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With top prospects coming on like a freight train, Cubs should make their move this offseason

With top prospects coming on like a freight train, Cubs should make their move this offseason

Remember that  movie Silver Streak starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor? It starts with some humor and some mystery and ends with a freight train rapidly gaining speed and ultimately bursting through the Chicago train station.

I'm kind of hoping that becomes the story of the Cubs next season.

You may remember a while back I wrote an article where I stated that, while the Cubs are likely to sell once again, I was hoping they wouldn't take too big a step backward.  In that piece I talked about the importance of, all things being equal, getting as much MLB ready talent as possible if they indeed trade their ace pitcher Jeff Samardzija, as many expect.

But today I want to go a step further.  With top prospects Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara as well as pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Eric Jokisch, and a host of power bullpen arms quickly approaching MLB readiness, I think this is the offseason where the Cubs really need to start adding some veteran talent to the mix for 2015.

This is the offseason we have all been looking toward.  Not only was 2015 the year most expected their top prospects to be ready but it is also the year where the Cubs finally shed the last of their dead weight off the payroll.

The Cubs have a lot of money coming off the books, most notably Alfonso Soriano's contract, $14M of which they are still paying despite shipping him off to the Yankees.  Jason Hammel (6M), Nate Schierholtz ($5M), Carlos Villanueva ($5M), Kyuji Fujikawa (500K buyout to 5.5M option for 2015), and Jose Veras ($4m) are also expected to come off the books.  If the Cubs do trade Samardzija, that is another contract (expected to be $9-10M next year) that the Cubs won't have to pay.

Regardless of what happens in renovations, that is almost $50M that will be available on the payroll.  The Cubs need to use that money to build around their young foundation.

I'm not saying the Cubs should break the bank to bring in a star free agent like the Mariners did for Robinson Cano, nor do I think they necessarily need to deplete their farm system to trade for David Price.  But I do think the Cubs should take a step up from some of the more flyer type signings and waiver wire pick ups they have added to the mix.  The Cubs need starter quality talent to take some of the pressure off of the kids next year (and yes, those kids include 24 year old "veterans" Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo).

The Cubs will have a very inexpensive bullpen, a rotation with no pitcher making more than $11M (assuming they don't find a taker for Edwin Jackson), and they should have young, inexpensive role players coming off the bench.  With Castro and Rizzo signed to team friendly extensions and Castillo, Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, Lake, and Olt all still cost-controlled, there really isn't much reason not to spend.

At some point in 2015, the Cubs could feature Rizzo, Castro, Alcantara, and Baez as their infield with Bryant moving to a corner OF spot.  Castillo would presumably be the catcher, leaving just an outfield spot or two available depending on how Mike Olt and Junior Lake develop.

The lineup is decidedly right-handed with Rizzo the only lefty and Alcantara a switch-hitter.  While the Cubs would undoubtedly get the best player available to them, it seems a lefty hitting OF'er with a solid approach would be ideal.

So who is available in that regard?

As far as free agency goes, it's pretty slim.

  • The LH hitting athletic, 28 year old OF'er Colby Rasmus fits the Cubs mold to a tee, but he is having another poor season and his maddening inconsistency between all-star quality seasons and replacement level performances makes him a risk, so even if the Cubs sign him, it will probably not be a major deal.
  • The Cubs could alternatively go for Melky Cabrera, a 30 year old switch-hitting outfielder, but there may be some makeup issues there, though Cabrera seems to be genuinely liked by his teammates.
  • Lastly, Orioles lefty OF'er Nick Markakis, 31, has a rather expensive $17.5M club option relative to his performance and he could become a free agent as well, but declining defense and a lack of power for a corner OF'er limit his value as well.
  • A bargain could be 31 year old Padres Seth Smith, who is less known, but having a better year and has a better approach than the players above.

All 3 players are talented but flawed, so the Cubs could get them at bargain rates and hope to catch the proverbial lightning in a bottle.

As far as trades go...

  • Jason Heyward is the NL version of Colby Rasmus in that he has vacillated between good seasons and terribly mediocre ones.  He has a good approach at the plate but hasn't shown the kind of power most expected.  The Braves seem unable to extend Heyward and are looking to replenish their farm system.  Considering the good working relationship between the Braves and Cubs, could a deal be struck here that would benefit both teams?
  • If the Rockies fall out of contention than Carlos Gonzalez becomes a possibility with the Cubs in position to take on his entire contract and perhaps reduce the hit as far as prospect loss.
  • Chase Headley ,a switch-hitter, is having a poor season and perhaps a change of scenery might help if the Cubs can acquire him and extend him at bargain prices.  He's athletic enough to play the OF if needed.
  • 28 year old switch-hitting 3B Pablo Sandoval is also intriguing, but the fact that he is having a poor season, plays 3B, and has a bad baseball body that brings questions as far as his long term defensive home give me pause.
  • Dodgers OF prospect Joc Pederson is a huge favorite around here and if the Dodgers feel they need more pitching, then the Cubs need to ask for the young, near MLB ready LH outfielder with an outstanding approach.  He'd be a great fit with the rest of the young core.

Those are just a few options as far as lefty hitting outfielders go, but the Cubs may also need to add a big time starting pitcher -- even if they do keep Jeff Samardzija.

Pitching

There are some big names that have yet to sign an extension: Max Scherzer and Jon Lester highlight the class and I really think the Cubs should strongly consider making a run at one of them as they did with Anibal Sanchez after the 2012 season-- though hopefully with better success, of course.  Considering the lefty OF options don't figure to be that expensive in terms of dollars, this is where the Cubs need to be aggressive with their spending.  Justin Masterson is another well-known name, but I consider him the next tier down and a lateral move with respect to Samardzija -- at best -- especially in light of Masterson's decreased velo this season.

Depending on the Samardzija situation, the Cubs could even consider a second, less expensive arm,  perhaps Brandon McCarthy or Brett Anderson.  The Cubs front office has shown a great ability to find starting rotation bargains on the market and I think that is something we can explore in more detail once we have a season's worth of data.

We also have to consider what the Cubs will pick up in potential trades for Samardzija, Hammel, and possibly Jackson.  The Cubs may well land MLB ready starting pitching prospects that could slide right in with Travis Wood, Jake Arrieta, and possibly Kyle Hendricks, which would lessen the need to get a 2nd pitcher via free agency.

