Trade Rumor Thread: We're Not Done Yet

Even though the Cubs cashed in their biggest chips on July 4th, there are still other pieces they will be looking to move and hopefully adding some more pieces to their insanely stacked system. I would expect to see various levels of speculation regarding the Cubs moving one of their shortstops, bullpen arms (especially from the left side), Nate Schierholtz, Darwin Barney (DFA or trade), Luis Valbuena, and possibly even Edwin Jackson (a boy can dream).

Editors Note: We will make this a rumors and notes piece since we don't expect a ton of rumors today, but there are some other interesting things going on around the league.

8:15 (Dan) The other Boy Wonder of Twitter reporting Robert Murray says that the Yankees have inquired on Edwin Jackson. According to Murray, the Yankees are looking to acquire high salaried starters who won't cost high level prospects. Earlier today, Yankees GM stated on WFAN that he had attempted to acquire both Samardzija and Hammel (in separate deals), but obviously the Yankees did not have a prospect at the level of Addison Russell to offer in trade talks (few teams do).

7:30 (Mike) Das Wunderkind weighs in with some trade rumors that expand what we had this morning.  In addition to teams calling about James Russell, Wesley Wright is also getting some attention.  It's easy to see trading one of the two as Zac Rosscup is ready to come up as soon as needed.  Trading both of them may lead Chris Rusin to a career as a LOOGY.

1:30 PM (John): Brady Aiken talks have hit a snag as the top pick in the 2014 draft appears to have some medical concerns.  Specifically it has to do with his elbow ligament.  The Astros have rescinded their original $6.5M offer and are now offering $5M.  This has not been a great month for the Astros.  On the bright side for them, they could save money as they have quite a few unsigned picks, including top overslot, LHP Mac Marshall.  They also have not signed their 4th round pick, RHP Daniel Megden.

1:12 PM: Thoughts on Cubs Rebuilding Plan and the Russell/Samardzija/Hammel deal

  • Jesse Spector of the Sporting News praises the Cubs bold plan to add impact talent and contrasts it with the Diamondbacks muddling through the process.
  • Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Dispatch writes an article that contrasts the Cubs building plan with the Cardinals.  It's unsurprisingly oversimplified and biased  but he does bring up an interesting point about how the Cubs have built with hitting and the Cardinal have tried to sustain success with pitching.   He also gathers up some opinion from national writers for both sides, so it is worth a look even if the analysis from the author is unsatisfactory.

(John): Could the Mets make a play for Starlin Castro?

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting the Cubs trade Starlin Castro nor should they even shop him, which I can say that they are not.   I am just saying that the industry buzz has been that  other teams are very interested in the resurgent 24 year old All-Star SS.

Topping the list are the New York Mets.  They are in dire need of a SS and despite some of the information you may have read publicly, they would very much like having a hitter like Castro in their lineup.

The Mets also have the most intriguing player to deal in former top prospect Zach Wheeler.  I say former only because Wheeler is logging big league innings this year.

It makes sense on many levels.  Both players are 24 and 3 years from their prime.  Castro is having the better season (1.8 WAR), but Wheeler has shown flashes of the kind of pitcher he could become.  He's been worth about a half win less so far this year and with crude extrapolation, we can say Castro will be the better player by about a win at the end of the season.

Wheeler would be the kind of guy you'd want Bosio to get his hands on.  He works with a fastball that averages 95 mph.  He also throws a very hard slider in the upper 80s, a curve, and a change.  He's a power pitcher with top of the rotation talent.  The only thing he lacks is command, but given the work Bosio has done with Jake Arrieta, Jeff Samardzija. and Travis Wood in that area, that could improve over time.

It will take more than Wheeler to land Castro and, like I said, I am in no way eager to deal the talented young SS.  But Wheeler would at least get me to listen.  The Cubs could still have an infield of Bryant, Russell, Baez, and Rizzo with an OF that could include some combination of Alcantara, Soler, Almora, Schwarber, and McKinney.  The rotation would have two studs at the top in Wheeler and Arrieta,  They also have Travis Wood while Kyle Hendricks will make his debut this week.  The Cubs would be one veteran top 3 starter from having a good, mostly young rotation to go with what might well be the best young lineup in baseball.

  • Early this morning Peter Gammons reported that James Russell's name was heard frequently over the past weekend in trade talks. With the Cubs having an overcrowded bullpen already and Zac Rosscup ready to replace Russell from the left side, it makes sense that the Cubs would be looking to move the veteran. Russell is having a quietly solid year despite a rough May and has surprisingly been more successful against right handed batters (.376 OPS) than lefties (.789 OPS). Not expecting a huge return for Russell, but he would make an interesting complimentary piece in a bigger deal. (Dan)
  • Ken Rosenthal Tweeted this morning that the Cubs were asking for combinations of five different Toronto prospects in trade talks for both Jason Hammel and/or Jeff Samardzija. Rosenthal lists RHPs Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez, LHP Daniel Norris, and CF Dalton Pompey as Cubs targets in the trade talks. All these names had previously been reported as Cubs targets and Rosenthal later added that the two teams did not discuss a package of both Hammel and Samardzija.

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  • It's ironic (kind of) that Shark beat Drew Hutchinson yesterday in his first game with the A's.
    Would still like to get Daniel Norris from the Blue Jays, but doubt a combo of James Russel and Barney (or Valbuena) get him.

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    Great article as always!

    The only comment is "OF that could include some combination of Alcantara, Soler, Schwarber, and McKinney"

    Have we already given up on Almora? I am hoping this was a small typo!

    I am upset with Almora's bad #s but after looking at the BA list I think he would have kept his prospect ranking higher if he had just gotten hurt instead of struggled. Let's hope he finishes the season with the same numbers that has he had since June 23. .442/.478/.628

  • In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    Almoras name is right there.

  • If I'm Theo, conversations begin and end with Wheeler & Syndergaard for Castro.... I don't expect NYM to go along with that, and if not I'm content to keep Starlin

  • I think John omitted Almora since it seems like it would not be until 2016 at the very earliest that Almora sees Wrigley.

  • In reply to npinzur:

    Didnt mean John...meant NSI.

  • In reply to npinzur:

    I did mean to put Almora in that mix, actually, but thanks. Will fix.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You did put almoras name.

  • After seeing all the comments about the big trade, I was curious as to what Shark's feelings and thoughts were about moving on to Oakland.

    I checked out the Oakland Tribune today, and it sounds like Jeff is pleased and very happy to be on that team. He sees a lot of talent there feels like they have a great shot of winning big this year.

    On a side note, one Oakland writer mentioned that Billy Beans had been in contact with the Rays about David Price and had even offered Addison Russell as part of the package. Wonder if Tampa Bay was looking for more than what Oakland could offer?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I think you nailed it. From numerous reports, I saw that TB wanted a mother lode coming back, and I do not know if Oakland had enough of the pieces that TB was requiring.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    If 1) Shark had not been traded and 2) Had started Saturday's game as scheduled and 3) had gives up one run as he did Sunday for the A's and 4) Gio had shut out the Cubs as he did, THEN Shark would have picked up yet another LOSS instead of his 4-2 win.

    No wonder the man is happy!

