Could Montero/Castillo platoon or McCann provide reasonable alternatives to Russell Martin?

Other than the pursuit of Jon Lester, the other thing to look forward to this offseason is the position player group.  The Cubs need to upgrade their lineup and/or add leadership to the equation for 2015.   The lineup is going to be young because the kids are going to play.  GM Jed Hoyer made that pretty evident that the position player portion of the roster is going to be taken up primarily by young players.

“That takes up a fair number of positions," Hoyer said, "but we wouldn’t rule out adding a starting player or two that can help there as well."

But getting a starter is pretty tricky.  Barring a big trade, it would seem there is little room to upgrade.  The lineup is filled with players who have starting experience, in or before their prime years, and cost controlled.  Here is how it currently projects with their 2015 Opening Day age.

  • C: Welington Castillo, 27
  • 1B: Anthony Rizzo, 25
  • 2B: Javier Baez, 22
  • SS: Starlin Castro, 25
  • 3B: Luis Valbuena, 29
  • 3B/OF: Kris Bryant, 23
  • OF: Arismendy Alcantara, 23
  • OF: Jorge Soler, 23

There are limited ways to upgrade here.  One is to keep Kris Bryant at 3B, move Luis Valbuena to the bench, and pick up a short term outfielder.  But that is rather tricky.  Valbuena's offensive numbers are actually pretty good.  And when you hear the Cubs talk about the position players they want to add, you'll often hear 3 things mentioned: LH hitter, OBP skills, and leadership.  Valbuena represents all 3 of those things and upgrading a .339 wOBA/114 RC+ player with those attributes will prove difficult in this market.  And note that I did not use the word replace.  I used the word add.  That is no accident.  The Cubs aren't good enough to be shuffling furniture in and out.   Hoyer said as much,

“We need to add some guys to our roster that can help provide that. We also have to lengthen out our position-player group.”

The word lengthen is an interesting word choice.  It suggests the Cubs want to build rather than make a straight one-for-one upgrade.  It isn't language suggestive of an overhaul.  It does tell us, however, that the Cubs will look to upgrade their position player group.  If they can get themselves an extra starter in the equation, all the better, but I don't look for them to be the ones pursuing  major changes.  I expect them to listen and I expect teams to put out feelers, but at this stage some team would have to give up two core type players for the Cubs to give up one of their own.

That is one way to lengthen the position player group, but I see that kind of 2 for 1 deal as difficult to achieve.

So what are the alternatives?

Upgrading the OF

As mentioned, acquiring a starting outfielder is one way to lengthen that roster.  It moves Chris Coghlan and eventually, Valbuena, to the bench.  The Cubs could also hang on to Justin Ruggiano and have Matt Szczur and Logan Watkins on call at Iowa.  That makes the Cubs longer and more versatile, but again, upgrading on Coghlan, much less Valbuena, isn't going to be easy.  Some names we have suggested that could do that are Dexter Fowler, Coco Crisp, Ben Zobrist, and Denard Span.  None of those players will be easy to obtain.  Span could become a free agent and that would make sense because the Cubs wouldn't have to give anybody up to get him.  Obviously, the easiest way to lengthen is to add without subtracting.  Another way to do that is to trade one spare part for another, as I suggested with an Edwin Jackson/Michael Bourn swap.  Bourn wouldn't be an offensive upgrade over Valbuena, but he would certainly upgrade the depth and lengthen the roster.

The other players, if they are even available, would require the Cubs give up some of their assets, but to do that and still lengthen the short term roster without costing them long term, the Cubs will have to deal from organizational depth.  That limits their trade options to 2nd tier prospects like Christian Villanueva or blocked positions like 1B. (And no, I don't consider SS a blocked position at this point because those players are more easily moved to other positions).

Upgrading Catcher

There is also the catching position. I want to start by saying you can do a lot worse than the 2013/2014 versions of Welington Castillo.  You can also do better.  Whether that comes with internal improvement from Castillo himself, some veteran backup help, or replacing him altogether should all be options on the table for the Cubs.

I don't have anything against Castillo.  I like him, in fact.  But with such few places to upgrade, the catching position has to be considered.  Unlike Valbuena, Castillo represents something the Cubs have in surplus: RH hitters with some pop.

