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Cubs Trade Samardzija, Hammel To A's For Addison Russell

Cubs Trade Samardzija, Hammel To A's For Addison Russell

UPDATE  11: 30 PM (J0hn): I've had two names thrown at me for the PTBNL, the first was Raul Alcantara but that seems unlikely if Keith Law is right, who said that the PTBNL won't change the value of the deal.  A second, unconfirmed name I got was Dustin Driver, who is a power pitcher who can touch 96 but needs a lot of work on everything else.  Good athlete, good arm, but very raw.

According to Ken Rosenthal the Cubs have traded Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A's for Addison Russell, Dan Straily, Billy McKinney, and a PTBNL. Samardzija was scheduled to pitch against the Nationals tomorrow, Hammel threw earlier today. Samardzija had a dominant start to the season before going through a rocky June. He still has a pretty 2.83 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, however and will be a nice addition to the Oakland staff. Hammel was having a darling season for the Cubs, sporting a 2.98 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He was an obvious flip candidate.

This trade gives the Cubs a lot of juice on the prospect front as Russell joins Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara on the farm. Russell is an athletic shortstop with the tools to stick at the position. At the plate Russell grades as a solid hitter with intriguing power upside. Jason Parks called him an “instinctual hitter” and he has the one tool that gets you to the majors, bat to ball ability. He missed some time this year with a hamstring issue but he’s done well at AA so far. The A’s have been aggressive with him and he’s responded well. Russell is a top shelf shortstop prospect who belongs in the discussion with the Lindor’s and Baez’s.

We'll have more analysis up as the story develops, including a full write up on the outgoing and incoming pieces here.

UPDATE 1

What it means for the A's

The A's are getting back a good pitcher in Samardzija and a reclamation project whose turned in a good half season in Hammel. Samardzija will benefit from the dimensions at O.co and the defense that's put behind him. Samardzija is a very good #3 pitcher who can rattle off a string of dominant starts much like Matt Garza. Samardzija has ace stuff, including a big fastball and a hellacious splitter. Command was an issue in the past for Shark but he's done very well to mitigate the walks this year as he's posting what would be a career low 6.9 percent walk rate.

I tend to think that both pitchers will work out well for the Athletics considering the defense and park. The A's are clearly in contend now mode and they have world series aspirations. I think this move works well for them but I do wonder if a small upgrade here could have landed them David Price. I think the two pitcher acquisition spoke to a desire to add quality and depth, and the A's didn't have a deep system to begin with so getting another pitcher after dealing for Price would have been very difficult. It's a small quibble, as I still think they did well here, but it still begs the question.

What it means for the Cubs

Well this one is a bit more complicated.

Heading into tonight the Cubs were +1 in Run Differential and were riding a hot streak. That's likely going to end fairly soon as the Cubs will likely use some combination of Dan Straily, Dallas Beeler, Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada to cover for the departure of Samardzija and Hammel.

But that stuff largely doesn't matter, to be frank. What does matter is the incoming talent that is headlined by Addison Russell. We have his write up above here, but the really interesting part is how many options it gives the Cubs. They have Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, Addison Russell and of course, Javier Baez as capable shortstop options. Alcantara has the flexibility so I think he sticks around but the Cubs can do a lot with the hitting talent they've assembled here. They could trade Castro for pitching, they could trade Baez for pitching, they could put them all out there at different positions, they could do a ton of things from here on out. The Cubs have cornered the market on bats and power, which is at a premium in the game today. While they've taken a step back today, they have made a major move that puts them in the position to take two steps forward tomorrow.

Conclusion

We don't have a lot of Billy Beane - Theo Epstein trades to look at, there have only been four not including this one. This is the biggest one. It'll be fascinating to me to see how these moves turn out. I think the move works well for both teams as they are in different places as organizations.

Much like the Andrew Cashner for Anthony Rizzo swap, I like this trade for both sides.

Filed under: trades

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  • Holy Moly...

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    I know we need pitching.

    But I absolutely love it.
    Maybe we move him to third, maybe we don't. Frankly, I don't care.
    Theo & Jed are certainly creating a monster.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    +1 Giffmo

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    I'm so excited , I can't fall asleep !!!

  • I wonder who is leaving OK City for Washington? wada and who?

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    Could Straily be a consideration?

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    Seems they'll need 3 with the double-header coming up. Wada, Hendricks (?), and who?

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    In reply to hawkmcd:

    Beeler? Doesn't he deserve another start ?

  • I don't even care that the deal isn't focused on pitching. I love this deal. Greattt job by the front office once again.

  • In reply to INgold91:

    Really? Am I the only one getting a bit sick to my stomach right now? Help me off the ledge and explain to me, just why you love this trade?

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    The talent in our aystem is now ridiculous. I trust this management...this return pumps me up!!!

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Its about the talent you receive back man. You can always trade these players for pitching when you need to. If its a really talented prospect you will get back talented players. Just look at this trade. A's got 2 good pitchers for a top prospect and some other interesting pieces. Its all about the level of talent you receive in trades and we got a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. At shortstop no less

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    TALENT! It is the currency of the rebuild. Plus they have a ton of payroll coming off the books, the second best currency of a rebuild.

    Bottom line get the best value and they got a prospect that is legitimately in he Baez, Bryant category.

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    Pitching is overvalued right now, and hitting is undervalued, and the Cubs are stockpiling hitting. And besides, they can sign a better pitcher than they lost in Samardzija in the offseason (Scherzer, Lester, Shields) without giving up any talent. And there is not a lot of hitting available.

    What I really like is that they can actually afford for one or two of their top prospects to totally flop and still be OK. And they have so many options on where to move guys.

    Say they don't make any trades, and I'm not saying they shouldn't. How about:

    1B: Rizzo
    2B: Baez
    SS: Russell
    3B: Castro
    LF: Schwarber
    CF: Almora
    RF: Bryant
    C: Castillo

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    i have a funny feeling there will be some misses on that list,ie baez who is having alot of trouble in aaa(see his batting average,and yes it IS a big deal)also not sure i see the skill set on almora,no speed or power,doesn't walk at all,saw him at Kane county last year,needs a ton of work in the weight room, a catcher to add to the list is will remillard ,good hitter,best defensive catcher in organization,also don't forget mr soler if he can stay healthy

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    I agree!! I'm tired of taking "one step back" for a POTENTIAL "2 steps forward"!! I want to see improvement NOW or giving up my 25+ year season tickets is a real possibility!

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    In reply to cubs420:

    Do it.

    You've watched 25 years of mediocre baseball and now want to give up when the team is being rebuilt properly for the first time in god knows how long?

    Bye.

  • In reply to cubs420:

    I'm sure there will be buyer for your tickets. But, you'll be kicking yourself in a few years. There's a cost for everything that's worth having. Think about it.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Absolutely not! This is an awful deal we get nothing useable in the master plan for two premium starters with 5 coming in Ohio. It is unconscionable IMO.
    Another shortstop prospect and an A baller who is 2% to ever see MLB. This is all I can stand. I'm taking my heart to Oakland where management has a pulse. If I'm Castro, I'm on the phone. Clearly they want to color him gone.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    "Nothing usable in the master plan..." Really? Please don't decide you're a Cubs fan when they get to the WS.

    Enjoy Oakland, or San Antonio, or whatever. Try not to be too upset when Toronto beats down Samardzija to win the ALCS.

  • At first blush, the Cubs need another shortstop prospect like Custer needed more Indians..WHAT ABOUT PITCHING PROSPECTS??????

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    In reply to Hey Hey:

    As we just demonstrated a Top 10 shortstop prospect can be traded for elite pitching. We have 2, plus a top 30 SS prospect (Alcantara), and a pretty good one in the majors.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly. Russell might be your shortstop and you can move the others to different positions or possibly use them for trades. Love this deal.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Your missing the point. The important thing about these trades is talent. If we need pitching we can always trade talent to get it when necessary. And I'd say this is a really nice haul as far as talent goes. And to pull the trigger on July 4th for both guys should tell you the front office was extremely happy with the haul

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    In reply to INgold91:

    I was hoping they would do this the past two years - package the pitchers together to improve the quality of the prospects coming back. Glad it worked out this year. Cubs have three of the Top 10 prospects in baseball right now.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    So what? Prospects are a dime a dozen Starting pitchers is what every team wants. Beane 100 Epstoyer 0. Just hideous!

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Better check again. Elite prospects are extremely valuable.

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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Top-10 prospects are a dime a dozen? Last time I checked, there were only 10 of them...

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Shortstop is always the most difficult position defensively on the field and requires the most athletic player on the field to be playing it... we not have 4-5 guys that can play this position and also have a plus-plus bat.... don't worry about their position.... we are creating a monster athletic club that can hit.... no wonder McCleod turned down San Diego GM job.. the celebration in October/November 2016 is going to be worth the salary he declined

  • In reply to MashBrotherMania:

    The problem is that you only get to play one of them a day. This is Wid Mathews crap. Brock for Broglio comes to mind. We got hosed.

  • Holy crap...... Both?

    Damn.

  • I'm totally on-board with the grand Jedstein scheme, but I'm sorry, I'm not seeing this trade's logic at all. Not one bit. Two proven, #2/#3 quality MLB starting pitchers RIGHT NOW. In exchange, you get one unproven minor league prospect, at a position where the Cubs already have an established big leaguer AND a superior minor league prospect at a higher level (Baez). So what the hell is the point of this trade? Where are the pitchers coming back in return?

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I remember Strailey is supposed to be someone who had potential to be a two or three starter based on last year's rumors involving the cubs. I don't think he's a TOR but need to know more about McKinley and this PTBNL to justify this trade.

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    I don't know anything about him, but McKinney was the A's 1st round pick (24th overall) in last year's draft.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Almora comp, I believe.

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    In reply to Cubsforlife:

    Hopefully they are waiting on medicals and PTBNL is Jarrod Parker

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I love Baez, and his offensive potential is clearly above Russell's, but I haven't read of anyone questioning Russell's ability to stay at SS.

    Hasn't everyone been asking "who's going to set the table? A guy who can hit for average, has a very advanced approach, and potential elite defender at SS sounds like a great fit to slot in a lineup right in front of guys like Bryant, Baez, and Schwarber.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    SS prospects can play all over the field, it isn't a log jam of LF's. Beyond that top prospects can bring in pitching. Lastly, it isn't mentioned much but they have cleared the decks of salary, they can replace some of what they lost in the FA market, and net an elite prospect.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    The Cubs got a decent pitcher back in Strailey - who from what I have read is probably a younger version of Hammel quality-wise and can probably slot into the rotation soon, a young and promising power hitter who plays the infield, and a couple other good prospects,....

    Is probably a good deal for both teams - better for the Cubs in the long-term, better for the A's this season as they try & make a WS run.

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I would have been happy if Samardzija had signed the $85 million deal, but now I'm glad he didn't. I think he and Hammel could help the A's win the World Series, but he is a career 10 games under .500 for his career with an ERA of about 4. And while he's had flashes of brilliance, he has been inconsistent as a starter.

    I still think he can be a No. 2 starter on a contender, but in my opinion a lot of the expectations for what the Cubs could/should get back for Samardzija were unrealistic.

    And yet, by packaging him with Hammel, they got a lot back. People are focusing too much on the SS glut. Any of these guys can play other positions or be used in a trade.

