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Cubs, Rays discussing deal with Baez as the target

Cubs, Rays discussing deal with Baez as the target
Baez's potential and versatility make him a player to watch

Well, it is 1:30 A.M. out west and for some strange reason, i decided to have one of the delicious key lime squares my wife baked earlier....with a cup of coffee.  That probably wasn't a good idea because, as many of you already know, the ability to quickly fall asleep isn't one of my strong points.

Well now it may have actually paid off...at least as far as still being up for the latest news -- and this little update will get Cubs fans (if any  are still up) discussing, debating, and dissecting into the wee hours of the morning and beyond.

The Tampa Bay Times Marc Topkin is reporting that the Rays are targeting the Cubs slugging infielder Javier Baez.  The Cubs are said to want pitching in return.

Specifically, it appears the Cubs may get one reliever and one starter in return.  In Topkin's words,

The Rays have pitching depth to deal from - either of their two late-inning relievers, Jake McGee or Brad Boxberger, and a starter from the group of Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi and Erasmo Ramirez.

We mentioned both of those relievers yesterday along with starters Moore and Odorizzi and that Baez was one of three possible targets.  Smyly and Ramirez are two new names in the mix.  I had mentioned I didn't think Odorizzi was likely, in part because my guess was the Cubs would shoot for upside, with Moore specifically being a name I had heard mentioned earlier n the offseason.  Odorizzi, however, has a better recent track record both in terms of production and health, though his upside may be that of a #4 starter on a good staff, maybe a 3.  He certainly is the pitcher with the highest floor on the list of starters.

Smyly, however, bounced back strong after his injuries, making 12 starts and regaining his low 90s velocity in the process.    Smyly's injury was to his shoulder, but he managed to come back with rehab work instead of surgery.  Obviously there is some risk, but  if he is healthy again, he would certainly fit nicely in that 4th spot as well.  Smyly, a LHP, went 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA (3.97 FIP) with 10.4 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per 9  IP.  He pitched 66.2 innings in all.  Smyly doesn't become a free agent until after the 2018 season.  He is arb eligible this year.

Ramirez is a 25 year old, stoutly built RHP who went 11-6 with a 3.75 ERA that nearly mirrored his FIP (3.76).  He doesn't miss as many bats as Smyly, but has solid stuff with a low 90s FB, slider, curve, and change to go with good control (2.2 walks per 9 IP).  He doesn't become a free agent until after the 2019 season but is arb eligible this year.

Both pitchers have more control than Moore, who becomes a free agent after 2 more seasons.  Odorizzi doesn't become a free agent until after the 2019 season and is not yet arb eligible, making him more valuable to the Rays.  RP Boxberger has the same control years (as Odorizzi) while McGee, like Moore, has just two years of control left.

There are a lot of factors here and the teams may be looking to come to agreement on the right mix of control, ceiling, and floor with the two pitchers.

Stay tuned.

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  • fb_avatar

    Thanks John, great info for the Night owls and late nighters. We are always watching this site!

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    You're welcome. Not sure anything happens tonight, but this seems like it is picking up steam. Maybe tomorrow. This would certainly be an interesting deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

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  • fb_avatar

    For your fans in Israel this post is just minutes before lunch! Thanks for an amazing blog.

  • In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    Very cool, Daniel. I didn't know you were in Israel. Thanks for the kind words.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And for those of us in Hong Kong this comes in the middle of dinner. I concur best Cubs site hands down and have recommended it to all my friends. Keep up the great work!

  • In reply to agoad:

    Thanks, agoad. Never ceases to amaze me that there are "den"-izens all over the globe. Very cool. And appreciate the kind words.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks from Denmark as well!

  • In reply to chidane:

    Denmark, very nice.

    Always have a spot for Denmark. When I was a kid and we had to pick a country to represent, I chose Denmark. Had to dress like a historical Dane, bring food...still remember it all very clearly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Loving the all the Cubs Den I can get in Indonesia!

  • In reply to ICub14:

    Awesome! Indonesia, very cool!

  • Favorite cubs site by far! Thanks for always keeping us updated no matter the hour

  • In reply to nlcubs1:

    Thanks!

