Cubs need to add young talent, but should be careful not to take too far a step back this trade deadline

Cubs need to add young talent, but should be careful not to take too far a step back this trade deadline

It appears that with a 15-27 record, the Cubs will once again be sellers this trade deadline.  While that fate may be inevitable at this point, I'm not looking forward to it.   I was hoping the Cubs would be in a position to buy this year rather than sell.  Now I am afraid they will sell too much and/or not get enough in return.

That's not to say I don't trust this front office to get the best deal.  I certainly do.

But despite the record, this team isn't as far away as it's record would indicate.

The Cubs are about to start a series against the New York Yankees and, on the surface, this is the matchup between a first and last place team.  Yet a closer look shows teams that, from a statistical standpoint, are near equals.  In fact, the Cubs are better by some measurements.  They have a better run differential:  Cubs are at -3 while the Yankees are at -8. The Cubs Pythagorean record (the record based on their overall statistical production) is 21-21.  The Yankees Pythagorean record is 21-22.

Yet the Yankees will be buying and the Cubs will be selling.  In fact, some rumors have them showing interest in Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija, though it is hard to imagine the Yankees beating the field and offering a superior package to acquire him.

I am not saying the Cubs should buy this offseason...necessarily, but what I do not want to see are deals made in exchange for high risk, low level ballplayers and/or low risk/low ceiling ballplayers.  I want to see them get players that can help them in 2014 and 2015 -- and cerainly by 2016 at the latest.

One executive I spoke with believes that a Jeff Samardzija deal should easily beat the return they got for Matt Garza -- a trade in which they got 3 MLB ready players and one higher ceiling A ball player (who is now in AA) in CJ Edwards.

The extra year of control and the expected draft pick any team will receive as compensation if Samardzija becomes a free agent (and presumably receives the QO) alone add value, but this executive also believes Samardzija is simply a better pitcher than Garza was at this point last year.

If the Cubs are going to trade Samardzija, the lowest bar should be  similar value to the Garza return plus the value of a first round pick plus the value of an additional year of Samardzija.

But as we alluded to earlier, it's not just the value of the Samardzija that should compel the Cubs to get a big  haul, the Cubs should be mindful that the team isn't as far away as it appears, so those players need to be close to contributing now.

Aside from the Pythagorean record, the Cubs are getting good production from their core players (Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija) and have waves of MLB talent arriving from Mike Olt,  Hector Rondon, Junior Lake, Justin Grimm, Ryan Kalish, and Neil Ramirez at the MLB level to Kyle Hendricks, Javier Baez, and Arismendy Alcantara at AAA to Kris Bryant, Stephen Bruno, Arodys Vizcaino, CJ Edwards, and Armando Rivero at the AA level.

There is a lot of young talent to go with underlying statistics that tell us the team could already be better than we think it is.

Is this really the time for the Cubs to take a step back?

I'm not against the Cubs making deals because there are still many holes to fill and there are still uncertainties at the prospect level, but those deals have to be for young MLB ready talent with impact potential -- and if they dip into the lower levels, then it should be impact talent with the ability to move quickly.

Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to pitching.    Nobody wants to lose pitching depth or trade top of the rotation talent -- particularly those close to the MLB level, yet the Cubs don't want to settle for high risk or lower ceiling pitching prospects.

Some have suggested the Cubs look to acquire position players if those kind of pitchers are not made available, particularly LH hitters like Joc Pederson, who is absolutely raking at AAA (.356/.464/.650 with 13 HRs).  While I don't know if Pederson can be had, that point of view has a lot of merit.  With the exception of Castro, Rizzo, Emilio Bonifacio, and the occasional contributions of Olt, Lake, and Castillo, it's been the Cubs offense that has hurt the team.  A player from the left side with a good approach would be a great addition.  With the exception of Kris Bryant, the Cubs don't have a lot of up and coming top prospects with a lot of patience.  Adding one to pair up with Bryant,  Rizzo, and Jorge Soler  for the 2015/2016 seasons will make for a good balance with aggressive hitters like Starlin Castro, Albert Almora, and Javier Baez.

As always, the cubs biggest need is simply talent and any deals the Cubs make should be for impact level players ready to contribute by 2016.  Anything else will be taking a step backward at a time when the Cubs may be ready to take a step forward.

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Comments

Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    I would love to see a trade for Pederson.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Glen Krisch:

    Me too, though the price will be pretty steep, and not sure we have a match. Dodgers rotation is pretty set with Haren, Grienke, Beckett, Ryu all pitching well, Kershaw coming back, and Maholm as a 6th starter. They are full-up on relievers. I honestly cannot see how we can make their major league roster better, unless they dump one of the starters above for Shark

    Plus, the OF the Dodgers would really like to trade are one of the veteran guys we don't want.....

