Does Soler (and more) for Inciarte make sense for the Cubs? Maybe....

At first glance, it seems impossible.  Would the Cubs really trade Jorge Soler and more for Ender Inciarte?  Soler was the big IFA prize in 2012 and he has made his way through the organization as one of the Cubs top prospects.  Inciarte was far less heralded, even once projected by some early on to be a 4th OFer type.

According to a tweet by Julie DiCaro, the Cubs are considering the idea.

After an initial shock to my Cubs-centric system, I have eased up a bit on this. The Cubs are trying to put together the best roster possible and that doesn't always mean the same as the best group of individual players. In Enciarte, the Cubs improve their OF defense at two different positions -- RF as Heyward shifts over and, of course, CF where Heyward would be solid, but Enciarte would be better. Inciarte also helps diversify the Cubs lineup even more with another contact hitter. He may not be better in a vacuum., but he may help make it a more difficult lineup to game plan for. It could be a case of the whole being better than the sum of it's parts.

But even saying all of that, I am still terrified of trading Soler. We have seen what he can be in spurts, most notably the postseason. More than one scout has called Soler a potential monster. The Cubs would likely be trading a guy who hits 30-35 HRs with solid OBP numbers and a game-changing arm in RF.

That is enough to make anyone a little wobbly in the knees, but there are examples of teams trading a big offensive bat and yet still getting better. I can think of three that should be familiar to fans here in Chicago. One is part of this current front office trading Hanley Ramirez, who went on to become a star -- even an MVP level player -- with the Marlins, but the deal helped make the Red Sox a more well-rounded team. And, of course, they eventually won the WS with plenty of help from Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Another is the Cubs trading Joe Carter, who went on to have a great career but brought the Cubs Rick Sutciffe. Then there is the south side of town where the Sox traded slugger Carlos Lee for Scott Posednik. Now the hope is Enciarte would be better with more longevity than Posednik, but the deal did help the Sox break their own World Series drought.

Those are all anecdotal examples. They really don't have any bearing on how this particular trade would work out, but I do think it shows that trading such a talented player -- even if that player goes on to have a great career -- won't necessarily weaken the team overall. It may even make it better. It will certainly make them better defensively, more balanced, and more versatile. For the Braves, they would get a rare commodity in baseball today and a RH power bat they can pair with Freeman in the middle of their lineup for years to come.

I do not know if this deal will happen, or even if the rumor is true, But if it does happen, I think I can live with it given the potential to make the team more well-rounded and perhaps better suited for a postseason run. But that doesn't mean I won't cringe a little and keep an eye on Soler's career for a while.

Nobody said building a potential World Series winner would be painless.

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  • fb_avatar

    I really think our team is okay for right now. We should definitely be contending by the all-star break. If by then Theo and company need to make a move they will have the resources. I do not think their is a pressing need to go and get a true center fielder for that reason, especially if it means trading Soler who it seams that hits the ball hard right at someone every time. I also am not a fan of trading Javy because he can create awesome depth and flexibility. Just keep Soler and Javy till the allstar break, then make a move if you have to!

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    In reply to Tyler Brown:

    I just do not see trading Soler (let alone more) for a player like Inciarte. If the focus is on defense, there has to be a guy out there that is a light-hitting strong-defensive CFer that a team would be willing to let go for a lot less. Go find a Billy Burns or Michael Taylor or Juan Lagares whose team is not trying to rebuild an entire roster w each trade, and who are not overly in love with the player.

    The Cubs should be able to land a stong defensive CFer for prospects. If not, consider bringing Almora up ASAP for his defense. Wondering if teams (haters) have decided to jack up their asking prices to the Cubs because of their current situation and momentum?

  • "...he would cost Soler plus." I guess you can't blame the Braves for having chutzpah after Miller deal.

  • In reply to Eisman57:

    exactly !

  • In reply to Eisman57:

    Just because Arizona are drunken gamblers doesn't mean I think the Cubs should be. Soler plus? I wouldn't do it NOW, straight up.

  • This one is very tough. I mean on one hand I get it, you trade a guy that would make 2 positions better on the other hand I still think Soler could be a guy that gets you pitching at some point, even though right now it's not happening. Inciarte is a nice player and I'd like him here but that's a steep price. I've been prepared for Soler to go but this feels like giving him away. No thank you.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Agree, plus wouldn't Inciarte need a short side platoon?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He was about the same from both sides in his first year. Don't want to make too much of that last year. Too soon to draw that conclusion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, as I said I think I get this idea; trading Soler for Inciarte upgrades your defense and maximizes Heyward's potential. I get that as Inciarte is about a 3 WAR player and I heard someone say that Heyward could lose 1.5 WAR playing CF. So essentially this trade possibility proposes that Soler is a less than 4.5 WAR/year player over the next couple of years and other pieces have to augment the trade? See that's where I'm confused. If I'm the Cubs I absolutely do not do that unless I'm sure Soler does not improve defensively and misses time to injury. Otherwise this seems very lopsided. Is this your take or am I missing something?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, living in AZ I saw Inciarte quite a bit. Hes a far better hitter LH than right, he likely would need a platoon partner for when the opposition starts a LHP. You know Ive advocated for Inciarte for the past couple of months , but Inciarte is not worth Soler. Some of our minor league depth should be.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I've seen him for this entire season. I think he had a tough year but not ready to say he is a platoon player.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Also, it might open up some good matchups for Baez in center.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have not seen much of Inciarte, but didn't he play more of the corner OFs in his career (with Pollock in CF -- I saw 95 games in CF, 77 in LF and 74 in RF for his career). Do we have significant knowledge of him in CF? I assume so, just seems odd.

    I am not sure why we can not make much of last year for splits -- he has had only two years. I look at his minors numbers and the answer is that there is evidence but it is hard to tell:

    2013 (AA - struggled with lefties):
    Lefties: .260/.307/.298
    Righties: .289/.334/.386

    In lower minors, he was about even. Not enough evidence to fully judge, though 2 out of 3 seasons at higher levels, he did struggle with lefties.

    Finally, where does Inciarte fit in a batting order? His .329 OBP doesn't seem suitable for that spot; indeed he seems quite similar to Castro in this area, with good contact but not any walks and is barely higher than Soler, who was .324 last year (and .330 in his first short stint). His selectiveness (he was 134th in baseball in pitcher/plate appearance) was poor relative to Cubs goals. Moreover, his overall numbers may have been helped by Chase Field:

    2015: Home: .330/.364/.421 Away: .282/.317/.399
    2014: Home: .315/.360/.416 Away: .244/.280/.308

    I would think if we traded Soler, we would want someone who had good speed, saw a lot of pitches (as this seems to be the Cubs direction, with Castro being the antithesis), got on base to fill the leadoff spot, played good defense. Inciarte gits two of those four categories, not sure why we would give up Soler (much less Soler and a prospect) for him, particularly with the home/away disparity.

    As a side note, proposals here were initially saying Soler and prospect for Teheran and Inciarte; while I still don't agree with that trade, it is interesting to me that supporters are now comfortable with just getting Inciarte, who recently was acquired by Atlanta in a trade for Shelby Miller (and he wasn't the main part of the deal). As John's analysis previously demonstrated, Miller also isn't that great -- people here weren't comfortable doing Soler for Shelby Miller (John's analysis of Miller being a big thing for me). Now Atlanta would have traded Shelby Miller for Soler and the #10 and #61 prospect in baseball (kind of like Soler, Schwarber and Underwood) for Miller. Interesting that people's value perception has changed.

  • In reply to springs:

    No one on the Cubs was better at going back on balls than Castro. I would have preferred to keep him until ST and see if he could have played CF if that is the case. Tit for tat!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not only trading Soler is an offensive blow, but moving Heyward back to RF is an offensive blow.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Good point!