The Cubs may only be 19-30 at this point, but the resurgence of Castro and Rizzo, to the big season from Bryant, to Baez coming on fast, to a host of starter quality and role players from Alcantara to Hendricks, to a conga line of power bullpen arms. this could all change in a hurry.

We don't need to assume that progress occurs incrementally; it sometimes takes leaps and bounds.  When we consider the emerging young talent and the team peripherals that suggest that the Cubs may already be closer to .500 than we think, the Cubs fit the profile of a team that could turn it around all at once.  But they are going to need a boost to get there and with a lot of money coming off the books and all kinds of payroll flexibility, the Cubs are going to be in position to make a key addition or three of established MLB talent to their young core.

I don't know about you, but I'm really hoping that this trade deadline is just a small step backward that will be a prelude to a couple of big steps forward this coming offseason.  I'm ready for the Cubs to move on to the next phase of the rebuild and if they play this right, then that freight train you see rapidly approaching just might be the 2015 Cubs.

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  • I couldn't agree with this more. This is (hopefully) the last protected first round DP the Cubs will have for a decade or longer, so the time to strike in free agency is now. I'd want at minimum one from the Scherzer/Lester duo, and maybe another SP on top of that.

  • In reply to Darth Stout:

    Man, I am hoping 2015 is the last year with a top 10 pick as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you really think 2015 will be much better then this year?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Different John but I would say it is impossible to predict now. We don't even know how this year will play out let alone next year. A lot of moving parts.

  • Yes to Max Scherzer and I say take a chance on Colby Rasmus unless we can get Carlos Gonzalez without completely depleting our top tier prospect depth.

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    Rasmus might do very well with good hitters around him. And hes a solid defensive CFer.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Rasmus is currently in the same lineup as Melky Cabrera, Joey Bats, and Encarnacion. That's just about as good as it gets in terms of having good hitters around him, and he's really struggling this season.

  • I completely agree this is the offseason to start. I'm assuming Shark, Hammel, and hopefully Jackson will be gone by next year. I think we need to spend on FA and use some trades to fill holes. I think our bullpen is set. I think we make a trade for an OF like Stanton or Cargo. Here is who could be included in a trade: Olt, Alcantara, Vogelbach, Hendricks, Edwards, Soler, Russell, Pierce, or any of the guys we bring in from a Shark/Hammel trade. So maybe something like Olt, Alcantara, Hendricks and Soler for Stanton. Anyway, then we spend in FA. Scherzer is a must. Maybe even Masterson too. And Rasmus.
    Lineup-
    1) Rasmus CF
    2) Castro SS
    3) Baez 2B
    4) Stanton RF
    5) Bryant 3B
    6) Rizzo 1B
    7) Lake/Kalish LF (Until Almora comes up in 2016)
    8) Castillo
    Rotation-
    Scherzer, Masterson, Wood, Arrieta, Stroman/(other Shark trade)
    Bullpen-
    Schlitter, Grimm, Ramirez, Parker, Strop, Rossup, Vizcaino, Rondon
    I think it's possible if they want. That would be one fun team to watch!

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    In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    Really dont think Olt, Alcantara, Hendricks and Soler would get it done - although that would be great for Cubs, no doubt. I think the discussion begins and ends with Baez/Bryant.

  • In reply to IlliniBone:

    They probably ask for both. It's hard to see the Marlins part with Stanton (a dollar) for nickels and dimes.

    You have to think Castro's name would have to be involved in any discussion. Proven major league player with a team friendly contract.

  • In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    I dont know about Scherzer. He just turned down a 6/144 million offer from Destroyed, so hes looking for something north of Kershaw. James Shields is a name Im throwing out there. Maybe not #1 stuff, but he pitches like one. And at age 34 he likely wont break the bank.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Don't like signing a 34 year old unless you're the proverbial "one guy away." He could go downhill fast, and with little warning.

  • In reply to DeuceBaseman:

    You are absolutely crazy if you think that package you proposed would land Giancarlo Stanton. If you want to give up Baez or Bryant along with Soler and Alcantara then you might get it done.

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    I expected a blurb on Stanton - or do you believe the asking price will be too astronomical? Given his start I assume the Marlins would start the asking price with Baez or Bryant. Would Almora/Soler, Alcantara, Olt/Valbuena, Vogelbach/Candelario/?? be something they would consider?

  • In reply to IlliniBone:

    I actually had him in an early draft but I think the prospect cost, which would include either Baez or Bryant at the least, would detract from one of the central points of the article, which is that the emergence of top inexpensive talent leaves the Cubs with all kinds of payroll flexibility.

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    In reply to IlliniBone:

    ZERO chance they even listen to an offer from us that doesn't include Bryant. Probably one of the other big 4 as well.

  • In reply to IlliniBone:

    They would consider several of those, in addition to Baez or Bryant. But there is no way we get Stanton without giving up one, and more likely both of them.

  • I'd be OK with someone like Seth Smith as a reasonable option for a LH hitting left fielder. Good approach and will be a more reasonable contract than Rasmus.

    Definitely some intriguing names on the second tier of FA SPs...hard to picture getting Lester or Scherzer, but would like to see them add two veterans to the rotation. Give them a rotation of solid #3 starters and Edwin Jackson to go with an improved offense.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I think the Cubs will be at the point where they can add these kinds of veterans -- they don't need to pigeon hole themselves with 30 and under talent as long as they have that core of young talent.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can see shark schierholz soler (maybe a sweetner) for cargo they get a top starter and as eplacement OF with a prospect coming. Shark would cost a little more than Cargo but it would solve their short and long term needs.

    Or make a 3 way trade for pederson

    Trade hammel & jackson then sign a top pitcher this off season and sign a hammel esque starter

    The big key will be schierholz & veras need to get going before they can be traded.

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    To me it seems like, as much as we talk about the Cubs need for pitching, our pitching has been very good this year. The offense is where we've had problems. I think getting another left hander to pair with Rizzo should be the focus this offseason, and I like all those options. The other trick is that with Soler running out of options, he could be tradeable (with Bryant taking over right) if he puts up a decent second half to this season. That might be enough to get the Rockies to the table on CarGo.

