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Cubs Notes: Samardzija trade rumors resurface, Cubs stacked at 3B, Vitters, Veras, Beede

Cubs Notes: Samardzija trade rumors resurface, Cubs stacked at 3B, Vitters, Veras, Beede
Josh Vitters (BoysofSpring.com)

As we get closer to live game action and Jeff Samardzija's Thursday start, let's catch up with the latest spring news...

  • Gordon Wittenmeyer reports that two sources tell him that a Samardzija trade before Opening Day is a strong possibility while a 3rd says that no such discussions have taken place.  I'm very skeptical on a pre-Opening day Samardzija deal as the Cubs don't have a lot of incentive to trade him unless they get blown away with an offer.   For all the speculation about dealing Samardzija, we have yet to see a rumor with any sort of legs.  While negotiations seem to have become stagnant, it doesn't mean there's a sense of urgency at this point from the Cubs perspective, though that could change by the deadline.  Until then, an interested team is going to have to try and pry him loose with a strong offer for the Cubs to deal.
  • An article today in Baseball Prospectus listed both Christian Villanueva and Javier Baez among their best tools category.  Neither was named at the top of the infield category but Villaneuva was considered for best defensive infielder (and the only 3B) and Baez was considered for best infield arm.
  • Speaking of 3B, Mike Olt continues to impress and the usually reserved Wittenmeyer is joining the praise parade.  Olt is optimistic too,“As long as I’m healthy, I know that I can do what I was capable of.I know that I belong. I belong in the big leagues. I’ve just got to make sure I stay healthy and make sure I’m on everything and just let my abilities take over. I’ve still got a lot of time, and I’ve still got a lot to work on. But it’s definitely more fun for me right now to know that I’m on the right path.”
  • If you haven't checked up on Boys of Spring yet, you really should check in over the next couple of months.  Tim does excellent work every spring that includes great photography and video.  This article on Cubs prospects is a good example.  Tim makes a couple of first hand observations, "Watkins and Villanueva both look noticeably stronger this camp; Olt, with his well-documented eyesight situation, has no issues with the glove at first, he’s very slick with the leather; and for being 5’10″ tall, Alcantara seems built low to the ground, he’s quick and powerful in his fielding."  He also notes that Baez hit a batting practice bomb that left the park and shattered the window of a car in the parking lot, Vizcaino's popping fastball, and Almora's ability to hit the ball all over the field.  One thing that I noticed that wasn't mentioned was the great shape that Josh Vitters is in this spring.  One scout told me late last summer that he was disappointed in Vitters' conditioning after a long layoff due to injury.  The former #3 overall pick has said he has come to camp with renewed commitment, but sometime pictures speak louder than words.  Vitters is a long shot to make the team, but he looks ready to make any potential decision to send him down a difficult one.
  • A nice story from Carrie Muskat on new closer acquisition Jose Veras.  It appears the Cubs like him for more than just his ability to close game.  The affable Veras seems willing and able to mentor the Cubs young arms.  We should see a lot of hard-throwing prospects filter their way to the big leagues to get auditions for long term roles and Veras looks like the perfect kind of personality to help them transition.
  • InsideVandy.com has an interview with potential Cubs pick RHP Tyler Beede, who got off to a nice start with a 5 inning, one hit, 7 strikeout, no earned run performance on Friday.  Listening to the well-grounded, articulate Beede, you can see why the Cubs would be interested in drafting him.  Among snippets of interest, it's encouraging to hear Beede talk about his improved ability to locate his fastball.   Beede also specific mentions current Cubs minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson as one of his reasons for going to Vanderbilt.  Perhaps they'll be reunited next summer.  The Cubs have the 4th pick in a year with 3 great college pitchers, so it's possible Beede isn't available..  If not, players like SS Trea Turner, RHP Tyler Koler (H.S), c-3B-OF Alex Jackson (H.S). and 3B Jacob Gatewood (H.S) become possibilities.  If the draft were held today, I'd put my money on one of Beede or Turner as the next great Cubs prospect to follow.
  • And finally, check out the transformation of Dan Vogelbach's body over the past two years...(h/t Andrew Denney)

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  • I think the only way Samardzija gets moved before opening day is if a fringe contender loses a pitcher from the top half of its rotation and panics. If there was a suitor out there willing to meet the Cubs' price for F7 that trade would have happened already.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think I'd agree there. Someone like Seattle or Toronto or Baltimore gets desperate and offers big surplus. Absent of that, I just can't see it.