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    The Rays were looking for an incredible amount of talent in return.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Price, the way he is throwing, is worth more than Shark and Hammel together for 2014/15. But if you are just looking at this year, Shark and Hammel were probably worth more because it's 15-16 starts times two and an extra arm for the postseason.

    I think Price is worth the equivalent of a Russell and another Top 25 prospect, along with a couple other lesser pieces.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Hopefully shark will find out about Zachery's Pizza, closest comp is Giordano's.

  • I'd want something I'm more sure of.

    Package of Starlin (6 years of control) and other pieces (some kind of mix and match of Almora/Johnson/Edwards/VBomb/Arrieta) for Stanton (2 years of control)

    I'd then immediately work on extending Stanton. Offer him a mega deal to keep him here for the next decade. We have the money to spend.

    1. Alcantara (CF)
    2. Russell (SS)
    3. Rizzo (1B)
    4. Stanton (RF)
    5. Bryant (3B)
    6. Baez (2B)
    7. Soler (LF)
    8. Schwarber (C)

    Who needs pitching when you score 7 runs a game?

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I'm of the opinion to only make small trades with ample players that can step right in. Stanton isn't worth risking a Castro trade for. I wouldn't give up pitching either for Stanton. Let the cards play out and I'm sure one of the Magnificent 7 or elite 8 or Naughty Number 9 will be able to make you forget about Stanton and we still will have our All Star SS.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I would like to agree, but history shows over and over again pitching and defense win flags, not a bunch of prospect hype and minor league success. Keep me posted. Bryant seems farthest along. Soler appears to be mental midget and Russell has been hurt. The Giants have zero star power other than Posey. The Red Sox have a 35 year old Ortiz lead them. What does that tell you about championships. One solid hitter who gets hot plus a solid pitching staff and fielding wins!.

  • In reply to Steven Rosenberg:

    I can nitpick and tailor my argument with great offensive teams who won titles too.

    That's such a narrow point of view.

  • In reply to Steven Rosenberg:

    Soler is a mental midget?

    I assume you have a lot to base that on other than one single incident that made the papers.

  • Just curious, but why has Addison Russell only played in 19 games thus far this year?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Hamstring injury earlier in the season

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He's battled a hamstring injury since before the season got into full swing. But he's been healthy for several weeks now.

  • I am excited to see the Cubs potential, but I can't help thinking about the Cubs letting Palmero go and Carter being the man out in the outfield, so they let him go. Grace was very good but I think Raphie was better and Joe Carter made me a lot of money as people bet with there heart then, not wanting a non-American team to win the series.Also they thought that because I am a woman, they were smarter than me. That pitching staff, The mix of veterans and young talent, they were a lock for 2 years, Kaching! It would give me a bad case of indigestion if whichever shortstop the trade will help their team to win the world series while the Cubs sit home and watch. I pray that that does not happen, but,you know

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    In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    In English.....?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    uh...yes please

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I know, right?!? I was trying and was following right along until...Please Chrissy! One more time again pls!

  • In reply to rickmonday:

    I think I speak Chrissy. As far as I discern, she was expressing strong doubts about the wisdom of the trade, saying it brought to mind trades made in the past that she disagreed with.

    Chrissy, please keep 'em coming!

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    In reply to rickmonday:

    Funny you chimed in on that, Rick Monday. In 1977, when asked what the difference was between playing in Chicago and LA, new Dodger Rick Monday said something along the lines of not having to be bi-lingual to call for fly ball in the Dodger OF, where he was flanked by Dusty Baker and Reggie Smith as opposed to Jerry Morales and Jose Cardinal.
    Some folks took it the wrong way, as Monday, a likeable and affable guy, was just joking around at his former teammates expense.

  • In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    Good trades should help BOTH trading partners, as we'll see in the Samardzija / Hamel trade for Russell ++. The Carter trade was particularly good for the Cubs, as it brought Rick Sutcliffe to Chicago. His 16 wins brought the Cubs gave the Cubs a chance at the WS, which they didn't miss by much. Carter, on the other hand, didn't help Cleveland much, mostly due to his poor defensive skills. The traded him to San Diego, who traded him to Toronto. His shining moments came EIGHT YEARS after the Cubs traded him, when his defense improved and he led the Jays to the WS in consecutive years.

  • In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    wtf? cocaine is a hell of a drug, but you might want to lay off just before posting a comment.

  • In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    Chrissy, your post makes plenty of sense to me. And I share your concerns, if not your history of winning bets.

  • In reply to chrissygirl6218:

    Chrissy, your post make sense to me, and I share your concerns even though I've never won a bet in my life.

  • Castro could definitely net us a huge haul but I think that would move the timeline back again for competing. I would much rather wait until Baez/Alcantara is up and see if he can be successful at the big league level before we trade a 24 year old 3 time all star shortstop who is finally tapping into his power. I obviously understand the argument about getting TOR pitching for him though! I think picking up 1 or 2 pitchers in the offseason is best way to go for now. Everything could change next year of course

  • In reply to Cubswin2015:

    The timeline is my concern as well.

  • In reply to Cubswin2015:

    Bingo!!! Which is why it makes more sense to trade a Baez/Russell than it does Castro. Though I see no need to rush into doing that either.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    But Castro alone would yield a lot. trading a prospect, even a top prospect would require a whole package.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yeah and its also the dumbest and riskiest move of all the SS in the system. Everyone loathes barney's offense. But he is the only cpaable everyday Ss we have until baez is ready and as much as I like Baez... he's not a guaranteed thing like Castro is...

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    The more I just let the recent trade just sink in the more giddy I get. Castro will become like crack to an addict. lol

    But here's the thing. What if the master plan includes a big free agent pitcher signing this winter? If we can lure Jon Lester away from Boston we would be in a sweet position. I also think the pitching we have in the system could really surprise folks. It might one be lacking a year of development behind our hitters.

    I am intrigued by guys like Blackburn, Johnson, Edwards, and Clifton. And then you sprinkle in a few of this year's draft choices into the running for a rotation spot. We may only need to sign one major Free Agent like Lester to get us going in the right direction for next season.

    But if the Mets need their crack fix I think we could accomidate them for Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard and maybe a low level "throw in" just for fun..... lol

  • Baez at 3rd, Addison at short, Castro at 2nd, Rizzo at 1st. Alcatara in center, Schwarmer in left and Bryant in right Soler off the bench
    Arrietta, Wood, Hendricks, Beeler starting rotation, Wada 5th start. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she/

  • Not trade-related, but yikes...

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 6m

    No. 1 pick brady aiken is said to have an elbow ligament issue. astros look to discount deal. story coming on @CBSSports

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Keep piling up the better odds lottery tickets (position players)! Theo knows what he is doing. I don't understand why people are so worried we don't have TOR pitchers in our farm system. You can always trade a shortstop for a pitcher. Plus, it seems these days that a TOR pitcher is roughly at 50/50 odds to have a major arm problem.

    I say we wait until we have too many awesome position players and trade one for a TOR arm. Let Arrieta be our number 2. Let Epstoyer go out every winter and sign a couple number 4 starters who will pitch like number 3 starters for us. This front office sure knows how to find hidden gems in SP talent on the FA market.

