Mets not the only team eyeing Cubs shortstops. And expect Cubs to ask for established MLB pitching

Mets not the only team eyeing Cubs shortstops. And expect Cubs to ask for established MLB pitching

Much has been made of the Mets interested in Starlin Castro or Javier Baez.  The teams match up well in that the Mets need hitting and the Cubs need starting pitching.  Each has what the other team wants.

But Mets GM Sandy Alderson has proven difficult to extract value from in the past.  The Cubs cannot lock themselves into a situation in which they are dealing solely with the Mets.  Thankfully they have options.  That sort of thing tends to happen when you have 3 of the best young shortstops in the game.

Other teams that could be interested in Castro, Baez, or even Addison Russell are the Nationals, who may lose Ian Desmond after next season; the Mariners, who have shown interest in Castro for some time now; and even the Dodgers, who may lose Hanley Ramirez to free agency.

That competition from the outside alone may motivate Alderson to part with full or even surplus value  -- but there could also be some pressure coming from within.  As much pressure as there is to win in Chicago, there is even more in New York.  The Mets rebuild has been slow in a big market that expects quick results.   He has a year head start on the Cubs front office but has not built the same kind of farm system and while his teams have had better regular season records, nobody is under the illusion they are ready to overtake the Nationals or Braves.  Even the Marlins are making overtures about improving their team this offseason.  Sooner or later, the Mets are going to want to see real progress on the field.  They have not won more than 77 games in a season under Alderson and are on pace for another season in that win range.

The Mets seem unwilling to part with Zack Wheeler, which leaves them with higher risk choices to offer.  Jacob DeGrom has had shoulder issues. Noah Syndegaard had an elbow strain earlier this year and has pitched well, but not up to his lofty expectations. Rafael Montero was medicore in his brief audition.  Meanwhile, Starlin Castro is working on his 3rd 3+ WAR season in 4 years.  He has been worth a win more than both Wheeler and DeGrom.

We have heard the Mets say they aren't all that interested in Castro because he doesn't fit their offensive philosophy.  Don't believe it. That's just smoke.  They need offense and Castro has the 4th highest wOBA and RC+ of any qualified SS in baseball right now.  If they want an offensive player at SS who also takes a lot of walks, good luck.  Maybe the Rockies will part with Troy Tulowitzki, the only player in baseball who meets their supposed requirements at the SS position.

The Cubs have no incentive to give Castro away at anything less than full value and, in fact, are likely in position to get more than that.  Addison Russell is still a year away and even when he is ready, as Castro has stated, "We're all athletes.  We can play anywhere."

The Mets aren't going to outlast the Cubs here.  The Cubs have the better hand and the Mets are left to try to bluff one of the best poker playing front offices in the game.  The Cubs will do well or they won't deal.

The Mariners present another option and they have young pitchers such as Taijuan Walker and LHP James Paxton.   The Nationals have Jordan Zimmerman with just one year left on his deal...might the Cubs try to pry him loose if they can get a window to negotiate a long term deal?  The Dodgers may struggle to put together the kind of package the Cubs want as far as young MLB starters.  Only Hyun-Jin Ryu fits that description for them.

And the Cubs, as we alluded to earlier, ultimately hold the hammer when it comes to options.  They don't have to deal this offseason.  They have a year to make a decision on how to make the pieces fit and they can easily do so by moving Kris Bryant to the OF and Russell or Castro to 3B.  They aren't going to get caught holding the bag here.  Their shortstops aren't their only valuable currency.  They have the currency of payroll flexibility, so if they can't trade for a pitcher, they can easily sign one and fit it into their budget.

The Cubs are in the catbird's seat right now.  They have a valuable commodity that everyone wants -- and time and options as far as to how they are going to use those assets.  Alderson can forget about trying to acquire a player for pennies on the dollar, as his been his pattern in the past.  He is not dealing with a motivated seller.  If anything, the tables may be turned this time.  His seat may be getting  a little warm and he may not have the luxury of waiting another year. This time it's going to cost him  full price -- and possibly even a premium -- to get the player he wants when he wants.

The Cubs aren't building for the distant future anymore.  They are building for 2015 and 2016 now.  If the Mets or any other team want one of the Cubs shortstops, they are going to have to make a deal that makes the Cubs better for the present and the future. If that doesn't happen (and my guess is that it won't), I fully expect the Cubs to just walk away.


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  • I'd be shocked if Baez or Castro either one are traded this winter. Russell, perhaps... but this FO will only move any of them if they get excessive value in return.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I tend to agree with you, I don't see a need to pull the trigger right now. Blown away would likely require Wheeler and Syndegaard as a starter.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Blown away for me would be Harvey and Wheeler.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Correct. As John states, they don't have to do anything for another year as Russell doesn't touch the Wrigley grass until September of 2015 at the earliest. And that assumes that Bryant stays at 3rd. Lots of moving parts have to settle in before the FO is forced to do something.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Yes!! Irwin, you've just touched on my two biggies in this whole menagerie of choices.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It's strange, I actually get the feeling that the Cubs value their young shortstops in opposite order of their major league readiness (i.e. Russell -> Baez -> Castro), although I can't really point to a single reason why. I just get this vibe that in 2 years Russell will be the everyday shortstop and it will have felt totally inevitable.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    I still think the best course of action would be to leave Javy at 2B, Castro at SS, and let Bryant take over 3B for 2015. Then in 2016 Bryant could be pushed to the OF, and Castro to 3B; leaving SS for Russell (who i agree it seems they seem to be really high on).

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Russell may one day, take the SS job. But he'll have to earn it. Castro has done everything they have asked and hoped for. He's improved his pitch selection, driving the ball with more authority, playing better defense, (hey he has more HR's than errors!) and most importantly, become a leader and role model for the young talent.

    I can tell you from some sources very close to Baez that he speaks frequently about Castro and the impact he is having on him when he speaks to his family and friends. Don't underestimate that impact and value to this FO.

    So Russell may earn the SS job, but I doubt Castro is actively shopped.

    I think this FO would rather acquire pitching with other areas of depth and deal guys like Olt, Villanueva, some of the CF's coming up, etc...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'd be surprised as well. I think a team would have to offer surplus value for it to happen. Just can't see Alderson doing it, even being on the gradually warming seat.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Shocked as well, HD and John. This front office seems loathe to respond to other teams' need with anything but steel. And god knows there's NO rush!! No hurry whatsoever.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I tend to agree with you, but I think the demand will be for a ML-ready SS, which leaves Russell out. I think the Cubs position will be that we're willing to be blown away with an offer for anybody we have, but we won't be having any "blue light specials."

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    Great stuff as usual John. Don't count the Tigers out either-in the list of teams that would want a young, cost controlled shortstop.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    If we are including teams without the chips to get them, then throw the Yankees in there.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    The Yankees would probably have to include Betances in the deal to get the Cubs to even listen.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Good one. Tigers could get involved and we know they aren't afraid to deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    the Marlins too??

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Marlins are going to actively try to improve their team this offseason. They have no intentions of trading Stanton and in fact, are looking to add a top of the rotation starter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wasn't thinking Stanton. Was thinking they want him happy + drawing in the Latin market. For some reason, I was a thinking they had some good pitching they could/would trade.

  • I agree that you have to listen to offers for all players, however Castro has one of the most team friendly contracts around....and is producing big time this year. He had several issues last year with the possible criminal charges and being sued in the DR. Also, he was the personal whipping boy of Dale Sveum who loved to criticze Castro in public. Its difficult for any player to handle those circumstances, especially a 23 year old. But I understand people who write blogs, whether it be in Chicago or New York, need clicks to continue to exist. If HoyStein trade Castro for some buster from New York it will really suck when he hits 25 HRs and hits .300 in 2017, all for a way below market $9 Million that season. The fan base needs players to follow long term and kids in the organization need players to look up to and Castro can be both those things. Baez would be the only player of three mentioned who I would consider trading, but he isnt a favorite of the New York media or CubsDen.
    Yeah, lets trade a 3 time All Star for Zach Wheeler...unbelievable. We may need pitching, but the same people who say that also said Kyle Hendricks wont amount to anything more than a marginal 4th-5th starter. He hasnt proven anything quite yet but 6 QSs in a row for a rookie are strong and if anyone watched his debut he got squeezed so bad in the 1st against Cincy it was embarrassing. Keep talking about trading Castro...I hope you get your clicks

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    Amen and Bravo! ^

  • In reply to ChiTownD:

    We like Baez.

  • I wouldn't even consider trading Castro or Baez right now, unless it was for a deal that would get the opposing GM fired. In my opinion, Russell is the guy I would be taking offers on. Only because he is 1-2 years behind Baez, and 4-5 behind Castro; in terms of development.

    That being said, from the teams you mentioned; I would ask for the moon and wait for a team to shoot. That would mean Wheeler/Syndergaard + Montero/DeGrom from the Mets; Zimmerman/Giolito + Cole from the Nats, and Walker+ from the M's.

    There is no reason to settle for a deal, and I would be perfectly happy with finding Russell a spot on the Cubs soon-to-be stacked lineup; and pursuing TOR pitching from a different avenue (i.e. free agency or Japan).

    It has been tough seeing the Cubs pass up top free agents the last 3 years; but that financial flexibility, combined with our incredible positional depth, might be the FO's greatest asset right now.

    Another great article seems like you are privy to the FO's conversations. It is great to consistently read articles from someone who really knows how they operate, and how they approach these situations!

