Cubs putting stock in Soler...and it could pay big dividends

Once the Cubs signed Jason Heyward, perhaps the best defensive RFer in baseball, the speculation about what happens to Jorge Soler began to circulate.  It seemed only natural.  The Cubs were still said to want a young, cost controlled starter and/or a true CFer.   Other organizations looking for a RH power hitter, a commodity in increasingly rare supply, called the Cubs about Soler.  Presumably they believed the Cubs had to trade Soler because rumored offers were numerous...but vastly underwhelming.

In an interview with Bruce Levine Saturday, Theo Epstein made it clear that the Cubs are happy to start the season with Heyward in CF and Soler in RF.

We are putting our stock into his future,” Epstein said.  “Barring anything [an overwhelming trade offer], he knows to ignore all the trade rumors and take it as a compliment.”

The Cubs understandably are enamored with Soler's offensive potential.  The numbers didn't show it last year but only Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber had a higher hard contact rate than Soler last season (35.9%).  And we started to see some of that translate into the postseason when Soler also seemed to find the disciplined approach he displayed throughout the minor leagues.

... it wasn’t that hard to scout the postseason and see what he did during a nine- or 10-game stretch. He and (Kyle) Schwarber were the two most locked-in guys we had. I love this guy’s future. I think his bat could be as good as anyone in the game from a power standpoint, as soon as he learns to loft the ball a little more.”

We talked about the potential monster lineup ourselves at the time of the deal and shortly afterward, when we talked about the benefits of keeping Soler and acquiring a strong defensive OFer (we used Jake Marisnick at the time as one example).

Defense is becoming more important as the Cubs try to round out a championship caliber roster and yesterday we talked about the relative inexperience of Soler and Schwarber in the OF -- and that they would both need to work hard on it this offseason and spring.  According to Epstein, that already seems to be the case...

“As for Jorge’s defense, we have challenged him to get a little bit leaner and better,” Epstein said. “We want him to work on his jumps in right field, and that is what he is working on now. I just watched some videos of him training, and he looks great. He is down to 225 and is working hard on his quickness and flexibility. He looks fantastic. This guy wants to play. He did not like that when he returned from his injury last year he wasn’t playing every day. We loved the way he worked his way back into the lineup ...:

Soler has the physical ability to be a good outfielder.  He is a good athlete with average speed and a powerful arm, but he did look a little stiff out there at times.  Perhaps getting to the more lean, athletic build he had earlier in his pro career will give him the greater mobility he needs out there.  He has to work at it, though.  Defense has never come as easily to Soler as hitting has.

At the plate, Soler would potentially give the Cubs a 2nd RH power bat -- a luxury to be sure, but it is a luxury the Cubs can certainly afford if he can improve his defense.

And if Soler continues to show the discipline and power he showed in the postseason, the Cubs offense could become the most feared in baseball.  What makes it even scarier for opponents is that every key member of this offense is either cost-controlled or is signed for at least the next 3 years.

There is a big part of me that really wants to see what kind of damage the Cubs could do with their current projected starting lineup.  And as the baseball adage goes, sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make.

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  • Despite being someone that has repeatedly talked about trades involving him, I actually do like Soler. I see him as an above average overall player with most of his value at the plate. I don't think he's a perennial All Star but I'd bet money he makes a few. If he does become power hitter you and some others have projected he could be scary. I guess that's why I was so surprised that he wasn't able to bring back a pitcher in trade, maybe not by himself but certainly as the key piece. I don't know if it's injuries that scare people or, as you say here, that especially after the Heyward acquisition people figured he had to be moved but either way the lack of value that seemed to be offered in return was puzzling. Let's hope that everyone outside the organization is massively underestimating this kid as well as underestimating Heyward as a CF. Wouldn't that be a thing?

  • In reply to TC154:

    I have also mentioned Soler s a prime trade candidate, but I now certainly hope the Cubs keep him and see what we have. His bat is explosive, and if you stand 30 feet away as you can in ST, you can't help but be impressed.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Theo seems very reluctant to overpay. And he seems very reluctant to part with his cheap, high upside prospects. At least it hasn't happened yet. I'm glad Soler will be sticking around! I did not read yesterday's post on defense, but from the projections I have read (ZIP), Castro is actually projected to be a better defensive second baseman than Zobrist. Zobrist has a high projected WAR, due to better offense. And he makes more contact. Even Heyward, who will play CF, isn't really a defensive emphasis. The team is built on pitching and OBP and power; now add some contact. It is not a team built on defense. The hope seems to be that Soler and Schwarber and Bryant will improve with coaching and experience.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I not sure about reluctant to overpay but more over valuing players like Soler. Most Cubs fans always post deals that are one sided in favor of the Cubs. Most also always project players at reaching their ceiling which is not realistic. Soler could turn into a 2-3 WAR player but not the huge impact player most project on this and other boards. The outfield defense also may not be much of an upgrade over last year even though it was supposed to be a priority. I still think Soler is moved and Heyward plays right and Cubs acquire a true centerfielder.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I don't really think Epstein is over valuing players like Soler. I think other GMs are under valuing them while trying to get them in a trade. After all who knows Soler better, our FO or the other 29 GMs out there? Think about it.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Are you suggesting that you are better than Theo/Jed at player evaluation and valuation? Sure sounds like it.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I've said the entire off season that I don't think the Cubs should part with Soler for anything less than an Archer or a Carrasco, nor do I think they will. I didn't buy Soler/Inciarte either. I think that 2-3 WAR is not Soler's ceiling - I think it's his floor.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I slightly disagree. I don't think that this team is "built" yet. I still think it is under construction. Not all of the prospects on the MLB roster have developed enough for the team to go "all in" on a plan. Soler and Baez in particular. If Baez shows continued progression and can develop into a reliable second RH power threat in the lineup, I think he would make Soler more movable from the Cubs perspective.

    I do think that a move is inevitable. The infield defense should be above average, if not good. Starting catcher doesn't control the run game very well, but is otherwise, I'd say, above average defensively. The outfield defense, with Heyward in CF, seems like an obvious weakness right now. Hopefully, Soler improves in RF, I know that he has potential to be an average to above-average RF (especially considering that arm). But, as I said, if Baez shows continuous (and rapid) progression, and proves to be an above-average CF...Heyward moves to RF...Soler is all of a sudden redundant.

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    In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    I think Soler could eventually be traded. But Soler and another high-end prospect for Inciarte: I imagine most observers would see that as an overpay. And I don't see Theo willing to do that. At least he hasn't yet. He has done a great job of getting value without overpaying. And I'm confident he will continue to do so.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    It would be a major overpay IMO. I can only guess off season flavor of the month trends drive up the perceived value of some players. Inciarte being one of them. He's a nice little player but that's about it. He's not Mickey Mantle. Or for that matter Dexter Fowler. He scored all of 73 runs hitting in front of Pollock & Goldschmidt. How he became worth giving up multiple top prospects is beyond me. Yes, he's a fine defender. But so is Almora and my guess is his offensive production will mirror or exceed Inciarte.