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm on the no side as well. Inciarte is not better than Soler IMO. I'm not so sure he makes the cubs better either. If the Cubs decide to keep Soler, it would not surprise me if he has a great year.

  • In reply to TC154:

    If Soler goes, I agree he needs to go for young upside starting pitching (this would be value for value), not a young CF who had a tough year last year and may be a platoon player. I would rather see if Span is healthy enough to play part time if he could be had for one year.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    Big gain by keeping Soler and small investment in CF with Span, etc. Try Baez! Give him a chance.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It makes two positions better defensively, but very likely makes one position much, much worse offensively.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm not sure that Inciarte adds much more than his glove and I doubt that gets better in the future while I see Soler getting better defensively and probably improving his offense more than Inciarte will. The comps are for the MLB careers for Inciarte and Soler .292/329/386 vs .268/.325/.433.

    If this is for a one year drive for the WS it might make sense but I just don't see the defensive improvement as a necessity especially with 1/2 of the games @Wrigley. Cubs won with Fowler and whomever in right , I just don't believe this makes sense for more than a 2016 push for the WS, maybe if it's Soler for Inciarte+.

  • "Wobbly in the knees....."

    That is exactly how I feel. This subject is sure to have people on one side or the other. I don't think there is a lot of middle ground. I for one would not make that deal. I would rather roll with Heyward in CF and Soler in RF. I think Soler's middle of the order bat outweighs Inciarte's lead off bat. Plus I believe Soler will hit both RHP and LHP. I have no confidence in Inciarte ever being more than a platoon player (albeit a pretty good one). So I pass and keep my eggs in the Soler basket.

    This whole dialogue reminds me of the Milton Bradley signing because the Cubs needed more "LHB tro balance the lineup..." move. Seems to be an over-reacting to a 4 game set against a hot team. If that series were really indicative, you would think we need to move Bryant and Rizzo who struggled with the Mets power, not Soler who was a beast.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    *shudder*,.... I can honestly state that I never understood WHY the Cubs decided that Milton Bradley was a good idea,....

    I'm firmly on the side of the 'Don't trade Soler' for any combination of players that doesn't also an at least potential TOR-type pitching arm,.....

    Which - of course - with my recent terrible track record of predicting what the front office will do - means that the Cubs will trade Soler for Inciarte - and probably shortly after I press the 'send' button for this comment,...

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I couldn't agree more...well, except that Inciarte's lead off bat is actually pretty poor leadoff due to low pitches/at bat and terrible walk percentage. I will gladly wager that Soler has a higher OBP this year than Inciarte (in 2015, it was .329 Inciarte (with a .303 average) against .324 Soler (with a .262 average)).

    Somehow all our kids get branded in some people's eyes as identical free swingers without walks. Really only true of Baez (and even he has improved significantly)...Soler walks a good amount and has a great batter's eye (I have never seen someone get more terrible strike calls than he got last year), Schwarber takes many walks and pitches, Bryant works the count well and Russell was one of the top in the league in pitches per at bat last year.

    Just because Soler strikes out more than Inciarte doesn't mean Inciarte works the pitcher better or walks more...it means Inciarte swings early in the count more often than not, similar to Starlin Castro. Soler works the pitchers better than Inciarte, has a higher SLG, likely higher OBP, more homers, more RBIs, more balanced against R/L, doesn't have the home/road Chase Field split Inciarte has and has much more possible projection than Inciarte....why are we even considering this trade? Are you really telling me that outfield defense is that valuable? Sometimes it seems people get way into the stats and looking at numbers and forget about actual things, like scoring runs. Defense by Inciarte (if comparable to Heyward) would save, on average, one run given up per every 8 games (based on Moody's numbers from the other day). Meanwhile Soler's better SLG, likely OBP, HR, RBI, etc. are much more likely to generate more than 1/8 run per game more than Inciarte...particularly with Chase Field and L/R splits of Inciarte. Sometimes HR and RBI are more important than WAR, FWAR, DWAR, etc....it seems forgotten in all those numbers that actual runs produced (not projected to be produced, not deemed produced based on numbers relative to others, not runs saved relative to average defenders....but runners crossing home plate) are what wins games.

  • fb_avatar

    The anecdotal evidence is that this is the deal the Cubs want. I'm just not at all convinced the Braves want anything to do with it right now.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I could see either side demanding the trade be complete before the other side sobers up. But I can just as easily think the other side will think "THIS IS AWESOME".

  • No to this. I think going into the season with what the Cubs have is fine. Let the year play itself out a bit and if a change needs to be made, make a move to improve the defense.

  • Soler.....and more. I don't care for that really. Inciarte in his first 2 seasons is pretty reliant on BA for his OBP, with not much power. Gviving up Soler heads up is one thing...which I'm still against, but giving up Soler...and another prospect? I don't want that....no sir.

  • fb_avatar

    I am a huge Inciarte fans as I been crying and praying for him for weeks if not months, but even I think on the surface this is a price too high to pay.

    1.To me it comes down to what the brain trust believes jorge Soler is? Do they think he is a perennial 30 homer .280/.350/.520 bat ?

    Or

    2. Do they think he is going to be an off an injured player that is the hitter we saw during the season when healthy but will end up on the bench ( DL) more then on the field?

    Personally I think he's closer to #1 then # 2, but I am not scout or in charge. If they think he's closer to #2, then I get the trade.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    That's essentially what I just asked John. That has to be the reasoning or this makes no sense.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I agree. If they believe in #2, than consider a trade. If #1, why consider it? We have some rising stars in system that could make it interesting in the future. Could one of our young 3rd basemen allow Bryant to move to RF, moving Soler to left? Does Schwarber move to catcher? Does Almora take over center? Is Soler a future Andre Dawson or Joe Carter? I would rather go with Heyward/Almora in center and keep Soler. If we want to trade for pitching...trade Hammel
    With prospects like Vogelbach, McKinney, Olt...

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    In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    No doubt. I just have a feeling Soler may end up being A Poor mans Giancarlo Stanton, and I would at least give him 1 full season in RF or LF to prove otherwise.

    Even half a season. Let Maddon mix and match, and if we are losing a lot of runs due to the OF defense, then make a move at the deadline.

    Give the boys a chance ..................

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I like Soler but if there's a poor man's Stanton on the team I think it's Baez.

  • In reply to TC154:

    When you add in all the other aspects of Javy's game, I'm not sure how poor that man is.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    A little oversight here Roe, as Olt is on the South Side after being claimed off waivers last summer. As for this trade possibility? I'm not so sure. Instinct tells me no trade.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If they can get .280/.350/.520 and 30 HR production out of him then I think this is a pretty easy choice. And if Almora is ready to take over in CF next year then we can move Heyward to RF and have a terrifying "platoon" of Schwarber and Soler in LF.

    The big downside of that is that it would possibly cost us another season. We got by last year but one of the major advantages to signing Heyward is getting his defense in RF.

    To me I am not crazy about giving up Soler + but if it could be Soler for Inciarte straight up I would have to think about it. Inciarte "checks a couple boxes" for the Cubs (OF defense, low K rate, good speed).

    And as has been pointed out, we are not putting together a fantasy team here. We are putting together a baseball team. And not every player needs to put up gawdy numbers to be a significant contributor.

    What I would do if I am the Cubs is I sit on it for a little while. It is possible interest in Soler will increase when Upton, Gordon and other RF FA are signed.

    My other thought is that we won 97 games with Fowler in CF. Most agree that Heyward is an improvement over Fowler. So we have probably not taken "a step back" in that regard.

    But these are first world problems. We have a guy with a ceiling of Perennial All-Star (or at least in the conversation) under team control for 4 more years (I believe). Or we could get a guy with good defense and a preternatural ability to put the bat on the ball. As I have said before I am VERY interested in Inciarte. But I am undecided whether I am willing to give up Soler to do it.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Good points. I would try to make a deal for Inciarte to address the OBP, low k%, and left handed if we hadn't made the 2 big moves.