  • I just got done reading the BP article. McLeod was quoted as saying Villanueva was the best defensive 3B in the Cubs system. Never understood why there was even a debate on this a few months back with Olt vs Villanueva by some.

    Anyways, if his bat profiles at the MLB like he played at AA, that's our starting 3B come 2016....

    I was hoping to hear some additional positives (performance based) about Vitters (and B-Jax) too. But it's still really early...

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    I hope Kenny Williams sent Theo a thank you note last winter.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There are at least 5 very good players in this draft. Would be nice to be one pick higher but I think it's close enough between 2-5 that I'm not going to sweat it too much. Hoping for Beede or Turner and if they're both gone that means they get Hoffman. Hard to lose here.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely true. But I think we both agree getting a college starter would be a huge boost to the team.

    My fear is that Hoffman might be falling out of contention. Couple not great starts -- that's similar to how Stanek and Manaea started last year. At this point, I think Beede has passed Hoffman (two absolutely outstanding starts vs two so-so starts), so my guess is, if the draft were held today, we'd be choosing whichever of Turner or Hoffman fell to 4. And if Hoffman falls out of it, we'll be making the Twins pick last year of the best high school arm available -- Kolek.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Could be, but if you're going to count Hoffman falling off you should probably balance that with a player or two making a big rise, as seems to happen every year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You're obviously correct. And I'll also admit there's a lot we'll never know. For example, I think you could argue that if the Cubs and Rockies flipped spaces last year, the outcome of the draft would have been quite similar (i.e., Gray to the Rockies at #2 and Bryant to the Cubs at #3) and we'd all be wishing the front office had had the second pick to grab the starter. Or the Rockies would have taken Bryant and we'd all be talking about how lucky the Cubs were that they got the best starter in the draft, anyway.

    If you're looking for a riser this year, check out Aaron Nola. He hasn't been quite as dominant as Beede, but he's struck 15 guys in 13 innings and only walked 1.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    i seem to remember talking about that darn Nola kid last year , if He repeats his 2013 which He is looking like he will he is a top 10 pick too and Cubs could do a lot worse . Kid just knows how to pitch and ets people out without hurting himself. most likely arm in the draft to hit his ceiling

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    His velocity is the knock on him, which probably means he's not in this FOs calculus regardless of what he does. But if his numbers remain outstanding, perhaps the always-cheap Marlins make a go at him. Tough to know exactly what that organization is going to do.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Sean Newcombe?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael, I can't remember what scout it was and who posted it here, but that scout rated Newcombe better than Beede, Hoffman and Rodon.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yep. I could see the pitchers going 1-3 and leaving them Turner or Jackson. I could also see Jackson and Turner going 2nd and 3rd leaving them Beede or Hoffman. However the cards fall, it'll be another guy who could become a core player

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    In reply to Javier Bryant:

    John doesn't like him as much as others do, but don't count Tyler Kolek out of this. He's further away, but he hit 100 again recently. Pretty impressive for an 18 year old, regardless of projection.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm not high on Kolek either. Probably because I can't really see the FO taking him

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    See that is who I like most right now at 4, but I love the higher ceiling players than the higher floors. I'm a bigger Baez fan than Almora. Kolek may have the highest ceiling in the draft. I do understand he's arguably the most likely not to reach his ceiling as well.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    OMG, that's funny!

  • Every day brings more good vibes for Olt.

    Vitters does look about 10 pounds lighter in that picture and actually has muscle definition for the first time.

    And Vogelbach keeps showing the work ethic every offseason. If he doesn't pan out, it won't be for a lack of effort. Good for him. He is certainly seems like a good guy and the type you want to root for.

    So glad we don't have any Jesus Montero like bums this offseason. Everyone appears to have come in ready and eager to impress. That is all you can ask for in spring.

    I'm trying not to get too excited about Beede because we are a long way from the draft and we have 3 teams picking ahead of us. But man, he does seem to be exactly what we need.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    The recent article on cubs.com said he was the same weight, but his body composition was completely different.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I assume you mean Vitters, not Vogelbach?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    yes, VogelBOMB is -30lbs

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Wouldn't surprise me. Muscle weighs more than fat. Can maintain weight while actually decreasing size.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Exactly my observations on Vitters. That's about as cut as I've ever seen him. Even his face has shed some of that baby fat.

