Report: Cubs acquire Miguel Montero for 2 Class A pitchers

UPDATE: 6:44 PM: Carrie Muskat refutes the Passan rumor and tweets that Theo Epstein and the  Cubs are excited about a Miguel Montero/Welington Castillo platoon.  I am good with that, but also   possible he just doesn't want to lose leverage or alienate Castillo until a trade actually happens. If it happens.

UPDATE 4:00 PM:  The Cubs are indeed pursuing David Ross, per Gordon Edes, "Cubs have meeting planned with David Ross’s agent tonight. Ross still in mix for Boston as well"

UPDATE: The Cubs will look to trade Welington Castillo now that Montero is in the fold, per Jeff Passan.  They already had contacted suitors about the possibility when they pursued Martin. The Cubs are said to be working on trades and Castillo is an obvious trade chip, perhaps to use as to get that big bat if they sign Lester.  I would presume also that if they do sign Lester, then they will add David Ross to platoon with Montero and/or be Lester's caddy.

So here is how it works in my book: Get Montero, trade Castillo, sign Ross, sign Lester, and then use Castillo to get that bat that we were promised.  Fingers crossed!

The Cubs acquired veteran catcher Miguel Montero in exchange for two pitching prospects per Arizona Sports.

The Cubs will take on the entire $40M in salary in exchange for being able to keep their better prospects.  We will  have an instant scouting report when the names become available.

As you well know by now, I've been on the Montero train for awhile now.  He is a great fit for what the Cubs need in that he hits LH, has a good approach at the plate, and provides much needed experience to a young team.

Montero would give the Cubs a much needed boost defensively.  While Castillo is excellent at blocking pitches and does a solid job of controlling the running game, he falls short in areas such as pitch calling, pitch framing, and general receiving skills.  Those just happen to be Montero's strengths on defense.

It is unclear what the Cubs will do with Welington Castillo.  One option is to platoon the two and have Montero serve as a mentor.  Castillo hit LH pitching very well, something Montero has not done well of late.  The two of them combined would make a strong offensive player, as I wrote back in September,

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.

Montero is also known as a team leader and good clubhouse guy, so he fills in that need for the Cubs as well.

Read more on Miguel Montero in this great piece from Fangraphs.

It is also possible that the Cubs would trade Castillo since he may not provide as great pf value for them as a short side of a platoon as he could get in return on a trade.  That is just speculation on my part, however.  If it were up to me, I'd keep them both but that would depend on the quality of offers, of course.

Of course, another question that may come up is how this affects their pursuit of Jon Lester.  In some respects it helps because of Montero's experience, framing, receiving and game management skills.  He is also the kind of no nonsense personality that Lester likes.  Montero will give it to him straight, which is what Lester prefers.  The Cubs could still look to add David Ross as a platoon partner if they do move Castillo.

UPDATE:  One of the arms the Cubs traded is Jefferson Mejia, who was one of my favorite high ceiling, high risk pitching prospects.  Hes a lottery ticket.  At 6'7" with good athleticism, a 97 mph FB and a promising curve he has some promise.  Could come up big if he develops a change and command but if not, the likely outcome is a power arm out if the pen.  A late start hurts him a bit too.  You can read more about Mejia on my top prospects list, where I ranked him 18th.

UPDATE #2:  The second pitcher is Zach Godley, the closer for Kane County and Daytona last year.  Godley was a surprise, getting drafted in the 9th round as well below slot sign.  Unlike Mejia, he is purely a relief prospect.  He features a 92-93 mph FB and a hard slider.  Projects as a 7th inning type bullpen arm.

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  • Isn't Lopez a Lefty too?

    Just ask as IF the Cubs decide to move Castillo - and personally I don't necessarily want to see that - wouldn't that imply that unless Lopez is a good complement offensively to Montero, that the Cubs would need to go and find a Right Handed complement to Montero if Castillo is moved?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    There numbers together as a platoon are excellent, I hope they keep them together.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That's a lot of money for a platoon catcher

  • In reply to HeavyIndica:

    The Cubs can afford it.

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    In reply to HeavyIndica:

    who cares? Their payroll is like 50 Million right now, and Castillo is virtually free.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Just cause the Cubs have the cash to do it is not a good reason. Not saying I don't think they should platoon, but the reasoning is faulty imo.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    How about this from the Fangraphs article...

    Between the two, you have a lefty-masher who controls the running game as well as anyone (Castilo), and you’ve also got an elite pitch-framer who can hit righties (Montero). That’s an attractive combination not only for the Cubs lineup, but for a free agent pitcher considering coming to the Cubs.

    Could be the move before the move to bring Lester.

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    I wasn't saying because the have the space to just spend like it's going out of style,

    I just mean that they wanted an upgrade at the position, and after negotiations for Martin became wholly unreasonable, he was the best player that could be attained for a decent (prospect) price.
    The 13MM a year, in all reality, is not an unusual price in today's game.

    Hell, that's basically what Miller and Robertson just got and relief pitchers have easily the lowest dollar value in the game.

    And the fact that it's only three years is a strong plus, in my opinion.
    Most people assume that you're going to eat the last year of a free agent contract anyway, but here the last year is his age 33 year which isn't at all unreasonable.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Think of Castillo as the back up catcher who gets paid$1M/yr. that's probably what they would pay Ross. He might play 40-50 games against lefties and would be a much better pinch hitter than Ross. He also could step in as #1 if Montero's scuffles and be the same catcher the cubs had before Montero was acquired and I believe that was a little better than replacement value.

    The big risk in my opinion is whether Montero is worth $13M/yr.

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    In reply to stix:

    strong agree

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Cubs sign Jon Lester. 6 years, $155 million.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Keep both unless a super trade come Wily is loved in Chicago. Just a friendly guy in the club house

  • Damn! I really like Mejia!

    John Gambadoro ‏@Gambo987 3 minutes ago
    One of the pitchers the Dbacks are getting from Chicago is Jefferson Mejia 6-7 righty who is 19 years old.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Same here. Takes almost all the fun out of getting Montero for me. No pain, no gain, I guess.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Damn...
    Thats one of the guys I didnt want to give up. I think he made a top 20 list? But like Thin Blue Line said... No Pain, No gain.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Huge bummer indeed. I figured with taking on the cash, we wouldn't have to give up anyone I had my eye on. Still though, I hope this works out.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Darn. one of our biggest boom/bust arms. Wish we could have gotten rid of someone else. At least we kept the Kane Co kids together, except for Godley.

  • I don't like it at all.

    Point me in the direction of all the threads and articles on how bad Wellington Castillo is at pitch framing before the Martin talk. I can't seem to find them.

    Kinda have to trade Welly now don't you? He can't feel wanted at this point.

    And does Montero hit LH's or not? You said he did early in the article then switched to no he doesn't?

