Investing in the Future: Let's Keep the Kids

We've heard Theo say that prospects are currency. That's fair. They are. But are they the kind of currency that the Cubs should spending right now?

That's where I'm not so sure.

Theo speaks of prospects in much the same way an investor speaks of his holdings so I think considering investing will lend some insight into the Cubs thinking. First of all, there is obviously cash. Cash is very similar to actual cash in your wallet. It is characterized by the ability to be spent immediately and maintain relatively constant value. Cash has an obvious analog in baseball parlance in unspent budget, which can also be used immediately to players on the free agency market.

For simplicity, I'll focus on stock as the only investment available. Stock is ownership in a company. Investors buy a stock to get the company's future earnings. In a real sense, stock is currency for investors because it can be converted into other stocks close to instantaneously on the stock market. The analog here is all players. GMs buy players to get a future stream of performance and, ultimately, wins. (WAR makes the comparison very clean.)

But not all stocks are created equal. Some stocks are considered safe because they have very predictable earnings and dividend payments. Because the earnings are so predictable, the price tends to reflect this and an investor buys it mostly for the dividend stream. These tend to be more appropriate for older people who are looking for a constant income stream at the end of their lives. The analog isn't perfect, but this is similar to older, established players. They tend to come quite expensive on the market, have very little upside, and are most appropriate for a team that is in contention and want to add immediate impact.

The other type of stock is a growth stock. These are smaller companies -- or even negative earnings -- today which are expected to grow earnings significantly over time. Anyone paying attention to the news during the great tech bubble of the early '00s saw one of the great moments for growth stocks. It's also indicative of a problem with growth investing: many of the companies don't make it. Growth investments are appropriate for a younger person looking to build capital for a retirement 20-40 years in the future. These are almost perfectly analogous to baseball prospects.

To extend the metaphor some, the Cubs are the young person building for the long term. They need their growth assets because they will be in position to take advantage of their full careers. This compares to a team like the Tigers who are built to win now and will likely be pretty bad in 3-4 years.  For them, prospects are a currency they would do well to spend because they won’t be able to take advantage of their prime years.

As I’ve said many times, I admire the collection of assets this front office has put together with remarkable discipline. However, now that it’s time to spend, we should be spending money, no prospects, to fill in our holes.

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  • Well said Mike. You could fill an entire wing of the Hall of Fame with guys who once played for the Cubs. For once, I'd like to see the Cubs top prospects do their damage for the Cubs, not against them.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    What you said YouCannotBe,....

    Let's see the Cubs develop a 'Lou Brock' or two and keep the guys on staff for a long stretch run or two.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    What happens when you have FIVE "Lou Brocks" in your outfield?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I don't know Cliff - but wouldn't it be fun to find out!

    And if you have 'five' such players - you can go out and trade for a budding Fergie Jenkins or two,......

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Then things change and we have to trade but that's at least a year off.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed, with an asterisk* depending on the offer made.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Then you leave one of them in the minors a few more years and let them learn to play 3B, or 1B.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    That is something to worry about when you get to three and one half "Lou Brocks".

    At the present time, if every prospect actually reaches his ceiling at the expected time, we would not have any overlap, other than Alcantara and Almora in CF.

    LF Bryant
    CF Alcantara/Almora
    RF Soler
    3B Russell
    SS Castro
    2B Baez
    1B Rizzo
    C Schwarber

    The chances of ALL of them reaching their potential ceiling is incredibly small, but even if it happens, we won't end up with five "Lou Brocks".

    We should trade any or all of them if the deals make sense, but there is no reason to trade anyone simply because of a perceived "surplus".

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    When we had one Lou Brock we turned him into Earnie Broglio.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    change the output setting on your cloning machine?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Trade one of them to St Louis for Bob Gibson.

  • In reply to John57:

    the 1968 Gibson.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    then you play with 2 infielders and deploy extreme shifts...

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    You can also assemble a near never ending (and much longer) list of prospects who the organization kept who didn't pan out. Just playing devil's advocate.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    Yes, the majority of prospects do not pan out, especially pitchers. However, it is a wiser investment to keep a guy if his ceiling is sufficiently high until he is ousted by someone else OR if we get a deal that "makes sense." By that I mean a deal that is just as likely to make us a better team than if this guy reaches his ceiling at an expected time.