    Also, don't forget, the Cubs are giving up less than 1 1/2 seasons of Samardzija and less than a half season of Hammel.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Hitting isn't

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    In reply to Julie Willson:

    Hitting isn't the only thing at a premium. It seem like shortstop is too. I half expect Castro to be next.

    I don't know what is wrong with my iPad.. I can't get my keyboard to stay open. It posted the above on its own.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Jeff is a questionable 2 most of the time and Hammel is not a 3. Your assessment of their value is off target IMHO. You will soon see Hammel coming back to earth. And Jeff... his success has been unsustainable so far throughout his career.

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    WOW!!! Who would have thought!! Russell, Baez, Bryant, Alcantara, Almora, Schwazzer, Soler, along with Rizzo, Castro, Castillo. Who loses out if every single one pans out? Another trade coming involving prosepects?

  • In Rosenthal's tweet, he mentioned the possibility of other teams being involved.

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    For everyone that wants pitching, I think the FO just implicitly sent the message to every FO in the league: "what will you give for Castro?"

    Personally, I think a 2015 deadline deal with the Reds for Mat Latos and Stephenson sounds nice.

  • Russell, McKinney, Straily, and PTBNL said to be Alcantara. Now let's figure out how to get some pitching next year. Odds on Hammel coming back? What other targets? And what is up with A Vizcaino?

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    In reply to hawkmcd:

    So nobody thinks the Cubs will try and sign one of the big free agent pitchers?

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I think Lester is a definite possibility.

  • Addison Russell drafted 11th overall in 2012, was ranked #7 by BP, #11 by MLB, and #14 by BA for 2014. As rare as it is to acquire a TOR prospect from another organization, it is even rarer still to acquire a potential star shortstop, having great success and already in AA at 20 years old. I can't believe the A's traded him.

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    Like the deal but since it wasn't for a TOR starter someone will be the odd man out. Bryant is either gonna have to go to LF with Baez and Russell going to 3rd and 2nd....or it could mean Baez or Castro may be trade bait for pitching. I already see Alcantara in CF even before this deal. Just hope Russell stays healthy.

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    In reply to Kenny Dangerous:

    Russell was 215lbs when drafted and everyone thought he was going to be a 3B, but he dropped 20lbs to stay at SS.

    I wouldn't mind Russell doing the 3B thing with Baez at 2B.

    OR we trade castro when Russell shows he's ready. His long term deal is very affordable.

    Anyone that claims that we have TOO MANY star SS prospects, doesn't understand baseball.

  • In reply to Kenny Dangerous:

    Agreed. I think Castro or Baez is gone within a year. Both simply don't have to on-base skills Theo demands. I'm leaning toward Castro.

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    I'm no GM prospect, but I fail to see how we gained anything but downstream hopes for our pot of gold. I've been watching the parade of prospects for 6 decades, and in that time our winning percentage ha done nothing but decline. One more Bob Speake and I'll be cutting my wrists. The doamage done here cannot be corrected 'til this eason is officially over. For us it is as over as it can get. Why would anyone show up for what's left this year?

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Well you got back an arm that could start for you. You have got outside SP the 2nd most valuable position prospect in SS and between them all id bet they can get a SP under team control back

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    In reply to nkniacc13:

    His HR/FB rate is alarming.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Any Bob Speake reference is a joy. And he was sensational for a few weeks.

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    In reply to Kenny Dangerous:

    Everybody talks about the Cubs not getting TOR pitching, but that was never going to happen. Pitching prospects, maybe, but even there, why would you trade a guy close to being ready to be in your rotation for a Samardzija? If you trade for Samardzija, it's because you want to ADD pitching, not trade some back, unless it was somebody two years away. And that's not TOR pitching ... But there is TOR pitching available on this winter's free agent market.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    They could have had Hunter Harvey. The FO is questionable when it comes to understanding top SP talent. They won't acquire FA SP unless it's younger and mostly likely from Japan.

  • We could be moving prospects in another trade as we now have an abundance of middle infielders.

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    I think you're right there's more to come. Maybe we turn to Toronto now.

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    That is the first thing I thought when I saw the players named. Like Ghost Dawg I can't believe Oakland parted with Russell.

  • Dan Straily... obviously, major league ready since he's already here. Seems a better bet than Arrietta was last year. Like it. And the two top position player prospects (Russell and McKinney)... Looks like a lot of collecting of future position player trade pieces and creating lots of competition within the organization. All healthy. The PTBNL -- given Theo/Jed's track record won't be a marginal flyer. Of course, the addition of the SS prospect will have everyone buzzing about which of Baez, Castro or Russell gets traded this off season. All very interesting. Should be a busy off-season.

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    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Susan Slusser is reporting Straily goes to Iowa, which is interesting. That would mean 2 Iowa pitchers coming up to start.....Wada for sure, and probably Beeler.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Probably not for long. Did the same thing with Arrieta last year. Most likely going to work with him for a bit then call him up.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    By trading both Hammel and Shark early, the Cubs may see what market develops for Wood or Arrieta. I imagine Theo/Jed have a minimum in mind for both. If no one overwhelms them, they keep them. In terms of who comes up from Iowa, nothing wrong with giving Beeler and Wada 5 starts each, and then call up with Straily or Hendricks. It should all be about competition to figure out who has the right stuff to stick.

    Very excited about the potential future upgrade in SS defense and OBP in Russel. One wonders if this could be the Cubs' Ozzie Smith deal when Herzog traded Templeton for Smith setting up 3 WS appearances in the 1980s. Not that Russel is a potential HOFer. (No way to ever guess that.) But no one has built a WS winner with a Silver Slugger-only SS like Castro and Baez. Plus so many potential trade pieces this winter for pitching and quality veterans with tail-end long-term contracts.

  • Does Castro get moved for TOR as his value is climbing now? We lose 40% rotation; will this drop us back to more losses to get the higher pick next year?

  • In reply to edubbs:

    Higher pick, and more slot money for picks and IFAs (and without restrictions on those signings). It could get ugly the next couple months but I'm excited to see AA bump some of Barney's ab's even if he's gotten a bit warmer the past week. Would be nice if some of the other flippable guys heat up - Coghlan, Sweeney, Schierholtz.

  • In reply to hawkmcd:

    I'm going to assume you haven't watched any games this past week?

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    In reply to edubbs:

    hmmm. Castro and others to Toronto for Sanchez and Norrie?

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    In reply to Cubsforlife:

    Highway robbery for the Jays. Castro(considering stats, cost control, and youth) nets Sanchez, Norris, Stroman by himself at minimum.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    we said that about samardzija

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Samardzija is controlled for 1.5 years relatively expensively. Castro is a premium position player who hits better than 80% of his position and is controlled very cheap until 2020. Not close.

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    In reply to edubbs:

    I don't think the Cubs collapse to 2012/13 levels, especially if Arrieta keeps dealing. Straily looks like a legit MOR guy to me. Arrieta, Straily, Wood, Jackson, Hendricks isn't a horrible rotation, especially if Wood and Jackson can pick it up a bit.

  • Not what I expected or wanted. I'm just left with the hope that this trade was about acquiring pieces for trade(s) with (an)other team(s).

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I don't care about how it sets up future trades. You need to get equal value in the trade you've made, and IMO the Cubs clearly didn't do that. Baez is the top ranked SS prospect and Russell was fourth on that list I read. Oh I get it, Cubs have won four straight now and Theo wants to make sure to get that number one pick next June.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Who cares what you read? Where did you read it? BP's Jason Parks said that Russell will be #6 overall on their top100 list. This trade was obviously about quality over quantity.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Keith Law's preseason rankings had Russell (#3 overall) ahead of Baez (#7). Let that sink in a little. Going off of that, and given that I'm not sure that I'd be happy at all if the Cubs traded Baez to the A's for Shark and Hammel, and I'm feeling a bit better about this trade.

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    In reply to WSorBust:

    Sorry, but this is a fantastic return for a 29-year-old starter who has never proved himself as even a No. 2 starter on a contender and a reclamation project.

  • I'm assuming the PTBNL is Raul Alcantara and depends on how his rehab goes? Like Neil Ramirez last year, could be similar in that if the Cubs don't like what they see from Alcantara upon evaluation, their is probably a "B" package of 2 lesser pitching prospects.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    or Michael Ynoa

  • Straily more than likely comes straight to the rotation and Bosio can work his magic. He was a top 5 prospect for them with a 42-30 record in the minors and a 13-11 record in the majors with a 4.00 era in the American League West (with a DH).

    The FO will call up Wada to take the other spot and then Beeler eventually as well when they hopefully find SOMEONE to take Edwin Jackson off of our hands.......

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    In reply to SAPennock23:

    agreed on giving Bosio another project.

  • In reply to SAPennock23:

    That's a key for me. If Straily is Arrieta 2.0 we have some thing really big. If we can continue to catch lighting in a bottle with SP next year may be exciting.

    I have really enjoyed the recent success and hope that the drop off could be mitigated with an exciting call up.

    The rest of the season is a great try out for next year's pitchers.

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    In reply to rsanchez11:

    straily doesn't have the raw ability of Jake the snake.

    He had trouble pitching in huge ball parks, so I am scared to see him in Wrigley

    Although u never know, the demotion to the minors, a fresh start, and the help of Bosio could turn him into a poor mans Jason Hammel.

    IMO, this trade was fair for Shark but throwing Hammel in was over kill..........Beane almost always knows something you don't know ESP about his own players

  • Also, with the apparent positional quandary of Castro - Russell - Baez - Bryant - Alcantara...the simple solution is Bryant and Alcantara to RF and CF respectfully and the other 2 switch to 3B and/or 2B!

  • 10:28pm: There are conflicting reports as to the final piece of the deal: Law (Twitter link) and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) have reported that a PTBNL or cash will go to the Cubs, while Morosi tweets that no additional piece is involved.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Cash makes no sense for the Cubs, especially when trading with the A's. If anything maybe some IFA slot money goes there with R. Alcantara coming back. I think there has to be a PTBNL for the FO to have pulled the trigger so early (not that the ones already named aren't a solid haul).

  • In reply to hawkmcd:

    Why doesn't cash make sense? Don't the Ricketts pay about 40 million per year in debt interest because they weren't allowed to buy the team outright? And when you debt finance isn't there a rule about having to show some level of earnings after payroll?

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    And espn says that the Cubs are giving up the PTBNL

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    I actually thought this deal seemed a little lopsided in the Cubs' favor. Alcantrara to the A's maybe?

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Looks like Cubs will not give up PTBNL. This deal seems too good to be true, even if, as I just read, Straily is a BOR guy or less on a good team. McKinney sounds like he has a lot of potential.

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    ESPN says PTBNL goes to the Cubs

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    They changed it. They originally had the Cubs giving up the PTBNL

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    Seriously, if we can unload EJax somehow, then we could pretty much sign an elite SP for only about a 5MM bump from this year's payroll.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I have a hard time picturing this FO signing Scherzer for what will amount to the neighborhood of double what they reportedly offered Samardzija. Obviously Lester is a real threat to sign with Boston. Beyond that, where is the elite pitcher to be signed?

  • Wow. I leave to watch some fireworks and find this out when I get back.

    Nice.