  • Thanks! I try my best to bring what I believe to be this FOs stance. I see a lot of people excited to deal Castro for pitching but I think it's going to take one heck of a deal for it to happen, and I don't think the Mets have it in them to make that type of deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. Castro and Rizzo are starting to take a leading role on offense. I think that adds value to Starlin. Personally, I would sign Lester and head into next season with all the guys; then re-evaluate next off-season. Although a Wheeler/Syndergaard deal would be hard to pass up.

  • I just don't see it. Castro has to bring back a MLB proven pitcher plus some top prospects. Plus I don't see the FO making a move on any of the 'prospects' until they see what they have!

  • In a staring contest of Theo vs Alderson, I will chose Theo.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Amen. They even got the better of the great Billy Beane; even tho the situation was extremely different.

  • Eh. We'll see what happens in the World Series. If the A's win it I think Beane makes that trade all day.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Theo's work, but Beane knows what he's doing too.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Correct. I think K. Law said it pretty well on one of his chats, "If they win the world series, the flag flies forever."

  • Another plus in regards to keeping Castro, it appears to me that he is taking on a leadership role on this team. I think Rizzo certainly proved he is willing and able to be a leader in the Cincy game, but watching Starlin on the field and dugout, he really looks to be taking charge.

    If you trade him, you are now going to a guy who is 4 years younger and take away a team leader. I think that needs to be figured in.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Another really good point, Irwin. He is indeed. Isn't it nice to have two 24 year olds on the forefront of the next wave(s) of talent landing on the beaches of... um... Montrose Harbor.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Montrose Harbour :-)

    Makes me homesick.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    In defense of Starlin, He has taken Baez and Alcantara under his wing and helping them learn the ropes. In my book thats called leadership.

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    The Cubs may not need to get starting pitching though since I saw an interesting proposal on a Mets blog the other day. Curtis Granderson is an above average MLB player and his roots in Chicago mean the Cubs could be looking to get him to finish out his career. I think a Cubs-Mets deal with him as the centerpiece makes a lot of sense for Baez.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    HA! Is Jim Hendry back as GM?

  • My thoughts exactly...Maybe if they throw-in Niefe Perez and bring back Dusty Baker as manager

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Granderson's best days are over and they were due to him playing in a hitter's paradise for a left handed hitter. If they move Baez it will be for TOR pitching and nothing else in my opinion. My preference is to move Baez and let Alcantara move back to second base. I really like him there and we can let him settle into his role as a leadoff hitter while playing a position where he is a plus defender.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    I have to vehemently disagree here. The Mets would fall over themselves making that deal. They made a mistake by signing him in the first place. This is the kind of deal Alderson would love to make but that this FO would hang up as soon as the words Granderson as a centerpiece for Baez were uttered.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I've been reading Mets blogs, I don't remember why, and this was a particularly insane deal, although a preponderance of them had something like Jon Niese/Dillon Gee for Russell. The worst part about the Granderson idea was that if the Cubs wanted him, they just would have signed him when he was available last season...or picked him up when he was inevitably placed on waivers last week.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Haha! Reading Mets blogs can be a dangerous thing.

    I think the one by Matt Cerrone is solid. He suggested that Baez makes the most sense for the Mets and that it would cost them Syndegaard. Both top 10 prospects this year, that actually makes some sense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree John ..... I know neither is proven but unproven pitching scares me more than unproven hitting. Do you think we could get the catching prospect as well (his name escapes me) if we add Vogelbach or another spare part?

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The Mets fans love Syndergaard more than the Cubs fans love all their prospects combined. Most of them had a visceral reaction to the idea of trading him for anyone, and the rest said they'd do it in the same way most people talk about going to the dentist.

    Personally, I think I had underrated Syndergaard and that Baez or Russell for him is pretty fair in turns of value, but the Mets would have to probably pay a small premium both in terms of need and the risk associated with pitching prospects.

  • In reply to Nathan King:


    I agree that the Mets may actually have to throw in a little. Makes the most sense, though, that you trade your highest risk guy for a pitching prospect. Both guys are very high ceilings with a good amount of risk.

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    To be fair, he does have the greatest nickname in baseball, maybe in pro sports.

    Who wouldn't want an ace-type pitcher called THOR?

    I mean, it's a Norse god that THROWS HAMMERS and he's a friggin' PITCHER.
    I'm becoming more inclined to make the trade just writing how perfect this is!

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    IDK Giff... Disney owns Marvel. Marvel owns Thor... Thor is the son of a King. Thor is now female. So technically, Thor is now a Disney Princess...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'm pretty sure you're kidding.

    But you are aware that Marvel didn't create Thor, right?

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    I could live with Baez for Syndergaard. But I would hope that the Cubs would also sign a TOR pitcher this offseason or next because I'm not comfortable with dealing away more than one of the elite prospects.

    Baez has a great ceiling, but he doesn't strike me as a guy who is ever going to fit that mold of the way the Cubs want to approach at bats. And while he's doing a solid job of not chasing as many bad pitches this year, neither does Castro. So do the Cubs want two of their top hitters as guys who are relatively undisciplined?

    This makes me feel like Baez could be the guy who goes for pitching if that type of deal happens. Russell, Soler, Bryant and Schwarber below them all seem to have the potential to control the strike zone at the MLB level.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am steadfast in not moving Russell, but I must admit that Baez for Thor seems to make decent sense. I'm still torn, since all things being equal hitter>pitcher, but very tempting.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    It is my opinion that both sides would be very nervous making that sort of deal. They are both boom or bust candidates and there is a decent likelihood that one front office will come out smelling like roses and the other smelling like s***.

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    In reply to Joe Stallings:

    Let me moderate my "boom and bust" verbiage with "high potential ceiling / low potential floor".

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think there would have to be more -- and even then I am worried because of Thor's elbow strain.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about a Granderson for Edwin Jackson straight up deal? That sounds fair.

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    In reply to John57:

    I like it. Maybe expand it to include Alcantara (as the SS the Mets want -- he's still capable of playing the position) and deGrom or d'Arnaud.

  • In reply to John57:

    That might actually work but I still wouldn't do it because you lose payroll flexibility for a player who frankly isn't very good anymore.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about we wait until Granderson is retired and hire him as a coach? Of course you'd have to pay him a significantly to keep him out of the broadcast booth or off of MLB TV.

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    That would be an extremely bad deal for the Cubs. Theo does not care that Granderson is from Chicago.

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    In reply to Nathan King:


  • In reply to Nathan King:

    I'm assuming this was a joke?

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Nathan, what are you smoking?!? Seriously, I hope you were tongue-in-cheek with that comment. You don't trade a 21-year old stud like Baez for a has-been like Granderson. That's even below Hendry standards. Heck, I don't think Jon Daniels would ever dream about doing that if he was running the Cubs.

    You don't trade anyone without seeing what you have first. There is nothing wrong with having this depth in the infield. Enjoy the depth that we have never had in my 48 years as a Cub fan. In Theo I Trust :)

  • In reply to JollyCharlieGrimm:

    Haha tell that to the Mets fans who had this crazy idea

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    This is a joke right? Haha, funny....

  • I'm in no hurry to move ANY of these shortstops, but if I were, it would definitely be Baez. He does indeed have special power and quick hands, but if he continues to be an Adam Dunn player, minus the acceptable OBP generated by walks, he may not be a cornerstone of the team. If the Cubs could get an ESTABLISHED TOR pitcher for him, I would definitely listen.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    Baez will never be Dunn because Baez can play the middle infield, even if he has been a bit erratic in the field. There's a big difference between a .230/.300/.450 line at LF and at 2B. For reference, that's approximately Dan Uggla's 2011 slash line, when he was a brick handed 2b with 36 home runs worth over 2 WAR.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    ...a bit erratic in the field."?? Looks to my untrained eye like he's played above average defense since he's arrives and 1060 West.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Let's 2016 or 2017, our line-up will have a Gold Glove 1B should be a consistent .290/30/100; a RF (Bryant) that puts up similar stats; a LF (Soler) that will probably be .285-.290/25-30/90-100; a combo 3B/SS (Castro/Russell) that combined for 380-400 hits/25-30 HR/140-150 ribbies; a CF (Alcantara/Almora) that could hit about .285; a C that does whatever he does; then be "stuck" by a 2B that hits 30-35 bombs/.250/80-90 RBI. Man, we are going to be hurting.... ;)

  • The great thing is the Cubs will only sell high with any of these SS options, they will be patient and it's a sellers market. I expect them to eventually trade two of our four young SSs, but they are in the driver's seat on whom to move and when. (The only exception is their probable preference to get a couple more established major leaguers -- including one TOR pitcher -- appeal better to a big name free agent pitcher, who will want to get back to the playoffs as soon as possible.

    In terms of Zack Wheeler, the Mets may act unwilling to part with him (at least publicly), but no other GM would be foolish enough to trade Castro for only Wheeler straight up. As you note, Castro is the far more established major leaguer. Plus his contract is another huge trade sweetener, and pitchers are bigger injury risks. Throw in the difficulty finding Silver Slugger bats currently, I'd expect the Cubs to appropriately demand more than just Zack Wheeler from the Mets. Same would go for moving Baez, just probably not to the same degree because he's not as seasoned/proven.

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    You nailed it. The Cubs hold the cards. Brouhaha!!!! Maybe Castro or the future. Or maybe not. We'll see. Baez can be a little frustrating. But man, that power, and at 2nd base - I would not let him go.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I agree!