    We now have Zobrist and Heyward who check all those boxes.

    So do we need to sell Soler short to get another left handed bat ? In reality, some could say we are too left handed ( I wouldn't ). If we had Inciarte, we could put a left handed bat at every position except SS ( Russell ) and 3b ( Bryant ).

    Lets keep the RH power bat for at least half a season and then reevaluate !!!

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Put La Stella at 2B and Zobrist at 3B (or vice-versa) if being that LH would be an advantage. I don't think that would be very often, but it could.

  • I think it's a terrible idea. Wrigley's outfield is not big. Our OF defense didn't cost us much last year. It was bad in the playoffs but that's it. Schwarber will be fine. Soler will be fine. How about give them more reps and they will get better. Heyward is already an upgrade over Fowler in CF (whom was supposed to be awful there and did fine). Now you will trade a possible perennial all star for a light hitting CF when we don't need it. Inciarte doesn't even get on base a lot, doesn't take walks. I see a drastic decline for him. Soler will only go up. Trade prospects for Teheran and call it a day.

  • For me, the biggest issue I have is why not just bring up Almora instead? The Cubs sacrificed Schwarber's defense because of his bat, why not do the opposite with Almora?

    I mean outside of the whole obvious issue of wanting Heyward to move over to right. Even with that, I think (I'm not fully sure/probably haven't given it enough contemplation) I'd rather trade Montero and deal with Schwarber learning on the job at C and move Soler to LF. You downgrade defensively at C, but upgrade at all three OF spots.

    But many of us assume that Soler and Schwarber have basically hit their defensive ceiling or aren't patient now to let them progress.

    I think the post is quite logical, so I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the point made, I think I'd just rather endure the growing pains on defensive.

    If the Braves are interested in Almora and others for Inciarte, great. That exchanges two matches for the teams' respective timelines. Almora fits theirs and Inciarte fits ours. But that would still require moving Schwarber to catcher. But to be honest, I think the OF will probably always suffer with him out there.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Schwarber would really have to a quick study to be ready to handle a pitching staff as early as next year.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'll disagree. He doesn't need to manage a pitching staff. He is to execute the game plan after reviewing with Bosio, Ross, and that day's pitcher. Maddon manages the staff with Bosio.

    Schwarber is a leader. It is obvious watching him. There should be zero concern about executing a game plan.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If they are worried about pitch calling, that can be done from the dugout until he gains more experience.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    I think Kyle will be learning on the job. He will be catching, but not to the extent that he will be needed if Montero is traded. Risky for a contending team to substitute inexperience for a vet at that position.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Catcher is TOO CRITICAL to downgrade. But I do hope Schwarber gets enough work there in 2016 to be ready to platoon with Contreras in 2017.

    Also, putting Almora out there now could stunt his development offensively. He's not close to being MLB ready offensively. It's not really an equal comparison with Schwarbers promotion..

  • I would do Candelario and Szczur straight up for Inciarte. Trading right handed power is a bad idea. They should just wait until the trade deadline.

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    In reply to ucandoit:

    That's a trade I can get behind. Have Soler play 65%-70% of the games in LF and a few in RF ( when Heyward is out or playing CF) and mix in The Schwarbenator for the rest along w him catching 1 starter exclusively and mixing in a few w other starters

  • Can we include Woods and also get a good pitching prospect in return

  • I'm open to the idea without being qualified to have an informed opinion. But I'll bet that as we discuss this the FO is debating all angles, trying to determine the comparative values without being rushed into anything. And I doubt that Atlanta would make a deal without touching bases with the Cubs.

  • This doesn't feel great. I don't think Soler's defence is all that bad. But when you pair Schwarber in LF, Heywood in CF and Soler in RF, it doesn't look great. But think of the offence! At least you know what you have got and you can suck up a few errors because their bats will win a lot of games. You can always find a cheap defensive CF and more Heywood to RF late in games or once you have a decent lead.

  • In reply to Cub Downunder:

    It will be a little better than it was last year with Fowler in CF, and with more defensive development on the part of the corner outfielders.

  • I had been a fan of trading Soler for pitching or a quality CF. But more and more I think we should just stay where we are. Soler has the potential to be much better in RF. I watched him in Iowa several times and he made some great plays, plus, his arm is hard to come by. I believe his potential at the plate can win us more games than mistakes he could make in RF loses games.

    I have a feeling that we will be blowing a lot of games out this year where quality backup outfielders like Szucer and Coglan will be in games much more than usual.

    Going forward this offseason, we need to be patient and see what SP fall through the cracks. Despite the high current price of pitching, I see some high value deals potentially out there. Worst case scenario we don't make no further moves and we end up a much better team than last year that won 97 games!

  • fb_avatar

    Inciarte hit over .300 last year... he's an on-base machine, adding to Zobrist and Heyward, providing runs for the power hitters to knock in ....and he is one of the league leaders in defensive runs saved. I'd hate to see the trade too, but as things stand, Inciarte is a steadier, more seasoned player and would improve the team.

  • In reply to Dave & Gizmo:

    IInciarte hit .303..but only a .338 obp last year. what happens if he hits .280 this year? a .315 OBP is not too good...and he doesn't have much pop at all.

  • In reply to Dave & Gizmo:

    Inciarte is like Castro, in that he rarely ever walks. He has 51 BB in 1060 PA. He doesn't strike out much though.

    Also, his numbers away from Chase Field are rather poor relative to his home numbers, which concerns me.

    Finally, Inciarte has been in the league two years, so I am intrigued by your statement that he is a "more seasoned player". Can you please explain that a bit better; I haven't seen him play much, so I can only speak what the numbers say.

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    In reply to springs:

    and he is not like castro in that he is a terrific defender and baserunner. strictly looking just offensively sure soler is the better player, but including all aspects of the game, inciarte makes this a better team.

  • In reply to in theo we trust:

    No it doesn't. That is just silly.

  • I don't know if there has ever been an accumulation of 5 prospects making their MLB debuts within a year of one another whose upside(s) rival Baez/Soler/Bryant/Russell/Schwarber...

    But throughout this rebuild, while filling out dream line-ups, I have constantly reminded myself that we will not keep them all. But I have confidence in our FO to find the right deals, if it comes to that. Even when they make mistakes (Colvin & DJ for Ian Stewart, etc), the moves made sense at the time. Their wins (Rizzo, Jake, etc) surpass the oopsies....

    But to be honest, the thought of trading away a Baez or Soler and seeing them realize their potential elsewhere makes me cringe. While the Castro deal makes some sense right now, I'm confident we will look back at that in 3 years and say wtf was Theo thinking... It's just another part of the game...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't think we'll look back and say wtf was Theo thinking, it would be more along the lines of that salary dump to get Zobrist/Heyward/Lackey was painful.

  • If the question is Solar+ for Inciarte..,just cant get my head around it. There is Just SO MUCH RISK involved in this, I just don't see it being smart.

    However, as a part of a bigger deal involving an Atlanta pitcher, I am open to discussion. That would sound more like THEO.

  • I think if you are going to do it you should work a larger deal for one of their pitchers and "possibly" include Hendricks, or bullpen arms like CJ and others.

  • Unless the is something about Soler that the Cubs know and we don't, this is a significant overpay. Inciarte is a good player but he hasn't played a full season either. Right hand, cost controlled power is the second most desirable commodity (behind you know what) in the game today. I can see them being the basis of a larger trade that adds a pitcher from the Atlanta stable and another position player from the Cubs.