  • McKinney sounds an awful lot like Almora (if he's a piece)

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    In 2008, we trade a recent first round pick of our's (Josh Donaldson) for starting pitching, and in the long run that deal bit us in the ass SO HARD, as Donaldson is now among the league leaders in WAR.

    Now we just traded SP for the last TWO first round picks of the A's.

    C'mon karma! Don't let us down!

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    And Russell TOTALLY has the tools to be a WAR machine (uh, no pun intended) so it's not like I'm just hoping for a miracle.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    The trade worked out for both teams. Harden was amazing for the Cubs down the stretch. Without him they don't hold off Sabathia and the Brewers.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    This is exactly right. You make that trade 100 times out of 100 given where the Cubs were. The same way this was a brilliant trade for the A's. They were already the best team in baseball. Now their rotation of Gray-Samardzija-Kazmir-Hammel makes them odds on favorites to win the World Series, regardless of how much they like Addison Russell.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Fair enough, I just meant that the A's clearly won the Donaldson trade on a WAR vs WAR basis and I hope this trade works out even better for us in the long run.

  • Parker ptnbl ???

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    In reply to Scottishcub:

    I am praying they are waiting on his medicals.........only way I can like trading two of the top available trade assets ( in a sellers market) in one deal for one real prospect

    McKinney is too young to consider a major piece

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If Parker is included I think it's a great deal

  • In reply to Scottishcub:

    If its Parker i would absolutely wet myself again

  • In reply to Alex Good:

    again?

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    Long as the PTBNL is Jarrod Parker, then this deal in a W.

    You have to be very careful when dealing w Beane. He usually knows something you don't

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    While I don't disagree with that, you can say the same about Theo.

    and in this case, The A's are obviously the team making a move because they NEED to make a move.

    Sure they have the best record in baseball, but their rotation is a disaster waiting to happen and they have little-to-no depth.

    I think Theo had the upper hand here, if anything.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    One more tidbit that makes me sure that Beane didn't pull a fast one...

    Josh Donaldson will turn 29 shortly after the year ends and will be an arbitration guy next year since he's a super-two player.

    So the small money A's will go into arbitration with one the leagues WAR leaders and a great all around player. 1st in dWAR, 2nd in WAR,he's 7th in RBI's tied for 8th in HRs in the AL.

    He could get expensive very quickly. And Russell looks like a very similar player. Good, even plus, at everything.

    For a small market team to give up such a natural replacement for a guy that will soon be quite expensive is a big big deal.

    (and that's all not to mention Lowrie will be a free agent after this year.)

  • Cubs with 3 of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball now. How often does that happen?

  • FYI - Russell probably isn't MLB ready until 2nd half of 2016. If at that point all the infield positions are claimed because Castro, Baez, Alcantara, etc. have claimed them and are living up to their projections....that's when Theo/Jed will make a move in my opinion. Whether it's Castro, Baez, Alcantara, or Russell, they will all be worth even more as MLB studs or Russell as stud prospect ready for the majors...even if 3B, 2B, SS are claimed and everybody is performing like stars, if Russell is worth Shark+ right now then how much would he be worth knocking on the door to the MLB after crushing AAA?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    This was what I read on A's piece....so is he ready in '15 or '16 or....
    Addison Russell SS The bat, athleticism and explosive speed have Russell nearly big league-ready offensively. He’ll work to polish his footwork and smooth out his arm action at shortstop. He could get his feet wet in Oakland this year in anticipation of a full-time opportunity in 2015.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Your 100% right ESP since jedstein knows Russell will destroy AAA

    Only problem is if he won't help until 2016, then the rebuild is going backwards, but who cares as we will have the best minor league system in all of baseball this year and next year !

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Backwards? Perhaps you are not paying attention but Castro & Rizzo have taken the next step to MLB stars this year. The Cubs now have a stub bullpen full of power pitchers who are cheap and under control for years, not to mention a stable of great arms that are very close (Vizcaino, Rivero, Parker, etc) The Cubs will have a cheap and dominant bullpen for years, and will be able to trade lesser pieces for strength. Last year AAA was prectically barren of prospects (unless you consider Ha & Watkins big time), now we have Bryant & Alcanatara dominating, and Baez working his way to that as well (another HR today, crushing it last couple of weeks), so that's 3 stud players that will be here next year for sure, who cares of it's mid-year, that's called progress. We have Wood, who has now shown that he is a solid #3-4 starter for the second year now, Arrieta who is dominating and who was missing to start the year is looking like a core piece and under cost control. Also Hendricks as another cheap young starter, who should be here by year end or to start next year. We also have a left handed solid batting catcher in Lopez in AAA who could be a cheap but solid backup for the next 6 years, and I could go on and on because what the Cubs FO is doing is putting together an outstanding team that will be also very cost efficient, which will allow them to go out and buy whatever they need to put the final touches to this team. If you can't see the turnaround coming then I can't help you, but a couple years from now people will be calling Theo and Jed brilliant again for constructing this team the way they are.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Keyword or phrase , in a couple of years..........never debated any of that

    The way the team was playing, some of us who like watching good baseball at the MLB level vs reading about great minor league baseball were hoping that they would be re-stocking with players who could help next year.

    Nobody is denying that in 3-4 years, the cubs could be the toast of the league

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    But that's my point, in my post I named about 6 players that will be here next year and helping the Cubs progress further, and their are others that I haven't mentioned. Also they very well could still obtain near term pieces through trade or Free Agency. I have every confidence that the Cubs will be a very competitive team next year, better than this year, and better still the year after. So, I'm not talking 3-4 years...in 4 years I believe they will be one of the top teams in the league.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Unless somehow a landfall of starting pitching falls into the Cubs lap, then I think that Neil Ramirez will be stretched out for the future rotation. He was a starter his whole career. Vizcaino not so sure. Edwards I think they will try to keep at starter.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    We will see, I'm not so sure that they stretch Ramirez out but they might, or possibly Grimm, but chances are they both remain relievers. Vizcaino is definitely a reliever, their were questions whether he was a starter or reliever before he had 2 surgeries, I don't think the Cubs will risk it. If they get a stud high leverage reliever out of him then that's a win. Next years rotation at this point has Arrieta, Wood, Jackson, Hendricks, and Beeler. Of course I'm still hoping that they trade Jackson to a team like the Yankees. Also the Cubs could very well get a Free Agent pitcher like Lester to anchor the rotation this off=season, and we know this FO is good at signing middle of the pack veteran pitchers and coaxing career years out of them as well. Lots of options.

  • ESPN reporting that the Cubs are including an PTBNL. A three for three trade? Uhhh....

  • Interesting blog by Buster Olney today about the dearth of run production in baseball and the rise of good pitching. He says that in 2000, there were only 3 pitchers with ERAs under 3.00 and now there are 27. The new market inefficiency is not pitchers (they are easy to find... look at the Cubs success with Maholm, Feldman and Hammel) but with hitters. Theo/Jed seem to be almost cornering the market on hitters/power which is in big time decline. I'd say they are positioning themselves for another big trade for a TOR arm at some point while still having enough left over for a potent lineup.

    I was hoping to see some more pitchers, but this trade is quickly growing on me.

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    In reply to Pura Vida:

    I was just thinking the same thing regarding the Olney article.

    And not only can all these guys put the bat on a ball, but there's potential for an elite team defense, which often helps pitching more than anything.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Wow, only 3 pitchers with sub 3.00 era in 2000?... How do you spell steroids...

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    In reply to Tgunz:

    Probably had something to do with it, but still, if hitting the ball is the new market inefficiency, then we are ahead of the curve.

  • Not only am I happy about the return, I'm happy that Shark & Hams are going to Oakland. I hope they win it all!!

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    Hasn't Theo/Hoyer earned our trust !!!! Please step away from the ledge !!!!

  • John, I just want to congratulate and thank you. You not only got this posted before others, but I have provided some analysis, unlike your peers. thank you for being the dedicated--and true--Cub blogger we Cubs are blessed to have at our leisure.

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Thank you Marcel.......u tireless worker

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    In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    I mean Mauricio

    I Thank you and so does Charlie

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Yes.....sorry and thanks Mauricio!!!

  • The Cubs are sending a ptbnl??

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    In reply to Cuyler:

    Other way around, we get a PTBNL.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And hopefully his name is Jarrod Parker !

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    I see a lot of people suggesting this means Castro is the one on his way out instead of Baez or Russell.

    I just don't agree with that. If i'm TheoHoyer, Castro is the one I absolutely do not part with. Were talking about a 24yr SS playing in the bigs at a high level and signed for 6 more years on a bargain contract.

    Until Russell or Baez even sniff the kind of success Castro has had they are assets/question marks and it'll be one of them on the way out for pitching.

    I say keep all 3. Pitching is too fragile to risk trading top prospects for. Get it through safer routes like the draft, FA, or Arrieta-type deals with short-term vets.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I honestly don't think the decision has been made yet. When Castro, Baez, and Russell are all in the majors and you absolutely can't find a spot for the next great prospect coming up (for kicks, let's call him Kyle), then you make a trade with the player you're most willing to lose.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Of course. But a lot has to go right for all 3 to be starting for us earlier than 2016. Even then I was assuming these hypothetical trades were geared more towards sooner than later. If that's the case trading Castro makes the least amount of sense over the other two. Come 2016/17 it could be different.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't disagree. He isn't going anywhere in the near future. Russell could be a better defender but that won't be next year.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    How about Gleyber Torres?

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I think Castro would be the one most likely to be dealt because A)He's an MLB player which holds way more value than even an elite prospect andB) he's not an OBP type like Theo likes

    But that's IF there is a trade.

    Really, I prefer to keep them all, and nothing is stopping that. I see no redundancy.

    Russell- Castro- Baez is a dream 3B-SS-2B in my mind. If you want to shuffle guys around, that's fine, too. Maybe Russell is a better defensive SS.

    The only reason to move Bryant is an elite defender at third, and we may have just got that. Alcantara already seems to be prepping for CF.

    The only redundancies come is Soler/Schwarber and Almora create them. But that's a good problem to have and we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed on most counts. If there's room, keep them all. This FO has proven they can find quality pitching without trading away impact prospects. Also prospect attrition is still something to think about.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Not sure I agree with Castro being first one out. Theo got one heck of a deal out if his contract. And would be foolish to trade that away.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I could go either way with Castro. I'm a huge fan and I think he can be unappreciated, but if the infield DOES get crowded, I think that for the same reason his contract is of high value to us, he will have high value to other teams.

    It's easier to trade a MLB player for TOR pitching, too.

    So if he stays, great. If he gets moved, great.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    True but opposite is true of
    Jackson.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Or the Cubs start pushing hard for the DH and we now have a bunch of hitters all over the place.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    seriously.

    Ever since Selig announced his retirement, I've been hoping SO MUCH that on his last day, his last order of business would be to unify the rules and bring the DH to the NL.

    There would be 14 teams going "oh crap, now we have t find a DH" and they Cubs going "thank god we have somewhere to put these dudes."

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    Watch out what the Cubs might do during free agency. Everyone is worried about acquiring a TOR prospect. What if the Cubs starting spending free agent money on pitching. Remember there are pitchers like Scherzer, Lester becoming free agents. The Cubs have the ammunition to pull off a David Price deal if he is not dealt this season. Many possibilities here.

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    In reply to Scott Waller:

    Price and Scherzer are the type of red flags that i'm shocked teams havn't learned to stay away from. The contracts those two are going to get will bite some team hard. I just hope it isn't us.

