Kaplan updates Cubs offseason outlook

David Kaplan was just on ESPN 1000 and gave some shape to the Cubs offseason.  Many of what he mentioned meshes with  the things we've heard here -- and as we've said in the past many times, Kaplan is as good as any reporter here in Chicago when it comes to accurate rumors.  Good stuff here from ESPN 1000...

Here are some of the highlights along with some of my thoughts...

  • He did not soundd optimistic on David Price and has learned that Price's first thought is not signing with the Cubs, but actually re-signing with the Blue Jays.  The Jays, meanwhile, seem willing to pay what it takes to retain him.  The speculation has been that the price tag would be $200M+ on the ace lefthander -- but Kaplan doesn't seem to think the Cubs will go that high -- nor does he think they should.
  • The Cubs are interested in Jason Heyward but not at the $175M price tag that's out there.  They think he can play CF and would bring him in if the price tag is about 5 years/$100M.  That sounds light if you ask me and it would seem Heyward could easily garner more than that.  We'll see, but I would love to have Heyward at that price -- I'd even go higher than that if that is what it takes.
  • The Cubs are very much in on John Lackey and they know they'll have to give him 2 years -- maybe 3, which they  would consider doing, even knowing  that last year would probably be an overpay.  They're hoping to get at least 2 good years and hope for the best in year 3.
  • The Cubs are indeed interested in Jeff Samardzija but Kaplan notes that a lot of teams are, so it is not like they are going to get him at a bargain rate.  He's going to get his market value, which is what he wanted all along.  It's uncertain how high the Cubs would go but history shows they won't let the market dictate a cost beyond what they consider value.
  • They are looking for a trade for a cost-controlled #2 type starter and Kaplan specifically mentions Carlos Carrasco, Shelby Miller, and Julio Teheran.  With regard to the Braves, Kaplan says they are looking for young power hitters, so he specifically mentioned Jorge Soler and Javier Baez as possibilities.  The Indians are looking for outfield help.  We know they're set in the middle infield.
  • The Cubs also seem to be willing to trade Starlin Castro -- and even include him in the same deal with Baez if necessary.  I have to assume the Cubs still have faith in Tommy LaStella and/or Arismendy Alcantara if that is the case, though I guess we shouldn't rule out  the Cubs adding a veteran stopgap 2B. They're also willing to trade Miguel Montero as they look to upgrade the catcher's position.  I am not sure where that upgrade would come from, but the Cubs still think Kyle Schwarber has a chance to catch and Willson Contreras may start the season a phone call away at Iowa.
  • The Cubs do want to extend Jake Arrieta but only at reasonable cost.  They know they have him for at least 2 years, so they won't be pressed into an extension that doesn't make sense to them.

It brings things into focus a bit and it seems like the Cubs would like 2 pitchers -- a veteran like Lackey and then a Top 3 arm like Samardzija, Miller, Carrasco, or Teheran.  If they add Heyward to that mix it would be a tremendous offseason to say the least, even if it doesn't include the much-coveted Price.

And as far as CF goes, if not Heyward then a new name I've heard a couple of times recently is the speedy, defensively oriented Ender Inciarte, who has excellent contact skills, but also isn't a perfect fit in terms of being a high OBP player at the top of the order.

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    Lots of rumors, but this hot stove doesn't feel warm enough to fry an egg. Can't wait for the Winter Meetings, and some deals to finally get done. Oh, and saying a team is interested in Heyward at $100m is another way of saying they're not really interested.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I don't know on Heyward. Early on I had heard that he was looking for a shorter deal with some opt outs. With as young as he is he could get 2 paydays and that's something very few players have the opportunity for. Give him 6/$150 with an opt out in 4 years. What you're doing then is accepting an injury risk because with a good as his skill set is, if he's healthy, he would surely opt out at 30 years old and get paid a bazillion $. Maybe that's what they're thinking because $100 mil straight up ain't gonna get it done.

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    In reply to TC154:

    What you're suggesting for Heyward makes sense, but is wildly more than the rumor John published. Of course, just rumors. Typically, if a team really wants a free agent, they are going to have to pay nearly as much as everyone else, and sell them on the team. Looks like the Cubs are bargain shopping on Heyward, so I wouldn't get my hopes up. If Price does sign with Toronto and the Giants don't land Grienke, then guys like Shark and Lackey will not come cheap. The Giants want two pitchers, they have money to burn, and no real prospects to trade.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I'm reading between lines. If they're thinking they can get away with a 4 year $100 mil commitment they know there's more to that deal.Dude's getting $25 mil per, the Cubs know that so why would they be talking about $100 million? Some folks were speculating Dexter Fowler could get close to that (I doubt it but still). There's something missing to Kaplan's rumor IMHO.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Just out of curiosity, is there any kind of draft pick compensation attached to an "opt out" or is that something that varies by contract?