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    It's hard to believe an elite right fielder is somehow a liability in CF. I'm a huge Fowler fan but even I acknowledge that Heyward is upgrade in CF. Personally speaking I'd rather have a solid premium position CF than an elite RF.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Good points. Heyward sounds excited about playing CF. Siler losing a few lbs and working on his defense can only help. Remember, he's only played about 2 seasons of baseball over the last 4 seasons. He's got some catching up to do. If his being locked in in the playoffs is a glimpse of his upside, his ceiling is very high!

  • In reply to TC154:

    If that is a thing, then the Cubs are going to be an absolute nightmare for the rest of the league! I hope it is a thing. If Soler improves that D and Heyward plays CF at least half as well as he plays RF, I'd be thrilled.

  • In reply to TC154:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­.­c­o­­m

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    Cubs games are going to be absurdly long this year because we're going to score 10 runs per!! I cannot wait to watch this team again!!!!

  • In reply to ALLC3:

    And take a ton of pitches. Here was the avg pitches per plate appearance for the projected Cubs lineup...

    2015 Pit/PA
    3.84 Heyward
    4.02 Zobrist
    4.06 Bryant
    3.92 Rizzo
    4.24 Schwarber
    4.00 Soler
    4.07 Montero
    4.12 Russell

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Those numbers will eat up a staff. They will have in impact for a couple days after facing this lineup.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That is why I think the games will be long. LOTS of "commercial breaks" for a reliever to get some pitches in. By the 3rd or 4th game of the series the Cubs will have seen every reliever at least 1x.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Some company is going to get a lot of exposure with a "Call to the pen" type sponsorship.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    2015 slash
    .293/.359/.439/.797 Heyward
    .276/.359/.450/.809 Zobrist
    .275/.369/.488/.858 Bryant
    .278/.387/.512/.899 Rizzo
    .246/.355/.487/.842 Schwarber
    .262/.324/.399/.723 Soler
    .248/.345/.409/.754 Montero
    .242/.307/.389/.696 Russell
    ______________________
    .265/.350/.446/.797 Average
    With a 4.03 per plate average. Not too shabby. And If I were to guess, Schwarber, Soler and Russell will probably go up with a full season of health. Heyward may hit for more power. Plus with the protection there is no break for the opposing pitcher. Heyward did have nice protection last year with Holliday though...

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Boy, Heyward and Rizzo need to get a "mature approach" at the plate. They are WAY too aggressive! LOL

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's about 129 pitches per game (given about 33 batters per game).

  • In reply to awfullyquiet:

    Well there are 27 outs per game, so you are counting on the Cubs getting an average of 6 hits and walks per game. I would think it would be closer to 13 hits/walks per game. That would be 40 PAs times 4 pitches per AB coming to 160 pitches a game. Our opponents are going to get tired arms. :)

  • In reply to John57:

    Whoops. Yeah, I read an AB stats instead of PA. Which was 38 PA/game not 33 PA/game in 2015. It'd put us at 148, given a 3.9 P/PA. It's late. Reading stats is bad for my eyes.

  • In reply to awfullyquiet:

    That's not going to be fun for opposing managers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point. And I think Soler will go up about .2 this season with the brutal umpiring he endured in the first half. Goes to show his character as well that he never exploded and lost control during pathetic balls/strikes calls.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    What's the league average?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Fowler was 4.09 and Castro 3.70, the difference between Heyward and Zobrist is less than .1 PPA. Let's get real, that's a slight improvement but it's not going to change the number of pitchers used in 2016 vs 2015 used vs the cubs.

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    Not to mention the best backup around in Javi.

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    I can feel good about Javier coming in at just about any position if there is an injury.

  • Just saw the MLB posting of Sunday night games for the first half of the year. Cubs are not on at all but, Red Sox and Yankees play three times. They are certainly missing out on a huge viewership by not having our Cubs at least once. Maybe the second half will be different.

  • In reply to Ironman129:

    That is disappointing.

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    In reply to Ironman129:

    I guess two sunday night games in I believe 4 weeks, Jake threw 2 shutouts ( Pitt n LA ) including a no no in LA. I guess they didn't want to risk running into Jake throwing shutouts on Sunday night baseball.

    Knuckleheads

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Chicks (and apparently network programmers) dig the long ball!

  • By all accounts Cubs FO have made a decision coming out of ST where Soler [and Schwarber] will be the starting in the corner OF spots and Heyward will be in CF for whatever constitutes Maddon's everyday lineup.

    So now as the OF is unbalanced in its depth now Coghlan & Szczur, with Zobrist, Baez and Alcantara is IF/OF options, in all likelihood see some movement for defensive oriented OF'ers that will allow for greater run prevention when the game situation calls for it.

    No one ever really knows but this is when cliche's come forward as one in particular, "sometimes the best trade is the one not made".

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    La Stella too

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It will be interesting to see how they use La Stella next year. He had more of an obvious role before Zobrist/Castro moves. LaStella has a skillset that's very useful off the bench, though, particularly that elite contact rate

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I agree La Stella's role was easier for me to imagine before Zobrist. But, like you said, he could be solid off the bench and there will be games where the contact rate will be hugely important. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start 40-50 games between 2B, 3B, and maybe some LF depending on the situation/injuries/etc.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    SSS but he showed a knack for PH late in the year. He won't kill you at 2B or 3B. He will get some opportunities at double switches and be the first or second lefty off the bench for pinch hitting depending on the situation.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    IDK if Szczur brings enough to make this 25 man roster. He would definitely be better served with regular PT, but that will have to come elsewhere.

    Bryant/Zobrist/Baez/LaStella, etc can play in the OF and that gives Joe a lot of flexibility where he can carry an extra BP arm.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    My guess is that Szczur and Villanueva are waived and offered minor league contracts UNLESS Szczur manages to really impress in ST. Villanueva is just too far down in the depth chart right now and not having any options left hurts him.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The Cubs definitely have decisions to make on the 25-man roster. It is possible that the versatility of the roster affords the option of carrying an 8-man pen. I doubt Szczur or Villanueva clear waivers. Luckily we have the right man to solve this jigsaw puzzle.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I agree they don't clear waivers. There will be some team that will give them a chance. I am not thrilled about it but it might be best for their careers. And these are "first world" problems compared to what we had a couple years ago.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I doubt they go w/13 pitchers... 4 players, 1 being Ross isn't much of a bench.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Unless there is a trade or injury, Szczur has no chance of making the 25 man roster out of ST nor does Alcantara.