    Now Lester i'd be interested in at the right price.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    A think a rotation of Arrieta, Lester, Wood, Hendricks, EJax could be very good. And there's a real chance that Pierce Johnson works his way into the back if they are competitive next year.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. That rotation with Johnson and Edwards most likely a stop away in AAA should tide us over nicely unless the next wave make it's way up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm actually open to them trading Wood too. He is nothing but a 4th starter. The Cubs have shown a knack for finding reclamation projects in FA that can produce at that level and also have a number of guys knocking on the door that project similarly.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Who do we have to petition to get the National League to adopt the DH rule? Seriously, as long as you keep the years down on pitching contracts, all 3 of those pitchers are entering their prime. With all that hitting sitting down on the farm and will be team friendly in terms of $$$ they could afford to splurge on pitching. If I remember correctly, the Cubs were willing to spend big dollars on Tanaka and were willing to spend on Anibal Sanchez. Just need to stay away from the Soriano type years.

  • In reply to Scott Waller:

    The DH is a completely different discussion but I haaate watching AL baseball. A big part of my enjoyment of watching a close game is thinking through the possible strategies that a manager can employ. That's nearly zero in an AL game.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    EJax? I know we all keep hoping he'll stop sucking, but Bosio's had a lot of time and he seems to be the biggest hole they have.

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    In reply to hawkmcd:

    He's making $22 million over the next two season. As long as he can pitch as well as your typical #5 (which he is), he'll keep getting the ball. One of the downsides to signing long term contracts.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Is he making that much? I thought they frontloaded it more than that.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Big signing bonus, $13MM in 2013, $11MM each 2014-2016. I think they'll try to trade him. To put it mildly, they'll be getting less than Addison Russell in any deal.

  • I wish people would stop it with the "trade Castro" stuff because we acquired another top MI prospect. Castro is a 24 year old prospect signed long-term to a reasonable extension and is having a great year. You don't trade that.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Don't worry, it will get drowned out by the return of the trade Baez nonsense soon enough.

    Castro, Baez, Russell and Alcantara can all play any position on the field. You don't need to deal any of them.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Agreed. If you can get a prospect of Russell's quality you do it and figure out the rest. Starlin is a stud and I don't see him going anywhere.

  • In reply to Eric:

    This is kind of the Tim Wilken philosophy in action. Get as many great up the middle athletes as possible and then you can figure it all out later. Glad they kept Wilken around and are devoting resources to this type of plan.

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    Susan Slusser reporting that Straily is being sent to Iowa. That means 2 starters from Iowa are coming up. Certainly Wada, and either Beeler or Hendricks.

    No idea who is staring tomorrow's game, which Shark was supposed to start. Probably Carlos Villanueva and a bullpen effort.

  • I'm not worried about "too many" middle infielders, and whee everyone is going to play. The FO I into gathering assets, with no limitation. And that is what you want. The players and their performance will work things out over time. Meanwhile, I am becoming more and more confident we are going to have a very solid (and home-grown) talent batting 1-8, and the building of depth occurring every year. May our cup runneth over we we get to the zenith of MLB.

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    Saw Russell in the afl last year. Stud City!

    He can play anywhere on the diamond. Bat first, position second-you don't have to trade Castro but if overwhelmed you can move him

  • Bottom line to this is you can never have too many prospects, regardless of position. We aren't winning now because the offense at the major league level stinks. The pitching has been generally a strength. So while I agree it would be great to have more pitchers dominating throughout the minors, dominating there doesn't guarantee anything. No prospect is guaranteed to succeed or even make the majors, so there is always risk with any trade, but this must be what the FO feels is the best upside talent available for guys that aren't helping us win right now.. I've been Mark Prior'd and Kevin Orie'd too many times to trust what somebody can do until they start to show it consistently and I know that no matter how much we like our prospects, some of them won't turn out the way we wanted them to. So the more high end prospects you have, the better the odds. If we limit ourselves to just one prospect at each position and assume we will get a superstar everywhere we are likely to be disappointed.

    If all of our accrued bats develop to max potential then that is an amazing problem to have in figuring out where to play them, OR who to move for established MLB pitching. And if Bosio can keep turning middling FA signees and trade acquisitions into reliable contributors then we may find an unexpected ace along the way. Who thought a year ago that Shark and Hammel would have attracted this kind of attention anyway? And remember when Brett Jackson was considered an untouchable prospect? I love reading updates about the guys we have now, but let's wait until they are successfully hitting major league pitching before we plan their hall of fame inductions.

  • Also, not many are talking about OF - Billy McKinney, but with the way this FO/Scouting Dept. has shown that they scout hitters... I have a very good feeling about him...

    From MLB.com:

    One of the purest hitters available in the 2013 Draft, McKinney went 24th overall and signed for $1.8 million. Then he went out and lived up to his reputation by batting .326 in his pro debut.

    McKinney has outstanding hand-eye coordination, a sweet left-handed swing, bat speed and a mature approach. He should continue to hit as he climbs the ladder, and he barrels balls so easily that he should develop at least average power as he fills out.

    Outside of his bat, none of McKinney's tools grades as better than average, but they play up because of his fine all-around instincts. He goes 100 percent all of the time and is aggressive on the bases and in the outfield. The A's think he has a chance to stay in center field, and he reminds them of Mark Kotsay with less arm strength.

  • i f the Cubs are receiving the ptbnl please let it not be Parker
    the future of starting pitchers who are on their second TJ is not very bright

  • Law says PBTNL won't change balance of deal. Doesn't sound like Cubs are getting Alcantra.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Are you factoring in that Law is a moron with regards to his opinion?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It wasn't Law's opinion. He was reporting that his source was telling him the PTBNL would not add much weight to the deal. Law has no idea (or at least isn't reporting) who the PTBNL might be.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Heard Dustin Driver, who is a project and was in R ball last year, hasn't pitched this year May fit the bill, Have scouting notes on him from UA game if it's him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about Dillon Overton, John, also in Rookie ball, 2nd round pick from last year(63rd overall), Gray's teamate at OK and was actually considered the better prospect before Gray went nuts. He had TJ after the draft (like Cease) and just came back, has pitched 6 innings...Cubs could be waiting for him to get a few more innings before they accept him?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    From what I know of him, he was basically an arm strength guy with little polish. So that would fit with the theme of it not being a significant guy.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    If the PTBNL is Cespedes, Law will be able to explain why he doesn't change the value of the deal.

  • I'll be the first to put up this ridiculously early projected lineup:

    2016 (or 2017) Lineup :

    CF Arismendy Alcantara
    2B Addison Russell
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    RF Kris Bryant
    LF Kyle Schwarber
    SS Starlin Castro
    3B Javier Baez
    C Welington Castillo

    Albert Almora, Billy McKinney, Jorge Soler are there as trade pieces.

    We will be able to trade for any pitcher we need to get, and have a very low payroll in our lineup, enabling us to spend big on free agent pitching if we so choose.

    This is very much like the blueprint of John Hart Cleveland Indians of about 20 years ago.

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    If Baez ends up the 7th hitter in the Cubs lineup hitting 35+ bombs a year then you will start seeing pitchers getting a rash of "injuries" right before they are scheduled to start against the Cubs...and those that do face that lineup will spend the rest of the month waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats, screaming out random things like, "No more Cubs, No more!!"

    The Cubs marketing department will print out shirts to give to opposing pitchers after the game at Wrigley that say, " I got mauled by the Cubs at Wrigley and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!"

  • Let us just cut to the chase and call this what it is- a ballsy move by two of the best traders in the game that is a great deal for everyone involved. Shark always said he wants to pitch in big games... well, here is his opportunity. Along with Hammel they now pitch for the team with the best record in baseball. The A's get a pure rental in Hammel for a dozen starts and the opportunity to keep Shark through 2015 if they choose. Probably a 5-5.5 WAR pickup for the A's along with the best rotation in the American League for sure.

    And the Cubs? Addison Russell alone projects to be a 4-5 WAR talent PER YEAR just by himself. ZIPS has Straily at 2.7 WAR per year. McKinney is the A's first round pick last year. This is a project haul by Theo & Company that equates to approximately $52.8M (Russell) + $14.26 (Straily) + $19.44 (McKinney) = ~$86.5M in prospect value. With Schwarber, Russell, McKinney, and Cease, the Cubs just picked up 4 first round picks in the last several weeks. Holy crap.

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    Remember we still have Vogelbach to be involved in a possible trade in the future because he's blocked. He could bring pitching back along with McKinley, Soler, or others. I have a feeling Theo and Jed are confident that the DH is coming to the NL so the more bats the better. Pitching is coming via trade during contention, but I doubt Russell, Baez, Castro, Bryant, Alcantara, Almora get touched.

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    I'm still digesting this one, but one thing is for sure: Billy Beane and Theo both have major-league cajones pulling a deal like this in early July. Beane in particular, for a club with Jed Lowrie at SS, that's really ballsy to trade Russell for pitching.

  • I'm thinking the Cubs use the rest of the deadline to deal Edwin Jackson.. The Yankees might take him considering Sabathia just went down for the year and they already needed a starter. Not to mention the many other teams that still need pitching. A couple more decent starts from Jackson and maybe they can unload him? I'm hoping anyways. I would much rather have Beeler, Grimm, whoever take the 5th spot in the rotation for much cheaper and probably better.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    hmmm. EJAX or Woods and a SS (Jeter retiring) to Yankees. But for who? Isn't the Yankees cuppard bare? You might be on to something in regard to Yankees. There might be truth to the statement: "there's other teams to be involved." You know the Yankees are going to be aggressive and do what they can to make it to the playoffs.

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    Yanks definitely have the pieces for Jackson... Luis Severino is now their best pitching prospect, also LHP Ian Clarkin, their 1st round pick from last year is a quality prospect that would be a good get.

  • And just to add to the awesomeness that is today...Javy and Bryant both homered.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Yep, Baez is getting red hot. Hmmnn, Baez struggled the first half of the season in AAA and now has adjusted in the 2nd half and is starting to crush the ball....where have we seen this before? Oh yeah, he's done this every single year of his development.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    He has done it the last two years. Two years does not make a trend. The year before he killed it in EXST and then immediately killed it upon arriving in Peoria too.

  • I've got to think that either Theo or Jed have TINSTAAPP tattooed across their chest.

    2013 draft: The cubs "need" a top pitching prospect, according the to conventional wisdom of the experts. Take Bryant over Gray.

    2014 draft: Again, the cubs "need" a top pitching prospect, according the to conventional wisdom of the experts. Take Schwarber over the pitchers available.

    2014 trade deadline: Again, the cubs "need" a top pitching prospect (or two), according the to conventional wisdom of the experts. Trade for one of the top position players in the minors in Russell.

    Yes, they have traded for pitching prospects in the past (i.e. Grimm, Ramirez, Edwards), but these are more bulk acquisitions than getting a guy who is a "sure thing" TOR pitching prospect.

    Over the past couple of years, the Cubs front office has shown the ability to build a competent starting rotation out of cast offs and rejects that suddenly have career years when in Chicago. I have no problem with the continuation of that trend, if bolstered by a big FA signing or two. When you look at the position players that could be playing for the Cubs in 2-3 years, even an average rotation made up of 2's and 3's could regularly see 90+ win seasons. And, as a couple of posters have already pointed out, pitching is easy to come by now, and hitting is at a premium.

