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Reader Post: A look at the Cubs potential trade partners

Editor's Note: You've heard my various takes on potential trade possibilities, so here is a different one by reader David McKenzie. - John

A look at potential trade partners 

by:  David McKenzie (@dmcken22)

 

It’s that time of year again. What has been the most exciting month of the season for almost half of a decade now(July) will not disappoint this year. However, this trade season will ideally lead to a much more exciting August and September than July. If the last week has proven anything to the Chicago Cubs and it’s fans, it’s the fact that the Cubs are in need of one additional starter and one additional experienced everyday player. After culminating a 4-game win streak by beating BOTH Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke, the Cubs have dropped 5-straight against lesser pitchers. As we all know, the Cubs seem to be about a year ahead of schedule and this front office will not mortgage 2016-2020 for a run in 2015. With pitching, don’t expect a blockbuster unless the returning player is somewhat proven at the Major League level and has multiple years of control. When it comes to hitting don’t expect any Cargo(as has been rumored before) rumors, but expect a relatively low-cost acquisition that will not interfere with any prospects playing time in the future.

So with that, let’s take a look at some teams that may be a fit for the Cubs going into July, and some players that would make sense to see in Cubbie-blue come August for the stretch-run with a corresponding percentage breakdown of “Makes sense/ likelihood”.

  • Oakland Athletics- Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, and Josh Reddick

Admittedly, I go against the grain with the throw-in of Josh Reddick suggestion- so I’ll get to that.

First, we need the A’s to begin losing again. Since May 27th, the A’s are 16-11 and are now 9 games back from the incredibly talented, yet extremely inexperienced, Houston Astros. And if there is a team that knows just how quickly a 9 or 10+ game lead can disappear after the trade deadline, it’s the Oakland A’s. That being said, the A’s are always an active team and are needing to add to a minor league system that got hijacked by a certain team almost a year ago.

Scott Kazmir- This seems to be a great fit for the Cubs. Experienced, has worked with Joe Maddon before, and can add a left-hander not named Wood or Wada to step in ahead of Hendricks in the rotation immediately. Thus far this season, per fangraphs,  Kazmir is sitting at 2.79 ERA with a FIP and XFIP of 3.39 and 3.67, respectively, good for 1.5 Wins Above Replacement thus far.  In comparison, Wada and Wood have combined for .4 WARP per frangraphs. That additional win thus far is a big deal. More importantly, with Kazmir in his 30’s and on the last year of his contract, he wouldn’t  cost as much as some of the more popular trade targets that may be available in terms of prospects. (As Always with Kazmir, health is a concern) 75%/30%

Ben Zobrist- Another player from teams of Joe Maddon past, Ben Zobrist fits the Cubs so perfectly, they tried to get him in the offseason. Of course, with the Tampa Bay Rays fruitlessly attempting to get compensation from the Cubs for “tampering”, it was no surprise that the teams didn’t work out a deal. However, the Rays did the Cubs one favor when they did finally move Zobrist. They traded him to the A’s where Theo’s friend and trade-partner of the past Billy Beane would manage his contract year.

Zobrist fits in almost every way. He has experience deep into the playoffs with the Tampa Bay Rays, he can hit from both sides of the plate, and he can play multiple positions. The Cubs could put him in left field tomorrow and immediately improve both their starting lineup and bench by having a very effective Chris Coghlan on-call when needed. Similar to Kazmir, Zobrist won’t be as expensive as he is in his mid-30’s and on a contract year- meaning the acquiring team will get no compensation for him. Zobrist started the year off both slow and injured, adding to the ability to acquire him for a potentially lower cost than other options. The last 2 weeks, however, Zobrist’s bat has come around hitting .421 with  3 homeruns.

100%/50%>

Josh Reddick- A wildcard here, but if the A’s go into full sell-mode I’d love to see how Reddick’s bat plays in Wrigley for the next couple of years opposite corner of Soler. Furthering the case, Reddick won’t be cheap for a team like the A’s as he goes through his third time in arbitration this offseason. In 2012, Reddick hit over 30 homeruns and won a gold-glove. Thus far this season, Reddick is batting .287/.346/.467 with a wOBA of .354 and wRC+ of 130. He has a WARP of 1.9 thus far. Compared to Coglan, whom I have enjoyed and like, Reddick adds almost half a win so far and plays a significantly better leftfield. The fact that Reddick is arbitration eligible next year as well only helps to build the case on the Cubs side for making a move as he could play a significant role on a 2016 Cubs team more likely to contend for the top prize. It may be wishful thinking, but while Reddick+Kazmir will certainly cost more than Zobrist+Kazmir, the fact that he will have a fairly high arbitration number this coming offseason may make the A’s more apt to make a move as they did with Josh Donaldson this offseason, and I would think a potential top 50 prospect and 2-fringe top 100-150’s may get it done. With McKinney certainly getting consideration as a top 50 prospect when the mid-season ranking updates come out, I’d wonder if a package of McKinney, Vogelbach and Underwood wouldn’t entice Billy Beane considering the cost savings that deal would bring. We could also include either Coghlan or Denorfia as they could step into Reddick’s spot for the remainder of the year.

50%/<10%

  • Miami Marlins- Dan Haren

As stated in the comments section less than week ago, is there any way we can go back and accept the trade of Haren for Marmol? First of all, Haren would have to commit to playing for the Cubs after he considered retirement rather than pitching for a non-west coast team after being traded this past offseason. Dan Haren is an innings-eater who brings experience and his self-proclaimed 88mph fast ball.(follow him on twitter at ithrow88) The cost of Haren would be minimal as well, think along the lines of the Miguel Montero trade during the offseason in terms of prospects. Haren would be a choice the Cubs look at after exhausting options that would add a little more value to a potential playoff rotation, however wouldn’t be a horrible consolation prize considering the low-cost and experience added.