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I can't wait for the Cubs to hold the Cards.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    In the palm of their hand and then squash them.

  • I agree that this singular focus on Mets is foolish. Sorry Sandy, we're the only team with a potential surplus of All-Star & potential All-Star middle IFers.

    I think an interesting thing to watch this offseason will be some moves to improve team OBP profile. I'd love to see a move for someone like Heyward. I think they realize that they do need a bit more balance in the offensive profiles.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I'm sure that singular focus is coming from NY and their media pretty much dominates what we hear nationally.

  • No reason to trade prime stud ss for pitching. I think we will sign couple big vets. We have jake,kyle and Wada! All looking great. We just need to buy 1 big ace. Lestor? HAMELS?

  • In reply to bleedinblue76:

    I think Lester is the BIG target this off season. If we miss there then I evaluate what might be available. At some point you need a #1 starter and we are in a great position to get one with our SS surplus.

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    We don't need to do anything. Say we get Lester AND Shields. Rotation of arrieta Lester shields Hendricks and wood could be sustainable. Trav is a free agent eligible for arbitration next year I think and if he regresses more next year maybe it's turner or straily time. No need to lose the bats for pitching. What we should do is call Cleveland and ask what they want for Michael brantley so we have a lefty in the outfield. You think Almora, soler, and vogelbach could get that done?

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    I wouldn't trade Soler at this point. His ceiling is higher (not realized I know) than Brantley who is a having a career year in my opinion. I think the front office is in love with Almora and wouldn't move him.

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    In reply to Melancubby:

    That's a fun idea, although you'd have to really believe in Brantley's breakout to even think about it. Not to mention the Indians think of themselves as contenders and might not be willing to start a rebuild of their own in Brantley's prime.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    Michael Brantley is a nice player but could very possibly be having a career year. Plus no way will this front office trade Soler. He has Baez power with a more patient approach.

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    With all the free agent pitchers that look to be available this off season (and most of them without having to give up a draft pick), and the free agent pitchers that "should" be available the following off season, I can't see a scenario where it makes sense to make a trade for a pitcher now. Now if the FO strikes out on signing Lester and/or the other available free agents this off season, than they might not have a choice but to trade some of the assets they have worked so hard to acquire to get a TOR arm. Until then, I think the prudent thing is to see if you can acquire that TOR pitcher for just money (which the Cubs should have plenty of this off seasin).

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    "The Mets rebuild has been slow in a big market that expects quick results. He has a year head start on the Cubs front office but has not built the same kind of farm system and while his teams have had better regular season records..."

    Further proof there's no glory in winning 72 games when you can only win 65.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:


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    I see absolutely no reason to trade any of our top guys as long as 1) our budget is wide open and we can afford to sign FA pitchers without giving up the future, 2) our guys remain cheap, and 3) no one is truly blocking anyone else. Now if Castro were a year or two from free agency, or if we had a 130 mil budget and the cheapest good FA was 25mil per, or if our mlb roster were stacked and Schwarber, say, or next year's 1st round pick, had no position to play - then by all means look at a trade. Why now? it's nuts.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Totally agree with this. Want to see Alcantara for a few more months before we even think we have a surplus.

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    The funny thing is the people in New York seem to think it's a done deal a Cubs SS is heading to the Mets. Mike Francessa who is the biggest radio guy in New York and is on national TV gave his theory on the Cubs/Mets trade. He wants Castro bad and he said he guesses that the Mets will probably have to give up Wheeler for him. But he hopes the Mets can get him for Dillion Gee. That made me lol. Theo wouldn't even pick up the phone for that.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    They're delusional. Nobody overvalues their assets more. If a SS is going to NY, then Wheeler or Syndegaard is coming to Chicago as the centerpiece.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Base on their lack of activity at the trading deadline, the Phillies appear to value their aging veterans as much as Mets fans value their prospects. :-/

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Would you trade Castro for Harvey and Wheeler? Harvey is still recovering from TJS.

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    In reply to John57:

    You'd have to shake their hand really fast while they're not paying attention and yell "No takebacksies!"

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    Only to hear Alderson cry as you run away, "HaHa, I had my fingers crossed!"

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    HAHAhahahaha. Dillon Gee? Let me guess, maybe theyd be "generous " and add Torres along with him. I wouldnt trade them Marco Hernandez for Gee.

  • Please don't trade Baez or Castro. If Castro was a Yankee or Met, he would be the greatest thing since Derek Jeter, but we as Cub fans always seem to want to trade all of our valuable players. The only player I would be ok with trading is Russell since I haven't really had time to get attached to him like Baez.

  • I'll play devils advocate here, as to why they might make a trade. By the following rationale- which I don't necessarily agree with in this case- Baez would be the one likely to move.

    Many here say what's the rush? We don't HAVE to move anybody. What if Epstoyer feels like the market is overvaluing one of their guys ? Maybe they think that Baez will never develop the minimum OBP skills at the major-league level to leverage his vast talent. If they feel that way and , for what we all know, they may, wouldn't they be fools not to trade him sooner rather than later, and capitalize in that misperception of value. He's had a bit of success. He still can be marketed as a SS.

    I don't necessarily agree with this scenario but it is, by no means, implausible.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    That's plausible. The good thing there is that the Cubs still hold the cards even if that is true because they have the advantage because they have information that the market doesn't on their shortstops.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    If that were true than they wouldn't have promoted Baez right when he was starting to completely crush AAA ...they would have let him feast on AAA pitching to build his prospect hype to an all time high and then look to move him...they wouldn't have promoted him knowing full well that he would struggle (remember in your scenario they feel Baez won't be a stud)...and the Cubs FO knows how to maximize assets so I find this scenario very implausible.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That is one way to look at it. Another way is to "showcase" him. While he isn't the reincarnation of Roy Hobbs he does show some interesting features:
    1. He is still 21 so many of his shortcomings could be looked at as he is still young.
    2. Teams would get to do what they always say they want to do: see the prospect against real major league pitching. If he were crushing AAA there would always be the suspicion that he might completely flame out in the majors.
    3. Despite all the Ks he has an OPS+ of 108 (slightly above average at 21 is significant) and a WAR of 0.6 including a dWAR of 0.2.

    Again, despite the Ks and lack of BB he has put up solid numbers and, I think, increased his trade value should we decide to go down that road. Right now I don't want to trade any of them but if we were put in a situation somehow of needing to trade one I would prefer that it be Baez. I think he has a far higher "bust" potential than Castro or Russell but can be sold on his corresponding Superstar potential.

    If the Mets aren't willing to part with Wheeler OR Syndergaard for one of our SS might we look at offering them AA and ask for a couple of lesser parts (then pray that Almora doesn't flame out in the minor leagues).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    RE: If the Mets aren't willing to part with Wheeler OR Syndergaard for one of our SS

    Any one of our 3 SS's is worth more than either of them straight up. It would take both, which would be too much, so the Cubs could add in Olt who could be a 30 HR 1st baseman for the Mets or they could move Wright for other parts they need and lock down the left side of their infield with Castro & Olt.....Although I lean towards not trading any of our guys....and I don't think the Mets will be willing to pay that much anyway (although it's fair price)

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I don't know that they would trade both of them for just 1 position player. If they do I would have a hard time saying "No." Getting 2 close to major league ready TOR starters for a position player that we have enough of seems like a "win-win" to me. Just 1 and they would have to add something. For both, I would pull the trigger.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I agree, that's why I said add Olt who is currently mashing AAA, and although he struggled at the plate in the majors, he showed that he has 30 HR power, can play 1B, a solid 3B, and even LF if need be. He is also MLB ready, and would be a nice flyer to add to the deal as the 2nd piece. As I said, Mets could put him at 1B and pencil in 30 HR's. Cubs could also give another lower flyer like Candelario who has struggled this year, but was considered top 10 in the cubs org by some prior, and still has potential.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    We have plenty of guys to fill that "3rd piece" role as I am sure you would agree. It could be Amaya, Candelario (like you mentioned), or Hernandez, or Soto (if they want an organizational player). Maybe we can get them to take Vitters as a "4th piece" despite his negative trade value if the 3rd piece is good enough.

  • Absolutely no chance that the Cubs move any of their talented young infielders for anything short of a king's ransom.

    There is no "sufficient" return. There must be an overpay or a deal that the Cubs CANNOT pass up on. They will simply not accept a deal because it helps fill a need. It needs to take them OVER the hump and then some.

    In regards to specific trades, I can't help but wonder about more MLB-established arms in a prospect deal. Prospect-for-prospect deals are risky, and if I'm Theoyer, I prefer to package a prospect in exchange for a proven talented arm.

    Hold on to Starlin for now would be my preference. He's among the elite offensive shortstops in the league, is a three-time all-star (he's not even 25 yet either), and is on a team-friendly contract for the next five years.

    However, I'd be more than willing to negotiate a deal involving Alcantara. There's something about him that worries me, I just don't know what. He's obviously slumping and isn't comfortable batting so low. He's a top of the order hitter, and maybe if the Cubs do decide to deal some of their young talent, he's towards the top of the list because he may be the one getting singled out.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    You're not wrong, but it's time to retire the "3 time All Star" argument in favor of Castro. He was the most exciting player on some terrible teams and he racked up the stats voters overvalue (hits, SBs) while skimping on the things they never value (OBP, defense)

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    I would not say that he's been racking up in the SB department.

    A meager 4 SB this season and in the first two years he got nominated to the ASG, he had 10 and 16 SB (10 CS) by the break. Not exactly a terror on the base paths.