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I believe so. Greinke opted out of his contract and rejected the QO from the Dodgers. Seems like the QO is independent of the option.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I would think the upgrade at catcher would have something to do with Lucroy being available?

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    If the FO thinks Heyward can play center I will believe them. Although he looked shaky against the Cubs in CF in the playoffs. I still think Heyward gets every bit of 175 mil, so I don't think the Cubs will do that. Lackey still scares me on a 3 year deal. He was very good last year, but had a few iffy years before. And I just looked up his FIP 3.57 against a 2.77 ERA last year might mean some regression. For a good deal I like him as a 4th starter. Just not for big money, or a long deal.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I think if they do a 3 year deal, it's basically with the knowledge that they'll be taking a loss in that last year. I'll take him at a 3.50 ERA if that is what he regresses to.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah it wouldn't be horrible. Especially if it is a Hammel style deal. 10-11 million a season. I just worry about a bidding war with the Giants or Cardinals. He would be an upgrade over the 4 and 5 starters last year. No offense to Hammel or Hendricks.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    If it's a bidding war I think they'll drop out.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    What really scares me about Lackey is Maddon showed the world how to get in his head this postseason. I hate the way he barks at the umpires all the time too. I realize Lester does ot as well, but one guy like that on the staff is more than enough imo. That's not the leadership I want influencing this young impressionable team. I want players I can root for, not guys to call an ahole every 5 days.

  • In reply to vegascubsfan:

    Bingo!

  • The Cubs might play a wait and see approach and hope some of these price tags go down. There are so many good free agents, so it might work out in the end. We just have to be patient.

  • In reply to TD40:

    There is always someone who slips through the cracks.

  • In reply to TD40:

    That's scary waiting to see what falls through the cracks.

  • I will gladly go on the record and state that Heyward playing CF will be nowhere near worth $180mm by the end of an eight year deal. He will be getting bigger, his defense will diminish (even if RF, and he projects as about average in CF now) and his offense is pretty paltry (compare Coghlan to Heyward in OPS and OPS+ in 2014 and 2015).

    Signing Heyward would be an albatross that would hinder the Cubs over the next 5 years, particularly if it came at the expense of Soler being traded. If I spend $23-25+ mm on someone, I want them to be one of the best players on my team -- I want them to be Trout or Harper or at least Bryant or Rizzo offensively. Heyward is nowhere near that.

  • In reply to springs:

    I agree that I would not go 8/180, but you'd never get Trout or Harper at that rate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    In a few years you wont get Rizzo or Bryant for that either, lol

  • In reply to springs:

    I would think Heyward's offense value would go up if he's playing CF.

  • In reply to SaberToothedMetric:

    But his defensive value will drop.

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    In reply to springs:

    How can it be a albatross? We signed Soriano and it worked out well. Oh wait your right . I agree let soler blossom and go get Zimmerman then leake or lackey. I like price and hope we get but if not a #2 and 4. I say be first to sign price grienke or Zimmerman and let other teams sweat it out fighting over what's left. Make the big splash. Theo preaches draft hitters pay for pitching. Go Cubs!

  • In reply to springs:

    Ok, you finally sold me. In spite of FG BP CB and any other abbreviation, including BS, and in spite of every other logical set of metrics, Chris Coghlan is the equal of Jason Heyward.
    Now that I have found the light (as is my perogotive, as defending champ, and "leading" again to this point), I would like to amend my off season picks:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg

    I enjoy your posts, but, come on. Is Heyward worth X amount of $? That's a debate. Is he worth 2x's 3x's or more then Coghlan over the next 5-8 years? I'll bank on that.

  • With tongue firmly in cheek :c)

  • In reply to springs:

    I think there is a general tendency among fans, sometimes Cubs fans in particular, to underestimate salaries. Right now 1 fWAR is valued at about $8-$10 million. Heyward was a 6 fWAR in 2015. obviously you can't pay him between $48 and $60 million annually for the years that he's going to be a 6 WAR player. The market can't and won't bear that which is why as the value of a win in fWAR has gone up so have lengths of contract.

    I think 6/$150 is very fair for Heyward. As I said elsewhere I'd give him an opt out at 4 years which, unless he's injured, he most likely takes and gets an even bigger payday elsewhere at his age 32 season. Very few guys get a second bite at FA, To continue though here's why he's worth that contract. Since we've determined you can't pay him what he's worth in his prime years you lengthen the term. if you give him a 6 year deal at that $150 mil you will expect between 15-19 fWAR over the length of the deal. If he's a 6 WAR player in the first 3 years of the deal, his 27, 28 & 29 year old seasons, for a total of 18 the deal has paid for itself in his first 3 years. That's why you give a contract like that.