40%/30%

  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- CJ Wilson, Hector Santiago

Cj Wilson- Wilson is experienced, as he has started games in both the ALCS and the World Series, and crafty. However, CJ Wilson is also expensive monetarily, and has underperformed since signing a big contract with the Angels prior to the 2012 season. Per Fangraphs, this year Wilson has been stellar with a 3.92 ERA in the hitting-heavy American League with a 3.80 FIP and 3.84 xFIP, good for 1.3 WARP. Similar to Kazmir, he adds both experience and a left-handed starter that can come in right behind Hammel and immediately improve the rotation. Unlike Kazmir, the depleted minor league system of the Angels, mixed with their Phillies-esque type management team, will probably lead to the Angels asking far too much for the starter when factoring in both salary and prospects. Additionally, CJ Wilson’s contract not only doesn’t come off the books next year, but he is owed 20 million in 2016. Unless the Angels take a significant hit either on the prospect side or salary side, or both, I don’t see a fit with our regime.

10%/<10%

Hector Santiago- Santiago is an Angels starter that may make a little more sense, however. Hector Santiago is both controllable and not elite enough to come at a high prospect cost. Concerning, however, is how he has out-pitched his peripherals thus far this season, and we have all seen how that can turn out with Travis Wood. Santiago has an ERA of 2.68 but has a FIP and xFIP of 4.40 and 4.51. Per fangraphs, he has been good for .7 wins this season, barely more than the Wada/Wood combo. However, he has been pitching in the AL and, again, would come at a much lesser prospect cost along with being controllable through arbitration until 2017, his age 28 season.

20%/20%

  • Philadelphia Phillies-Cole Hamels

The often-discussed trade for Cole Hamels. He makes sense in a lot of ways. He is relatively inexpensive contract wise, his contract is up when our “kids” will begin to be expensive, left-handed, elite pitcher. However, the Cubs are not going to mortgage the farm for Cole Hamels and Ruben Amaro Jr doesn’t want one mortgage, he wants two. To swing a deal for Cole Hamels, the Phillies will undoubtedly ask for BOTH Schwarber and Baez + additional prospects, which is not going to happen. That being said, Hamels contract and skillset certainly fits the mold of “makes sense” for this Cubs team, even though the likelihood of the front office mortgaging the future for this season is next to none, and with good reason.

50%/<10% 

Needless to say there are other teams with players that would fit if the teams make them available at a reasonable cost, such as the Mets and Mariners.  However, when looking through some realistic options heading into a July that finds the Cubs thinking more than asset-allocation, it’s fun to look at a few players that may make sense for the Cubs as they try to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

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  • fb_avatar

    For Hamels I offer Baez + Almora + Villanueva + Hanneman

    And yes, I am happy to acknowledge the last two are just guys I don't like.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I would do that trade no problem...

  • In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    Not me. I don't have much faith in Halmels and would,t pay more than Baez and Ejax or his eq. certainly not Almora.

  • I'm beginning to think the Cubs two most important current minor league assets are their two catchers, Schwarber & Contreras. These are the only 2 I would not part with because of their position versatility, their bats, and their age.
    If the Phillies really want a deal then include Nola and Hamels. We should offer any 6 of the others in our system. Baez. Almora, McKinney, Vogelbach, Underwood, Johnson, Edwards, Alcantara, Torres, etc. mr. McPhail pick your 6.

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    In reply to Chicago Aces:

    There is no way and no reason the Phil would include their #2 prospect with a #1 pitcher. Even RAJ isn't that crazy.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I really see less and less possibility of a major deal. The FO is a yrear ahead of schedule and probably wont risk the farm to go all in. this year. sure I'd love to get a Price or Zimmerman, if we got on a hot streak. Without Soler and LaStella the offense has been anemic.

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    In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Agreed. I think this year was supposed to be more about figuring out where we are and who can handle the big leagues.

    Wait until winter. Add Price or Zimmerman. And one or two second tier pitchers like a Latos. Hope Zobrist has a year left in him. Improve the bullpen.

  • fb_avatar

    C.j wilson started in the playoffs but was terrible. I dong care about experience if it wasn't good. Santiago generally runs high pitch counts, tires and doesnt go deep in to ball games. Again i think shoemaker is the best fit from the angels. Maybe andrew heaney but i think the angels are high on him.

  • Nice write-up. I still get the feeling that we're all going to be shocked when a trade finally comes. Zobrist really seems to be the potential glue that can bring this team together in a lot of ways. That being said, a lot of other teams feel the same way, which will drive his cost up.

    We shall see. Hopefully we don't trade Russell and McKinney for Shark and Hammel :)

  • In reply to nukee:

    We currently have Hammel so we won't be trading for him.

  • In reply to John57:

    WHAT?!!?

  • Nice balanced take. I wouldn't mind Haren if he came cheap but if they have too pay much I think Koehler or Hand are better choices from the fish to shore up the bottom of that rotation. Kazmir obviously makes a ton of sense but he's likely be the subject of a bidding war of sorts. I'd expect St. Louis, LA and some of the teams in the AL East to take a good hard look. As far as Reddick goes, I fully expect to see Schwarber out there in LF next year, or if not him Bryant so I'm not sure how that helps or even upgrades much from Coghlan for this year. Still good thoughtful piece David, thanks!

  • fb_avatar

    Last week on this site (maybe it was just in the comments section) Almaro supposedly wanted two of Bryant, Russell, and Soler. Not it is Schwarber AND Baez. Interesting.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    That's just my opinion--Phillies won't get ONE of Bryant, Russell, or Soler from this front office and I think as the time comes Phillies would jump at Schwarber and Baez---it's all a moot point, however, because there is no way in my mind the Cubs do any combination of those 5 players---The point of emphasis was the asking price from Ruben has been and still is a double mortgage(also known as two elite-type prospects.)

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    RAJ even asking for 2 of Bryant, Russell or Soler (if indeed he did) would tick me off so much i'd tell him to go pound sand. That sort of Carlos Zambrano type control over my emotions is why I'm not making big deals for large companies.