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    Dodgers will need help at 3B and relief pitching. All areas we have a surplus in. The Dodgers are totally loaded with OF'ers. It sounds like an opportunity for a deal to be struck there.

    Maybe: Hammel, Russell, Marco Hernandez or candelario & Soler for Pederson maybe take back maholm? Probably not near enough.

    p

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah, I was thinking trading surplus for surplus, not necessarily Shark.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Like us, the Dodgers are going to want major league pieces. And that's if they don't try to move Ethier and Crawford instead -- which I'd possible.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleachercreature:

    That doesn't help the Dodgers; it's debateable whether Hammel is better than Dan Haren, their #5 starter right now. We can't even help them at the ML level at 3B; Juan Uribe is somehow doing OK, better than anyone we have. The only area at the ML level the Dodgers could use help is catcher....and we don't have any

    We can't help the Dodgers, so a trade will not happen...period.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I agree....they can help us, but unless we took Pederson and Kemp and gave them a good OF in return (which we don't really have), not sure they want to deal with us.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Let's try a three team trade. Last I heard the Yankees are looking to unload Gary Sanchez and are interested in Shark. Flip Sanchez over to the Dodgers. Obviously not the only prospects in the possible package but I'm just singling out those guys that could fit.

  • In reply to Jlars186:

    I like the Dodgers as potential trade partners. They have at least 4 starting quality OFs - the ones I'm most interested in are Ethier or Kemp. I'm thinking along the lines of Shark/Shierholtz for Ethier as a starting point for discussion. Ethier gives the Cubs a proven bat for LF and veteran leadership.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to VaCubFan:

    Ethier is signed thru 2017 with a vesting option for 2018 at appx $18mil per year. He's already 32 and not getting younger. That's a lot of money for an aging player with fading stats and recent injuries. I'll pass.

  • I've been banging the position player drum for a while. We got Rizzo for Cashner who just went on the DL, again. The Cubs will have a high draft pick this year and next year. If you want to get pitching you can do it then. Don't lock in on getting pitching for Samardzija. Pitching hasn't been the Cubs problem and I feel like you can put together a pretty good pitching staff even if its lacking an ace starter.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I think they should just get the best talent available, but MLB ready hitters are generally harder to obtain.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Absolutely! Prospects are like draft picks.

  • fb_avatar

    Good thoughts, you can make a case for keeping Shark, but I still think we need to deal anyone with value on an expiring contract. It only makes sense.

    Right now that is basically Jason Hammel, but if Jose Veras can put something together he needs to be dealt, if for no other reason than to clear the logjam we have in RH relief pitching. There are others than are tradeable, but Hammel is the only one of real value right now that must be dealt, IMO

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks -- I think you can make a case for it and you certainly have to be very demanding if you do trade him (and Olney's article quoting execs seems to indicate he will be very expensive to obtain).

    I agree that Hammel is the only guy with whom there is greater urgency.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed...the question is what is Hammel worth.

    I think he's worth pretty close to a Feldman, maybe just a smidge higher. He has better stuff than Feldman, but he's also had some good luck this year. A realistic goal is a Feldman-type return on him.

    Anyone else we trade, aside from Shark, we don't figure to get a whole lot other than maybe salary relief

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    I'm not sure I can see Hammel bringing back what the Cubs got for Feldman, although that deal still looks pretty good.

    If Jackson has a couple more good starts, with his contract, I think he's a real attractive piece. But he also looks good on the Cubs as a No. 4 or 5 starter the way he's been pitching lately.

  • Pederson would be nice, hopefully he can be had. But what about Daniel Carbonell from Cuba? 23 year old OF, supposed 5 tool guy and he's a switch hitter. I haven't heard the Cubs connected to him at this point though, unfortunately.

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I spoke to a scout a while back who wasn't enthused about the current crop of Cuban players, so I haven't really covered them that closely this year. Not one guy I have gotten particularly excited about.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Interesting, thanks. His age and him being a switch hitter made me think about him being a fit. Looks like he'll end up a Yankee or Mariner anyway

  • I have to say, I'm steadfastly against this line of thinking.

    I don't think the return should be compromised by insisting that the talent return is near big league ready.

    I want the best package this team can get for the players they trade for. If that package consists of big league ready guys, fantastic. If that package consists of a gaggle of highly thought of lower level guys, great.