  • Thanks, John? I'm as big a Baez fan as there is. You ruined what's left of my night. It has been looking more and more the Rays are a good fit. Oh, well, baseball. :)

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I love me some Javy too. Not excited to see him go, so if he does, it better improve the team. Some interesting names could be coming back so I am going to reserve judgment until we find out if this goes down and who exactly is involved.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope they don't trade Javy he has to much potential but if they do please make sure we get Carrasco or Salazar.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like Baez,but would rather trade him than Soler for young pitching. If we could include Castro to lose some salary and sign Zobrist, then i love this idea. I think the lineup needs some veteran contact hitters and Zobrist would be a perfect fit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I love Javy and think he brings certain natural instinct that few in baseball have, along with (of course) prodigious power, good speed and strong defense. He does however, of course, have huge swing issues that many would argue (particularly prior to last year) were not really surmountable.

    I don't agree with that of course (as hours of bantering with CubsWin009 and others last winter showed) but definitely agree that he is a valuable chip, his value might soar after this year but could also fall substantially, and is someone we should consider trading if someone is willing to pay based on his projected immense upside (rather than an average including his downside).

    My question for you, John, is two parts....first, whether the Rays are offering anything that would be commensurate with Baez's potential. Second, can any such deal realistically occur based on who the Rays have. The first leads into the second, so I will start there.

    As you mentioned, Odorizzi is a decent starter, with the upside of a nice number 3 and likelihood of a number 4. Moore has higher upside but uncertainty (particularly if his team is willing to trade him when such team is the one with more knowledge on his current health and recovery). I am not sure of Smyly's upside though he appears closer to Odorizzi than Moore (this article agrees, but is dated: http://www.draysbay.com/2014/8/1/5957643/david-price-trade-drew-smyly-scouting-report).

    Jake McGee could be someone who brings upside, though I am always hesitant to count heavily on someone who is just a reliever (particularly a one pitch guy like McGee). Moore and McGee intrigue me, but I am just not sure that is exactly enough, based on Moore's injury status and our current needs. Assuming it is though, that leads to our second question.

    I actually can't imagine that the Rays would trade McGee and Moore for Javy Baez and little else. Restated, I can't imagine the Rays parting with a lefty 26 yr old SP (who already has posted a few strong seasons like 2012 and 2013 ) and a 25 year old high 90s throwing lefty reliever who has already put up some dominant numbers for someone with high potential but limited production like Baez. Neither Moore nor McGee is close to costing tons of money, so this wouldn't be a salary move. Even if we agree that this meets the Cubs' valuation of Javy (based on not only his upside, but his versatility for a team that moves players around defensively and has huge OF defense holes), I can't imagine Javy (and middle tier prospects) is sufficient to make the trade happen. I assume they would also want some other hitting value from the minors, perhaps Almora level (i.e., not superstar, but pretty good prospect). Does that change the calculations?

    Further, can we really trade Javy and add a starter? If that was the plan, what was the benefit of signing grumpy old John Lackey? Will we them trade Hammel? Does Moore have options (I doubt it)? Will we put Moore in a Travis Wood role? I doubt we would trade Hammel, so then the Moore (or other starter) aspect of the deal actually would not be related to 2016 season. Would we really trade Javy (and others) right now, with the current uncertainty of our hitters, defense and structure (including, in all honesty, the uncertainty of Castro (pre-August v post-August 2015...who do we get in 2016) and Russell, who did not nearly eliminate uncertainty as to his future MLB production during his rookie season).

    Javy's potential upside is enormous, but even putting that aside, he is likely the fastest guy of potential starters, plays better defense than all but Rizzo and perhaps Russell, has tremendous versatility that is being expanded in winter ball that has even more value to the Cubs based on the CF uncertainty and the Schwaber/Soler RF/LF. In other words, Javy's value to the Cubs is higher than his objective value, even putting aside his ridiculous offensive potential. To make the trade with the Rays viable, they would need to meet the Cubs's subjective valuation.

    However, objectively it appears that Moore and McGee (who I think are needed to meet the Baez subjective value) are an overpay for Baez, particularly due to the fact that (1) both still have two more years of control remaining (and Moore, in particular, hasn't really earned a significant payday in free agency anyway) and (2) the starting pitcher, who objectively is valued more highly than relief pitchers overall, is not someone we think is needed for the 2016 rotation, thereby reducing Moore's subjective value to the Cubs.