    It reminds me of when you're selling your house--let's say your realtor has done their homework and you have too. It's worth $225k all day long--but some schmoe full of self import comes along and offers you $175k because there's a dead tree at the edge of the backyard. I tell that schmoe to go away--and do not bother to make another offer because i wouldn't even want you living next to my neighbors...and that's how i roll. :c-)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubfever7:

    So I manage a consumer lending department and I would like to thank you for incorporating 2 of my passions(mortgage/real-estate and Cubs baseball) into this one post :) perfect analogy, as well, to RAJ's asking prices when it has come to his players.

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    In reply to David McKenzie:

    I am in real estate as well and definitely smiled with that analogy!

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    In reply to cubfever7:

    I really doubt he ever did ask for two of those. Supposedly when the Cubs claimed Hamels off waivers last year the Phillies asked for Russell. The Cubs said no. But no one really knows. 99% of the trade speculation (on this blog and by all the news outlets), is frankly just made up. It isn't like free agency when agents leak information. Theo, Almora, none of these guys are leaking real information. Maybe you'll get a nugget like, "Almaro is asking a lot." What may very well happen is the Cubs will trade for someone who is not on the list above. Someone no one anticipatd. A move like for Tommy La Stella, where we're all saying, "Who?"

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    You must have missed it when we had the names of the Garza deal deal first and other things we were right about -- and much more which we never discuss. Not just speculation here. We do get good information that is outside what others may get...so no, we don't make things up. We either report what we know or what other major media reports. And if it is just pure speculation, then we will say so.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    In the articles, yes. You're a bit looser in the comments section.

  • fb_avatar

    Nice article but it further reinforces the thought (IMO) that's it's better to go in a much more unexpected / under the radar direction.

    Kazmir and Zobrist would be really nice but giving up McKinney and our only pitching prospect that appears to have a chance to start is a huge no-go. Massive no-go.

    I'm thinking more Like Zagunis + Blackburn

    or maybe Villanueva + Null

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I wouldn't trade Zagunis either... He has started to play CF and that is huge for him.

    I would look for a cheaper pitcher, maybe bounce back candidate like Mat Latos and dangle guys like Jr Lake, Candelario, Vogelbach, among others...

  • In reply to Caps:

    Zagunis is looking like a keeper. If he can play CF, hes the man out there in 2yrs or so.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Thanks for feedback.

    In my social-chatter/debates it seems sometimes I am giving up too much to the A's with these faux trades and other times not enough.

    The McKinney+ was incorporating Reddick into the equation and seeing him as a young player who is arb-eligible next year and would come with draft comp I figured we'd HAVE to put someone like McKinney+ into it---

    Thinking along the lines of Zobrist+Kazmir I think you're right--no way we give up McKinney in that deal....Though I would expect someone like Vogelbach(popular choice) or Contreras(depending on how Beane views his performance this year) + maybe a Chesny or Clifton---and as someone else said if a bidding war begins around Kazmir then that price will go up either quantity or quality wise in my opinion

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to David McKenzie:

    I don't even think it was necessarily a bad trade balance.

    I, personally am just not into trading someone as valuable as McKinney in a season where it is entirely possible we don't make the playoffs.

    LF is not something we have an answer for and we're pretty RH right now, so to me, McKinney has a ton of value and very good FIT.
    And trading Underwood just seems odd since we have virtually no pitching prospects. (don't get me wrong, I liked the 14 draft but almost all of those guys are just getting their feet wet, there's still not much to put real stock into)

    There's those that disagree with me, and that's okay but I think Baez is a terrible fit, even if he becomes a good player.

    But yeah, context is important. If we were two games out of 1st place and Kazmir/Zobrist/Reddick filled our 3 biggest holes, then maybe I'm less reluctant to part with McKinney.

    But for this season, no. Plus I personally value McKinney higher than everyone in the minors not named Schwarber.

  • fb_avatar

    Sonny Grey pulled from start tonight. I will not get my hopes up.....I will not get my hopes up....too late.

  • In reply to NepthuTheWizard:

    Yeah, I fell victim as well. I guess we'll see what's up soon.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Well OK, he's sick so that's that. Four minutes of dreaming...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    *sigh*

  • In reply to TC154:

    Crap, you had my hopes up for 4 seconds and then I scrolled down.

  • Always like to see clear headed analysis. The Reddick/Kazmir trade makes sense for both sides, Oakland is quite $$ conscious though Beane might think the off season would be a better market, whose to say. McKinney I think he might like back. I think Underwood if he is healthy is another possible but more than Vogelbach I think the Beane would insist on that SS in South Bend.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to rnemanich:

    That's a good point with Torres

    I have wondered for a while now how the FO view Torres as he continues to impress in consideration to our controllable talent in the middle infield.....is he the perfect trade piece or is the "second wave" once some of our current controllable talent gets pricey which frees them up to be moved for new talent---probably too early to tell either way--but you're probably right that Torres would be one of the first names Beane brings up...

  • fb_avatar

    I keep hearing this "mortgage the future" to win today concept from folks when discussing the Cole Hamels trade. RAJ is now the GM of Philly in name only yet the story remains the same with you folks that just hate the idea of trading one (1) top prospect much less that one (1) top prospects and 2 others from the tier 2 category that many have now moved onto.

    Hamels is going to be traded, period. I'm in the boat that says those huge asking price rumors of 2014 are now just a distant memory. The Cubs weren't the only team that refused that laughable asking price. So when this deal goes down it WILL be for much less than many of you think.

    Given this new development, why insist that some team must mortgage their future for the acquisition of a #1 pitcher that is not a rental but you will have for the next 3.5 years? If the Cubs can't afford to give up one (1) top prospect and 2 from tier two for this deal we got bigger problems to worry about.

    And that bigger problem won't be solved by shelling out $200M for 8 years of David Price.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    This will make people angry, but another perspective.
    http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/steve-phillips-cubs-should-trade-schwarber-cole-hamels

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I heard that also. For me it comes down to do you value Schwaber over Baez. Most rankings do not. But some of these fans just love these prospects way too much.

    When this whole rebuild started many folks yelled from the mountaintops that prospects don't mean a thing until they can show they can produce at the mlb level. Fast forward to today and now prospects mean more than anything.