  • In reply to HeavyIndica:

    You absolutely don't have to trade Welly. He is young, cheap and hits LHP really well. Could be a really nice platoon.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Awful lot of money for a platoon catcher.

    If Montero was on the market today he wouldn't fetch that contract.

    At least it's 3 years and the Cubs have the money. I would've rather hoped for a Welly bounce back season.

    Now lets get an OF bat

  • In reply to HeavyIndica:

    Read the fangraphs article linked above Re: Framing. Just the animated gifs point this out. Google "catcher framing stats". Montero was the best in 2014 & Castillo was 2nd worst. An upgrade was needed. Always a huge factor when a catcher can turn a 2-1 count into 1-2.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    how much is a pitch framer worth? I thought I read somewhere that a top pitch framer is worth 2.5 strikes a game. How do you translate that into less runners or runs allowed?

    I'll take the $13M and give Welly intensive training too get those 2-3 extra strikes and probably have $12M left. I think framing is a good trait but I thought I read Montero is awful at blocking pitches and throwing runners out. Now we're trying to quibble over which is better. Maybe when the cubs pitchers aren't bouncing the ball in the dirt with no runners on Montero is a benefit but when the pitchers bury the ball in the dirt with runner(s) on Montero is not as good as Castillo.

  • In reply to stix:

    I dont know, but I know Francisco Liriano and Edison Volquez suddenly became better control pitchers when Russell Martin became there catcher. Id bet Martin would get 10-12 close pitches per game for them, especially Liriano.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I think travis wood will have a much better year next year. He seemed to get a small strike zone in 2014.

  • In reply to HeavyIndica:

    If you can't find them, you're simply not looking...

    http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/04/10/early-data-on-pitch-framing-cubs-are-worst-in-baseball/

    http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/03/31/is-pitch-framing-going-to-bite-the-cubs-this-year-and-other-bullets/

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23176

    just a few that took a 3 second google search to come up with.

  • Not a fan of letting Jeferson Mejia go.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Agreed - but you usually have to give something up to get something of (perceived) quality back.

    I guess I would rather see Mejia go than Underwood or Blackburn,... but wanna bet Mejia has a good start to a career out in AZ?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Not sure how much quality you're getting back for a 31 yr old platoon catcher with below average actual defense (blocking pitches, etc) who is making $40M+ over the next three years. I'd hate to see what the hell AZ was asking for if the Cubs didn't pick up the whole tab.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    One fringe top 20, 19 year old, A ball pitcher with upside, and another reliever fringe prospect is not exactly a haul. Mejia could very well end up a middle reliever 4-5 years from now, or never make it at all due to injury or other reasons.

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    Was Montero the catcher the Cubs needed to land before Lester would agree to sign with the Cubs?

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    In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    No, Ross is Lester's catcher. If the Cubs sign Lester, they'll trade Castillo, then sign Ross.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Forget Ross, Montero is an elite pitch framer...that is the lure for Lester.

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    In reply to Ray:

    You're insane.

    Why would they do that, it makes NO sense.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I wanted them to keep both too, but if they are trading Castilo to acquire another piece, and if they can get more value out of him in trade than uing him on the short side of a platoon, then it does makes sense to consider Ross who is righty, and could be a cheap veteran (that Lester really likes to throw to) to take that role and play 30-40 games or so. Remember that Schwarber could very well be up in 2017 (maybe even 2016?) so a short term veteran makes some sense with Montero signed for 3 years.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I find it tough to believe we could get anything real for Castillo alone.

    Shark only netted Marcus Semien.
    Josh Donaldson didn't net anything impressive.
    Neither did Hellickson.

    And Ross is 38, so how long can we expect Lester to enjoy that partnership?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Cubs are meeting with Ross tonight.

    Surely aren't keeping 3 catchers.

    Ray had it right

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    In reply to Ray:

    I agree with Ray. Ross can be the short side of the platoon and catch Lester's games if that's who Lester is comfortable with. He and Montero make a great tandem back there.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yep, with Castilo projected to make 2.3 Million in arbitration this year, and only about 30-40 games available on the short side of the platoon, Ross does make sense MOSTLY because Lester wants him, and I want the Cubs to get Lester.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    And your alternative to catch if Montero continues his decline from his good years or even turns out to be "lousy" you have Ross and Lopez?

    Unless they can get an outfielder (I guess RH) that fits the cubs needs, I don't think they should trade Castillo. He may be an expensive backup for 40-50 games but he is a qualified catcher and would give them a much better PH than they've had the last few years from the back up catchers the last 2-3 years. If Montero doesn't struggle and works out in 2015 then trade Castillo in 2016 or at the trade deadline in 2015.

  • In reply to stix:

    I would rather keep Castillo too, but since the BoSox and Cubs are both in on Ross, I kind of figure it's a package deal, i.e. we only get Ross if we are getting Lester, in which case I'm fine with it, as we are talking about the backup catcher position, and it helps get us a top starting pitcher. If they miss out on Lester and he goes to the Red Sox, Ross likely goes with him as well. So if the choices are Lester and Montero with Ross backing him up for 40 games or No Lester and Montero with Castilo backing him up, I choose the first option.

  • Yeah, if we are taking full salary, I assumed there would be little prospect damage. Meija might be a long way off, but man that upside.

  • In reply to El Dragon:

    Yep, I was thinking along the same lines. I wouldn't have thought we would have to give up someone with that type of upside if we were taking on the full salary. I like the acquisition but am surprised Mejia was a part of it so that tempers my enthusiasm a bit.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Same here, I'm fine with getting Montero but hate that the Cubs gave up Mejia.

  • Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi 26 seconds ago
    Big Jon Lester development: @JohnSheaHey reports #SFGiants AGM Bobby Evans indicates #Cubs or #RedSox closer to signing Lester than Giants.

  • Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale 45 seconds ago
    Bobby Evans, assistant #SFGiants GM, says they are in backseat of Lester sweepstakes but not driving the car.

    Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick 1 minute ago
    "We're staying in it, but I'm not sure how strongly we're in consideration given the other options,'' Evans said. #SFGiants

  • Zack Godley is the 2nd guy, 24 year old reliever in A+ ball (25 this coming season)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Cubs 10th round pick in 2013 Draft from University of Tennessee

  • Second pitcher better be a nobody. They're taking on ALL of that contract, for crying out loud.

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    I liked Meija, but he's a million years away and the bust rate for pitchers of his age is crazy high.

    All things being equal, not a big deal.

  • Maybe the second pitcher will be Edwin Jackson, I mean he did pitch like an A ball player last year...

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    That's an insult to all A ball players.

  • Godley is better, I can live with trading an A-ball reliever. Just disappointed about Mejia, but I guess it was either him or Torrez. Mejia has the higher ceiling, but Torrez the higher floor. Meh?