    Right now our only "surplus" is at SS. And Alcantara needs some refining but could be an above-average CF and Baez is looking like an above average 2B. If there is a spot on the field to have a surplus it would be SS and/or pitcher. Pitchers because the attrition rate is so high and SS because if they can handle SS at a high level (AAA) then they can likely be converted into "serviceable" at any other position defensively and if their bat is sufficient (as all the current "surplus" are likely to be) we will not lose anything in the conversion to just keep them as relatively low price/high value assets.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    The issue is whether it is because of the players or because the players weren't developed while in the Cubs' system. I think many of us would say it was the latter.

    If you just believe it is all luck, fine. And to an extent--such as with freak injuries--it is. But I believe the front office at 1060 W. Addison creates their own luck. I think they have well-scouted the mental strength of these kids, their love for baseball, and know what player development is all about.

    There's always going to be risk, but you can always work to minimize that risk. The reality is that it is nearly always going to be worth the risk--no matter how high it is--to stick with your prospects instead of trading for them. Unless a team wants to overwhelm you with an offer for one of them, I don't think you can do it.

    would be interesting to see Mike make a risk curve for us. Let us know at what point a prospect's floor and or ceiling and a potential acquired player's floor and ceiling meet to make the risk of a trade worth making it.

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    I generally agree, and would like us to retain our young players. But there is a counterpoint, the "All Prospects are Suspects" point. And it's valid when you look at Cubs history.

    In the last decade, the Cubs traded such top prospects as Bobby Hill, Hee Seop Choi for major-league players. C-Patt and Felix Pie were traded after they failed as prospects. Before the 2002 Season, we had 7 players on BA's top 100 prospect list, including 2 in the top 10, and of that list only Prior and Zambrano had a season over 2 WAR. (Juan Cruz had a long career as basically a journeyman)

    Teams are valuing prospect currency more than ever, and maybe it's over valued to an extent.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Prior, Zambrano, Patterson, Choi and Cruz were all contributors to the 2003 team that nearly went to the Series. Prior and Zambrano were obviously key pieces and Patterson and Choi were both starters prior to injuries. Hill was sent as a key piece in the deal for Ramirez and then Choi was sent for Lee after the season. I can't argue with how the Cubs handled any of those assets. In fact, they did an exceptional job. They kept the best 4, and dealt a couple of others while they still had value for 2 players that they ended up building the 2008 team around (Lee, ARam). The only guy that failed and the team got no value out of was Pie. 1 failure out of 7 is terrific prospect management.

    Even if the Cubs had perfectly predicted that Prior and Z were the only two they should have kept, that 2003 team probably doesn't make it where it did if Choi, Patterson, Cruz were not able to contribute what they did on minumum salaries. If they had been traded for more expensive veterans then Hundley-Karros/Grudz deal may not have been able to occur because they would not have been able to take on the additional short term salary in 2003 (Hundley was owed more money overall, but it was spread over more years).

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I generally agree. I still feel K-Pat was on a good path until he got injured.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    A couple things here, first stats have changed those lists a bit and they tend to be a little bit more accurate in the top ten, but that's neither here or there except to say that top 10 prospects now have about a 70% success rate in MLB as contributing players or better. That rate is about 77% if you talk positional players only. The Cubs have 3 top ten players right now in Soler, Bryant and Russell (Baez doesn't qualify for the list having too much service time). The odds say 2.31 of them will make it. Of course Bryant is expected to do way more than "make it" as is Soler and we've already seen some of that. Add the scouting reports on Russell and the Cubs are likely to beat those odds. Of course neither Russell or Bryant have a major league position yet so there's evaluating to do.

    The other thing is this evaluating of Cubs history. To me that history goes back to Ricketts buying the team in 2009 but even that's a stretch and it's much more fair to only consider the time since October 2012 when the current FO took over. As Cub fans I think our memories are way too long. We can lament Brock for Broglio all we'd like but the fact is everyone involved in that decision (except for the two players) are most likely dead as should be the discussion. That goes for mistakes and successes of the past.