    Then to justify their opinions they insist that any trade is selling the whole farm. Don't suggest one top prospect for any trade because it's now blasphmy!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    I'll be curious what the Cubs do. Most, if not all, of my favorite Cubs players were acquired via trade. Sandberg, Sarge, Rizzo, Lee, Sosa, A Ram, etc. Mark Prior is the only real exception I can think of. So maybe I am biased toward trading for players as opposed to watching the prospects develop. Although, all those trades happened under previous management teams, and those teams mostly stunk. So maybe holding on to all the prospects makes sense? (And I am with you on Hamels: wherever he ends up, it is not going to be for the ridiculous prospects packages that people are saying).

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    The ex Mets GM says Schwarber is not a catcher. He sees him as a DH so he is massively undervaluing Schwarber. Of course he would trade him for Hamels. But he is in no position to trade anyone on the Cubs or any other Major League team since he is not a current GM. Just an article to generate controversy.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I can understand the desire some see to get a pitcher, and that Schwarber would be a good trade chip. But if the Cubs would ever consider it, I certainly hope it would not be for Cole Hamels. If you are willing to deal Schwarber you need to think bigger and younger.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    My reasoning is... Why would you give up elite talent PLUS money for Hamels when you can get someone like David Price or Jordan Zimmerman in the offseason for JUST money?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Caps:

    1.) So your 100% you can land Price, Zimmerman, etc for "just money?"

    2.) I guess we can all assume Baez will hit that ceiling right out of the box when he is called up. Or should I wait until he adjusts to the majors like he needed when he went to each step of the ladder.

    3.) This 30+ year old FA that we land will produce as expected, right? No risk there, especially as this guy gets into year 4-8 of that big money deal.

    4.) Who needs financial flexibility? We took our medicine already. We won't need to get another piece next year at the deadline. These kids are superstars and we should all think that way!

    Should I go on?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    1) If the Cubs want to, yes they can a TOR guy for just money. The Cubs will have more payroll flexibility and need then anyone with the exception of maybe the Red Sox. The question isn't whether they can, it is whether they should. And as far as I am concerned the answer is no.

    2) I don't give a crap if it takes Baez an entire year to adjust. This team's best window still figures to be 2017-2020.

    3) Huge risk, which is why they shouldn't.

    4) I do think Bryant, Schwarber, Baez, Soler and Russell will be above average regulars, with a good chance that at least a few will be stars. And I'm willing to wait for that, or at least wait for more than one of them to do so (Bryant is really the only one at that level right now) before I get impatient and start trading some of the others. I think it is the wisest course of action. I understand not everyone will share that view. I'm more patient than just about everyone I know.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mjvz:

    If you're willing to wait, why do the Lester deal? I mean, I like that we got Lester but I also think his best years of that contract will be in years 1-3. Under your willingness to wait premise, we are ready in 2017 to push for that WS. because you said you're willing to wait a whole year for Baez. That year would be 2016.

    2 years of wasted money on Jon Lester.

    If you can land a Hamels now for a Schwaber right now I'd probably take a deep breath and jump into that deep pool. We have Montero signed thru 2017 and even if Schwaber comes up to start the 2016 season he is still not your #1 catcher. Montero is. And this might not be popular here but Ross is my #2 because he is head and shoulders above Schwaber defensively.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    They did need someone to give their rotation an anchor and the team some legitimacy in the eyes of players, media and fans 9the Jayson Werth contract was mentioned as a comp). That does have value.

    But I was against the Lester deal as well. I do think there is a very good chance that most of the contract is going to be an albatross. I can live with it though. The Cubs did have money that they could essentially risk wasting for the next few years, and Lester seems well liked and respected so there are worse ways to do it.

    Just because they potentially wasted money on Lester doesn't mean that they should potentially waste more. The Cubs have a lot of money available and have room to make mistakes, but it does have a limit. And blowing all of that cushion in one swoop between Lester and Hamels or Lester and Price is foolish to me. it might work out. They might stay healthy long enough to lead the team to a WS, but I think the chances are better the team will win in spite of Lester (like the Giants with Zito) rather than because of him.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    "...Cubs have a lot of money..." They may have the money but can they spend it on salaries and still meet MLB's ratios for highly leveraged team?

    I haven't seen that concept discussed recently but I vaguely remember Thoyer saying they have a budget o live within. Not sure if that restriction is from Ricketts or MLB ratios.

  • In reply to stix:

    I'm confident that they could work it out in the short term if they wanted to, or felt the need to get one of those guys, and then the TV money will roll in after that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to stix:

    And what about the debt? That sale stuff still lingers.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Lester didn't cost prospects.

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    In reply to Caps:

    But he does take some of that financial flexibility. You add a Price to the equation and we're talking about 40% of your total payroll going to 2 guys. Doesn't seem like the best use of your resources to me.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Baez, doesn't need to hit his ceiling but will have a chance to with the Cubs, instead somewhere else and Hamels chance of busting is just the same as anyone else so that point is moot.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I think you're going to get a bidding war here since it'll be a seller's market. I wouldn't be surprised if some desperate teams doesn't offer two top prospects. Hope I'm wrong.

  • In reply to NepthuTheWizard:

    They should at least be able to get what we got last year for Shark and Hammel. Probably more. I think last year that Shark was especially attractive to Beane because he knew that he could flip him and get some of what he lost back. Hamels has that and more.

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    In reply to NepthuTheWizard:

    I'm not saying it will be the Cubs that land him. I'm arguing that this story that it's gonna take Russell, Soler and Schwaber to reel in Hamels is just so over played.

    The Phillies are going to rebuild and Hamels is just one guy in this puzzle. If they take a bigger view like the Cubs, Astros. Royals, Nationals, etc did then it's about getting the money off the books and replenishing their system.

    The past rumors of The Phillies wanting the moon and stars and maybe a few comets for Hamels had at it's core the concept that they could rebuild in one year. There's a new sheriff in town and they are going to try to do it right. This simply means getting as much talent as you can for all those aging vets.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Agreeing totally with this. RAJ is no longer calling the shots. The asking price for Hamels should be much more reasonable now. I think the Cubs have a good shot to make a deal for him based on our extensive pool of minor league talent. I would take his 3.5 years over another Lester contract. Make it happen, Theo!