  • In reply to nukee:

    What nukee said - pitchers are too risky to turn into franchise cornerstones. Keep acquiring long-term bats and short-term arms - it's best way to manage risk and I'm glad Theo and Jed are looking at it this way.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Wow......that doesn't do much for the Astros though than just save them some cash, because it's probably too late to line up their draft to actually use that extra bonus space. It's a blow to their organization.

    Looks like we'll see the "Barret Loux" rule in action, rules created around this very instance that kind of screwed Loux a few years back. They have to offer Aiken at least 40% of the slot IIRC, or he can become a completely free agent....Astros will NOT let that happen.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Youngsters who throw 100 = TJ

    Teenage ligaments are fragile.

  • Just too many great prospects to constantly keep track of. John, great work! I am getting addicted to this site. And don't tell me that a WS title would cure it.
    BTW, it is a bit nuts to worry about where Russell will play in 8 years after (if) he porks up.

  • The FO has assured Castro that he didn't need to look over his shoulder but how long will that assurance last if they get the kind of deal they want from the Mets? If were speculating, how about Castro, Russell, and Almora for Stanton and a minor league, up-and-coming pitcher? I'd wait on V-Bomb and see if he catches fire near the end of the season. His trade value could be better than.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    That would be a horrible deal for Stanton and set the rebuild back 2 years... We DONT NEED Stanton.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I wouldn't do that trade but the Cubs could definitely compete with a middle of the line-up of Rizzo/Stanton/Baez.

    Two year push-back is a bit of an overreaction. Stanton could be a 10 WAR player next year.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Add in Bryant to that line-up too.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I don't see any reason to trade any cost controlled players. We need to sign a couple good FA pitchers and a FA outfielder and we will see which young guys will make it and which will bust.

    If I was predicting I think Bryant and Russell have best chance to be all stars with Soler,Almora,Alcantera & Schwarber being solid big leaguers. The one guy I think could bust would be Baez.

    So far he has managed to make adjustments. But he scares me, people compare him to Sheffield but look at Shef's SO & walk rates no comparison.

    I feel his ceiling is .240/.310 30hr. which would be good but if he struggles with contact he could easily put up Mike Olt type numbers.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Do you think that trade sets the rebuild back two years?

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    The Sheffield comparisons I have read ALL state that the comparison is BAT SPEED ONLY and specifically do not continue it to his approach at the plate.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    2 years of Stanton for 6 years of Castro does not net us 10 WAR.

    Also, if Stanton is in our line-up for those 2 years, its at the expense of Bryant/Soler. You really think he is 10 WAR above either of those? Worth the expense of Castro plus?

    Sure am glad Epstoyer is in charge instead of all these Stanton Loving Castro trading fans...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Because Stanton has no chance of ever re-signing. Gotcha.

    And Bryant plays 3rd, like the front office you love so much has been saying.

    And Soler plays left.

    C'mon man use your head.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    There's no guarantee he re-signs early. Castro is already signed long term.

    You haven't addressed how little we gain by inserting Stanton over Castro/Russell/Almora, etc that he proposed to get him. You called my statement of losing them 3 for the sake of Stanton a 2yr setback an over reaction. I call your justification of dealing them for Stanton absurd.

    So yeah, come on man... use your head. You said he was a 10 WAR player... SHOW ME how we gain 10 wins by netting him over those 3...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I said..."Stanton could be a 10 WAR player next year."

    You said..."2 years of Stanton for 6 years of Castro does not net us 10 WAR."

    We're not even talking about the same thing... Read it again.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Well since his best year was a 5.6 WAR in 2012, I assumed you were forecasting his 2 years remaining to be career years and combined 10 WAR... He's played 3 full seasons and they have been a 3.2 WAR, 5.6 WAR in 2012, and 2.3 WAR in 2013 in 2011. His 3 best years combined equal 10.1 WAR!?!?!

    Since since you're being so bold and brash to forecast a 10 WAR next year alone he's obviously worth the entire MLB Roster & Farm system right now. So enlighten me, where did u get 10 WAR?

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    He's on pace for 8+ WAR this season. His previous seasons weren't full seasons.

    I said he COULD be a 10 WAR player. Jumping from 8 to 10 as a player inches towards his prime isn't far fetched. Players tend to get better with age as they get into their prime. Sandwiched between Rizzo/Bryant and playing half his games in a ballpark that isn't constantly in the bottom 5 of home runs hit all play a factor.

    It wasn't a prediction or forecast. I'm not sure you know what the word could means.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    So you're NOT considering those seasons "Full Seasons" and now you're projecting him to not only suddenly have a "Full Season" by your own definition, something he's never done; but to do it 2 years consecutively. And not only will he accomplish that feat, but he will even surpass his already career year performance level by an additional 25% increase in WAR, or more than double his career best WAR season....

    Like I said, THANK GOD Epstoyer is charge of scouting/evaluating players and acquisition targets instead of the Buffoons who have no fact based arguments or statistical backing to their "Opinions"...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Amen!!!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks! You saved me some ink. Yeah, the Cubs need to get rid of a hand-full of their top prospects so they can pay Stanton $30million a year if they could keep him, and then watch the combined WAR of those prospects help some team win a championship. If the Cubs have above average offensive players at every position but catcher, then the Cubs will not need Stanton. We don't need "celebrity"!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    That is what I was thinking. I mean Stanton is good although still with some questions, but not for anything close to those 3 guys.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Why do we need to trade these guys? We get so hungry for our very own minor league that when it is on the cusp of fruition, we want to trade it away. Be patient, let these guys prove themselves, sign some filler FA, and let's sit back and watch the kids grow before our very own eyes. We don't Stanton, because we gave our own power in the Bryant/Baez/Soler/Schwarber/Russell group. I want to see this group, along with Alcantara, Almora, Bruno, Hanneman, and all the other studs growing on the farm in Cub uniforms when they succeed at the MLB level.

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    I firmly believe they should not trade any of their IF prospects... most of them are middle infielders and those are the most athletic guys: able to play almost any position. And as it happens, each is well suited for a position that would hypothetically be open. With how cheap of a lineup they will be able to field in the quite near future, they would have no problem buying the rotation pieces they seek. You don't need prospects at every single position, that is what FA is used for. Fill those gaps with established pitchers and let the offense run rampant behind them.

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    Totally agree with this. Only start looking at trading away position players when we don't have anymore spots to put them.

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    1. Exactly. Acquire all of the talent.
    2. Find a position after they develop.
    3. ????
    4. World Series.

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    Agreed,... I love the way this plan is starting to go together.

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    I like speculating about trades as much as the next person. And putting together mock lineups. But no one predicted that both Shark and Hammel would go to the A's. Everyone assumed the centerpiece would be pitching, and not a AA SS and a Single A OF. So really, no one knows what is going to happen.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    And the last two drafts. Most thought the Cubs would take pitching. This front office is very unpredictable.

    I know I made my "what I would do" post but that's just my fantasy.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I don't think they're unpredictable at all - I think they place a premium on impact bats over impact arms because impact arms have too much risk. They love the floor that hitters provide

  • In reply to JasonB:

    Did you have them taking Schwarber pre-draft?

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yup :-)

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I don't have nearly enough time (or a discernible enough eye) to watch amateur baseball to figure out who they'd draft at #4. However, it didn't shock me in the least that they took a patience/power college bat at #4 in the draft over a bunch of arms that have already thrown the ball really hard for a really long time.

