Spraying to all fields

  • Javier Baez is in spring training camp
    • Baez is the hottest prospect in the Cubs organization right now. He hit 40 HRs in minor league baseball last year and has a legitimate case for being the number one prospect in all of baseball. There are a lot of Cubs to pay attention to over the spring but he will be the one player fans will be watching intently.
    • I've said this before, but Starlin Castro's 2014 will have a direct impact on Baez's primary position when he gets called up, in my opinion. If Castro shows he's learned a few things and can stick at shortstop I would expect Baez to start getting more reps at another position.
    • It's similarly important to remember that not all prospects are the same. Baez is not Bryce Harper, and he's not Manny Machado. He's Javier Baez. Just ask Oscar Taveras how the fast track worked out for him last year. Sometimes injuries and development get in the way. I'm not saying Baez will flame out or get hurt, just remember to take it easy with projecting him as a MLB ready SS.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez got paid
    • 4/48 isn't a crazy amount of money anymore, it's slightly below the total dollars in the Edwin Jackson deal. I think Ubaldo is an interesting case of a player who found some mechanical consistency late in the year and converted that into a stellar second half against less than stellar competition. Color me skeptical on his 2014.
    • Speaking of Edwin, I still think he does the most Edwin Jackson thing possible and goes for 180 innings of 3.50 ~ ERA ball.
    • I don't think this deal has a ton of impact on the Jeff Samardzija situation. If latest reports are to be believed the main sticking point is the NTC.
  • Arismendy Alcantara, C.J. Edwards and their timetables
    • My BPro teammate Jeff Moore posted this about Alcantara, Edwards and their timetable.
    • I want to believe in Edwards as a starter, but he has a lot to show before I feel comfortable with that tag. He's a small guy and you have to be special to fit as a starter with that profile. Maybe he is.
    • Alcantara is quickly turning into a bit of a cult favorite with prospect hounds. I like him, he has big boy wrists and can do a bit of everything.

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  • I know that they haven't played anything resembling a live game yet,.... but anybody heard any interesting batting practice or pitching scouting tidbits yet? Especially covering the 'youngsters' or any of the MiL contract flier guys?

    Especially interested in anthing about whether Kalish is healthy(ish), and how any of the more obscure prospects might be doing. Espcially intersted in how Vitters and Jackson (the former annointed) might be panning out IF they are in camp already.

  • Alcantara and the gaggle of top 3Bmen will also help decide whether Castro or Baez plays SS in the future.

  • I think that this year for Castro, Olt, Barney and Candy Man will play in to where Baez plays. So many situations to list but imagine if 2 of those 4 are absolutely killing it. They will either have to open a spot for him via trade or add him to the 3rd position. What if Candy and Baez are both tearing up AAA ball and they both come up around the same time? Candy won't be able to if Castro is playing like he should and Baez is at 2nd. That scenario would put him Baez at 3rd. I am more excited about this aspect of the Cubs this year than anything else. This is such a pivotal year to the growth of the organization and finally starting to see players (MLB) landing spots shake out. This is the reason to follow the Cubs and I-Cubs this year.

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    In reply to IowaCubbie:

    I think you are confusing Candelario, who is in A-Ball, with Villanueva. Villanueva is a nice player but I don't think he's someone with the ceiling to displace Baez.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Thanks! That is what I was thinking and my head was spinning like Linda Blair.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I actually think he means Alcantara...saying he can't go to 2nd if Baez is there.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Okay, pretty confusing!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    My bad guys, I had a brain malfunction. I was referring to Alcantara like Matt deciphered. Wow, not enough coffee this morning but now hopefully my ramblings make sense...

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Matt, after I re-read his post, I do believe you are correct.

  • I get the feeling Theo/Jed see Alcantara as their 2Bman of the future. I dont know what that means for the rest of the infielders in limbo, but we should have a few pieces to get a TOR regardless.

  • It's too soon to say or predict the timing if/when it does, but it's as if it's Alcantara's job to lose before he has even earned it.

  • First,...He'll have to make the case to unseat Barney (given,.... Barney may make that case himself this Spring/Summer),....

    And then he'll have to demonstrate that he is an improvement over Roberts/Villanueva/Murphy/Bonifacio as a 2B option,..... which may not be a hard thing to do either. None of these guys is a long-term answer anyway.

    But just as important will be how Olt fares at 3B, whether Bryant is shifted to the OF or takes over 3B, and how things play out between Castro and Baez in the future 'struggle' for SS/3B/2B slots.