    This front office has always taken a long term view and my hope is they continue to do so this year and don't sacrifice long term value for short term gain.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    But are they taking that long term view because they have no choise? Other than Castro they didn't inherit a great crop of MLB talent. They turned Cashner into Rizzo and that's great. They have Baez and Alcantara who could be ready. So because of the mess that was in the minors they had to take this long term view. But if there's a way to speed up the rebuild by trading for MLB-ready talent, why wouldn't they? As long as they don't have to rush their current minor league talent and start their career earlier than they'd like, why wouldn't they speed things up?

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    They wouldn't (or shouldn't) speed things up if they can get significantly more value long term through 1 package than whatever "speed up" value a different package has.

    For instance, Mike Wright in the Orioles system would "speed up" the rebuild, in the sense that he'd be ready to contribute very soon, potentially this year. But anyone that pays attention to prospects would much rather have Hunter Harvey, even though he's further away.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    You are making this into a black and white issue between low ceiling MLB ready prospects and high ceiling low level players.

    That is not what we are saying. The goal is to get both readiness and impact and for a player like Samardzija, the Cubs should not settle for either or. They need to get both.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The last paragraph is where we disagree.

    Given the right mix of players, I'm perfectly content with the strength of the package being weighted in lower level players, with the MLB-ready prospects being complimentary pieces (for instance, a guy that will be a good bullpen piece).

    I don't want the Cubs passing on a better overall package in order to get one that will contribute quicker.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    You might be, but if the pattern holds, the Cubs won't. Proximity to the big leagues also means much less risk -- and again, we're not talking about low ceiling players. But settling for taking on similar ceilings with greater risk? No thanks. All things equal, the higher level players is the better overall package. And if the strength of the deal is at the lower levels, then I suspect the Cubs will have settled for less than what they had hoped for. When it comes to using their most valuable assets (ie. Samardzija, high first round pick), the Cubs are not a high ceiling/high risk team, they are a high ceiling, high floor team.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I didn't say compromise the return. I specifically said not to get any lower ceiling players.

    What I am saying is the opposite, don't compromise. Get near ready MLB talent that will be here for the long term or don't deal.

    I think you are taking the long term view a little too literally here. Look at the recent history and you will find that the FO pattern has been to make a concerted effort to get MLB ready talent or prospects with the ability to move quickly. They have generally not made deals for high risk low A ball players. Remember that they like a higher floor to go with a high ceiling and, in general, the closer to the bigs, the higher the floor.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    But you are potentially compromising your return by not looking at options with more of a focus on lower level players.

    The deals they have made have been pretty mixed in terms of readiness. Garza they got back Olt, Ramirez and Grimm, but the center piece to the deal was a guy that was in low-A (at the time). Villanueva and Hendricks were both at high-A when they were acquired. Corey Black was at high-A. Ivan Pineyro was at high-A. Vizcaino, if not for his injury, was ready to contribute right away.

    I think it's been a pretty solid mix of guys that were maybe a year away from contributing and guys that were 2-2.5 years away from reaching the bigs.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Black and Pineyro were acquired for players that did not hold a lot of vaiue -- which only furthers the point. When the Cubs have had value to deal they have asked for and received MLB ready prospects.

    In the Dempster case, the Cubs settled for Hendricks and Villanueva, who were considered sleeper prospects. They had originally sought AA and above players from the Dodgers, including top prospect Zach Lee, and they also made the deal for MLB ready Randall Delgado.

    It's not been a mix when the Cubs have had a choice.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Further, CJ Edwards was kind of a settle in his own right. The guy they really wanted -- and the guy they reportedly got a year earlier, in the situation closest to Shark's -- was Martin Perez.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, good point. And even then they surrounded Edwards with 3 MLB ready players to buffer the risk.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The evidence doesn't support your argument, though. They had value with Dempster and were content with Villanueva and Hendricks, instead of stubbornly demanding MLB-ready prospects.

    They dealt Garza to get back 3 MLB-ready complimentary pieces, but the main piece wasn't MLB-ready at all.

    With Maholm, they acquired MLB-ready guys, just had a setback with Vizcaino.

    Calling Villanueva and Hendricks sleeper prospects doesn't change the fact they weren't MLB-ready.

    The Cubs can ask for MLB-ready impact guys all they want. Of course they'll do that, they want to keep their asking price high. But they've shown they'll take the best package out there. Of the 3 valuable guys they've dealt, in one they got back MLB-ready guys (Maholm), a mix of MLB-ready guys and guys further away (Garza) and one with guys further away (Dempster).