  • I like the idea of keeping Soler just because it seems like he saves his best for the Cardinals. I can't stop watching that monster HR he hit as a rookie at StL, there was that silent deflated OMG buzz from the home crowd and the disgusted body language of Molina was priceless. Small sample size, but he has a .450/.455/.850 at Busch.

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    In reply to DemonBerryhill:

    I was at that game. He hit 2 hrs that game but that 2nd one was incredible. When soler hit the 2nd one i can still remember the cardinal sitting next to me saying"wtf was that?"

  • I wish they would bring the DH to the NL. Then Schwarber and Soler could split time in LF\DH. That would open up the opportunity to put Heyward in RF and figure out an alternative for CF.

  • In reply to Lance3g:

    I wish they would get rid of the DH, then I wouldn't have to hear about the DH moving to the NL.

  • Or, put Soler in right and trade KS to the American League.

  • left, not right. Darn non-editing functionality! ;)

  • Having said I'm not qualified to have an informed opinion, I will say that I believe the Cubs would only deal Soler if they believe the return--whether a CF or P--will be productive for more than just a year or two. If that's their view of Inciarte, then I could see them doing it, but given their desire for another SP I think they'll be stepping back to decide how to get the most out of any deal. And that will potentially involve additional players.

  • Inciarte OBP .338 vs LHP .253
    Soler OBP .324

    No way would I get rid of Soler for a platoon OF. We take a good look at Soler for a full season in RF and if needed, bring up Almora for 2017.

  • If the Cubs are looking for center field defense why not make a deal with the Rays for Kevin Kiermaier?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Does Soler for Kiermaier and McGee make sense? If so I could see that as an option if you want to go the KC route. Try to obtain the best defense and bullpen you can.

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    In reply to couch:

    soler isn't worth kiermaier let alone another piece.

  • No way. Ive advocated for Inciarte as a CF in the past, but even Soler alone for inciarte wouldnt be good. If anyhthing, if we trade Soler the Braves should be trading us 2 players.

  • I love inciarte but by trading soler you open up a hole in lf (after schwarber moves to catcher). I would trade almora candelario and a high level pitching prospect.

    Of course the FO may see Bryant in LF by next year with Baez or Candelario at 3rd. This then would make Soler expendable.

  • Give Soler another season to actually see what we have in him. Let Heyward play CF for a year till Almora is ready and by that time you know if Soler is a more patient Bryant or not.

  • In reply to Burns0128:

    I agree with this comment wholeheartedly. If the Cubs were to trade Soler now, then I think they would be selling low. Give Jorge 3 to 4 months in 2016 and then reevaluate the team and it's needs. If there is still a need for better overall defense and/or a low strikeout, on-base bat, then hopefully the trade scenario would read the other way around: Soler for Inciarte + a player.

    I would have have less wobbly knees in this scenario.

  • Inciarte's offense might be a bit more attractive 100 RC+ and .325 wOBA, .746 OPS but his DRS in CF was 4 (2014 it was 15) yet on TB Kiermaier is DRS was 42 in 2015 and he had 98 RC+ and .309 wOBA and .718 OPS

    we are talking about a few runs created but a whole mess of runs saved in the CF position. If I am targeting a glove side, LH'd OF'er who can 'man' CF Kiermaier is without question the guy

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    In reply to rnemanich:

    in 1/4 of the games he played there the previous season, prorated to the amount of innings kiermaier played there it would be roughly 25 DRS. thats good enough.

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    I think there is a huge overreaction to the mets series going on and Soler is being undervalued. He has every much the mvp potential of the other three and people want to just give him away. I think we should be getting the extras in the trade with the braves, not more players going that way. Defense is great, but so is power and I fear losing Soler would take that from being a strength of the team to just being average in that regard. I expect Soler to have a 340-350 obp as well. He was being victimized just like fowler last year early with low balls being called strikes,however he was hurt by the time the umps adjusted and did not get the benefit.

  • In reply to STL Bearboy:

    Technically if we are going to overreact to Soler and Schwarber's defense against the Mets, we should overreact to their offense as well, as the only two that can hit good pitching.

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    In reply to STL Bearboy:

    I couldn't agree more.

  • Soler plus for Inciarte?? No way.
    Soler and Almora (plus low level prospects) for Inciarte and Teheran.
    Otherwise forget it.

    I'm totally willing to roll the dice on Soler blowing up and becoming a really valuable asset. Maybe Almora will shows us some stuff too.

  • Soler is the Cub about whom I have the most questions, primarily because of his injury history and future potential for injury. I could see a Baez/Inciarte platoon in center, and I understand that Inciarte is only 25, but he has shown little ability to hit left-handed pitching (or draw walks vs. LH--4 in 149 PAs). For that matter he walks minimally against RH as well. It seems to me that with Almora on the way, he could soon become redundant.

    With Soler, folks have often commented that the ball makes a different sound off his bat, which I have personally witnessed throughout 2015 ST. On the other hand, the ball makes no sound at all off his bat (insert appropriate tree-falling-in-the-forest metaphor here) if he is injured. Still, I'd much rather roll with Soler and see what we have. With Baez and Bryant, it seems that we would be covered defensively in the OF if Soler completely craters.

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    I think the Cubs have enough prospects in the minors to package up to make a deal instead of trading Soler plus which I find rediculous. The Braves need infielders name a position, as well as needing an outfielder. So if they throw the SP Terran (spelling) along with Inciarte we should offer a package dealt around Baez who could fill many holes for them as well as our 1st base prospect, and Torres possibly Mickenny ( again spelling) should do it where we keep Soler. I'm not trading Soler right now, and if I did it wouldn't be till the deadline I assure you. This cat has potential to be a 30-30 something that is rare you don't trade that for someone of the likes of Inciarte. Keep Soler let him learn the position as well as putting him in LF at times for Schwarber will not always be able to play there. That keeps Soler in the lineup allowing you to push Heyward to RF and use someone like Jackson at CF. Oh well my answer is NO on trading the man this off season.

  • In reply to KPCub4Life:

    The arguments you make for keeping Soler are the same for keeping Baez. Only Baez is a plus defender at premium position(s).

  • That gets a great bit no way from me. Inciarte has never been worth a Soler and that's not true now even if the is somehow a better fit. Considering how ground ball centric our pitching staff is, how good our infield defense is, and how good Heyward will be in CF, I don't see the big urgency to further upgrade the defense.

  • LH pitching occurs about 25% of the time, where I would expect Inciarte to be on the bench. Sitting Soler 25% of the games to protect him from injury(??) would be about a 40-game loss. I think that the Cubs current roster could cover that in a fairly straightforward way. And I'd rather have Soler for 120 games than Inciarte for 120 games.

  • The trade that comes to my mind is Ozzie Smith for Gary Templeton. I was wrong on that trade. I never thought Ozzie would hit enough.

    But on this trade, the return doesn't equal giving up Soler's bat. Soler as a 2nd rht handed thumper protecting Bryant and keeping the lefty switch for Rizzo throwing in the pen is huge. In the late innings, he will keep Rizzo from facing the loogy. Yes, Rizzo's splits v lefties was good last year.

  • Man, I really don't want to give up Soler unless we are clearly winning the trade. Preferably for pitching (Tyson Ross, anyone)? But I think the writing is on the wall with Soler.

    It would be nice to keep the current crew for at least a year with Heyward in CF, allowing Soler to build value and give Almora some seasoning with another year in the minors. I'm not sure that Heyward/Soler scenario is the Cubs' short-term plan, and I would have to be convinced that Almora is still a part of the Cubs' long-term plan.