    Castro benefited from being one of the best players at arguably the weakest position in the majors offensively speaking. His defense has steadily been improving and his OBP average from the three years he got in is over .330, which is respectable.

    Being a terrific offensive player at a thin position, who has the talent to be a 10+ time all-star and among the elite for years to come (remember, he's still only 24).

    His value is very high, as it should be. The Cubs need a trade that they feel is more than "sufficient". They need to come away with an Addison Russell type deal where a team gets desperate to the point of over-payment.

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    His value in his previous All Star seasons, which is what you're citing when you say "three time All Star" (not you personally, just the general Cubs fan), was in a large part tied to his singles and steals. He was barely a league average offensive player overall. I'm not trying to trash him, I just think that kind of argument obscures rather than enlightens.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Castro will be a 3+ WAR player in 3 of the past 4 seasons at age 24 on a team friendly deal that pays him on average like a 2 WAR player. If the Cubs were to deal him, the team that gets him will get an above average pre-prime player whose contract makes him a very good value. It will be costly to pry him loose.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's exactly my point although I'm not making it very well! Castro has a ton of value tied to his affordability and above average play. Painting him as an allstar tends to obfuscate his actual value,

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Making the all-star team isn't of importance to me either. I do occasionally tend to refer to players as "all-star level" in a more abstract sense, as measured by metrics such as WAR.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    And I do agree with you, by the way. I probably haven't made that very clear.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    He's put up a 3+ WAR in 3 of his first 4 seasons, and he's only 24 years old. His performance alone has tremendous value, let alone when you factor in his affordability.

    How many MLB players have 3 3+ WAR years by the age of 24?

    The Cubs shouldn't trade him unless the they get a king's ransom in return. Theo won't trade him unless he's blown away. As John correctly stated, the Cubs hold all the cards. They don't need to deal unless they are blown away with an offer.

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    I like Wheeler a lot I even have him for my fantasy team. The thing that worries me is he has a tendency to walk people. He can lose control for stretches. And can be a problem going forward. But he has power stuff that can be really good.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Not saying I want a trade to happen but I would LOVE for Bosio to get a hold of Wheeler and work his magic...I think he would help him quickly reach his potential...same goes with Syndergaard.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Exactly G.D.! The only difference with Wheeler & Arrieta is that NYM haven't given up on him like BAL did with Arrieta.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    Then a Baez - Wheeler deal makes perfect sense, since Wheeler, as a Cub, would be pitching to Baez, who refuses to walk...

  • Let's just go off comps here. Russell = Larkin Castro=Renteria. Which comp would you rather have?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I don't think that's a fair way of assessing players.

    Comparisons are just that. They aren't indicative of how a player will perform, it's a reminder of who he looks like.

    By that logic, Russell is the best prospect in the organization because Larkin was a better player than Troy Glaus was (Kris Bryant comparison).

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I know a few scouts that would agree that Russell is the Cubs top prospect. And that Russell is the best SS in the organization. I do happen to agree with the last statement. Most SS are also leaders in the IF but I don't see that quality in Castro. I am not saying he is a good player, I am just saying Cub Fans value him and his tools more the the industry does.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Whatever people think about his tools, Castro is a 3+ WAR player now. By most accounts, that is considered an all-star level player. He is an established MLB value while Russell is still a prospect, so that it entails a certain amount of unknown and therefore, risk. We are projecting with Russell, we know what we have with Castro and that is a pretty good player who by every metric is among the top 4 offensive shortstops in all of baseball. He's one of the top 5 SS in baseball overall. Yes, Russell is talented but he would do well to enter that upper tier of shortstops. If he becomes one of the top 5 shortstops in baseball then we should be happy, that would be a pretty good outcome. Players are a combination of ceiling and floor, we can say Russell has the higher ceiling but Castro's floor is well established and it is very, very high. Russell has a high floor but as a prospect it's still speculative and risky until he does it at the MLB level. We only need to look at Jurickson Profar, who was considered the top SS prospect in baseball just 2 years ago to understand that there is always risk involved.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John, thanks for being the voice of reason. Folks are forgetting that age-wise, Castro practically IS a prospect. However, instead of being at Iowa, getting extra seasoning, he's putting the icing on his 3rd All Star season at the ripe old age of 24! Unless Russell can guarantee the Cubs a few 200 hit seasons in the next four years, this is a silly discussion.

    If anything (and I doubt the Nats would go for it), I'd trade Russell for Giolito. Even if Russell's ceiling is slightly higher than Castro's, there will be some value in the next few years in having a few vets on this team, and Castro appears ready to take on that role along with Rizzo.

    How does this '16 rotation look?:

    Lester (or fill in the blank with major FA signing)

    Team WHIP: 0.90!! :)

  • In reply to CUBS100 in LA:

    Thanks. I do think Castro is still somewhat underappreciated. He might always be until he's either traded or unless he lasts as long as Soriano did.

    As for the rotation, move Hendricks to 4th and I think it would work just fine :)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm sitting next to Lucas's dad. He said he's all for having his boy be part of the rotation that brings a championship or two to Wrigley :)

  • In reply to CUBS100 in LA:

    Who is Lucas?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kevin, I know you've challenged Castro's make-up and mental abilities (lack of focus, etc) in the past. Whether we all shared that view or not, those concerns were certainly substantiated. But the Leadership thing, might be spilling over from previous looks. Because it's obvious to me that trait is emerging and is on display this year. IDK that we can really be down on a kid for not showing Leadership traits until he's 24yo. Not many other professions where that would even be asked, much less expected of a 24yo kid.

    Also, several of Baez's entourage in Jax has said that when they speak to Javier, he goes on and on and on about Castro this, Starlin that, etc... So I'm seeing/hearing things behind the scenes that validate what I'm seeing on the field.

    I don't disagree that Cubs fans (any MLB team really) values their players more than the rest of the industry does.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Young players can be leaders but it's rare. Jonathan Towes comes to mind as an exception, not the rule. When did Jeter become a leader on the Yankees? @ 21 or a few years later?

  • For all of the "Cubs have to get a huge surplus to even listen" talk.

    The Mets fans (and I know fans opinion doesn't matter one bit here) are the exact same way.

    Most wouldn't give up Wheeler for Castro alone.

    If a trade makes sense and makes the Cubs a better team in the long run I'm for it. Not every trade has to be a a huge haul and a kings ransom steal that the other GM gets fired for making. And I agree with most, a move doesn't have to be made now or in the off-season.

  • In reply to Trips:

    The fans can say what they want, but it means nothing. From the Mets team standpoint, it's a pretty transparent bluff. The Mets very badly want to add offense, particularly at SS, and everyone knows it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think a trade is going to work because they both have good enough assets that they'll get enough interest from other teams.

    Sandy doesn't have a long rap sheet for making blockbuster trades and I doubt he'll give up what the Cubs want in order to make the deal.

    I find it very hard to see the Mets trading more than one of their top three pitchers (Harvey, Wheeler, Thor) for any one SS the Cubs have.

  • In reply to Trips:

    Mets will have to shop elsewhere if they don't want to deal one of their top pitchers, but good luck there. It's not like any other team has the depth to deal a young, potentially elite SS, while Cubs have plenty of options to get pitching in the trade and/or FA market. They don't need to make a deal this year and maybe not at all. Cubs have the upper hand here and they know it. Like it says in the article, either the Mets pay (at least) full value or the Cubs walk away.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I never got that rah-rah, the Cubs get surplus or walk away. It seems like fans don't want any deal to be done unless it's a huge win. Which means nothing at the time actually, the Rangers trade from last year doesn't look quite as tasty as last year.

    The equivalent of the Mets low balling the Cubs with Tier 2/3 prospects and saying, if you don't like it you can walk away and deal with someone else.

    Anyone would walk away from a horribly skewed deal. And any trade featuring more than 1 of their big 3 is horribly skewed.

    And yes they would have to give up a top prospect, I don't believe they would give up more than one.

  • In reply to Trips:

    I don't think you understand what I am trying to say. Mets are not on equal ground here. It's not rah-rah, it's the simple truth. Cubs are in a position of strength and they would be foolish not to treat it as such. That the Mets would try to pretend they are is silly because everyone knows they aren't in a position to make the same kind of demands. In the real world, things don't always have to be equal, not sure why you continue to insist that they are.

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    In reply to Trips:

    My opinion of the Rangers trade hasn't traded. I still think that was a huge win.

    Garza, who had multiple fairly recent injuries and was on his way out didn't seem likely to return much of anything, IMO.

    The Mets, however, are trying to get a guy with 6-8 years of control left. They have zero leverage.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Tremendous value for 2 months of a pitcher. It's a deal you make every time.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I'm iffy on this one.

    I'd bet the combined WAR for all the players the Cubs got in that deal comes out to be less than 10.

    It's a win, definitely, but 90%+ of rental trades are won by the team that gets long term pieces. It's a win if the Cubs got a combined 5 WAR or a combined 50 wins out of the players.

    A real win to me would be getting a long term piece for the best pitcher on the market. I don't see any of the 4 as that. Edwards looks to be the best chance for that to happen, just so happens he's the furthest away and carries the most risk. I just hope they didn't get three relief pitchers and Brett Jackson 2.0 for by far the best arm on the market.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Even if they did get three relief pitchers, so what?

    #1 - That best pitcher on the market you're talking wasn't that great.
    #2 - we traded a guy that made just a handful of starts and a had a negative WAR in those games. Grimm and Ramirez are 2 of our best three relievers. Both could probably be stretched into starts if need be.