  • In reply to criggilyk:

    With Theo saying they would be "creative" in getting some SP that is code for no big name big contract players. Hamels counts as big name and big contract. Of course if Philly would make a fair offer then Theo may take it but he may not. I think the chance of the Cubs getting Hamels is very very low.

  • In reply to John57:

    Smoke and mirrors...

  • In reply to criggilyk:

    Theo is pretty transparent about his intentions.

  • In reply to John57:

    So do you think he is going after Hamels?

  • In reply to John57:

    When he wants to be.

  • In reply to John57:

    My last comment was for themightygin.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    My issue with trading for Hamels is that I don't see the Cubs winning the WS this year even with him. The lineup is too inexperienced. So you are really acquiring Hamels for years 2-4 of his deal, and maybe even 3-4. And who is to say that Hamels will still be a difference maker in 2 years? So at that point the Cubs may be in the same position and will have to go out and acquire another pitcher, and this time they will have to do so while not only paying Lester 25M+, but also 20M+ to Hamels and potentially 15-20M for Arrieta.

    And for the record, I don't want to sign Price or Zimmerman this offseason either.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to mjvz:

    But that's the beauty of it. I'm only on the hook for 3.5 years instead of 8 years in the case of Price. In addition I still keep some financial flexability for next year's FA market for a guy like Fister.

    Hamels
    Arrieta
    Lester
    Hamel
    Fister

    Are you kidding me?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bocabobby:

    Contract and rotation fit Hamels is a no-brainer

    The debate comes with the cost.... When I see Pablo and Seager getting close to or above 100 million dollar contracts it's a scary though to trade away a player like Baez and Schwarber, etc + when they will be cost controlled throughout that 3.5 years if you can find a fit elsewhere, such as a Kazmir, etc.....but while I am certainly for not trading the prospects you can certainly make a case for the other side as well..

    I do agree that signing a guy like Price mixed with Lester is dangerous considering the timeline where our "kids" will get expensive...If Lester heats up(and I think he will) then I think Fister is a perfect FA next year for us as we try to find cost-controlled pitching elsewhere..(trade, draft, system, etc)

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    In reply to David McKenzie:

    "Contract and rotation fit Hamels is a no-brainer" - yep. People like to say, "It's just money. Go get a free agent." I like to say, "They're just prospects." Trade 'em, get someone proven. Save the money. And if they're such geniuses, finding some prospects in the later rounds of the draft to replace the ones you traded.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    That is an expensive staff filled with guys all 28+ and older. That might, and I repeat might work out next year, but unfortunately the offense and/or bullpen might be sputtering at that point. In two years you are going to be in the same boat looking for another TOR guy and will have less flexibility to do so.

    I'm still of the belief that the window for this team will open the widest in 2017. There is a chance that it could be 2016 if the young hitters get good quick, but there is less chance of that happening if you start dealing a bunch of them for Hamels. I'd rather look to find a decent pitcher in a deal centered around Castro this offseason. Then reassess at the deadline next year. If the rest of the team is healthy and productive, and there is still a need in the rotation, then I go out and try to find a TOR guy.

    I'm just not convinced the Cubs, or any team really needs 3 TOR arms. I think it is unnecessary and expensive and risky. I'd rather they secure the lineup and find lots of hard throwers for the bullpen.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    This is my sentiment as well.
    And to add to it, what if the Cubs trade for Hamels and give up Schwarber? And then make it to a 1 game WC playoff. I'd rather have Lester/Arrieta + Schwarber in that game than just one of Hamels or Lester or Arrieta.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Exactly! I like Price; good pitcher, nice guy, good teammate, comfortable with Maddon, etc., but Hamels is a better deal. A top tier prospect and two tier #2 prospects for him is a fair deal and I doubt their new president will settle for less. It would hurt of course, but that's one of the reasons why you loaded the system; to trade them when the right opportunity presented itself. I trust Theo/Jed to make the right move. Hopefully it works out. It's always a crap shoot.

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    In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    #This

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Well to start with I never thought the asking price was as ludicrous as you do. The issue wasn't value the issue was his buyer pool which last winter was Chicago, LA Dodgers, Boston and San Francisco. No one else had the prospects to get that done. So to me it wasn't that the price was too high it was that his market was small. So OK basic economics show why a deal didn't happen. Amaro has known all along that without making a huge deal to jump start the system he was going to be jobless, either if it was a bad trade or no trade at all. So he went into plan B, offered to pay some of the salary and expand the pool. The prospect price didn't change much but offering to eat some salary expanded the pool. I still can't understand why Houston hasn't made the deal yet. To me Hamels gives them that division on a platter.

    As far as the Cubs go I've heard you say you'd give up Schwarber. I would not under almost any circumstances and I'm not opposed to giving up players. I think they need to hold to some of these guys to make more timely moves in the future. Someone suggest Baez, McKinney and Edwards for Hamels. I'd be tempted but Baez could be worth a lot more with a month more in MLB and Edwards, if he's stretched out as a starter next spring could also be worth a lot more. Still it's not an awful gamble but I don't think that gets that deal done. I think one of Bryant, Russell or Schwarber have to be in it and I don't give up any of them. The Cubs are having a remarkable stretch of luck here with prospects becoming MLB players. Bryant, Russell, Soler all look like major leaguers of one ilk or another. Schwarber sure looks like he has the bat and if he's slightly below average behind the plate, as the Cubs think he will be, his value is crazy. If he's just a LF it's less but he's strike out less than Bryant and Russell and if this year is an indication less that Soler as well.

    I have no problem giving up prospects. I think Vogelbach, Contreras, McKinney and a few others are likely to be traded. I think Soler and Baez might be traded at some point to for players with lesser K rates, just not now. Not this year when I think they will be extremely fortunate to make the WC. Going forward they have to find young pitching depth and likely pay for another TOR starter.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I was the guy that said MLB Tonight suggested a trade of Baez, McKinney and Edwards for Hamels. Today I posted the thoughts of an ex GM for the Mets that says he'd trade Schwaber to land Hamels.