  • I believe Theo/Jed will be patient at this point. Dealing with the Braves is going to be very difficult since they have become arrogant and expect a ransom after the haul they received for Miller from the Diamondbacks. There is no urgency to make a move at this point until it makes sense. The free agency market needs to settle down before the trade market for the Indians/Rays pitchers, Ross and Teheran becomes established. With some patience, Span could become a short-term free agent CF option - Boras is focused on Chris Davis at this point. Also, the Cubs will be more inclined to move Soler than Baez. Baez is critical if Russell, Zobrist or Bryant sustain a significant injury even if La Stella/Ryan are on the roster. Finally, there have been some issues (lackadaisical play/off-field stuff) with this new wave of Cuban ballplayers (Chapman, Puig, Cespedes and even Soler in A ball) that may be a secondary concern for Theo/Jed to move Soler. I believe that Span will be the option and Soler will be moved for a pitcher - just need some patience at this point.

  • No way Soler for Inciarte. Soler is a potential stud with question marks. So the only trade I make with him is for a similar player like Gaussman or Tajuan Walker or maybe Archie Bradley.
    Also no to Keirmaier. Just seems like he is Almora without the upside.
    Players on the big league roster that have some value I think we should focus on trading are Coghlan, Strop, Wood, Hammel. Packaged with prospects should be able to get what is needed.

  • Tough decision. I think Soler is the more precious commodity. Let's not forget that in key games in the playoffs last year, Joe had Jorge batting second, which is where he typically places his best bat. And Jorge delivered. Hard to imagine we give that up now for a glove first CF. I think Heyward could be one of the 5 best defensive CF in the game. Several gold glove level RF have converted to CF at this point in there careers and been very good. Watch this video of Heyward in CF. Heyward is shaded well into RF. Reed Johnson is in left. The ball splits them, and Reed is not even in the frame when Heyward catches it. Reed hit a top speed of 15.8 mph chasing it, while JH was 18.5 mph. JH's route was near perfect and his first step was .3 seconds faster than Reed's. The ball was in the air for 4 seconds, so those .3 seconds are precious. And look at those strides--JH covers an unbelievable amount of ground. CF in Wrigley is small, and in all of the NL central parks. JH can play CF 100 games per year without a problem.

  • Maybe the FO thinks that their CF prospects (Almora, Alcantra, Martinez, etc.) have less potential than their RF prospects (Zagunis, Jimenez, Martinez, etc.). If so, maybe Inciarte makes sense.

    Added note: Almora is one of the best fielders I have seen in several decades of watching baseball. His fielding is something very special.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    If Cubs evaluate that Almora can offer adequate offense within the next two years, then dealing Soler for a CF becomes very difficult--even under the assumption that they're going to compete for the WS in 2016.

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    Quick, who's the weakest hitter in the cubs staring line up as of right now? umm, er, ummm...yeah I agree.

    I wouldn't trade Soler for anything besides an excellent ready to go starting pitcher or closer. If that would happen I'd move Heyworth to right and put our best defensive minor league centerfielder in the line up.
    Just my 2cents

  • In reply to cb56:

    Inciarte is a good player. In 942 ABs (most of 2 seasons) he has 10 HRs and only 51 walks. His SOs are only 111 and his averge is .292. Inciarte is a good contact hitter without much power who gives you good defense.

    Soler is? If you believe he'll hit 35-45 HRs consistantly and can improve his defense, then you don't make the trade. If you think he's risky to reach that, then let's go for it.

    What do you think Theo???

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    I think if Soler is moved it is an indication Schwarber may never be moved to catcher for significant playing time. Maybe not but it seems the Cubs would mainly be looking to improve defense with a Soler/Inciarte trade. Zobrist and Heyward have given this lineup a big OBP/contact rate boost. But defense can be a huge difference look at KC. So while I would never be thrilled with losing Soler, if they wanted to go for a strong defensive alignment that may work.

  • After the Mets series, John wrote an article on how the Cubs needed to diversify their lineup. If I'm remembering correctly, he cited the need to get a different blend of hitters since Castro, Soler, Baez and Bryant all have similar tendencies (lots of swing & miss on fastballs plus low & outside sliders). That was one of Theo's goals for the offseason. My view is to find out what we have in our newly diversified lineup (and do not trade Soler). If we bump our runs per game 0.25 or some such number via better lineup diversity plus more experience from our young guys and hopefully fewer K's, then I think it outweighs the OF defensive liabilities of Soler / Heyward / Schwarber. And I like John's idea from a recent article about having two lineups - an offensive lineup for 1st to 7th innings and a defensive lineup for innings 8 & 9 if we have the lead.

  • In reply to Laker802:

    Just think of all the pitches the other team is going to be throwing with this group. Even losing Fowler, they all work the count. With Soler, don't I remember some rediculous stat from Spring training about the number of swings without missing a pitch. It reminded me of Raf Palmeiro when he broke int bigs with Cubs.

  • What about looking beyond Cleveland, the Braves, and Tampa Bey? If Solar is traded I believe it should be for pitching. Are there any other teams that would make sense? What about the Reds? Vogelbach and McKinney could be combined with another player, say Contreras and get a good cost-controlled young pitcher, but I'd be reluctant to give up Contreras.

  • Heyward is unquestionably superior to last year's primary CF. I think it is reasonable to assume both Soler and Schwarber show some improvement going forward. Everything, of course, is a gamble, but Soler's extreme upside seems worth the risk of standing pat. I do think a glove-first depth option is ideal and it wouldn't surprise me to see minor league depth (or Coglan) get dealt for a fourth/fifth outfielder/pinch runner/designated bunter type of player who wont have any real offensive expectations. The versatility of the roster should accommodate this type of acquisition.

  • In reply to JLowery:

    " it wouldn't surprise me to see minor league depth (or Coglan) get dealt for a fourth/fifth outfielder/pinch runner/designated bunter type of player who wont have any real offensive expectations. "

    Why trade for Matt Szczur when we already have him on the roster?

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    Because our Matt Szczur cant hit at the MLB level....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    And that assessment is based on what exactly? He has yet to be given a chance.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    BTW, Hoosier, do you even know what you are responding to here? We were talking about a player who "doesn't really have any offensive expectations".

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    Actually, he's been given 146 chances (PA's @ MLB)... Certainly small sample size caveats, but not completely irrelevant. He has not seized his opportunities. .224/.276/.343/.619

    I like Szczur, and wish him the best. But he will spend little to NO time with the MLB team due to:

    A). He has never hit MLB pitching and we have better options
    B). He is not great defensively in CF as many would suggest (MLB UZR of -52.3 in CF) (Fowler is -12.1 career and -1.9 in 2015 to put that in perspective).
    C). He is out of MiLB Options....

    By insinuating that a 4th/5th OF'r was already on the roster (i.e. Matt Szczur) exactly what value do you think he has to this team?

    He will be 27 next season and has yet to prove himself offensively or defensively at the MLB level despite 5 season in the Minors....

    Time to move on and wish him well....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Surely, you realize that those defensive numbers don't really mean anything because of the SSS. Also who could perform very well under the conditions he was asked to perform under - constantly on the Iowa shuttle, an inning or at bat here and there, etc.

    I am not advocating that Szczur be our 4th or 5th outfielder. What I am saying is that there is no reason to trade for a strong defense/weak offense outfielder when we already have someone like that on the roster. And Szczur is considered to be a strong defender by most.

    At best, I would hope that perhaps Szczur could fill the gap for us as a 4th or 5th outfielder type until hopefully Almora arrives in a couple months.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    I'm not picking on Szczur, I like the kid and wish him well... All I'm saying is he has had chances, and he didn't capitalize on them. Bottom line is he hasn't shown us enough to warrant a 25 man roster spot on a WS contender. IMO, he is more likely to be removed from the 40 man roster in 2016 than he is to contribute to the MLB club. I'm sure he'll catch on somewhere as a 5th OF'r.