    The only logical conclusion - assuming that each of Olt, Beaz, Bryant, Castro and Alcantara pans out as a solid ML position guy - a couple of these guys are going to get traded or moved to another position. Each one of them could probably make an adequate OF, Olt can cover 1B, and the options and permutations are extremely interesting to think over.

    And then waiting in the wings are guys for the OF like Soler and Almora,.....

    These are the kinds of problems it's good to see management have,....

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    If Baez is predicted by many prognosticators to be able to stick at SS, then he can be a ++ 3B. Bryant can play OF, and is more athletic than Olt, but Olt is said to be the better fielder.

    So if the Cubs draft Trea Turner what happens? And I think that is the likely scenario, even Epstein alluded to such a scenario in his comments in Mesa this past weekend.

    Trea Turner becomes projectably the future lead-off hitter. Would be be better at SS than Castro of Baez? If so, then where does Baez go? I think 3B. Then Castro and Alcantara would battle for 2nd. Alcantara would be another speed guy and switch hitter which would be a plus.

    So if Turner is the SS, Baez is at 3B, and Alcantara is at 2B, then where does Castro go? If he doesn't increase his value over last year, and start to show his potential, I think he is traded.

    Bryant goes to LF or RF. Soler hopefully fulfills his promise and goes to RF. Almora goes to CF.

    That leaves Olt and Rizzo. What if, and I say if, Olt is a lock? So what would happen to Rizzo and Castro? Then again it might be Olt and Castro, or Olt and Alcantara who find themselves on the trade block for a front-line starter.

    If Trea Turner is the draft pick this June, that will make 2 guys disposable so to speak for a front-line starter.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Ain't these fun mental games to play? :D

    Of course - the most likely scenario is that not all of these guys pan out,.... or one or more of them gets injured (I certainly hope this is not the case),....

    Am personally hoping that the Cubs first draft choice in 2014 is a TOR-type pitcher,..... but you have to take the best player available come draft time - at least if your choice is in the top 10 or so,.... rather than drafting to fill positions exclusively.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    I just can't imagine Cubs don't take the best pitcher available in this year's draft.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    If Olt shows himself to be healthy, and starts having the kind of career that was projected for him a year ago, he is the most likely to be traded for a pitcher, assuming the others also progress as hoped for (yes, I realize that it is extremely unlikely that no one falters).

    With everyone meeting their projections, I think that Baez, Bryant, Soler, Almora and even Alcantara would be kept over Olt, and a power hitting third baseman with gold glove abilities would bring back a lot in return.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    There have been a lot of people that are hoping for success with Olt and Castro, then expecting them to be traded. Although it happens, I think the Cubs will struggle to trade away a young controllable player who finds success at the major league level. Of course, it depends on the situation (prospects offered, ceiling of player, etc...), but I don't know that the FO would want to roll the dice.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    At mid-season the Cubs could have a package of viable players to go out and get a couple of pitchers:

    I think next winter might be more likely for Olt, Rizzo, or Castro to be traded since there is no eminent SS.
    perhaps Olt or Rizzo if he can't hit lefties
    perhaps Castro
    Vitters
    Vogelbach
    Schierholtz
    Ruggiano

    Samardzija
    Hammel
    Veras
    Carlos Villanueva

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    Does no one see or care that Alcantara and Baez have been the DP combo in AA and will start the year that way in AAA? My thinking and logic is quite simple. Castro is trade bait for a TOR arm, which is why they are hoping he pans out and raises his value to start the year. Mark my words that if all 3 Castro, Baez, and Alcantara are killing it then at the trade deadline Barney and Castro will be shipped and Baez and Alcantara brought up together to keep that chemistry intact. It's already been said that Tampa wanted Castro for Price and if Baez shows he can hold down SS for years to come then were looking at a pretty good chance of Price coming to Chicago. Also, this idea of Baez being moved to 3rd is ridiculous because of the depth we already have there. I truly believe keeping Alcantara and Baez together moving through the system is an important factor in their development. Especially, if they continue to produce and win while waiting for their spots to open up. Sorry for the rant, but just mho.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I couldnt agree more. I have been thinking the same thing about Castro, and Tampa Bay seems like a reasonable landing spot if he is shredding.

    If they flipped Castro for Price at the deadline, then make a run at CarGo in the off-season. 2015 could be a real exciting year.

    Is it crazy to think we could go into 2015 with this:
    C-Welly
    1B-Riz
    2B-Alcantara
    3B-Olt
    SS-Baez
    LF-CarGo
    CF-Sweeney
    RF-Bryant

    And a rotation of Price, Shark, Wood, Jackson, Hendricks/FA.