    Just like last year, the Cubs will carry 13 pitchers, leaving 12 position players, eight of whom start. That gives you four position player backups, and David Ross is one of those which leaves you with three. Those three will be Baez, LaStella, and Coghlan. That's it. That's your bench.

    And quite frankly, those three guys along with the starters they have give the Cubs all the flexibility they need in both the IF and OF.

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Should've added, if they do carry a 12 man pitching staff, which they probably will when they break ST, the additional position player will be Brendan Ryan who they got from the Yanks in the Castro trade. Either way, Szczur and Alcantara provide depth in AAA. Valuable depth to be sure, but depth nonetheless.

  • Maybe one thing most of us might be overlooking with Soler, hes had leg injuries pretty much every year hes been in the orginazation. That can translate into less lift and less power, maybn in the playoffs he was finally healthy and we saw the Soler power weve been expecting.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    He did not have a leg injury in 2015. He missed time for an oblique and a sprained ankle in 2015. They did find a muscle imbalance in his legs earlier but with training they seem to have fixed his multiple hamstring problems. Give him some slack. He is only 23 years old and still developing. IMO people seem to be overly concerned with his former hammy problems.

  • In reply to John57:

    And yet you hardly see mention of the fact that Russell had hamstring problems in both 2014 and 2015.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    What is your point? Are you saying we should trade Russell?

  • In reply to John57:

    You seem to be pretty confident in your medical assessment of Jorge. I disagree, although we both acknowledge he is 23. As a Cubs lifer, I hope you are right and I am wrong. It's just that I've seen too many "bat-only" prospects with injury histories bust. Why does a 23-year-old professional athlete need to be told to lose weight and come into camp in better shape? There is a reason the Cubs are "not" shopping him, and a reason other teams are passing.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    As a Cub lifer, can you tell what "bat-only injury history" bust prospects you are talking about? I don't recall one.

    LeBron James bulked up significantly to deal with the pounding he takes only to lose 35 lbs to get quicker. It is something athletes do more frequently than you or many of us would know. If anything it shows his character to go work on his flaws and take his off-season seriously.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Nothing is 100% for sure but Theo and Jed are betting on Jorge's health. That is good enough for me. Do you know something about Jorge that Theo and Jed do not?

    I would guess he was told by the team to build up muscle on the "weak" side of his legs. Guess what he listened and did what he was told. That probably made him gain weight. Muscle is heavy. Next year the FO told him to lose some weight. Guess what? He listened again and lost 15 lbs and is working on his speed and flexibility. Seems he will do anything the team asks of him. To me that is a sign of a keeper.

  • In reply to John57:

    Theo and Jed are shopping Soler. They do know more than us.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Your previous post said the Cubs are not shopping him. This one says they are shopping him. I am somewhat confused. I will agree with you that the FO knows more about running a baseball organization than just about anyone.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    THey're not shopping him. Teams are asking about him and they're listening. There is a big difference.

  • Remember you just need Soler to play good defense through the 7th inning. After that Maddon will do what he always does, make defensive replacements. With the lead Heyward moves to right field and a defensive replacement moves to center and/or left. Keeps everyone in the game and everyone happy. Keep this kid.

  • In reply to Seanster83:

    Yep...and if they have the lead after the 7th, then you can move Heyward to RF and bring in a strong CFer. Or if Heyward turns out to be a great CFer, then you just bring in someone to play RF and/or LF.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with you 100% John. My question is would it be better to have Soler play LF and Schwarber in RF? Then you move either Sczuer or another defensive player to CF and Heyward to RF. This way your only moving 2 outfielders instead of all 3 as Soler is the better defensive option between him and Schwarber.

  • In reply to Ron U:

    (in hesitant/leery font) ... IDK abt that...Me thinks there is a reason for Soler in r and Swarbs in l, (h/l font off) where you are at the right place to get your answer.

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    Not sure what to think here. Despite what some may think, I've never stopped believing in Soler's upside. However, it does seem clear that the Cubs and Braves were in significant talks for him. First for Miller and then for Inciarte. Now we have both teams saying they haven't even really thought about trading their player. It could be true. But it also could be both teams playing hardball in negotiations. From the Cubs perspective, even if they do value Inciarte they don't want to overpay now and eliminate a potential deal for, say, Carrasco at next year's deadline.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It doesn't rule out the Cubs trading him. I believe they'll still trade him if they get appropriate value and a better fit in return, much like the Castro deal. It is as much as anything, a reminder that the Cubs aren't just going to trade him just to trade him. Epstein's interview seemed to hint that teams are placing a lower value on him ("he's a tough evaluation").

    Like it was with Castro, teams are valuing Soler with the uncertainty about health and defense already factored in. They are looking at him as a talented but risky player. That will not change if he gets hurt again in 2016 or continues to struggle on defense. It will change, however, if Soler stays healthy and improves his defense. I take it as Epstein having nothing to lose by keeping him around if teams are already valuing him at his floor. There is nowhere to go but up.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think it's slightly different from the Castro situation. That was about dumping salary so they could add Zobrist and still keep Heyward on the table. I remember reading a few days later (Rogers? Mooney?) that the Yankees were the only ones in on Castro and the Zobrist deal was held up waiting for them deciding they wanted to do it. Getting an arm like Warren was great, but I think they would have made that trade for a bag of balls if the Yankees picked up the salary because the real trade there was Castro for Zobrist.

    Soler is an entirely different story. If they trade him for a bag of balls, they still have holes in center field and 4th starter and Soler's money isn't enough to really do something to fix that. To improve next year, they have to get something for Soler and we're far beyond trading Soler for guys who will be good in 2-3 years. So that really limits the scope. I don't doubt they're willing to go into the season with what they have and then, using a scenario I'd bet Gammons got directly from Theo, move Soler for Carrasco at the deadline if/when the Indians fall out of it.

    So while I suspect they're shopping Soler, they absolutely have to get value for him because they're close to or at their payroll limit. That changes the game some.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    The game I think the Braves are playing: "Theo wants to win. He needs a center fielder. We have the best fit for his needs on the market. He picked Billy Beane's pocket when Billy Beane was desperate. We're just gonna return the favor, aren't we, Willson?"

  • Soler's injury history scares me to death.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Which injury last year concerns you? The sprained ankle or the oblique? He seemed to have corrected the hammy from the previous year, which is encouraging. The others seem fluky.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    The fact he hasn't had a season where he isn't injured is my issue. If they have fixed the hammy issue then something else comes up. That is a red flag to me.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Don't forget that people were saying the same thing about Almora early in his career and now he has put together back to back healthy seasons.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He really needs to stop running into OF walls. He has done that multiple times. Hopefully Wrigley will cure him of that tendency.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Depending on how he is "convinced" I don't know if I want him "cured."