    Jon Lester's 6 year contract at $155 mil is roughly the same thing expecting 15.5-19.5 fWAR over it's term. It will take Lester longer to get there but he was a 5 fWAR player in 2015, let's say he's a 5 fWAR player in 2016 and a 4.5 fWAR in 2017. That's realistic. So for the last 3 years of his deal you only have to get between 1 and 5 fWAR total over those three years to make the deal pay for itself. There's going to be value on that deal.

    Now all that said not every team can work contracts like that, and no team can sustain many. The Cubs are a big market club with a rising payroll. In my way of thinking they can handle 2 contracts like that in the same term. Maybe 3 as a stretch. I wouldn't sign Price for the rumored 7/$230 because you would need between 23 and 28 fWAR out of the life of that deal and I'm not sure, unlike the other two examples, that you can be reasonably certain he'll get there. I might sign Greinke for 6/$200 because of the type of pitcher he is. Mike Mussina is a good comp there if you look at the end of his career. All contracts carry risk in baseball. You try to mitigate it the best you can. When you look at how much guys are worth, or how much they're going to get paid you have to do the math. As a club you have to weight the risk decide whether the back end of a deal is the financial albatross someone described below. Even if it's tough money to pay say $25 mil for a 2 fWAR player in year 6 of a deal you probably do that. In the case of Heyward it's pretty unlikely that he'll be a 2 fWAR or less player in his 32 year old season.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Yeah but we have Chris Coghlan/Heyward who can play CF for a year or two until we see what we have in Soler and Baez and Almora, Happ etc.
    and THEN trade one of the above for a cost contolled TOR.
    Options and flexability are this FO's MO

  • I think if you're signing Heyward you're probably trading Soler and play Coghlan/Bryant in RF with Heyward in CF. When/if Almora gets up Heyward moves to right. CF is a huge need but pitching is going to drive everything they do I think. If they can get Shelby Miller, Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar for Soler they're going to do that. In a deal with Atlanta you'll probably have to take back salary which could be someone like Nick Markakis which would influence everything else.

  • Ender Inciarte would be a nice piece for the Cubs. I have been preaching for the Cubs to hook up with Arizona. They have OF depth, could use infield help and they have done business before. I am sure a few prospects would go both ways I would like a young, cost-controlled CF like him.

    Lackey, is meh in my book. I think they could do better than him for the money. Plus we all know we dont like him:) Honestly I would rather given a bigger one year deal to Cahill he is younger has proven he can start AND be useful out of the pen. A perfect swing man and/or 6th or 7th starter. I see no reason why they wouldn't give him a chance to beat out Hammel or Hendrick in spring training. And if he flops only a 1 year deal.

    I would love Heyward but at $150 plus no thanks! But at 4 years $100 or an opt-out sign me up. Trading both Castro & Baez could be dangerous BUT if they get 1 or 2 controlled young pitchers, pull the trigger. They enough infield depth in the minors and I am sure could pull another trade to find a platoon partner with LaStella. I would rather keep Castro though, as John as stated earlier he is at least a "different" type of hitter and makes contact.

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    In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    The problem with trading with Arizona is that they clearly need starting pitching, and that will be the price for Enciarte. If the Cubs sign a couple starters maybe Hendricks would be a way to make a match.

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    In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Ronnie?

  • In reply to Christopher Wolff:

    Yes its me:)

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Inciarte is maybe the best available CF out there, even tho hes not great offensively, hes a top tier defender(Id say him and AJ Pollock are similar defenders) and hes about what Addison Russell was this year on offense, with more speed and lesspop.

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    Interesting. I picked Inciarte as a trade possibility the picks game. Now if we sign Zimmerman and trade for Carasco, I'll be in the money.

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    How much/who would we have to give up for Enciarte? Just a quick look seems to indicate that he is Almora's ceiling, though he is a couple years older. He has 1000+ MLB PAs so it isn't a terribly small sample size and his slash line is .292/.329/.385. Not great, but solid defense and good speed I would take that. He is still in early enough in his career we will have plenty of time to sort out what we want to do. By the time he reaches arbitration we will have a lot better idea what we have in Almora, EJM, DeWees, Wilson, Hannemann, maybe even Happ if he moves to OF.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I am guessing prospects or Castro/Baez. Honestly trading him for Castro and say cash makes some sense, in relation to the Gardner rumors. Basically wipe Castro's money from the books to use for other areas like pitching and open a spot up for Baez.