  • Wittenmeyer may have had 2 sources say it's a "strong possibility", but he may be taking them out of context just to sell a story too. When he goes on to say somewhat validate the rumors because the brand spanking new coach wont name Shark his opening day starter before a single scrimmage is even played kind of validates to me that Wittenmeyer is full of $**T...

    Trades during ST rarely happen, and when they do; it's almost never a blockbuster like that... But I guess that doesn't sell the sizzle...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    'Zactly.

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    If Vogelbach keeps losing weight they won't be able to fit his last name on the jersey.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    LOL! I just hope it means he can keep his power while improving that defense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John there is a good article on the Cubs website about Vogelbach. Dan says that he thinks he is stronger now with all the training. He also says he feel better when hitting and can move a lot better. Watch out Rizzo. :)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    that was awesome Mike! LOL

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    ROFL. Now that was funny!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Then lets shorten it to V-Bomb now and be done with it.

  • The FO seems to be really good at signing quality professionals even when they do not figure in for long term. Vitters seems to have answered his 'wakeup' call and Villanueva is a solid 'pro' type who could break out any time.

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    How strong is Baez? Check this tweet:
    https://twitter.com/cubsvineline/status/438386595788361728

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I had left my phone on the charger in my car last month when I saw him working out at JU, or I would've gotten some video for you guys. His warm-up exceeds 98% of most peoples work outs. Kid is a total beast.

    FWIW, I was there because JU has 4 kids on their roster that I coached since they were 7-8yo until HS. It was an inter team scrimmage. Javier's old HS is around the corner and uses JU's field as they don't have their own. He was off on the side doing conditioning drills.... He was still going after the end of a 7 inning scrimmage.....

  • Good stuff all around. Vitters/Vogelbach showing increased emotional maturity and professionalism and probably the case of their bodies maturing as well.

    Beede developing at Vanderbilt is always a plus but its the guys that were pegged in the 6-10 range we need to be looking at for sleepers/risers. Also huge draft for Florida Prep players - lots of talent. Kolek might be the one to watch especially for Houston. If the Texas kid is still hitting 100, Houston has flexibility to take him due to all of the pitching prospects they already have that are near MLB ready. Sox and Marlins are not as set with prospects, but the Marlins are a little more set on pitching. That being said Trea Turner has been hitting and fielding well. Ah prospect talk and draft talk - John you sure know how to cure a polar vortex!

  • In reply to Gator:

    Two of my favorite subjects! Will have to do more draft stuff now that season has started.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I too love a good converstation about Polar Votex's

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    I'm becoming a huge fan of Tyler Beede, but am only lukewarm on Trea Turner. I don't trust Turner's hit tool, and I don't frankly care about his 80-speed. We don't need a wide receiver. On the other hand, Beede is looking excellent, and I love that he's familiar with Derek Johnson. Plus, obviously, we need a TOR prospect.

    With that in mind, I'm really, really hoping that after the Astros predictably draft Carlos Rodon, the Marlins draft Alex Jackson. I'm wanting the Marlins to go HS player, because I think it's very likely the White Sox go college pitcher. In this scenario, hopefully that college pitcher is Jeff Hoffman, so that Tyler Beede is available for Cubs at #4.

    I asked Jim Callis earlier today what he thought the current chance was of Beede being available at #4, and he said "good chance, I think." So... for now, my fingers are crossed.

    Thoughts, John?

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    I think there's a good chance as well. If we assume Rodon and Hoffman go 1-2 then he only has to be skipped by the White Sox. Sox talking pitcher so that could mean Beede or Kolek -- but I've heard otherwise. I think they're looking at a high upside bat.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Alex Jackson or Trea Turner could be White Sox. Hopefully it'd be Jackson even if we don't get Turner, I'll probably still be cheering for him. Turner and Beede are the two to look out for as of now

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    In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Trea Turner does feel like a Kenny Williams pick to me. As does Jackson, for that matter.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Great. I've heard from writers that the Sox could consider a high-upside bat, as they've been wont to do in recent drafts. But I believe I read one of their top guys say they were likely going college pitcher.

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    I've heard both as well. I'm just hoping the Cubs have the choice between Turner and Beede. I wouldn't be surprised if the Marlins took Jackson

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    In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I hope they have that choice, as well.

    I'm also following Tyler Kolek with keen interest this spring, but certainly high school pitchers are much higher risk draft selections.

  • Thinking out loud.