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Ha! True, we fans worry. It's just nice to finally have a management team that based their decisions on facts, statistics, etc.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Matthew Stafford. Phil Simms.

    Fluke injuries might be nothing but bad luck. Or, it is possible that the injuries are a sign of deeper core problems. My point is that it is too early for injuries to be the reason the Cubs move him.

    If healthy, Soler has the potential to become an elite RH bat. Hopefully, he stays healthy this year so the Cubs (and every other front office in baseball) can see what this kid can do.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    He's almost as fragile as someone else I know...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am 42 yr old what's Soler's excuse. Lol

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Youngster! Try 50,....

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    "Come after me! I'm 40! I'm a man!" - OK State fb coach Mike Gundy (with respect to the commenting policy)

  • In reply to KGallo:

    There's a lot to like about Soler, but that's always been my concern, as well. I don't doubt it's been a factor in the Cubs very obviously shopping him around.

  • In reply to markw:

    For me he is just a much of risk as a young pitcher.

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    If the Cubs roll with Schwarber/Heyward/Soler, where does that leave Chris Coghlan? I feel like he has more value to other clubs than to us.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Hopefully after collecting 2 rings, he will get a nice contract in FA after turning down a Qualifying Offer.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Crazy to think that we have to excellent back ups. A guy who put up 3 war and a former top prospect with some nice tools.

    Also Lastella has a history of good discipline.

  • The Cubs have built such a strong organization that you can take a risk that he won't continually land on the DL.

  • In reply to ucandoit:

    Exactamundo. If Soler gets hurt, you can either move Zobrist there and Javy to 2B or move Cogs to RF or some combo of that.

    Or they can just move Heyward to RF and insert a strong defensive CFer.

  • I saw Soler 2 years ago in Des Moines, when Javy and KB were still on the same I-Cubs roster (that was a GREAT minor league ticket btw). We went to Des Moines to watch Bryant and Baez, but Soler impressed me the most. The kid moves like a big cat. **I think his defense and routes to fly balls will improve. He has too much natural ability to be bad at this. I'd hate to see him go, but I'd REALLY hate to see him go cheap. This guy is going to be a monster.

  • So far this offseason it's been Soler and Baez discussed as trade pieces. I missed Theo's interview but is there anything to read into him being so high on Soler but not Baez?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think he directly addressed Soler because most of the rumors swirled around him. They love Javy too.

  • I have no problem trading Soler for equal value. It is interesting how all the trade rumors for Soler think that Theo and Jed have become Herman Franks.

  • I thought I heard this on the radio at 8:02 a.m. last Saturday, but I wasn't fully awake.

  • In reply to jack:

    It was. I may not have been fully awake when I wrote "yesterday". Or maybe I am not ready for Monday to start yet.

  • In reply to jack:

    keep trying jack

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    jack should really change his handle to "Bruce"...

  • Didn't they give Castro the same vote of confidence? Sadly, I think Soler needs to keep his duffle bag packed.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    Castro was a salary clear for a piece that fit better. Soler has more value because of the power potential. Watch for his strikeout totals to go way down next season raising his OBP.

  • In reply to xhooper:

    That came 2nd hand and from Gordo. I think many were skeptical of that one. That said, they'll trade anyone if they can get surplus value or equal value at a better fit, that was the case with the Castro deal and if someone were to offer the Cubs equal value to Soler at a position of greater need, I am sure they would do that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think the Cubs would do a Soler for a Danny Salazar one for one. But as soon as they ask for Baez too, Theo hangs up.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that the report doesn't make much sense. I don't doubt that they told Castro "something" that he took as a promise not to trade him, but that could be simply "we have no plans to trade you", which is something that could change with the next phone call.

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    I am coming around on Soler. I still can go either way with him (trade him as "value" or keep him) but if our "worst case" scenario is Heyward in CF and Soler in RF I wonder if Soler could put up enough solid numbers offensively AND improve his defense to make him worth it. Put on top of that that in a year or two we will have Almora up to be our CF (or at least defensive replacement) this line-up could be a monster.

    When I look at the flexibility the team will have I still believe the best use of these guys is for Joe to, on a day-to-day basis determine who the best line-up will be. Not just looking at splits for batters or pitchers but also "who is hot?", "How valuable will defense/contact/power/etc. be today?" I am just hopeful that the team doesn't have any "deadweight" players. While I know Ross doesn't do much on offense he does have other attributes that make him valuable. What I don't want is players like Herrera (though he did look good in a double-bubble bucket jumping up and down when a teammate had a critical hit).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    My hope is that Christian Villanueva will replace Herrera on the bench.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I don't think either player will be on the roster this year, to be honest.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    From what I understand Villanueva's only position is 3B (possibly 1B). Those are not really "positions of need" right now.

    Right now their "best" option with him is to trade him to a team like the Cubs were in 2013: Just looking for a competent and CHEAP 3B. Maybe get an A-ball flyer on someone 4-5 years away from 40-man roster. But other teams may believe, as I do, that it is just a matter of time before the Cubs waive him and it wouldn't be a hard sell to go to him and say, "Look, you are WAY DOWN the depth chart at 3B for the Cubs. Come on over here. We will offer you a minor league contract for now BUT you will have a better shot at the majors with us than with the Cubs."

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Agreed,.... find a team like Cleveland or Houston in the AL (the Yankees are not too deep at 3B with Headley as their primary 3B guy either) who could use him,.... or see of the Phillies or Padres want a cheap 3B guy in return for some high-risk low-level minor's guys.

    Villanueva was supposed to be a decent defensive 3B with some pop,.... although not necessarily one who is going to hit for average. A couple years ago - he's a guy who would have been a good roster filler for the Cubs,....

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    That's what I meant. In 2012/2013 the Cubs POUNCE on someone like Villanueva. They did, actually. But right now he is probably better off in another organization.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I think that the best we could do for Villanueva or even Ceasar is a Delarosa or Mejia, and even that would be pushing it.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    That is pretty much what I am thinking. Someone who would likely slot in somewhere between 15-30 on our top prospects base solely on "upside".

  • Soler rumors wont end, especially if and when Almora comes up, think him being moved is a question of when, not if.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    For me, I'm interested in seeing a 2017 line-up of:

    C - Schwarber
    1B - Rizzo
    2B - Zobrist
    SS - Russell
    3B - Bryant
    LF - Soler
    CF - Almora
    RF - Heyward

    With Baez and Contreras coming off the bench.

    On certain days, Almora sits and is available as a defensive replacement with Heyward starting in CF, Schwarber in LF, Soler in RF and Contreras catching. Baez getting spots starts at numerous positions. The depth, flexibility and defense are all improved in this scenario, but the best attribute is the offense. If Almora's 2nd half last year was for real and he continues that in AAA, that line-up is killer.