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    In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I like him but worry about his OBP. He had a good one last year and he's only 25 so maybe he's beginning to come into his own. If he can keep his OBP then let's trade, say, Castro and a midlevel prospect.
    What about Castro and Zagunis? Would that do it?

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I would honestly be very tempted. The other possibility is that we send Castro + cash. If we want them to take his full contract we would have to include a prospect. I don't really know their needs so can't comment on that. I would be hesitant to trade Baez but would certainly consider Castro + Zagunis.

    As for his OBP he has 1000+ PAs at the major league level and his OBP is not too bad. I would love it to be 40 points higher but he is young enough that he might be able to raise it to .335-.345.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Joel, I chose Zagunis because I thought he might be a replacement to Inciarte, maybe not right now but within a year or two and with Castro it would fill 2 needs.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think Zagunis is destined for LF and emergency catcher. That has value but not as much as what Enciarte would provide.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    the Snakes need starting pitching. Have 2-3 decent kids in the minors, maybe 2 yrs or so away, but none of them project any better than MOR types. They've cooled on Bradley as a potential TOR. Castro might make sense for them , since 2b is one of there weaker positions. Other position they need is catcher, tho Beef wasn't bad back there last year, they think hes about an 100-110 gameper yr catcher.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    This is exactly right. I struggle with finding a logical fit on a trade with the Diamondbacks for Inciarte. They're in on all the same pitchers as the Cubs including Shelby Miller who Atlanta asked for Pollock for, which was a non starter. As you say they have a glut of pitchers who all project as MOR types at best so Hendricks wouldn't interest them. I think Inciarte would be a very good piece for the Cubs but I can't see how they acquire him.

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    I heard Kapman when he reported these rumors. It got me excited again. I really would love to sign Heyward but also thought that 5/$100M figure was a bit light. Maybe more like 5/$125M could make it more attractive to him as he could get paid all over again at age 31.

    Personally, I don't think Heyward is the CF for the entire length of that contract. I'm getting the vibe that Soler may get traded also. So in 2016 we could see Heyward in CF until Almora is ready. We would see a platoon out in RF for 2016.

    The item that you didn't mention was that Kapman also said in spite of what you read the Cubs are in fact, shopping Miguel Montero. It got me stumped. Do they really think Schwarber will work out back there? Is Contreras closer than we think? Is Ross getting more time back there? Just don't understand that part just yet.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    What they really need to do is shop Ross! I know whole clubhouse thing but he cant hit a lick and is clogging a roster spot. I would rather keep Montero & be done with Ross. If Lester were not on the team neither would he. Just amazes they spend $155 for an ace who can only pitch to one guy and cant throw to the bases.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I don't think that they trade either Ross or Montero. Schwarber and Contreras could be the main guys soon, but vet receivers are important for a competitive team.

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    In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Ross isn't going anywhere. The Cubs told him they value him as much or more for his "off-the-field" stuff so he knew coming in that they stood behind him and won't just "get rid of him" when he struggles to hit.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think all things point to a partial platoon of Schwarber and Contreras at some point in the future with Contreras getting most of the work behind the plate. Might be tough to start the year that way with Contreras having no AAA experience as yet.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    That's my thinking as well. I was jst a little surprised to hear what Kap was talking about. I trust that he's got more info than I in this matter.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    He makes $14 Million. End of story.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Our new EJax

  • In reply to TheBoom:

    Probably not fair. Montero has a lot of value on the field even if it is less than the cost of his salary. EJax had a negative value as a starter and neutral value as a reliever. He was untradable because of his decreased ability and high contract, but I think Montero has enough ability where he could be traded with financial inducements included. With that said I don't think Montero will be traded but we will see.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    But if you are heyward, why would you take a discounted contract to do a stint in a platoon, when you can get more money and not platoon somewhere else?

  • I would be perfectly happy with them not signing Price and instead signing Samardzija and making a trade for someone like Carrasco.

    I had not seen that the Heyward asking price would be so high. That seems beyond what I would expect the Cubs to want to pay, especially if they're going after pitching.

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    I'm sure they're hoping others feel the same way. Heyward's a great fit if they think he can play a passable CF.

  • If the management thinks that Lackey is worth a chance at 3 years worth of contract,.... I'll bow to their far better than mine knowledge of baseball & player valuation,..... but I don't like the idea. Just have a feeling that last year will be a loss-leader.

    But adding somebody like Lackey to one of Carlos Carrasco, Shelby Miller, or Julio Teheran at the cost of somebody like Soler or Baez is probably not a bad deal. Would prefer the Cubs go after Danny Salazar if they are trading with the Indians though.