    The most important part, and this goes to Mike's piece, is that this FO gets a chance to evaluate its guys thoroughly before dealing them. Maybe there's a pitcher or player out there that Theo and Jed covet so badly that they feel obliged to make a deal but barring that I see no hurry here. 2015 is just the beginning of the actual rebuild on the MLB level after three long years of deconstruction. There is no cause for panic and there should be no "win now" mentality. That could very well change after this season but I think it's a safe bet to hang on to the growth assets for the time being.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I'd like to know how, exactly, Corey Patterson "failed as a prospect"
    At the age of 23, the guy hit .298 with an .839 OPS, then posted a .266 avg with 24 HR and 32 SB the following season.
    That's not failing.
    He may not have had a hall of fame career, but he played 12 years, collected 197 doubles, 118 homers and swiped 218 bases. his best years were as a Cub. He DID NOT "fail as a prospect"

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    A smart investor knows to hold onto the newly created Apple stock because of its long-term potential. But he also understand it's best to dump the Pets.com stock at its inflated peak, before the Dot Com crash. I trust Hoystein to show similar judgement when determining which investments to keep, and which to sell high.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    A smart investor buys and holds a portfolio of sticks knowing the winnes will make up for the losers. If you thought pets.com and Apple had similar growth profiles (extreme case, at best) and put $500,000 into both on January 1, 2000, you are very happy right now. No investor is perfect in predicting the future any more than a talent evaluator is.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Long time listener here, 1st time caller!!

    Mike - good article. The logic is good but the 1 difference I see here is that with a stock portfolio you are limited by the $$$ you can invest, but with baseball you are limited by positions. Yes we can find positions for all our prospects but ultimately putting Russell/Castro/Baez in LF won't be getting as much value out of them as trading them would provide.

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    In reply to NLIADad:

    Welcome aboard.

    Largely agree with you and it's a very good catch. I think where I might depart from you is that we have a surplus now. When Bryant, Baez and La Stella are killing it in the majors and Russell is pounding on the door in Iowa, then we have to make a choice. Right now we have a lot of puzzle pieces that can go in a lot of places.

    Slight disagreement is on Baez in left. If the bat reaches it's lofty potential it is elite anywhere on the field. Russell would also be well above average in left.

  • In reply to NLIADad:

    The Cubs probably thought they had a surplus at 3B in the early 2000s when they had Bellhorn and had Kelton, Hinske, Liniak, and some other guy I am forgetting waiting in the minors that were all fairly well thought of (though none at the Bryant/Russell/Baez/Soler level). They ended up having to trade for ARam instead.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    There are a few on this board and others that would be happy for the Cubs to get Giancarlo Stanton, even if he had to play in left field.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I don't want him if he costs $325 million plus prospects. No thank you

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Orie?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    A smart investor understands ehen to take their earnings and cash them in to invest in new stock. You do this by identifying market trends, one thing theoyer did tremendously well the last 3 years- sometime between now and the next 18 months it will be time to cash in a few of our earnings to invest in new "stock". See, when you invest in your "riskier" portfolio stocks(prospects)- you take your earnings off the table and then invest in some blue chips w some dividends(proven commodities)- so whether it's castro,Baez, Russell, or whoever someone will be traded within the next 18 months- and I'd predict sooner rather than later---bc the last thing you want is to be holding the bag when the market trends reverse

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    In reply to David McKenzie:

    Disagree on about every level here. From an investing standpoint, a young person looking for capital growth over 40 years going into blue chips is a terrible idea. They simply won't provide the growth necessary to sustain retirement.

    For the Cubs, you're trading from -- as Theo himself has put it -- a potential surplus. They like all their prospects. You're going to be wrong on some. But giving away cost controlled elite players is the last thing this team needs to do right now. Patience is key in investing and Roster building.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    We can agree that 1. We should be fairly patient on roster building- I'd never trade any of our assets for Hamels, but for other cost controlled talent that better suits our needs-I would in a heartbeat- in regards to investing I can't believe you'd state blue chips are the worst thing a young person can do for capital growth? S&P in 1994 was at 465--today, roughly 2000(blue chips follow this trend regularly) --the Dow-which is weighted w 30 blue chips? 3885 in 1994 vs 17882 today-I'd say any young person who actively invested in those during their early career years will retire extremely happy and wealthy. For the ones who invested and held yahoo or aol instead? Still working. My point is the Cubs have a surplus in a valuable, yet riskier commodity- the goal is to turn some of those into less riskier investments- it's okay to have one of yahoo or aol in your portfolio-just not an entire portfolio made up of them.