  • Ouch! I really liked Mejia. Do Montero's pitch-framing and game management skills out weigh his liability on the pitches in the dirt he is not so good at? Castillo's strength was the balls in the dirt, but they can't both play at the same time. Considering Montero is the left hander, this seems like a replacement to me. I just don't really know enough to decide if Montero is the better overall catcher. Is he?

  • 3:01 PM
    Jerry Crasnick
    "I feel we're probably in the backseat of this deal,'' Evans said. "I think there are some other guys that are driving it.''
    3:00 PM
    Jerry Crasnick
    #SFGiants assistant GM Bobby Evans just talked to reporters about the team's pursuit of Jon Lester.
    So this is purely FWIW so please dont shoot messenger!..

    2:58 PM

  • Meija. Ouch. You gotta give up something to get something. I actually like this from a sensible-cost standpoint compared to Martin. This is a good move by Theo and Jed. Glad to see that we didn't give up Underwood as I'm impressed by him. What are your thoughts, John, about giving up Meija instead of Blackburn or Tseng? I know they were ranked higher than Meija on your list but in the scope of this move would you have tried to move either of those guys rather than Meija?

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    Good pick up for the Cubs. They give up nothing. For a good catcher. They haven't had a good catcher since Joe giardi . Castillo is good but that's it. Everyone knows Soto was awful aside from his rookie fluke year. He'll sign with a team on a minor league deal , become a journymen and be an emergency catcher at best . then become their bullpen catcher.

  • Good trade for the A's the Soxs will not give Jeff what he thinks
    he is worth

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    It might be down to the Cubs and Red Sox for Lester.

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    Is it safe to assume that Montero is fluent in Spanish?

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    Considering he went to High School in Venezuela, I would say that's a pretty safe assumption. ;-)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I didn't know that. That's why I asked. No need to be a smart a$$

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    I wasn't, I was just letting you know that he went to HS in VE, as I have never actually heard him speak spanish, so it is an assumption, I was being nice and answering your question. I even added the damn smiley face to make sure you realized that. You need to relax.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Don't tell me to relax. I'm not your wife.

    Now that was funny! Lol

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    :-)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    ;-)

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    You two need to get a room. Dam it. Can't find my have a nice day type yellow smiley face.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Plus it was a winky smiley face, which is even nicer.

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    Ha! ;-)

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    Does someone need a hug? :-)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Yes, but he flunked Spanish.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Ha!

  • Per Carrie Muskat it sounds like the Cubs plan is indeed that Montero and Castilo compliment each other.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Makes sense - Wely is a nice player and hopefully, he can learn some things from Montero. 60/40 Montero/Wely PT split?

  • In reply to JasonB:

    Guess I was wrong (if Passan's sources are right)...

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan

    Sources: Now that Miguel Montero is dealt, the next move for Chicago is to trade Welington Castillo. Had explored deals during Martin chase.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    As I mentioned earlier, what you said makes no sense at all! :)

    Looks like the FO put a plan in place a long time ago and that plan didnt include Wely.

    Also wondering out loud if teams with good framers are now using that as part of their pitch to lure FA pitchers?

  • In reply to JasonB:

    LOL

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Trading Castillo in the Martin context made sense as they are both right handed hitters. Montero is a lefty and a lefty/righty platoon with Montero makes more sense than the other catcher they pursued (Martin).

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    In reply to stix:

    agreed! What is Passan smoking? Also, what is Passan's source?

  • In reply to stix:

    Good point.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Montero: "Hey Beef, I really like your ability to block balls in the dirt and throw base stealers out. Plus you really hit lefties well."

    Castillo: "Thanks for the compliment Miggy. I really like your pitch framing skills and ability to hit righties."

    Montero: "Thanks for the compliment. You know what? I think we complement each other quite well."

    Castillo: "Me too. Too bad I just got told to pack my bags."

  • In reply to TheThinBlueLine:

    LOL! I hope that's not the case, and they keep both Montero & Castillo...sounds like Muskat and Theo have said the same thing too...hopefully Passan was wrong.

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    We Gave up Jeferson Mejia and are going to pay a guy 40 million That had a 0.7 WAR last year and projects to be a platoon catcher.. Not a fan of the Move at All... Didn't we just hire Hank White to teach WC the finer points of the game.

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    I guess Hank's gonna teach Montero the finer points of blocking pitches now and how to speak Spanish when he has time:-)

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    Blanco coached Montero in AZ last year, and Montero had his best pitch-framing year...coincidence? This is a good move....

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    Unfortunately, it's not as simple as teaching it. The learner may still not be able to execute. A team's catcher is different than and other position player as far as the intangibles of pitch calling, framing, executing and adapting game plans, and communicated with pitches. Catchers offense is secondary. The Cubs correctly identified their need for an upgrade. I hate to lose Mejia, but the organization could have lost more.

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    I hate giving up prospects as much as anyone and think highly of Mejia and his promise but his value is pretty minimal right now.

    Acquiring Montero may improve the team but likely never makes us a contender without other trades. Not sure I like it from the rationale that a non-contending team should never make a trade of prospects that doesn't either make them a contender or bring back other prospects. But I find it very difficult to get too upset about this deal because it should improve the Cubs next year and likely does little harm to the future.

  • Kinda bummed about the Mejia trade. Was one of the few in our system that had frontline upside. Really like him. Excited about the potential platoon though with Castillo and Montero. At least I'm happy we got a good player back and the Cubs are headed in the right direction. Ready for this Lester signing to just be over with haha. Praying he comes to the Cubs.

  • fb_avatar

    Look up Montero's numbers in Baseball ref... hes a very expensive poor hitting catcher. under .700 OPS the last 2 years

  • In reply to Barry Bij:

    Not against righthanded pitching.

  • Great deal! Mieja? Who knows. Maybe a future closer.

    Montero just tweeted goodbye to AZ then hello to Cubs fans. It is real!

  • And now Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that the Cubs WILL shop Castillo.

  • The Rockies make a ton of sense for Welly. They are shopping Wilin Rosario to an AL team because he fits better as a DH.

  • In reply to TD40:

    My thoughts exactly. Let the CarGo rumors begin!

  • Have any of you that are worried about giving up Mejia ever actually seen him pitch?

    Giving up a rookie league guy (even if he has a good upside) and a potential middle reliever in A ball to get a starting catcher with three years of team control is a great deal. Pitching prospects that are that far away from the majors can have so many things go wrong to knock them off track. Even if Mejia becomes a MOR starter this would still be a good deal. Unless he actually becomes an ace, no one is even going to care 5 years from now.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I saw video of him just after he was signed. On the flip side, I haven't seen any video of Russell. So going on that I should think he's worthless?