    This configuration is the reason to not trade Soler/Baez. I see no reason to trade either one unless another team offers a mid-20s MOR with upside. I think Heyward will be an above average CFer in 2016+ and provides the Cubs the opportunity to see how Almora handles AAA.

    If Albert stumbles, or Soler/Schwarber fail to improve defensively or stagnate offensively, then the Cubs have a bit more urgency to make a deal with someone. But we're not there yet.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Almora (CF) and Contreras (C) possibly being up with the team as early as this year, and the general concept of Schwarber isnt being traded.. doesnt really leave a spot for Soler to get consistent AB's in this lineup. FO wants to improve OF defense and put Almora there, that moves Heyward to RF and if Contreras is ready at catcher?!? that means Schwarber is probably gonna get a lot of time in LF. by the end of the year, Cubs can be right back where we started this off-season.. and if not this year. sooner or later unless Almora and Contreras somehow just falloff and dont become part of the Cubs plans, Soler will be the prime trade candidate here for the upcoming year and going forward. Lets not forget the benefit of rookie salaries of Almora and Contreras also.

  • The idea of seeing a lineup with the following regular batting order has seriously grown on me:

    Zobrist
    Heyward
    Rizzo
    Bryant
    Schwarber
    Soler
    Montero
    - fill in pitcher
    Russell

    Has a lot of appeal,.... good RH/LH mix,.... good OBP,.... tons of power through the middle,.... and generally more than adequate defense.

    What's not to like?

  • I glad that Jorge injury history is not a reoccurring one. At least, so far, nothing chronic.

  • Thanks for this article, John. It expresses a lot of my feelings/thoughts about Soler. As is probably obvious, I'm strongly in the Keep Soler camp given the value that seems to be out there. His upside is so big that it's worth it to find out if he can reach it with the Cubs. While his injuries are somewhat concerning, what's heartening to me is that he's never had a serious injury (torn ACL, injury to his core/back/hips, etc.). Those are the kinds of things that can derail a career. He seems to have more problems with soft tissue injuries that keep him on the self for 3-4 weeks. If he's not doing it already, I could see a yoga regime really helping him in terms of helping prevent those injuries and also giving him a bit more flexibility/agility in the field. In any case, unless the Cubs get blown away by an offer, let's see what he can become.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Thanks, Pura Vida. I agree on the injury situation, it seems like something an advanced regimen should be able to correct -- and he has made some progress with his hamstring issues. As far as getting blown away, I am not sure exactly what that means, but my guess is the Cubs would get sufficiently blown away by an equal value cost controlled starting pitcher or CFer. That said, I think the Cubs value Soler higher internally than his suitors are. They seem to be trying to buy him at floor value. For the Cubs, it doesn't make sense to ignore the upside, that is where most of his value lies.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I'm not sure what getting blown away really means either. LOL. I guess that would be up to Theo/Jed. Once again, you put things in a more precise way than my rambling mind has!

  • I think his potential is to great to trade for a minor league pitcher
    that might be good

  • Another injury prevention strategy is rest days before fatigue sets in, especially the day before an off day.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    There is really no reason he needs to play day games after a night game when you are trying to find at bats for coghlan, Baez and lastella. I actually think Russell might deserve similar treatment as he has had repeat injuries to the same muscle groups. Back to soler, I was really surprised how maddon used soler early in the year last year. He played 9 innings almost every game. I hope that changes this year with more defensive replacements and more off days, more similar to how he was used in the playoffs

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    Soler is still only 23 years old. His slash line was .262 .324 .399 .723, when Rizzo was 23 his was .233/.323/.419/.742. Not a lot of difference and Rizzo had been playing consistanly. Soler missed games before but last year he played in 101. He's healthier than he's ever been and now is getting professional help in exercising and nutrition and flexibility. He is still young and I can't wait to see what he does in the coming years. To trade him we would have to get a bona fide TOR pitcher and I don't see that happening. Look at the projected lineup. It's awesome. Let's see what happens. Go Cubs.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Steamer is not bullish on Soler in 2016 projecting him at .260/.324/.440 w 18 HR and a 1.2 WAR. That's not encouraging, In order to believe this is going to work you've got to take a leap of faith and think Soler is going to be much better than that and that Heyward is going to be better in CF than most think. If the Cubs didn't believe that, at least in part, I think they would have dealt him at the lower value other teams had him at. I generally trust this FO so I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and crossing my fingers.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Bill James predictions Soler's slash all be .284/.353/.484/.837, with 22 home runs.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I could live with that

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Soler, IMO, is going to be Albert Belle Light. I have been very bullish on him and my opinion has not wavered.

    With that said, if they got an over-pay from someone looking for hitter with his upside, then they would probably have to move him.

    The reason I believe a deal with Inciarte didn't work is because he is a one-sided player. If he was serviceable against LHP, then a deal may have been made. I don't Theo is giving up a guy with Soler's ceiling for a one-sided one-dimensional CF.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I think Bill James iso of .200 iso Steamer's iso of .180 (and hr's, for that matter) is more like it.

  • I have to ask - what are the chances that Austin Jackson comes back on a one year contract to be the 4th outfielder for this team? It seems like the top starting jobs have already been taken and Maddon would certainly make use of as a late game replacement/spot starter.

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    In reply to Matt682:

    Better as the weeks go on. I am pretty sure Jackson doesn't want to go into spring training jobless.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I'd be surprised if he did. Too many teams need CFs, and I'm sure he wants to start. Only way he comes back is if he takes a haircut just to be a Cub.

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    In reply to Oneear:

    I think the Cubs tossed out their "haircut" policy with Jason Motte.

    Or did your auto-correct change "pay cut"?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    haircut is a euphemism for paycut.

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    In reply to Oneear:

    So when my boss says, "You need a haircut" he is not just talking about my appearance. Thanks, that explains a lot.

  • In reply to Matt682:

    If he is willing to accept a 1 year deal it will be with a team that gives him a chance to start so that he can reenter the market next year. Can't see him signing here to be a backup.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Of course I said the same thing about Cahill who turned down better opportunities to start to come back.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If your choices were 1-year contract making 9 million for a team with no chance of winning or a 1-year contract making 6 million with incentives (these are just examples, not predicitions) on a team with a great chance at winning it's first world series since 1908, it gets a bit murkier.

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    I think a lot of you are drinking too much Cub Kool-Aid. OK, great, the FO is putting stock in Soler's potential. But the kid had a -7.0 UZR last year out there. I think he relies on that big arm to make up for everything else he does poorly out there and the UZR reflects that.

    Theo and Jed said they wanted to improve the outfield defense. So you go out and spend $184M (largest contract in Cub history) to sign Heyward. Cool. We all feel good. But he's being paid mostly for his defense that produced a 20.0 UZR in RF. He scored a mere 2.3 UZR in CF.

