Taking Stock of the Rumor Mill

The winter meetings are here, and with them comes the inevitable flurry of free agency and trade activity. The Cubs still have gaps to fill, and as things stand currently, there are a couple of possibilities looming.

First, there's the rumored signing of former Rays pitcher Alex Cobb. This has lingered in the air for several weeks now, and if a deal is going to go down, this is the week it seems like it has to happen. This deal seems imminent, and according to Jon Heyman, the Cubs are actively pursuing him to fill their last rotation spot. There is, however, a lot of rumored interest in Cobb coming from teams in the American League East, most notably the Yankees.

Cobb would be a fine addition to the rotation, but leaning on the newly-signed Tyler Chatwood and Cobb to hold down the back end of the starting staff is certainly a gamble. Even if Cobb is added, there's still the possibility that the Cubs trade from their major league roster to grab another starter.

I wrote about the wisdom of this recently, and my opinion is still that the Cubs would be better to go big and sign Yu Darvish. But if they don't go that route and choose instead to play the cards from their hand, there is certainly plenty of interest in Kyle Schwarber. Again, I am not in favor of dealing him, but I can see and understand the appeal of other teams, especially those in the American League.

The latest team to show interest was the Red Sox, as was reported in numerous places over the weekend. He could be a semi-effective counter to the Yankees trading for Giancarlo Stanton, though the two hitters are not in the same stratosphere at this point. Schwarber might have Ruthian potential, but that's all it is so far.

If not the Red Sox, the Cubs have a longstanding link with the Rays, at least in the rumor mill. If Tampa Bay is looking to trade Chris Archer, Schwarber would be a reasonable piece in that deal. The Cubs have been rumored to have interest in trading for Archer and reliever Alex Colome, but this might be purely speculation so far. One thing the front office has typically done well is keeping a tight lid on their activity, but if they do make a deal of this magnitude, Archer would solidify the rotation in a way that would make many of us a lot more comfortable. And having Jim Hickey on the coaching staff likely provides something of an advantage in this pursuit.

There are other names that have popped up, including Brandon Kintzler and Addison Reed, both of whom would help bolster the bullpen staff, especially Reed.

Right now, it looks most likely that Cobb will get signed, as Theo Epstein has made it clear that the Cubs are not finished after the Chatwood deal, but I'll admit, if that's the extent of their offseason acquisitions, I'm going into the 2018 season with some concern about how well-equipped the Cubs will be to win the division again. If the Cubs do go quiet after adding Cobb, I have doubts that they'll stay that way at the July deadline; this front office has always been active and even aggressive when necessary in keeping the Cubs as competitive as possible.

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  • Cobb and Darvish upside is that they only cost us money. As long as it's not too much of an overpay.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    That’s a good idea as long as it doesn’t put us over the luxury cap.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Yeppers! And IF that's the route they end up going (FA vs Trades), THEN they still have all the position player guys that they could move during the season if/when needed.

    Admittedly - I am a bit leery of Darvish. He's going to be more expensive, and he's not quite as dominating post injury year and recovery. He also didn't look like a 'big game' pitcher in the playoffs last season,... He also gave up a bunch of HRs last season.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Whoever signs Darvish (or Jake) will likely overpay. We still need a closer. I hope they bring back Davis. If we sign Cobb and Davis, I feel very good about next season. I DO NOT want to trade Schwarber, Happ, Javy, Almora or Russell -- except for Happ or Almora for for Archer. That's it.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Isn't Morrow the closer?
    I think a trade for a position player will happen. Not only will you get a needed cost controlled starter it will allow for players to get more AB's on a regular basis.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I dont think Morrow is necessaryily the closer. I also think there is a good chance the Cubs may have 2 or 3 guys that have 5 saves or more. I envision the latter innings resembling somewhat how Maddon handles the lineup... very versatile.

    I know I will get killed for this but I think a Schwarber for Bentendi trade would be one the Cubs would consider but the Red Sox less so.

  • So far I think the Cubs are approaching the offseason the right way, signing guys to high AAV but shorter term deals. I am guessing that may be the hold up w/ Cobb, the Cubs are probably willing to push the AAV high but are probably reluctant to go beyond 4 years unless there is some type of option. IF they miss on Cobb I still think there are options in FA and via trade.

    I think a trade could still happen but I think it might be a trade to sort of "restock' the farm system a bit, especially on the pitching side. I could also them targeting someone to serve as platoon leadoff guy. I know all the attention is on someone like Archer but maybe the Cubs go the lesser route and talk about Faria or Snell. The Rays are pitching rich perhaps a Happ or Happ + could net them a 1 of those & Colome.

    While the rumors were 'debunked' I still think a reunion w/ Shark wouldnt be a bad deal either. At the very worst he gives you innings and there are worse 4 starters in the league. Giants desperately need offense, more specifically versatility. I could see them having interest in Happ. While unlikely, I would love for them to engage Pittsburgh & see what it would take to get Cole. Trade for him buy out his arbitration years and 1 year of FA.

    Drew Smyly might be someone else the Cubs look at regardless of Cobb. Maddon & Hickey similarity and he could be looking a "value building" short term deal.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Those are interesting options but I'm with TTP, reluctant to trade any of our young core. Zo is getting old and who knows if Heyward can recapture his swing. We can trade as long as we get value in return.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree. Keep our core. Happ and Almora need to be on the field playing along with Schwarber. Heyward hasn't proven that he's going to hit these past two seasons. Love him defensively, but Heyward needs to hit. If we can get more free agent pitching that keeps our young core together. It will be interesting.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Can Heyward be sent to Iowa to work on his swing, ala Schwarber last season?