    The blueprint for what the Cubs want to do in the first round of the draft was already laid out in 2012-13 - high floor bats with potential to be impact players - the Schwarber pick doesn't appear to deviate considerably from that strategy.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    The selection was unpredictable. Not the type of player they go for.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    So two years in a row of taking a high floor bat makes taking a high floor bat a third year in a row unpredictable?

    Ok... so I don't hang out in the comments section all that often but based on reading your comments below it appears that you basically like to argue with people and I'm not coming here to bark back and forth about something that neither you nor I have one bit of control over. If you want to disagree with me, then fine, but the evidence was there that the Cubs would draft a bat with the #4 pick regardless of who was available at the time.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    The evidence was there that they would take a bat #4 regardless of who was there AFTER the draft. Before the draft it was thought they would take a pitcher if he fell out of the top 3, even Nola was mentioned at 4.

    It's not as obvious as you make it seem.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Not everyone has access to the same information. We do more than speculate here, though sometimes we present it as such to protect sources. I can assure you that while nobody can predict the future, we do get some inkling about what is going on around the league. And while I didn't know the Cubs would pursue Russell, I do know they asked about a different stud hitter with a different team so, no... I wasn't really surprised when they traded for Russell.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My prediction for the Cubs #1 draft pick is: [insert name of top college bat here].
    Mark my words!

    LOL

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That would be a pretty safe bet.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    DJ Stewart.

    Write it in pen.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He looks like a RH Schwarber! Thick, runs well.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John – I am a big fan of your site. I read it religiously every day. And I don’t want to be rude and pick an argument with the editor. But the idea that you - or anyone - had inside information on the A’s/Cubs deal doesn’t hold muster for me. Billy Beane called Theo directly, and they kept things very close to the vest. I didn’t read here or anywhere that “The A’s have had scouts at the last two Cubs games watching Hammel and Samardjiza pitch.” Maybe I missed it? The people who post here are all very smart, and they make a lot of good proposals. And it’s fun. And it sure seems obvious that the Cubs will make more trades. But everything here is just an educated guess.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    He didn't say that. In fact he said the opposite. He basically said that while everyone was thinking pitching, the fact that he heard they were discussing impact bats as well made the acquisition of Russell much less surprising when it actually happened. Something to that effect. Dig back and find the quote if you'd like. Peace...

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    In reply to Jweav14:

    Okay.

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    In reply to Jweav14:

    Okay. Peace.

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    In reply to Jweav14:

    I think I read all the articles leading up to this and almost all of the comments. I don't recall him commenting that we were looking at a bat. I am curious to see how far in advance they got that.

  • Wouldn't it be awful risky to trade Castro now? With the other two a year and half away? I expect Baez to be ok but what if he struggles again or gets hurt and now all eggs go into Russell basket. I would think we would wait unless a ridiculous offer happened.
    I don't think the others will bring anything worth much.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I wouldn't trade him unless it's for major league pieces who have a track record.

    The Wheeler+ thing doesn't wow me right now. I'd rather wait until we see who is for real and who isn't and then make a trade. The way Castro seemingly became expendable with the Russell addition might happen next year with someone like Soler if we get Daz or another hitter in the draft.

    There's no rush to make a move.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Agree on all counts -- need to get a MLB guy, IMO and there is no rush whatsoever to make a deal.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It would absolutely be a huge risk. No doubt.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    We have a top tier offensive as who has played in 99% of games since being promoted 3.5 years ago who is 3 time all star and plays solid defense at the toughest postion in the field. Healthy, productive, young, cheap... Do not trade or move him.

  • I know the point of the Castro stuff is just bantering. However, it blows my mind that anyone would want to trade Castro. In Castro we have a 3 time all-star shortstop who is 24 years old. There is no reason that he cannot be a .300 hitter every year in his prime. Heck, he could be a .300 hitter this season. Now add in his power numbers. There is a very reasonable chance that Castro could be hitting .330/.390/.485 with 20 HRs and 15 SBs. That could happen next year. I'm not sold Baez can hit .275 in the big leagues at this point. He can't do it in AAA yet. Russell is a phenomenal talent. I'm so excited that he is in our system. However, the earliest he could be a 3 time all-star is probably 2019. Why would you trade Castro?

  • In reply to nukee:

    It's a fair point. He is already good and he is young enough to get a lot better.

  • I would think Castro's trade value is far closer to Giancarlo Stanton's then most people realize. Wheeler is not anywhere close to enough to pry him away from the Cubs. The Cubs don't have to make any moves right now and they won't unless somebody makes them an offer that they can not refuse. A 24 year-old, three time All-Star on a reasonable long-term contract is a rare commodity in this league and for some reason a lot of people are quick to trade him out of town for nowhere close to fair market value. I understand that he has his flaws, but I would bet that there are only a few GM's out there that would not trade their current SS straight up for Castro taking into consideration the value that his contract provides. That being said, the attrition rate for pitchers would necessitate multiple high-impact arms being on the table before the Cubs would begin to consider dealing Castro. I personally do not see any teams stepping up to the plate and blowing the Cubs away with any offers. I would be happy to proceed with Castro as the Cubs starting SS and deal with players being blocked or switching positions when the situation should arise. The Cubs are dealing from a position of strength because Castro's value will not decrease if the Cubs hold onto him. Conversely, it appears his value would seem to increase the longer the Cubs keep him based upon his development this season.

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    agreed all around.

  • If Russell shows he can stick at SS, I can't see him and Castro playing more than a half season together. The reason I say that is the FO always talk about players as assets, Moving either off SS would decrease their value. I think that is the reason they are reluctant to move Bryant, Baez,AA until they have to.

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    In reply to ejs1:

    I'm not convinced Castro will consistently hit at the level he is now, but the bottom line is that he is an established MLB player at a premium position. To this point, Russell or any of the other minor-leaguers, even Bryant, are just prospects. Nothing more.

    The Cubs have a lot of time invested in Castro's defense, so unless Russell looks like a phenom fielder I don't see why you move Starlin to another position anytime soon.

    The only reason to trade him, in my opinion, is because he doesn't fit the Cubs Way in terms of his approach at the plate. And maybe they are thinking Almora and Baez (despite his recent progress) don't either.

    But you are unlikely to get equal value back for Castro at this point, so if that's an issue, I would prefer they move Almora/and or Baez.

    I could see a package of those two for a Zack Wheeler (and a top minor league pitcher) from the Mets, or whoever. But I think the Cubs will wait to see what they can sign this winter.

    What if they offered both Scherzer and Lester 6-year, $175 million deals? It could happen if it looks like the Wrigley renovations are going through.

    Take it a step further. What if they signed these guys AND made a deal for a Wheeler and a top pitching prospect?

    I can dream, right?

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    What is interesting is that with all the cost control the Cubs have they could make those signings (or offer slightly less) and possibly still get them. Word is getting around the league that the cubs are loading up on high end prospects. If we just look at it as a 5 year budget rather than a single year budget I think we could pencil it. It would be going for broke but it could be REALLY fun to watch.

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    I was at Nationals Park this weekend and talked to a lot of Cubs fans, mostly about the trade. Generally, the more casual fans (in other words, ones I could tell don't follow the minors or even the negotiations between Shark and the Cubs) were livid about the trade. The fans who follow the team more closely, and granted I only talked to a couple of those (as opposed to a dozen of the more casual ones) really liked the deal.