Russell Martin

Russell Martin is the big name here but we've gone over the pros and cons plenty of times already, so we won't rehash that.

What's more interesting to me is how the Cubs could sign Martin and still lengthen their roster.  The obvious and easy way would be to move Castillo to the bench.  He is a fringe starter at this point anyway but would make an outstanding young backup -- and an inexpensive one at that.  Is that the best way to utilize that asset?  I don't know.  That is a much more difficult question to answer as backup catchers don't carry a lot of value in this league.  Such a move would essentially be giving up on Castillo when you consider Martin would likely require a 4 year deal.

The other choice is to deal Castillo and acquire a player at a different position, perhaps the kind of outfielder we spoke of earlier.  But that is also problematic as there are too many moving parts.  If you sign Martin and attempt to deal Castillo, you've effectively given up much of your leverage.  If you deal Castillo first, you may get more in return but then leave yourself open to missing out on Martin.  If you do fail to sign Martin, you are essentially just shuffling the deck and not adding/lengthening.

Upgrading the backup catcher spot

The safe choice would be to get a backup that helps fill the gaps.  Castillo's biggest weakness is his ability to frame pitches.  David Ross has appeal because of his pitch-framing skills, leadership ability, and the bonus of having a good relationship with free agent to be Jon Lester, a potential Cubs target.  The Cubs could also take the route of getting a complementary backup such as Hank Conger or Jose Lobaton.  Both provide a lefty bat (switch-hitters), have solid approaches, and are also adept at pitch-framing.  It isn't sexy, but it at least it upgrades and lengthens the Cubs at the position overall, if not at starter.  Both players may be good enough to share time as opposed to strictly being a backup.

Montero/Castillo platoon

Miguel Montero is also intriguing.  He is overpaid right now as he is owed 3 more years and $40M.  For a catcher who should probably be more of a quasi-starter/platoon player, that is a significant amount.  However, the fact that Castillo makes just over the minimum right now balances that out.  Montero complements Castillo well.  He is one of the best in the game at pitch-framing and he is hitting .259/.353/.398 with 11 HRs vs. RHP.  Castillo is hitting .301/.350/.505 with 5 HRs vs. LHP.  Put that together and you get a guy hitting .267 with 16 HRs, and a .353 OBP.  You also get some of the best all-around defense at the position while significantly upgrading the team's pitch framing.  Is that combined player worth roughly $13M next year?  I think so.  It also has the added benefit of keeping the popular Castillo around.  Perhaps he can even become a longer term solution if he can learn better framing skills from a mentor like Montero.

Brian McCann?

Here is another idea I have been tossing around.  Instead of swapping out Edwin Jackson for BJ Upton (as has been rumored) or Michael Bourn (which I have suggested in the past), what about Brian McCann?  He checks all the boxes: He provides leadership, has a solid approach, frames pitches well, and can provide a 2nd power threat from the left side to go with Rizzo.  One industry source told me last year that he considered McCann a great fit for the Cubs and thought they should have pursued him as a free agent.

Obviously this could not be a one-for-one deal as McCann received a pretty large deal (5yr/$85M) and one that is best suited for the AL because of the DH.  The Cubs would likely want some significant salary relief in return in addition to unloading Jackson's contract.  It's a difficult to deal to come to terms on for both sides so it is highly unlikely, but if you would indulge me for a moment and allow me to also pry loose my annual obsession --Coco Crisp, then I rather like the chances of a Cubs team that looks like this...

  1. Crisp, LF
  2. Castro, SS
  3. Rizzo, 1B
  4. Soler, RF
  5. Bryant, 3B
  6. McCann, C
  7. Baez, 2B
  8. Alcantara, CF

Backups: David Ross or Castillo, Luis Valbuena, Chris Coghlan, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Valaika or some other RH hitting bat/infielder.

Lengthy.

Such a deal would take a lot of creativity, compromise, and cash to work, but that team (with Lester in the rotation) is a contender to me.  Balanced lineup, leadership, good approaches ...and the young cheap, talented core to sustain the financial hit in the short term and keep the run going in the long term.