    For teams looking at Ervin Santana, what's better, sign him for 50 million, 4 years, AND give up a draft pick?

    Or, would you prefer to trade one of your top "near MLB ready" arms, and a draft pick (that you would give up for Santana anyway) for Shark and save 40 million or so?

    If that deal works for the Cubs, with some throw in pieces, maybe the rumors have more legs than people think.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    False equivalency. Nobody is giving Santana 4/$50M and the BS about him 'not lowering his asking price' is just precious. He'll settle because he has to.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Maybe, maybe not. Garza got it, Ubaldo got it, would you have predicted either of them before it happened?

    Caveat being, some teams are more desperate than others. If Ulbaldo is the last option, and you have to give up a draft pick to get him, and you are not sure about one of your young high ceiling guys stepping in to win now, maybe they do it.

    If not, the Cubs can absolutely afford to wait and should unless they are blown away, either way.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    What Eddie said plus, nobody is going to give up a TOR near MLB ready arm AND additional prospect/lottery tickets haul until the trade deadline when they are in the hunt and Shark will be a difference maker.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    Basically, I don't buy this rumor one bit.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    MLB teams cannot trade draft picks.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    They can if they're competitive balance picks.

  • Is it just me or does there seem to be a different (good) vibe coming out of the Cubs ST. I really think we have a great collection of talent in the minors; and best of all they seem to just get what is going on and how to do their part. The future looks bright

  • No, it's not just you... I been feeling a better vibe than normal too. It's still early though, I hope they can maintain this throughout.

  • Cubs don't normally have this kind of young impact talent in camp.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How many Cubs propspects have broken windows in parking lots? From what Ive heard, Soler and Olt have launched a few out there also. No wonder Rizzo is making jokes about the next Babe Ruth.

  • I hope the Cubs get rid of Shark sooner than later. I have a feeling he's going to continue his downward spiral.

    This whole "holding out for a huge package" option completely backfires if he doesn't have a good/great first half. It's a complete win if he does comes out on all cylinders firing but he has a track record of being inconsistent, I wouldn't bank on a good half.

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    I can't see Samardzija being traded before July either, and I'm not sure I want him to be traded just yet, but I'm having doubts about an extension being worked out, and I wonder if the hesitancy is more from the Cubs end.

    I'm wondering if the the brain trust is concerned that extending Samardzija now will be a waste of resources because by the time the team is really ready to contend he'll already be past his prime years. What if, while we're talking 2016, they're talking 2017 or 2018?

    I'll be honest and ask this question. Would they have signed Jackson last winter had they realized the disaster that 2013 was going to be. I think 2013 was a wake up call. Furthermore, would they have gone after Sanchez as hard as they did? I don't think they really realized just how far away the organization was from being a legitimate contender until last year. They certainly didn't see the regression of core players like Castro and Rizzo coming.

    I also think they fully see just how much the landscape has changed in terms of free agency. More and more teams are locking players up through their prime years. So the quality isn't hitting the market in the quantities it used to, and then there is the whole draft pick compensation mess that has to be dealt with. If the guy you sign doesn't pay off immediately, you may have doubly screwed yourself for years to come with both a bad contract and the loss of a draft pick.

    My point is that Samardzija may well be seen as being worth more to them as trade bait, just as Garza obviously was.

    Changing gears, I have a real gut feeling that Olt is going to be a pleasant surprise to everyone. He certainly deserves some good luck after all he's been through. Him breaking camp with the big league club and staking claim to the hot corner would create the sort of good problems the front office would like to have, and it would have reverberations for the middle infield and the corner outfield depending on how other scenarios play out.

    Two others I'm going to keep an eye out for are Alcantara and Brett Jackson. Olt sticking at 3rd and Alcantara staking claim to 2nd would certainly push Bryant to right-field, but depending on what happens with Castro and shortstop, it could also push Baez to left-field.

    My gut says Brett Jackson probably never makes contact well enough to be an everyday player on a good team. My hope is he makes contact well enough to be a 4th OF on a good team. Like Olt, he seems like a good kid, and also like Olt, he's had his share of struggles. It's time for some good things to come his way.