    As to who "won" this trade, it remains to be seen. The A's win if they win the World Series either this year or next year with Shark. The Cubs win if Russell pans out to be the guy we all hope he is, and the other players end up as MLB average or better. It is possible for both teams to win this trade and it is possible for both teams to lose this trade..

    For now, the only conclusion that I can draw is that this is a continuation of the strategy put in place by the Cubs front office regarding how they value position players vs. pitchers.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    I think the FO is of the opinion that you wait until you are in the position to do what the A's just did. Once you are competing and already have a contender is when you go out and get the extra pitching. If you get guys now, there is a much, much higher chance they get hurt by the time you need them.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Exactly, reload each year with guys who have already pitched in the big leagues and have avoided or already dealt with the injury bug.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    I love what they are doing because I totally agree with the philosophy. Prioritize getting as many great bats as you can find, and then pick up whatever pitching you can when the opportunity presents itself, but don't demand it. Once the bats are in place, pick up a couple of pitchers to round out the team. Once those guys blow out their arms or demand long term deals you get rid of them, but the hitters will still be producing, so you just go back out and pick up a couple of replacement pitchers.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    It seems to be a lot like how front offices in football prioritize their spending. The guys who get the big contracts are the guys who literally have the most impact on the season. The QBs touch the ball almost every play, and have a heavy influence on the result of the game. A starting pitcher is more like a wide receiver (so Shark should be familiar with the concept), over the course of a season, they will occasionally have a chance to impact how the team does, in about the same ratio as a good WR (1/5 the time). A good position player on the other hand, is constantly contributing on defense and on offense in each and every game. A bit like a linesman and a QB rolled into one player.

    Most front offices, fans, and pundits seem to be interested in finding the next great starting pitcher for their team, but it just doesn't make sense to wast time looking.

    Of course, things do change in the playoffs, when the time between starts becomes compressed, and TOR pitching has more of an impact on the outcome of a series.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    But pitchers have more impact on the game, in the games they do play. That balances it out some. Plus, everyday, you need starting pitching. You just need a lot of them, but still not as many as you need "everyday" players. Not to mention in the playoffs, it's more 1/4 not 1/5, let alone the occasional 1/3, as a true ace can sometimes be seen pitching in 3/7 games. But I agree with the Cubs, at the prospect level, it makes more sense to bet on the less risky field players.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    Exactly. Read this after my post below. And it plays to our stadium. Whether you agree with it or not, which I do, it is refreshing to actually see a philosophy by our FO and to see it adhered to, and to see it manifest itself in these difficult player personnel decisions that you enunciated above.

    COZ

  • Love this deal. Theo/Jed find a guy like Hammel pretty much every year. Hendricks could be Hammel this year w Beeler and Wada doing what they can, and there's solid pitching this off season to be had.

    But my god, how can anybody be upset about acquiring a prospect that's rated higher the Baez and Bryant by Law, and just about as high by all other publications? Do you not remember how stoked we all were specifically about Javy last season, and Bryant this season?

    I want to hang onto all of Baez, Russell, Castro and Alcantara if possible. Think about this lineup for a second, which is entirely possible by mid 2015 to beginning 2016:

    C: Castillo
    1B: Rizzo
    2B: Baez
    3B: Russell
    SS: Castro
    LF: Soler if healthy OR Schwarber if he moves as quickly as we think.
    CF: Alcantara or Almora if he starts killing it again.
    RF: Bryant

    Now please try and tell me that you'd be upset with that lineup if most of them live up to their potential? And let's not forget to mention how much flexibility this lineup could also potentially give us.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    I am not so sure about this lineup. Though not a huge gap, Baez arm is rated higher than Russell. Russell is considered a better fielder than Baez. I think Baez goes to 3B and Russel and Castro fill out the middle. I do agree that Bryant moves to RF.

    OF: Bryant R, Schwarber L, Alcantara S, Almora R, Soler R, McKinney L

    I might add that the Cubs Top 20 Prospects list is already changed. Russel is now listed 3rd, McKinney 9th.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Gee...Whatever happened to the Legend of Mike Olt? A year ago, fans were projecting him as the 3rd baseman of the future. Some of these are still saying that it's ok if he strikes out 150 times as long as he hits a homer occasionally.

  • I believe you have to give Oakland credit for a good return to them. To get 2 great/quality pitchers in one deal is fairly rare. I hate to see them go because I know it will set us back this year
    And next year. I just hope they pan out. I am also tired of us saying wait til 16 or 17. Wish we could just compete.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    This is a great trade for both teams.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    why compete now when you can dominate in 2-3 years?

  • In reply to MashBrotherMania:

    Utterly ridiculous statement. One completely removed from the realities of professional sports. Also, if this timeline is pushed back much further, Rizzo and Castro will no longer be core pieces because they'll be 35!

    I hope this trade works out, I really do, but the level of euphoria for deals that send high performing up-trending players like Shark for guys that have never player a day in the majors is a bit ridiculous. Let me run some names by everyone to keep things in perspective - Bobby Hill, Rich hill, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Angel Guzman, Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Bobby Brownlie - career WAR for the Cubs for these prospects??

    2 final thoughts: 1) this deal didn't clear salary - Samardzja would have made at most ~15m (in his final year) and Hammel was a free agent after this year.

    2) if the cubs aren't willing to pay more than 85 mil for 5 years of shark, why would we think they are willing to pay 100m+ for someone like Scherzer?

    And the same folks complaining that shark hasn't been dominant long enough (pretty good for 2 years and dominant since middle of last year) to be more than a #3 have already proclaimed Arrieta to be a TOR or #2 type guy after roughly 2 MONTHS of excellence.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    Utterly ridiculous statement. We are going to be good in 2016. Castro and Rizzo are going to be 26 not 35.

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    In reply to John57:

    No, we're gonna be a .500 team. Why? Because Arietta's getting traded next year if he's keeps up what he's doing.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Why would we trade Arrieta when he won't be expensive for a number of years? That is the exact type of pitcher we and everyone else is looking for. If he keeps pitching like he has this year, he will stay in Chicago, book it.

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    In reply to John57:

    One word...age.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I would be pretty happy with .500, but I don't think Arietta would be traded next year if we are around .500. If he does continue this stretch (or even close to it) he would be considered a sure fire TOR starter. If I am wrong and he does get traded, it would be a massive haul again.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I'm concerned with the effect of the cutter on his elbow...factor in his age and I think the Cubs could get more value than keeping him.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    There is so much wrong with this comment. I'm not sure what to think of the intent.

  • In reply to MashBrotherMania:

    Now we are gonna dominate. Wow...Worst record for 3 years to dominate in 2 yrs???? Strong words

  • Its funny how many fans from different teams are calling for there team to do what ever it takes to get castro.

  • Still processing this trade. Sad to see Shark go. Hammel exceeded all of our wildest expectations and did yeoman's work for us. Talk about selling high on both guys. WOW. Sold at peak value.

    Did we get enough? That is where faith in the front office comes into play. And I have the utmost faith that this was a deal they were comfortable with. Converting short-term assets to long-term assets. This is what Theo said, this is what they have been doing. We are not just building a line-up for 2015 or 2016. We are building a farm "system" for LONG and SUSTAINED DOMINANCE. Not only do we have elite talent, we have ELITE, YOUNG, CONTROLLABLE TALENT with financial flexibility.

    I think everyone is underestimating Dan Straily in this deal. Two years ago he led the minor leagues in strikeouts with an elite Swinging Strike Rate as well as an elite 10.7 K/9 in Triple AAA in 2013. Apparently he struggles against left-handed hitters, but dominates right-handers. Apparently gives up too many HR's and has an average 90's velocity I believe. Not sure what happened to him this year as he really struggled, but he is young with upside. Seems like exactly like the type of under-the-radar young pitcher the Cubs have targeted and turned around.

    Like everyone else I was kind of hoping to pull that Blue Jays trade for the two pitchers plus Pompey. Apparently, everyone is over-valuing young pitching and maybe we just couldn't get the volume of top arms in trade to make it worth it. Or maybe, simply, our Front Office is simply acquiring elite bats at the expense of pitching as an organizational philosophy because the rest of the industry is simply over-valuing top, young pitching. This has has been the case in the Rizzo deal, as well as all of our First Round draft picks. Maybe they have simply decided there is too much risk with young pitching and it is not worth the exorbitant cost of acquiring them. TINSTAAPP. See Mark Appel, Archie Bradley, et al.

    And I've said it before, and I'll say it again, our Front Office is building an offensive juggeranut first and foremost to rival the 2003-04 Red Sox teams they put together. Even more so now than in the PED-era, where power is at a premium, we are accumulating elite bats up and down the organization. This will play up in our ballpark where we will out-mash the speed and defense teams that the rest of baseball is trending towards. This trade, to me, is just another example that we are building an organization of ELITE bats with solid approach first and foremost.

    COZ

  • In reply to C COZ:

    At some point you will need solid/lights out pitching. Especially when you get to a best of 7 series. You can't rely on bats to win it all.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    True. Which is why I was sad to Shark go. Would have loved to see them lock him up, re-sign Hammel and see what this group could do next year. But that was probably short-sighted and overly-optimistic thinking. But yes, to get through the playoffs elite pitching will be necessary. But in terms of organization-building philosophy, we are obviously in the elite-bat-accumulation business right now. And I'm sure down the road, this depth, and with the scarcity of elite power in the game, they will use these assets to accumulate the elite pitching we need. But I really could see them going the route of elite bats, power arm bullpen and #2-3 type pitchers. We shall see. Look, bottom line is Hammel is gone at the end of this year. Shark is gone in a year-and-a-half. And we just got the top young SS in the game with great approach, OBP, power and speed, a young pitcher with upside, and another top young, former first round pick OF bat for two guys who would be gone in a year and a half. The more I think about it, the more pleased I am.

    COZ

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yup.......just wonder who our Pedro and Curt schilling are?

    Offense will get you to the playoffs, but it won't win you a ring

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I am not sure I agree. Pitching and defense used to win championships. Now I am of the belief that it gets you to the championship, but it is timely power hitting that wins it.

    Just look at the WS last year, the Red Sox had mediocre pitching behind Lester. Their staff didn't come close to the Tigers staff, but what really won them the title was a very patient and very dangerous/powerful lineup. There were simply not easy outs top to bottom.

    I think we will need to find one TOR workhorse, big game pitcher in the mold of Shark and Lester, but I think they will be out there and Arrieta may be that guy with a bit more work on efficiency. The rest of the rotation I think will be able to be filled in by competitive veterans or very solid #3 pitchers, which we have an abundance of in the system.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    With the amount of bats we will have very cheap, we can really splurge on pitching.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Neither shark or hammel is an elite pitcher.

  • In reply to rob s:

    I agree not elite pitcher but can be solid 2-3 starter. Oakland must think they can help win WS where u think they can't. If we had right team around shark he can definitely help a ball club big time

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The Red Sox just beat the Cards in the World Series despite the Cards having a rotation AND bullpen that were CLEARLY superior to the Red Sox.

    Pitching in the MLB is stronger than it's been in decades. Run production is at historic lows.

    I'm not denying you need strong pitching, but effective pitching can be done without a rotation full of aces.