    While you're advocating that we don't trade for a strong defense/weak offense outfielder when we have Szczur, I'm saying Szczur has not shown us enough to be that guy. I agree he has the potential to be that guy. But they aren't going to use the MLB roster to develop role players. I think his days as a Cub are numbered. That's not necessarily a negative for him personally either.

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    I've never seen Incarte play, so I can't give an educated opinion. Not that that has necessarily stopped me in the past! But his profile sounds a bit like Almora. If it is going to take multiple prospects, I'd just assume the Cubs get a pitcher. Heck, if you want to be really ballsy, call Beane and offer Soler, Baez, Contreras and Vogelbomb for Gray and whoever plays CF for the A's. Now that's an overpay. But the Cubs would be stacked for the next 3 years.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I could live with Billy Burns in CF and Gray as our #3.

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    In reply to PtownTom:

    Cubs could throw in Hendricks.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    On this site one gets so much good knowledge that it it feels as if he knows the player before he sees them.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Totally agree with you. Just looked up both guys minors numbers and they look similar.

  • John, OT, but what do you think Christian Villanueva's trade value is these day, with his newly found power and his defense? I'd love to see him spend next spring in AZ, showcasing both.

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    What if either of these scenarios play out?

    1. Soler has a strong 2016 and improves offensively, defensively, or both.
    2. Almora has a strong season 2016 in AAA and can fill CF in 2017 on a cost controlled deal.

    To me, if either of these scenarios play out the smart play is to hold on to Soler for 2016.

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    In reply to OregonCubs1:

    or if he gets hurt again, struggles on offense because he sees less fastballs (he led the majors in BA against fastballs) doesn't improve defensively as the only tool he has there is his arm. then he can only be a headliner for a scott feldmen type.

  • Man, I really hope they give Soler and Baez a little more time before they trade them. Their potential is mind boggling.

  • Not a lot of controllable power hitting right fielders available. Make the trade straight up. Both players still have potential to improve but Solers power is the difference maker. If the Brave turn it down their not as smart as some would think.

  • I love Incriarte BUT Soler + is just a little to much inmmy opinion. Unless the Cubs can get a TOR pitcher or potential TOR ( a guy in AAA) right now I would hang on to Soler. I actually like the potential deals w/ Tampa better because you would fill 2 needs, bullpen & rotation.

    I really like the idea of having a semi platoon in LF w/ Schwarbs. This in theory would keep Soler a bit healthier and allow Schwarbs to start 1-2 games a week at catcher. I would then sign a left handed defensive 1st CF to pair w/ Scuzur. The Cubs have plenty of offense to do this and if you need a pitcher at the deadline you would have an excellent trade piece.

    The club is already better & perhaps deeper than last years club plus there always seems to be someone get cut during spring training and the front office has done an excellent job of finding guys of the scrap heap.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I also believe if the Cubs hold out for awhile someone like Sonny Gray could be had midseason. Soler would be much better served in the AL & Oakland could really use a guy like him, a controllable power is something they rarely get an opportunity to aquire.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I would be shocked if Soler goes for Inciarte. I would not be shocked if the Cubs sent a couple of high end minor leaguers to the Braves for Inciarte and then traded Soler to the Rays or Indians for one of their controllable pitchers. That is the only way any of this makes sense. No way Inciarte is worth Soler straight up, much less Soler Plus.

    You are holding an Aces high full house Theo. Time to hold and show your cards. Don’t break the full house trying to get 4 aces.

  • In reply to Ed Vajcner:

    I would support bothe of those moves

  • In my 40 years of following the Cubs the Carter trade was the 2nd
    worst trade. Trading Soler might be the 3rd.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think you've said this before and I'm still mystified. Without Sutcliffe they don't win in 1984 or 1989. I consider that one a great trade and you consider it the second worst. Go figure.

  • In reply to TC154:

    In the long run his wins did not mean anything to me

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Those were your chances to win a WS. Not his fault that they didn't. chances are what you played for and he was a huge part of giving you too. We're going to agree to disagree on this one. I would make that trade 10 times out of 10.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Me, too. Blowing the hammy in 85 running to 1st was the turning point for that season and his career. Coming back early from the hammy lead to shoulder issues. In 87 he almost won the Cy Young on an awful team. Yes, Dawson was a freak that year. But the team was awful.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Emar....there are many people who consider that a great trade for the Cubs....we got Sutcliff in that deal and he stayed a productive Cubs player throughout his prime years with a cy young on his resume.....there is wayyyyy more than 1 all-tine Cubs trade where we relieved less value than that

  • Do not trade Soler. I think he his an integral part of a 4 man outfield. We need the Right Handed Bat.

    I would either sign Span, or go with what we have and see what Szczur could do. Nobody talks about Szczur much, but he has made great strides. The knock on him was lack of power. Last year, he adjusted and found power. He is an excellent defensive player. I would rather have him that just another defensive outfielder. The guy was the star starting quarterback for the 1-AA national champions. He is a true athlete. Before I would trade away a future star or settle for a defensive outfielder, I would give this kid a long look at out there.

    Either way, I believe Schwarber is going to spend significant time behind the plate this coming season. If he does, Soler is the LF.

    Schwarber & Contreras would be offensive upgrades over Montero. What he gives them in pitch framing, he may lose with passed balls and a weak arm. I would watch those two carefully in the Spring to see if one or both are ready to catch for the Cubs next season. Ross will be there to mentor.

  • I agree with the premise that overpaying for a player in a trade does make sense at this current stage.....I also agree that Soler is the guy from our side to talk about (my personal belief is that the checkered injury history could be an ongoing problem)....BUT, I think the target is misplaced....if you are going to make a trade like this I think the target should be Kiermeir of the Rays.....a far superior defender and if he Soler ever does pan out, at least he's doing it on an AL team that won't be making a World Series any time soon

  • Hanley/Anibal Sanchez for Beckett and Lowell.

    Soler/McKinney for Teheran and Inciarte is what I see. I know the age is not the same for Lowell.

    Atlanta gets a power bat and a 2nd face for the fans to follow as they build for the new ball park. Believe me, I live near Atlanta and they do not want to see another pitcher acquired. They need a bat. This gives them a middle of the order bat to pair with Freeman.

    McKinney gives them another bat in the system. Currently, 9 of their top 11 prospects are arms. Swanson and Albies are the bats.

  • In reply to AUBWDE:

    Yes, I could go for a trade like that but it would take a king's ransom. I mean if it's going to take more than Soler for Inciarte you ain't getting Teheran for nothing. It does really seem like that trade would be out of the question.

  • Cueto to the Giants...waiting on details.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    That's a nice get. The Giants will be dangerous.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I heard someone say yesterday that only nine teams in the NL are really trying to compete next season. So that's nine teams for five playoff spots. But all nine of those teams are pretty good.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    9 huh? I count 8. Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Cards, Pirates, D-Backs, Giants, Dodgers and if the Dodgers and Pirates don't do something, anything at all, I might scratch them off the list. Am I missing a team?

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    In reply to TC154:

    That looks right, actually. Maybe the Rockies?

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Any chance Mike Leake comes here on a short term deal?

  • Someone please correct me if I am wrong. I believe Matt Szczur and Christian Villanueva are out of options. If they aren't going to make the 25 man, wouldn't it be prudent to find a way to package them in a trade deal?

    Also, has anyone noticed that Villanueva had a very good year at Iowa last year - .259/.313/.437, 18 HR - he is considered an excellent defensive 3B and is tearing up the Mexican league this winter - .337/.444/.527, 9 HR in 184 AB.

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    I had thought that Szczur still had an option left,... but Villanueva is out if I recall.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Just checked "The Cub Reporter" - it looks like they are both out of options.

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    I'd trade Soler + for Inciarte.

  • I am strongly opposed to trading Soler+ for Inciarte. It should be the other way around. Soler's value is currently underappreciated due to the availability of Cespedes, Upton, Gordon and Davis. Please be patient. The market will correct itself.