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Cubs tried to get Zach Lee and then Randall Delgado ; they took that Dempster as desperate plan C deal as clock ran out. THey obviously took what they could when options ran out. That hurts your point of view

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Tried is the key word. They can try all they want to get a package of MLB-ready higher thought of prospects for the players they have, as they should. Keep your asking price high. But the bottom line is, they accepted a deal for lower level guys at the end of the day.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I disagree, respectfully. We're already in year #3. It is time to get major league ready talent. If they aren't major league ready it is another two to three years to get to where we are now. I also don't think insisting on big league ready talent is sacrificing long-term value for short-term gain. The kind of big league talent they'll get for trading JS will be top notch.

    Just looking at the haul from the Garza trade: the three big league ready players are contributing and showing upside and the one still in the minors is on the DL with the dreaded shoulder pain. I want to keep JS, but if we trade him let's get guys ready to contribute, in my opinion.

  • In reply to David23:

    But insisting on big league ready talent and refusing to look at packages built around lower level potential is cutting off your options. Put it this way: Let's say you're on a dating site. You like brunettes a lot, A LOT, and decide to filter out all blonde options (no idea if this is possible, but go along for the ride). You've just cut your dating pool substantially. What if Heidi Klum was poking around, like what she saw, but you don't let her contact you because she's not a brunette?

    I think it's very short sighted to limit your pool of returns to only those that are predominately major league ready players. What if someone comes in and blows you away with a package of potential studs further away?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    That mistake I think you're making in this is the assumption that it's feasible to get enough A ball and high A pitchers in one deal to make the value equal to getting one AA or better high upside prospect. The attrition rate for prospects in general and pitchers in particular is so high that it takes significant amounts of prospects to get one or two breaking through. CJ Edwards, for all his promise, may end up being proof of this. Hence one of the reasons John suggests holding out for a high level TOR pitcher. It's also the reason the Cubs loaded the system with high school pitchers in 2012. They knew full well that many of them wouldn't come close to the majors -- so far Ryan McNeil and Josh Conway look like flat out busts -- but they just needed one to break through for the draft to be a win.

    Even then, looking for two or more makes sense. Marcus Stroman -- who the Blue Jays refused to pair with Aaron Sanchez to get the starter they are badly lacking right now -- didn't exactly set the world on fire in his first call up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Of course it's feasible to find enough guys with enough potential to make up for one guy at a higher level. Depending on the guy at the higher level, it may not be easy, but it's certainly feasible.

    You're contradicting yourself a bit in this post as well. You're saying there's strength in numbers when it comes to pitching prospects, but then saying it'll take a large # of players to make up for one player. If there's so much injury or performance risk in relying on one particular player to come through, then additional value should be placed on the quantity approach.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    It's hard to know where to start here. You clearly didn't read a thing I wrote and just jumped in to contradict me.

    A guy who has made it at a higher level in the minors (AAA, AA) is SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to make it than guys at lower levels. You need 4 or 5 A level players, minimum, to get the expected career of one guy that was made it at a higher level. We are not going to trade Shark for 10 players.

    But even at the highest levels, there is no guarantee -- hence why most trades are for more than one prospect.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I absolutely read what you wrote, but you're not out of the woods yet with that guy at AA or AAA, especially when it comes to pitchers. There's still significant risk attached to that player, be it injury risk or performance risk, just as you said is the case with Stroman.

    Needing 4 or 5 A level players to get the expected career of a AA guy is too broad a statement without knowing the potential of each player. You're going to need a lot of Daury Torrez's to equal 1 Eddie Butler. You're not going to need nearly as many Hunter Harvey's to equal one Eddie Butler.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    You're going to need about four Hunter Harveys to equal Eddie Butler. The thing you're not taking into consideration with Harvey is how much projection he is. His fastball is currently in the low 90s. The high reviews he gets is based on projection that as his body develops the fastball velocity will increase and, as a result, he will be better able to challenge major league hitters. He's succeeding in A ball with solid off-speed stuff and a good knowledge of pitching. That's great and makes him a potential middle of the rotation starter if the fastball velocity doesn't tick up. But if it doesn't -- and there's a non-zero chance it doesn't on top of all the other issues with developing pitchers -- he won't be a top of the rotation starter.

    Eddie Butler has already jumped over that particular hurdle which raises his floor.

    Those two are actually a great example of why lower level, younger pitching prospects have extra risk than upper level pitching prospects.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I really don't know what to say to this other than you're crazy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    This came out today. Ryan Parker is clearly crazy, too:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23636

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I guess my thought is that the further they are from the majors the less likely they are to pan out. Unless we are talking high end talent (top 50 prospect) at A ball, we are inheriting the risk that those players won't continue to develop.

  • fb_avatar

    Intrigued that you didn't include Soler as a prospect with good patience. He seems to me to have the best approach of the big 4, Bryant included. Are the constant injuries making you doubt his prospect status?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oversight -- I actually meant to go back and add him and then got a phone call and forgot about it again (I am getting old). Thanks for reminding me.