  • In reply to David McKenzie:

    I think this is pretty spot on. The Cubs right now are the equivalent of a young investor. I'm 33 and long term stock is still beneficial to my future. The more "future" stock that is held right now can only help when the championship window is in play.

  • Of the Cubs prospects 10-20, who would you like to have a breakout season? It can be more than 1.
    I'd like to see 2 of Candelario, Jimenez, or Torres.

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    In reply to Wrigley09:

    Love to see Underwood get the change down.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That would be nice to see. I'd like Sands also. He's still raw & will take time to fully develop.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    You could throw Mejia in there too.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Underwood is the guy I'm most excited about showing progress. I think he ends up the best of the KC staff from last year.

    Would love to see Cease get healthy and flash pre-injury stuff at some point in the second half.

    I expect Torres to look comfortable in South Bend and have a solid season. In the little I have seen of him he seems to have a natural feel for hitting line drives all over the field like Castro did at a young age.

    It would be nice to see Tseng show better stamina. If he doesn't improve on that then he probably tops out as a Carlos Villanueva type swing man.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If he recovers from TJ, Cease might have the highest potential of any of our pitching prospects. He threw near 100 with torn muscle and imagine what he might do when healthy.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    I'm expecting a bounce-back for Candelario. He's been the forgotten man, because of his terrible '14. But he's still so young. His 3B defense improved. He still has good plate discipline, and decent power potential.

    I'd also love to see Vogelbach go off. He hasn't really tapped into his power since his time in the NWL. He ended up with a solid season after an abysmal start, but he has more in him.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    They can afford to be very patient with Candelerio. Hopefully he improves in his second crack at A+. I think he probably ends up as a tweener 1B/3B though and at best becomes a backup.

    A Vogelbach emergence would be nice. If he proves he can hit AA pitching then he can actually build some trade value. Up until he does that I don't think he has any real value.

  • In reply to Wrigley09:

    My 3 are Caratini, Candelario & Blackburn. Not that Blackburn had a bad year... Would love to see another ToR guy in the system to take their already decent game up a notch to a "can't miss" type status... to look forward in 1 of the "waves" to be coming.

  • Just read Cruz going to Seattle. That's another bat off the market. Looks like teams in need of hitting are going to have to pay a premium for offense. Will this make the crazy demands for top prospects go down in exchange for pitching?

  • Nice article Mike - I think another appropriate strategy with baseball prospects and investing is to "sell your losers and let your winners run". I think we should keep all of these top prospects as long as we can and not trade them until we have established major leaguers blocking them and they have no other position to play - similar to Rizzo blocking Vogelbomb.

  • I was watching "Baseball" yesterday.

    They basically said that because Steinbrenner had gotten himself suspended, Gene Michael got to keep Jeter, Williams, Pettitte, Rivera, Martinez and Posada.

    Steinbrenner would've traded 'em for veterans.
    Let's not do that.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Agreed,....

  • Part of trading youngsters is your faith in the youngsters that are right behind them. If all the Cubs have is the tier of Baez, Soler, Russell, and Bryant then I would agree that we need to hold onto all of them. However, since we are seeing the next wave of Almora, Schwarber, Edwards and McKinney, and even a third wave with Jimenez, Torres, etc.

    Each tier allows you to move from excess to fill need.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I would argue that Baez, Soler, Russell and Bryant allow them the option to move the following waves, not the other way around. They need to let the 1st wave establish themselves or not and then you know whether you actually have a surplus.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    unless the organization thinks a guy in the second wave is actually the better long term answer and the a first tier guy is way more valued outside the organization.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Then you are trading for expensive veterans right now that contribute to a team that has little to no chance at winning while you wait for the 2nd/3rd wave guys to make the majors. By the time they do, the veteran may no longer be the same player he was.

