulf of a gap closes. As it stands, Yankees offer 175MM, and the Mariners offer 200+MM. I think I know who the most likely to sign him is, regardless of their intent to contend.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think the Mariners want Cano and Tanaka. If they get those two, trading Walker for price would make a bold offseason.

    Then send Ackley to the Cubs for Jeff Russell.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I think it would stupid to trade Walker for price.

  • In reply to KGallo:


  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed squared!

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Well, on second thought? Hmm...damn he's coming off a rotator cuff injury and will miss entire 2014 season. So, ummm....nope.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I like Edwin Diaz also from the Mariners

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Lets hope that GM's realize that Price will cost them too many
    top prospects and lots of money to sign him.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Agreed. I don't think it makes any sense either.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah. What are they doing with respect to that thinking? So as an addendum to my proposal of Shark. EJax to Seattle for prospects, but apparently not Hultzen. Yikes.

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    Very well written article. I have been looking for inside Cubs Organization News for years and have finally found my site.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    Thanks Ironman!

  • From what Theo said today, it seems Cubs prospects are not going anywhere......and Cubs fans will have to endure the same pain in 2014 as we saw in 2013.......the meetings will produce more of little deals........no rush to trade Shark, unless Theo gets blown away.....Prie & Tanaka need to establish the market ......I believe any Shark trade will happen next July....a time when playoff GM's really hit the Panic Button.

    Shark turn down 5 year, $55 million contract from the Cubs.......if that is true, I would also turn that down......just look what Edwin Jackson's of this league are making........Shark is praying to get traded.....Shark's future financial bargaining days will be much better if he goes to Arizona, Toronto or Washington.........I would not be surprise if the Royals come knocking on Theo's hotel room door with Prospects to offer........

    if any Cubs fan think the Cubs will make big free agent signings.....they need to get in line at Fantasyland at Disney World.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Shark is not worth the money

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I wouldn't expect a big FA signing either unless it's Tanaka.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. He's about the only one left on the market who would make sense for the Cubs.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Cant compare Shark to EJax. Shark is due $14-$15mm over next 2 years & $14mm/year after that is a fair deal for that situation. I do see why he would turn it down. He's guaranteed to have made $22mm by opening day so he's not taking a big risk by playing it out until FA.

    Im happy they are not making these free agent signings like Ellsbury Cano... This FO is NOT pushing the "Panic Button" & will make things better in the long term despite the "painful" 2014.

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    If Anderson costs us Vogelbach, it's a no. That guy is going to rake. Trading him now is selling way low.
    I'd be willing to give up some prospects, but not Vogelbach.
    Anderson is too high risk to give up that level of talent.

    I'd actually prefer Anderson to any other starter not named Tanaka.
    But at a lesser cost than Vogelbach.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    Way he is blocked and doesn't really have a place at the major league level.

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    In reply to Eric Foster:

    I do Vogelbach for Anderson in a heartbeat.

    Vogelbomb is a DH-only player to me, and I like him as much as the next guy. I don't see him supplanting Anthony Rizzo, who in a "down-year" still supplied 25hr/80rbi with GG-caliber defense at age 24 and signed for 6 more seasons.

    That being said there would be risk either way. You could capitalize on Vogelbombs potential and pick up a TOR-level but injru prone arm or you can hold on to him and risk him getting exposed at higher levels, now you get a marginal return. Trading him for Anderson is almost selling high because he's at such a low level(A-ball).

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    It's an interesting call. IF I think Anderson is healthy and will stay that way, I'd do it. If he ends up getting hurt, you can say we couldn't have used Vogelbach anyway -- but you lose the chance to use him as an asset for something more useful.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I also agree 100% as well John. If the Cubs do trade Volglebach i'd rather wait and get something a little more substantial than Brett Anderson.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's going to come down to the medicals on Anderson, ala the Dan Haren trade that didn't happen. But still, if/when VogelBOMB rakes at AA/AAA, then his value will be maxed and could headline a TOR arm type of prospect himself. But to get a LH TOR SP for him now?... You have to do that deal if the medicals are cleared.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If I trade Vogerlbomb, it would only be for someone whos all-star caliber and in his prime. Price might be the only current name Id tade VBomb for and I doubt the Rays would take Vogelbomb as a centerpiece. Theyd likely want Baez or Soler also, to which Id hang up the phone.

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    In reply to Eric Foster:

    Agreed 100%.

    If he keeps mashing at A+ and AA, he's worth way more than Anderson.

    I like Anderson, but not for a top 10 prospect.

  • I suspect that Vogelbach will only increase his value this upcoming spring/summer, so I would be happy to see him stay in the organization for the time being.

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    The NL needs to adopt the DH. Vogelbomb is an absolute masher, saw him down here in Arizona 2 years ago. VBomb is a 25-30 HR type in the right lineup, looks like a player who will likely walk as much as he Ks. Just doesnt have enough athleticism to be a top-notch defender.