  • After Lester finally signs I hope other deals happen quickly

  • fb_avatar

    So we're going to trade a good catcher to clear room for an awful 38 year-old? What?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    If the Cubs expect Montero to play 120 games or so, all they really need is a solid veteran to play the other 30-40 games against left handers. Ross's career splits vs LHP's: .244/.325/.446 = .770 OPS

    Not too shabby for a guy you only expect to handle the short side of the platoon, add veteran presence to the clubhouse, and help lure Lester to the Cubs. He is likely to take a 1-2 year deal for cheap and hopefully Schwarber will be here in 2017 (maybe 2016).

    I guess it depends on what the Cubs are getting back for Castilo, I certainly hope they don't trade him just to acquire Ross, but if they can get much more value in trade for him than using him as the short side of a platoon for the next 3 years than it makes sense from the Cubs perspective, in my opiion.

  • I was afraid that Tseng or Underwood would be traded. Not crazy about losing Mejia, but much better him than either of the other two.

    We have said many times that one major purpose of a deep farm system is to make trades to bring in other pieces. Much better to trade the Mejias that the Russells or Baezs.

  • Montero really only makes sense for the Cubs when coupled with Castillo, so I think Welly stays. However, the Cubs still need to see what they can get for him...

    Passan has the Cubs shopping Welly: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/542432391562670080

    There are always plenty of righty backup catchers. Maybe they trade Welly for a nice bat and bring back Geo?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bzalisko:

    Lol geo Soto is awful. Very bad idea.

  • The Cubs should be able to offer a better deal to the Dodgers than the Padres. How about Castillo, Ott, and Travis Wood for Matt Kemp?
    Samardija probably warned Lester that the Cubs have trouble scoring runs. Lester could be waiting for the Cubs to acquire a slugger before signing a contract with them.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Make no sense. 1st of all, the Dodgers would never take that deal. 2nd of all, the Cubs have plenty of right handed power bats. They don't need another one and the high salary along with it.

  • In reply to TD40:

    Not sure where you see right handed power bats. Among right handed hitters on the Cubs roster, Ruggiano is the only player with more than 30 career home runs.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Baez Bryant Soler

  • In reply to TD40:

    I'm excited about those guys and other young players in the Cubs farm system. But I think veteran free agent pitchers want to see a few more guys on the roster who have achievements at the big league level. I've never competed in professional sports, but I know even in high school as an upper classman, it was difficult to get too excited about incoming freshman. Gaining experience, confidence and maturity at highest levels of competition takes time for most athletes.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Ok I get what you are saying. But who cannot be excited about Kris Bryant?

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    I would think Castro has more than 30 homers.

  • In reply to couch:

    You are correct....my mistake.

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    In reply to Rosemary:

    If they were to take that, I would love that deal. Unfortunately, it seems as though the Dodgers would rather trade Andre Either than Matt Kemp. Maybe a little more could sweeten the deal. Who knows...

  • In reply to Bobby1005:

    is Kemp a starter for the cubs? I would guess he would have to be given his salary. He wants to play CF if they put him in left, he'll pout. Don't need that for the cost. Is everyone happy with Kemp playing CF.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Kemps attitude stinks., Wants to play CF when defense metrics say he cant cut it there anymore. If theres anyone from the LAD for those 3, frankly id rather ask for Van Slyke.

  • Lots of differing opinions here so I will add mine. I love this trade, sure Mejia sounds like a nice upside pitcher, but Montero and Castillo are flip sides of the coin. What is ones strength is the others weakness. Maddon will have lots of fun with match-ups on this. I think this will work out fine.

    Now One more Please Please Please - Lester

  • I guess it's a good trade, but they only complement each other in the sense that on hits L and one hits R. When Montero plays we will have the weakness of not blocking pitches in the dirt very well and when Castillo plays we get dinged on the pitch framing skills. Not sure we have upgraded anything but the hitting considering that trade-off. I hated losing that lottery ticket TOR possibility. I'll wait 'till I see Montero in action to decide what I think.

  • Montero's strength is pitch framing. That should definetly help attract free agent starters.

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    I've been crunching numbers a lot and figure you'd get about a .275/.358/.445/.803 player out of the Catcher position if it was straight platoon with Castillo and Montero. My preference would be to keep them both, and that player seems like they'd be worth about $13 million.

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    ask ourselves, what did our backup catc hers hit last yr? .180 or some similair horrib le BA? Montero has to be an improvement on that, tho Id prefer to keep Beef as a platoon partner.

  • All this new news makes me think Lester is coming to the Cubs

  • If Ross signs here, Lester will too. Can't see us going to him with an offer unless we know Lester is in.

  • In reply to El Dragon:

    That's what I thought at first, by Ross may be a good option either way. He won't cost much, but he has got good platoon splits. I think it depends more on what we can get for Welly than on whether or not Lester is a Cub.

  • I'm kinda curious what Castillo, Valbuena, and Wood can bring as a package, or if we are better off potentially dealing them out separately (or, potentially, not at all)

  • In reply to El Dragon:

    Wood doesn't have a ton of value right now. He is basically a one year rental coming off a bad year. He still has an additional year of arbitration but he would be a serious non-tender candidate next year unless he rebounds.

    Castillo and Valbuena are both low to mid tier starting caliber players with multiple years of well priced team control. If there was a team that needed both and had a cost controlled mid tier starting OF, that would be a reasonable return. They could also bring back a MOR starting pitcher or a MOR starting pitching prospect with a reliever or platoon piece coming back as well.

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    I think the plan here is get montero because he is a tad better than Wellington on offense with better pitch framing. The cost of prospects was low to acquire Montero, where as Welly's youth, 3 year cost control, and low salary make him a greater asset on the trade market than Montero, meaning that the Cubs should hypothetically get better prospects in return for Welly. It would also bridge the gap to Schwarber much easier because Montero is a veteran all star who should be declining while Schwarber is rising. Not to mention that it gives the Cubs the opportunity to get David Ross. Hopefully they could swing a deal before Ross were to sign so Welly isn't seen around the league as stockpile, which would essentially bring down the FO's leverage in a trade. Great move IMO.

  • Maddon on MLB Network now
    I missed most of it...still on

  • I wonder whether this deal, and the willingness to go further and deal Castillo, is a bit of a vote of confidence in the catching prospects? I realize that the Cubs, 3 years down the road, might be able to deal for a catcher again, but this FO seems to plan things out a bit more carefully than that.

  • I know Montero and Castillo grade out differently in terms of framing, but the age disparity between the catcher being acquired and the catcher being moved makes me think Schwarber is coming faster than anticipated.

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    In reply to JimmyLeeMcMath:

    I don't think anyone is 100% counting on Schwarber though as a catcher. This coming season is huge for him; we'll find out if he's a catcher or not. He just has to be so-so to make it, because everyone thinks he's going to hit

  • Just saw the update on Ross. Wow. For some reason I just didn't think they were giving up on Castillo as a fit with the team. Smells like Ross is a Lester play. Maybe they told Lester he could have Ross if he came.

  • I'm trying not to jump the gun and start squealing, but with Montero acquired, reports of Ross tonight, and now this....