    To me, the Cubs at worst will earn a draw on this deal, and then only if somehow Russell, Straily and McKinney produce very little either in terms of what they eventually do for the MLB team on the field or bring back in trades.

    The bottom line is that Shark and Hammel were not going to mean anything to the Cubs going forward. The only remote scenario where the Cubs gave up anything significant here would be if Bryant, Alcantrara and Baez all made the Big League roster next year and along with the likes of Castro and Rizzo turned the Cubs into an offensive force. In that case, maybe they would wish they still had Shark, but it won't matter if they sign Scherzer or Lester in the offseason.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    If the A's win the World Series and prospects flop, Cubs got fleeced.
    If the A's win the World Series and prospects succeed, Win / Win.
    If the A's don't win the World Series and prospects succeed, A's got fleeced.

    It's no different than the Texas deals.
    Texas didn't win the World Series and the Cubs got at least Major League player, maybe more.
    The smoke has cleared and it looks like Texas got fleeced.
    We'll know how this turned out in 2017.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Frankly, I hope the A's do win the World Series for having the guts to not overvalue prospects at the expense of increasing their chances to win a World Series. But whether they do or not makes little difference where the Cubs are concerned because they weren't going to go anywhere before Shark and Hammel left for free agency. All it means if the A's win is that Oakland didn't get fleeced.

  • I think they will keep Castro through 2015. Then they will decide who will be the better 2b between he and Baez and trade the other one with Russell stepping into SS for 2016. That will give them some time to let the OF develop, see how Soler and Alcantara do and see what current needs are before the domination.

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    Right now the Cubs have an over abundance very good young RP. With the ones we have up now and the onesin waiting at AAA. We can't keep them all, therefore it is a place to get valuable trade pieces. At least a couple.

  • Any chance the Cubs stretch our Neil Ramirez. With his size and stuff, why couldn't he become a Samardzija like front end of the rotation starter? Injury concerns?

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    In reply to Ike03:

    It's tempting, but Ramirez has injury history, specifically shoulder problems, which are the worst kind. He was a starter last year in AA, but was merely OK. He's also out of options after this year, so he would have to get that experience in the majors.

    A combination of these three reasons, plus the fact that he's been great as a bullpen guy and why mess with that, are probably why he is NOT a candidate to start

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    In reply to Ike03:

    Not this year. But I think both he and Grimm will come into next spring competing for a starting role

  • Two thoughts. It would be short-sighted and a case of counting chickens before they are hatched if Castro was traded. We know we have a proven ML All-Star shortstop. How many other teams can say that. Behind him we have potential ML All-Star shortstops. I will take proven over potential any day. Also people need to end their man-crush with Stanton. I would take Casto over Stanton in a hearbeat, based on Castro's position and our young outfielders down on the farm. Let things play out, see how our very talented crop pan out and worry about getting what we can in trades from our current ML team (not named Castro or Rizzo)

  • In reply to Cubfin:

    The problem with Stanton is he's a FA in a couple of years.
    There's not much difference between him and JS if he won't extend.

  • In reply to Cubfin:

    Stanton is an MVP candidate this season.

    You're in the vast minority with taking Castro over him "in a heartbeat"

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Stanton is by far the better player, but their future contracts as well as their injury histories come into play here. Castro makes $43 million over the next 5 seasons and is on pace for around a 3.5 WAR this year. He also has shown is physical toughness on the field, having played in at least 158 games in every full season he's been in the big leagues. Stanton on the other hand has a history of injuries and only played in 123 games in 2012 and 116 games in 2013. Still Stanton is on pace for around an 8 WAR this season. At the moment Stanton only makes 6.5 million (compared with $5 million for Castro), and he's healthy so he clearly provides the better value. However, he only has two years of arbitration left.

    Over the next 2 years, Stanton should make around $25 million in arbitration and will fetch a king's ransom as a free agent, probably around $25 million a year. So over the next 5 seasons, Stanton would make around $100 million vs Castro's $43 million. If Castro averages 3.5 WAR over the next 4 years, while Stanton averages a 8 WAR, they provide approximately the same value per dollar (17.5 WAR for Castro or $2.46 per WAR and 40 WAR for Stanton or $2.5 per WAR).

    While nothing is guaranteed, Stanton seems to provide a similar value to Castro and at the end of the day, Castro may be the safer choice. Stanton would cost more than Castro to acquire and at the same time, is more injury prone and gives the Cubs less versatility. Yes the Cubs have a log jam in the infield, but that is a lot safer than bulking up on outfield talents. If you trade Castro, there's still a chance that Russell and Baez fail or can't stick at short. At the same time, perhaps the Cubs hit on most of their outfield talents and Bryant proves that he can't provide adequate defense at 3B. Then you have Bryant, Stanton, Almora, Schwarber, Soler. and McKinney and only 3 spots to play them. On the other hand, having three potential stud shortstops, gives the team a great amount of flexibility, as they can essentially play anywhere on the field.

    In the end, yes Stanton's better, but he may not be better for the Cubs' future.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    Money should not be a problem. We've been shedding payroll. We offered Sanchez $80 million 2 years ago. Tanaka $120+ million last off-season. We play in a market big enough to dole out a huge contract for a superstar that is years from his prime. People love to talk about ceilings for the prospects, what's Stanton's ceiling? .325 55 HR 155 RBI.

    If the Cubs ever get their hands on Stanton he's not going to make free agency. He's going to cost more but going forwardhe's twice the player (WAR wise) that Castro is.

    And he's played in every game this season, enough about the injury concerns.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Fangraphs has Stanton is a 4.1 WAR player for the first half of this year, so lets project that forward until team control ends after the 2016 season. That is 20.5 WAR between now and then. With this being his career year, I think this is somewhat generous. His contract for the second half of 2014 calls for $3.25 million and is eligible for arbitration for the next two years. I think $20 million for the next two years is estimating on the low side. That is $1.13 million / WAR, a bargain by anyone's measure. Then he gets really expensive if you are able to keep him (say $27.5 million / year AAV with a contract that extends well beyond his prime years). Through the 2019 season, he would theoretically cost his team $2.34 million / WAR. Still not a bad deal, but only because of the surplus value calculated into this amount through the 2016 year. His entire surplus value will be gone in two and a half years and you hope what you have left is an expensive slugging outfielder that already has a bad knee.

    Compare that with Castro's contract that is guaranteed through the 2019 season with a club option for 2020. His contract will conclude as he is exiting his prime years with an AAV of $8.57 million if the option is not exercised or $9.38 million if it is. His WAR for the first half of this year per Fangraphs is 1.8. Projecting that out through 2019 that would be 19.8 WAR. I think that this is more than fair based upon Castro's health in comparison with Stanton's. Based upon his salary between now and then, that would be $2.42 million / WAR. The kicker here is that the club would not be on the hook for expensive years with declining production.

    For a team with a shorter window of opportunity, Stanton obviously is of more value. However, looking through 2019 and beyond, I would argue that Castro is hands down the better value.

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    That's a great business model for the Rays.

    We have money to spend.