    Long winded way of saying that I'd love to get Moore and McGee, would prefer we give up less than Baez but can't imagine the Rays doing the deal without receiving Baez plus real value. If that is correct, I can't see how the deal would happen.

  • Chicagoan currently in Vegas...this is perfectly timed...flight home tomorrow at 1pm local time so hopefully it happens before then so I'm not blocked out for the 3.5 hour flight home like I was for the Greinke signing on the way out

  • In reply to Swmrdak79:

    It could well happen early, though Topkin did say he had no indication of how close it was or if the deal would go down at all. But that is pretty much what we would expect to hear -- if this deal is going down, it will go down quickly. If we don't hear something at least by the end of the meetings (and probably even sooner) then my guess would be that talks broke down.

  • I love Baez, but I have thought for a while that he would be the SS to go. His ceiling is unbelievable. However, the Cubs lineup already has plenty of power. Baez's Ks just don't fit in with the rest of the lineup. Also, if the Cubs are going to trade one of the potential superstars, I think Baez has the least chance of becoming an elite player.

    However, I think the Cubs would love to add another LHSP. Moore or Smyly would be good additions to the Cubs rotation. Cost-controlled pitching is seemingly at an all time high in value and I the Cubs have to give up someone to get it.

    The addition of another bullpen arm would make the bullpen look much better. Especially if that arm is McGee. The Cubs have plenty of hard throwing righties in the pen, but McGee would really complement them from the left side. This could also open the door for Wood or Strop to be sent elsewhere, potentially as part of a package to bring in a CF and cut down some payroll.

    Aside from Baez's scary potential, the hardest part of this trade for me has to be the loss of depth. However, the front office is high on La Stella and he and Baez wouldn't likely both be able to get the necessary at bats to aid their development. La Stella provides what Javy doesn't, LH and OBP.

    I think the trade likely makes the Cubs better equipped for the next couple years. In which case, I hope they can make a deal they find a good value.

  • In reply to nukee:

    It will be nice to supplement the staff with young, cost controlled arms -- especially since the system isn't ready to produce pitchers quite yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To your point John, do you see the Cubs adjusting or tweaking their current strategy of acquiring young pitching talent? Perhaps the passage of time will solve current deficiencies, but I'm less confident of the approach in obtaining sufficient TOR candidates that regularly translate that potential into TOR (or near TOR) performance.

    With the rise in value placed on premium pitching, I'm increasingly pessimistic that our deficiency in premium pitching can be cost effectively addressed via FA or trade without substantially compromising significant strengths. I'd appreciate yours or anyone else's thoughts. Thanks!

  • As you know John, I'm a night shifter...I catch all of your key lime pie articles! I hate to lose Javy, but boy that pitching looks good. And cost controlled even makes it better. You know, since we have so many "Denizens" world wide, I propose we get a universal T-shirt made up. Cubs Den on the front, with your picture on it. Maybe holding a bottle of scotch as your sitting with your laptop in the stands of an Az Fall league game. Just a thought. I'll do the heavy lifting if enough people want to join me.

  • In reply to copinblue:

    The Cubs do need pitching...not just to improve but also because they were lucky not to have an injury to any starter. Only Ramirez was a significant injury on the staff as a whole, if I remember correctly.

    T-shirt might be something we do one day. We've thought about it in the past back when Tom was writing with us full time. Maybe we'll revisit, but prob not have my pic on it. Scotch, though, yeah, may have to work that in somehow!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Turner? injury, rehab, injury... guy spent the entire season on the DL. Didn't spend a single day on the big league roster and didn't even have any options left. But on the whole Ramirez had the most SIGNIFICANT injury and it would be really nice if he got his velocity back, returned to his rookie form, and stayed healthy.

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    Sitting here looking here at Erasmo Ramirez's profile, to me he looks like the kind of guy the Cubs front office would be most interested in(that's my opinion) my suggestion is if the trade does go down it could be Ramirez and either Mcgee or Boxberger for Baez and maybe another prospect or two(Don't know which ones)

  • Gotta believe Vogelbomb is a name headed to Tampa with Baez, he was always bound for an AL team anyway. Moore, McGee and a AA pitcher?

  • Hate to lose Javy, but the talents of Torres as an eventual excellent middle infielder make him the most likely to be moved and eventually replaced. We need to improve the pitching depth and this does do that if it comes down as it seems to indicate.