Just a thought, nothing behind it, no rumor, no inside info as to whether either team would even be interested in completing such a potentially messy deal.

The Montero/Castillo platoon idea is more plausible and probably cheaper,  It's also a shorter term arrangement that lasts only until 2017,  so I am leaning in that direction right now.

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  • I guess anything can happen this off-season, and probably will! This is going to be the most fun off-season we've had since Hendry was wheeling-and-dealing in his prime, and a lot more interesting.

  • With one exception, I don't think the Cubs risk a long-term commitment to catcher until they know for sure what they have with Schwarber after some more work and instruction. If he can cut it with the glove, the bat gets him here in 2016. You only need a veteran catcher for one year in that scenario.

    That's why I like the Martin idea. Even if you sign him to a big contract, if he produces to the contract, and if Schwarber looks like he'll be a MLB catcher, then Martin would be easy to trade to another team at that time given the dearth of quality catching in the bigs. Just need to make sure that contract doesn't include a NTC.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    We don't know that Martin will be easier to trade. Two years ago he had to take a 2 year/ $17M from the Pirates, not exactly a free agents prime choice. Nobody was pounding down his door then. Things can change quickly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Martin actually turned down longer term contracts for that deal also John, gambling on a make-good contract with the Bucs. I do, however, find the idea of trading EJax for McCann intriguing. McCann provides many of the same assets Martin does, just with a larger contract.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Whether he got longer offers or not, it's apparent that this was the best one for him, since he took it. Considering he hit .211, that really isn't surprising. I just worry that we will make too much out of a year that looks like an anomaly compared to the previous few seasons. It's rare for players to get better at age 31, especially catchers, so I'm concerned that he may be overvalued because he is coming off a career year. I don't think you can ever sign anyone thinking that you will be able to trade him in 2 years. It doesn't happen very often.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think McCann would have any trade value in a few years? He's not nearly the catcher Martin is, but if he can still hit he might be attractive enough to move at the deadline.

    I hadn't really considered McCann an option until reading your piece, but it does kind of make a certain amount of sense. The Yankees, with the return of A-roid, look to be facing a major salary crunch soon. With McCann's salary you wonder if the Yankees wouldn't move him in exchange for one of the Cubs lesser prospects such as Villanueva or Vogelbach.

  • In reply to Peter000:

    I don't know. My guess is he won't. He barely has any right now. McCann makes some sense. So does Montero. So does Martin. I think it depends on which winds up being the best deal.

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    But what if we sign Martin to a "big contract" and he DOESN"T produce. Suddenly we have an aging catcher with low production. Even with his good reputation for leadership and character that would not be easy to trade. That could turn into an "eaten contract" in a hurry. If we could get the Yanks to eat a big chunk of his contract I am intrigued by the McCann possibility. If we can't get them to, then this would be a non-starter to me.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    its nice where the cubs are in this position where they only need to look at a TOR starter and probably a left handed hitting outfielder. maybe another starter and maybe a back up catcher. the cubbies are so close and if you add lester, cabrera, montero & another solid veteran starter this team is a contender. do they need these guys with all the rookies coming? maybe maybe not but i would rather be safe and add these guys on team friendly contracts (obviously not lesters contract) that would give the flexability that is needed.

    whats nice is we have options, except for the TOR the Cubs have guys stacked up in the organization to fill every other spot. as with 2014, the 2015 season will be open auditions for a long list of guys.

  • Living in Kansas City, I have watched Alex Gordon go from a 3rd base prospect bust to a gold glove left fielder and possibly the most consistent Royal. He is solid.

    Crisp and Gordon comparison:

    Crisp: Age 34 signed thru 2016 at $11m/yr
    2014: .257 .345 .387 OPS .733

    Gordon: Age 30 signed thru 2015 $12.5m/yr (club option 2016)
    2104: .270 .352 .442 OPS .794

    Why would the Royals consider trading Gordon?

    The Royals are a team in dire need of power. Their 3rd baseman (Mustakus) is very close to a clone of Mike Olt except I think Olt has more power and Mustakus bats LH. Stuck with Hosmer at 1B, the Royals need more power at other postions.