  • I think acquiring both Price and CarGo would be tough. They would probably have to give up Castro, Almora, Soler and a couple of pitchers to get both. That is a pretty big role of the dice for a guy with one year before FA and a guy with a big long term deal that has had injury issues.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree it would be tough to get both, but not impossible. I would not trade for them if it crippled our farm, but it would be an interesting way to jump into competition.

    I was thinkin a deal around Castro/Vogs for Price, and Soler/$ relief for CarGo.

  • I can't see the Rays moving Price without getting top young arms in return. I would think it would have to be something like Castro/Edwards/Zastryzny and then maybe Vogelbach too.

    And I honestly don't believe the Rockies are going to move CarGo. Their pitching staff has the chance to be both awesome and cheap very soon if Gray and Butler pan out. CarGo's contract is very reasonable for the type of player he is and the Rockies payroll is not in bad shape at all. If they were goign to move a big contract I would think Tulo would be the one they would more like to move given the years and his injury history.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I'd think the Rays would absolutely insist on Baez in any deal involving Price. (Much like the Mariners deal died when they wouldn't back off of Taijuan Walker.) That alone makes it a pretty unpleasant pill to swallow.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They'd certainly ask, but I don't think even the Rays would expect to get a top 5 prospect in all of baseball back for one year of David Price.

    Its a moot debate anyway. The Cubs aren't trading for David Price unless the cost is too good to pass up, and the Rays aren't stupid enough to do that. The Cubs would be better off taking the chance that he makes it to FA.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I would never make that trade!

    I would trade whatever two prospects the Cubs do not need, and then perhaps Jackson and Vitters might have some value as well. You could combine them with Samardzija. I would make that deal for someone. But I do not think the FO will trade +value for -value, and that is a combination of finance, age, and benefit.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Jackson and Vitters add no value in a trade.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    I think Cubs will trade EJax,Villanueva,Russel & Hammel
    and probably Barney & Schierholtz at deadline or before.
    So for 2015 they will need to sign a top of rotation starter
    to go with Shark,Woods and pick two (Arrieta,Grimm,Hendrick,
    Edwards or a FA).

    I think the trade they will attempt to make is for a top left
    handed hitting outfielder. Then CF would be manned by (Lake,Sweeney or Bonaficio) until or if Almora is ready.
    RF would be Bryants. For 2B-SS-3B you will have many
    options: Castro,Baez,Alcantera,Olt,Villanueva.

    With a solid bench: Lake,Ruggioni,Sweeney,Bonafacio,
    Bruno & Valbuena.

  • Assuming Castro rebounds and is having a great season, I'd much prefer to see Castro for a top pitching prospect like Giolito (and other lower tier prospects).

    Then trade Jeff Smarz for another pitching prospect and we would have strengthened the most significant weakness in our future Cub roster.

  • And what if Trea Turner is drafted in June, then what in 2016-17? If Bryant moves to RF, Trea Turner is at SS, Baez goes to 3B, then where does Olt and Rizzo fit in? Where does Almora fit in who should be in AA this year? This is one dream but there are many, many questions to be answered. And not easy ones I think.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I think people see that. I also think they see that they have been together for a whole half of a season. And neither one has exactly been defensive stalwarts at their positions. I am as big a believer as you will find in both of them, but there are still defensive question marks with both of them.

    I think it is funny what a difference a year makes. This time last year, no one wanted to trade Castro and very few of us thought that Baez was capable of handling SS defensively (not to mention those that thought he would strikeout too much to even make it out of A ball). Now everyone wants to run Castro out of town (even if he bounces back) and Baez is a no doubt MLB SS.

    Castro is younger than Rizzo, he is also younger than a huge group of minor leaguers like Olt, Szczur, Vitters, Jackson, Watkins (and the same age as Lake) that people aren't willing to write off yet as able to improve and find a place in the team's future. But Castro? The narrative is now that no matter what he does he isn't a long term piece. He either keeps struggling and gets dealt to make room for Baez, or he does improve and still gets shipped out.