    Next, the size of the market at the trade deadline is always the same each year if you ask me. On July 1 we have about 20 teams still thinking they can make the playoffs. By the deadline that # gets significantly lower.

    I just like the ideas of both trade proposals I've heard recently.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    The ex GM for the Mets is out of baseball for a reason. I would not do anything he proposed. He says he has talked to no one that thinks Schwarber can stick at catcher and that he is a DH. Maybe he should talk to some one in the Cubs org who is familiar with Schwarber. The Cubs flat out are not trading Schwarber. They view him having more value than Bryant. The articles are just trying to generate buzz IMO.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Phillips was and is a yutz

  • We should wait until the end of July to see how close we are to a
    wildcard spot. If we trade a top prospect, or Castro, we must get
    a fairly young player under control for at least 2 years

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I could live with that

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    Good read! Enjoyed it thanks!

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    In reply to Brandon Halford:

    Thank you--appreciate it and glad you enjoyed it.

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    John-

    Thank you for posting this---my wife was patient enough with me on a Sunday morning to allow me to write this up and was hoping it would go for fun conversation with Cubbie-fans.

    unfortunately I was not aware of the injury to Underwood at the time of the write-up or the theorized trade with the A's would've looked different.

  • In reply to David McKenzie:

    Thanks for the post. It was engaging.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    Thanks, appreciate it

  • hold onto the prospects unless B or C type guys, I just dont see 1 or 2 guys coming in and giving the Cubs enough to make any kind of run this year , prefer to get all the young guys up and trade the Denofaria/ Coughlan/ Fowler types for young pitching if Theo can drop some ecstasy in some other GMs coffee and get some good long term talent .

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I definitely am hesitant to give up any "A" types as well--however if we can sneak into the Wild Card in the MLB anything can happen....

    My personal opinion is to go after a Kazmir or Haren, assuming it doesn't cost "too much"(subjective), and then assess the Castro/Baez (I'm assuming Russell is a lock) situation in the offseason.

  • In reply to David McKenzie:

    the Cubs offense has more swings than a bi polar woman in menopause , they will get better with experience but i dont trust the bats enough to trade Elite talent from the system . just me , glad Theo is calling the shots because i can see both sides of the argument

  • Good read. Zobrist frees up a trade of Coghlin or Castro/Baez for pitching. Doesn't Hamels and Zobrist put the Cubs back in the conversation for 2015 and beyond without rushing prospects.

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    I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I'd at least consider trading Soler before any of the prospects.

    This frees up a valuable corner outfield spot for Bryant/Schwarber and allows us to go get another left handed bat. Or a TOR arm.

    Maybe trading a middle infielder isn't an automatic...
    All that being said, I'd rather deal Castro.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    Soler is unquestionably a valuable player, however there could conceivably be concerns whether he may be injury prone. For that reason I'd be willing to listen to good offers for him sooner than for any of the other frontline young players and prospects. OTOH, what do I know?

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    In reply to markw:

    The value is absolutely there. It's just a matter of staying healthy and being one of many right handed power hitters in the system.
    The surplus of great bats allows a move like this to balance the lineup or acquire a frontline arm.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    I'd prefer to deal Castro, but I'm as open to dealing Soler as I am to dealing Baez. And I have no belief that Bryant ends up in the OF and the Cubs are giving no indication that Schwarber will either. I do think we are in the minority though.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think if Schwarber is up next year they have to be creative and he'll have to play some LF. I think they love his bat enough that it will happen. I'm with you on Bryant though he's probably at 3B for at least 3-4 years before moving to the OF.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think Schwarber comes up midway through next year, and will mostly play catcher. Maybe a little LF depending on how needy they are to get his bat in the lineup.

  • Other trade options not mentioned that I would consider:

    Carlos Gomez and Will Smith from the Brewers. Expensive, but Gomez is dynamic (signed though 2016) and solves CF and helps defense in the short term and the Cubs would have payroll to re sign him later, and Smith is a heck of a lefty reliever.

    Jorge De La Rosa from the Rockies. Veteran lefty, has held up well in Coors, shouldn't be overly expensive.

    Andrew Cashner from the Padres. Durability is a concern, but arm is still there.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I thought of De La Rosa too, and think he would be a great depth piece for the rotation, esp with Turner's setback. I was thinking his splits would indicate a move from Coors would be beneficial, but there really isn't much difference.

  • In reply to couch:

    Yeah, he is just a solid guy no matter where he pitches. I wouldn't expect anything better than what he has been even getting away from Coors full time.

  • In reply to couch:

    Couch, Delarosa iks the rare pitc her whos actually better at Coors, hes kind of like former pitcher Mike Moore, his ball moves a great deal, often too much. His splits have been better at home each of the last 3 seasons, which is why the Rox have kept him.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Cashner is a buy low candidate. Health has been good this year (real plus). Has had family issues which appear to have distracted him and kept his production low. Should not take top prospects to get him back home.

  • I love talking trades because that means we are getting back to playing relevant summer baseball, but I don't really get some of these probability rankings of trades. I think if we read between the lines, the Cubs front office is not going to go overboard this year on giving talented minor leaguers away. Example: Theo admiring the depth of the St. Louis cardinals. So, the names you suggest as higher probabilities are in all actuality not going to happen because of the perceived hit that would occur in our farm system. Example would be Zobrist and Kazmir. They are playing good now and have more worth to Oakland especially because they can get draft picks for them if they hang on and make a qualifying offer at the end of the year. CJ and other bad contract are more likely, as are lesser known or hyped trade targets like Manny Parra, where we will be able to relinquish lower level minor leaguers who don't project near as high as some along the lines of McKinney or CJ. I also think right now is when teams are charging the most for trades. I think prices could drop closer to the deadline as the Cubs really are in no rush now that they completed their toughest stretch of ballgames until August. They have players getting healthy to deepen the bench and in the pen.