  • On the Yankees point, one has to figure that these aren't the Yankees of old, and while they are in first place at the moment, Baltimore and Toronto are within a game.

    On the other hand, the Stenbrenners have always believed that it was their duty to provide a champion every year, thus why they might buy,

  • In reply to jack:

    Also, I just proved that some meatball who posts on Cubs Insider was wrong.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yeah, you're definitely not a Sox troll

  • In reply to jack:

    I think both of your points are correct -- and that the second one will override the first one.

  • John,

    Thanks for another great perspective. I think you focus on the key issue for the FO -- when is it time to step on the gas, rather than keep losing and stockpiling talent. I wish we knew more about the status of the financial side, which unfortunately may influence the decision significantly. However, if you image trading Shark for a MLB-ready bat and a couple of lower level but high-ceiling pitching prospects, then adding a TOR starter in free agency this winter, and even one of Bryant/Baez coming up to start next year, you start to have the makings of a contender. They absolutely shouldn't sacrifice the future in any of this, but it seems to me the tipping point is closer than the naysayers think. Add in the #4 pick this year and an almost-certain top 10 next year, and the farm depth will be substantial.

  • In reply to drben:

    Thanks. A financially inclined friend of mine talks about how the Cubs keep "selling the front month" and therefore absolving themselves of accountability in the present. I am not sure I would go that far because I think they've gotten a lot of young near MLB ready talent who are already contributing (and really haven't lost much when you think about it) but I think dealing present day talent for players that are 3 years away certainly feels like selling that front month. I think the Cubs have to draw the line firmly when it comes to extending the expected time of contribution on their return, which greatly increases the risk (many things can go wrong in 3 years).

  • The better Samardzija pitches, the more I feel cautious about trading him, even though his performance obviously increases his trade value. The reason I get more cautious is that I'm just not sure where you'll get a pitching talent of that caliber. He's on pace for a 4 WAR season. Even if he doesn't improve anymore, and puts up another 4 next year, I think you are better off having extended him. Sure, you might be overpaying on the back end of a 5 year deal, but given the fragility of pitchers- especially under age 25- I think you have to say to yourself, "I'm not sure where we'll get a guy this good that we have the first rights to lock up."

    Does anyone think Hammel is worth Colorado's Competitive Balance pick #35? I know they may want to add pitching, and he's pitched for Colorado before.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    Hammel for pick #35, I guess it is possible? But I think Theo could do better.

  • In reply to John57:

    I'd be ecstatic to do that trade....Hammel after April historically struggles and we would be trading something we gave nothing for with uncertainty of good production going forward for a good draft pick -- almost like we got a compensation pick for losing Hammel after just April.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    Can the A's put together a decent package for Hammel? He won't require a huge return but, I'm definitely not familiar with the A's farm system

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    I think Oakland could do it. Don't they have a competitive balance pick as well? I'd be happy to get that and a lottery ticket for Hammel.

  • Dream scenario would be to get both Joc Pederson from LA, and Polanco from Pittsburgh in separate deals.

    I'm sure that would take a bit of doing!

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    It may take a miracle ;)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Not really. Rizzo, Baez, and Almora for Polanco. Castro, Bryant, and Soler for Pederson. Boom. Done. :-D

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dammit. Jim Frey hacked my account again.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought I banned Jim Frey :)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    My favorite Cub manager. Not so much as GM ;)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    At what point do we make front office change ? IMO we're not any closer to contention after Theo and Hoyer came aboard,yes I know it takes time to build from the ground floor up. A five year rebuild plan is not likely,more like 7 or more,blech.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheRiot2:

    At what point does Theo feel the heat ? I'm also tired of not bidding on at least a pitcher and outfielder that hits free agency that makes sense,keeping in mind the usual age for those players entering free agency is 28 to 32. Lets put some players in the lineup who have nothing to prove.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    Who would you have signed in that age range in MLB free agency the last 3 years?

    It's a fine theory in the abstract but the truth is that if you look up those FAs and see their price and production, there really hasn't been a worthwhile signing. Sanchez is the exception, but the Cubs actually outbid the Tigers, he just didn't want to come here.

    I haven't seen anyone back up this tired argument with facts, numbers, or even good examples.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    we should've signed Cano. he's really helping the M's. Oh wait...