    The Cubs certainly have 3B depth, but they also have a lot of question marks there. Olt is still a complete question mark given his vision and his lost year last season. Villanueva is still a question with the bat. Bryant may be better off in the OF or may be no better than average at 3B. Candelerio is still too far away to worry about. Meanwhile, Baez could be a gold glover at 3B or at least as good as Olt or Villanueva there. The first option is certainly to keep Baez in the middle of the infield, but it is not a ridiculous notion that he ends up at 3B.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Great points !!!! It seems like castro is not allowed to get better, he is what he is. Meanwhile some people get this ''feeling'' that the front office just can't count the days until they can ship him out. Never mind that the front office tells you every time asked that baez is moving around the field and castro is the shortstop now and in the future.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I'm sorry, but Baez and Alcantara are not a championship defensive middle infield. I wish they were. Either could play here but both would need a better defensive partner.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    "It's already been said that Tampa wanted Castro" said by who?

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    In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Except that you're trading five and a half years of Castro for half a year of Price

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    In reply to Jorge Soler:

    There is no way Tampa wants Castro.

    Tampa has a tried and true M.O.

    Trade MLB talent for cheap, controlled prospects.

    Castro's deal is team-friendly, sure. But nowhere NEAR as friendly as six years of next to FREE.

    If Tampa is talking about Price to the Cubs, that talk begins with BAEZ, period. They do not want Castro. They don't like paying players they don't have to.

    I do not want to trade Baez for Price.
    Price would be a great gig, but that team doesn't trade for anything but prospects.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yes TB has a tried and true M.O.

    But it didn't work for Price this off season. Teams are valuing their prospects much more now. When time passes and no one gives them what they are asking, then they might accept something other than just prospects. I don't think they want to keep Price and pay him $25 million a year on a multiple year contract. We will have to wait and see how it plays out.

  • In reply to John57:

    Same could be said for trading Shark

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    The Cubs and Rays are very different organizations. The Rays will need to trade Price because the future of their organization relies on aquiring prospects. They are non-factors in FA. The Cubs have chosen not to participate in FA over the past few years. If Shark performs and fits their time table, the Cubs will pay him.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    That was more geared to teams valuing prospects so waiting for that haul might not come.

    I don't expect Shark to become ace level anyway. The faster he's gone, the better.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Not sure if Castros deal is team friendly
    at this point - if he gets better maybe
    but based on last year - they oew him a lot of coin
    for a guy who underperformed.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Baez for Price would only make sense if we were in our window for a title... Which we obviously aren't. So I agree, no way I deal Baez right now...

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Some one said Tampa Bay wanted to do a Castro for Price trade? I would do that in a heart beat. I am not sure TB would do that though but you never know.

  • I think Bryant will start at 3B in the Majors before being shifted elsewhere - That is his value spot. I also think if Rizzo doesn't do a better job with fastballs this year, Bryant could be your 1B of the future. Alcantara is valuable in his ability to switch hit. I get the sense from the FO that they are looking for a balanced lineup of RH/LH hitters. They have identified a few things as to their desired types (balanced lineup, power hitters at the corners, power pitching in the pen, etc) - None of this is all that different than Hendry except they want more patience at the plate and more sound fundamentals before making it to the majors.

  • In reply to Gator:

    balanced line-up and power at the corner spots is just baseball man... That's not a Hendry vs Epstoyer thing.

    Where they really separate from Hendry is they have embraced the saber valuations. That's where the emphasis on OBP comes in...

    We have a much stronger emphasis on developing players now. But that's not to say that Hendry wouldn't have if he had the resources and backing from ownership like Epstoyer has from Ricketts... Hendry & Epstoyer both are phenomenal talent evaluators....

  • In reply to Gator:

    Agreed about 1B. Rizzo has to improve, though his BA is much worse than his RBI production. Bryant or Olt could go to 1B if he doesn't. If the Cubs get Trea Turner in June, because the top 3 Pitchers are gone, then that could also make Castro expendable, or a 2B. But that would block Alcantara. Which do you keep, Alacantara or Castro? Alcantara can do more things and is a switch-hitter. Castro and Rizzo might be odd guys out if they don't earn their keep!

  • Here are Mayo and Callis' draft predictions. Check out Mayo's prediction at #2 for Alex Jackson. Why would the Marlins be losing a top arm in Price and draft a catcher? Beede might be gone, but even if available, will the FO feel Beede has improved his command enough to give him enough ceiling to go #3 or #4. If he shows that well, why wouldn't the Sox draft him? The Sox say they will draft a pitcher #3. I also don't agree with Mayo on Bryant at 3B unless Baez goes to 2B.

    1. Astros
    Callis: Carlos Rodon, LHP, North Carolina State -- Best college lefty since David Price (2007). Biggest front-runner for No. 1 overall pick since Bryce Harper (2010).
    Mayo: Rodon -- About as no-brainer as it can be at this point. It'd be more of a surprise if he didn't go No. 1.