    I do think we should avoid signing anyone who comes with a qualifying offer, which almost certainly excludes Scherzer, Lester, and Masterson.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    True, but offense is a problem that is more easily solved by their prospect core. I think they need a LH hitting OBP type guy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Valbuena?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I see him as a role player long term but could see him bridging the gap again to Baez until he is ready.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This might be a bad example, but I see valbuena as a guy like martin prado. They aren't stars but can contribute and play all over the field

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. Theo has a knack, going back to Boston for finding effective pitching. Maybe not dominant, but effective. And I'm really thinking its no accident that none if our SP prospects are very hard throwing. Maybe we can avoid the whole arm falling off epidemic (some).

    But, as evidenced by our 29th AVG and 28th OBP, we need good offense with a a strong approach.
    (It's the only thing that makes me nervous about Baez still)

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    LEAST WE NOT FORGET... Back to the Future Part II promised a World Series victory in 2015.

    "Wish I could go back in time and put some money on the Cubbies."

  • In reply to Phil James:

    It is foreseen

  • I wholeheartedly agree! I would try my best to re-sign Samardzija and trade Jackson (may be hard), Hammel, Veras, and Villanuela. Scherzer would be a great sign along with Cargo, paying his whole salary. Perhaps Melky. Need a better back-up at catcher too. The relief staff is almost there. Jokisch and Hendricks to battle for spots along with a signing along the lines of Hammel, etc.

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    Read my mind, John. I just commented about not being in love with those same three FA options on the last thread.

    I don't think Lester winds up being available and Scherzer is going to be crazy expensive (not saying no to Scherzer, just that he will get PAID!). I agree that this is "the time" to make a move as far as the Cubs' timeline, I just don't see be a ton of great options available via FA.

    It may be time to capitalize on the next market inefficiency (the potential overvaluing of prospects) to put together a blockbuster deal.

  • Interesting that Theo/Jed drafted Lester & Masterson both, 2 of the top 3 SP's on the market....

    I'm still not ready to pencil A.A. into the starting 2B gig. I think that's Javier's spot and Bryant can stick at 3B for at least several years... That pushes A.A. to cf/utility role IMO. I think our ideal infield is Bryant/Castro/Baez/Rizzo/Castillo.

    Soler's injury bug is maddening! We need him to get/stay healthy, play well, get his cup of Joe in Sept and then he could be our everyday RF when we break camp in 2015. Diff contract situations probably make Bryant/Baez wait til mid-year 2015 unless they force the issue, which they may.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I wanted to throw it out there that Theo did not draft Lester. I mention that because another poster before used that as a reason as why Lester might want to sign with the Cubs.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    But he did come up through their system while Theo was at the helm so it very well could be a reason.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Choosing a team because a GM was in charge when you were in the minor leagues is ridiculous.

    If he chooses the Cubs (he has already said he'll do whatever he can to stay in Boston including taking less money) it won't be because Theo was GM when he was coming up.

  • Is there a chance we hold on to Shark jnto this offseason, and get some MLB help to entice.him to stay?

    This is why I want Baez and Bryant to get some time in the big leagues this year. Im not condoning rushing them; but it will be hard to stomach another slow start; which would likely mean another July sell-off.

    My dream scenario would be a Heyward/Cargo trade and a Sherzer signing. Add Baez/Bryant/Alcantara to Castro/Rizzo/Shark and Woody; and we got something cooking in 2015.

  • I know Theo has talked before about how payroll flexibility has become one of the most valuable commodities in todays game due to the CBA. For that reason, I just can't see the Cubs genuinely considering signing Scherzer to a $200MM contract which would hamstring their financial flexibility over the better part of the next decade. $30MM AAV contracts become a lot of dead weight pretty fast.

  • In reply to MKE cubs:

    Exactly MKE-Scherzer is also 31, and his velo is likely to stop dec lining in 2-3 years. Hes already turned down a 6/144m offer from the Tigers, so hes looking for Kershaw $(wish him luck-hes not Kershaw).

  • Seth Smith. Lefthanded OF with a great approach.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    And if we are going to spend on a frontline pitcher, I would rather go with James Shields. Could probably get him on a 4-5 year deal as opposed to 8-10 for Scherzer. I don't like long term deals for pitchers. 4 years is the most I am comfortable with, I could maybe talk myself into 5 for a guy like Shields who has always been healthy.

    I'd offer 3 year deals to Liriano or De la Rosa as a fallback. Brett Anderson on a 1 year with options, make good contract would be another possibility.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    A backup catcher would be nice too. Maybe Ross or Suzuki on 1 year deal, but the FA market is almost non existent outside of Russell Martin and Pierzynski who will most likely get a starting gig somewhere.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I actually saw something the other day about where Austin Hedges is being dangled for some help in SD. IF that is true and Team Theo is not involved getting this kid in some way I am totally going to be disgusted.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Aoki would be my prefered fallback if they couldn't get Smith. The trade market is the only way I would be willing to go in order to find a long term answer in the OF. Otherwise I would rather get a solid professional hitter with OBP skills like Smith or Aoki on short term deals. Rasmus and Cabrera will both get way more money and years than they are worth. Markakis looked like he was ready to fall off the cliff last year. He's seemingly bounced back some this year, but he would scare the hell out of me on a multiyear deal.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    LF Smith/Aoki Denorfia/Ruggiano
    3B Bryant Olt/Villanueva
    1B Rizzo
    2B Baez Valbuena/Watkins
    SS Castro
    CF Alcantara
    LF Lake Kalish/Sweeney
    C Castillo Ross/Suzuki/Lopez

    Samardzija, Shields/De La Rosa/Liriano, Wood, Arrieta, Jackson

    Vizcaino, Rivero, Ramirez, Rondon, Rosscup, Strop
    Depth: Hendricks, Grimm, Jokisch, Rusin, Parker, Hatley

    OF would still be thin, but Soler/Almora would be the long term improvements needed. And maybe one of Bruno(in LF), Andreoli, Silva, Szczur might be able to add a boost until then.

    I think this team would be a WC contender, and then depending on how quickly the hitting prospects develop they could be more in the near future.

  • WOW that is a lot of moves. I see this amount of action very unlikely. There are going to be moves but WOW.

  • The reality is there won't be a lot of great talent to be had, as it will most likely have to come via trade.

    One of Baez, Olt, Bryant, or Alcantra is going to create a logjam of some sort, so I would look for one of those to be one of the headliners of a veteran win now trade, maybe with a Soler/Almora type if it's someone big.