    A rotation of Arrieta, Lester, Lackey, Hammel & Salazar sure doesn't sound like a bad one,.... Especially if they have guys like Hendricks, Wood and perhaps P. Johnson jockeying for the #6 slot in the SP rotation.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I think if they sign him for 3 years they'd do so knowing that last year will likely be a loss. They'll understand that going in.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fair enough,.... and - if during those first couple of seasons Lackey provides a solid #4 SP value, and eats up 180+ innings with an ERA under 4.00 or so,.... and especially if he helps the Cubs vault into the playoffs again both seasons,...

    It'll probably have been worth the loss in value taken for season 3 of such a contract.

    Would prefer they not pay lackey more per season than they currently have for Hammel though.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    salazar isnt a #5 int that rotation

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Wasn't really thinking of that as an 'order UT - just a list of the 'top 5'

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Salazar would be a 2/3 over here. I don't know, seeing the Indians in spring training every year Im not overly comfortable with Salazar or Bauer. Guys seem like they cant pitch under pressure, where Kluber and Carrasco can .

  • I think yanking Henricks out of the rotation at this point would be short sighted. trade him for value, fine, but having him as the #6 guy would be dumb.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    It's not dumb if you can improve the rotation to the point where he becomes Starter #6. People will see his value over the last two seasons, and as a swing man / spot starter, he could realistically have more value. On a competing team,having him as the #6 should be incredible. Also consider that Hammel, not Hendricks, might be the odd man out in the rotation.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I think demoting a home grown 26 year old starter with a 3.5 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, and a 3.5:1 K:BB ratio in 45 starts who is about to enter his prime years would be dumb. We would be tanking his value.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    When your team wins 97 games and is on the cusp of something bigger, you enter the off season with the idea of improving the team. If the Cubs get two top shelf pictures, the depth chart lowers. I am at that point not worried about Hendricks or Hammel's value in a trade. We will be a better team and Having Hendricks step in for an injured pitcher is a luxury. I love Hendricks, but it's not dumb to put him as the 6th starter when your team improves leaps and bounds in front of him.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    I agree on the demotion part, but I'd be willing to sell high on Hendricks. In other words, I'd be willing to include him in a package for a youngish pitcher with higher upside. But I'm in no hurry to deal him!

  • agree with that

  • Sounds to me like Kaplan is all over the place... So basically... The Cubs are willing to deal and upgrade Castro, Baez, Montero and Soler... Sounds like they're rebuilding again... I didn't know the 2015 team was that bad...

  • In reply to Caps:

    Trading Castro, Baez, Montero and Soler puts them one step closer to Kaplan's dream of an all-Anglo team

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Really! So Kaplan is a racist!! You know what's worse than a racist? A race baiter.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Thanks, .44. I was going to say the same thing. It does get old.

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    Why don't I see more transactions regarding players eligible for the Rule 5 draft? You would think there would be a lot of maneuvering in that week prior. I have thought of the many reasons why not but I would like to get the real scoop, if someone would care to indulge me, I would appreciate it.

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    The 40 man rosters for rule five drafting purposes are already fixed. Deadline last week. So there are no more transactions.

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Oh, Jim! You just don't know! Scroll back here on some of John's articles here on Cubs Den will give you all the maneuverings you need to know. I will try to summarize here in just a minute. I have been so busy keeping up with the pre rule 5 draft I can barely breathe!

  • In reply to rickmonday:

    With the addition of our four minor leaguers to our 40-man roster last Friday (inf Jeimer Candelario, C Willson Contreras, rhp Pierce Johnson, and 1b Dan Vogelbach) LEAVING AT LEAST FIVE REAL GOOD ONES UNPROTECTED! (I know, no screaming for Corey Black and Felix Pena, etc.) tbc...

  • In reply to rickmonday:

    Other maneuverings included a trade with Texas last Friday for php Spencer Patton; two recent waiver claims of rhrp Ryan cook from Boston (interesting) and lhrp Jack Leathersich from the nym (wow), plus the addition of 6yr MiL fa Andury Acevedo from the nyy. Each one of these are very exciting moves leaving our fo three spots to fill from that draft and trades yet to come! Ok. I'm finished!

  • In reply to rickmonday:

    Thank you, rickmonday, for indulging Jim Pedigo of the latest roster moves. As you pointed out, he has apparently not been following Cubs Den recently. Judging by the tone of your response, and unfortunately many others very recently, neither have you. I think this a good time to remind everyone that when you visit this site, there is a link titled "commenting policy". Maybe some have missed it. We try to keep things civil and respectfull towards one another. Click on it, it's interesting.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Oh, no! Mr. Barley! "Judging by your tone..." Oh please, no! I was emphasising upbeat and wasn't going to go with whom he seemed like a new reader. I've been at The Den for what must be five+ years, more when the timeframe of when this Den was (might have been) the Cubs insider guy (I am sorry, his name escapes me at this moment) AND Mr. John Arguello. (With MAD apologies to Mr Arguello if I have that backwards!). Certainly you are right, Barley, that the commenting policy is a great place to start to keep ones comments where they should be and I can only hope that I had!