    I think they would consider a trade of Alcantara (2nd B), Olt, and Lake. Maybe it is a different combination of players however I think Gordon would look good in a Cubs uniform and I think the Royals would listen.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Royals aren't giving up Gordon for Alcantara and spare parts.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The implication is that Oakland is going to ask for much less (for Crisp) than the Royals will (for Gordon)...Not so certain. IMHO the Cubs have many more desirable pieces the would interest the Royals.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Gordon will command much more than Crisp. The latter is at least a remote possibility. Gordon is practically nil.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    Trading Gordon? Youd have to start with one of our big young guns. Royals arent giving up there biggest gun for our 2nd tier prospects.

  • In reply to MilwaukeeRoad:

    I am also in KC. I have a running joke with a very big Royals fan about them trading us Gordon and Perez for peanuts. They also seem to hit a home run after I suggest it.

    Anyway, Gordon just told the KC media that he is very interested in extending once his deal runs out in KC after 2015. Even went so far to say that it wasn't up to his agent. That sounds like Gordon will be manning left field at the K for a long time.

  • This will be very interesting to see what happens this offseason. IMO it seems like McCann has been trending down for the last 3 or 4 years. I think I would rather keep Beef than get McCann, because their numbers have been pretty similar the last 2 years and Beef is younger and cheaper. I think Montero would only make sense if we would platoon him with Castillo.

    The one player that I am hoping for would be Zobrist because he could slot in the OF at the beginning of next year and then once the next wave comes he would have the versatility to be a super utility guy. Unless one of our SS is traded, getting someone who can only play the OF doesn't make much sense since Russel could cause a log jam as early as next summer.

  • Yes, veteran leadership is needed on the team, but at what price?
    I think giving up their 2nd pick in the draft for the right, under 32 yr,
    FA might be the way to go. No long term contract for anybody over
    31 yr.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Martin is going to get 4 years and probably more than $50M, plus a 2nd rd pick, and he adds nothing more than Montero or McCann, especially. Plus he is RH.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, how old is Montero? 30 or so? IF he is a part-time type catcher, he might be worth going after. What do you think the Snakes might want for him?

  • Aside, but if you haven't seen this, it's all kinds of awesome. Bryan Cranston and his MLB "One Man Show."

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/09/bryan-cranston-breaking-bad-mlb-playoffs-one-man-show

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Bryan Cranston is totally out of his gourd--but in a good way!! That was fantastic.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Very funny. Good stuff.

  • I've been a fan of adding Michael Morse for LF. The one thing the Cubs need is another big bat in the lineup to protect/assist Rizzo and Castro and add more RBI's. More likely than not, he can be signed on a short term deal (not blocking anyone) and provide the veteran leadership they are looking for.

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    No thanks. Morse is a 1-trick pony who cant play defense period. Honestly, hes best suited to be a DH. And someone traded as often as he is likely isnt much of a leader.

  • Kind of like the idea of McCann. The same idea crossed my mind reading one of your recent posts. But I would want to keep Castillo in that event. The injury and risk of quick decline is too great, so I'd want to keep Welly as a solid back up option.

    LOL Coco Crisp. One of these days he'll be a Cub. Just keep writing articles about it.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I keep beating that drum, but I have to admit I do it half tongue-in-cheek these days. Sort of a way of making fun of myself for my little obsession ;)

    But in all seriousness if it's Span or whomever, that works for me too. Span and a platoon of Montero/Castillo is a pretty nice upgrade and probably most realistic.

  • So a McCann deal would probably take something like Beef, EJax, and one of the arms from KCounty plus cash, right? I know it's just a hypothetical, but I'd rather fly with Welly for next year, add a Ross and wait on Schwarber, Zagunis or Lopez(who should be getting some starts right now).
    Also, are we going to have a difficult time convincing a good OBP LF/CF to sign with us knowing they're likely to see diminished playing time within a year or two? If that's the case, Cuddyer? What's Jason Kubel doing these days?

  • In reply to Tnighter88:

    Ughh. Should've checked Kubel's line 1st. Looks like he's been busy being not good.