    Even if CJ relieves, I'll be surprised if he's not good. There's a lot of value in relievers these days. Look at the tigers falling apart because of their bullpen.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    If you're content with three relief pitchers for the best guy on the market, then we'll agree to disagree.

    Garza could have blown out his arm on his first pitch as a Ranger, as long as Texas didn't win a WS it couldn't have been a win for them, unless all four of the Cubs players did the same. That shouldn't make a sub-par (and the book is far from being written here, I'm speaking in general) return more acceptable.

    Sure they could be stretched out to starters but there's no indication that either will. Even if they were, it would be a tall task for either of them to make a rotation crowded with 4/5 types already.

    Actually I take that back, they'll wouldn't stretch out Ramirez. He wouldn't be able to handle it.

    I guess the expectations for the best guy on the market used to be more. I bet Texas is actually happy they didn't have to give away anything more significant. Losing relievers doesn't hurt them in the long run.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Let's pretend for the sake of argument that Garza was still on the Rangers. His WAR this year is an even 1.0. The major league players the Cubs received in return have a combined WAR of 0.8.

    However it looks like Olt is coming out of his season long slump. While his K rate will always be high he does possess a ton of power (a good deal more than Jackson). And that is couting no value from the likely biggest chip in the trade: Edwards. Even as a reliever Edwards could be a 1-2 WAR guy. Team that with Ramirez and 2-4 WAR is very reasonable.

    I take that trade every time.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Relievers are rarely 2 WAR guys. It's hard for relievers to even get past 1.

    Olt, Ramirez, Grimm has combined for 0.1 WAR this year. Olt pulls that down but the point still remains.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Garza has 0 WAR for the Cubs. He was not ever going to be here. And when we are talking about WAR with relievers, it's irrelevant. What you get are effective productive pitchers who cost you next to nothing in terms of payroll. Any time you don't have to pay for those roles as Cubs teams in the past have had to, then it's an asset. 2-3 long term RPs is a win for two months of Garza in a meaningless season. Easily. If they get a starter for him then it's an absolute steal.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I don't know why people keep mentioning Garza. It's a win for the Cubs 100%. But the team that gets long term pieces win the trade a majority of the time. So saying it's a win doesn't say much. That shouldn't make an underwhelming return more acceptable because he wasn't going to be here anyway.

    I would have just liked to get 1 everyday player. Or 1 starting pitcher out of it. Edwards has time to become the pitcher. Grimm is replacement level and Olt is dead weight. Ramirez is solid. Hopefully he can sustain that during the Cubs winning seasons.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Garza is mentioned because he is part of the trade we are evaluating. Why wouldn't we?

    Everyone wants the Cubs to get a starting player out of the deal but it doesn't mean it's not a win if it doesn't happen. It was a win the moment they pulled the trigger. Now it is just a matter of degree.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Garza could have pitched a perfect game every game last year for Texas and led to one out short of the WS yet the Rangers still wouldn't have won the trade.

    It should be an accepted that a rental player gives 0 WAR in the following seasons. It's understood.

    They traded him for long term pieces. I'm not sure they have one in the bunch.

    I already called it a win but you're not going to find a lot of losses for teams who give up rental players. It's a soft win thus far.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    1) Garza was going to be gone regardless. Getting any future cumulative value that is more than what he would have provided (especially for a losing team, which really gave him zero value to the Cubs) was a win.

    2) Even if the Cubs just got three relief pitchers, economically, it is a huge win. This is a few years old, but the average cost per WAR for a relief pitcher from 2007-2011 was $16.4M/WAR. That is not a typo. Compare that to $4.7M/WAR for a starting pitcher during that same time span. And, the last year used on there (again, 2011), the trend was going up. That year, the $/WAR was $19.3M.

    I'm not a math wiz, but I don't think it takes one to see that if the Cubs can get WAR from those three relievers for their meager salaries, the Cubs won that trade from a $/WAR standpoint.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Exactly. And that kind of efficiency has significant ripple effects for the rest of the roster. It's not a glamorous win, but it's easily a win.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    That was according to fangraphs article:

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    For the sixth time. It's a win.

    No one is arguing that's it's a loss.

    It has the makings of an underwhelming return though.

    If the Cubs were in a pennant race and they got the best starter on the market for 3 relief pitchers id consider that a huge win no matter how the season ended up. I don't think the Rangers are losing sleep over losing relievers, if anything I'd be relieved I didn't have to give up anything that played everyday.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    It's looking like the worst of the midseason trades to this point. However, it's still a significant improvement on Greg Maddux for Macier Izturis or Ted Lilly for Blake DeWitt and filler.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    It isn't underwhelming if you look at it from a $/WAR perspective. In that case, even if these guys only become RP (something you seem to be taking for granted), it is great value.

    If you want to look at it subjectively and say that they should have gotten another Russell-type player for Garza, well that is a different thing. Though so were the circumstances, particularly the rightful questions of Garza's health and makeup.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Garza proved his health in July of last year, there were no known health concerns at the time of the trade. Early in the season? Yes. Not when he was traded.

    If the Cubs were in a pennant race and just had to give up relievers for the best guy available, I make that trade 100 out of 100 times without blinking.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    there is no doubt about that. but that is changing the context...and the argument. You are arguing both that is an underwhelming return and that it is always a win to trade three relievers for the best "available" starting pitcher (regardless of his quality respective to all starting pitchers).

    Just because a team would trade three minor league SPs who may turn out to be nothing but relievers in the Majors, does not mean the trade is underwhelming on the receiving end. It is as if your definition of a proper trade is where there must be an absolute hesitancy or high degree of anguish in pulling the trigger on such a trade by the team receiving the SP.

    But you're also quantifying "underwhelming" by using a short-term view as opposed to a long-term view. That's your choice, but I disagree. The short-term view from the acquiring team is precisely what makes it much easier to swallow giving up three pitching prospects (without the benefit of current or future hindsight bias as to whether those pitchers--and that 3B for that matter--because starters or relievers or wash out).

    If you're argument is that it is a win for both, fine. That's different. But even then, I'd still say it is ultimately more of a win from the Cubs (using hindsight bias that the Rangers didn't get a WS win last year). In the short-term, both teams "won." Simply because the Cubs won in the long-term (unlike the Rangers), and because Garza had no value pitching August and September for the Cubs, the Cubs getting anything for him made it both a short-term and a long-term win for the Cubs.

    Finally, Garza may have been "healthy" at the time of the trade, but I don't know anyone who feels a pitcher with past injuries is ever truly healthy and not a bit of a gamble.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Nobody was saying it wasn't a win.

    If anything I was saying it wasn't a glamorous win, not that huge haul people were fist-pumping too when the deal was first made.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    It's still a great deal where the Cubs picked up disproportionate value. You make this kind of deal consistently and you will be significantly better. That is what good process means. Some will work out better than others, that is the nature of the game. The deal hasn't been as good as hoped but it's only about one season's worth of data. There is still value in Edwards, Ramirez, Grimm, and even Olt with the potential that it increases. There is no value for Garza in Texas and no hope for it to increase.

    You mentioned earlier in hindsight that Texas makes this deal every time. But if you are going to use hindsight, you need to also mention that if the Rangers could take this trade back, they would do that in a heartbeat. They lost significant value in this deal from the start and that will very likely accumulate over the next 6 years.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    You're right. It currently doesn't look glamorous given the small sample size of the four players' performances and relative to the acquisition of Addison Russell this summer. However, Russell was acquired for more than just Shark. And given the already limited hindsight and they follow up acquisition of Lester, do you think Beans makes that trade again right now? I see no way he'd want Hammel now, and thus not give up Russell.

    So does it look as glamorous as it did at the time? No. Mostly because at the time, many of us assumed Olt's issues were eye related. Getting Russell and McKinney have added an unmistakable about of subjectivity to it as well. In a few years, it could look glamorous again--possibly even more so than at the time. But again, this is all from fan perspective. I'm sure the FO is still fairly a happy with it. They took a gamble on a player they couldn't get the previous in Olt and added, at the least, good economic value to the bullpen, and still possibly starters/starting depth. So perhaps glamor is in the eyes of the beholder.

  • In reply to Trips:

    remember he Rizzo/Cashner trade. Both were more prospects than proven MLB players. The hitter appears to be fine while the pitcher can't stay off the DL.
    I guess what I'm saying is what most of you have said/inferred "pitchers are a bigger risk than hitters". If that's accurate until a pitcher is 3-4 years in MLB they are one "ligament/shoulder" away from a non entity on a trade for someone like Castro . Baez and Russell obviously are less established with apparent higher ceilings than Castro and maybe they can be traded for a "smaller" package than Castro . I'm not sure I want to trad any of them for the next two yrs .

    Would anyone trade Baez/Russell and Almora or Hamels?

  • I'd be ok if they traded Russell for the next 4 and possibly 5 years of Cole Hamels.

    If they're able to land Lester or Scherzer this offseason I hope they pull the trigger on that.

    In fact I'll go on record and say that I hope they sign Lester AND Scherzer, trade for Hamels, and then sign Price after 2015!

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Not sure about Russell for Hamels, but I get the feeling that the Cubs will make a play for both Lester and Scherzer. Who can say how hard they'll go after them or if they'll even get them in this market, but it makes a lot of sense from my armchair.