  • News flash to all Cub fans, unless Lester totally turns around his less than stellar numbers the balance of the year , the Ricketts group will not allow this FO to sign another $175 + , over 30 pitcher moving forward.
    They will need to focus on cost controlled , under 30, starting pitchers. This will be costly in terms of trading young, position playing prospects, but it is the corner this FO has painted themselves into with the Lester signing.

  • In reply to Chicago Aces:

    According to who or what? There have been numerous indications that Ricketts will give the front office whatever they need within reason. I have seen nothing to indicate that Ricketts would stop Epstoyer from signing another huge contract to an elite arm.

  • In reply to nukee:

    The two failures thus far which this FO has executed are the 4 year $52 million deal with E. Jackson and the signing of Lester to a megadeal of 7 years at $177 million . Now you can say that it's too early to call the Lester deal a failure, and he may or may not turn things around, but if he continues to pitch poorly the balance of this year I believe Ricketts will be very reticent to approve a major FA signing of a starting pitcher under the type of deal I described.
    Do I have a source ? No, just buyer bewareness.

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    In reply to Chicago Aces:

    It's still too early to call the Lester deal a failure...

  • In reply to Chicago Aces:

    Look at Lester's number vs. his career numbers. They're pretty darn close. These guys knew who they were getting and no he goes hot and cold. What they, and we should like about him, is that he's known to be harder on himself than anyone could be. If you think this guy is a bust 3 months into a 7 year deal I don't know what to tell you.

  • In reply to TC154:

    that people are unrealistic

  • In reply to Chicago Aces:

    Once they sign a TV deal you would be crazy to think the Rickett's don't give Theo carte blanche. He has rebuilt this franchise from the doldrums of the Tribune era and made them as relevant as any other major league team while under a fixed budget. After all Theo's deal is up in a couple years. You think he wants to work for an owner that second guesses his every move. I haven't commented much on Lester and I am not directing my anger at you Chicago Aces, but let's just imagine where we would be without the Ricketts hiring of Theo. It wouldn't take long to envision what we were without an owner, but now think about not having a competent commiserate of some of the most brilliant minds in baseball working on the same staff.
    The Cubs had a rough week. Let's see how they do this week and at the end of the year before we start second guessing what has truly been a masterful collection of young controllable talent. There will be more bad contracts signed but if the Cubs keep growing and winning consistently, a trajectory they look to be on, then who the heck cares.

  • In reply to cub since 89′:

    They bought the team for roughly $875 million. With the efforts of Theo and company, and the business efforts of, and I'm loathe to say this, Crane Kenney, the team is now worth an estimated $2 billion. I think they have the money.

  • In reply to TC154:

    2 billion. With a B? Well then, what the heck Ricketts? Buy Cueto, Price, and Greinke you cheap SOB. :)

  • In reply to TC154:

    What the team is "worth" and what they have to spend are two entirely different things. You can't spend "worth." The reality is that the team is still retiring debt from the acquisition and still doesn't have a high quality TV deal. On top of THAT, key players hitting arbitration years will undoubtedly escalate the payroll. The idea that the Cubs are - and will always be - rolling in money is simply false.

  • I would prefer that none of these trades be made,.... although I wouldn't mind seeing how Reddick looks in a Cubs uniform for a season or two.

    Kazmir - if he stays healthy - wouldn't be a bad guy to add either.

    Don't think we really need Zobrist,.... and have never been as enamored of him as some around here.

    All would depend on the prices asked in return,.... and I would prefer the Cubs not move any of Baez, Russell, Castro or Schwarber this season,......

  • I am beginning to think that our highest valued prospect in terms of trades is none other than Torres.

    Baez- not convinced he can hit with major league pitching dissecting him and high error totals.
    Schwarber- Great stick but value goes down if not a catcher unless to an American League team.
    Soler- see injury concerns
    Russell-off the table (as he should be)
    Almora- has struggled
    Edwards- seen as bullpen pitcher
    McKinney- not top level at anything, but looks solid

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Here's my issues to your list:

    Edwards is only bullpen for this season to keep him pitching longer into the season. He's on an innings count because of injuries. If he was starting, he'd be getting shut down soon. So more than likely he will be stretched out again for starting probably for next year. Even Sale started in the pen for the Sox before going back to starting. CJ's a top 50 prospect w/plenty of promise.

    Schwarber can also play OF so he's not just an AL team type trade guy... You're confusing him w/Vogelbach. He should be the only "off the table" guy on this list. I concur w/Bryan Craven. He's a special player & his LH bat behind Bryant is going to be fun to watch that lineup w/Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Russell or Baez or Castro or some combo thereof. McKinney could be the stop gap to DeWees &/or Happ TOBO.

    Russell is very tradeable. Teams want him, he's special on defense. Decent bat. Cubs have top middle infield depth... Trades should only be made from depth if possible. Close to "off the table"... but not quite in my opinion, but only for special return.

    McKinney's a top 100 prospect who can get on base. Not a center piece in a block buster trade, but as he gets closer to bigs, his stock will rise. He will be a higher avg./obp guy... Could be stop gap in a year to TOBO guys drafted this year unless a different 1 is acquired sooner. Nice addition in a trade package if needed to be. So plenty of value for him in my opinion.

  • Schwarbers bat alone even in LF will make him a top 50 player in baseball , you dont trade that guy , period , a 3-4-5 of Rizzo , Bryant Schwarber is as nasty as it gets and controlled for years .

  • Wouldn't mind getting Zobrist but not sure they need him if the only thing he does is replace Coghlan in LF.

    While Zobrist has had a good last 2 weeks, Coghlan's #s are possibly better . If the cubs need to give up someone for Zobrist to facilitate moving or trading Coghlan, why not just trade Zobrist after they get him, sounds as if he'd be worth more than Coghlan on the trade mkt?
    The cubs already have Lester/gramps and others for the intangibles , really don't know how much Zobrist adds but if he only costs rule 5 prospects then go for it but if it's for a real prospect, I don't see the need for a Zobrist rental.

    Coghlan Zobrist
    2 weeks
    B/A 333 317
    OBP 489 408
    SLG 444 585

    4 weeks
    B/A 316 256
    OBP 435 369
    SLG 461 453

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    In reply to stix:

    My feeling as well. The same goes for Kazmir.