    Multiple industry insiders tell @OverTheMonster they expect Jon Lester to sign with the #Cubs. http://sbnation.com/e/7126426

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Excellent!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    well , the Gints GM did say they were in the "back seat". Lets hope they stay there.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    unfortunately, we were led to believe the same with Martin. Until the ink is on the contract, I'll hold my breath. Until then, I'll take it as agents driving up the price...

  • Cubs obviously valuing defense at the catcher position more than offense if they acquire both Ross and Montero.

    Can't say I blame them.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    yeah, if we're relying on the catcher in the 8 hole to provide offense, something has gone terribly wrong with the prospects...

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Beyond this year I would say that would be true. But for 2015, there is a good chance there is still going to be a learning curve at the plate for the youngsters. Montero can help offset some of that (against RHP anyway) to some extent. The Cubs aren't giving Montero 13M a year to only play defense, he has to contribute something with the bat. Defense is the priority, but if it was the only concern, they could just sign Ross to be a starter

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Well I mean, I hope they're counting on offense from the catcher after this next year or 2016 (or whenever Schwarber comes up). But yeah, 2015 is probably be a bit of a transition, offensively.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Wellly has his strengths though; he does a good job preventing passed balls, and blocks well. He covers alot of ground for a catcher in foul territory, and of course, does an excellent job controlling the running game.

    FO must buy into pitch framing, because that's where the Montero/Welly difference is huge

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I would prefer to keep Castillo as a backup over Ross, but if they feel they can get a decent return for Wely then I have no issue with it. Over 40 games the difference between Castillo and Ross is negligible.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm sure they do, but I'm also sure Maddon/Martinez have a lot to do with it. Don't forget, TB was running out a 40 year old Jose Molina, seemingly for no other reason than his pitch framing and calling.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I'm good with that. As long as they don't want to run out Robinson Chirinos. He's a base stealers best friend.

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    In reply to Milk Stout:

    Chirinos is improved....nailed 40% of runners last year. That's pretty good.

  • So are we thinking that Castillo is traded to the team that we get the big bat from, or traded for pieces that are then flipped to the team with the big bat? If it is the former, that would seem to narrow the possibilities down. How many teams can need/want a starting catcher, yet possess a big bat they're willing to trade?

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Rockies ?? Cargo for Wellie & Wood and filler ??

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Wood probably doesn't appeal to them. He would get killed at Coors.

    Valbuena would be a nice 2B for them though. And they do need a catcher. Valbuena, Castillo and a pitching prospect or two makes some sense. I don't think they would have to give up top 5 prospect but a semi decent prospect would have to go I think. But that would be fine with me.

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    In reply to SouthsideB:

    Interesting idea. Car-Go is owed $53 mil for 3 years, and has had injury issues, so I don't feel we would need to send tons of value to the Rockies. Probably more than Castillo though, as you say. They can then deal Rosario to the AL for pitching.

    If I am the Rockies, I would ask about Hendricks; Cubs have some back-end starter depth, and Kyle keeps the ball down.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Why would the Rockies want Welington? What happened to Rosario? He's just now entering arb years and I thought he was supposed to be pretty decent.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    ok. just read that the Rockies are trying to flip Rosario to an AL team. makes more sense.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Welly for Longoria... straight up... :o)

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Rays need catcher and we need a Veteran OBP guy… Zobrist isn't a big bat, but I think he would be a good fit, especially with the power already on the team.

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    In reply to Zilla:

    That's an idea that might work for both parties. Tampa would save about $5 mil this year, and also get a controlled catcher for 3 years. Cubs would get Zobrist for 1 year, $7.5 mil, uniting him and Maddon. I almost feel we would need a prospect to even that out, but nothing big....

    I am irritating and poke alot of holes in trade scenario ideas, but this one has merit all around

  • In reply to Zonk:

    problem is Rays think they can still compete for the playoffs.. they arent gonna give up zobrist

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    to be fair, the Rays try to compete much like the A's.

    Zobrist will be a FA after the season and isn't young enough for them to extend.
    Just because the want to compete doesn't mean they aren't willing to take an opportune trade.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    zobrist is a huge piece of their potential playoff puzzle.. he wont be easy to get..

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    A month ago I would've agreed with you but Donaldson and Shark were both just traded for really nothing significant.

    Zobrist is older than both of them as well.

    I guess the out of season trade market really just has that much less oomph than the deadline.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    W/ a new GM in place, I don't think they'll want to second guessed on their "winning" of the trade and the prior regime set the bar pretty high. Still, they can only get what the market will bear so I guess we'll soon find out (maybe).

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    It's true they need to get better at ML level in the trade. I think Welly helps them do that, because he's a big upgrade over Jose Molina (and the only other decent catcher they have is 34-year old Ryan Hanigan).

    They can also slot Nick Franklin into Zobrist's spot. He's not as good, but the downgrade of Zobrist to Franklin is less than the Welly upgrade

    It makes the Rays better, AND they can spend that $5 mil savings on a UT guy if they need to backup Franklin

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Pretty sure they DFA'd Molina, so it would seem they definitely have a need...

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Trading one year of Zobrist for a starting catcher would not be giving him up.

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Plus, if not Zobrist, Rays have a spare OF. Matt Joyce is reportedly available, as they have Jennings, Keirmaier, Wil Myers, DeJesus, and even Brandon Guyer out there already.

    Matt Joyce bats left-handed and gets on base....just saying

  • In reply to Zilla:

    wouldn't be a bad idea. but I'm kind of stuck on the big bat thing, so that's what i'm dreaming of.

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    In reply to cubbie steve:

    Any names thrown out there? Finding it hard to honestly think of any. Trade or fa?

  • In reply to Ryan Mulcahy:

    It is hard to know who is willing to trade, and who they're willing to trade. And I'd like to know if the Cubs are narrowed in on a LF/CF bat or if it could be 2B or 3B. Don't know if they have those boundaries or not.

    All I've really looked at so far are the two outfield positions mentioned above. And all I really saw was CarGo (LHH), Alex Gordon (LHH), Michael Brantley (LHH), and Carlos Gomez (who bats RH). I think we can rule out guys like McCutcheon, Trout, Upton (no trade w/ Cubs on it, bats RH) and Gattis . I also don't see any of the Dodgers' outfielders. I'm also not big on these 30 and over CF with injury histories. I don't think of "big bat" there either. Maybe a trade for Beltre (bats RH) if they really want to push Bryant to the LF. I've heard others suggest Longoria (bats RH) or Zobrist (switch), the latter of which is not what I think of when I read "big bat." You have some power possibilities (Trumbo, etc), but it seems like the Cubs are wanting more contact, LHH, and obp.

    I suppose Melky Cabrera (bats switch, good obp) as a FA if they don't mind giving up a 3rd rd pick for him. From what I see, our boy Bonifacio and Rasmus are the only available FA CF. And I don't see any significant FA 2B/3B.