    2. Marlins
    Callis: Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina -- Could challenge Rodon for top selection. Has similar fastball and better changeup and command.
    Mayo: Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego -- The top high school player in the class, and the Marlins haven't shied away from taking exciting young bats (see Yelich, Christian).

    3. White Sox
    Callis: Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd (Texas) HS -- White Sox love high-ceiling players, and Kolek has a huge one with a fastball that already reaches 99 mph.
    Mayo: Hoffman -- The White Sox like their athletes, but they also like big, strong starting pitching. After Rodon, Hoffman is the best in the class.

    4. Cubs
    Callis: Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt -- Cubs almost certainly will take a pitcher after spending last two top-six choices on bats, though Beede must refine his command.
    Mayo: Trea Turner, SS, North Carolina State -- How about a future left side of the infield featuring Kris Bryant, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 Draft, and Turner, a leadoff type with 80 speed?

    5. Twins
    Callis: Jackson -- With Joe Mauer moving to first base, Jackson would be a nice fit; Minnesota also could use his power.
    Mayo: Beede -- A former first-round pick back in 2011, look for Beede to answer questions about his command this spring and be among the top college arms taken in June.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Boy was that a screw-up! I said Marlins had Price and not Rays. Sorry for the profound screw-up!

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Interesting.... Lots of time between now and draft. Keep in mind that consensus top 5 guys like Stanek, Manaea, etc... all dropped and nobody saw Gray or Bryant at #2 & #3 pre-season, respectively...

    If Beede can command his stuff, he's right there with the others and is a legit TOR arm. Having said that, I saw an old friend and HS coach recently who is now a Scout in the Dodgers org., he told me he liked Turner better than Rodon and rated them #1 & #2 overall... just an FYI.

    unless a couple of these implode and no one rises ala Gray & Bryant, we are going to get a very good, impact player.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Point well taken! Interesting about the Dodgers scout! Even Kolek's stock could change. Yes, Gray was ranked #2 on his Oklahoma staff before last season.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Alright, I'll offer my pipe dream. I think you'll find it equal parts depressing and optimistic. There may be a lot of chips in play, but none are completely unrealistic.

    Rondo goes nuts this year at NC State and is an obvious #1. He hires Boris because the boy wants to get paid. He is drafted #2 by the Marlins after the Astros are scared away by demands. The Cubs play it safe with Turner at #4. Boris refuses to come down in his demands and Rondon goes back to finish his career at NC State.

    The cubs proceed to be miserable in 2014 and win the race to #1 and snag Rondon in 2015.

    If we are throwing out pipe dreams, I say "go big or go home." Ron Paul 2012.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    KC, I find your dreams, well at least these, fascinating!

  • The comment Hammel made this week regarding not wanting to be 'flipped' was interesting to me. I love that he wants to play out the contract, but, honestly, it is in everyone's best interest that he plays well and gets flipped. The Cubs could get a few wins out of the deal and a few extra prospects and Hammel gets make a run in the playoffs and the opportunity to really test the free market without a compensation pick attached (assuming he would pitch really well and we would offer him a compensation pick).

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    What if he is having his career year and makes the All Star team as a Cub? And what if the team is doing surprising well and is in the play off hunt? Maybe we should keep him.

  • In reply to John57:

    No need to worry that won't happen.

  • In reply to John57:

    If the Cubs are above 500 in July, I don't think they will do a lot of flipping. But Hammel is certainly a prime candidate for it.

  • In reply to John57:

    That really is a stretch of the imagination. Not saying I wouldn't love it, but just don't think it is a realistic possibility.

    If I was Hammel and I became an All Star this year, I would hope I got flipped.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I didn't say it was a high probability of happening but it is not zero, close but not zero.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Maybe this is as likely as the Cubs getting Rodon in 2015:)

  • In reply to John57:

    So you're saying there's a chance...

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Yeah there is a chance. Maybe like winning the lottery this week. I heard the odds of winning the big prize was 70,000,000 to 1.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Best line ever

  • I can't see the Cubs trading Baez. Nor can I see Price coming to Chicago. Castro will probably be traded but I would think it wouldn't be to the Rays. There might be better opportunities for a trade to Toronto. If the cubs could get two major league ready pitchers , plus an interesting pitcher in A ball for Castro and Olt, then draft for Trea Turner, they'd have a pretty solid future infield. But no deal involving Castro and Olt will take place unless both players are over the problems they've had.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Never say never... but right now, Baez is the type of player that you don't move unless you're getting 2-3 solid (potential AS) core-pieces in return...

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