    Let's say we get both Kazmir and Zobrist. Yeah!!!! We got them. Are these the guys that get us past the one game wildcard playoff game, assuming we make it? I say probably not.

    So we give up some lower level prospects to land these two rentals. Unless those prospects are about to be roster casualties after this season, why do we make that deal? Just so we can say we made a deal?

    Both of those guys can be added this Winter. They are not the guys we are looking for to fill the real holes we have, imo.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    That's the make or break question in a deal like that---I think Kazmir, a lifer in the AL which means numbers may be even better in NL, is definitely someone who would add immense value for the 2nd half of the year--in fact if we had him up to this point we'd have at least one additional win per fangraphs which is important...With Zobrist, his versatility and experience is key...While I like Coghlan, Zobrist is proven over a much longer period of time and can step in to left, right and 2nd...with Soler's injuries, Russell's inexperience, Castro's injury last year and Coghlan still (albeit it's now been 1.5 yeares) lack of a full body of work---I think they both add enough value to give up from our prospect base for and could help get us into that wildcard.

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    Hey guys, thanks for the lively debate. Now let's go kick some NYM butt!

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Here, here! Whatever happens, I'm sure we'll all support it. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I know it no longer makes any sense since they aren't in the same division anymore, but the Cubs beating the Mets is more fun and important to me than the Cubs beating the Cards.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I felt that way for a long time and then I spent a lot of time in St. Louis. Love the city hate, hate, hate the smug fanbase. That said I can generate some strong Mets dislike from my experiences as an 8 year old in 1969.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Let's beat the Mets tonight and the Cards in the playoffs. Go CUBS!

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    In reply to mjvz:

    #This

    We must be some old timers! LOL

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    certainly--lets knock these Mets out---snap this bad streak

    thanks, again, for taking time to read the piece and a very enjoyable debate....

  • Hey guys I'm sure this is off topic, but I have been wanting to ask this for awhile and can't think of a place with more knowledgeable cubs fans than here. I've been wondering about all the prospects the cubs have traded away over the last decade that turned out to be great players. Assuming we live in fantasy land, what would a potential lineup look like today if we could go back and keep those prospects?

  • All of the trade scenarios in the article involve pitching. I agree the Cubs need more starting pitchers that can get deep into games.
    But what about the offense?
    Over the last 6 years...the Cubs have only sent one outfielder to an all star game (Byrd). Most of the outfielders on the roster over the last 6 years would not have mlb jobs if not for expansion. The Cubs need to find some outfielders who have a proven track record of hitting.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Soler will be back soon, and either Bryant or Schwarber could end up in LF. Unless the Cubs stumble on an incredible deal, they'll probably want to keep from signing anyone long-term until they know for sure. There are lots of possibilities for CF, but I wouldn't mind them acquiring someone.

  • Here are 2 trades that were not mentioned and they are 2 pitchers that performed well for the cubs.. Matt Garza and jeff samardzia. . Neither would cost too much, and samardzia the way he has pitched if the cubs can pick him up they may now be able to sign him for a small 1 year contract so he can try to build his value back up..

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    In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    I feel like Garza isn't a fit, personally...he's been extremely poor for the most part and more than that--doesn't feel like a great fit for the locker room----remember what he said to Shark? "Pitch your way out of Chicago"--i say let him stay there-

    Shark, on the other hand, I wouldn't totally hate, however he will certainly be more expensive than someone like Kazmir as, like Kazmir, White Sox can get a comp pick for him, but unlike Kazmir, the White Sox gave up a decent package to get him in the offseason and would/will certainly be at least trying to break even with Shark--

  • Cubs win

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Good thing Matt Szczur is on our team. He hit the clutch hit to drive in our only run.

  • Torres with another good night. I wonder if he gets a late season call up to Myrtle. Penalver could take a seat as he is not a hitter.

    Beeler is effectively wild. Schwarber is having to catch him and getting his work in blocking pitches.

  • Here is one that no one is talking about. I know Cubs are in need of pitching so here is my fantasy hypothetical trade. Create a package with Baez to Miami for Dee Gordon. Then look to move Castro as a center piece for starting pitching. You move Addison Russell to short and immediately you add speed and defense to your lineup. Again, this is hypothetical and that would be contingent that Miami would move Gordon.

  • I think the Cubs will do something similar to this series of moves. First they need someone to be able to step in at 2nd base. A bit ago it was said that one trade possibility that they were considering was tabled when Baez broke his finger. Baez was starting to show some change and results and seemed on the verge of getting another chance at the major league level. I think this tied into the trade possibilities with the Mets. Earlier I believe Theo said something about a trade with them would be made when the timing was better. Although trading Baez would be a possibility, I think they were going to roll the dice on Baez having improved enough and they were going to trade Castro for Syndegaard or Matz. Although Castro is signed on a good deal, Baez is still way cheaper. Maddon likes Baez and his potential, while he has said some comments about maybe expecting that Castro should have made some adjustments or taken some further steps by now. Also, getting a cost-controlled solid young pitcher with potential for top-of-rotation frees up lots of money rather than acquiring a Hamels, Price, Zimmerman, or money from a Baez over Castro discount could be used towards one in the offseason. Baez was their best option to step in. I think if they made a deal for someone like Zobrist first then he would be that fill in and they would follow through on the Castro to Mets for a young very promising arm. When Baez proved he was fully recovered Zobrist could get more starts around the field. A pitcher with experience such as a Kazmir, Haren, CJ Wilson or even Latos would mix well along with the young Met pitcher.
    Resulting Rotation and Lineup
    Lester
    Arrieta
    Hammel
    Kazmir/Haren/Wilson/Latos
    Matz/Syndegaard

    C Montero/Ross/Schwarber
    1B Rizzo/Olt
    2B Zobrist/Baez/LaStella
    SS Russell
    3B Bryant/Olt
    LF Coughlin/Zobrist/Schwarber/Bryant
    CF Fowler/Szczur
    RF Soler/Denorfia

    All relatively cheap, controllable and young with minimal damage to our prospects. How does that sound?

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