    Problem is, most teams want young pitching, and we don't have it, so Shark is still the ultimate chip for the time being. But, we want young pitching for him too.

    (And, power hitters are a commodity as well, I realize)

    Interesting situation that I hope finds a way to be good for the Cubs now and in the future.

  • fb_avatar

    Three names I'm surprised you didn't mention are Norichika Aoki, Alex Rios and Jonny Gomes. Gomes and Rios are righties, but deserve attention for a decent price. Aoki can play all OF positions comfortably and has good OBP skills.

  • I would really like to see the Cubs sign Samardzija, trade Hammel, and try to find a taker for Jackson (if not no big deal). In this scenario you aren't taking a step backwards you are holding pat and you can still go out and find a few veterans. Unless you get absolutely blown away with a trade deal I see no point in moving Samardzija if you are going to splash big dollars for Scherzer. Sign the man and move on. Plus signing him shows other players the Cubs want to keep their own. Another point is: what vet wants to sign with a losing team? You really got to start putting a winning product out there to get more winners to come.

  • In reply to svelocity:

    Or, if we can't get the talent in trade and can't sign him, keep Samardzija for 2015, keep him in the rotation along with a free agent pick up, and then make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. If he jumps, take the top-tier compensation draft pick.

  • In reply to svelocity:

    I'm totally on board with this, although I recognize the value of trading Samardzija: the best possible outcome involves trading Samardzija for a nice prospect haul, then turning around and signing two of the big three free agent starters (Scherzer, Lester, Shields...and maybe Masterson depending on comfort level) as opposed to extending Samardzija and signing just one of those free agents. You just come away with more total assets and the only additional cost is cash.

    But absent that, I'm with you: extend Samardzija, flip Hammel, and feel free to read the market with Edwin. I still like Edwin more than just about everyone else, but I'd be fine with a decent return for him.

    I wrote most of this last week: http://huffonsports.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-cubs-one-year-from-now.html

    The one complicating factor, to me, is the outfield market after the 2015 season. I think it's rather clear that the Cubs need an outfield upgrade, whether that comes from Soler or outside the organization. I think we'll see Rizzo-Baez-Castro-Bryant across the infield and I also think that Lake will grab a job, even if he's a non-impact toolsy guy. It's those other two outfield spots, and while I see Alcantara getting a shot in CF with Olt getting another year - this time in a corner - don't discount the possible impact coming from the free agent class that includes Jason Heyward (25), Justin Upton (27), Austin Jackson (28), and Yoenis Cespedes (29). Many of those guys will be right up our alley.

  • In reply to svelocity:

    You read my mind. Sarge is actually younger than Scherzer,, and less expensive even if we give him 1000 million dollar contract.

  • I think the Cubs should trick the Rangers into another trade. Send Samardzija for Joey Gallo, Alex Gonzalez and Luke Wilson. Can you imagine the power of Bryant, Gallo and Baez in one line up.

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    Can we all PLEASE just collectively let go of the Stanton fantasy?

    I'd lovr to get Cargo but I seriously doubt its possible.

    Heyward is a real possibility, but he's in the middle of a second straight awful season.

    I'm hoping we flip Shark for Joc, personally.

    And I'd actually be okay with going all out for a Scherzer or Shields.

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    How about extending Hammell? He seems to be as good (outside of one or two really big names) as anyone on the market. I loved this article and I am already drinking your cool-aid so hopefully it all comes to pass!! (p.s. I would love to see them do nothing, unless its add a player, at the trade deadline)

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    In reply to Brandon Halford:

    No thanks. He's having a good season and (in my opinion) the smart thing to do is leverage that into something better and younger, like they did last year with "Marty" Feldman.
    Hammel carries a career 4.70 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and .270 BAA. Most career scrubs and journeymen return to their usual selves following a career year. Just as Keppinger from 2012 to 13 and Navarro 2013 to 14 both did.

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    Just last week, both Buster Olney and Keith Law suggested that the Rangers break up the team. If Adrian Beltre were to be made available, I would love to see a package start with Olt and bring him to be that veteran presence in the 4 spot who is a PRO. I would then check with ATL about a huge deal.... Shark, Nate and Soler for Heyward, Lucas Sims and ..... Move Castro to #2 in the lineup and it now resembles an ML lineup and Baez can play 2nd and hit 6th when he comes up in August. Then you are open for business with FA pitchers for 2015.

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    In reply to Louie101:

    Beltre is what? 36? Giving up a cost controlled Olt for a guy that will fall off VERY soon is an awful idea. We aren't playing for 2015 only we're playing for 2015 and on, indefinitely.

    Beltre is a guy that can help a team NOW. Like... This season.

  • In reply to Louie101:

    If the Rangers traded Olt to the Cubs for a few months of Garza, and then turned around and traded away their best offensive player to get Olt back - less than 12 months later - I think Jon Daniels would find himself unemployed and permanently exiled from the state of Texas.

  • Off Topic:

    For those in the Chicago area, I will be on the Griff, Quigs & Finfer’ show on The Game 87.7 at 1:30 pm

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For those not in Chicago, you can also find the show on...

    TheGameChicago.Com, iHeart Radio and TuneIn Radio.

  • I don't want to see Shark get traded. They need to just open the vault and pay him what he deserves. I can't think of too many trades where the Cubs would be coming out ahead in terms of talent, in terms of cost yes, but replacing the talent will be really tough. Ie. even if the Cubs traded Shark for Sanchez, Stroman, and a good 3rd piece like Gose. This would be a dream deal scenario, that I think the Jays would balk at. But still Shark is likely the best pitcher in that situation. There's still question marks about Sanchez's control, and Stroman's durability. While the cost control would be good, there's a reasonable chance the Cubs would be looking at a lower end starter who flashes great stuff, and reliever.

    The Cubs are going to have to spend money at some point. Why save it and hope Scherzer is willing to come here. There will be 29 other teams trying for him, and its not like the Cubs have the most favorable situation.

    That said I do think things are looking up for the Cubs. A good run differential. Their record has been skewed because their high-leverage relievers in April crapped the bed. Since then, they've remade their bullpen, out of what was expected to be their low leverage relievers (Rondon, Ramirez, Grimm). Their offense is still bad. There are 2 pluses in Rizzo and Castro. An avg long-term piece in Castillo. 2 servicable players in Valbuena and Boni. Lake has shown enough to get trucked out there. Olt has shown enough to play with some regularity. Scheirholtz and Barney shouldn't be playing, and if replaced by something non-terrible, I could envision the team making a really nice jump in performance. If you replace Scheirholtz with Rasmus, and Barney with Baez who wouldn't even need to be great, you might see enough of a boost get this team over 500 (not that far off already), and maybe a dark horse contender.