    Better to let the 1st wave (all of whom are really high ceiling guys) the opportunity to sink or swim. Then reevaluate in a year or two whether any of the 2nd/3rd wave are truly surplus or not. The Cubs can afford to let some of the prospects fail.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Sure, but I don't think that is the case with any of Bryant, Soler, Russell or Baez. Those are the 4 best prospects they have, and all happen to be in the first wave, and spots are available for each to get PT right now. The only other guy in the 2nd wave that compares is Schwarber and he is goign to be tried at catcher first, so there is no conflict with other prospects and no rush to make a judgement.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    True. And you are usually better off to trade the first wave as they get expensive, rather than trade the second wave for already-expensive players.

    At the time, I did a lot of business travelling, and was able to follow Choi through his entire minor league career. I am convinced that if he had not gotten the concussion after the collision with Wood, he would have been as good or better than Derek Lee. IF that were true, the trade would have been a bad one. They could have had Choi at first base and had 9 million dollars (at that time a substantial amount) to sign a free agent at another position. I don't know if Hendrey knew how badly Choi was injured (if my theory is true), but if not, I think it was a poor trade that just turned out lucky for the Cubs.

  • One thing I want to be clear about. IMO, There are certain youngsters that you hold onto no matter what. They are cornerstones. I think Soler and I know Bryant definitely fit into the category of must hold onto's. Baez was until you acquired Russell. Now one of them is and the other isn't. Take your pick.

    I don't think anyone else in the organization fits into that category though. Edwards would probably be next closest thing.

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    In reply to KJRyno:

    I think the four are Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler. Lefty, righty, lefty, right. High SLG, OBP, and obviously OPS in the middle of the lineup. Baez, Castro, or Russell would be added to the list, but I'm not sure which one. The other two could be dealt, at some point, for pitching.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    agree mostly, I didn't include Rizzo because he is already an established ML'er and we were discussing prospects. Schwarber may be because of his stick, but the jury is still out as he has only had a short season. A good second year this year and you may be right. There also is a certain IFA that could be added to that group if he delays his posting.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Getting Russell has no bearing on whether Baez is a cornerstone. They already are playing different positions, and even if that wasn't the case, if they think Baez can reach his ceiling they will find a place for him somewhere on the field. That bat would play anywhere. Baez is his own special case. If Russell has an influence on any other player's future it is Castro.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I don't agree. Baez was said to have such influence on Castro and we saw what happened there. Baez was moved position wise. A lot of things have to sort themselves out, but if Russell was to overtake Baez (you never know) then you could be looking at the same thing. Remember, the two at the top like high OBP. With Bryant and Soler in the everday lineup, Baez might be more valuable as a trade chip than on the team.

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    In reply to KJRyno:

    I'm a Golden State Warrior fan. When the team hired Jerry West, one of the first things he did was trade Monta Elllis for Andrew Bogut. The fan base was livid: how could you trade arguably our best player? But the team had another young guard, Curry, who they liked better. And they need to balance out the lineup by adding a center. That's what smart management teams do, they trade surplus assets to bolster what they are missing. Moving Baez to left field is ridiculous, and no one outside of the posters of this site (which loves their prospects) would suggest it.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    It has been suggested by others outside this site often and also those not on the site, mostly in the context of "Baez's bat will play anywhere".

    And the Cubs don't have surplus right now. There is no logjam at the MLB level. Until that happens, the Cubs are taking a pretty large risk. Let us not oversimplify "what smart organizations do". Smart organizations weigh all the costs and risk vs. the potential benefits. They certainly don't count surplus before it is actually there and they aren't as eager to deal special talents like Baez just because he struggled in his first go-round in the majors. They don't see trading cost controlled valued assets for guys making 22.5M a year as a no-brainer. I've attempted to explain this on a couple of occasions in detail but I think minimizing this as a simple matter of trading depth for need and not considering the value exchanged involved is misleading.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe I'm wrong. Since it has been suggested often, could you point me toward one of the articles or sites that suggested it? I'd love to be educated.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    You can find it yourself if you're interested. I have other things to do right now. It was mostly talked about 2-3 years ago if that helps you search, with RF being the most likely option. As for hearing it myself, you'll just have to take my word for it...or not.