  • Heyward in a heartbeat for 100 million, but it's not happening. I would like him though. Rarely does a position player become available at his age.

    I also don't think we need David Price.

    I know we all have our favorite rookies and Jorge happens to be mine. I just don't think you can trade a guy with his eye at his age.

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    This sounds like something Kaplan heard in a dream. Trading guys that he has been pushing out the door, for one reason or another. Have we heard this anyone else?

  • In reply to Betty Amie:

    Sounds like it to me... Maybe his source is Jack Daniels...

  • In reply to Caps:

    Mr. Daniels is well-respected in the Appalachian region. My go-to source in the Mexican League is a Mr. Jose Cuervo.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Good source, that Jose loves to party though lol.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Seagrams owns the Blue Jays. Is that your source for all things Canadian? (Seagrams also owns the NHL Maple Loafs)

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Seagrams does not own the Jays; they are controlled by Rogers (think of them as a Canadian Comcast).

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I would confer with Mr. Don Julio instead. Anejo. Neat.

  • I think trading Jorge would be a mistake. He's only going to get better and I have to assume he won't be required by the umpires to swing at pitches 6 inches outside this year.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    I agree with you. It would have to be more than a guy like Teheran or the like. Soler will be a stud.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    Soler had some of the worst strikes called on him that I have ever seen. We all saw how bad the umps treated him in the box. I'm truly impressed he never lost his chit. I know I would've. The kid has the eye and power. And that arm tho....

  • In reply to IndicaPro:

    especially early in the year. Joe West calling him out on a pitch that bounced 5 feet in front of the plate?????

  • Yea I really hope most of this is noise.Because it sounds pretty underwhelming.Why in the world would trading castro and baez and replacing them with a stopgap 2b,la stella or alcantara make any sense unless you're getting a cost controlled ace.I love alcantara but he struggled at triple a last year.Heyward for 5 years 100 mil is almost laughable when he can get a longer term contract for more money with an opt out.

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    I'm going to be extremely disappointed if we get a over rated outfielder, a pitcher that over the hill and we trade a potential superstar in either baez or soler for a pitcher when we can get 2 good starters on the free agent market with money this team clearly has. Were falling for the were only a mid market team when it comes to the salary cap. If we don't wind up with 1 of the top 4 pitchers on the market I cant understand how anyone who spent thousands at the park this year can't/won't be PO"D. This team at a minimum should sign Zimmerman shark or the old guy plus fowler and not blink.

  • In reply to Ralph Larosa:

    I agree with you completely, people might say that it is not our front offices m.o. 2 be a top market type spender. . But it should be, we were in the past.. and this is chicago, it should be top 3 with n.y. and l.a... so spending on fowler, shark amd lackey would not be a bad idea.. and it really wouldn't be as costly as 1 might think..

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    In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    I want a top 4 pitcher... Id go Zimmerman and lackey plus Fowler and don't mess with the chemistry of this offense at all!!!

  • In reply to Ralph Larosa:

    And that's without giving up and bats.. if we could swing the starlin for Gardner trade even if we had to add a couple pieces or just baez then you do it and don't have to sign fowler..

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    In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    Not big on Gardner would rather they stand pat with the offense entirely....

  • FWIW Fangraphs really likes Heyward even on a huge contract like $195 million over 9 years. See for example http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-bargains-of-the-2016-free-agent-class/

  • In reply to October:

    It makes sense for almost any team except for the cubs.. they do not want to be obligated to anyone that long unless it's very cost controlled... and I agree with the logic, but offer him a 5 year 130 million contract and I think that is worth it. A little more yearly with less years, maybe some options for additional years and than would say it's worth it.. but heyward will demand more then that easily.. just not the type of contract that this cubs team should be giving out.. I see him possibly landing in l.a. (the angels side of town).. it looks like 1 of there type contracts

  • As you've mentioned several times, I think this off-season is going to be a lot more tame than many expect. Kaplan seems to be on that boat as well.

    I think the biggest piece they will add will be a trade for a solid young pitcher. If they don't make progress on that front, then I think they'll go in hard after a top 5 free agent starter but I don't see them landing Price or Grienke in any scenario and at their age and projected salary, I'm ok with that. The Lester signing was a great feeling at the time but I'm not sure I'll like it by 2018 and it's probably the main reason the Cubs won't land the top FA SP this season.