    Granted his 2015 UZR was for only 51 innings. But in 2014 he played 164 innings and only scored a 0.9!! Is this what we paid $184M for in CF'er?

    I'll buy the idea that the FO just didn't get their asking price met for Soler. But I will not buy that the FO is happy about it.

    And if you think I'm way off base, then don't tell me about all the cheap defensive help on the way if you feel that the OF is set to be Schwarber, Heyward and Soler. Maybe I'm the only one here but if Soler is our future then I'm pissed off at the Heyward signing!

    And maybe Heyward can play a better CF. But is that worth the $184M gamble? His value goes down if the gamble doesn't work and then you can forget about the idea of him opting out after 3 years. Just silly

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I agree with you partially. Their is no doubt in my mind that Heyward's best position is RF, though he can play center adequately (possibly slightly better than average). With that said I think playing center in Wrigley with its small dimensions half of the time will be a very large plus to Heyward's center field UZR rating.

    I agree it still makes sense to move Solar in terms of overall defense, but this team certainly should not be giving him away. If all you are getting back is mid range prospect or a bottom of the rotation starter you hold onto Solar and hope his defense improves or his offense carries his defensive limitations (both of which are possibilities). That said if this front office is declining appropriate proposals for Solar because they like him (say for Danny Salazaar) then I would be upset.

    I think Heyward will be a better defensive CF and offensive player than Dexter Fowler was last season for this team. Sure I'd prefer him in right but only if we get fair return of Solar.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Plus he will be the largest CF of all time. 6'5 about 255-265. That weight is what's shocking to me. He seems so lean, but that's the weight Heyman and Co just quoted on the MLB channel.

    Big problem I see is with this team winning 97 last year, we are expecting close to 5 runs a game and 100+ wins.

    This is going to be one of the most interesting seasons on so many different levels. We are so lucky.

    Also for prob only a handful of times, Maddon is going to managing a big favorite w a loaded roster vs his usual motto, being the scrappy underdog team.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    As long as I have been on this site you've been predicting a trade of prospects. I actually agreed with you, but starting to question that belief. Maybe trading Castro qualifies? So far, what the team has actually done is acquire cheap, young, high upside players. Make a few strategic trades. And fill holes via free agency. I could see that continuing.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I promoted the idea of trading one of the SS prospects and that's it. My problem is the signing of Heyward to $184M if you still plan to keep Soler. It's pretty black and white.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Since the Cubs asked Heyward about CF during negotiations, I am sure they are open to all possibilities. You don't invest 184M just to paint yourself in a corner. The FO themselves on being flexible and dictating the market. Intentionally putting yourself in a roster bind runs directly contrary to those things. They have to be open-minded about all potential outcomes. Unlike the Zobrist deal, this was not a package deal where one deal was contingent upon the other. The Cubs are fully prepared to go with Soler in RF if that is their best option. So far that has obviously been the case.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    You seem to see black and white differently.

    The ideal solution would be would be Heyward in right and Willie Mays in center, but that isn't really practical.

    There is no dispute that the best use of Heyward's talents is to play him in right field. But the goal of the front office is not to make the best use of Heyward's talents, but to make the best use of the team's overall talents. And that "best use" will change over time and over different circumstances.

    But for the upcoming season, based upon the players currently available, the Cubs are probably better off with Heyward in center and Soler in right. It improves the overall outfield defense from the last three months of last season, and still allows for Soler's value to grow (a gamble, but in my opinion, a very good one) and bring back a much greater return at the trade deadline or next winter, while allowing Heyward to return to right field in the future when options for center are more readily available.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I am certain they are not at all disappointed about keeping Soler.. With Soler in RF, the Cubs are still the odds on favorites to win it all, so I am sure they're content with where their team is. That doesn't mean they won't keep trying to improve the team, but it was never the Cubs intention to trade Soler just to trade him or just to improve the OF defense. You may have read too much into that. It is only about improving the team overall and you can't get better by trading more value for less value. It is obvious that they have turned down trades because they value Soler highly enough that it would take a very good offer to pry him loose.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm fine with waiting to get the right price for Soler if that is in fact what is going on behind the scenes. If not, then why pay $184M for what is considered a slightly above average CF? He may improve and get to the same elite status he has as a RF. But is that worth the gamble?

    We're we told about the financial restrictions until the new TV deal was signed?

    So which is it? Are they working hard to get that cost-controlled impact arm for Soler....OR.... do we really have the money to just throw $184M on a hunch that Heyward will be elite in CF?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    20 Million signing bonus for Heyward is deferred to 2020 when the new revenue sources kick in. So it does look like the team has money restrictions right now.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    It is a tradeoff. CF has higher positional value on defense. We don't know what Heyward's value on defense is going to be based on such a short sample size. But lets ay for the sake of argument he is "Slightly above average". If you were to use a simple WAR calculation you will see that slightly above average CF has as much value or even a bit more than elite defensive RF when calculating their overall WAR. The Cubs get great value either way, which is why a team must offer a deal that makes the Cubs better. Putting Heyward in CF does not make the Cubs worse, it just makes them different.

    The payroll restrictions were pretty accurate. With the trade of Castro, the accounting tricks such as signing bonuses, backloaded contracts, etc., the CUbs added roughly $30M to payroll which was within the range of the estimates. And even then they had to borrow money from the business side.

    It is not an either/or situation. It isn't "which is it?"

    In both cases, the answer is both. That kind of creativity, open-mindedness, and big picture thinking is a trademark of this front office.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John, I can agree with Heyward being a great value. I'm just worried that his real value is in RF and not CF. Time will tell just as it has with all the moves the FO has made.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    That was what I was trying to point out, Bobby -- that Heyward's value as a slightly above average CF would be the same, if not better than Heyward as an elite defender in RF based on the way WAR is calculated. That is why the Cubs felt good about acquiring him whether or not they trade Soler. Either way Heyward will provide about the same value in terms of WAR. My overarching point is that the Cubs make those kinds of deals with that kind of flexibility in mind. They don't often make deals that put them in a bind -- with the possible exception of the catching situation last year, when they did not get value for Welington Castillo. That was a mistake and I am sure they learned from it. That is why Castro had to be traded before Zobrist signed -- but that a Soler trade was not necessary before signing Heyward.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    ^This!!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Jeff Sullivan argues both sides of this. Here's his take that :

    "The main draw of acquiring Inciarte is that it’s like indirectly adding a starting pitcher. Let’s say that Heyward is a +15 corner outfielder, and a +5 center fielder. Let’s also say that Soler is a -5 corner outfielder. Now let’s say Inciarte is a +10 center fielder. The Heyward/Soler combination, by these numbers, would come out to an average defensive value. Meanwhile, Inciarte/Heyward would be +25. That’s 25 runs of run prevention, which is like the difference between a decent starting pitcher and an ace. It doesn’t have the same individual-game effect as an ace, but it looks the same over a regular season, and it helps the back-end starters and middle relievers. Trading for Inciarte isn’t just about trading for a different skillset. It’s about reducing the runs allowed, with maybe only a slight reduction in runs scored. The Cubs are going to score a lot of runs.