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    I'd hate to lose Baez but you can't keep everybody and we need pitching and CF. John. Do you think the Cubs might have interest in Kevin Kiermaier too ?

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    Kiermayer (GG CF) + Odorizzi (excellent SP) would be the dream but I'm afraid the price might be a little steep.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    What would the cost of Kiermayer be? His dWAR is through the roof and I'm unsure if the rays have a replacement plan at CF..? Would our Joe Maddon have to be traded back to Tampa to make it work?

  • In reply to Christopher Wolff:

    Pass on Keirmeier. Take no walks and is almost an automatic out. Imagine the offensive output when Ross and Lester hit before him. I don't want to.

  • In reply to Theodore Anderson:

    I think they would like to add him but I doubt the Rays would include him.

  • Wonder if Jed can sweet talk them into taking our all star, Castro, nstead...
    Speaking of sweets, those key lime squares sure sound good!

  • In reply to xhooper:

    They were delicious.

    According to Gordo's report, Cubs told Castro he won't be traded...take that for what it's worth. Seems hard to believe they would say that to any non-franchise level player.

  • This is a tough one.
    I love Javy but I also really like Odorizzi.
    Cubs rotation and SP depth would be really good if we added him.

    But then we gotta go out and find a CF.

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    Well, someone was gonna have to go sometime. If anyone is prefer him. Odorizzi is a good pitcher but talent for talent this may bite us. Especially if javy starts hitting. Wonder if almora will be in any talks this week. Surprised his name hasn't come up.

  • It's been a while since I have been here John, but as people have said of all their young bats( Baez, Soler, Schwarber) Baez seems the less likely to become a superstar. The potential IS there but he seems far more prone to flame out than either Soler or Schwarber. I love key lime pie though John, very envious of you

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Hey Steve, good to hear from you. It was very good. Going to have one for breakfast now :)

    Definitely most risk with Javy, but big reward. ANd I think floor may not be that low because of the defense, baserunning, and power. He can at least be a useful player and potentially a star.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree John, but I am afraid to trade Soler. I think in the next year or 2 he will have a 35-40 homer year.

  • In a word, NO. Don't like the idea of trading Javy. I know we can't keep everyone forever but I was still intrigued by the thought of trying him out at CF here this off-season. Admittedly, I'm really rooting for him after he lost his sister last year.

  • Of all the young guys with MLB experience, Baez is the one I would be least upset to see traded. He has one of the highest ceilings, but I also think he has the lowest floor.

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    Would hate to lose Javy, BUT if trading with Tampa, I would take Moore and Snell , want a lot of upside in a deal for Baez, would have to add a piece in that deal, but that is what I'd be looking for. Odirozzi doesn't have the electric stuff either of the two lefties, would be a shame to trade potential for a 4 or 5 starter, reminds me a lot of Hellickson
    Maybe throw in Vogelbach , and your choice of McKinney or Candelario..

  • I'd prefer Smyly & McGee. But I would think we'd get more for Baez. The guy is an everyday player at just about any position on the ball field & can play them well.

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    It's amazing how many Denizens live outside the US. We must have every continent covered--anyone from Antarctica reading?
    Anyway, I hate to see Baez traded, he's one of my favorites and it really seemed like he had changed his mindset last year. Our own pitchers seem like a year or two away or we wouldn't have to deal. It seems now like it's a fait accompli but I hope not.
    I do like the t-shirt idea too Chad.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Oh, we do. There are general stats on that, but pretty cool to hear who they are individually.

  • This is the first deal that Baez appears to fit. I think he might end up being a star at the level of Sosa was for the Cubs but alas it is obvious that Cubs have an in balance and more infield depth. May guess is that a LHP with a late inning reliever both with control and then further exchange of lower prospects. It tells me that Cubs go to ST with competition for the lower rotation spots and will need to have depth for injury potential of Hammel and Lackey. Between Odorizzi and Smyly which one has the most upside, who has the best stuff that Bosio can refine?

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    It is incredibly odd to me that even people who think Baez is going to be a star (on Sosa's level?...30-40 HR a year with Baez's defense and other skills is a MVP candidate) but would rather trade him than Addison Russell.