  • Our top prospects need until July 2014 to see who is worth keeping

  • I'm a believer in this but if you're not chasing an impact bat then you may as well trade Shark and Schierholtz now because 2014 isn't happening. Bullpen help is only going to go so far.

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    So, uh, Renteria was officially announced today as Cubs manager, right: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-chicago-cubs-rick-renteria-20131205,0,7465331.story

  • Off topic too but I'd love to read a Q&A on Cubs Den with Brandon Hyde. Don't know much about the guy. How does he see his role? I believe he was replaced 2 years ago in player development? What's he been doing since? Just a thought...

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll see what I can do.

  • I'll keep pounding on this one 'til I'm blue in the face: Shark and Barney to KC for Hochevar, Zimmer and a second prospect (low top-10 quality). Makes so much sense for both teams. Royals can trade Butler, sign Beltran and call it an off-season. Cubs can install Hochevar as closer, add Zimmer to the Andrews/Johnson/Hendricks mix, and start planning towards 2015.

    Outside the big prospect guns of Walker, Giolito, Bradley et al., I like Zimmer just as much as any starting pitching prospect in the minors. If people are eager to build a Shark package around Skaggs for example, why not Zimmer instead?

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    KC is either dumb, or more desperate than I think - if they make a trade where Barney is considered 'value' in return.

    And I don't think KCs management is dumb.

  • Been reading Cubs Den articles for quite sometime. Finally decided to get a login name to debate. By the way, great article.

  • I'm really surprised the cubs haven't signed any mid level guys or buy low guys. I expected one these guys to sign with the Cubs: Johnson, Kazimir, D. Murphy, chris young, Mujica, hughes, Haren, Punto, Joe smith and Parra.

    They are a lot more quieter than last season. Is Theo just gonna sit on that extra 25 million from mlb?

    Unless Tanaka is signed the payroll is going to be very low in todays dollars. 75 million?

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    And what's the problem with that? There aren't many pieces out there that make sense both for the short term or the long term.

    When the team will be ready to spend, they will. No point of spending if you won't be winning.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Ya i just listed the guys they should of been on... some short term and some long term

  • I can't get on the Brett Anderson wagon. He last threw over 100 innings in 2010, four seasons ago. And that was still only 112 innings. He threw over 125 innings once in his entire professional career, including the minors, and has not been durable since that season. I like all of the other suggestions, especially Ackley. He would be a nice lefty bat who can play 2B or CF, two holes in the current roster. But I don't get where the TOR projection for Anderson is legitimate. To have TOR stuff includes stamina to a degree in my opinion, and he has not even shown traces. One season over 125 innings?

  • Vogelbach's value is limited by his positional limitations. Trading him for Anderson, at this juncture, makes tons of sense.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    If he continues to hit this well at HiA or AA his value would skyrocket in deals to an AL team.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Doesn't make much sense at all to me.

    Why give up prospects for a guy you can control for only 2 years (when they probably won't compete in either)?

    Unless the Cubs feel super confident they can repair his value and then trade him/extend him (for cheap), I'd prefer they either hold onto their prospects or use them to get someone else.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    It makes no sense to me. We might as well sign Prior while we are at it!

    I'd like to get Anderson, but I wouldn't get suckered by Beane. Seriously, why would he sign Kazmir if Anderson is healthy, younger, and less expensive for the same amount of years of control?

  • Great comparison.

  • Vogelbach for Anderson is probably a fair trade of 2 high risk / reward players, however, I think the Cubs probably could sign Scott Baker to a similar contract and receive a similar pitcher without sacrificing Vogelbach.

  • In reply to Greg Menke:

    Good point.

  • If all they can get for Vogelbach is an Anderson, we are far better off keeping him. I see no reason to sell low at this point.

  • Brett Anderson seems to be a salary dump move for the A's and a reclamation project for the Cubs. Therefore, if I were the Cubs FO, I would not be willing to trade any prospect for him that I have paid a high signing bonus for. So, for example, back in 2011 John reported that Vogelbach received an overslot bonus of $1.6 million. Anderson costs $8 million in 2014 with a $12 million team option for 2015 or a $1.5 million buyout. So, to kick the tires on Anderson, and if the player cost is Vogelbach, the dollar cost is $11.1 million for one season if it does not work out, or $21.6 million for two years if it does. I'm all for adding another quality left-hander, but I would feel better about Anderson if it was Rock Shoulders heading to Oakland instead.

  • In reply to Cleme:

    Didnt realize the cost. Unless cash is coming back then they wont get vogelbach.

    Vogelbach maybe a fringe 1st baseman but almost everyone believes his bat is legit.

    2 years of anderson is not worth 6 years of vogelbach.

  • Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine

    Let me be clear ,Theo never mentioned any contract figure . Another source has indicted the Cub offer is higher than 5 yrs $55. Mil.

  • The skipper will wear #16! I think my pal,"Still Miss Kenny", might join me in believing that could be a good omen.

  • It's just too soon to trade Vogelbach for that kind of risk, IMO. If he continues to progress (and he's not shown a stumbling block yet), he is going to be high value trade bait in a year or two, just when we are ready to make a big move or three. Someone in the AL is going to have MLB ready pitching depth to offer and Vbomb could be an answer to someone who has a RH first baseman that he could spell and be the DH otherwise. I would rather see if he turns into that kind value to other teams.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    I agree with this. I like the kid a lot though figure he won't be a Cub but, in a couple more years, he surely could be a great trading chip to send to the AL...unless the NL does a DH!!!!!!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    And that's another thing to think about it. We would all be bemoaning a trade of Vbomb only to need him to DH.

  • I wouldn't mind holding onto Vogelbach for 1 more season. 2 reasons. I think he's going to have a monster power season. After spending last season working on going the other way, I think the Cubs are going to focus on turning on inner half pitches and he's going to put up some sick numbers. And as for Rizzo, I like him, but I can't shake the feeling he's more Adam Laroche than middle of the order beast. Nothing wrong with that, but I think Vogelbach could be that middle of the order stud.

  • There is no doubt that Vogalbach seems to be a much better hitter than Rizzo. Also, as he moves forward, he will have much more power than Rizzo. Only place Rizzo "beats" Vogalbach is defense and for that, Vogabach hsa time on his side. The Q is, would you take a guy who is average fielding 1B but hits 35 homers a year or a guy who is gold glove fielder but hits around 25 homers a year? The choice, IMHO, is easy.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Pitching and defense wins championships. I take Rizzo and his GG defense. I really like Vogelbach too so I would not plan on trading him. I think the NL goes DH in 2/3 years and Dan will be a perfect fit. But now definitely is not the time to even think about trading Dan. Let him develop for 2/3 more years and enjoy him. He is fun to watch.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    I love Vogelbach and I've followed him for a while now. He's one of the guys in the system I pull for the most, but the reality is he hasn't proved anything even remotely close to what Rizzo proved in the minors. I know there is still time, but Rizzo hit 49 HR and hit in the .330s with a .400 + obp in 163 AAA games. Those numbers might be slightly inflated because of the league - but he dominated. I watched him at Iowa multiple times and it was just a joke for him. He was also unanimous top 50 guy. Vogelbach might have that kind of hitting potential, but he hasn't shown anything like that yet.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Vogelbach is also only 20 years old

  • I wouldn't be in a hurry to trade Vogelbach because I think he going to have much more value later. I think he'll be a solid ML hitter.
    Castro will be our SS for a long time to come if he regains his stroke. I would not trade him unless we get the best of any deal. Never trade a player on his off year.

  • Is there a deadline by which Tanaka must be posted or can this thing drag out into January, February?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Maybe John, et al, have a source but I can't find any mention of a deadline. The Golden Eagles President is going to the winter meetings, I'm sure his timeline will be a hot topic. Here's the best article I can find.http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1877328-will-new-posting-system-keep-masahiro-tanaka-other-huge-stars-in-japan

  • In reply to Oneear:


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    I agree the Cubs' chances to get Ranaka are better than we all suppose - in terms of money. This is Theo's "when the time is right, the money will be there" moment. What I can't see however is how the Cubs will compete with the idea of wearing Yankee pinstripes, going deep into the playoffs with Yu and the Rangers, or the short hop across the ocean from LA to Japan. Wrigley field's ivy only goes so far as a selling point.

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    In reply to SKMD:


  • Drkaz, re Ackley, SEA ID in clear win now mode. That being said, Ackley won't come for free & they'll probably be more focused on a return that helps them immediately. I think they could be stealth players for Shark. I've heard of Price interest on their part but guessing TB wants T Walker as centerpiece of any deal. Maybe Ackley + pitching for Shark. However , Paxton's star has faded & Walker won't be on table. Might be a tough fit , in terms of matching up needs.

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    pretty good article breaking down trade value of Price vs keeping the prospects, applicable to Shark as well. however it only compares value, based on $/WAR, it doesn't (can't) monetize the value of winning a championship now vs hoping to win one in 3 years with your prospects. Still a good read, especially the comments.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It is a good piece and gives some perspective. I think Cameron has really improved as a writer. I know it's weird to say because he's always been very good, but to me he seems like less of a linear thinker than he was in the past.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't buy his conclusion. Too many stated assumptions, all resting on the underlying assumption that the trade market will act rationally. As you correctly noted, and as he himself mentions and then dismisses in reference to the James Shields trade, it usually isn't.