  • In reply to brober34:

    Ha! To be .500 ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Michael Morse

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheRiot2:

    Sorry, Friend. I think you're way off base here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I don't think so friend.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheRiot2:

    agree to disagree, I suppose. But I would make the point that Theo & Co inherited a 71-91 team with a big payroll and little flexibility as well as a poor farm.
    They now have a farm that is the envy of the league, very little roster or salary constraints, and emerging young talent that THEY have acquired (not to mention what was here like Castro, Castillo and Lake) like Rizzo, Wood, Ramirez, Rondon etc producing well at the MLB level with more on the way.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That said, I don't want to be having the same conversation next year. I understand what had to be done. You don't try fixing a condemned house with duct tape and new curtains.
    However, the foundation has been poured and had time to set. It's time to finish building now. I want to see what happens this coming winter.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheRiot2:

    If we changed our front office now, we would appear 100x more pathetic than we do now.

    Theo, Jed, Jason, etc would all have 5-10 job offers in the first few hours, and the future would not look ANY BETTER. Actually, it would look much, much worse.

    Seriously, this idea that all we need is to drop 200-300 million dollars on inflated contacts to win is absurd.

    Ellsbury has 0.6 WAR and will be 31 this year. Cano has 0.9 WAR and will be 32 this year. They both take up INSANE resources in payroll.
    Emilio Bonifacio has 0.7 WAR and was signed to a minor league deal.
    Castro and Rizzo are at 1.3 and 0.9 WAR on VERY team friendly deals.

    Seriously, the only GM more impressive than our own is probably Billy Beane and he has had the same spot for about 2 decades. And he also doesn't blow good money on overvalued free agents past their prime.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    Just checked my WAR numbers at Fangraphs.

    Castro 1.4
    Rizzo1.2
    Bonifacio 1.1
    Cano 0.8
    Wellington Castillo 0.6
    Ellsbury 0.6

    So Ellbury and Cano COMBINED have produced only equal to what Castro has. Thats $5MM vs $45MM

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    Yeah, I hated the Ellsbury contract for the Yankees from pretty much the moment the ink dried. Though I thought they should have re-signed Cano. Impossible to know how much playing in that canyon they call a ballpark is affecting him but, clearly, that wasn't money well spent, either.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, I was surprised the Yankees didn't sign Cano. It struck me as a pride/vengence thing.
    He was a home grown player and they didn't have anything real to replace him with.
    As far as the money, it's the Yankees. Since when did they care?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    a miracle, or Dave Littlefield. Sadly, the Pirates fired him in 2007

    The days of getting Jon Lieber for Brant Brown, or Aramis Ramirez for Bobby Hill, are long over.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Ramirez and Lofton, if I remember correctly, for Hill, Jose Hernandez and minor leaguer Matt Bruback. What a steal that was!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Careful, zonk. If Im correct, I beleive Littlefield works as an area scout for our beloved Cubbies.

  • I think the Shark trade will come down to a bidding war with AL East teams. That's a really tight division and I think Baltimore and Toronto will be willing to give up the farm for him. Yankees will want him but they don't have a farm to give up.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    If they are really lucky they can get Col/SF/LA bidding against each other as well as Tor/Bal/NYY.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That would be nice as well. I just see Toronto and Baltimore as a little more desperate. It only comes along every so often that they have a legit opportunity with NYY and Bos in your division. I could see them go all or nothing.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I'd like to get the Nats involved...my ideal trade for Shark would involve Giolito.

  • In reply to springs:

    I like Giolito and Gray but getting either of those two will not be easy.

  • It's a good piece John. Big thing is, while we all agree that Shark is worth more than Garza, better, so on, does that necessarily mean that a team will unload the farm for Jeff?

    Theoretically, yes, but in actuality, I do wonder what we will get.

    Or, I wonder if it will be a really creative trade involving 3 or 4 teams?

    Obviously, we know they won't pull the trigger just for the sake of doing it which is good. If nothing else, we keep him, try to compete, and take that draft pick if he leaves. I do like this scenario for sure.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    I don't know, but the person I spoke to was from another team, so it's not just the opinion of us Cubs fans.

    3 team deals are hard to pull off but it's always possible. The D'Backs do it well -- but they don't look like buyers right now.

  • Marlins just released Marmol.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    apart from rondon and strop, is there ANY member of our 2013 bullpen that hasn't been released by at least one other team and passed through waivers?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SKMD:

    Other than Russell and Carlos, nope. Camp, Bowden, Gregg, Raley, Guerrier, Loe, Sanchez, Putnam, H-Rod, Dolis....all have been either waived, DFA'ed, cut, available for free, or not even signed in the first place

    Go back one more year: Corpas, Germano, Wells, Coleman, Cabrera, Berken, Beliveau, Castillo, Asencio, Rodrigo Lopez, Socolovich (he was a Cub?), and that lefty who got totally Hinshawed.