    Rasmus would be a decent get. He pretty much fits the bill for what this team could use. Defense, patience, youngish, talented. Frustrating as heck, but the upside is exactly what the Cubs should be looking for. Cargo is my dream scenario, I just don't see if happening.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Agreed

  • With the contract coming to a head at some point in the near future as well as the other shenanigoats you hear out the Nats camp I wouldnt be surprise if Harper could be had for the right price. Hell I would take him now bum thumb and all...

  • What about Joc Pederson? I know the Dodgers would probably rather trade off one of their overpaid outfielders before dealing Joc, but if they wanted shark, I'd be up for Joc + a pitching prospect or two. The idea of adding left handed power to that line-up seems intriguing. Maybe send Soler packing for some more pitching. Not sure about the legitimacy of that scenario, but something to dream about. Still need pitching though...

  • In reply to CubsWS:

    I added him on. I will add Seth Smith as well.

  • In reply to CubsWS:

    Do the Dodgers even need an arm? Baseball Tonight was talking about how they had the best starting rotation in all of baseball.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Good point. That's why I question whether they would give up their stud outfielder for something that is already a strength. But who knows. The Dodgers may think that Kershaw, Greinke, and Shark would be too hard to pass up. We can only dream lol

  • In reply to CubsWS:

    Going back to a name that someone mentioned earlier, I think Pederson for Beltre works out perfect for both teams.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    The potential weak spot is Beckett, who obviously just helped himself a lot. What Samardzija would allow them to do, however, is put Beckett in short relief where they have holes and he would dominate.

  • Maybe impossible but I hope they spend the money locking up Shark and bringing in either Lester of Max. Shark is a relatively known quantity while his potential return is just that, potential.

  • Lester or Max, sorry. I just don't feel that jazzed about any of the names above. Maybe Cargo or Stanton but I would not expect them to come for small packages.

  • I know the temptation is to keep Samardzjia and when you have a pitcher like him, it would be great. However, the play to keep Jeff would be favorable if we had some AA and AAA TOR guys and right now we don't have any except for Edwards and he's hurt and may be more of a 3. To get the true replacement for Samardzjia, the Cubs are going to have to go out and get a FA. Use the prospects from the Samardzjia trade to acquire a bat. That would block one of the prospects but that is a good thing to have right now because that one prospect could net a TOR starter down the road.

    My thought is and I know that this might not be popular is that the Cubs have more options to be good by trading Samardzjia for prospects than they have if they sign him. If they sign him, they better hope all of the prospects hit, If they trade him, they will still need a FA pick up and they can pick and choose and hope there is an odd man out that they can use to get a TOR starter.

    This team is better than their record and while many of us stared at the payroll commitments that Hendry put us in while looking at Cot's Baseball contracts back in 2009-2010, the end of the pain is in sight. This team is in a good position and it will have been a long 6 seasons since the 2008 team fell on their face in the playoffs.

  • In reply to joparks:

    Agree 100%

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    I was wondering how long it would be before John wrote this article. I'm also a little surprised that the comments so far haven't really mentioned Joc Pederson's name. This kid is a perfect fit for what we need to man LF, imo.

    We also know that the Dodgers are looking to get a little younger and possibly need a 3B for the future. They really seem like a perfect trade partner for us.

    A possible trade of Olt for Pederson as the main parts of the trade seem to be in order here. Of course there may be a few others thrown in just to get the deal done but this would have me giggle like a little school girl if it gets done.

    Then if Theo goes crazy with the signing of Max Scherzer and maybe James Shields, I would stand pat with my prediction that the Cubs are in the playoffs NEXT SEASON!

    Opening day lineup:

    ALCANTARA 2B
    CASTRO SS
    RIZZO 1B
    BRYANT RF
    BAEZ 3B
    PEDERSON LF
    LAKE CF
    CASTILLO C
    SCHERZER P

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Boca, i love the thought of Pederson in a Cubs uniform! But Olt as our headliner isn't even close. Seriously you need Baez or Bryant for Pederson and Olt can be part of the change back and forth.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    That is exactly what I was about to say. Baez and Olt for Pederson MIGHT get it done.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Theo should have his head examined if he offered Baez for Pederson straight up. The Dodgers would jump on that before Theo sobered up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, don't take the point wrong, I would not be happy trading either Baez or Bryant. I'm referring to what end of the pool you are swimming in. A trade for Shark could work as well.

    The point is Olt doesn't get it done with some little stuff changing hands. Olt has a lot more to prove to get his value back to that level. The Dodgers are not making a Pederson for Olt as headliners deal.

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    The Cubs aren't making a Baez for Pederson headliners deal. It's honestly hard to know what is fair for Pederson without knowing what the Dodgers want to do with their outfield and what the other offers are. If Olt nears .250/.330/.500 for the season (which is possible, though unlikely), he's back up to the top 30 prospect he was, except he's done it in the majors.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree, Olt needs a respectable BA. Even when he was a high ranking prospect the question was could he hit MLB pitching for a decent average. He hasn't answered that question in a positive way yet.

    I also agree the Cubs are not making a Baez/Bryant trade for Pederson. If the Dodgers are not in the Shark market what trade seems reasonable?

    To be honest my guess is the Dodgers try and unload a current OF before moving Pederson.

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    There's a problem with that. Pederson is a still rookie and while he's a very good prospect he is not an elite prospect. Much like Olt, you can expect a bit of a bumpy road transitioning to the majors. The Dodgers are trying to win now and so waiting for Pederson to hit his prime may be worse for them than using the outfielders they have now. (Think about the rough road to success for Rizzo, for example.)

    They have a very tough decision to make on this one.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    lol @ might.. joc is nice.. but his impact is nowhere near what Baez/Bryants could be..

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    The Dodgers would want established MLB players. Even if they like their prospects, it seems like they're determined to have the best, most unbeatable roster.