  • Its been said that keeping one's mind open to change is a sign of intelligence. And I believe that Theo and Jed have kept, and will continue to keep, their minds open to all manner of possibilities. I'm hoping they don't fall in love with prospects like I do, because it would become impossible to improve your roster in today's baseball without viewing prospects, at some level, as currency. Having said that, this talk of trading Soler for Inciarte reminds me of the great Terry Pratchett:

    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."

    I am all for improving the roster by balancing it, by improving the outfield defense, or whatever else the brain trust thinks is appropriate, but the thought of Soler alone (forget plus more) for Inciarte is making my intestines clench.

  • No way on Soler for Inciarte straight up. And the notion of Soler PLUS another player for Inciarte is just plain crazy.

    I recognize the benefits of getting Inciarte for CF and putting J-Hey in RF. But the Soler for Inciarte is a huge overpay and I don't see this FO making such a lopsided deal. Jorge will be a 5 to 6 WAR player soon enough.

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    I guess the trade that comes to my mind is when the Cubs traded Joe Carter. He ended up winning MVP of the World Series for Toronto. I'd like to see the Cubs wait another year before they think about trading Soler. I sure want to see that World Series win but think we could do that with Soler on the team.

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    We won 97 games last year with a bunch of rookies and castoffs.If I were in charge I would not trade anyone off of this current roster. Patience is something that Theo has exercised over and over again. I want to see what the rooks can do next year. I hated the Carter trade when it was made and still do.

  • For the short term yeah it makes sense and judging by the #'s I can see why the Braves are trying to bend the Cubs over D-Back style. Inciarte would be a better fit at this time and would provide some spark in the 9 hole where Soler is still a couple years from reaching his true potential. If the Cubs can get the Braves to include some arms then I'd consider it. If not I'd roll the dice with what I got or maybe look at bringing back Austin Jackson on a 1 year deal.

    Here's the numbers from 2015
    Inciarte/Soler
    Games 132/101
    Abs 524/366
    Runs 73/39
    Hits 159/96
    Doubles 27/18
    Triples 5/1
    HRS 6/10
    RBI 45/47
    Walks 26/32
    Strikeouts 58/121
    Steals 21/3
    Caught 10/1
    Avg. .303/.262
    OBP .338/.324
    Sluggin 408/399

  • Cueto to Giants 6 years $130m. Opt out after 2 years. In other new Cubs sign pitcher Jean Machi to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.

  • Would you rather have Cueto for 6 years, $22M a year or Heyward for 8 years, $23M a year? I like option Heyward.

  • For me that trade is a big no. I don't think it is a good idea to make a trade you don't have to for a sub-par return. We are not addressing a pressing need here. If we don't get the return we need just stand pat. Inciarte is not worth more than Soler. In my estimation reality is the opposite. Soler + is an insultingly high price to pay. Again, no.

  • No.

    !!

    !!!!!!!

  • I get that making a trade like this would improve our defense quite a bit and allow Heyward to play his Gold Glove position in right. I get that it might even seem like the next logical step. And that's why I'm still not as happy as most people are about the Heyward signing, because it might push Soler out the door.

    I'll mention this quote again: "He's like Vladimir Guerrero with plate discipline." That's what Maddon said about Soler last spring, and I think the same thing. Remember how good his plate discipline was during that on base streak at the start of the postseason? It seemed like he wouldn't swing at anything even an inch out of the zone. I think he can put up monster offensive numbers and show some improvement defensively if they give him the chance. If we were talking about Soler in a package for someone like Chris Archer, then sure. But a deal like this would look too lopsided to make sense.

  • Executing this trade would be the first time I seriously questioned this front office. There record has been pristine to date, so I guess they probably deserve the benefit of the doubt, but I can't endorse it now. Atlanta is the cubs 2 years ago, as they hold all the cards in this trade scenario. Inciarte is young enough to string along for 18 months and trade when they get maximum value (aka shark). The financial situation isnt dire, so they don't need to unload the contract ASAP. I would much rather focus on tampa or Oakland, who are always looking to shed payroll, or perhaps even San Diego for that same reason. We have no leverage on Atlanta and that is not a good situation to be in. Also, this deal can be made during the regular season or trade deadline. The name might not be inciarte, but that player is always available and won't be any more of an overpay that what is suggested here. Also, if we are so worried about defense in the outfield, why isn't soler the 4th outfielder and play Baez regularly in either rf or 3b. Baez is probably just as likely to have an offensive war contribution similar to soler, with a better defensive alignment.

  • I don't believe that they signed Heyward wth the intentions of playing him in CF even though they say he will play there. They probably say that so it doesn't hurt Solers trade value the way Castillos value was hurt when they signed Ross. I also have no doubt that the front office knows more about Soler than any of us here so if they believe his value to this team is the same as Inciarte or maybe even less if they're kicking in another prospect then so be it. It doesn't mean I would agree or understand it, but I would accept it.

    People treat Soler like he's untouchable, clearly he's not or Theo would have come out and said he isn't available. He was in a proposed trade with Atlanta for Miller if the reports are true. Everyone is convinced he will reach his ceiling. While he may eventually hit his ceiling his injury history cannot be ignored. If he hadn't missed a month this past season you could write off his minor league injury history as not being in the best baseball condition. As I recall, the Cubs altered his conditioning program but that didn't seem to work. While trading Soler would hurt, it would hurt even more to watch him land on the DL over and over.

    Theo and Jed have a blueprint for building this team into a World Series contending team. It may just be that Soler isn't a part of that.

  • In reply to lets go cubs:

    Proposed in the Miller trade is one thing. For Inciarte is another matter. They wanted Bryant for Miller. Hence why that didn't go anywhere.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    My point was that Soler isn't the untouchable player people want to believe that he is. If the front office thought he was going to be a vital piece of a championship team his name wouldn't keep popping up. They would say he isn't available, which they haven't.

  • In reply to lets go cubs:

    We actually agree. As I stated after your comment for the right return. Inciarte alone isn't even in the ballpark. And certainly not Soler + for Inciarte. I've seen plenty of crazy talk from Braves fans on this. Soler, Contreras and Johnson for him. I mean seriously? Just plain crazy talk. If another team is as goofy as the D'backs let 'em step right up. I like the guy. Great D and possibly a long term top of the order solution. But we're not talking about about a .385 OBP guy here. IMHO a couple of mid level prospects with high ceilings is as far as it should go.

  • In reply to lets go cubs:

    Well done.

  • You could convince me that this trade works for Soler, but Soler+? I don't like the idea of adding to a deal when we're already giving up the more talented player.

  • I will say this...the Padres were right to attempt to compete for the division last year, even if their efforts failed. The NL West looks like it will be similar to the 2015 NL Central, with three horses at the top and, in this case, the Padres falling far behind.

  • Absolutely not. Now Soler + a couple mid level prospects for Inciarte &Teheran? Think about it. Ender isn't Mickey Mantle by any stretch. My concern is we haven't seen the tip of the iceberg with Soler. It's a move that has regret written all over it. Wait for Almora. He could be getting closer than most think. A potential 25-30 HR guy with years left at reasonable $'s for a punch & judy bat? If Atlanta can find a team to give them top talent for him all the power to 'em. Just please let it be another team.

  • I know it's been said previously, but I think Inciarte's OBP is TOO reliant upon his batting average. That is too risky to part ways with a player who has an incredibly high ceiling.

  • I gotta go with heck no. If this is seriously getting play, Theo really screwed up on his market assumptions of RH power bats. I guess he should have been stock-piling middling contact oriented LH defensive players. Probably would have cost a lot less money to do so.

    I do think having another RH power bat besides Bryant is key. I think Soler and Schwarber will be fine in the OF.