    Not a big bat, but I wouldn't mind Ichiro as a 4th or 5th OF.

    In the end, after looking at the #s, I think I'd be most excited about getting Michael Brantley. He's split time in LF and CF. He bats LH. Had a .386 obp (.890 OPS) last year [career obp and OPS: .343 & .754]. had 52 BB/56 SO. 20 hr, 200 hits, 45 2B, and 23 of 24 in SB. Without selling your soul to Satan, how do you get Cleveland to give him up?

    So my list of hopefuls after eliminating RHH and low obp types.: Brantley, Gordon, CarGo, or Melky Cabrera.

    Of course, it could end up that the Cubs aren't locked in to acquiring a LHH or high obp type, but that seems to be what has been said, so I'm going with it. Actually, one I didn't mention but have thought would be a good addition if the Yankees would part with him is Beltran. Switch hitter, been on plenty of playoff teams. He did have a down year last year, and will be 38? during next season. I don't think he'd be any more than a 4th OF/platoon guy at this point though, unless he had a big injury hampering him last year.

  • Hey John, any chance Welington can bring us a guy like Zobrist? Or at least the starting point of a trade? I know Zobrist would basically be a rental, but i feel like we can get him on a good deal for the following couple years, once the contract is up.

    Checks a lot of boxes: Versatile (LF/INF), Lefty, OBP Skills, Maddon Loves Him, 34, Veteran Leadership...

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    Question: Who do we know is in the market for a starting catcher? Thinking about where Welly might go.

    I know Dodgers, Rangers. Maybe White Sox (though they seem to like Flowers). D'Backs need a catcher now, but presumably they would have asked for Welly when they dealt Montero.

    Maybe Pirates, but they may stand pat with Cervelli. O's need a bridge to Weiters, but Welly seems like overkill there.

    Dodgers would seem to be a fit for OF bat for Catcher, though rumor has it they are talking to Padres about Grandal/Kemp, which would solve those problems

    Not sure what Rangers could offer in terms of a bat; they have some depth in middle IF, but so do we.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Another team: Rockies. They are shopping Wilin Rosario, who is awful and should no longer catch. They also have some depth in the OF, with Stubbs, Blackmon, Dickerson, Car-go. Hmmmmm..........

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Pirates will stand pat. Dodgers/Grandal seems like a good fit for them so probably nothing there. The White Sox have like 4 catchers on their 40 man and I'm not sure Castillo is much of an improvement over Flowers.

    Rockies, Rangers, Rays seem reasonable markets. Probably a couple of others I can't think of. D'Backs too, but like you said...

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Hey,mid the Rangers think they can compete maybe we can convince them that Valbuena can take over at 3rd and Cast.... What, stop looking at me like that, I know it's not really enough to get Beltre, jeez.

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    In reply to El Dragon:

    Joey Gallo will fill in nicely at 3B for the Rangers. #6 prospect overall:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2014/index.jsp?tcid=mm_mlb_news#list=prospects

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    He will, but he's also not ready yet. And he might out strike out Baez.

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    In reply to El Dragon:

    Then I guess you're totally right. Let's offer them Valbuena for Luke Jackson and strike out king to be Joey Gallo..... Ya, that's the ticket

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    That seems kinda hostile for what originated as a joke post.

    And Gallo IS a long way off. He's only 20, but he hit .230 in double A yesterday, and struck out 180 times in 439 AB. He walks a bunch, but chances are he never becomes a 260 hitter in the majors if I had to call it. A more athletic Adam Dunn would be my comparison, which is a pretty cool setup, just not ready for the show yet.

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    In reply to El Dragon:

    Maybe I was joking as well......

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I know CarGo would be a dream from the Rockies for most (me included), but what about Charlie Blackmon. Just thought of it withOut a lot of research so throwing it out to the panel. I think he has control and is cheap, so it may be pricey. He plays a solid CF defense and appears to have a solid bat.

  • Castillo/Montero is definately an upgrade over Castillo/Baker. Ross/Montero - not so much. If the Cubs sign Ross they should keep Welly and go with 3 catchers. Ross can start 30 games or so when Lester starts and Welly finish up the late innings if Lester is out. Welly could also catch late innings sometimes (perhaps after pinch hitting against LHP) when Montero starts and start against all LHP when Lester isn't pitching.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    Ummm, the roster size does have a limit.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Yeah, 25 active players. They can go with 12 pitchers, 5 outfielders, 5 infielders, and 3 catchers. One of the outfielders could be AA who can also play infield.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Cubs carried 13RP last yr and 4 bench players. Carrying 3 catchers at least until the trade deadline is just like having the same 4 bench players they had last year, isn't it?

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    If the Cubs will be signing Ross, then Lester will be a Cub. I for one will be jumping the gun and having a celebratory drink. (I think we all deserve one regardless).

  • Another important factor that has not been picked up on.

    Walk rate for the past 3 seasons:

    Castillo 8.9%, 7.9%, 6.2%
    Montero 12.7%, 10.7% 10%

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    If the Padres do complete a trade with the Dodgers maybe we can offer up Castillo for Max Fried. Fried was a guy many of us were hoping to land in the draft a few years ago. He still a little ways off but could add some pitching depth in the system.

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    Brett from Bleacher Nation just tweeted a 7 175 deal between Lester and the Cubs. Not sure how good his sources are.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Sean Holland:

    Fake account

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Sean Holland:

    Lol someone faked his account. That is good. Does that mean NSI and John will get faked accounts now too?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Sean Holland:

    Joke going around that Brett is big time now that someone has created a fake account about him.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    In the process of creating my fake bocabobby account. You mind sending me the picture you use for you handle?

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Not many followers so you'd be wasting your time. No one cares what I say and I'm fine with that.... lol

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You and me both, buddy. I can say that I have more followers than tweets, but that is saying very little.

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    Big bat..... Who are the names being talked about???
    Is this via trade or free agents?
    Thanks Mul

  • In reply to Ryan Mulcahy:

    Yes.

  • Can the contributors give us there prediction on Lester. It looks like it's down to Cubs, Red Sox....what say you..years and $

  • Sounds like the Cubs won't get swept up in the moment, and go past what they feel is value for Lester.

    Patrick Mooney ‏@CSNMooney 1 minute ago
    Theo: "Lester's got great options. We’ll see what happens, but we’re not going to get caught up in the timing. It’s completely up to him.”

  • 6:57pm: CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan hears from “two very good MLB sources” who believe the Cubs are the leading contenders to sign Lester.

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    I think the Cubs front office would be wise to front load the contracts a when signing a F/A, it would give them more payroll flexibility in the future and make trading them easier if the need arose.

  • I would be willing to bet that Montero doesn't catch 120 games next year. Closer to 90 at best.