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    I tend to agree that the all-star stuff is overrated as far as Castro is concerned. On a good team he may have only made one all-star team, not three. I also think he lacks the offensive potential of Baez, Russell or Bryant. I don't think he ever hits 25 homers or drives in 100 runs or maybe even hits .300 again. He has been very good defensively, playing under control and in rhythm, although Baez looks very quick at second and better on the turn than I expected. It is a good problem to have all those talented athletes and one of them will turn into a quality starting pitcher or two.

  • In reply to Terry Huebner:

    I'm not a fan of calling a player an all-star unless you are referring that as a certain level of production/value (i.e a 3-4 WAR player is generally an all-star level player) He twice made the all-star team when the Cubs had at least 2 players, meaning he didn't have to be selected as the team's rep. He would have made at least 2 and probably all 3 regardless of what team he was on.

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    In reply to Terry Huebner:

    Two of the three years he was an all star, he was not the Cubs only representative. But if that doesn't impress you, the fact that he'll be close to 900 career hits before his 25th birthday should.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Age ~25 and deep into his 5th season as a staring SS.

    730 games played, 3100+ Plate appearances, 830+ Hits, 240 extra base hits, 330+ Runs scored, 290+ RBI, a steadily rising BB% and Career BA north of 0.280,....

    Couple that with a fairly drastically improved consistency (with less than 40 games to go only 12 errors on the year compared to a previous best last year of 22 errors),....

    And all of that time playing on some pretty crappy teams,.... while growing up and just now heading into what it typically a players prime years,.....

    I think that just about any team in the league with a current SS NOT named Troy Tulowitzki would take that kind of consistent production from a SS.

  • The thinking that Russell is more expendable because he is further away is wrong in my opinion. The Cubs FO doesn't think like that. Russell is the best SS we have (who we just traded our best pitcher for), possibly the most complete player of the three, and he should be ready by next September. I agree with most others that the Cubs shouldn't make a move unless they get blown away by an offer they can't refuse.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Russell may be the one they most want to keep.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Bingo John. Russell is a perennial all-star player in the making, just like Bryant. No way the Cubs deal him unless it is for a near certain ace.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I don't think they deal him at all, that's the point, Ace or not, they aren't moving Russell.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Could not agree more.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    King Felix for Russell?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If we were built to win now, you absolutely take that deal. But we're not.

    But in 2017 (assuming no injury) Felix will be entering his age 31yo season with 2500+ Career IP on his arm. Russell will be a 23yo SS coming off of what should be his first complete MLB season and trending up, not yet in his prime.

    Which one has more value to a contending team in 2017 and beyond?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    As usual. You nailed it. The kid is a stud. I go with the takeaway from the article, no deal without a surplus haul. The Cubs are in the driver's seat.

  • I don't believe the FO will trade any of their shortstops unless there is a clear overpay from their trading partner. Why would the FO trade any of their shortstops when there is a path to pitching excellence through FA and development from within (Arrieta/Hendricks/minor league talent)?

    The Cubs are building something that will be sustainable year after year. Building this will continue to take time and one way to short circuit it is thinking they have to have their World Series roster put together by next year. I think patience and continued development is the best way to go. Yes, go after Lester or someone else near his caliber on the Free Agent market, but don't trade away any of our elite prospects unless the offer is just too good to pass up.

  • In reply to David23:

    I do think it will take a heck of an offer to get any of their shortstops. One that likely won't come this offseason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed, and if it comes a year or so later, the Cubs at that time will be knocking on the door of sustainable success. Then, the FO will know so much more about what they have and what they need. Today, they still don't know that fully. Trading under these circumstances usually leads to regret!

  • I have a feeling Baez will figure it out and become a stud! His passion and knack for the game are extremely fun to watch. He loves playing baseball and it shows. He's a winner and will be very successful.

  • In reply to David23:

    I agree, absolutely. His passion for the game, and drive to be the best can not be discounted. It's the instincts and mental make-up that enable players to hit their ceilings and make the most of their physical tools; and Javy's is off the charts.

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    Castro has really grown as a defensive SS. He has turned into a very good defensive player. The earlier mistakes and misplays are way down this year. He has made lots of great plays lately and has really grown on defense. Russell is a great prospect but Castro is established as an MLB player. I think the Cubs are gonna be very patient with making any moves. Castro has really impressed me this year. BB are up defense much better, so the Cubs should hold out for a lot for him.

  • Only way i do a deal would be with Castro and it would have to take A LOT to move him.

    Mets: Harvey or Wheeler and Syndergaard for Castro/Edwards - I think Sandy might go for something like that as long as they get someone besides Castro in the deal.

    Seattle: Paxton and Walker

    Dodgers: Joc Pederson and Julio Urias

    Nats: Zimmerman and Lucas Giolito

    Marlins: Stanton for Castro, Almora, Edwards and Jeff Baez (So they can tell their fanbase they got Castro and Baez but not the one they're thinking of ;) )

    Those are the only deals I'd move someone, if someone doesn't like it no problem We can buy what's needed in the offseason (Lester, Shields and Price in 15')

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    In reply to Kicker of Elves:

    The Mets wouldn't want Edwards, although I think you're right in that the Cubs will value Castro more than just Wheeler or Syndergaard but he's not really worth both. Something more along the lines of Castro/Alcantara or Castro/Almora might make sense, but I still don't really see the Mets going for that.

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    I think you would have to let the Mets pick 2 of their three pitchers (Harvey, Wheeler, Thor) for one of our shortstops plus Edwards. Reading in the NY Post today that Harvey may be rustling some feathers with the Mets and they may be highest on Baez of our SSs. I think they'd be interested in Edwards since they are up pitching. They may even be amenable to tacking on Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson.

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    I'm not sure it will happen this offseason because, as you say, they are playing for 2015 and Castro is a lot more valuable than Russell in 2015. Maybe if they lose out on the Lester derby they'll push competition off another year and move Castro for a cost controlled ace they can pair with David Price and Jake Arrieta. And Kyle Hendricks because apparently he's better than Greg Maddux.

    However, if Russell does as well next year as we all hope and expect he will, I don't see how one of Baez or Castro isn't moved in winter, 2015. My money is on Castro but Javy controls a lot of that with his play.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Who's Greg Maddux?

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    All-Star and Multiple Cy Young Award winning pitcher for the Cubs and Braves in the late-80's through early 2000s. Considered to be one of the best fielding pitchers and most cerebral pitcher in the games history.
    Side note: Even with all this, I think I invested entirely too much in getting his "Rookie Cards."

  • I have been reading all the comments and there are several points that are relevant to the whole notion of dealing SS to the Mets for pitching or trading some of our prime prospects. Like John, I do not think the Cubs need to trade with any team right now.

    But here is a news flash for all the NY media and Mets fans that believe the Cubs need pitching and, therefore, are hard-up to trade Castro, Baez, or Russell for one of their lower tier pitchers (sans Snydergaard or Wheeler). Not only are our young position players better than what the Mets have but THE CUBS ALSO HAVE MUCH BETTER PITCHING.

    I shouted that out because the common narrative throughout baseball is that the Cubs lack pitching talent and the Mets have a surplus. Pure garbage!! Overall pitching rankings by fWAR have the Cubs at #7, the Mets are #29. Cubs starters are ranked #4, the Mets are #28. That is why the NY media is so disingenuous with this crap about Baez or Castro not being worth Snydergaard or Wheeler.... they understand the Mets cannot possibly deal young talent like those prospects because their pitching sucks. Period.

    Better yet, I believe both Pierce Johnson and CJ Edwards can have better careers than the Mets two studs. Johnson and Edwards are putting up better results than Kyle Hendricks right now, and look how good KH is doing. Just sign Jon Lester and by this time next year the Cubs have a rotation of Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks, Johnson, Edwards with Wood, Turner, Wada, and Straily in reserve. Relievers might even be a sicker bunch with Rondon, Ramirez, Strop, Rivero, Rosscup, Wright, and Vizcaino. The Cubs organization has enough quality pitching, and only two of the pitchers listed above is over the age of 30.

    There will be enough room on the Cub roster when all the stud position prospects emerge. The sooner they start hitting on a major league level the sooner the Cubs make the playoffs.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I agree with that strategy on going after Lester hard core, then filling in the rest from within. It seems like people are overlooking CJ Edwards much in the same way they were overlooking Soler a few months ago when he was dealing with his injuries. I still like him a whole lot too.

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    112 comments and counting! I live in the Bay Area, and the sports radio guys here say their job was the easiest in the early 90s. They would start every show by saying, "Joe or Steve - go." And watch the phone lines light up. Castro/Russell/Baez isn't quite Montana/Young, but the topic gets people debating.

  • I've drive Castro to NY if they offered Wheeler and Syndergaard. I'd even be willing to throw in a sweetener or two (Vogelbach)

    1. Lester (go all in on him)
    2. Arrieta
    3. Wheeler
    4. Syndergaard
    5. Wood/Hendricks

    1. Alcantara (S)- CF
    2. Melky (S)- LF
    3. Rizzo- 1B
    4. Bryant- 3B
    5. Soler- RF
    6. Baez- SS (move to 2nd when Russell is ready)
    7. Castillo- C
    8. Valbuena- 2B

    I wouldn't mind offering Melky a two year deal (team option for Year 3) even if it's an overpay in money. I'd say Almora/Schwarber/McKinney are two years away.

    4-6 in the order is going to really struggle at times, but look amazing at other times. If the Marlins can hover around .500 and play meaningful August baseball I believe this Cubs team would easily be wild card contenders in 2015.