    Baez is a good athlete with great instincts, a great arm and a power bat, it is certainly not ridiculous to suggest he could play the OF. The preference is he play the infield, of course, because there is more value there.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Okay. I will keep my eye open for it elsewhere. I haven't seen it yet, outside of here. He's a fantastic athlete. He could play any position. But he's obviously more valuable at 2nd or 3rd than LF. And if he and Russell and Castro all prove themselves worth, one will get traded, because they would have more value as a trade chip than an outfielder.

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    We have to trust Theo, Jed, Jason, etc. to figure out which prospects are going to fit with the Cubs moving forward and succeed at a higher level and which ones might be able to bring back a greater return on the dollar if you will through trade.

    There is a prevailing mantra out there that the time is not right to deal prospects, and that might be true, but it mostly depends on what the return is and who is being dealt (which is where Theo & Co. come in).

    You can't just say you're going to wait to see which prospects are going to pan out before you trade them, because, of course, by the time you figure out if those players are going to live up to their potential their value plummets. The idea is for those who know the farm system the best (Theo & Co.) to be able to speculate on who may be overvalued and get a good return in a trade.

    Looking at the free agent market and the prices, signing some mid-tier guys and finding the right trade partners as a second front seems like the best course of action to me.

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    Agreed! Thanks for saying what I have been thinking for a long time!

  • In reply to Brandon Halford:

    I've been saying for awhile that one, possibly two, of Castro, Baez, and Russell will be traded, because a team only needs so many middle infielders and there is room for only one starting shortstop. Not to mention balanced lineups including right and left handed hitters, speed, table setters and sluggers, and patient and aggressive approaches. It's not impossible that all their could fit in somewhere as well, but not likely. As one or more could bring back the pitching needed to win championships.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Eventually you could be right but I don't see anyone of that get group being traded anytime soon. There's also been a lot of talk lately, especially after his limited play in the AFL this year, that Russell projects more as a 3B than SS. If that's the case those three will coexist quite nicely provided Baez improves. It also allows Kris Bryant to move to LF sooner rather than later. Wouldn't shock me to see exactly that by August 2015.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Cubs will need more than Rizzo' s left hand bat to balance that lineup.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree with that, eventually. The 2015 Cubs, like or not, are going to be young and flawed. To me it's the nature of the beast in a transition year. They want to see how these guys perform in the show. Then maybe you get that left handed bat next year. That's why Schwarber is so valuable although he may ultimately be a LF too. The thing is right now right handed power is more valuable than left handed power. The Cubs could have plenty of the former which will help them get the latter.

  • Remember not too long ago when everybody couldn't wait to spend Toms money on Lester and Scherzer?

    What happened? We still waiting until next year?

    I want proven MLB players. Give me Justin Upton in a heartbeat. You can have Almora and McKinney.

    I won't mention how much I hate lineups that look like my franchise on the Show with all Cubs prospects with potential....

  • In reply to CC309:

    no thanks on either Upton.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Nobody wants BJ, but whats wrong with Justin?

    Am I missing something or is he not 27 and going to hit 30+ bombs and 100 rbi?

  • In reply to CC309:

    You are not missing anything. Justin is a very good player. The Cubs would be lucky to have him. I just don't think they could get him without giving up any of the big four prospects. And since all 4 are ready to break into the lineup this year and are not long term projections on guys from A ball, I think it is more prudent to wait and see how they look this season.

  • In reply to CC309:

    If he is going to do that, then why don't the Braves want to keep him?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    $$$$$$$$$

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I think Justin would destroy Wrigley

  • In reply to CC309:

    In 2015 you want guys like Upton? What does that do for you exactly? Kris Bryant projects as better than Upton offensively and so does Jorge Soler for that matter and they are 4 and 3 years younger respectively. Give me the kids and let them grow in 2015 so that the team knows what it has going into 2016 when they're expected to contend. If some don't work they have plenty assets to work with to get guys that do.

    Also not sure where you're coming from on Lester. Last I looked the Cubs were still squarely in that hunt and I never heard any talk about Scherzer coming to Chicago.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It was a poke at people who now want to wait until next years FA crop.