    I make no bones about the draft. I hope one of the top 3 college pitchers of 2014 is still there at 4th overall, and I'm sort of hoping it's Tyler Beede because I think his upside is higher than either Rodon's or Hoffman's, but if all three are gone, I'm all for Trea Turner. I love his athleticism, his tools and the fact that scouts say his mental makeup is off the charts, and I'd bet this front office does too.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The way I look at it is that a 29 year old pitcher is unlikely to lose a lot of value over 3 months as long as he stays healthy. Even if he's must mediocre, teams will look at him no differently than they do now. But if he takes a step forward he'll be in demand if the Cubs aren't in contention as many expect.

    On the other hand, I don't see the need to rush to get low level high risk prospects -- which is what is being offered right now. Attrition with low level prospects is much higher than 29 year old MLB veterans. I would think those teams would be much more eager to make that kind of deal than the Cubs would. The Cubs, on the other hand, will want to hold out for higher floor/ceiling prospects for now. If they don't get them, so be it -- they can always get those high risk lower level guys later.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed, he loses no value as long as he is healthy and pitching reasonably well. Also, by waiting, other team's 2013 draft choices become eligible to be traded, and it's always possible Samardzija blows up into the TOR arm we thought he might become at the end of 2012, which would increase his trade value even further, but if he remains just a healthier version of Garza with more time value, I'm skeptical that the Cubs are going to get much more for him than they got for Garza.

    I think this because I think Texas overpaid for Garza, and the Cubs just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I think it's pretty evident now that Daniels was getting a lot of internal pressure to do something. I'm just not sure the Cubs catch lightning in a bottle twice.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think David Price is going to come off the board before Samardzija. We could get a pretty good price if we wait til the deadline and he pitches well, but I still think Price is going to reset the trade market for this year.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I disagree because Tampa Bay is a legitimate World Series contender. If they dump Price, that really limits their chances.

    I think they are stuck with him, offer him a QO and have to settle for a late first round draft pick as comp.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think TB is going to want more than that.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    That's a good point. If they are really contending...not on the fringe I could see them holding on to him past the deadline. TB is a longterm-thinking organization though. They would really need to be convinced that they have a shot to risk reducing their prospect haul for Price.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Re: Jackson
    I don't think the Jackson signing had anything to do with contending during his deal. Somebody has to eat innings while the team is building. If your starters are going 4-5 innings you can kill your bullpen arms and maybe get somebody hurt that could help you when you are contending. And if the team does surprise and contends in the next year or two, then having a veteran like him would be a big help.

    The changing landscape of FA is one of the reasons getting Jackson when they did was a good deal. Few guys in the majors can handle the innings he can. Is he a TOR guy? Of course not, but having someone reliable enough to take the ball every 5 days helps a young team build structure and sets an example. You don't get Jackson and you can bet we would have seen similar disasters to the 2012 second half rotation. The FO has come out and stated how they don't want to put all the weight on a young players shoulder's to carry the team when they come up. Having someone like Jackson takes pressure off Hendricks and the rest when they do come up.

    Neither Alcantara or Olt are good enough to push Baez to the OF. If they don't want to play Baez at 2B for fear of injury he goes to 3B. In a situation like that, Alcantara or Olt moves, not Baez. The only guy that could push him to the OF might be Bryant sticking at 3B, but Baez is the more natural IFer so I can't see that happening either.

    Haven't given up on Jackson yet and I wouldn't mind seeing a Jackson/Vitters platoon in LF in the second half once Schierholtz is gone, just to see what we have once and for all (assuming they play well in Iowa in the first half that is)

  • In reply to mjvz:

    It isn't a fact that Olt or Alcantara have to be "good enough" to move Baez into left field. They only have to be "good enough" to push the left fielder out of the line up.

    If Olt is a better defensive third baseman than Baez, and if Alcantara is a better defensive second baseman than Baez, and both of them are better offensively than Sweeney (or whoever is in left at the time), then the best place for Baez is left field, even if he is the best offensive player in baseball.

    I think that the best possible thing that could happen to the Cubs is the need to put Baez in left field. That means that Olt, Alcantara, Bryant, Almora, Castro and Rizzo are all fulfilling their potential.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Where are you going to put Soler? I think he will play LF better than Baez. Face it if everyone develops well, someone is going to get traded. Maybe more than one of them.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    My gut tells me if the Royals are in it they'll make a real run at the best player (at a position of need) on the market. We can only hope that's Shark.