    Shark would probably be the only guy that would get us Joc, but obviously we'd be getting more than that.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I hear ya and my proposal with Olt and Pederson was just showcasing what the headliners might be. I don't see Olt being our 3B for the next decade so that may make him a guy that the Cubs were willing to give up. Even if we offered another prospect or two or someone like Olt and Soler for Pederson, I think is more than enough to get this trade completed.

    But there is no way that Baez or Bryant will be traded, period! I'm sure that the Dodgers also know that Theo and the Cubs will just walk away if the price is too high.

    Bottom line is, I agree with this article and fully expect to see some major deals go down for the Cubs by the time opening day 2015 comes our way.....

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    "Remember that movie Silver Streak....and ends with a freight train rapidly gaining speed and ultimately bursting through the Chicago train station."

    I thought that actually happened

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFiN3m64LnQ

  • My radio slot just got changed to 2:30

  • If Shark were a FA, we would be screaming for Theo to sign him.

    What would it take to get Kemp off of LA's hands? LA likely to pay part of that freight.

    Shields for 4 years buys time for others to come up through the system

    We are stuck with Jackson.

    Shark, Shields, Wood is a really good top 3. A host of candidates to fill the back end.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    "If Shark were a FA, we would be screaming for Theo to sign him."

    You summed it up perfectly.

  • Thanks for bringing up Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, probably my favorite actors in my childhood. Any movie starring them or Dom Delouise I was all over.

  • Great stuff John.

    One thing to mention is the current Cubs payroll is a good $20-$30 mil light. Their move for Tanaka would be and example, Theo even talked about keeping his powder dry if the right FA's were not available for the Cubs to sign.

    Even keeping Shark, they could have $50-60 mil to spend if the right guys would come aboard. Money will be less of an issue than finding the right fits, they have left themselves in a strong financial place to get things done when the time comes.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Thanks and very good point... they could actually add more than just payroll they are shedding.

  • We really need to somehow get Joc Pederson. Unbelievably, he was an 11th round selection!

    His numbers right now in AAA are .348/ .453/ .647 with 15 HR 32 RBI and 36/61 walk to strikeout ratio.

    that would look real good in RF.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Darwin Barney could hit in Albuquerque. Don't read too much into the numbers players put up there. He is a good player, but he is not anywhere near the level of Baez or Bryant.

  • I feel like if the FO is genuinely eyeing 2015 as a truly competitive year, they have to use some of their money on Samardzija then use some more on another front line pitcher. I know they'd get back MLB ready pitching in return for him in a trade but being "big league ready" and being ready to front a rotation are two different things. We'll never be that perpetual playoff threat without a nasty front three.

    They can get plenty of ready arms for Hammel and maybe Jackson. Keep the big guy. Pay the big guy!!! Especially after that sweet bat flip yesterday on that HUGE double!

  • Not really here or there, but can we end the Emilio Bonifacio as a leadoff hitter thing yet? 253 OBP and 575 OPS in May. This is Neifi Perez 2.0. For comparison sake, Darwin Barney in May: 267 OBP and 577 OPS. Bonifacio has me begging for Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano at this point.

    The guy is a utility player, he should be the 25th man, not a starter. I know we are not spoiled for better options in CF at this point, but can we please just get Valbuena at leadoff?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    While I agree with you, but who the heck would you want to replace him with. This is the problem with the Cubs offense. Its such a dogs breakfast, that Boni is still a bright spot.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    That's a little harsh. He's no more likely to sustain those numbers than he was the .385 OBP he put up in April. I don't think he's any long term answer, but after the start he had he deserves more than to be supplanted after a couple of bad weeks. As you said, not a ton of better options.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I'm not saying take him out of the lineup completely yet, as i said I'm not sure we have a better CF, just take him out of the leadoff spot. Move him down to the 8 hole.

    And other than the first week or two of the season he hasn't hit right handers at all. Kalish was outproducing him. For the season (including his outrageous April numbers) Bonifacio has hit 246/293/326 against righties. Kalish: 241/300/337. And yet we need to play Bonifacio everyday and Kalish needs to go to Iowa (despite the fact we are carrying 13 pitchers)?

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I can get on board with that. I don't know what the answer at the top of the lineup would be (Valbuena would be great currently, but I have my doubts he will maintain this pace). For the record, I would love to see Kalish taking Nate's AB's right now, but short of that, I'm glad their going to get him everyday reps.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    nice post.

  • Don't know much about Pederson but he has some great minor league numbers. Would love to add him to this line up. People keep talking about the Cubs pitching, but pitching isn't, and hasn't been their problem. You can win a lot of games with Wood/Arrieta/Hammel types if you have a great offense.

  • John, I would still include Ethier on the list, and left-handedness be damned, I'd put Cuddyer on the list too. A smart hitter with a solid approach is what's needed. An outfielder.

    Nice to think of names like Pederson, but what this young offense needs is a veteran presence. Bonifacio is helping the Latino players this year - I would keep him for at least two more years as well.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Agree a veteran presence would be ideal -- but also wouldn't mind getting Pederson, which would allow you to get a cheaper, short term veteran until almora is ready.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Is Cuddyer really an OF at this point though? He should probably be limited to DH.

  • I still think next season will just be a mediocre year, maybe 70-80 something wins. That also depends on what they do this off-season

  • Reds have just signed Marmol. can't wait to see him closing againts the Cubs...

  • In reply to Csanad:

    Reds must be trying to get the #1 pick next year.

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    It's time to pounce, and depending on what happens between now and the offseason, I like the idea of going all out to sign Scherzer. But I think they have to be prepared for the sticker shock and be ready to approach a $200 million deal, because that's what it's going to take unless he falls apart between now and then.

    That's why I think they have to swallow hard and think about offering Samardzija $20 per. I think they are about the same age, and frankly, I don't think Scherzer projects that much better over the next five years than Shark. If you could real them both in for $50 million per, I think you do it. Otherwise, you prepare to wait a few more years to contend.

    In addition to these two guys, I still think you sign a secondary guy. Like John said, the FO has been magnificent at finding those MOR-type guys.

    I think there is enough in the system to take care of the bullpen.

    As for the position guys, signing Rasmus to a three-year deal works for me. By that time, hopefully Almora is ready.

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    Re: Joc Pederson. I've been as big a proponent of him as anyone here, but I think he's starting to take on mythical proportions. He's a good prospect, but his insane numbers this year appear to be at least partly a function of playing in Albuquerque, which is the PCL's equivalent of Coors Field.