    Hell, just look at the A's. They're trading for pitching, yes. But partly because a lot of their current starters cam from the bullpen and can't be relied upon to suddenly pitch 150-200 innings for the first time in their careers.
    Regardless, look at their list of virtually anonymous starters this year, then look at their dominant run differential and #1 record in the league.

    The Rays have had the most dominant pitching in the league for a few years now (they've been injured so I'll except this year) but their inability to hit the damn ball has repeatedly cost them.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I mean to even get to World Series gotta have good pitching. I agree if you have a bunch of 2-3 you can make a deep run. Will b very interesting to see how cubs land them. Seem to be stacked at SS.

  • In reply to C COZ:

    read your whole post, well done ,but the only point i wish to address is this Addison Russel is better than Aaron Sanchez and norris or Stroman , and We got Straily, McKinney and a PTBNL . t=Theo U a rock star .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't claim to know all the prospects as well as others. I was simply hoping for the Blue Jays trade because I thought that was what all the prospect experts/commentaors here,who know more than I, seemed to like. Not saying this was my opinion, it was more of what I favored based upon what seemed the rest of the herd here favored. My opinion was simply based off of group-think opinion, not based in reality or fact. I like the acquired haul and did not mean to imply I liked this less than the discussed Jays prospects.

    COZ

  • Oh, and on a related note, the Cubs just dealt their two biggest trade chips and in return only received 1 player that needs to be added to the 40 man roster. So again, there will not be a roster crunch this winter.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    That is a really good point. That could very easily turn into another player NOT taken by another team in a Rule V draft. We have a bunch of guys at Iowa who would be vulnerable in that regard.

  • Wonder which 2 pitchers get promoted ?

    Does C. Villanueva move to the rotation ?

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    Just saw that Bryant and Russell are tweeting to each other how happy they are to be playing together after AFL.

    Thats....pretty awesome.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    That is awesome.

  • I don't think you can really hate on the trade considering the circumstances. It is what it is.

    Theo and co are being forced to play the cards they are given by the Rickets Family Trust / Tribune leveraged partnership deal. - which ends after the 2019 season I think, and coincides with the end of the comcast TV deal - then after revenues can open up.

    Addison Russell will be 25 then.

    Until then it's "flip this major leaguer". Tread water. Stockpile reserves until 2019-2020 is close by.

  • In reply to Tgunz:

    This couldn't be further from the truth. You have a link to back this rationale up? This trade was a win for both clubs, but the Cubs really won this deal hands down if you consider what mode both teams are in. I don't understand the half dozen poster's on here that don't consider it's JULY 5TH and that there are more trades coming.

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    interesting. Not what I was expecting at all. Perhaps now we have the depth and enough top prospects to put together a package for Price, or a similar TOR?

  • gosh darn just a few months ago i floated the idea of Cubs trading for Jarrod Parker now this, i think my moisture sensor just failed in my boxers , cant believe this trade , have to wake up tommorrow and decide if i like it , ok i like it , if PTBNL is Jarrod Parker

  • not sure why my last post wasn't approved... alls I was saying is that if you can play ss you can play anywhere on the field (besided C or P) and that athletically they are more advanced and it's very rare to find someone to play the position that also has plus power... many organizations would die to have the depth we have of plus power SS's... not sure if this will go through but worth another shot

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    The Cubs, obviously, have a loaded farm system in terms of position players. Realistically, only so many top hitting prospects pan out. But if you have 3 of the top 10 and I'm too drunk to figure out how many in the top 10, you're maximizing your chances. However, at this point, there are so many highly regarded prospects in the Cubs system, even if they don't pan out, they will still be trading chips. They will be the "change of scenery" type prospects that can get decent ML pitching back in return. The Mike Olt's of the world. Not a bad position to be in if you're the Cubs.

  • If you look at it this way Russell stanily for shark and McKinney for hammell really fair deal all ready

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    I'm surprised to see that the Cubs have THREE of the top five strikeout leaders in Triple-A (Wada, Hendricks, Jokisch at #2, #4, & #5 although the last two are tied)

    Not saying they will be world-beaters but they may not be ass terrible as some might expect.

    Even if they do struggle, working with Bosio daily can only improve them.

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    I was really underwhelmed by this deal. A prospect is a question mark. If you have been around long enough, you know that no one or thing is a sure thing. Busts are commonplace, and no one is immune. When Castro was in AA he was hitting over .400 just before he was brought up, His first two years, he was an all-star. He was breaking records as a young hitter. They tried to improve his approach, it backfired it was a disaster. Now he is like a winning race horse regaining his stride, there is no telling how good he may be. To trade him away now might be another Lou Brock deal, one of the worst in MLB history. It is also very disturbing to lose your best two SP;s , which is in short supply in the org., for more talented middle infielders. Which we already seem to have an over abundance of, so much so we are running out of places to put them. Patience truly is a virtue and it almost always wins out over hasty decisions. I hope the FO has a master plan in that works for the Cubs as well as it did for the halos.. .

  • In reply to John Rose:

    I hear you on the prospect front. I have been around long enough to know that prospect attrition rates are real, especially for Cubs fans (Patterson, Pie, the list goes on and on). But that was with a very different front office with a very different philosophy on what wins baseball games, the smallest scouting staff in the league and a proven failure of a developmental staff/system.

    This front office is proven and proving that they know how to identify talent that will succeed at the next level AND how to develop them. The results we are seeing over the last month in the development of almost every Cub prospect is, in my 25 years of prospect following, unprecedented.

    It is fair to call every prospect a question mark. But then again, it's fair to call the pitchers the Cubs traded away question marks as well, maybe just a little less so. The value of this trade lies in the high level of talent Addison Russell and Billy McKinney have AND their ages. The A's will get 1.5 years of Samardzija and a half year of Hammel. The Cubs, with their ability to develop talent effectively (and perhaps expertly) gained years upon years of control over the two players mentioned as well as 3.5 years of Dan Straily. That's huge value in return.

    The A's are going for it. The Cubs aren't ready to do that quite yet so the minimal years left on Shark and Hammel's contracts have little value to them. It sets up as a win for both teams. If the A's win it all, it's a huge win for them (and I'll be rooting for them). If the Cubs succeed at developing Russell and McKinney as they have been their other prospects, it will be a huge win for the Cubs.

    Nice work by both Beane and Theo/Jed.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Agreed,.... might just have to become an at least temporary A's fan again. Actually liked them back when I was a kid back in the Rollie Fingers era.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    A's also got a 1st round Comp pick from when Shark leaves.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    they get a pick if they don't trade him before the end of the year.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Quedub, this was easily the best commentary on the situation. Everything is a risk and each side played their position well.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Thank you, bleedblue!

    The one thing that I thought was being left out of most comments in the discussion of this trade is the huge amount of years of control of some very talented players the Cubs were getting AND their very good track record at developing such talent.

    You can say it's a calculated risk for both teams, but without extending Samardzija (and he seemed very happy to be no longer a Cub today at his press conference), he had very little value to the Cubs as it pertained to their championship window and a lot of value to the A's and their window.

    Assuming the Cubs weren't going to win the World Series this year or in 2015, Theo traded essentially 2 nothings in 2016 for three somethings in 2016 and beyond.

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    Dammit the one night I drink so much whiskey I can't hardly read is the night we make a huge trade!! Oh well I guess I will read this sometime tomorrow and try to make sense of it bc right now if it wasn't for spellcheck this would be unreadable just like this article was for me at the moment

  • I REALLY wonder if Giancarlo Stanton is within the Cubs reach now. We know that in order for the Astros to have landed him, they would have had to part with Correa and Springer (or something like that), I wonder if the Cubs believe that they could pry Stanton away in exchange for a Castro + Soler.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Castro isn't going anywhere.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I think this is a very good deal for the Cubbies. I think this more than likely moves Bryant to the outfield. It gives you an infield of shortstop with power (the best possible scenario: defense,power speed).

    Addison Russell probably isnt ready until 2016 so Mike Olt gets a year to see what he can do.

    Now with addition of Schwarber,McKinney & alcantera to the OF they have quickly resolved the issue of lack of lefthanded hitting OF prospects. I think they will try and get Melky Cabrera to play left next year to fill the current need out there.

    If they go get someone like Lester & another Hammel type your rotation is better next year. If EJax gets hot I would move him as well same goes for Wada. For 2015 & 2016 we would have options like Beeler, Hendricks, Edwards, Johnson & Straily.

    Iike it and we still should be very good in 2015.

    i think we will play well the rest of this year.

  • Let's take a logical look at this trade... we just traded a SP that is 29 and hasn't been able to put together a full season yet, he did the same thing last year the first couple of months (Samardzija) and a guy who makes some really loud outs (Hammel) for a player ranked higher than any of our current prospects, the first round pick of the great Billy Beane in last years draft, a guy with great potential with Bosio's help, and a PTBNL (Ramirez????) and Cubs fans are honestly complaining... glad Theo and Jed are now on our side!

  • The more I study this deal, the more I like it. I know lots of so-called experts and even fans are complaining that we should be getting back pitching. With the kind of offensive production we're setting up to have, I'm not even sure we really need to do more on the pitching front that we already have. We've got several promising starters coming up through our own ranks. And our ability to find Maholm's, Feldman's, Arrieta's, and Hammel's on a yearly basis makes me feel really good. I honestly feel this team is gonna take off once our offensive prospects hit the majors, even without acquiring a TOR starter. And when you acquire talented middle infielders, who cares if you have a glut at the position? If they're that talented and athletic, you can slot them anywhere on the diamond. Really, it's looking like 2015 is the year we're gonna see things start to coalesce.

  • http://awesomegifs.com/2013/10/mugatu-i-feel-like-im-taking-crazy-pills/

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    It is quite logical that, since they were trading away starting pitching, the cubs could get more value by bringing back a position player. It doesn't make sense for a team that needs starting pitching to trade back near-mlb-ready starting pitching (I.e. Strohman going to blue jay's rotation instead of trading him for samardzija).

    We don't need our contention-ready starting pitching yet, but we do need it by opening day of 2015. For this reason, expect the Cubs to parlay this move into a trade package before the trade deadline, or in the offseason. The offseason would be preferable because we can "tank" the second half while we get to see Russell, Baez, and Alcantara develop for a few more months. I see those guys as our most positionally-redundant group and most likely to headline a cubs trade for a TOR pitcher.

  • What happen to getting major ready players. Here we go again with the awesome minor league system and still no hitters in the majors. How many years are the Cubs away now.

  • In reply to mailmanrod:

    If you can get a top 10 prospect in all of baseball who is 12 to 18 months away versus someone who is closer but not as talented you take the higher impact every time.

    Don't forget Straily was in the A's rotation last year and will likely be in ours next year at the latest. Just because he has struggled this year a bit doesn't erase the nice year he had in 2013 or the dominant numbers in the minors prior to that.

  • So if the intention is for the Cubs to keep as many of these prospects as possible, doesn't this put a premium on Schwarber being a catcher?

    I hope for Raul Alcantara back as PTBNL. Theo knows him potentially from his Red Sox days. Parker is running out of ligaments.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I was thinking the same thing. This trade moves Brayant and Alcantara to the outfield and Schwarber behind the plate, Russell to short, Castro to third, and Baez to second.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I like and agree with this setup but I think they leave Schwarber in the OF because I think they want him to move fast.