    I really don't want Shark back at all though, that guy just irritates me and I've never been a big fan. Signing him would disappoint me and I'd put that transaction right in the Edwin Jackson signing category.

  • In reply to dbone:

    Sharks personality is a little irritating but you never really heard any complaints about him from teammates or f.o... so I don't have an issue grabbing him if the price is right..

  • In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    That's true, I haven't heard any teammates or coaches hint at any of that either, so that's good at least. I still think he'll get a pretty big pay day. I'm hopeful that chases the Cubs away from him. A buddy of mine that has some ties to the industry seems to think he'll sign for around 4 years and 72-76 million.

  • In reply to dbone:

    It's all about the value in the contract when it comes to shark and the cubs. . If he was willing to take a hometown discount say at 5 years 75, then I consider it.. but I don't think he is someone you invest anymore then 75 million in.. and he's lucky to get that after his last year's numbers...he don't even deserve what the cubs offered him 2 years ago, but he will get it easily..

  • I would love to have David price in my rotation of course, but not at the deal he will get... to me the only pitcher that is actually worth 200+ million would be Kershaw... either way I like the idea of them spreading out that 200 million on multiple pitchers.. and all this talk about trading soler or baez (who I would rather see go than soler) for a young cost controlled pitcher could be a good idea if it is starlin or baez, or even a solid multiple prospect package from the minors, but a bad idea if it's soler.. I even saw an article regarding a wheeler for soler trade, wheeler won't even return til June if not later and as much as we need pitching, why would we give up future all star everyday playing studs like soler for a future all star pitcher who plays every 5 games when we could open up our checkbooks and aquire 2 upper middle type starters on the open market.. spend about the same as you would per year for price and grab lackey for 2-3 years and samardzia for that 5 year 85 million contract he turned down last year.. with money left over to either resign dexter or span.. I just don't think theo and company want to give up there "babies" referring to someone like soler who has such huge upside. . They would be more willing to trade from the farm system or guys like starlin or baez who they didn't draft.. someone like the Braves or San Diego who are in a longer rebuilding process then the indians, might be more apt to taking a deal excluding soler (who really should be on the untouchables with bryant, schwarbs, and russell)...

  • Unless fernandez is really available, then you give up soler in a heart beat.. I would include baez or castro in that as well with 3 or so more prospects.. I would almost give up starlin baez and soler for him, with maybe lower grade prospects. . Same goes for kluber but they wouldn't be interested in castro or baez..

  • Zimmerman and samardzia would be a soler pick up and avoiding trading any bats..

  • In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    Solid*

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    In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    I 100% agree I'm going to be upset if after this promising season we go on the cheap and start trading players with star potential away. Don't cripple the offense for pitching if you don't have too. Going after FO has its pro's and cons but the biggest pro is you can see durability over time and take a chance now.

  • In reply to Ralph Larosa:

    The Cubs have legitimate financial constraints this offseason. They can certainly acquire a few players, but the spending will not be as big as you think or hope.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    N o but the spending I was referring to would be pretty cost effective considering our payroll situation and the market value

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    I love the idea of Shelby Miller.

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    In reply to martywine:

    As long as it doesn't take any major league talent to get him, I'm game.

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    Jeff S is not a top 3 pitcher, but with that being said, signing either Lackey or Jeff, and adding a young TOR arm would be a great offseason.

  • In reply to Geoff Shipp:

    Jeff is easily a number 3 starter for a world series competing rotation.. without a doubt, but he could end up n bei ng our #4 in front of hendricks...

  • In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    Agreed. I think Samardzija is a top 3 arm as well. Maybe a 2 in the right situation. He certainly outpitched a lot of #2 starters in his time with the Cubs.

  • I like the idea of signing Heyward to play center next year at $20-$25 annually for 6-8 years. Once almora, ejm, or happ are ready to take over cf, Heyward can move to a corner and we can reevaluate soler and schwarber at that time. Maybe Schwarber is able to catch full time, maybe soler proves to be a dh and gets traded to the AL.

    I also like the idea of signing samardzija to a 4-5 year deal at $15 per year and then trading Castro and/or baez for young pitching.

  • Interesting OT tidbit...
    The Dodgers are spending $168M on things not Dodgers.
    $88M on international signings.
    $80M for players not to play for the Dodgers.

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    You have to realize that the dodgers are essentially spending that money over the next three years, after this year they will be blocked for going over the spending limits for the next two years, so 88 over 3 years for a haul of talent they are getting is really smart, hope Theo will follow suit.