    I don’t know what the Cubs are going to do, and I don’t know what the Braves are demanding for Inciarte in addition to Soler. Maybe they’re asking too much, and maybe because of that, this just can’t work. Maybe the Braves don’t love Soler as much as you could think. The Cubs, thankfully for them, have no shortage of options to explore. Including keeping Soler for themselves."

    Fangerstrom likes the idea of Heyward in center a lot:

    "Since Heyward entered the league in 2010, he’s racked up as much defensive value as anyone, nearly all of which has come from his range. Heyward has consistently graded out as something like a +2o run defender in right field, and the difference in the positional adjustment between right field and center field is 10 runs. Even if Heyward were to struggle in his transition, the elite level he’s established in right field would seem to indicate that he’s more than capable of making the transition while still providing plus defense in center.

    Were Heyward able to maintain a +10 run per year pace in center field, accruing similar defense value as to what he’s previously established, people would no longer question the bat. Heyward’s ~120 wRC+ is just fine in right field as it is, but in center, it would be elite. Heyward is a significantly better offensive player at this stage in his career than someone like Adam Jones, and Jones’ bat seems to generally be viewed as a plus, for a center fielder. In center field, the only guys with a clear advantage over Heyward, offensively, would be Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. It’s easier to find someone who can handle right field than it is center field, and so, in a vacuum, Heyward as a center fielder would give his team value in the way of flexibility."

    My gut likes Heyward in CF. Hiding a great glove in RF seems a waste to me. Also I feel we'd be selling low on Soler. So for me Heyward in CF is at least worth a try.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Also, Sullivan's analysis is for 2016 only. But Soler is signed for several years more than Inciarte, and that value should also be considered, as well as the possibility that a very good year by Soler would increase his value far beyond Inciarte by this time next year.

    Trading Soler strictly based upon his impact and value next season is a somewhat short sighted point of view.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    The floor for this teams success is so high, that they can now roll the dice on being great. Soler or Baez reaching their ceiling as a hitter makes the cubs much better. Keeping them both raises the probability that they hit the jackpot on one of them. Similarly heyward being a good defender in centerfielder makes them much better. The floor is raised marginally if trading for inciarte, but the ceiling is drastically reduced. I just think the cubs are taking a chance on being a legit 100 win team if hey hit on heywards D, or either Baez or solers hitting.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Such "Just silly" decisions by Front Office obviously keep Cubs mired in cellar.

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    In reply to Cubfucius:

    I guess each and every decision this FO has made turned out to be a winner. Just silly

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    No FO wins every move but I certainly think this FO's percentage of winning moves is WAY above average.

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    In reply to John57:

    John57: I've slowly come to the conclusion that you may have been right all along, and that the management team is not about to trade all of these prospects they've acquired. Maybe eventually, but so far, no.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Eventually they will have to trade some players but I am guessing ideally that will happen a couple years after the prospect breaks out. That way we trade them as very high value MLB players and we get a couple years of cheap production from them before they are traded. Trading them when they are still prospects won't get the team very much value.

    For example maybe Soler breaks out the 2016 season and Cleveland will be knocking our door down to trade Salazar+ for Soler for the 2017 year. By that time Almora may be ready to take over CF and Heyward can move back to RF.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    It is more accurate to say that they made each and every move in such a way they attempted to maximize gain while minimizing potential loss as much as possible. No FO wins every deal, but the best ones are able to take good risks and cut the impact of their losses.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My comment was back at someone that mocked my post. We all know that every club makes moves that they hope will improve the team. With that said, us fans also have the right to question the move without being mocked.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Not every decision by this front office has turned out to be a winner.

    Of course, although I have not kept track, I suspect that not every recommendation by you has turned out a winner either.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Is it not ok to question a move? But hey, you can all pile on, it's not the first time and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Hey Dave, Bobby has an opinion that some of us may not agree with, but let's keep it specifically about that opinion and not the person giving it. Thanks.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I quoted your words.
    Do not put words in my mouth.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    If your looking for a word to describe........infallible

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Why is it necessary for the Cubs to have gold glove caliber defense in the OF? They did not have that last year and still won 97 games. Fowler was below average in CF. Heyward should improve upon that. Plus, Maddon will substitute as needed moving players around in late innings that are better defensively. Heyward will play RF next year, probably quite a bit. Certainly in the later innings with a lead I could see Heyward in RF and a very good defensive CF playing.

    A trade of Soler for defensive reasons is not needed IMO.

  • Soler is 24 and will earn $3.7M the next two years and $4.7M each of the following three years. In a perfect world a trade would have to return a player about the same age and making the same salary. However, we have to ask what Soler would receive if he were a free agent for that is his true value.

    Soler would also have great value as a DH. There are 29 OF and DH making over $10M. That says to me that I only trade Jorge for another player worth at lest $10M. I don't see him losing value next year unless he suffers serious injuries. And I can easily see an improvement in2016. He's only had 455 AB with the Cubs, less that the equivalent of a full season. I look forward to watching him in 2016. I believe his value will skyrocket as he establishes his true value.

  • At this point the Cubs don't need to make anymore moves unless the scales are tipped heavily in their favor. Spring training is right around the corner and if Soler picks up right where he left off his value will only increase by the deadline. If that turns out to be the case the Cubs will be able to get what they want and need to make the final push.

  • Chris Denorfia has a higher WAR than Jorge Soler. Let that sink in for a second.

  • In reply to Starlin’s Gone:

    Won't sink very far, not how that metric is intended to be used and it gives us very little information about the value of each player.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Still surprising. I am sure you probably already knew that, but even though I didn't take much stock in it, it's still surprised me.

  • In reply to Starlin’s Gone:

    Not really sure what you are looking at:

    Soler WAR 2015 = -0.1
    Denorfia WAR 2015 = -0.3

    Either way, we are talking about a 23 year old with a ton of potential versus a 35 year old player. And frankly, I like Denorfia. But not comparing apples to apples.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    FG and BR calculate WAR differently.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Yes, Fangraphs shows Denorfia as 0.8 and Soler as 0.1.

    Both show Soler as better offensively, Denorfia as better defensively.

    Bottom line, are we really comparing a 35 year old player to a 23 year old player? Rizzo initially struggled in the big leagues but obviously had a ton of talent with minor league production to back him up. Should Rizzo have been given up on? Relatively same scenario for Soler. Epstein said he is working on his defense. They are going to give him a chance (as they should) short of a team giving them a great trade offer.