  • One of the reasons I really like this trade is we have several young starters that will need to pitch in the bigs soon. I guess the time is now.

    I would suppose this moves Hendricks to the 40 man roster. I am surprised you woudnt try and throw in Hatley in exchange for a lower level prospect.

    Someone had mentioned that Mckinney & Russell already made our top 20 prospect list on MLB.com. So I looked but noticed that Schwarber isnt on the list. Anyone know what that is about?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I would assume for Schwarber it is a function of sample size and perceived lack of position

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    This year's draft picks haven't been put into the Top 100/Org Top 20 lists yet.

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Top prospects lists generally aren't updated until after the signing deadline.

  • maybe, but immediately after the draft he was being placed in our top 7 or 8 i believe.

  • In the weeks pass. A lot of people were thinking shark to the blue jays for 3 players, instead we get 2 good prospects and a project for 2 guys. Are these 2 guys better then what everyone was claiming we would get from blue jays.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Russell is a top 5-10 prospect in all of baseball, ranked higher than Baez and Bryant in some instances. He is a potential superstar. To me, that's more valuable than a couple of top 50-100 guys.

    Don't sleep on Straily either.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes, Russell is far superior to anything in the Blue Jays system. He is basically the equivalent of when Wil Myers was traded to TB for Shields and Davis and people were freaking out that KC overpayed. Quality over quantity.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    First off, the Blue Jays repeatedly said they wouldn't trade those guys for one player.
    Maybe they do it for both (I was actually wondering if they should offer both to Toronto before news about the A's broke), but pitchers are always a huge gamble.

    I liked the idea if Sanchez and Norris in theory, but look at how many pitchers' arms have fallen off this year and last year.

    And with very few exceptions, I'll take a star player that plays every day over a guy that plays every fifth day. I think the effect that even "TOR" pitching is overstated.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I would take a star over a pitcher as well but who are you calling a star? If pitching is such a gamble why are we trading away pitchers. I am all for hammels but I really wanted shark to stay. If we could have unloaded Jackson with shark. I would have felt better. Right now it is a numb move. Meaning it doesn't do anything for me. It is easy to say just wait and see. At some point the future has gotta be now.
    Is price any better then shark?

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I liked Shark too. But he didn't want to be here and wouldn't sign. I don't think he would've signed a 25 MM/yr deal.

    Shark thinks he's one of the best pitchers in the league and wants to get to free agency.

    If he's not going to be a Cub, then I'm glad Russell is.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    It is still possible Shark is a Cub starting in 2016, when Theo says we will be very good. Not too likely but still possible.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Who is the star player you were talking about?

  • chicago infield: olt-castro
    iowa infield: bryant-baez-alcantera
    tennessee infield: villanueva-russell-bruno
    daytona infield: hankins-hernandez-amaya
    kane county infield: candelario-penalver-carhart
    and gleyber torrez. Plus logan watkins & tim saunders.

    we are loaded with young talent in the infield. somethings gotta give.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    There are far worse things to have than a glut of talent in your minor league system,....

    Does mean you have to do a superior job evaluating talent, developing talent, and deciding which pieces you can part with in trade for some other team's talent.

    This is where we get to find out of Theo and the gang really know what they are doing. If they do - they are in the process of building an offense juggernaut with the potential to keep right on feeding itself for a decade to come.

  • Quite a news morsel to wake up to. Very glad I didn't see this until now, or I'd have had trouble sleeping.

    A question for the board: What will our rotation look like on opening day 2015? I think Arrieta's the ace, Wood No. 2 and Jackson No. 3, assuming we don't decide to just cut-bait on him. Clearly, Hendricks will get an opportunity at some point later this summer to earn consideration toward the bottom end of the rotation. And Straily is in the picture, as well.

    But that leaves one spot open. When we traded for Grimm and Ramirez, I seem to remember that both profiled as starters. Given Bosio's success with Samardzija, maybe we convert another good young middle reliever into a starter? I realize that both those pitchers have struggled as starters, but the same was true for Shark. At the very least, it seems to me that since we have to wait another year or so for Pierce Johnson and C.J. Edwards to be ready, we may as well see if we can max out our return on Grimm / Ramirez.

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    In reply to Taft:

    Well I would expect the FO to pick up another reclamation process if the Maholm, Feldman, Hammels type for one.

    Second, there is a pretty strong starting pitching FA market this off season. Maybe they spend big, maybe not. But despite all the pitching trades, starting pitching has not been a problem the past three years. I'm pretty confident in the FO and Bosio's ability to get quality starts out if whomever is there.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Really? Personally, I think Hammels was our last free agent reclamation project, at least for a while. If we have a reclamation project, it's Edwin Jackson or -- if recent starts are any indication -- Travis Wood. Because if you add another Hammels / Maholm type, then you're taking away starts from prospects, and I think the Cubs want to see what they have in guys like Beeler and Hendricks, plus the possibility that Grimm or Ramirez can make a jump to the rotation.

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    In reply to Taft:

    I think we will keep picking up reclamation guys until the we don't need to.
    Hendricks could be something. Could struggle.
    I wouldn't put much stock in Beeler.

    If next first half goes poorly, we can flip yet another guy, if we are above 500, then he can hekobus down the stretch.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I wouldn't be so sure. I think Cubs fans are confusing two different principles--small sample size with long range consistently. And I do like Bosio abilities, BTW.

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    I'm surprised to see so many comments open to trading Castro/Baez/Russell. We could have the most exciting infield certainly in my own lifetime and the same for most of you here. If that all works out, stick Bryant in right or left, Alcantara in center. The other prospects will not be around next year.

    This doesn't seem hard to me.

  • In reply to Daniel Svendsen:

    Cubs fans are not accustomed to a minor league system that produces major talent on a yearly basis. Soon, we will see AAA players who would be starters on other teams but are blocked by the talent on the Cubs' 40-man roster. At some point, trades for what are now considered "untradeable" Cubs WILL occur, both to avoid signing big-dollar FA contracts and to open up roster spots for the next wave of talent.

  • Does the fact that one team just gobbled up two of the legit starters on the market -- and early in the process -- mean that some other team may come calling for EJax? Please, please.

    Remember, it only takes one!

  • In reply to Gunga:

    I thought the same thing. Not a bad strategy.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    I pledge $2 for his cab fare out of town.

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    Also, I will say this: Even though Castro was not an Epstoyer guy, you dont trade him, no way. He's batting a few ticks under .300 and getting on base better than ever. I don't see this FO trading Addison Russell away, he does too many things that they love. He seems to have a good approach for his age, and has always taken walks. They won't part with him, no chance. Baez has too high of a ceiling to trade right now. There's no chance.

    If this FO trades any one of Castro/Baez/Russell/Bryant they are crazy. Absolutely nuts. Alcantara/Soler/Vogelbach I would entertain the possibility, but I still think you gotta let them play it out.

    Cubs have money to spend, go get a pitcher or two, we have a seriously great bullpen with more arms on the farm. We don't need to be anxious to get rid of these guys.

  • I think we have the wrong idea about Epstoyer's plan for pitching. We may NEVER see the big trade for TOR pitching that everyone seems to think is coming. All along, the Cubs have been stockpiling big, high-velocity pitching prospects - looking to DJ and Bosio to work with them. They are attacking the problem with quantity rather than big-name quality. Our next TOR guy is likely already in the system - a tweak or two away from reaching that elite level. More importantly, the Cubs have developed the depth to have replacements ready when the inevitable injuries occur or when today's TOR guy becomes tomorrow's high-priced FA.

  • All in all, I think the Moneyball guru got the best of this one. Considering the Cubs had 2 of the better starting pitchers available, they should at least have gotten one ML player (preferably an outfielder with some pop) back as part of this trade. Might have been an OK return for one of Shark/Hammel, but both??

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    We did get a ML ready player. Pitcher Straley, 25 years old, has already had 40+ ML starts.

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    In reply to John57:

    The Cubs could have had Hunter Harvey. I'm ok with getting Hammel to Oakland. Would have preferred a package centered around Harvey for Shark to Baltimore.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    The falloff from Addison Russell to Hunter Harvey is the same as the falloff from Kris Bryant to Pierce Johnson. To take Harvey when Russell is on the table is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Harvey will be a top #25 before 2016. Cubs won't compete until later than that. Sorry, Mike. I read scouting reports as well. Pierce Johnson is in NO WAY the same type of SP as Hunter Harvey. WOW!!!!

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    He has top of the rotation potential but still has a lot of development to do. If you've actually read the scouting reports, you'll know there are others who aren't as high on him. You're betting all of it on potential instead of taking the surer thing, Russell. It is simply a horrible trade off.

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

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well, if you cherrypick, then I suppose I could find an article by Keith Law who differs. You can always suggest that, Mike. Russell has LOTS of development to do as well in the fielding department, so I'll see yours and raise you one, I suppose. It's not a horrible tradeoff, it's just your opinion. Law disagrees with you, here's the proof: http://www.faketeams.com/2014/5/30/5765934/thoughts-on-keith-laws-updated-top-25-prospect-rankings. Look who's No. 10. Horrible tradeoff, you say????

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You do realize that this neither negates my point nor makes yours, right?

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, you're saying you didn't have a point to make, then, Mike? Why did argue it, then, in the first place?

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I think the real question is why do you believe that Harvey was ever on the table? Did you hack the Orioles trade database? Just because you want Harvey doesn't mean the Orioles are willing to trade him or that they were interested in Hammel or Shark.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    So, you don't want a TOR for the Cubs? Interesting. Well, let me share this FanGraphs article with you....apparently, you must think FanGraphs is full of it too. That's is well, just dumb. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/prospect-watch-shark-hunting/

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So you're saying the Moon is made of cheese? Interesting. I wonder if that's where aged Swiss comes from...

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, you don't believe in the writings of FanGraphs, yet you write for a metrically-based web site. Yes, the Moon is definitely made of cheese, Mike. :)

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So, you don't believe in the writings of FanGraphs, Mike, yet you write for a metrically-based web site. Mike Moody--howlin' at the moon.

  • Does anyone else notice all of the positional versatility/flexibility we have for a lot of our players. Is this coincidence or by design?

    Schwarber - C/OF; Bryant - 3B/possible OF; Baez - SS/2B/3B; Russell - SS/2B; Alcantara - SS/2B/OF. Even the signing of Bonifacio and Valbuena.

    Could this be a market inefficiency they are exploiting by design. Could they possibly be hoping to open a roster spot to carry an extra reliever? Think of all the line-up felixibility positional versatility provides? Maybe if Schwarber can stick part-time as back-up Catcher and play OF a la Evan Gattis last year, then we don't waste a roster spot on a shitty back-up Catcher who plays once a week and instead add a power bullpen arm.

    We are all so locked into slotting these guys into specific positions. But remember shifting in baseball is at unprecedented levels. Could we simply be developing a three-headed amoeba of SS-types that shift all over the field? That the left side of the infield would become more a like a defensive back field in football, where all the parts are interchangeable, that safties are more hybrid types that need to cover like a CB now? Who knows?

    But this is the type of outside-the-box thinking our FO employs. Cutting edge thinking and always looking to gain an edge. And, to me, positional versatility, to free up a roster spot for another pitcher maybe what they have in mind. I could be wrong and haven't completely thought it through but just a thought.....seems to be a bit more than coincidence though.