    Offensively, he is not in the same tier with Baez and Bryant, but he could be a guy who hits .280 with 20+ HR, which is a very nice piece to have from the left hand side to break up Bryant and Baez.

    Also, he is a young player. Part of the point of John's article is that we need to bring in established players to take some pressure off of the rookies. I tend to agree with this. I think it's safe to say, based on history, that Alcantara will take a while to adjust to majors and who knows what Baez will do. While they're getting comfortable, we need a steady hand to combine with Rizzo, Castro, and Bryant (who I believe is slightly different from the other rookies because his approach might be the best in the organizations).

    Perhaps an ideal solution is to get Pederson for center (which he could play, if not necessarily well) and someone like Rasmus or Heyward to man left until a decision is made on what to do with Almora.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike,

    If the Dodgers are not in the Shark market, do you think it becomes difficult for the Dodgers and Cubs to matchup?

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    As I said above, it's unclear. A lot depends on what other offers are and where they see Seager and Guerrero next year. (I have been told to assume that HRam is a goner.)

    Important to remember on Pederson: he hasn't done this at the major league level yet. Lots of reasons to believe he will, including his age and approach, but he is a prospect until he proves otherwise. If the Dodgers thought the numbers he is putting up at AAA would be repeated in the majors, he'd already be called up.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Glad you said it because, obnoxious as the stats are, its more the approach and projection that makes me interested in Joc.

    Gotta disagree though about the Dodgers calling him up if they thought he was ready. With an already extremely crowded OF, they have zero motivation to make things worse. Then they are stuck trying to move TWO ridiculous contracts? No way.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If you got Jason Heyward, he's your RF. He's one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

    Is it just that he's not hitting yet this year that people don't want that guy? Sign me up for an automatic 4-5 WAR player in RF that you would get all of the prime years from.

    Don't get me wrong if you can get Seth Smith on a good deal (considering this is his only great season) or some how pry Joc Pederson from the Dodgers, I'm all for it.

    But keep in mind Heyward can change a game even when he's not hitting. That dude is a stud.

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    In reply to JRS1:

    It's a tough call there. Bryant has all the tools to be exceptional in right, himself. He's surprisingly fast for a man his size and the arm is plus.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ii understand that and agree completely, but we already know Heyward can play Gold Glove defense there. If they're going to move Bryant to the outfield, wouldn't LF (especially in Wrigley) be an easier transition? Also, I'd trust Bryant's bat way more holding up LF than I would Heyward's.

    Either way, the potential outfield defense mixed with the offensive potential of those to players is... so good.

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    In reply to JRS1:

    Yeah and maybe you do go that way out of respect to Heyward's years in the league. Probably not a lot lost in either setup, honestly.

  • In reply to JRS1:

    Isn't Heyward a free agent after next season?

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yes. It would be way better to get him that way. Either way you're going to be spending an awful lot of money on him. I'm not saying I expect them to get him, I just like him the best of those options.

  • In reply to JRS1:

    I'm not dealing prospects for Jason Heyward and then giving him the ridiculous contract that it will take to ink him when he is a FA after next year. If the Cubs want to pursue him as a FA after next year fine, but I am not paying for him twice.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I understand that, for sure. Just the player I like the best.

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    Would like to see the Cubs do more at the Major League level after this season but I won't be surprised if they don't.

  • Here are some fun facts, kids. There are only 2 MLB teams with a better win/loss record than the Cubs (6-4) over the last 10 games. Also, ESPN's analysis shows they have 17% chance of making the playoffs this year! I could have sworn it was less than 2% just 2-3 weeks ago. Is there a non-linear jump in the makings for this season?

    I know, I know. Time to put away the kool-aid. I've had enough....

  • great article john.. but I dunno. I think we are one more year away from putting the gas pedal down on "acquiring" big free agent pieces.. just my opinion

  • The last I heard the Cubs and Shark were $25 mill apart and hung up on an NTC. Is that still the case John? Have you heard anything else?

  • The pitchers mentioned would be upgrades. Adding a bat had better be an impact bat. I would prefer to trade for Heyward or Cargo than to add more bridge players. Seth Smith or Colby Rasmus - I'll pass.

  • MLB.com with a nice article on (possible) future Cub, Nick Gordon
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/draft-prospect-nick-gordon-ready-to-add-to-family-legacy?ymd=20140527&content_id=76999496&vkey=news_mlb

  • Keith Law has the Cubs taking Conforto in the latest Mock. Lacks positional flexibility but provides production offensively. I know it is a mock and I know it does not mean anything, but the possibility of this pick doesn't move the needle for me. I like it from a success- make-it-to-the-show standpoint but Conforto creates issues as the Cubs lose flexibility in the system as he anchors one spot.

  • In reply to Gator:

    It is depressing. I have really been hoping that one fo th top 3 teams would fall in love with one of the HS hitters or just decide the pitchers were too risky, but it is starting to look more and more like every team feels the big 3 pitchers are the best 3 players.

  • In reply to Gator:

    i hope this isn't true. this guy reminds me of tyler colvin. the fourth pick should get you more ceiling than that.

  • In reply to djriz:

    He's not really like Colvin at all, actually. Better approach, more polished bat but less athleticism.

  • John, you probably should have mentioned Either or Crawford from the Dodgers as trade options. Not that either are anything great, but they could probably get the Dodgers to eat a ton of their salaries, and who knows, maybe they'd rebound outside of Chavez Ravine. And depressing as it is, they'd be significant upgrades to current options even if they don't rebound.

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    In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I think there is 0% chance that Theo Epstein trades for Crawford, whim he's openly stated is the worst decision he has ever made.

    I doubt he's interested in Ethier either, unless LA eats a lot if money... But teams usually only eat money if there's something else in it for them. Not sure what that is at this point, so I really don't see it.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    LA is going to end up eating a lot of money and dealing one of those guys. As far as Crawford goes. I agree its exceptionally unlikely, but hypothetically, if we're talking about LAD eating all but 18 million in exchange for Corey Black or Pineyro? Is this not even worth discussing?

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    In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Yeah. It totally is. You're talking about dealing an OLD center fielder that isn't exactly mashing for... Really Who cares?

    What do we gain? Ethier and Crawford give us very little. Even if LA eats a lot of money, we will still be paying a lot as well.