    Russell certainly did not have Baez's terrible rookie year, but he also never put up the numbers Baez did in the minors. Last year, Russell hit .242/.307/.389 with 149K in 475 AB, which is not that exciting even for a shortstop. Assuming Cubs fan posters of the Den's relative opinions of Baez and Russell are commensurate with that of GMs (big assumption, but educated fans here), Russell would have more value than Baez in a trade.

    If that is the case and you think it a decent chance Baez will put up Sosa-esque numbers (which is above Russell's ceiling), wouldn't you rather trade Russell?

  • According to his bref page, Moore has team options through 2019. McGee is really a great fit for our pen. Baez will have a nice career arc so if they do it I hope they don't whiff on the starter. At this point I would want Snell since we already have 5 ready guys, but obviously the Rays would want to trade one of their more expensive guys. An almost ready guy makes more sense than another guy who pushes out one of our existing starters.

  • No doubt somebody has already mentioned Maddon is perfectly suited to council this trade. I hate losing Javy but we'll have the inside scoop on everybody involved.

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    Thanks John!!

    For those of us in Japan!! We say thanks!

  • In reply to Trevor Schmidt:

    You're welcome..and thanks as well.

  • I'd love to get Smyly/Odorizzi/Moore and McGee. It definitely improves the pitching depth. However, it would then require the team to make yet another trade as the position player depth would be depleted significantly. The Cubs would now have to find two guys that can play CF. Maybe one of those guys comes via FA, but I can't see them picking up two that way given the options. And I do not like the idea of having to rely on the likes of Szczur/Alcantara.

    I've stated on here many times that I believe having a couple of starting caliber players on the bench is more important for the Cubs than probably any other team. Without Baez this team has an La Stella, 1 year of Ross, and 1 year of Coghlan. That is perilously thin. And no one else on the roster can play CF at anywhere close to an acceptable level. If Alcantara takes a step forward it would be a big help, but the guy was an absolute mess last year.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Almora will be a phone call away, though John has hinted a few times this winter that the Cubs are souring on him.

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    I'd be interested in Cobb. I know he'd miss part or most of the first half, and has had issues staying healthy, but he's a #2 when he's on the mound.

    I don't see Ramirez as an upgrade over Hendricks/Hammel, and has a low K rate.

    Odorizzi doesn't really move the needle for me.

    Moore's velocity is way down from 3 years ago, and results are as well. BB's way too many, and K rate is way down too.

    Of the guys listed, Smyly looks like the best bet. A few years of solid results already (FIP and ERA in the low to mid 3's), good K rate and BB rate. And he's a lefty

    Hate to lose Javy, though. I think if (when?) they do trade a guy with Baez upside, it better result in an upgrade over what we have, not just another #4 starter to add to the mix.

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    I commented here about 20 min ago but it didn't appear, so I'll try again. I'd hate to lose Javy also, especially since he appeared to have changed his approach by the end of last year. I know getting top pitching is important and we have to trade to get it, but one reason is that the pitchers we've drafted in the last few years have not progressed as fast as maybe they could have. Possibly Pierce Johnson should have been up and one or two others (Corey Black for example) and we don't know what we have in Carl Edwards Jr. Baez has such a high ceiling and with his defense a pretty high floor too.
    It seems like a fait accompli now with everyone talking about it but we have to trust the FO to do what they think is best.
    Chad has a great idea for a T-Shirt, and I'm wondering if we could have a list of all the countries that Denizens come from. Now if we could have someone in Antarctica that would be something too!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    do you think Ron Cey moved down there? :-)

  • In reply to stix:

    Ooooh, that was bad! Lol

  • Javy HR'd yesterday in his Winter League game. As much as that would be a nice haul for him, I just would not want to make that deal. If you study Javy's track record, he struggles, adjusts, dominates, moves up struggles, dominates, etc. He LEARNED from his MLB debut and came back a different player. He is going to be a star. I don't see equal value 3-5 years from now.

    I'd really like to see him handle CF this winter and then this season. That would be insane Trout-like power from CF.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Agreed. These are Javy's traits that you'd hate to lose. He does things on the field that you just can't teach, and he works hard.

  • John, what would the chances of the FO targeting Desmond Jennings as an additional piece in this deal?