    I'm sure we'd have no trouble finding a replacement for Castro.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Yes the Cubs will have money to spend in the short term, but the Cubs aren't looking to build a team that can only compete in the short term. The Cubs have a lot of holes to fill and things get expensive quick. They are going to need to acquire to 2 top of the rotation talents, which could end up costing them $40 million+ a year. If the Cubs are able to fill most of the offensive holes with their farm, then money shouldn't be a problem for now, but in around 6 years, it could become a huge problem, even if the Cubs are making more money. The Cubs will have to decide which prospects they want to commit to long term and things aren't going to be easy dealing with Boras (Bryant, Almora). They can't pay everyone. You have to take of as many team friendly deals as possible Stanton may be worth twice as much as Castro, but he's going to cost twice much and plays the outfield. And at the end of the day, his injuries are a major concern whether he's healthy this year or not.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    Signing Stanton to a long term contract isn't trying to compete in the short term, it's the opposite.

    I can't believe how many people are so worried about money. We've been at the top of the heap before. We're going to get back there one way or another. I would like to have the best players to do it.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I have no problem signing Stanton as a free agent and paying him a ton of money. I'm just trying to point out that trading Castro and others for him doesn't provide a surplus of value for the team.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    I don't think the Cubs would trade Castro straight up for Stanton.
    Yes Stanton is much more of a productive player but he becomes a FA right when they are looking to turn it on full-throttle.

    If they could do a sign and trade at a reasonable price (not likely) then yes I would trade and obviously Castro wouldn't be enough to get that deal done.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    "I'm just trying to point out that trading Castro and others for him doesn't provide a surplus of value for the team."

    There's no way you can say that with certainty. Please share your crystal ball.

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    In reply to rdacpa:

    Thank you. That is one of the most cogent analyses of more data than: "WOW, look at all of Stanton's power!" I agree, if we were on the verge and just needed a power hitter to put us over the top I would be all in on acquiring Stanton. We have not had a .500 record since 2009. We are thin on pitching prospects in the higher minor leagues. What the Cubs have a plethora of in the minor leagues right now is Power. For all we know we have guys in the minors that could hit that well in 2-4 years in the major leagues and be under team control for another couple of years after that. About the time many of our players will start getting expensive (Arrieta, and various guys in our high minor leagues now) we would be forced to try to balance our budget while trying to retain them while watching Castro chip in fewer WAR for $9M/year while also, likely, staying healthy. I am also leary of just saying "sign this power hitter whatever he wants" after watching an aging Soriano for the last couple of years.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Why in the world would you want to trade Castro?

    Russell projects at .280-.290 hitter with a .330-350 obp with 20-25hr. That's what Castro is basically doing. Russell could get hurt or bust or never hit adequately in the bigs? (Russell hasn't done it yet and the odds are against him). Baez could bust so easily and isn't as good a shortstop as Castro.

    I love stockpiling these prospects but come on there is no way you would trade cost-controlled Castro. Not until Russell & Baez prove themselves and that will be a tall order and quite frankly very unlikely that they will both ever be all-stars.

  • In reply to Cubfin:

    Yes, yes, yes.
    Enough with trading Castro and any of our prospects. Let's see how they progress and who is ready to help the big league club and who isn't - and then go from there. I know it is unlikely that all will become stars, but even if half can contribute, we will have more than enough power in a couple of years.

  • In reply to tboy:

    I said yesterday that the Cubs have plenty of crappy players these prospects can replace, so why replace a good player like Castro?

    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

  • fb_avatar

    I understand the "don't trade Castro" feelings. I'd personally be very uncomfortable about trading him until Baez, Bryant, and Russell are all producing at an All-Star level in the majors. (And, as much as we love them, the odds of this happening are low.) Even if Russell is the shortstop, Castro can just slide over to second or third unless those positions are also occupied by All Star caliber players.

    Having said that, there is very real buzz out there on trading Castro. The situation is starting to remind me a bit of Samardzija a year ago. (Note: I said "reminded," I fully admit you can punch a bunch of holes in an attempt to directly link the two situations.) If Theo and Jed do go down that route, I'll have faith in them but that's a tenure defining move.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pretty simple. Many people (including me) don't trust the health of pitchers, particularly young pitchers, and the Cubs have a 3-3.5 WAR 24 year old SS on a very reasonable contract though his age 30 season.

    For those that want to build a juggernaut offense and then figure out the pitching later, they're reluctant to deal a piece of that juggernaut offense that's already producing for volatile pitching prospects.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I like the juggernaut offense idea

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    All that being said, no one is untouchable, so the Cubs should listen on every player they have, including Castro. I just don't think they're going to aggressively shop Castro, nor do I think any team is going to come up with the prospect package to actually pry him away.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    This is what everyone seems to ignore.

    We should trade Castro

    We should trade Baez

    We should trade Bryant

    We should trade ANYONE

    If we get players in return that are more valuable to our team than the ones we give up.

    Most of the mentioned trades are based upon assumptions that may or may not be real world. Should we trade Castro and others for Stanton? That depends upon how well Russell and Baez progress. Either or both of them could fail, and we would desperately need Castro. Can we sign Stanton before he reaches free agency? Anyone that gives an unqualified yes just isn't living in the real world.

    And if we spend the 30 million per year to sign him, can we also afford the 50 million per year we might need to sign two TOR pitchers, without whom, Stanton might be worthless as far as reaching the World Series is concerned?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    It's very doubtful the Cubs sign two pitchers that equal $50 million a year. 95% of guys that are on the market like that will be on the wrong side of 30. The front office doesn't operate that way.

  • Put me down as someone who'd love to see him go. The man crushes on this board make him out to be a generational talent instead of a productive, but flawed 3 WAR player. He's consistently in the top 10 for outs made, GDP and errors. I defy anyone to say he has an approach at the plate. There's no one in the league I'd less like to see in front of a routine grounder in a key game. Sell high.

  • In reply to h vaughn:

    But...but, he's cost-controlled!!!!!

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    We don't have to explain the importance of cost control again, do we? Anyone who wants the Cubs to spend needs to understand what it means to have players under contract at surplus value, which Castro is.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In regards to the Stanton talk that has been dominating the comments section the Cubs are shedding payroll to make the kind of big splash to be able to easily afford a player like Stanton into his next contract. People act like there's a salary cap to abide by.

    Castro is a hell of a player. Stanton is better. They could afford either. The Cubs aren't the penny pinching Rays. If there is a generational talent that hasn't entered his prime to be had you're going to have to part with something of merit to get it. People are way overrating Castro's value though as if no deal if good enough.

    We've been loading up on currency, Stanton is the kind of player you cash it in for.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Make a run at Stanton when he becomes a FA.
    Then he only costs money.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    You run many risks. Costing much more money with a bunch of teams bidding for him. It would surpass over $300 million if he plays like this until free agency. And the odds go down of you getting him if there's multiple bidders for him.

    There's also the risk of another team trading for him and locking him up so there's not a chance to bid for him.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I'd be shocked if he locks down with a team that trades for him. I think he's going to FA and going to be a bidding war, no matter if the Marlins ride him out or trade him to another team.

    I'm 100% in the don't trade for him camp.

  • In reply to udbrky:

    It's there's not mutual interest for an extension, which theo would undoubtedly ask about, then you don't pull the trigger.

    Most players take the money though. It's hard to dangle $200 million at someone and they say no, hoping to get $300 million with the worst case scenario is getting nothing close to that.