    COZ

  • In reply to C COZ:

    thought provoking. Nice comment.

  • "CF Arismendy Alcantara
    2B Addison Russell
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    RF Kris Bryant
    LF Kyle Schwarber
    SS Starlin Castro
    3B Javier Baez
    C Welington Castillo

    Albert Almora, Billy McKinney, Jorge Soler are there as trade
    pieces."

    Any number of them could be trade pieces and you have a good amount of bust protection. I haven't even given up on Mike Olt yet... I can totally see that if he'd just hit the ball 75% of the time he'd hit 25-30 HRs. Dude's got some stupid power.

    IMO, Jorge Soler is likely to be the guy that's traded. He can't stay healthy and is running out of options. We need him to stay healthy for just one year and tear some stuff up so we can sell him high.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I think you're downplaying almora a bit. He looks to be the best OF in the system and it's not all that close to me. Ceiling wise and likelihood of reaching his ceiling...

  • In reply to Theophylline:

    Almora is a true CF with top shelf defense. Theo will value that over moving arismendy there to 'find him a place'. Arismendy has a very high defensive ceiling at 2B. I still see this as a logjam of Castro, Baez, Russell and one will be traded if the right pitching piece comes up.
    Do people think Price can be that guy or is the contract required to resign him too high; which begs the question: if you can afford to pay a big SP contract, why not resign shark?

  • In reply to Theophylline:

    Maybe the Cubs have decided they're going after actual Cy Young award winning pitchers like Scherzer and Price instead of a guy like Shark who will probably never reach that level.

    Cubs have no payroll. They could buy two big time starting pitchers and still not have $100 million payroll.

    Any with so many long term cost controlled position players, those big pitching contracts would expire before those guys would get paid.

  • In reply to Theophylline:

    I was actually quoting from another post.

    Almora could very well be one of the guys who makes it and it could be someone else who gets traded for pitching. IMO, Soler's initially gonna be the odd man out... and he probably won't be the last.

    If Arrietta keeps it up, that would be crazy... we could be just one FA pitcher and one trade away from major contention.

    And just think... we got another high pick coming next year.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I think Baez might be at 2B as he has said he prefers it. Also, with the hammy issues that Russell has had I would think 3B might be easier on his legs. I also agree that Bryant should now be considered our RF'er. It was his other position that he has played so his comfort level would be better adjusted to the move.

    They guys that might be on the bubble for any kind of a trade now might be Olt, Soler, Almora, Vogelbach. I also can't help but think Jon Lester is now our next target. The Cubs still have the Tanaka money sitting in the bank and now save the Shark money as well.

    No need to make a trade if we land Lester, imo. We then have a rotation topped with Lester and Arrietta with Wood, Hendricks, Jackson, Beeler, Wada, CJ Edwards, etc.

    How good does our pitching need to be if we are averaging 8-10 runs a game?

  • What half a year of Hammel worth, 2 WAR? What's a year and half of Shark worth, 6 WAR? What's 6-1/2 years of Addison Russell worth, 15, 20, 25 ,30 WAR? Plus we got their #2 prospect and two other warm bodies. They win now, we win later.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    Not to mention, as good as Shark has been this year, he has never put up a season over 3 WAR

  • Soler and almora aren't far off either and even with soler's question marks, they have a 7 man roster of top prospects (rizzo at 1st). There's still an odd man out with Bryant in LF. Alcantera can prove himself I suppose and trade him for pitching.
    It should be fun to watch. I feel like this move slows Russell's ascension as he looked primed to be oak lands every day 2B by years end or certainly by ST next yr...

  • It will be interesting to see where the assets get slotted. Russell for sure goes to Tennessee to replace organizational guy Elliot Soto.

    Straily dumps into the AAA rotation to replace whoever gets called up to fill the Shark/Hammel slots.

    McKinney is interesting. He is at A+ ball right now. Cubs have Almora at the same level with Hannemann right behind him at A ball. So does Almora get bumped to AA even though he has 7/3/14 a bit this season? McKinney is very young so likely won't get bumped. Does Hannemann get a big jump to AA (he is 23 remember) and has really played well for 6 weeks?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Just answered. McKinney to Daytona. Will be fun to see where Almora and he play.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Almora will play CF, McKinney LF. There isn't even a doubt.

  • I truly believe the best way to get a great/elite starting rotation is thru drafting or FA. I am not a big believer in trading for them because they cost so much in prospects.
    How many ppl feel like billy beane gave up too much for hammels or shark?
    As far as the pitcher in return. Why would a team who needs starting pitching so bad get rid of a starting pitcher? And ppl think we will get him fix? Billy beane is a brilliant baseball mind.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    The A's don't need starting pitching "so bad." They wanted to upgrade the quality/have insurance. From what I've read, 60% of their starting rotation is quickly approaching the most amount of innings they've pitched in a season. Their offense is scoring runs. Billy Bean is getting sick of making it to the playoffs and not advancing. So this move strengthens what is already a strength for them. Not only that, but two starters get bumped to the bullpen which strengthens their bullpen even more. This move is all about a world series.

    Strailey was working out his issues in AAA. Not likely to be a part of a run at the WS this year. He's more expendable than their top pitching prospects. And he's major league ready. In my mind, Bean included him because the alternative would have meant trading most of his top prospects otherwise. Those pitching prospects are in the low minors, and Theo and Jed surely would have wanted multiple of them back to make up for the high risk in acquiring low minors pitching. Including Strailey was about not depleting the A's minor league pitching depth that they so count on as a small market team IMO.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Cubbie Steve is right, trading Straily makes alot of sense. He is no longer one of Oakland's top-5 starters. He may not be one of our top-5 even, but he was included cheap. Also, Oakland had to clear 2 40-man slots, so SOMEBODY off the 40-man had to go....Straily was a just a logical side chip to include

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Billy Beane did not give up too much. They needed some healthy pithcers, they also kept two of the best available on the market from other teams. They are trying to win the WS and this team of theirs is probably the best chance Beane has had in his tenure. They are the best team in the league right now and the normal heavy competition (Yanks, Sox, Rangers, Rays, Tigers) are all having down years. They are making their move. There is no price too high for that.

    The Cubs also made a good trade. I know this statement will probably blow up the internet, but it is possible for both teams to come out winners in a trade.

    Theo, Jed and McLeod are not exactly feeble baseball minds.

  • Yet another sack of magic beans. This is making me very ill. A zillion shortstops and no pitching. I can see blowing the entire Ricketts wad on free agents. That must be the plan, if there is one.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    So many things wrong with this post.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    The Cubs finally do have a plan. It is very obvious. Why don't you see it?

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    I highly recommend reading this excellent analysis on Fangraphs on this trade:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/cubs-athletics-trade-jeff-samardzija-jason-hammel-addison-russell-billy-mckinney/

    Really interesting read, and it goes over the reasons from both team's perspectives. Cliff Notes: WIN, WIN

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks for posting

  • Man! Talk about the perfect haul to fuel another couple of years of hot Cubs Den debate! Kudos to Theo and Jed for getting the highest rated prospect they could.

  • Jonathan Mayo talks about the Cubs lineup and completely forgets about Starlin Castro!

    "A Cubs lineup with Russell at short, Kris Bryant at third, Arismendy Alcantara at second and Baez in right field has a nice ring to it. Or Baez could move to third and Bryant could switch to an outfield corner -- something he did while in college."

    Perhaps Alcantara plays CF and Castro moves to 2B. Or is this a slip, and Mayo thinks Castro is trade bait?

  • I was kinda hoping the PTBN would be a Comp draft pick if not RA

  • One defensive strength that I have noticed with Javy is his transfer quickness from glove to throw. This would play will at SS or 3b, but even better turning two at second.

  • Just bought tickets to the Smokies game in Birmingham tomorrow. Loosen scheduled to start. Wonder if Russell will be at SS?

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    I also think that the difference between how we did after the trades last year on the Cubs and this year is we have a much better bullpen this year. Oh I am sure we will take a hit, but not nearly as hard. Be interesting who moves to the major league club, anybody hear yet?

  • Something to think about...

    The Cubs probably know Russell very well. He was the starting SS on the Cubs AFL team next to Bryant. Hearing that Russell may be the #6 prospect in the upcoming BP rankings is great, but knowing that the Cubs have know him well and KB has played next to him means much more to me. Not sure if it means anything for the Cub future of Castro, Baez or AA, but I see a Juggernaut of very high ceiling/high floor infielders coming and there is obvious confidence in the FO that they can get the pitching needed to win.

    We are going to have extreme flexibility to sign FA over the next few years and the advantage of signing long term FA pitchers is that one never blocks an upcoming prospect. Signing another Soriano would prevent prospects from moving up, but if we sign Lester to a long term deal, the worse thing that happens is we have a poor performing #4 pitcher that eats innings (yes, there are technically worse things that can happen here, but I may taking injuries off the table) and still manages a decent record because of run support.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    We have a bad 4 who eats up innings. Ejax

  • I wish Hammel and shark nothing but the best. Shark deserves this great opportunity. I think he will take the high road. You know how hard it had to be for him to pitch for a terrible team the last 2.5 yrs? He could make a garza statement and not b far off.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    If Sharks wasn't given a chance by Theo with this "terrible team" then he would still be a reliever with no chance at the type of money that he now stands to make.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It was obvious shark was gonna be a starter. Didn't he start for hendry teams? I am sure he started in the minors so it isn't like theo let him start.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    "it isn't like theo let him start"

    Yes it is. He was a reliever until at age 27 when Theo came over and gave him a shot a starting. The year before Shark was a full time reliever.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    By the way it wasn't at all obvious Shark was going to be a starter that's complete BS. He did both in 2009 & 2010, and then was made a full time reliever in 2011.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    If you think shark was gonna b a reliver his entire career and theo came up with the idea to start him. That is bs. Started all thru minors. And was being groomed for a starter role. Can't believe you r saying that..wow

  • The thing that worries me somewhat about this trade is that, on the surface, Reed does not seem like a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. If you compare him to someone like our Alcantara, AA is two full levels above Reed, and is a better hitter for both avg. and power. Similar speed skills, and the only thing keeping AA out of the SS position is one Baez, Javier. I wouldn't trade AA for Reed straight up, yet AA is barely a top 25 prospect and Reed is in the top 5? I just don't see it. What is it about this 20 yr old kid that rates him at the uber-level of Milb society? I get that he is good, has talent, can hit somewhat. It's just the extremely high valuation he has gotten at this point in his career. Someone straighten me out here, please....

  • The Cubs pull off a great trade involving Shark, and Pink Floys is coming out with a new album in October! Life is sweet!

  • The Cubs pull off a great trade involving Shark, and Pink Floyds is coming out with a new album in October! Life is sweet!

  • A very interesting article from a guy who knows a little about baseball

    http://www.gammonsdaily.com/peter-gammons-biggest-trade-of-the-season-cubs-send-samardzija-hammel-to-as-for-russell/

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    In reply to cubbybear7753:

    Thanks. Great article

    I love the quote, the end game isn't to end up w the best prospects

    2nd fav part, at conclusion of the deal, Beane said to Theo, you just got Barry Larkin.

    Some say Derek Jeter, now Barry Larkin. What would a mix of those two be? How exciting. !!!!

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