    Yeah, our bullpen is loads better than in previous years

  • Even if they sell off some peices like Shark, Hammel, or Bonifacio; I would love to see them package some depth for a major league ready talent. Im wondering what kind of value someone like Villanueva or Alcantara would have in a deadline trade.

  • I would guess that our prospects would have less value to get a major leaguer at the deadline than they would in the offseason....at the deadline, teams want to win this season, so I think major leaguers get overvalued relative to prospects than in a comparable offseason deal.

  • Why would the Cubs trade Alcantara when they need a player with the exact tools and overall package, that he is developing?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Why would cubs trade shark then? When they need a player with those exact tools. I don't think anyone is untradeable

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Different scenario.

    They'd trade Shark because he's a free agent in 1.5 years and they risk losing him for nothing other than a draft pick if they keep him.

  • Villanueva is easily more expendable than Alcantra, as Arismendy looks like a future leadoff or #2 hitter (and a rare switch hitter in our organization), whereas Villanueva's going to get lost between Olt, Bryant, and probably Candelario in the long run.

  • why trade alcantra when he is in AAA? he could possibly be a starter next yr?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Ok I was just throwing out examples. If Olt establishes himself at 3B this year, Baez would more than likely move to 2B; thus leaving Alcantara expendable. That being said, I am a huge fan of AA and i hope he is our 2Bman of the future.

  • Daytona Cubs get a 4-2 win today. Almora 2 for 5 and, at least as importantly, throws out a runner at home twice (same runner, other teams catcher, both times).

  • I think Hammel should be gone... Extending him is as risky as any prospect we would get from him... Besides, it would open up a spot for someone like Kyle Hendricks.

    As for Samardzija, trading him could take the Cubs not one, but maybe several steps back... However, I'm also not too keen of the idea of giving him a Homer Bailey type of deal, plus a no trade clause like it's been rumored.... I also don't think he wants to stay at this point, so the Cubs may be left with no other option... Hopefully, instead of getting A ball prospects, or someone with potential but with plenty of risks like CJ Edwards, the Cubs can nab someone almost ready like Noah Snydergaard or Eddie Butler.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I would have no issue with approaching Hammel with a 2 or 3 year extension. That doesn't seem very risky to me. If he insists on 3+ years than deal him.

  • On the draft, if the top 3 arms are gone, I'd like to see the Cubs take a shot on someone with high upside projected to go about mid-first round (perhaps Newcomb or Toussaint) and then offer them significantly underslot (maybe $1 million under). These high upside players may become something great (and Newcomb, at worst, seems like he could be the hard throwing lefty in the pen with Vizcaino, Rivera, Ramirez, Grimm, etc.) If he doesn't sign, then we get the 5th pick in next year's draft and have two very high picks for what appears to be a good class.

    I'd like to get others thoughts on this, as maybe I am undervaluing Jackson and other hitters, but I don't think there is someone that is worth the 4th pick after the big 3.

  • In reply to springs:

    It's very difficult to get high schoolers to sign an underslot deal because they have significant leverage: they can just opt to go to college.

    I know that it's extremely risky but I'd like to see the Cubs consider signing Hoffman to an underslot deal at #4 and then pouncing on a first round talent that slides to their second pick. They should be able to get an exceptional pick if they can pay Hoffman near half of the fourth overall slot and then use the rest to get a player that slides because he wants top 20 money.

  • A question about the run differential as a stat of improvement. The game where we outscored the cards 17-5, how much of a difference did that game make in the stat? Seems like that game was a fluke and could make one think a improvement was made when it truly wasn't???

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yeah, but just about every team has one of those types of games so in theory it all evens out. You also would expect most teams to have been blown out by that many runs, so again it evens out.

  • John -- As I sit here at work and gladly ponder Cubs trades, I am amazed and incredibly grateful for all the hard work on this site. Before coming here, I don't even think I could have imagined a site where we get insight from scouts and analysts from the Cubs and other teams, yet that is exactly what you are providing on Shark's value (and such insight is the norm). This site is truly incredible and my knowledge as a fan is greatly increased from all the hard work you do and the intelligent conversation and views from regular commenters.

    This is easily the best Cubs (and IMO all sports) blogs that exists. On a slow day like today, I thought I should take the time and express my gratitude for all the incredible work you do.

  • fb_avatar

    With respect to JS -

    I think the Cubs FO felt he was a number 1 on a bad team
    and therefore wasnt worth #1 money - more like a 2 or 3.
    But now he is 2nd in the league in ERA - and pitching like a # 1
    so maybe its just time to pay up.

  • fb_avatar

    Good piece, John. I'm 100 percent with you on this, for what it's worth.