  • In reply to Tnighter88:

    With you on a no to McCann. I'd be okay if they went after Martin if the contract isn't stupid, otherwise just find a decent backup for a year and wait and see what the status of Schwarber/Weiters are next offseason if they really want a lefthanded hitting catcher. It's not like McCann wouldn't be available for a trade next offseason too. That aren't moving that contract anytime soon.

  • I do like the Cubs chances to compete with Crisp and McCann, but it's just too many moving parts for me. Sign Lester and stick Bryant Ieft. I like Valbueno in the lineup everyday and Rizzo and Castro are enough leader for me.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I tend to agree on the moving parts.

    I'm liking the Montero idea as a more plausible solution, even if it isn't as much of a big name acquisition.

  • Not a mccann fan.. but ehhh maybe?!!

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    In reference to your lineup-- Do you really think Riz is best slotted for the 3? or eventually do you have him moving to clean up sandwiched between Jorge and Kris?

  • In reply to Joshua Basinger:

    I just put loose lineups together just to give a general idea. I could easily seeing it go 3. Soler, 4. Rizzo, 5. Bryant

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    you like Soler over Bryant for the 3 spot? I am leaning that way too, at the end of the day do you think Soler has the better upside? I mean as the 2015 lineup goes now (without trades after may 1)

    I think it would make the most sense to go

    Coug
    Soler
    Riz
    Bryant
    Castro
    Baez
    alcantra
    Castillo

    Would to fit someone in there between Couglin and Soler via FA but regardless I think this would be the best lineup we have put out there in years.

  • In reply to Joshua Basinger:

    Soler appears to be a better contact hitter than KB. If that is the case, I will gladly hit him 3rd. Rizzo already has a high 3s OBP now, so KB will likely see his share of ABs with runners on.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    i think Soler has too much power for the two hole. I feel like Castro and Soler should switch.

    What a tough power lineup with Riz, Soler, Bryant fighting for the 3 hole.
    Do the Cubs lead MLB in Home Run's Next year? I think so!!
    20+ Rizzo, Soler, Bryant, Baez
    15+ Alcantara, Castro

  • In reply to Burns0128:

    I believe Rizzo is slotted between Soler/Bryant. By default that makes Rizzo cleanup hitter. Need righty/lefty in the order.

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    Sign Jon Lester, Denard Span and David Ross. Call it a great winter and move on to Spring training.....

    No surprises and we continue to move forward.

    One of the things that we saw for the past two years was not really wanting to sign big name free agents because of the fact of how their skills over the length of the contract would diminish and it could possibly block some of our guys working their way through the system.

    So I give Beef the benefit of the doubt for one more season and see where Schwaber is in his development next year at this time. Matt Wieters will also be available in 2016 and we will have a much better idea if we need to move on with a starting catcher from outside the organization.

    One more year and we could have another blocked situation with Almora being just about ready for the big leagues also. Just another RH bat for us to squeeze in.....

  • Cuddyer in left. He will not be offered arb.

    Injuries, yeah. But if he comes in healthy for a couple of years, he would be a fantastic hitter in the two spot. He does everything right. Also backs up first base.

    If injured, he makes space for others.

    This is the kind of addition you want, moving on from the Sweeneys, Coghlans and Ruggianos of the world.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I'd be okay with that for 1-2 years if he isn't offered arb. If he wants more years let him go to a contender though.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Cubs are contenders next year.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Not as big a fan. I suspect his batting average is the appeal but he does that Coors Field. He doesn't walk a lot so what you get is a .275 hitter with a .309 OBP. Considering he doesn't play good defense or hit for great power, I am not big on bringing him here. He wouldn't be much different than Ruggiano and probably not as good

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cuddyer's MLB career BB rate is 8.8% and career OBP is .346. He has more power than Ruggiano and Coghlan. Coghlan plays terrible defense, and has no power.

    His career HR home/away split is 101/83, and since he's been with Col is almost an exact identical split, so his power numbers aren't being inflated because of Coors.