  • In reply to CubYourEnthusiasm:

    Seems like a good idea but it doesn't appear to be the case, at least according to Topkin report. Maybe it happens or maybe Cubs are looking elsewhere for CF.

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    I get it that we have trade something to get something...but I sure hope the Cubs keep Baez....Would rather see them trade Soler instead of Baez...Javy is too valuable as a super sub and power off the bench.

  • With the addition of John Lackey, the Cubs are going to go deeper into the playoffs next year because their young major league players are just scratching the surface of what they can do. They are just that talented. It took us years to accumulate this much talent, so why ruin it? Why start breaking it up? They are the new Monsters of the Midway, the new murderer's row. Of the 3 young middle infielders, I'd have to rate Javier higher than Russell or Castro because he is quicker, more athletic, has better range, and the best arm. He would make a great defensive third baseman. With his defensive prowess, his prolific ability to hit home runs, and continued improvement in hitting, it makes him the best prospect of the three. It would be foolish to even consider trading him to the Rays unless the Cubs received a package that included Chris Archer and another pitcher like Matt Moore straight up. Or as Billy Joel would sing, ' Don't go changing to try and please me. I'll take you just the way you are'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJWM5FmZyqU

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    Baez, Vogelbomb and filler for Smyly, McGee/Box and Jennings.

  • Trading Baez could be the biggest mistake the org has ever made. I don't think that it will happen, yet anyway. I'll be crushed!

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Rays are trying to open up a spot for Blake Snell ( who should be the type of starter / center piece ) a Javy deal should bring back.

    Now w Cahill in the swing roll, the Cubs could afford to go slow w Snell ( monitor his innings ) and put him in the rotation when necessary. The guy given an opportunity has a great chance to be ROY. That's the kind of player we should be targeting.

    Obviously if they feel Baez is going to bust out or never come close to his ceiling and getting basically rotation depth ( all the starters mentioned have warts and most likely won't be starting a game 3 for us ) and a nice bullpen piece is a good deal, then who are we to question the infallible.

    I have just been convinced ( perhaps worn down ) by all the Denziens who have so much faith that Baez is really something special. So when trading something special, you should be getting something special back and that's Blake Snell.

  • I'm gonna hope and pray that this trade doesn't happen

  • In reply to bolla:

    If I'm going to talk Baez trade with the Rays, the first name from their front office would have to be Chris Archer.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Doesn't sound likely, but that's the value I put on Baez as well. I don't love the idea of trading him for a #4 pitcher. But I trust the FO. They clearly know what they're doing and have a good idea of value.... But Archer in a Cubs uniform would be sweet!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Exactly.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Archer was one of the top pitchers in the league last year. There's not a prospect in all of baseball that could get him.

    Archer would probably require something like Seager + Urias.

  • I always assumed if we traded Baez it would be for a young TOR guy. He's got stud potential and was really starting to show it in September and in October with the GAME WINNING 3-RUN HOMER to beat the Cardinals.

    I'll be disappointed if we merely get a No. 3-4 starter and a late inning guy not named Chapman. We've got other assets in the minors to package for a middle rotation guy, don't we?

  • It’s become increasingly obvious the Cubs are going to have to make a painful trade this off season if they want to add another TOR quality starter moving forward. It’s going to be either Baez or Soler. I am more comfortable letting go of Baez than Soler. Baez has more power but Soler looks like he will be the more consistent and productive hitter.
    Trading Baez also is more palatable with Torres on the horizon. Castro will be adequate at 2B as a floor and an all star 2B as a ceiling. Not a bad fallback position for next season. If they can get Odorizzi/Smyly and McGee I’d be pretty happy with that.

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    At least on this blog, Cubs Nation is global. Very cool. My take: it is looking like one of Castro, Baez, or Soler wil be traded. Castro strikes me as unlikely, due to his salary. Of the two remaining, I'd much rather keep Soler. I'd hate to see Baez go, but Castro at second is not a bad option. And Torres is on the way up.

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    I'd hate to see Baez go, especially after all the time invested in him. But you have Torres who will hopefully be the future 2B. Castro & LaStella are holding it down for the next couple years until he's ready. Kinda fits the 2 year pitching window.

  • There was a pretty big drop in McGee's FB velo last year. Does anyone have any idea what happened (mid-season injury, etc.)?