    With the consistency Samardzija has shown this year, and his seeming durability, I'm starting to think that the Cubs should offer him Homer Bailey money. If he doesn't take that, well, the handwriting is on the wall.

    The thing is, I just don't see anybody trading a top pitching prospect who is close for Samardzija. For example, Colorado may need him, but if it thinks Gray is a year away, why give him up?

    If Samardzija has to go, I would be OK with a top hitting prospect as the key piece. That gives the Cubs insurance if say, Baez busts and Soler can't stay healthy.

  • fb_avatar

    I'd like to see the Cubs take steps forward at the Major League level by the trading deadlines.

  • The Cubs need to go raid Boston's Farm System. It's time. They would match up great for Samardzija's services. Make it happen Theo make them PAY.

  • fb_avatar

    I think Boston makes the most sense for Samardzija.

    Potential long term deal-especially if they let Lester walk , deep system and win now.

    A picher, catcher and outfielder could help us be better in the short term and long term.

  • fb_avatar

    Webster, Lavaraway-sp and Bradley jr?

  • I was all for trading Samardzija prior to this season but now I am leaning more toward keeping him. There is too much uncertainty with pitching prospects. Also the rash of TJ cases, Samardzija is durable and seems to have figured out that he can still get outs without having to max out his fastball. I think I would rather deal Jackson and or Hammels and extend Wood and Samardzija.

  • I think it would be foolish to trade more than Hammel and Veras off of the pitching staff. That would be too much of a shock for the team. They need to see some confidence in the staff. Shark should be signed.

  • This sort of ties in, Jesse Rogers had some thoughts of converting the potential infielders to outfield sooner than later, even bringing up Baez and Castro.

    I thought that he had some good points about getting our best bats ready to produce in 2015.

    Not that we have anyone knocking on the door to call up Baez or Alcantara but come July or August hopefully it's a different story.

  • fb_avatar

    My first choice would be to sign Samardzija-for all the reasons you guys listed. That said, I think they won't be able to refuse the trade route. He's a winning lottery ticket right now.

  • How far would Hector Rondon go in a package for Joc Pederson?

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Not very. He's generally considered a top 30 prospect in all of baseball and that has probably only gone up after killing AAA as a 22 year old so far this season.

    He's kind of in the middle of Albert Almora and Jorge Soler but closer to the bigs and healthier. I wouldn't trade either Almora or Soler for another teams 26-year-old power reliever with an extensive injury history, would you?

    Including Rondon in a package isn't a terrible idea at all, but he won't headline a deal for a prospect like Pederson.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I wouldn't trade either Almora or Soler for another teams 26-year-old power reliever with an extensive injury history, would you? - Not straight up, but a playoff-bound team has a real need for guys like Rondon. But... maybe he hasn't proven it long enough.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I would think it would take a Soler or Shark trade to get Joc, at this point.

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I've seen Soler mentioned a couple times on here as a headliner for Pederson.

    Why trade a OF for another OF (especially at a lower level who is going to have to beat this injury rep he is starting to get) when you have 4 OF in the major leagues? Sure you can sprinkle in trimmings but it makes the most sense to get a player at a position of need who is close to the production/ceiling as the player you're trading away.

    You better believe Bryant and Baez are the first names mentioned at the minor league level by the Dodgers if the Cubs wants Pederson.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Good point on Soler. I was just thinking of it from the Cubs perspective of OF for OF due to Joc being a Lefty Hitter. Thinking more on it, and taking your opinion ito account, perhaps a Soler for Joc wouldn't be a fit for the Dodgers.

    What is your take, Jimmie (or anyone's) on Shark for Joc? Shark for Joc + Minor SP (too much?)

  • In reply to SymposiumX13:

    I think that sounds good. Without digging too deep into the Dodgers farm system I think a AA pitcher, potential mid rotation guy would make sense for both teams. Very fair trade.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SymposiumX13:

    It would be bigger than that. Pederson and Zach Lee would start it and more pieces would be required.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I don't know why the Cubs would offer a cost-controlled young reliever -- or why a win now team like LAD would want a guy who has only pitched well for a month and a half. He won't add much to the return and he has more value as a cheap BP guy who allows them to spend payroll space elsewhere. Just don't see the logic on this.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Rondon's been pitching well since the back third of last season. So well that he's become the de facto closer. If I'm the GM of a win now team, he's the guy I want from the Cubs pen. With Vizcaino coming, he's a strong asset you can move. Is he a guy you want to get rid of? No. Could he help a contender win a playoff round? Absolutely.

  • On a different note, just saw a picture of Dan O. Can't believe the physical change in that guy. His average is down. Is there still interest from other teams in him?

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Should have been Dan V.

Leave a comment