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    I would deal Castro + one or two prospects that are non-top 10 and non-pitchers. (Part of me would be willing to move a guy at the back of the 10, like McKinney but he's seems better every week. Another part of me could part with Vizcaino)

    I like Castro a lot but he holds the most value as a major league player, not to mention his team-friendly contract.

    I don't get why people would want to move Russell because he's the furthest away. That just means you HAVE TO package other prospects with him to make it happen.

    Castro+ for Wheeler and Thor sounds great, but as John said, I'm more than happy to walk away if they don't like it. I'd happily use guys like Wood, Straily Hendricks & Doubront too, if they feel their staff is too thin. (No on Turner, I like that trade.)

  • meh.. Id like to give it about this time next year before I even debate who to trade..

  • The front office seems to have faith in Castro (long-term deal), Baez (early promotion) AND Russell (traded two good starting pitchers for him instead of front-line pitching prospects). All three have many years of future club control for much less than the nominal $5 to $7 million per WAR value of free agents. They have room in the infield for all three (if Bryant moves to the outfield). So I believe it would take a massive overpay by their trading partner to trade any of them.

  • while I am not the biggest Castro fan, I want to see him remain with the Cub's for the duration of the rebuild and the resurgence to a contender. He is really the only one who is left from the old regime. Hence he has earned the rights to show everyone what his ceiling is. He was rushed to the show without consideration of what is best for his development. I as many lifetime Cub's fans have seen prospect after prospect fail under the same circumstances. Long story short, is that Starlin Castro is the first prospect to live up to his billing as a Cub in my generation. What this means to me is that he is the heart and soul of this up and coming Cubs team. ( in other words, he has other intangibles that do not show up in the boxscore) Which is hard to replace no matter of the quality of player(s) aquired via a trade.

  • In reply to bc1721:

    I like that way of thinking.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Me too. It's certainly not the only reason to keep Castro, but it's a valid one IMO.

    That said, if someone blew the front office away with an offer they can't refuse, I'd be OK with it, but I don't think that's going to happen.

  • My position on all this is still about patience. I was right there watching the Brock for Broglio trade and couldn't bear watching it again. Talk of Baez being traded scares me half to death for that reason. I would much rather he fail for us than be a perennial all-star for someone else. As for Russell, he may be our reversal of that Brock for Broglio trade. Let's wait and see what happens first. Having said all that, I agree that the time will come when someone among these infielders will be traded, but not now.

  • In reply to cubs1969:


  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Patience is the KEY. Let the other teams get anxious and overpay. Theo knows what he is doing.

    As for the reversal of the Brock/Broglio trade I think we already have some candidates:

    Ivan DeJesus for Sandburg
    Cashner for Rizzo
    Feldman for Arrieta and Strop
    Shark/Hammel for Russell and McKinney

  • In reply to John57:

    Aramis/Kenny for.... who did we give up?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I am not sure. Was it our 2B Hill?

  • In reply to John57:

    Matt Bruback, Jose Hernandez, and PTBNL who turned out to be Bobby Hill.

    Cubs also got cash!

  • In reply to John57:

    George Bell for Sammy Sosa. Discussion over.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Wait, Derek Lee...Derek Lee

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Cubs gave up Mike Nannini and Hee-Seop Choi for Lee.

  • In reply to John57:

    And the one people tend to forget most... Fergie Jenkins & Adolfo Phillips for Bob Buhl & Larry Jackson.

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    I don't see why the organization would spend all this time and effort on Castro and Baez to let them go. Like Theo has said. Offense is hard to come by now. They can get pitchers through FA.

  • If they make a trade with Castro and Baez they trade them to an organization who has spent all their time and effort developing the players they let go. It still hurts, I know, but the Cubs won't trade those guys without getting major league ready talent...talent that has gone through the growing pains as well.

  • Actually the Cubs may not know what they have as far as surplus yet. Baez, Alcantara, Schwarber, Russell, Amora, McKinney, Soler, and Bryant are still developing. Any trade will probably not happen with any of those this winter. Next winter the Cubs will have better idea.

  • I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs trade one of their SS because Theo has done it before. When he was with Boston he sent minor league SS Hanley Ramirez in a large package deal that brought the Red Sox Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. This was 2004 and the Red Sox went on to win the WS. Look how good Ramirez has become, but Theo did not hesitate in making a deal. If he follows the same pattern with the Cubs, we may see Russell get moved at some point. I think Theo and Jed will trade either Starlin, Javy or Addison, but only time will tell and where.

  • In reply to auggie1955:

    To totally different scenarios. In 2004 the Red Sox had a veteran core of players ready to compete for a title, Beckett and Lowell were guys used to put them over top. That is not the case here as the Cubs have yet to solidify a core of position players. We are at least two seasons away from that being the case.

  • The problem I see with the Mets thinking we have too many SS and we just have to give them one is. Whenever you "Control The Market" and have all the available good young SS, the price goes up, not down. When you have the monopoly in the market, you charge whatever you want to charge.

  • In reply to John57:

    Great way to put it, especially since there are a lack of high quality SS in today's game.

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    In reply to John57:

    We also don't know what will happen. Baez isn't out of the woods yet. Russell is still in AA (though performing wonderfully). Lots of things can still go wrong, which is why we have collected all these guys. Then, we will trade the one that gives us the best value...if a trade is even necessary. No one knows what will happen with Russell, Almora, McKinney, Vogelbach, Schwarber, Soler, etc.

  • The more I think about it, Alcantra is the odd man out. I know he wouldn't bring back the return that Castro, Russell and Baez would but I don't see him staying in the outfield either. There is outfield talent coming up that is better than him if you include Bryant, it's even better.
    One thing for sure, the Cubs are loaded and they won't be short on talent at any of the positions except possibly catcher IMO.
    I'd like to see Russell at 3rd in the future and pushing Bryant to the OF.

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    In reply to CubsBuck22:

    I don't think AA will be a long term starter for CHC. His value may be in his flexibility. He can play a passable SS, a solid 2B, and a marginal CF. If you can play these positions defensively you can relatively easily move to the less demanding 1B, 3B, LF, RF (RF would be the biggest stretch because he does not have much of an arm). Put on top of that he is a switch hitter and we have a solid utility guy and don't have to burn 2 roster spots for a back up infielder and outfielder, or a RH or LH bat off the bench. He has solid speed so we don't have to "pinch-run" for him. In short, I would like to hold onto him to be a back-up.

  • Aramis/Kenny was for Jose Hernandez, Matt Burback and Bobby Hill. This was my favorite trade the Cubs ever did in my 35 years. More this than the Derek Lee for Hee-Seop Choi or Ivan DeJesus for Bowa/Sandberg.

  • We can all sit around and throw out hypothetical trade scenarios and argue about them. Those discussions are a waste of time -- at least until there is some reason to believe the names being discussed are actually in play. I don't recall anyone predicting we'd get Russell for Shark and in the meantime a lot of time was wasted discussing an endless list other possibilities.

    And, in any event, I believe Theo will keep all three of Castro, Baez and Russell. That's our infield for about 10 years. I really don't care which of them plays at 3B or 2B or SS. Heck, let them rotate each game! Bryant goes to LF, Soler to RF. Alcy in center til Almora takes it. Schwarber at C or corner OF or 1B if one of the others gets injured or falters. And if Theo trades any of the above, he's gonna bring home something special. We all know that, so . . .

    Let's Get It On!

  • I don't see the big rush in trading our offensive juggernauts. We currently have a rotation of mostly unknown pictures and we are doing just fine in that area of the game. Sure we have a few games here in there where our starting pitcher get blown out but you will have that with any team. What we need is of things, having to great bats in the order is not going to win you ball games. I say keep the offense ive weapons that are also great athlete in can play anywhere on the field, p putting together decent rotations and had a nice free agent like lester and you have the makings off 1 hell of an Offensive beast in an era where offensive numbers are going down every year!

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    I promise I'm not drunk in the morning, my talk to text must be taking the day off because that was brutal. Sorry but i think you get the point. Keep the offensive weapons because offensive is getting harder and harder to cone by these days. Having "too many" offensive weapons is an imaginary problem.

  • I have no interest in trading Castro, Baez, Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, Russell, Schwarber or Almora.

    Until the day comes that there is no room at Wrigley for all of them, they should keep them.

    I have complete confidence that the FO will field a competitive starting rotation next year without trading any of the above.

  • Fact is - if Baez, Bryant, Soler, Castro, Rizzo, Alcantara, Russell, Olt, Schwarber and Almora all make it to the bigs (and yes - chances are that some of them will not),...

    Somebody is going to get traded,..... There is just not enough playing time to keep them all on the same roster - but you have to admit - the offense would be AWESOME!

    Also - fact is - there is no good reason to rush NOW and trade any of these guys yet.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Actually, Olt and Alcantara could easily be part of the bench. If Schwarber catches, there's room to spare.

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    Just my .02, but if Theo and Jed start to pull off multiple big deals something tells me by 2016 they are rolling out a lineup centered around Russell, Rizzo, Bryant and Soler.

    That being said, I'd love for them to keep Baez Castro as well, my thinking is that having guys who vary in approach keeps pitchers uncomfortable while facing that kind of lineup. I'd rather they sign a big name guy, i.e. Lester and build a rotation around him Arrieta and guys like Hendricks. It just seems that no matter what they do this org keeps putting great pitching out there. It's really quite impressive.