    Or we can hope both sides agree to an extension, but I honestly lost that hope a while ago.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Considering the Royals are my AL & secondary team, I certainly hope that you are right. I think Shark would be a good fit on the team and I would love to see them contend. The Royals really need someone to fill the TOR if Shields doesn't resign

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    So far as the 2013 season and E-Jax signing... after enduring Brooks Raley & Geronimo at the end of 2012, they needed a middle of the rotation innings eater. insert Jackson...

    No, no one saw the 2013 implosion coming. They were hopeful for a little linear progression, despite what they publicly admit to. But with the Marmol/Camp implosions and BP sucking the life out of quality starts it just wasn't meant to be. Not to mention regression from our two franchise players.

    So far as the FA landscape changing, I think they did see this coming and thats why they got out in front of it with Castro & Rizzo...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Raley and Germano and Berken, oh my!

    That was a fun time. Like a bad case of acid reflux.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The other factor is the delay with renovations and generating new revenue. If they knew this project would be stalled as it is now they probably don't sign ejax.

  • In reply to ccia:

    Epstein really said as much with his comment that the timing of the signing of Jackson was unfortunate. If they were able to have the 20 million dollar Jumbotron income beginning this season, the Jackson signing would have fit in well.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Another thing to consider about a Shark trade is that at the deadline he'll still be signed for a year and a half.

    Teams might not want to meet the Cubs high asking price. Trading for someone who is only signed through the rest of the season would take a much smaller package.

    The Rangers last year gave up a lot for Garza because he was the clear #1 pitcher on the market (Lee was reported to be on the market but I didn't take that serious because of his big contract)

    Chances are Shark will not be the best guy available at the deadline when you take into account what you have to give up. There's going to be another Feldman out there someone that you could get for a quarter of the Cubs asking price that's putting up similar numbers. I don't think Shark is that game-changer that you have to give into the Cubs demands and strip your minor league system for. The Cubs don't have a monopoly over the starting pitcher market, there will be others.

    When it comes down to Shark for at least three really good prospects or a Feldman-like deal for two question marks, it seems like an easy choice to me.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    In the end it is going to come down to how he is pitching leading up to the deadline. There will be a few pitchers available at the deadline, but there will also be more than a few teams looking. If the Blue Jays, Royals, Orioles, Rangers, and Mariners are out of the picture, then the trade market won't be there.

    I think that Shark is capable of pitching like Garza did in the first half of last year and, if he does, he could easily command a haul as good, or better than the Garza trade.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Pitching like Garza is his best case scenario. He can do it but he was far too erratic for my liking to think he sustain it like Garza did. To get the haul the Cubs are looking for he's going to need to be lights out like Garza, at that point, wouldn't the price of his haul increase? If he's an average #3 guy going into July I can't see teams saying "Well we didn't want to give up three top guys for him in the off-season and he's coming off a decent first half, ok we'll give it up now" when there is going to be cheaper options.

    Rangers got desperate so they went after the top guy, other top guys like Peavy and Nolasco went for significantly less. Odds are he's not going to be the top guy at the break. Why wouldn't teams use the three or so top prospects the Cubs are looking for and add to that to get a better pitcher like Price? If I'm looking to give up a haul I'd at least want the much better pitcher. If the Cubs are hell bent on getting some huge haul for a guy who hasn't proven he can be a top line starter for an extended period then teams will look towards comparable Peavy/Nolasco types, for much less.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    At the end of the day the Garza package, (an upside A arm, a former top prospect having a rough season, two starters who ceiling is nothing more than middle rotation) would be a disappointing package for Shark.

  • Looks as though Vitters might have answered his 'wakeup' call. Christian Villanueva a top 3bman is not a surprise to me. He carries himself like a solid professional and a little more consistent power could produce a breakout season in Iowa. The 'Boys' made a nice addition this off season with Veras.

  • Was is Vogelbomb now, about 220? I saw him 2 years ago, he definitely looked Fielder-like. Now he looks like a real athlete. I guess being left off top100 prospec t lists really did tick him off.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    I don't think being left off this year's top 100 lists had anything to do with it. Those lists came out recently and you can't lose the type of flubber Vocalburp did in just a few weeks. I believe that this has been an ongoing thing for him, and to his credit, it looks like he's doing well getting into shape. Not that "round" isn't a shape, but something a little more angular is preferred for people who have to run, bend, twist, jump etc. ;)

  • @CarrieMuskat
    #Cubs Fujikawa threw 20-25 pitches Monday, 1st time off mound. Renteria: "He gave me a thumbs up"

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Ahead of Arrieta :)

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Always good to hear.