    I like Bryant also, but he has yet to taken a MLB AB.

    I'm not saying trade him, but you're crazy if you wouldn't want Justin Upton

  • In reply to CC309:

    call me crazy

  • In reply to CC309:

    Next year's FA class is better and the Cubs young position players will be further along in their development. Next year looks to be the better investment at this point.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    And unless his name is Porcello any SP you will want the Cubs to sign will be 30 or over by the time he takes the mound as a Cub.

    All those names are not promised to be FA or even have good years.

    It's why you strike when available

  • In reply to CC309:

    Sorry. I don't agree. Especially when it concerns SPs. If you sign a SP this season and the bats take a couple of years to mature then you are talking about a rotation built around an expensive 33 year old that is on the downside of his career and or may be injured when the team is ready to compete. If you wait until next offseason or even the year after, then you have a 31-32 SP that has a better chance of being healthy and good.

    Pitching is not difficult to find these days. There has been at least one TOR starter available every offseason and during the season over the last few years and that trend appears to be continuing into the future. Wait to spend big on a pitcher as long as you can or simply trade for one at the deadline during the season the team takes a significant step further. You don't need a TOR starter to get to the playoffs, but it helps to win the playoffs, so I would prefer to get one as late as possible.

  • In reply to CC309:

    Not on this team I don't. He's a good player but he's not a great one. He had a two really great seasons and a bunch of solid ones and if you're a position player or two away he'd be a great acquisition but that's not where the Cubs are right now.

  • In reply to CC309:

    Why is Justin always on the trading block?

  • In reply to CC309:

    Some of us were not on that bandwagon.

    I want the FO to spend money. I just want them to do it relatively wisely. I believe that time is still a year away, give or take a half a season. I have long been of the belief you wait to acquire top starting pitching when the rest of your team is ready, not before.

    If Atlanta would accept a deal like that, I wouldn't be against it, but I bet they could get more MLB ready players from other teams.

    Lineups that include Baez, Soler, Bryant, Alcantara are not far flung fantasies. Those guys are ready to take playing time next year. They have all proven what they needed to in the minors. The team needs to find out if they can play in the majors and the only way to do that is to give them jobs and let them succeed or fail. The last 3 seasons have been building to this very point, why would they want to short circuit those plans now?

  • Keep your figures crossed frontrunner quotes coming in....

    All along, rival executives have predicted the Cubs as frontrunners. Still, Boston has been deeply involved, and the Giants have a pile of money laying around, after losing Pablo Sandoval to Boston. The Braves are longshots.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/jon-lester-sign-week-blog-entry-1.2028843

    Buster Olney ✔ @Buster_ESPN

    Only a guess, but at this moment -- and offers change -- I'd handicap the race for Lester this way: 1. Cubs 2. Red Sox 3. Others.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I tend to agree. I said it elsewhere but I think today eliminates one of the teams and it could be SF unless they're looking to be the big money spenders. I have a hard time believing that a team that has won 3 World Series in 5 seasons wants to play that role. It makes more sense for them to pick up a mid tier guy and then get a rental at the deadline and there look to be a bunch of those this year. I think it comes down to Boston and Chicago. If the money is close, say Boston is $7 or $8 mil lower than the cubs over the 6 years I think he's a Red Sox. If not I think he's a Cub. Boston also has more options than Lester in the trade market so I don't have a good sense how high they'll go.

  • When ever I have someone say something like "well not every player makes it." I think of the Montreal Expos. Its not an exact analogy but its the first thing to pop into my head.

    http://mlbreports.com/2012/06/22/expos/
    http://mlbreports.com/2012/06/27/expopitchers/

  • "This compares to a team like the Tigers who are built to win now and will likely be pretty bad in 3-4 years."

    Man I hope we compare to the Cardinals who are always built to win now, and will likely be pretty GOOD in 3-4 years.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Here is to hoping Shelby Miller becomes a stud and Jason Heyward walks in free agency ...

    Also, here is to hoping Theo and co. prevent the Cardinals from making some of their trades (which they seem to almost ALWAYS win, aside from maybe Mark Mulder) by making the trade first!

  • In reply to nukee:

    agreed

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