  • Steve Gilbert ‏@SteveGilbertMLB 9 minutes ago
    #Dbacks GM Dave Stewart says he discussed Montero with #Dodgers, #Padres, #RedSox and #WhiteSox before deal with #Cubs

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs 1 minute ago
    Cubs say there were other teams willing to take on Montero's full salary so no relief there..they will pay the full $40 mil

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    According to Marc Thompkins in Tampa " Ben Zobrist has been told to expect a trade at any time " wonder if Castillo could be going to Tampa ?

  • In reply to Sportsgod:

    This, I like this.

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    What about a package including Castillo to Atlanta for Justin Upton? What else would the Cubs have to include? I know he's rh, but Upton is a big bat on the market.

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    The problem is we are on Uptons no trade list, and he's negated trades with it before.

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    In reply to El Dragon:

    Sorry, yeah, forgot about that.

  • In reply to El Dragon:

    And Atlanta has Gattis and Bethancourt behind him, who's supposedly close to being ready.

  • I'm hoping that Carrie Muskat is right and the Cubs are keeping Castillo as compliment to Montero like we initially hoped, but then why meet with Ross tonight? Must be contingent upon getting Lester...which would fit with the rumor that IF the Cubs get Lester they go after the "big" bat, i.e. if they get Lester, they then get Ross, which makes Castilo expendable, and they trade him to Tampa for Zobrist. Seems to fit.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Castillo + who for Zobrist?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    3 years of Castillo at arbitration rates ($2.3 Million expected this year) for 1 year of Zobrist at $7.5 Million.

    Maybe some filler from both orgs

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Cubs may like to add Sweeney to remove his salary and open a roster spot.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Yep, or maybe someone like Schlitter who is a viable bullpen arm, but an extra piece for the Cubs.

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    Lost in the Castillo - montero pitch framing debate is this question : what does it say about MLB umpires if a catcher's glove position can turn 180 balls (Castillo) into 180 strikes (montero)? Balls and strikes are at the game's core - yet they're that flimsy and our of the officials' control? There's something wrong with that.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It says that in this age of digital video, sensors, 3d scanning, dopler, etc etc etc, the fact that Major League Baseball is still using humans to decide something which is so clearly made for technology to handle, i.e. using a human to decide a 3 dimensional box in the air will always be full of errors, bias, etc, when a few simple video sensors, could handle it perfectly, and the ump can just verbalize the call, he would still be responsible for all other duties just not deciding balls and strikes.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Well yes but that would make far too much sense.

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    In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    it would make a lot of sense, but you also have to be careful before you take the serendipitous human element out of a game. I think before you get rid of human umpires and bring in the robots to quick, you need to make a concerted effort to re-educate the human umps - use the technology to help them correlate their instinctual choices with objective reality, and of course make them enforce the existing rules as written.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    But that's what I'm saying, the Umps still verbalize the balls and strikes, but the sensors show him on a little hand held device where in the zone the ball passed.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    They already hold a clicker to keep track of balls and strikes, they just replace it with this device which shows the zone like I said, but also keeps track of balls and strikes...and perhaps incoming weather warnings, etc.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    ...or even better, how about google glass type glasses that show the strike zone overlaid in digital form right in the Umpires regular vision/view....that would be the best of both worlds.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    that would be cool.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Good luck training major league umpires on that score. And why is that particular human element of the game worth preserving when it leads to an unnecessary amount of errors and injustices that can be easily corrected? Plus, correcting it with technology would have the added benefit of quickening the pace of the game due to less time arguing balls and strikes. But don't worry, it'll never happen. It just should.

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    In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    it's not that I'm attached to that particular human element, but it could be a slippery slope ending in eliminating umps altogether. It would be technically easy to put chips in balls that lets you know if they fall fair or foul, or cross the corner bag in fair or foul territory; chips in balls, gloves, bases, shoes and batting gloves could let you know if the throw beat the player to the bag. Do we really want a video-game version of baseball? I'm not saying yes or no, I'm just saying be careful what you wish for.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Kind of a big leap going from ball/strike technology to computer chips in balls, shoes, and batting gloves (Batting gloves? Why batting gloves?). What I wish for is competent officiating in every sport so deserving teams aren't deprived of wins by (easily correctable) bad calls.

  • Wow, Brandon McCarthy (verified account) apparently is getting annoyed that he and other pitchers are still waiting on Lester to make up his mind...

    Brandon McCarthy ‏@BMcCarthy32 10 minutes ago
    "Paper or plastic Mr. Lester?" *sun sets, rises, then sets again* "gimme a sec"

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Interesting tweet by McCarthy....of course, Lester's signing will help McCarthy get potentially more money.

  • So if the Cubs sign Lester it's fair to say McCarthy would not be coming to Chicago. Don't know why it should matter to his contract anyway since the Yankees were to be resigning him.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    If you notice, basically the entire pitching market (and by extension secondary players) are at a standstill waiting for Lester to sign and set the market....along with giving 3 of the 4 teams in on Lester; SF, Cubs, BoSox, Dodgers who also happen to be 4 of the richest teams looking for pitching, the green light to move on to other pursuits...such as McCarthy. Even if McCarthy re-signs with the Yankees, he will use other teams as leverage to create his market....deal are not done in a vacuum.

  • This is getting kinda silly, isn't it?

  • In reply to El Dragon:

    The silly part is me and many others who keep checking every few minutes.

  • Giants out according to Twitter, down to Cubs and Sox

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    MLB network reports Giants saying "we made multiple offers, we got a call from Lester's agent - we did not get a rose." Giants out.

    Interesting that a lot of teams seem to be already shying away from Scherzer's anticipated cost; he may not get that 200 mil contract some people expect.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Nick Cafardo ‏@nickcafardo 9 minutes ago
    Jon Lester pulled the plug on the Giants before they made their final offer according to team source.

  • Straight from the horses mouth on Castilo...

    “In the right environment, he can really be a leader for this ballclub,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “He’s a veteran. He cares a lot about winning. He’s pretty vocal.”

    What does this mean for Welington Castillo? The Montero trade prompted immediate speculation the Cubs would deal Castillo while David Ross would follow Lester to be his personal catcher after their run with the Boston Red Sox.

    “We’re not shopping Wely at all,” Epstein said. “The second that the Montero news came out, we got calls from a number of teams about Wely. We’ll always listen, just because it would be crazy not to listen. But we really like the way those two fit together.”

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    "The Cubs also felt Montero (left-handed low-ball hitter) and Castillo (right-handed high-ball hitter) would mesh with Maddon’s creativity and analytical side. They already added ex-catcher Henry Blanco – who worked for Arizona last season – as a quality-assurance coach on Maddon’s staff. "

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I couldn't tell for sure but I thought that first paragraph was about montero.

    Do you think that they would carry three catchers in order to give Lester his personal catcher?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Correct, the first paragraph was about Montero, the 2nd & 3rd are about Castilo.

