Conventional wisdom says that you should wait to buy when your team is ready to win now and take a slightly more short term approach. But perhaps there is another market inefficiency the Cubs should explore -- and that is the possibility that prospects today may be a bit overvalued. The Cubs have found this out from a sellers standpoint. They have found that top prospects have been difficult to pry loose, most recently when teams have come calling on Jeff Samardzija. Instead of looking to sell, could the Cubs make this market shift work for them?
They certainly have the depth to trade good prospects without having to deal from the top of their system. Prospects like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora should be off limits, but perhaps the Cubs should be willing to deal from their 2nd and 3rd tier now that they have depth and a better knowledge of their system.
Nick Cafardo reports that the Rockies are scouting the Red Sox AA and AAA teams with the Sox looking to acquire an oufielder. Outfielders Grady Sizemore, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Johnny Gomes have all struggled.
The Cubs have a similar problem with production from their own OF. And though they are not in the position that the Red Sox are to make deals, I would really like to see the Cubs get involved in getting a veteran like Carlos Gonzalez -- if not for this year, then for next.
There aren't a lot of good free agents expected to be available as far as position players go and as we've seen with other top FAs like Anibal Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka, the Cubs are going to have a difficult time luring free agents because they are rebuilding. If anything, it seems like more often or not, they are getting used to drive up prices and can only win bids when they overpay (see Edwin Jackson).
With the depth they have in their farm system, a trade may be the best way to add young veteran talent. Gonzales is 28 and signed through 2017 at a price (7 years, $80M) that is a bargain compared to what free agents are getting on the open market.
The Rockies are still in the thick of the NL West race so I don't know if they'd be willing to trade their good veterans right now, but I think the general idea is one the Cubs should explore. I use Gonzalez as a prototype for the kind of player they should acquire but the principle would also fit with other players that may become available. A key addition or two could go a long way toward changing the Cubs clubhouse culture.
I think the teams the front office have put together have been better than their record shows. They're run differential and Pythagorean record is consistently better than their actual won-loss record -- but there is something missing. Prospects could add a boost mid-season but I'd like the Cubs to add a veteran or two to take the pressure off of Rizzo, Castro, and the young kids. And maybe the best time to do it is now rather than wait for the kids to start producing at the major league level.
I'm not saying the Cubs should compromise their future, but when I see that the best teams can offer for Samardzija are higher risk Class A pitchers, I just wonder if the Cubs shouldn't be considering acquiring their own veterans at that kind of lower risk cost. We certainly have seen the Cubs can stockpile that kind of talent rather quickly, so I'm pretty confident they can replace lost talent if they are careful about who they trade.
One of the things the Jim Hendry regime did well early on is acquire young talent for overvalued prospects like Bobby Hill (Aramis Ramirez), Hee Seop Choi (Derrek Lee), and Justin Jones (Nomar Garciaparra). I'd like to see this front office do something similar in an era where prospects seem to be worth their weight in gold. If a good opportunity to acquire short and long term value presents itself, the Cubs shouldn't wait until they feel the team is good enough to make such a move.
Sometimes you just have to take those chances when they become available.
It was a few days ago when a commenter predicted a Jose Veras injury, trip to DL, and a "rehab" assignment to get him back on track. I can't recall who it was but it made me laugh at the time, not because it was funny, but because it sounded entirely plausible.
Well, suddenly it looks like that is exactly the path Jose Veras will take. Good call. Veras has a strained oblique and while I don't doubt he's had some discomfort (as wild as he is, Veras has never been anything as close to as wild as he's been so far this year), maybe there's something to that injury affecting his performance. Whatever the case, Veras will get some R&R with the hopes he comes back as good as new.
In what is not news if you watched the game yesterday, Brian Schlitter is up to take his place and now the Cubs have recalled 3 relievers this week. It'll be interesting to see who goes down when Jake Arrieta is recalled, but I predict Neil Ramirez goes down for now.
- Kalish LF
- Lake CF
- Rizzo 1B
- Castro SS
- Schierholtz RF
- Olt 3B
- Baker C
- Barney 2B
- Hammel SP
A bit of an odd lineup here as the Cubs are trying to get some speed at the top but not a whole lot of OBP there (or anywhere, for that matter). The bottom 3rd of the lineup is about as weak as you'll see. It looks to me like Hammel is going to have to pitch extremely well today.
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