  • In reply to tater:

    I fully expect the Cubs to blow way through their limits when they get the chance.
    Gotta strike before the inevitable draft comes...

  • If the cubs can move Montero's contract, that allows shwarber to catch, coghlan to play left, and that money can be spent on a new dexter fowler contract. I like it!

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    You've seen Schwarber catch right? Also if they were going to do that I'd expect them to sign Heyward, not Fowler. I really hope they don't trade Montero unless they have something else up their sleeves. The idea of Schwarber/Ross for all of 2016 is frankly terrifying.

  • In reply to TC154:

    You've got to get him semi-regular time back there sooner than later. They've said numerous times they believe in him becoming a catcher. A full off-season and spring training to work on it will really help.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I think he'll get 1 day a week at C in 2016. He just plain isn't ready for anymore than that. This is a team that needs to improve it's defense not take a gigantic step back. Yes, I think ideally they hope he's at least a part time catcher for them for a a few years, it adds to his value and makes sense with Contreras, but he was awful in 2015 back there and the kind of leap you're talking about for him to catch 5 days a week makes little sense.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I guess I just don't see the point of 1 day a week. If he's gonna catch, you need to let him catch or he will never improve back there. I know saying this might get me banished around here but I wouldn't even be opposed to him starting in AAA and splitting time with Contreras until they find a deal for Montero by the deadline.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I don't know that it gets you banished but c'mon now. How do you keep that bat out of lineup? Honestly I think that might have been the plan at one point but Schwarber made himself a vital part of the team that needs to play everyday. More than catching he needs to get comfortable facing left handed pitching and he's only going to do that playing every day and he's nowhere near ready as a catcher. Now, when Contreras is up in a year or so and Montero is gone I can see him catching 2-3 times a week. He's never going to be an everyday guy though.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I suppose if Contreras is a sure thing then that makes sense

  • In reply to TC154:

    If I recall correctly it was a passed ball by Montero that led to the game winning run against the Mets in the playoffs, not Schwarber. Montero threw out about 20% of attempted baserunners and had trouble with blocking balls in the dirt. I am not advocating for Schwarber full time, but I definitely would not miss Montero...
    The only thing Montero did well was accept blame. He would step up in the post game and say, "Yeah, Strop buried that pitch, but I called for it and should have stopped it." I will give him that, but not worth $14M to teach youngsters how to accept blame.

  • In reply to Charodej:

    I didn't say he was a perfect player. He was a 2.0 fWAR player and based what the value of that is he's fairly paid. The range for a player that nets you 2 wins above replacement is about $12-$16 mil AAV. He sits in the middle. Yes, they can improve behind the plate but without someone to replace him the conversation seems pointless.

  • You've got to get him semi-regular time back there sooner than later. They've said numerous times they believe in him becoming a catcher. A full off-season and spring training to work on it will really help.

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    In reply to DarBar15:

    Schwarber as a fulltime catcher would be a bad mistake.. He is not ready and the pitching staff would could be affected.... Keep Schwarber in LF and trade Cogs.... Cogs isnt more than a 4th/5th OF

  • In reply to rynofan74:

    We'll have to agree to disagree on Coghlan. Pretty sure that I think more of him than most in here.

  • I would pay Zimmermann 6/ 145 and call it an offseason, keep the young bats and have the solid top 3 for postseason , don't overthink it

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    That's way too much for Zimmermann on a TJ repaired arm. Samardzija is a very similar pitcher with less innings on a non surgically repaired arm and is undervalued some right now because of a terrible year. If it's 6/$120 for Zimmermann and 5/$90 for Shark I might go with Zimmermann but I think you can get Samardzija for about 5/$85 and if JZ gets numbers like you say I sign Shark and reunite him with Chris Bosio in a heartbeat.

  • I think there are too many thoughts because there has been so little movement. The youth & talent were used terrifically by the best manager in baseball. He needs to have the opportunity to do it again - no trades of the youthful 5 nor Almora or the 2 fall league all-stars nor Johnson nor Edwards. You sign 2 pitchers Zimmerman and the Shark - you re-up Fowler - you add Zobrist. You reduce staff to max of 12 arms - and keep Woods - Cahill - Richard - done

  • I am a math major and technology architect. - all the stats in the world cannot measure effort - heart - desire - fundamentals - and the ability to work hard together as a team - those determine winners - you can tell with someone like Bryant immediately. Those are qualities Zobrist and Zimmerman have- look at David Ross and what he brings to the table - and Chis Denorfia - those guys contributed more than anyone - so I use wish people would stop with comparisons and look at life a little more I'm making up a team. I clearly hope after 2016 that David Ross is a coach under Madden with the Cubbies.

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