    Re: Ross as #3 catcher

    Anything is possible, but it's doubtful in the NL with no DH as it would limit the managers options in the bullpen or the bench...however having 3 catcers allows the manager to use the backup to pinch hit, or even play matchups when a reliever comes in with the catchers, as you still have the third catcher. (normally managers don't use the backup catcher unless it's very late in the game for fear of injury to the starter and having no replacement. Come to think of it with a dynamic manager like Maddon, maybe it could work.

  • Personally I thought the Giants were our biggest obstacle. I am starting to get my hopes up.

  • I would be just fine with a Montero/Castillo tandem. And, I would be just fine if we signed D Ross & used Castillo for a bat!

  • Same here. I trust the FO to make the best decision based on all the information they have with regards to trade opportunities, the market, possible value, etc, etc. (which is vastly more than any of us looking on from the outside)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I hope Ross signing isn't what gets Lester. Sign Ross until Lester signs and then DFA Ross. Ugly, but that's what this melodrama has.been.

  • Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 4 minutes ago
    Industry expectation all day has been #Cubs for Lester. But you can't count out those #RedSox, who are reportedly still in the running.

    Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but remember Jon, Boston was the skeezer who had you move out last year, and said that you should both see other people....So don't believe her lies!.....Come to the Cubs, we love and appreciate you for the special #1 Lefty Starter that you are....ok, I'm getting delirious...time to take a break.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It 9:30 & it seems like the blog posts are slowing down. Ghost Dawg and myself are going strong. I am guessing people are putting their kids to bed. I have no kids so what am I doing? Watching MLB network. How can one not?

  • In reply to TD40:

    Switching between MLB and the Butkus/Sayers Football Life here.

  • In reply to TD40:

    Seriously. I feel like I got stood up at this point, and I keep looking out the window to see if my date will still show up...as it must have been some mistake or car trouble, lol

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    And then in 48 hours she calls you and says it's not you it's me. Like George Costanza didn't teach me that one.

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    In reply to TD40:

    My wife made me stop watching.

    :o(

  • Let's not forget, Lester is not a Hanley Ramirez fan to put it mildly. For the 1st time this offseason, I think we will get Lester. And I am the eternal pessimist.

  • In reply to TD40:

    he must not dislike him too much, otherwise boston wouldn't have signed ramirez/lester would've already told them they're out.

  • If his is waiting for more money then goodbye

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Not about money at this point, (he didn't even let SF or the Dodgers put in a final bid) but comfort with situation, etc. I actually think the Cubs are a bit ahead of the BoSox when it comes to the offers. If he wanted the most money, then he would definitely have had SF put in a final offer.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    With that said, I'm guessing the Cubs take this with a bid of 6 years @ $156 Million ($26 Million AAV)...and a chance to be a Chicago Icon for an eternity. ;-)

  • fb_avatar

    I am riveted by today's action and the Lester Saga. I think that $156M is a good guess on contract amount. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some front-loading. My Cub fandom is at its highest since the end of the 2008 season.

  • My fandom has never changed no matter what

  • Cubs and Rockies could match up in a trade. Rockies need a catcher. Cubs need an outfield bat. Rockies also have tradeable sandwich round parity draft pick. Stay tuned.

  • I've been watching Miggy regularly for the past 5 years and would offer that he is a candidate to significantly rebound from the last two years. He was hurt in 2013 (back issues) and struggled all year. Probably played when he shouldn't have. Last year he hit well through July but really fell off during the last two months of the season. He may or may not have been hurt ( the DBacks really had no one else to catch regularly) but it was fairly well known that he was disgusted with the lack of professionalism in the locker room. Good health, good locker room and a reasonable work load (125 or so games) should reinvigorate this very good player.

  • I went to EMU and we beat Michigan tonite. If we Get Lester that would be the best two early Xmas presents ever!

    O/U win total next year, I'd say around 84 with Lester, I'll take the over

  • Who ever signs him will be sorry after the 3rd year of his contract

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    If it gets a world series who cares?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    So you think that your projections are better than the Cubs entire front office, major league scouts, etc? Granted, they are not infallible, as Edwin Jackson has shown, but that has been the rare miss, so I will go ahead and trust the Cubs....and the Red Sox & Giants organizations as well, who have won 6 of the past 10 World Series, and think Lester is worth it.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm taking it by your posts you don't like Lester, or you're just a Debbie Downer. How could you possibly know this? And, with all of these well informed baseball minds going all in on him, you're right and they're wrong?

  • My sources just confirmed that Lester will be joining the Cubs, pending a physical.

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    !!!??? you joking?

  • In reply to Oneear:

    [Note: his "sources" are the other voices in his head]

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    great

  • In reply to Hey Hey:

    Troll. You're worse than Gordo. Why do that to fans that have been complaining of trickery on sources all week? Dick move.

  • I think Alex Gordon would be the big bat to go for. Would Coughlan, Edwards, and AA get it done?

  • In reply to Carlgotgame:

    There is no way the Cubs give up Edwards or AA straight up for Gordon. He doesn't get on base and has no power. Why else would they try to trade him?

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    In reply to TD40:

    doesn't get on base?

    Actually, he does that... really well.
    Tied for 40th in league over last 4 years. (out of close to 300 qualified.

  • In reply to Carlgotgame:

    My bad I thought you meant Dee Gordon. But still AA and CJ Edwards are not going to be traded.

  • In reply to TD40:

    Was about to go crazy on you for a minute there. Regarding that package for Gordon...I don't think it gets even close for Gordon. The Royals are looking to compete and that would significantly hurt them.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    So what do you think the Cubs would have to give to get it done?

  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News was told by major league sources that the Cubs are in "strong position" to land Jon Lester.

    Martino cautions that the Cubs haven't been told they're getting Lester yet and the Red Sox have "remained in the mix." However, he also notes that the industry has considered the Cubs the front-runners "all along" and "that feeling intensified" late Tuesday night. The expectation has been that Lester's decision will be revealed Tuesday, but Martino says it might not come until Wednesday.

  • These recent posts --Hey Hey and SS, I'm talking to you-- got me all fired up! Holy smokes! Are we really gonna get him?!!!

    If Cubs snag Lester, it's their most significant move since . . . ? Trading for Sutcliff? Sandberg? Ever?

  • Gordon Wittenmyer: "Jon Lester headed to Cubs"

    Yeah!!!

    Wittenmyer: " … or Red Sox"

    Oh you Jacka$$. I am with Gordo. Stop reproducing other peoples story but trying to trick people with your headlines.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    meant to say I am *done* with Gordo.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Gordo didn't right that headline

  • 5 entries in FA contest w/ Lester Hammel and Montero. I'm not one of them.

  • fb_avatar

    Lester Signs!

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    Yup!!

    6 years, $155 million.

    Well done, Theo and Jed!!

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