    The guy can hit, bottom line. He'd be a great addition to the Cubs and they wouldn't have to offer significant dollar/years to get him, nor would they have to offer up prospects to get him. They could get him on a 1-2 year deal. Perfect fit for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Bill Oliger:

    Eh, he is ok. Avg power, avg walk rate, defense is worse than Coghlan's. Numbers away from Coors are pretty average this year. 36 and coming off injury. Cubs looking to get more LH. He's decent, certainly a good hitter for average, probably cheap. Wouldn't be terrible if they got him but I wouldn't call him a perfect fit by any means. I'd like him more if he hit LH and wasn't a train wreck in the OF.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's fair enough, but nobody could be worse than Coghlan in LF. A routine flyball to LF is a Soriano adventure. Also, Wrigley is much easier to play defense in then the spacious Coors. IMHO he's a perfect fit because he's cheap (your options cost prospects or 4 years in dollars). He's not young but again, all (I believe) of the guys you mentioned were on the wrong side of 30.

    Numbers away from Coors this season is a SSS. His numbers away from Coors in previous years have been pretty good and not much worse than his numbers at Coors. His HR numbers in Coors/away from Coors are almost identical and that's playing a division with a couple of the most pitcher friendly parks (SD, SF and LAD).

    The beauty of Cuddyer is he gives you a veteran bat, post season experience, has some power, and only cost you money. He comes cheap and for a short term deal which is all you need him. He's certainly a much better option than Coco Crisp, and guys like Zobrist are going to cost you good prospects. Why are you looking to trade away prospects for what is really a 1-2 year need?

    You're correct, he's not a perfect fit, because that would be a lefty bat, but he's about as close to a perfect fit as there comes, and he's probably the best available fit for the Cubs short term need, especially when you figure in cost considerations.

  • I am wondering if Matt Wieters is available from the Orioles? Of course it would be a gamble for the Cubs, since Wieters is coming off the Tommy John surgery on his elbow and is a free agent after 2015( and is a Scott Boras client as well). But with Caleb Joseph now with an apparent lock on that position at far lower cost than Wieters, one think that the Cubs could get him for Castillo and some second tier prospects? See http://www.pressboxonline.com/2014/08/08/could-caleb-josephs-success-for-orioles-make-matt-wieters-expendable

  • In reply to sherparick1:

    Only if they want to basically give him away to get his contract off their books. Otherwise just wait until he is a FA next winter. No point in trading anyone of value for him when we can get him for free next year. No way he doesn't test FA at this point, even if the Orioles deal him to another contender in the offseason.

  • In reply to sherparick1:

    Not sure Wieters presents much of an upgrade anymore, especially considering he is a one and done. Not particularly good at doing the things the Cubs have lacked with Castillo. Doesn't walk a lot, doesn't frame well.

  • This basically sums up why I am against just about any trade proposals that come up. Not looking to subtract anything right now (except cutting EJax), even at the minor league level. Don't take on any bad contracts from other teams that extend beyond two years. The decks are essentially clear, lets keep it that way.

    The Cubs now have enough MLB quality talent to fill a roster, but still need to add a little more top talent, and wait for some of the young guys to develop into it. Time to start strategically adding to this roster, preferrably from the top down, which seems possible given the payroll flexibility over the next several years. Add a couple of TOR starters in FA the next couple of years and still leave some flexibility in case a prospect or two flames out where they can add a position player if needed.

  • fb_avatar

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 7m

    Cubs high class A team moving from Daytona to Myrtle Beach. Official now

    Damn it!!!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    At least Myrtle Beach televises its home games on MiLB TV. Score for the rest of us!

  • Awesome stuff! Its nice to know that any FA, be it Lester, Martin, or whoever is going to look at the roster, look at the talent, and say, "I can probably win here!".

    I like all of those options you've outlined. Wely has been a disappointment for me this year. I don't really have anything against him either and as you pointed out, we could do a lot worse. I just would've picked him to have a breakout year and he's stalled a little. Whatever happens, I think the Cubs will be better in 2015 if they have a veteran catcher back there a little more often.

    My ideal scenario would probably be sign Martin and attempt to trade Wely to TB who's trying to trim payroll anyway. Maybe Wely for Hellickson or Joyce. Another option would be to attempt to acquire Molina or Hanigan somehow to back Wely up and play 35-45% of the time.