  • 10 years $240 mil for Cano.....holy crap, teams never learn

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Was thinking the same thing. Why do they think this will turn out better than any of these other 10 years, 200+M deals?

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    Options-we have tons of them. One option would be to trade Rizzo to the Pirates for Taillon-a reverse of the Cashner trade. Or a bigger package to include Marte or one of their prospect outfielders.

    Vogelbach and Bryant give us some depth at first if we were to deal Rizzo. For what it's worth-I like Rizzo and don't want to dump him but it's starting to look like we have some surplus.

    I personally like the idea of moving Castro to 2b. Az Phil has often mentioned that he looks far more natural there.

    Given the market, Ejax could probably be moved. Especially if we eat some money in return for "buying" prospects.

    As for Shark, it would appear to me that AZ is the team that most covets him. As much as Kirk Gibson ripped him last year-that's exactly his type of player. I'd guess that Skaggs and Pollack would be the package. Not sure I'd do it but it's certainly an option.

    I also think that Valbuena fits for about 10 teams. I know they want a lefty bat to backup 3b but I'd think he could be moved for another bullpen arm.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Actually Olt (not Vogelbach) and Bryant would give us the depth at 1B to trade Rizzo. But that's never going to happen.

    1). Rizzo is clearly this FO's "Guy".
    2). Olt & Bryant both would waste their superior arm strength at 1B. Why put a cannon of an arm like that at 1B, when it's needed at RF & 3B?

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Not saying that's what they should do-I'm saying there are multiple options. If someone offered the best package for Rizzo and it makes us better down the road-I could see the FO taking it. I don't think anyone on the roster is untouchable. I'm not seeing where Bryant will stick at 3b.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    He may or may not stick at 3B. But RF is Bryant's preferred landing spot if he doesn't. I think he can play any of the 4-corners, but they will only move him off of 3B for organizational need, nit because he's inadequate (at least until he gets older).

    My point was, VogelBOMB (and I am a huge fan of his) will likely not develop enough defensively to satisfy this FO which places a premium on Defense. I love the kid, but if all the stars align just right for him, he's average at best defensively. So if one of your options is to trade Rizzo, they would look at Olt or Bryant to play 1B, not VogelBOMB. But like i said, trading Rizzo is not likely to ever happen. While no one is "untouchable", neither is anyone likely to pay the premium it would cost them to pry Rizzo away from this FO. He is out 1B for the foreseeable future so all of this is a moot point...

  • I'm glad to see more contributors are advocating waiting on a potential V trade. This next season could be a key season for him. He has a tremendous walk rate and is selective in terms of what he'll swing at. He's also been working to be an all around hitter. IMO he'll show much more power this year. I wouldn't be surprised if his defense improved but Rizzo is better defensively. Then the question may be is it better to keep V because of his hitting or Rizzo because of his defense.

  • In reply to pricewriter:


    This is what I have been thinking all along.

    Not totally sold on Rizzo yet (offensively). I will give him a couple of more years, and by then we can also see what we have with Vogelbach.

    I believe Vogelbach's hit tool is for real, and his value will be much higher in a couple of years, which could translate into better things for the Cubs down the road.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I think Rizzo will be our 1b, but 1b is the least demanding position and Vogelbach has an excellent work ethic. If he can play catch, pick up routine grouders and hit then he will be able to play for any team needing middle of the order power. John has noted that Vogelbach has really good baseball instincts.

  • Cano to Mariners 10 years 240m pending physical Monday

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    To put Cano's deal in perspective, it's almost identical to Votto's, both are about the same age, but Cano is a gg, Votto far from it with his 15 errors, and Cano plays a more valuable position. He can switch to 1B in 6 years or so or DH, which Votto can't do at present.

  • Mariners get 10 total years of control of a 2B for 240MM (24MM AAV) 4.1 fWAR/Yr Career. Ending after 2023.

    Yankees get 12 total years of control of a C and CF (both premium positions) for 238MM (19.8MM AAV) combined 6.7 fWAR/Yr Career. Ending after 2021.

    I know which position I'd rather be locked into.

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    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I'd rec that if I could.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Brian McCann turns 30 during the offseason. I wouldn't wager he remains a catcher much longer.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    True, but his bat still has value at 1B or DH. Might even play up a little bit if he is not being worn down by catching everyday.

  • Granderson to Mets

  • Feldman to the Astros...3 years, $30M. Good for him.

  • The apples are falling off the FA tree at record pace!!

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    The more FA's that other organizations sign, the less serious bidding competition for the Cubs with Tanaka.

  • Astros acting like they might want to start winning. Feldman be a good stable pony for the young arms coming up like Cosart Appel, Rodon when they take him

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    How sad would it be if they had a better record than the cubs in '14?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    not sad at all, that means if the Cubs don't surprise we can actually pick before them . I will admit I have no clue if there is a clear cut stud the following year in the amateur draft, even the Marlins should be better.

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