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    Chapman went to the Dodgers? Curious who LA sent the Reds.

  • Interesting thought my high school BB coach who was a college coach and went to numerous clinics. When he (and us) began making his cuts he didn't place players in their prospective roles and then carved out a team, he wanted all of us to rank 1-24 the players trying out as a BB player.

    I think if you are going to begin determining 'value' of a prospective player like Baez (or others) on the current Cubs roster consideration you might have to begin by ranking players 1-50 or more, then 1-40, then 1-25.

    Where does Baez rank?

    Let me start: This is my thumbnail

    1) Arrieta
    2) Rizzo
    3) Bryant
    4) Lester
    5) Russell
    6) Schwarber
    7) Rondon
    8) Hendricks
    9) Lackey
    10) Soler
    11) Montero
    12) Baez
    13) Castro
    14) Coghlan
    15) Grimm
    16) Strop
    17) Hammel
    18) Wood
    19) Ross
    20) La Stella
    21) Richard
    22) Brother
    23) Ramirez
    24) Edwards Jr.
    25) Szczur

    Some may quibble on the ranking of Baez and Castro but you could interchange the two, but moving Baez (or Soler) albeit an attractive athlete with huge upside potential where in my book he is a better player than Castro, neither are a critical player at least right now. Evidence Cubs won last year despite Castro's poor year or Baez contributing. Some might say that Castro's August and Sept was the difference but the reality is that Russell's play at SS and Schwarber's power bat was a bigger impact.

    If the Cubs are able to use Baez to acquire a LHP SP'er and a power RP (esp LHP) where would they sit in the rankings?

    For one the acquired SP'er might supplant Hendricks in the pecking order and the RP'er probably would supplant Strop and possibly push Rondon, (which is the purpose of acquiring him) or at least bud up against him. Therefore for a player ranked 12-13 you get two players possibly ranked on the team's top ten now.

    It also exposes either Wood or Strop for trade in that together they are expected to cost $11M which could be used to acquire another important player and again someone who might be ranked 8-9-or 10 like what Fowler was to the team last year. Let us say Cubs use the $$ trading Strop and Wood (plus Hammell, $20M) for Gordon and a journeyman CF glove, where you place Gordon regardless of position on the above roster? Most likely between Russell and Schwarber. Therefore if the team acquired Smyly and McGee for Baez and a string of prospects Cubs could improve their roster substantially and do it for a number of years.

    What trading a potential Sosa or Sheffield who could end up being a #1 or #2 on a team for three players that would be your #6-#7-8-or 9th plus allow you to acquire a 20th player and still get some returns in the trade market is simply very smart management.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    Interesting way to look at it. Would your ranking change for "highest ceiling"?

    FWIW, my only quibble would be Russell, Hendricks, and Montero are too high for my taste.

    Thanks for spurring some different ways to look at it.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Now add Cahill to this list somewhere near Grimm at 15

  • I wonder if Montero might get included in this deal!? I am sure the Cubs would cover some of his salary and the Rays could really use a solid C. Plus he could DH for them time to time too.

    The reason I mention Montero, is I really think the Cubs want to move him and are preparing for a major bid for Heyward. If you move Montero that would free up 3 maybe even 4 starts a week for Schwarbs at catcher which would then sort of make a platoon spot for Soler. Allowing Heyward to stay in RF and perhaps occasionally play CF. Schwarbs, Soler AND Heyward in the same lineup with Rizzo, Bryant & Castro would not only be a murders row but would also allow the Cubs to have a cheap defensive oriented CF & perhaps another defensive oriented C along with Ross.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I think the whole point of trading Montero would be to get his contract off the books so I'm not sure what they'd gain by trading him and retaining salary. He's probably too expensive for TB. I think you'd have to look at trading Montero somewhere else though that's just my hunch.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    No matter where you trade Montero you are gonna have to eat some of his salary, imo. If you could get out from under 1/2 to 2/3 of the money owed it would create some salary relief. Every little bit counts

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    Moving Baez would greatly increase my outlook on this off season.

    Let's hope this gets done.

  • I can't stand the thought of trading Baez for anyone less than a #2 TOR. And McGee would have to be in there as well. So Smyley/McGee/Snell/Kiermaier
    .........../Montero/Candelario/Vogelbach/ for a start.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    If you get a potential closer and/or elite SU guy PLUS a starter for Baez + prospects you do that deal 100 of 100 times!!! The Cubs are trading from depth and are upgrading 2 positions for a guy who undoubtedly talented but as of right now does not have a position.