  • I trust Jed and Theo to make the right moves, but I agree with those that wouldn't' trade Soler for Inciarte straight up. If he goes, young pitching must come back in return. Winning Championships always comes back to what's on the mound at the end of the Year.

  • With power being such a premium, I do not see Soler/Soler+ for Inciarte. Makes zero sense to this armchair GM.

  • Theo just inquired about Inciarte. The Braves are obviously asking for too much for him. Conclusion: Theo will walk away. Same thing happened for Cole Hamels and Shelby Miller. Just my 2 cents.

  • In reply to John57:

    Agreed. If the Braves can turn Heyward into a kings ransom all the power to them. Let 'em do it elsewhere. Big loser to date in all of this the Cards. From their perspective it can only get worse.

  • No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no nooooooooo! Does that help?

  • In reply to youngcub91:

    Agree x 28

  • I couldn't begin to tell you how much I would dislike this trade. Yes, it would make Heyward more valuable and yes i do think that Inciarte is a good player. However, the Cubs have two CF candidates already in the pipeline (Martinez and Almora). Almora, of which, could be ready by the end of the season. Would Inciarte be better than Almora? Yes, but is he worth Soler over Almora's value? Absolutely not. In the meantime, the Cubs can do with Heyward in CF being spelled, maybe often, by Szczur until Almora is ready.

    Plus, I really feel this would be a poor use of assets. the Cubs really do need young, controllable starting pitching. This is where Soler's value should be used, not for a marginal upgrade over what the Cubs have in the minors already.

  • Absolutely not. The senselessness of the would-be overpay makes me wonder if prior to the signing or as a condition to the signing Heyward discreetly expressed to the Cubs his desire to play right field, the Cubs discreetly agreed, and Atlanta got wind of this. How else can you explain it, coming from such an incredibly successful FO?

  • If soler were to be traded.I'd do a rays trade for orodizzi and mcgee for soler,vogelbach and mcknney or for teheran and inciarte for soler,mckinney and canderlerio.

  • Just to insert a few more numbers into this conversation:

    In 501 MLB PAs, Soler has a 106 wRC+ and .8 fWAR. Steamer projects him at a 107 wRC+ and 1.2 WAR for 2016. Soler's WAR is dragged down by bad defensive numbers (cannon arm included) of 11.4 runs below average in 2015, and a projected 9.3 runs below average in 2016. Surprisingly (to me), he rates as a more or less average baserunner. I think all would agree he is a significant injury risk.

    Inciarte: in 1008 PAs he has a 94 wRC+ and 6.1 fWAR -- that is 3.6 WAR/600 PAs versus .96 WAR//600 PAs for Soler. Steamer is not high on Inciarte, projecting only a 88 wRC+ and 1.3 WAR for 2016. He seems to be very durable. Both he and Soler are signed for 5 more years. Soler is 22, and Inciarte 25. Probably they will cost about the same for the rest of their contracts.

    Take it all in and you can see why Inciarte would be thought of by neutral observers as likely more valuable, but not all that much more. How you value them depends on your assessment of Soler's injury risk and upside, and also whether you think the projections are right that Inciarte's 2015 was flukey (put him in CF and full time, and couldn't he be a 3-5 WAR guy regularly?).

    Personally, I think Inciarte is a really nice player. Having followed the Dbacks as well as the Cubs, I watched virtually every game he played. He plays hard and with passion; the makeup and instincts seem to be excellent and he seems to be improving. You can see why the Cubs FO would value all that (this FO really values makeup, if you ask me; they are far from the saber stereotype of only valuing tangibles). I wouldn't say quite the same about Soler. Of course, your mileage may vary. But for my money, I'd take Inciarte for Soler and a flyer prospect, and live with the possibility that I've just traded Stanton-lite.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lamar Jimmerson:

    soler is 23, 24 before next season starts.

  • In reply to in theo we trust:

    Yes, my mistake. Thanks.

  • My enduring mental image of Soler is that incredible throw he made in game 3 vs. St. Louis to nail guy-who-was-filling-in-for- Molina (can't remember his name) at the plate. For my money, the single most important play of the Cubs' playoff run -- and it was created by Soler's arm, not his terrific bat.
    I, for one, don''t want that to be my last memory of Soler as a Cub. I think he was a great career ahead of him. Hope he's wearing blue for most or all of it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to djbk:

    That was a very pivotal underrated play, your 100% right

    Believe the guy was Tony Cruz

  • In reply to djbk:

    *game 4. guess my memory isn't that great.

  • The proposed trade (Soler +) appears at least to me to be premised on perceived Cubs' impatience and/or impulsivity. It worked like a charm w/ the Diamondbacks but I would be surprised if it works w/ our FO. I have no doubt the Cubs would love to add a CF possessing many of Inciarte's abilities, but only at or near value.

    While it's not a great analog, I think the FO's recent activity in FA presents the template for how they might approach a trade, assuming they are the "buyer" or pursuer. It's been reported that the Cubs were #3 in total $ offered both Price and Heyward and no better than the #2 bidder for Zobrist.

    Given they "won" the bidding for 2 out of the three, I assume they sincerely pursued and desired to add each of the FAs. In the three pursuits, the FO apparently stuck to their own estimates of valuation and did not succumb to the impulse to get what they wanted "at any cost" when their bids were eclipsed by others. I don't seem them changing their approach here. As such, I don't think the Cubs will allow the Braves to dictate value.

    My sense of this proposed trade follows the good senator's (SM's) assessment preceding. I don't believe the trade currently approximates something approaching equivalent value. If the FO does, then the deal will go forward.

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  • Good point djbk, was there for that throw.
    Why is it that they only seem to remember the couple he botched and not the throw or the fact that he and pretty much only he stood tall against Harvey, Syndergaard, and deGrom?

  • My other thought regarding dealing Soler is: if the team really felt that improving the OF defense would be needed to take the team to the next level, adding a true CF at the trade deadline should be relatively easy. Waiting until then would allow the Cubs several things:
    - evaluate Soler/Schwarber OF defense
    - evaluate Heyward in CF on a daily basis
    - evaluate the impact of that OF defense on a daily basis
    - evaluate Soler's progression as a hitter
    - evaluate Baez's progression as a hitter (can he be a RH middle of the order hitter, to fill the Soler gap, if traded for a light-hitting LH CF)
    - evaluate Baez's OF defense. Can he fill in for a light-hitting LH CF occasionally
    - evaluate Schwarber's C defense in spring/occasional games. does it look like he can slide behind the plate in 2017, or is that a no-go. If the plan is to eventually see Schwarber starting a substantial number of games at C, I'd like to see Soler kept.

    By mid-season there will be plenty of teams out there with good defensive, lousy-hitting CF on the block. And I don't think it will require a Soler+ package. And at that time we'd have a better understanding of what the team would be addressing.

    Unless the Cubs have already made decisions on the above. Ie. Schwarber will stay in LF. He will be a lousy OF. Heyward would be a lousy CF. Soler will not be an impact MOH. Baez will progress enough with the bat. Baez will be able to do a solid job in CF.

    But gathering elite defenders at specific positions is somewhat counter to Maddon's desire for positional flexibility. Would it mean the end of Bryant in the OF? No Schwarber at C ever?

    I hope this Soler+ for Ender is just the Atlanta FO pipe dream. If it was reality, I'd absolutely hate the Heyward signing. The only reason I was somewhat on board for that was because of Heyward's CF flexibility.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I agree with everything you say. What I fear most is an unspoken quid pro quo arrangement with Heyward similar to the Ross/Lester handcuff. In return for J-Hey signing with Cubs we'd free-up RF. If Soler is moved for crap return you can pretty much bank on such a agreement being the impetus.

  • Soler + would be a travesty, I mean people in the military have been blanket partied for much less

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