  • Nice article about VogelBOMB's weight loss and a look at the kid inside. he's a keeper!

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/chc/cubs-prospect-dan-vogelbach-trims-down-for-larger-role?ymd=20140225&content_id=68312236&vkey=news_chc

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    About that DH rule in the NL...

    I know that goes against the subtitle of that article, but I don't see another way to have him and Rizzo in the same lineup. That would be a pretty exciting lineup to see out there every day.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Who knows how fast he is now or after a couple more years in the minors. He might be a LF after all.

  • Love the vibe out of Mesa, but they have to get the renovation on track. It's now delayed to next off season. This has dragged on too long.

  • Sort of off topic, but I wondered whether anyone has heard much about Hanneman or Zastryzny and what levels they will start at for this year? I assumed Kane for both, as Hanneman only had about 70 ABs last year in Boise and Zas was coming off a long college season. These two seemed like players that the front office really liked based upon their draft spots, and also possibly 'reaches' in the opinion of some media outlets around draft time. Either way they will be interesting to follow, as they are both a little older (Hanneman 23 and Zas 22 I believe) and could hopefully move quickly. Appreciate any input, thanks.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    They both probably start the year in KC. Hanneman just needs at bats, not really sure it matters where they come this year. My guess is he at least spends the last month in Daytona though.

    Zastryzny might move a little quicker. He could spend half the season or more in Daytona. Might be very similar to what Pierce Johnson did last year.

  • Vogelbomb needs a mullet, he'd look a little Kruk

  • hey league source, this is gordon.. do you think its possible the cubs can trade samardzija before the season??

    if they get a deal they like??? pretty good!

    thanks, bye!

    "samardzija TRADE RUMOR!!"

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    I'm going to say this about Vogelbach. When I saw him at South Bend, he was slimmer than I thought he'd be. He was also more athletic. During BP, he was out in CF chasing after fly balls, and I mean he was getting after it too. Almora about fell over laughing when Vogey dove for one, but he caught it. He also made some plays at 1B that night that I wouldn't have thought he could've made. He may be destined to be a full time DH, but he is certainly a guy who can spell 1B on occasion. He's taller than Prince Fielder I think, and he's certainly slimmer right now.

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    Big day for Vizcaino and the Cubs tomorrow:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/21542/notes-vizcaino-to-throw-wednesday

  • With the mega trade last year and all of the moves being made in the AL East this offseason it does seem like the Jays might be a team that is getting a little desperate. Same with the Rangers, they put a lot of money into Fielder and Choo for them to not contend because of a weak pitching staff. A win on the record books means as much in April as it does in September if you're in a tight division race. It's not out of the question for a pre-season overpay of prospects for Samardzija.

  • I might just be overly optimistic because it's spring training, but it seems like that every prospect or player who is coming into this season with questions is seriously making a commitment to improve. I really think the cubs can surprise a lot of people this year if this trend continues. I just hope the new coaching staff can actually develop players in the majors. I'm sick and tired of cubs prospects flaming out. It would be nice to see a couple of these prospects actually become starters or contributors this year.

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    Wonder if they get letters at the end of the season telling them what to work on during the offseason also??

  • Also, on a side not. What is the ceiling of Trea Turner? I know he is supposed to be a prototypical lead off hitter, but can he also hit for decent power? Say 10-15 homeruns?

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    Scouting reports I've read say he's got very good bat speed and that when he fills out he should be able to hit 10-20 homers.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    I personally am cheering my can off for Turner. If he has a crazy great year, that might tempt the White Sox or Marlins to take him.

    An athletic SS with great speed and good hit tool is a very attractive piece of the puzzle.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    If he has a crazy great year and is available for the 4th pick, I think our FO will take him.

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    article on Fangraphs that I'm hoping someone can explain to me:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-pointlessness-of-signing-after-the-draft/#comment-4381032

    I’m not seeing the basic premise of this article, i hope someone can clarify it for me: IFA draft pool money can be traded because those draft slots can be traded. The Dodgers example uses IFA pool money to illustrate that point. But amateur draft slots can’t be traded (except for competitive draft picks) – so how does a team acquire draft pool money without acquiring the draft slot to go with it?

  • Been lurking for a year and finally pulling the trigger on joining to post... Love your work John

    ... To answer your question, a team "acquires" draft pool money by not losing their own pick and the allocated money that would go with it if they were to sign Santana

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