  • Unless we can get a guy like Yu Darvish, I'd just assume keep our prospects and go after big name FAs (Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, etc...). Our team salary will be right at 55M next year (source: Cots Contracts). If we go out and drop 50M/year on 2 pitchers, it would put us in the middle of the pack of team salaries. Also, we have to assume some of these guys aren't going to pan out. Hedging our bets and keeping our young hitters is the right thing to do.

  • Read all these comments..,very enjoyable speculation.

    Common thread is what would make us better by trading our surplus wealth at shortstop.


    1-all three are young.

    2-all 3 hit right-handed(Russell switch hitter?)

    3-all 3 projected to get better.

    4-we need starting pitching to be consistent winner.

    Do we want young starters or established ones?

    How much time do we need to let the 3 shortstops grow to get a better picture of what we actually have? (Castro too, because he can swing at those lousy pitches and hit .290 or .240)

    Does anyone think we are a legitimate contender for the Series in 2015?

    When I re-read these points over innmyn head a few times.,,, well I see WAIT, take out some of the risk?

    Along with when to bring Bryant up, and who to bid for in free-agency, trading or not trading one of our shortstops is the BIGGEST decision our FO will have to make.


  • Castro has been putting up these all-star numbers with no other offense around him. I think now that he doesn't have the entire offense on his shoulders, he will thrive and put up even better numbers now that the pressure is off to produce for the entire team.

  • In reply to Burns0128:

    Castro's best days are still in front of him. Rizzo's, too.

  • The main reason Russell is the SS of the near future IMO is because of his fielding. Yes, Castro has improved his fielding % each year and so far in 2014 is VERY respectable fielding of 97.7%. But Castro's range has decreased every year also due to going from 160 lbs in 2010 up to 190+ lbs this year (I'd actually guess he's closer to 200 lbs). Castro is bulking up and looking more and more everyday like a great third baseman for the future.

    In 2014 Russell has a 98.7% fielding percentage and a would be top 5 MLB range factor for a SS, similar to Simmons for Atl or Mercer for Pitt. Defense translates pretty equal from minors to majors, unlike offense. So Russell already appears to be a +1.5 or so Defensive WAR player, while Castro is at league avg and a 0 Defensive WAR player. Which seems accurate for Castro.

    Comparing the minor league hitting lines for the two....

    Russell in 870 minor league at bats - .300/.380/.500
    Castro in 995 minor league at bats - .310/.360/.420

    Plain and simple, Russell is well ahead of the curve compared to Castro. Hits for power and fields at an elite level already at only 20 yrs old. Rare combination for a SS, and VERY hard to find comparable numbers to his power + fielding for a SS in the minors in recent memory.... a cross between Hanley Ramirez and Tulo? Seriously there isn't much recent comparison, it's why the HOF name Barry Larkin gets brought up, but even Larkin didn't show this kind of power surge that Russell has shown recently, 10 HRs in only 56 games this year, Larkin only had 10 HRs in 103 games in AAA his last minor league season.
    People will roll their eyes but... A-Rod had 15 HRS in 54 games in AAA his last minor league season and similar cumulative fielding % and range factor.

    Just some interesting numbers to look at... obviously biggest jump is to the majors and we all know it can change quickly... but at this point Russell's floor appears to be close to what Castro is doing now... his FLOOR.

    Love to hear feedback!

  • In reply to cwolfe11:

    very interesting information and well written. Are you related to John?

  • CWolfe, I'm with you when you're right!:)

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    Wow. A year makes a big change in things doesn't it. Last year at this time we saw folks wanting to run Castro out of town and Baez winning a gold glove at SS for years to come along with bashing a mere 40 HR's a year.

    Now that Baez is up and struggling with so many K's and Castro seemingly back on track we hear don't trade any of our guys but if you do maybe Baez would be the guy you let go.

    I've already stated my opinion that Castro would be the guy that got us what we are looking for as far as pitching goes. But I don't trade him straight up for one pitcher. We get 2 studs or we wait. If a sweetner is needed to get our 2 stud pitchers, I add Olt. There is still a chance he becomes a good defensive 3B with 30+ HR power but he's pretty much blocked here in Chicago as he was in Texas.

    I am looking at 2 teams that John mentions here, Mets and Mariners. From the Mets I think we get Wheeler and Syndergaard. They get Castro and Olt. This would be a bit more acceptable to the Mets, imo. The addition of Olt could give them insurance they need at both 3B and 1B.

    Same scenario with Seattle where they are the worst in all of baseball at the SS position. In this case we get back Walker and Paxton.

    We then see Baez play SS until Russell is ready. Then Russell gets SS and Baez goes to 2B. Alcantara would play 2B and then CF but eventually be our supersub in about 2 years.

    Listen, I hear all of you say how we need to just keep all of our guys. Just buy pitching in free agency. But let me ask you, where do all of these guys play? Secondly, although we are hearing rumblings about how many TOR type pitchers want to come to the Cubs, it still comes down to money.

    I think in the long run the Cubs are sooooooo much stronger with the packages I have laid out. And if one of these deals are placed on the table I take it. If not I wait till Russell is ready and then readjust....

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You make a lot of sense. The goal of this front office is not to win with the lowest average aged roster ever. It's to win and sustain. Waiting for all of these young guys to take over the entire roster will take more years than the FO wants. Plus to only buy free agent pitchers means in three years we'll have a lot of overpaid, injured pitchers. A balance of promotions, trades and signings will get us to the playoffs quickest, while maintain some stockpile on the farm.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    "Where do all these guys play?"

    First of all, it is not good to assume all of them will work out. Let's pretend that they do all work out and all of Alcantara, Baez, Castro, Russell, Rizzo, Bryant, Olt, Schwarber, McKinney ALL reach something well above their "floor." (This is unrealistic, but let's pretend it happens).

    C - Schwarber (Since everyone is doing well we leave him in the minors to work out his craft...these are skills that can be taught and learned. And imagine that offense coming out of the LH Catcher spot)

    1B - Rizzo (No reason to move him. He is cheap, young, good hitter/good fielder)

    2B - Baez (In this scenario he could become the best hitting/fielding 2B in a long time in MLB)

    3B - Castro (I think he makes sense to move. While he may not have as much power as teams usually get from 3B the fact is they will be getting more than their share almost everywhere else).

    SS - Russell (cwolfe makes a compelling case for Russell as the best defensive SS in the organization).

    LF - Bryant (MAXIMUM offense from this position)

    CF - Almora (He doesn't have to hit for a ton of power, just play GG defense and use his bat-to-ball skills to get on base as much as possible)

    RF - Soler (I think he is a better OF candidate than Bryant so I put him in RF and Bryant in LF, but these could be flipped).

    - Alcantara (can back up "middle of the field" all around and switch hit with some pop)
    -Olt (RH thumper off the bench and back up for corner infield and outfield)
    -McKinney (Additional Back up for OF and a solid batting approach off the bench and hits LH)
    Add a back-up catcher (probably a defensive specialist to help Schwarber continue to learn) and that is 12 players. We have room for 13 pitchers to fill the 25-man roster if we stay with a 5-man rotation. If we go to a 4-man rotation we could have an additional player on then bench or another arm in the 'pen or mix and match with AAAA guys.

    Depth chart would look like this:
    C - Schwarber, back up
    1B - Rizzo, Olt, Bryant
    2B - Baez, Alcantara, Castro, Russell
    3B - Castro, Olt, Bryant
    SS - Russell, Castro, Baez, Alcantara
    LF - Bryant, McKinney, Soler, Olt
    CF - Almora, McKinney, Alcantara
    RF - Soler, Bryant, McKinney, Olt

    This would allow us to sustain a significant injuries and just have a weaker bench, not a hugely declined offense. Now, naturally if Bryant goes down we would have a drop off in production, but it would not be as much as it would be for other teams.

    The other fun part about this roster. None of them HAVE TO be paid more than $5-10M/year for at least 5 years. Some we can get by spending significantly less.

    Again, this presumes everyone makes it to a reasonable level between their floor and ceiling. My auxiliary point is that we can sustain a couple of flame outs and still have very good and viable options.

  • I think all this Mets-Cubs trade stuff is a pipedream of the Big Apple media folks, a few of their Chicago counterparts, and some GM wannabes who use this site as a sort of upscale MLB fantasy league blog.

    The Mets have always over-valued their talent. Don't expect them to stop now.

    Lou Boudreau used to say he never liked to trade a solid everyday player for a starting pitcher. Period. I suppose there have been exceptions where this type of trade has worked out for the one surrendering the everyday player. Perhaps someone could cite a few such trades.

    But I wouldn't trade "every-inning" Starlin Castro (or Baez or Russell, for that matter) for a Hudson River tugboat (or an East River barge) full of Mets hurlers.

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    Peter Gammons making a lot of sense:

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    "How about DeGram for Castro?" "And who else?" "I got to give them someone else?" "How many all-star games has DeGram been to?"

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    In reply to Oneear:

    John and I were actually just discussing that. The host leaves something to be desired but Gammons's points on the Cubs prospects and prospects in general are excellent.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If the host wants NY to get a SS with the Cubs receiving a SP, let's trade Alcantara for Harvey. And they won't have to give someone else in the trade.

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    Gyst of the article is both teams value their top prospects too highly to do a deal, maybe a swap of more mid-level hitter for pitcher might work?

    Alcantara and Edwin Jackson for Granderson and deGrom?

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    Maybe but I think the Mets are posturing at this point. (Cubs officials wouldn't speak to the Daily News.)

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