  • In reply to MoneyBall:

    Yep, so much more that goes into player's value.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I still debate whether WAR defense accurately measures the actual value of defense. Let's say Heyward cuts off a double that Soler lets go. That forces the pitcher on the mound to make more pitches and higher stress pitches which then impacts the bullpen. WAR captures the primary effects of a missed play but the secondary effects are equally important and might get lost. (Similarly, you can argue a leadoff man who takes a walk has more influence on a pitcher's inning than simply putting a guy on first base.)

  • I wouldn't be shocked to see Chris Coghlan dealt and a more defensive oriented backup brought in.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I agree. His offense is not needed as much compared to an elite defender for late innings.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    To some extent I think it will depend on what happens with Soler. If Soler is traded for pitching, Coghlan has some value for this team. But if Soler sticks around or the starting outfield is all lefty, it's hard to see where he fits in. Of course, someone has to want him, too.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That seems to be an excellent move, if possible. Coghlan should have more value as a starter for another team than a reserve for the Cubs. Especially if Baez is able to be an adequate outfielder.

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    I'm not gonna lie I'm firmly in the Soler camp. I think he will be a great player. The injury factor is of course the biggest concern. That's true of all players, but a full year from Jorge would be huge. As for Heyward in center I don't think the FO is all too worried. With both Fowler and DeJesus there were extensive concerns about CF defense. The same concerns were voiced but both players moved from larger center fields to the compact Wrigley center. And both showed much better defense for the Cubs. Heyward was unreal in RF, they feel he can cover the CF position at Wrigley at least above average. Not to mention Heyward's offense plays up in CF where less offense is normally expected. I'm starting to think an alignment of Schwarber-Heyward-Soler was the plan all along.

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    I think about Soler this way. Let's say Plan A was sign Heyward, trade Soler for Salazar, Plan B was sign Heyward, trade Soler for Inciarte, and Plan C was sign Heyward, keep Soler.

    In this scenario, the Cubs are on Plan C. Since it's plan C, the Cubs are worse off than they would have been if they had Plan A or Plan B work for them. But they also considered this a possibility so they're clearly not totally unhappy either.

    Of course, even this may be wrong. Maybe, internally, they're willing to meet the Braves asking price on Inciarte but want to wait them out to see if it drops.

    Either way, this isn't an all or nothing game. The Cubs may have thought they could be in a better spot than they are but are also by no means panicked about where they are. There's a time left before the playoffs and keeping powder dry for moves in January or July makes a lot of sense for a favorite like the Cubs.

  • If the front office didn't panic with the roster they had going into the 2014 season, they probably won't panic with the current roster.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    I don't disagree but think it's a slightly different scenario. Even at the trade deadline, last year was about getting this group some experience with a playoff run in August knowing that young players would probably fade down the stretch. Needless to say, the 2014 team performed beyond all expectations. But this is really different. They're trying to build a juggernaut for the first time. So a couple wins around the margins could be huge.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Just out of curiosity, did you mean that the 2015 team performed beyond all expectations? The 2014 team was solid and played well down the stretch, but it seems to me that your comment would fit even better as 2015. Just a typo?

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yep, I did mean 2015. Though, in fairness, it could also apply to 2014 since that team went on a real nice run in August and September prefacing what they would do in 2015.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree and mentioned the "stretch" run they had. Last year at this time people were pointing out that the team was a .500 team in the last 6-8 weeks of the season, but I just thought that 2015 works better.

  • Have you guys heard anything else on the trade front? I read somewhere the Padres were interested swapping Ross for a package centered around Baez, who right now seems to be the best trade chip Epstein and Hoyer are willing to give up despite his versatility. Are the Cubs done making major moves this offseason?

  • In reply to Illinicub533:

    Their work is never done :) but I think we can say that they don't feel compelled to make a major move. They're pretty good and for them to move a good player, especially a potential core guy, they have to be sure they're getting something great in return.

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    In reply to Illinicub533:

    Personally I think the most likely guys to be traded are Soler, Coghlan. Soler because he might have some value, Coghlan would have value to a team looking for an offensive outfielder. I doubt he brings back much, but I would be THRILLED to be wrong.

  • In reply to Illinicub533:

    maybe before they signed John Lackey. With after Hammel/Hendricks as your 4/5, there's hardly eno room for Trevor Cahill and his 4.25m base, plus Clayton Richards not far behind. Don't forget about Adam Warren with Bosio tweekable Jake Arietta stuff and then there's Travis Wood...d-e-e-p starting nine, Illinicub!

  • Good.I was hoping the cubs kept soler I was more resigned to the fact he might get traded because he was always mentioned in rumors and other teams wanted him.I thought soler would be neck and neck with bryant for rookie of the year.This kid can hit if he can stay healthy and improve the defense he'll be great.

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    I guess I'm old-fashioned and don't really understand WAR like the rest of you so I go by my gut and simply watching baseball for almost 60 years (I'm 65 now). I don't want to get so hung up on Heyward switching positions because I've seen it many times before. Sandberg was a 3rd baseman and then switched to 2nd. Biggio went from C to 2nd to CF. Trammel too switched. Russell was a SS and suddenly he was at 2nd. Heyward has speed and a great arm and great baseball instincts--why can't he be at least an above average to GG CF. Plus, Soler is not slow so it's not like he will be roaming coast to coast. I don't see Wrigley as a problem, as a matter of fact I think RF is tougher to play in Wrigley. On the road maybe he plays most of the time in CF and then switches to RF to give Soler a rest. Plus we have Baez as a younger Zobrist going from place to place. We're not KC using speed and defense and relief pitching. We have some very good defense, some speed and A+ offensive. Plus we have 2 TOR and one A- pitcher for our top 3. That plays pretty well.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree Heyward is going to fine in CF for at least 1-2 years. He should actually prob be excellent as long he doesn't get hurt. My only concern is he gets worn down as the season goes on. That's why it's great to have a deep team w a manager who is not afraid to play lots of players.

    We just have to stay healthy for the depth to really help keep everyone healthy.

    Lackey was an A - A - last year. To think he's going to be a borderline Ace is real optimism. I hope your right, but I wouldn't bank on it. If he posts a 2-2.5 war, it's a W

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    Hey Jorge,
    Just mash in 2016 as you did in the playoffs and let's put all the trade talks to rest.

  • Jorge is going to be a beast- this year. He figured something out at the end of the season and into the playoffs.
    All year long, he could hit the ball hard, but was blocking himself- like a golfer with a natural slice, he wasn't bringing his right hand/arm through the ball.
    As soon as he got that feeling going, he started crushing and pulling the ball, getting more loft. And it also helped him lay off the low and away breaking stuff.
    He's going to punish the ball- do not trade him during this off-season...

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