    For what? A small boost this year? A little bit next year (a season where we're not likely to be dominant)?

    I mean BEST case scenario is probably 2-3 WAR. And its unlikely.

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    Lest we not forget the Marty McFly prophecy of the Cubs winning the WS in 2015!!

  • They definitely need to do something....the Cubs are going to have to spend big (think Jayson Werth type deal) to get the guy they want. A lot of fans are getting really fed up with 95-100 loss seasons and any more after this season will be totally unacceptable. I still think they should have done something about the outfield mess for this season, but....

  • only way i could see Joc coming to Cubs is if Cubs send Shark for Peterson /Urias package which still leaves Cubs without a MLB ready arm . I still think AA blinks and we get Hutchison / Sanchez type package back

  • To the people want to sign Shark and think the Cubs should get it done, have you considered that maybe he doesn't want to be here and it's not as simple as just ponying up the money?

    I can't believe that some people don't realize that maybe he doesn't want to be here anymore and there's nothing the Cubs can do to keep him.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    That's a distinct possibility...doesn't make it a fact, but it's a possibility.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    The Cubs have been trying to lock him up since after the 2012 season, I think it's a bit more than a possibility.

    There's a lot of signs that point to him not wanting to stay. The annual sobbing he does when people get traded away, the fact he hasn't signed, his speech about testing free agency.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Let me also add my last post was mostly an add on from my original, wasn't completely directed at you, I get what you're saying.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    More than a possibility? Like, you know it to be a fact? I hope as much as anybody on these boards that they find a way to sign him, but it doesn't look good. But, at the numbers people around here were throwing out there (5 years/ $55M, stuff like that), I'm not the least bit surprised he hasn't signed. On the other hand, I certainly don't blame the FO for trying to get a team friendly extension. But, let's not pretend there has been an offer extended to him at anything close to market value for a TOR starter. My stance is: if we're going to overpay for a TOR arm on the open market, he's as good an option as any. Probably not going to happen, but I also don't buy that it's already been decided.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    My post had nothing to do about a fact. I clearly said "maybe" he doesn't want to stay.

    So yeah...

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yes, and then you said: "I think it's a bit more than a possibility."
    That prompted my follow up.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    That still has nothing to do about facts.

    Let me explain.

    There's a possibility I go to the store tonight.
    There's more of a possibility I stay home and watch basketball.

    Nothing of that has to do with facts.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    So the answer to my question is: no. I never that you said anything about a fact. You said it was "more than a possibility", so I asked (marked by the ? (Question mark)) if you knew it to be a fact. Questions can be fun when having discussions. They're a great tool for gathering information.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    It's a pretty dumb question to be honest.

    Yeah, Because I totally know for a fact whether he's staying or going. (That's Sarcasm, if you couldn't tell)

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Of course you don't, dude. Which makes it even more curious that you've clung to that word this long. But I love semantics, so let's talk about them...it's a very different thing to say: more OF a possibility, than it is to say: more THAN a possibility. The latter would suggest something along the line of certainty, or fact. (Thank you for pointing out the sarcasm, as I have a difficult time with such things)

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Sorry it doesn't suggest that in this instance. You were obviously confused.

    Common sense would say I wouldn't know it's a fact. The funny thing about common sense is it really isn't common.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yeah, clearly. Thanks for clearing up that confusion for me.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Not trying to stick my nose in someone else's argument, but I suppose the median between possibly and fact would be "probably."

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    ::thumbs up::

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    Lotta wish lists here, so let me add mine. I wish that the return for samardzija will include at least one prospect that isn't a big question mark. I know that all minor leaguers are question marks, but it seems every guy the cubs have received in trades in the past 2 years - from rizzo with his previous .142 mlb average, through volstadt, Stewart, t wood, vizcaino, arrieta and the smaller pieces - all have been guys we held our breath and hoped they returned to some previous flash they had shown. I wish for at least one guy I can put in the bank. That is all.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    this, my friend, is easier said than done. teams don't give up sure things (as much as there is a 'sure thing').

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    I don't like any of the names you mentioned. It's a very weak class of free agents. I don't think there will ever be a team built from free agency again. Not impact guys anyway unless that team is willing to over pay a star heading towards his twilight and have to pay him when he blows for 5-6 years to get 2-3 good ones. If Cubs need mentors fine get some role players. The impact guys will have to come from the system and they will have to succeed with the pressure squarely on their shoulders. Now I'm for putting a ton of money into an arm like Scherzer or Lester. Offensively i say stick with the kids. That or either trade some B level prospects for mid tier impact bats like Car-Go. Kinda buy now for next year. Not sure how many years he has left on his contract though. Guess that would be a factor, but even someone else similar. This way you don't deplete the farm system for a top guy and block or trade your young prospects. IF they plan on going for it next season which I am all in on I keep Shark. This way you start winning and he wants to stay, and you have your ace, because Shark is an ace. There is no doubt in my mind about it.

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    Right handed hitter, but it sounds like another Dodger outfielder, Matt Kemp, might be available. Probably wouldn't come cheap, despite this article.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/west/story/matt-kemp-dodgers-at-odds-over-playing-time-052614

    And I have to take back what I said on Pederson. I had heard earlier this season that he may be available. Now it sounds like they want to keep him.

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    So, just for discussion sake, what would the Cubs' record be if they had gone crazy in FA this past offseason (like some fans wanted). What if the lineup looked something like:
    *Choo LF
    Castro SS
    *Cano 2B
    *Cruz RF
    Rizzo 1B
    Castillo C
    Olt 3B
    Bonifacio CF

    With a rotation of:
    *Tanaka, Shark, Wood, Arrieta, Hammel

    Their payroll would be at about $140M (like 6th in the league)
    (For the record, I would not have been in favor of this at the time, or now, but that's a pretty competitive team)
    (And of course, I have the benefit of hindsight and picking only guys who have gotten off to good starts with their new contracts)

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    The other thing worth noting there is it comes with no second, third, or fourth round pick. Really makes it difficult to have an impactful draft that way.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Very true.

  • You gotta love ChiCarGo.

  • I think the off season moves will not satisfy anyone. The Cubs will break camp with Baez, Bryant, and Alcantara on the 25 man roster the Cubs will contend seriously for a playoff spot. Where Baez plays depends entirely upon whether Olt has shown the chops to stick in the starting line up.

    The Cubs will break the routine in 2015.

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