  • I think most teams want to improve at catcher. I think catchers are underappreciated, a extra strike or extra ball in an AB changes the AB. Though it is fun to dream, I would be surprised if Montero or McCann would be available, unless one of theose teams signs Martin (who I think is likely to stay a Pirate), which will cost a draft pick. I don't hink the cubs want a long term aging player contract. I think the most likely is one of the backups. My 2 cents

  • Instead of spending big money on Martin for 4 years, I think we should focus $ on finding 2 starting pitchers. Lester, or another TOR starter, has to be the #1 off season focus. Another catcher or short-term outfielder is a very distant secondary priority IMHO.

  • Having guys like Valbuena, Coghlan, and Ruggiano on the bench doesn't seem like much of a problem to me. considering the likelihood of injuries, either in ST or the regular season and each of those players could get over 300 AB as bench players. The problem of having too many good players seems to resolve itself.
    That's why I think the Cubs will go after 2 pos. players (Span, Zobrist are my favorites) and 2 starting pitchers (Lester, IDK)

  • In reply to IACub:

    I like McCarthy

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    In reply to less disappointed:

    McCarthy would be a great pick up. That heavy sinker would play great at Wrigley w our improving infield defense. The problem is I think the Yankees are going to do whatever they can to resign him. If we signed him and Lester. What a rotation we would have

    Lester
    Jake the snake
    McCarthy
    Hendricks
    Douby/Wood/Jackson/turner

    A lot of depth and a lot of quality.

    What a great trade by cashman to get him for basically nothing.

    Stupid stupid diamondbacks

    Adding a lefty power hitter like. McCann would be awesome, but it really don't think he's going to be productive for 4 more years. Perhaps if we could use him for 2 years and flip him, that would be great. This team really needs that speedy, high OBP guy at the top of the lineup. Pretty much, all the playoff teams have that type of hitter at the top of the lineup.

    God I hope that this is the winter (not 2015 winter) they really do something to improve this team and add some veterans to help these young players get to their ceilings.

  • I still think Olt has a chance to be a regular. He seemed to make some useful adjustments at AAA that helped him when he came back up. He could play LF or push Bryant there at least temporarily and take care of that short term OF hole.

    I have always liked Coco Crisp to but I'm not "coo coo" for him. I prefer the Cubs wait longer before making trades, Let the future roster shake out a bit first before we decide who to trade. Who knows, some guys we are overlooking might surprise and others we are counting on might bust.

  • Anyone else worried about the impact McCann's previous roles as baseball unwritten rule cop can have on a young enthusiastic team?

  • In reply to JasonB:

    What did he do?

  • In reply to JasonB:

    I looked it up waiting for that damn Admin message to let the conversation continue. I don't think I am at all interested in Mr. McCann.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Yeah, I think that's what my instinct is as well.

    It raises an interesting thought to me though - whatever veteran comes in here is going to have to understand that these guys have been playing together for years and know each other incredibly well.

  • http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2013/9/26/4773482/a-brief-history-of-brian-mccann-fun-cop

  • http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/11493214/v30539127/must-c-confrontation-fernandez-and-braves-spar

  • Obviously, he did that to opponents and not his own team, but young players may pimp a HR every once in awhile - would McCann say something to them that could potentially hurt team chemistry? Sure these guys are young but they've played together for a long time and they're going to have each other's backs.

  • In reply to JasonB:

    I just don't appreciate the "hot head" aspect of that whole thing. He shouldn't be loosing control over show-boating.

  • When I saw Montero in the headline I thought for a minute you were talking about acquiring Jesus "ice cream" from Seattle. Wouldn't he be "big" in a Chicago uniform.

  • As I have stated before, I am a fan and look at things as a fan and not a GM. In my heart I really hope that the we keep all of the top prospects, and see Russell come up moving Castro to 3rd and Bryant to LF. I know people might say that a whole lineup of young players does not win chanpionships. Maybe, but think of how much fun it will be to root for these guys to succeed. I think finally our prospects all have the abbility to succeed individually, though maybe not all at the same time. I just think that would be alot of fun as a fan.

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