    Plus Maddon is very familiar with TB roster, the only guy he may not be as familiar with is Ramirez. So you are getting a legit scouting report.

  • If a team has to come up with two mediocre players for a super-talented prospect, 9 times out of 10 the team giving up the prospect gets screwed!!!

  • In reply to menny:

    I agree.Baez versatility(ability to play 3b,2b,ss and potetially cf) and the power is too valuable to trade right now.

  • As someone that was WAY higher on Archer than McNutt back in the day, I have already had to slam my head against a computer screen once regarding a trade to the Rays. I don't want to do it again. I think there are scenarios where a Baez trade to the Rays would make sense and I could live with it, but there are plenty of deals that would make me want to put my eye out. Please Theo/Jed, I like what you guys have done so far, please let me keep my faith in you.

    Plus, I really don't want to make the Rays my AL team to root for. Watching games played in that eyesore they call a ballpark is so depressing. If Baez gets added to Archer I may not have much choice though.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I think John just had too much sugar and caffeine. Thought that uhh t would fun to scare us.

  • I wish chicagonow.com could allow for polls. I would love to see a poll as to which young offensive piece the Denizens would be most willing to part with in a trade.
    Personally, I'm in the Baez camp, but it seems like others are very against trading Javy.

  • The fragility of Desmond Jennings' left knee should disqualify him as a desirable acquisition. Jennings missed all but ten games after April 25 of last season with a nagging left knee injury. This was after missing the final 29 games of the 2014 season with a similar left knee injury.

    Boxberger struggles with his command and his ability to mix in his off speed pitches. I'm sure Bosio could work his magic, but I'd rather save the headache. Additionally, many people in Rays Nation loathe the guy and would be more than happy to see him pack his bags.

  • Daniel, if I knew there were other cubs fans in Israel, we could have had watching parties. I was in Tel Aviv in 2013 for the year and Paris France in 2014. I read John to keep up on all of the detailed scouting of our future Cubs. I may return to Tel Aviv in 2016, but I will have to work it around the Cubs schedule. I did find lots of Bears fans.

  • Don't do it. Everyday player with athletic ability to play several positions well. Generational power. Showing signs of a better plate approach. And young. Don't do it.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Agree, I would politely say not at this time to any request for Javy. Thanks, but you will have to check in with us down the line on his availability. He has a chance to be special and the org can't risk it.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I agree as well. I don't see the urgent pitching need. They just signed Lackey for the rotation so it looks pretty solid. The bullpen already has a lot of good pieces and hopefully Ramirez is back and healthy. I saw a different player last year with Baez in the late regular season and playoffs. He is still very young with a lot of years of club control. Just hold onto him and see how this develops.

    Remember when we traded with the Rays and gave up Archer?

  • Given my choices, Id take Smyly and McGee, especially McGee, LHP with high 90s FBs are tough to find, and he doesn't walk many. Smyly is nasty when healthy, hes good enough that when the Rays traded Price they wanted Smyly in return.

  • If I'm "voting a player off the island", it's Soler, not Baez. First, I do worry a bit about just how extremely Soler seems to despise the cold. In addition, his soft-tissue injury history makes me wonder if we'll always be seeing him playing 100 games per season due to nagging injuries.

    I also just feel that, with Baez's ability to play the most premium position, as opposed to Soler's RF, is the other factor. We can move guys like Bryant to RF; we can go get Heyward or Gordon to play RF. Middle infielders, while we seem to be busting at the seams with them, just don't grow on trees.

    Again, don't love the idea of trading any of the core, but if that's the price of poker to upgrade the rotation and bullpen, it's Soler that I prefer to sacrifice.

  • It sounding like baez to tampa is gonna happen according to john it is what it is

  • Keep Javy. Could be another Trout like CF'er.

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    Sorry but they should not trade baez or Soler. And they should definitely not trade Castro if they are gonna get Gardner. That's a stupid trade. They need to sign zobrist and baez can be their 2nd versatile player. 3rd. Short 2nd. Maybe a corner outfield. The rays don't have anyone worth trading one of your best players for.

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