    There's not much you can do with $300 million that you can't do with $200 million.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    All your comments on money are reasons why the Cubs have the ability to go into the free agent market and spend some money, not reasons they should be trading for mega-stars using valuable prospects in the hopes of signing them to long term contracts.

    A guy with 2.5 years of cost control, 1.5 of which are almost surely to be spent on non-contending teams, is not the type of player you cash in your prospects for.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    There's not a player I'm the free agent market like Stanton. Not even close. Isn't Colby Rasmus a Top 3 OF this off-season?

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    No, but there are plenty of guys that can make your team significantly better than don't require you to give up valuable prospects.

    You want to trade stud prospects for a guy that's going to waste away on a mediocre team for 2 years in hopes that you can sign him to a contract extension. You're talking about risk above and that's a hell of a risk. Especially when there are plenty of valuable guys you can pluck off of the FA market that cost you only $$$s and not prospects that can help your team.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    You don't think Theo would inquire about an extension with his agent before the trigger is pulled?

    Give the guy some credit. He's very thorough.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Can't reply to Jimmie below, but that's tampering unless the Marlins give them permission.

    And even if they did, there's a big gap between inquiring on an extension and signing one. Max Scherzer was interested in an extension. So was Jon Lester. Neither has signed one yet.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    If they're about to pull the trigger on a trade and want to talk to his agent, the marlins wouldn't stop them, they'd encourage it.

    Those are two guys that are on their final year before free agency. I can provide many examples of guys who did take the money early. Two are on the Cubs.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Scherzer is also represented by Boras, and Lester was severely lowballed. Very different scenarios from Stanton.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    The two guys that did it on the Cubs did it long before they were entrenched superstars like Stanton is.

    In order for this to be valuable enough to the Cubs to do, you have to:

    1) Agree to a trade with the Marlins, which will require substantial prospects.
    2) Assume the Marlins will allow a negotiating window (which as you said, they almost certainly will)
    3) Have Stanton agree to a contract extension below market value that will justify the substantial prospect outlay.

    The likelihood of those 3 things happening, particularly the last one, is very small.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Entrenched superstar is quite the compliment to suite your argument.

    1/2 are obvious. You need to get the players together to make the trade. You'd have to feel him out to see if he's open to signing and if you're going to offer him a huge deal I'd dare him to say no to $200 million. Do you have a precedent that makes more sense? Besides the off-base Scherzer/Lester comparisons that mirror Stanton in no way?

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    In reply to h vaughn:

    Let's assume the comments on his defense are true.

    His .347 wOBA makes him the 6th best offensive third baseman and the 5th best second baseman in the league. His production is more than paying for that contract. A team can easily win a title with that bat in the lineup. It makes no sense to trade him away for the best deal we can work out because he isn't Troy Tulowitzki.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's true. I wouldn't say he's a problem or dragging down the team, but with a potential 40 home run SS with smooth if rushed fielding actions at AAA and a potential Barry Larkin at AA, he looks superfluous to requirements. And I'd be the first to admit I just don't care for the aesthetics of his game, which is extremely non-rational.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hear, hear!

  • In reply to h vaughn:

    Sell high?

    Is any of the information you mentioned above not available to other GMs?

    Are they too stupid to understand how important those flaws are?

    Do these flaws only reduce his value to the Cubs, and are something that will not reduce Castro's value to other teams?

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Clearly they do reduce his value to other teams, as they also reduce his value relative to Baez and Russell. He's a good player performing well at the moment so why not trade him since you have two higher upside options?

  • I went through the 2008 Rays roster to see how they built their team. It was quite interesting to see how they did it. Here's a breakdown:
    Their 25 man roster had 8 draft picks, 6 through trade, 8 free agents, one off waivers and 2 amateur free agents.
    The 46 players that played that year included 15 drafts, 12 free agents, 13 through trade, 3 waiver pick ups and 3 amateur free agents.

    Of the 8 draft picks on their 25 man, 5 were impact players (Longoria, Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, James Shields, David Price (although his impact came in 2009). Their trades secured Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Cliff Floyd and Carlos Pena. Shrewd business decisions and smart drafting.

    The Cubs are going at it similarly, and I would guess they might even surpass the 28 players the Rays had in 2008 that came via draft or trade. I feel pretty confident that we'll get three potential allstars from the Baez, Bryant, Schwarber, Almora, Soler, Russell, Alcantara bunch with a decent shot to have 5 out of six end up at least in the solid regular category.

    I don't see the Cubs trading any of their young, cost controlled players for at least 2 years. Even if they are in contention next year, I think they'll shy away at the deadline in regards to at least the top tier players. He seems to trade impact talent away closer to age 30 (Justin Masterson was traded at 24 though) including Shark, Coco Crisp, Adam Laroche, etc.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I like the way your post lays it out. I believe they'll have to trade several within a couple years though. The Devil Rays turned Delmon Young into Garza and in turn into Chris Archer + perpetua-prospect Hak Ju Lee. By contrast they waited til Reid Brignac proved his hacky uppercut wouldn't work in the bigs and DFAed him. That's Epstein's challenge and his strength - who stays and who goes when.

  • The Astros' experience with their last two #1 picks should give pause to all those who are screaming that the Cubs MUST draft potential TOR pitching prospects with their higher picks. No, they mustn't...

    The Cubs are stockpiling young talent with high-velocity arms, with a eye towards depth rather than pinning their hopes on one or two particular arms. They'll throw out a bid on the major FA pitchers this fall, but they won't break the bank. Look for our next #1 to come right out of the Cubs system.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    I kind of agree with ya about the pitching in our system. I mentioned the same thought a bit earlier as well.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Maybe he's already here.
    Jake Arrietta, our Ace.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I was as excited as anyone about Jakes potential. But he has been the model of the inconsistency over the years. he's never logged more than 119.1 MLB innings in any one season as a result of this.

    If he can pitch like he has this year for a full season... then I'll be okay with counting on him as our Ace.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    '13 Mark Appel - sent to Instructional League 13.50 ERA
    '14 Brady Aiken - partially torn elbow ligament, Tommy John wanabe!

  • HR for Almora (and Shoulders), and McKinney is 1-2 in Daytona.

  • In reply to Jweav14:

    Almora is on fire! I can honestly say I was never worried. I really like that he has another elite prospect with him in McKinney now too..I'm hoping they feed off each other like Baez & Bryant seem to be doing since the latter was promoted.

  • I would trade Castro to NYM for two of Wheeler, Syndergaard or d'Arnaud. Too much? Considering Castro is cost-controlled and performs well above league average at a premium position, I think it takes at least that much for Theo and Jed to get interested.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I would let NYM come to us. I want Harvey with his TJS and Weeler. If they balk then no deal.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I don't think that's too much at all. I'd need more than that to deal Castro. Cheap 24 year old producing SS that is already putting up 3 WAR seasons and is under a team-friendly contract for 6 more years is extremely valuable. Much moreso than 2 of that group you have there.

  • FYI Jordan Minch says he is signing.
    Jordan Minch ‏@BoilerMaker_28 11m
    Officially am going to sign with the Chicago cubs organization! So blessed and ready for this opportunity! #gocubsgo

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    That is very good news. The CCDT web page listed him as unlikely to sign. Maybe he wants to join in all of the excitement. I know nothing about him but a 6'3" LHP is a good start.

  • In reply to John57:

    Young, draft eligible sophomore. Wasn't expected to sign if he went this late.

  • In reply to springs:

    I guess he was willing to sign for $100,000 or less. Way to go FO.

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    Almora went deep again in game #2! WooooooHoooooo

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I wonder if the new guy is motivating Almora and Rademacher today. At least an interesting coincidence.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Perhaps motivating Almora in a good/bad way. Almora also struck out twice today and maybe he is trying to overcompensate and swinging for the fences.

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    Daytona Cubs ‏@daytonacubs 42s

    .@RobZastryzny_8 picks up right where he left off - strikes out the side in order in the 1st. 3-0 Daytona End 1

    WooooooooHooooooooo

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    OT but congratulations are in order for a couple of local kids...

    P Luke Shearrow, a 2009 Boylan Catholic (Rockford) grad recently signed with the White Sox as an undrafted free agent. He is currently in Arizona with the rest of the new kids.
    Luke pitched for my travel team from 2006-2008 and is a very close friend of my son's. The 6'4" RHP tops out at 94mph and his slider has been called "plus plus" and "sick" by MLB scouts.

    Another Boylan Grad, Jake Smolinski (2007) just received his first big league call up. Originally a 2nd rd pick of the Nationals, the versatile Smolinski has been a model of consistency throughout his minor league career, racking up two-base hits with regularity and showing an excellent knowledge of the strike zone. "Smol" also showed increased power this year at Round Rock, which no doubt helped to influence the Rangers' decision to promote him to the show.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Awesome Mike. Nice to hear.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Thx B161

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Awesome! Great to see some stateline talent making their way up.

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    Castro if he stays healthy could very well be a member of the 3000 hit club by the time his career is over. As it stands he has 790 hits and turned 24 just before spring training. The quickest to the 1000 hit mark (and is a member of 3000 hit club) was Ty Cobb who did it at 24yrs 145 days old. Had Starling not been "Sveumed" the last two years he very well could be much closer to 1000 now. As it stands he will be over 1000 by the end of his age 25 season. I see no reason to trade a proven player that is on a team friendly contract and has one outlier bad season behind him. And why would you trade someone that can play SS, 2b and probably CF Stanton whom has had knee problems already, 1st base probably in his future and can be had as a free agent soon anyway...

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I am starting to believe Epstein when he says it was not Sveum's fault that Castro struggled at the plate last year. They challenged him to be more selective at the plate. The result was he got deeper into counts trying to find something he could "drive" rather than hacking at the first thing he thought he could reach and getting a single. There is speculation that his improvements offensively this year are the result of the work he did last year.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I do believe he is better for his struggles last year, but that is another reason not to trade him... he is young, getting better and under team control.

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    I mean this in a friendly way, but if you think the Marlins or any team that trades for Stanton will allow him to become a free agent, you're nuts.

  • If the Yankees want EJax, I say let them pay all of the rest of his salary and offer a high ceiling low level prospect. Unless Theo and Jed are really that desperate to rid themselves of his contract. If not, gotta get something for him.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    If they take on EJax salary and contract they can have him for free. We will take a Nick Swisher baseball card.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Agreed,.... as bad as Jackson can be - he fills a spot in the roster that would need to be filled with an unproven, and potentially worse, youngster.

    I suspect that in the long run the likes of Hendricks, Beeler, or perhaps Strailey (once Bosio gets a chance to work with him) can take Jackson's spot and be at least as effective.

    But - you can't just give the man away to the Yanks.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Ok then a Derrick Jeter baseball card

  • Trade Castro! Trade Castro!

  • Coghlan's turn to get 4 hits tonight after the Purple Dinosaur did so the other day. His BA is at a respectable .250 plus, he & Ruggiano at .280 or so are both well past the Menodza line now. What gives? I predict Barney will be back under .200 again soon.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Ruggiano is at .290 right now. Can't complain about him at all. Though someone will.

  • I just,.... don't,.... get,.... the obsession that many here on this board have with Stanton,....... never have, never will. Especially with the likes of Baez, Soler, Bryant, Almora, Schwarber, (now) Russell and McKinney, and others that potentially slot in as role players like Bruno, Hanneman, Lopez,.....

    Why trade of so much of this potential cost-controlled offensive value for one guy, who will get really expensive, really soon,... If you are going to trade one or more of these guys for a TOR pitcher,.... OK,... do it.

    But Stanton,... not so much. Some combination of what we already have is going to provide equal or better value for years to come that would Stanton, as good as he may be.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agree. For me, Stanton is an injury risk, very streaky, and will want a 8-10 year deal. Cubs have plenty of offense on the way even with the expected bust or two.

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    Seen many commenting on the Cubs signing big FA SP this off-season. I think they'll go with their own and give Hendricks, Wada, Beeler, maybe even Jokich a chance to be part of 2015 rotation. Theo recently stated that he won't be signing big-money FA's until it's a player that can get them to a WS.
    With that comment, I would expect the team would have to be winning/contending at the trade deadline before we see a big signing.

  • A couple of dark horse starters for the Cubs in the future are Vizcaino(as he rebuilds his arm strength) & Ramirez who I think is too good for middle relief.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I agree both of their stuff is better than middle relief. I just don't think their bodies can hold up as starters.

  • Yankees want Jackson, if they will take on his contract I will drive him to the airport. Cubs have some depth in the system now and can find someone to give them innings and a 5.00 ERA for a lot less than $11M/yr, and use that money to acquire a legit hitter to help Rizzo and Castro.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Yeah, I'd rather watch Jokisch or Beeler pitch.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    Jackson represents innings but appears to be on the outside on this club. A couple of minor league fillers to take his contract would almost like being the Cubs trade Soriano's debt service for Yankees taking 17M or Jackson's remaining. WAR is 1.0 at half way point so is the $$ worth 1 WAR this year and next?

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    If the Cubs somehow dump EJax on the Yanks, they might not even have a $50 million payroll next year. They're at $60 million now after dumping Shark & Hammel.

    If Jake keeps it up for the rest of the year, it's time to talk extension. He's making $544K. They could at least do that.

  • So many marginal assets still but Castro is something that one has to ponder. What asset would return a Wheeler plus another, let us say Syndergaard or Montero? I think Castro is a one year starter like Wheeler plus two prospects because of his cost controlled contract through 2020; 13:$5M, 14:$5M, 15:$6M, 16:$7M, 17:$9M, 18:$10M, 19:$11M, 20:$16M club option.

    The other team is LAD who have Hanley Ramirez finishes his contract, Cubs might be able to get Rhee, Lee and another.

    Baez, Russell or Bryant would not get you three pitchers. Plus Castro is the final centerpiece of Hendry's regime, yes Castro, Russell, Lake and Barney remain, plus Baez in the minors but Castro is the last decision. I think unsaid we are approaching the day when all the players on the MLB roster will be decisions that Epstein made, Baez withstanding as it was Hendry's choice but they developed him.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    I think it's patronizing to Theo to think he wouldn't evaluate players on their merits, regardless of who signed them, and not on his ego. He got where he is by making objective, intelligent choices. If he keeps Castro and Baez, that's still his choice, is it not?

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