  • In reply to willycat:

    He’d have to approve it

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm thinking they're keeping their powder dry on big FA signings (Darvish, Jake) or taking on a huge contract like Stanton so they have the flexibility to sign Harper next year. I like that approach. It also gives us another year of growth for all our young studs and I really do think all of them (Schwarbs, Happ, Almora, Bryant, Russell, Javy, Rizzo and Contreras ) will improve. Heck, maybe even Heyward gets it together.

    Once we get Harper in the fold, we'll be in a great position to trade one or more of our outfielders for front line pitching.

    So, again, so far I love what they've done, as well as what they haven't done. Get Cobb and Davis and let's go to war to with our boys! Yes sir!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Epstein wants Jake and Davis but at his price. There is a lot of interest in Jake and Davis so IMO those two are not coming back unless they are willing to accept less money from the Cubs.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Agree TTP. I think Theo is purposely holding on to his reserves to make a run at Harper. If he whiffs, he has a lot of money to extend long-term deals to Bryant, Contreras, Baez, Schwarber, Russell, and or Happ.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I don't see the Cubs signing Harper and do see trading a position player soon.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    One reason that you could be correct is that the lineup as it is has some holes. Too many similar ineffective approaches and no one to lead off. It's not a long lineup.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The lineup is a lot longer if Russell and Heyward can produce at a wRC+ of 100 instead of the 70's/80's.

    Not that I am a huge proponent, but I would be open to a deal of our hitter(s) dealt for other hitter(s) who offer more average/obp with less SLG -- someone like a Yellich, for example. He could help manufacture runs instead of waiting for a HR.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    That's kind of what I was getting at. Offensive guys like Yelich.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I definitely think the odds are against the Cubs for Harper but:

    1. The Yankees, supposedly his biggest suitor are most likely out.
    2. He clearly has some "love' for the Cubs
    3. If the Nats fail to make the playoffs or fall flat again, I have no doubt he will not return.
    4. The FO at least wants to have the flexibility to entertain the idea.
    5. Heyward's no-trade clause is only partial starting next year & done after 2020. He could easily shift to CF for 1-2 years

    Also don't forget Machado is a FA next year too. Yes he is a 3rd/SS but KB could easily move to OF & someone like Russell could be dealt for other upgrades. Kuechel is also another FA next year.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Harper is messing with the media and fans.

    I don't see Harper signed with Bryant and other young players needing to sign extensions.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    The FO was willing to go big on the Japanese 'Babe Ruth" so think they will definitely go hard after Harper as well. The Ricketts money tree is growing with addition of ballpark advertising, the shops in the administration building, the "Park at Wrigley", the opening of the Zachery Hotel, the new clubs in Wrigley and finally the new TV contract ready to come on board in 2020.

  • In reply to willycat:

    The Japanese Babe Ruth was going to make 500K next year. Harper wants a 400M + contract. BIG difference.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    with the Stankees having Stantons mega contract to deal with. I dont see them as likely players for Harper. LAD might be, but Kershaw can opt out after this season and it seems hes there top prioroity. Nats already have Scherzer/ Strausburg on mega deals and Robles likely replacing Harper. Cubs probably are one of only 2-3 teams that realistically can sign Harper.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Won't Bryant's deal be similar to Harper? Don't they have other young players to extend. Don't they still have to pay for pitching?
    Isn't their offense one of the elite in baseball?

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I would not trade a bag ‘o balls for Smardijza

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Is he TOR no but he was pretty good last year and you could do FAR worse for a #4 or #5 starter the next 3 years for $54 million, that is healthy, 200 innings and saw a steep decline in his walk rate. If the deal for Cobb falls through don't be surprised to hear his name as a potential option. He has a limited no trade clause but pretty positive he would accept a deal to comeback to Chicago.

    Clearly the Cubs want as much flexibility as possible to resign the core in 4-5 years, a Shark trade would keep that flexibility intact

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    I see your point but with me it’s personal, I didn’t like his bridge burning on the way out of town last time and he already secured one of the most one sided contracts versus talent and product return ever. To me.....he’s a White Sock not a Cub.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Sharks perks were actrually fairly good last year. His biggest problem was the Giants team, both offensively and defensively. Hes not a #1 Id agree, but he can likely be a solid MOR arm.

  • fb_avatar

    Has any thought been given to trying to trade for Odorizzi? What if you could land Archer and Odorizzi and you give up Schwarber, Zagunis or DJ Wilson some cash and a couple of lower level pitching prospects. That likely wouldn't be enough to get you both guys. But trying to find a way to really lever depth in terms of arms without having to buy someone who is a 3 starter for 15M a year. If you could somehow pull it off you'd leave Tampa to deal Longoria and Colome to someone else.

    Suddenly the Cubs would have a surplus of starting pitching options and would have cost controlled starters (or potential starters) in Hendricks, Archer, Odorizzi, Quintana and Montgomery for the next few years as well as Lester.

    To me Schwarber is very expendable and valuable. You know the Rays would like to move Longoria and Schwarber slashes payroll for them while giving them a power LH bat in a division where LH power is coveted.

    Have to say the last three years have been great. The window clearly remains open. But the very nature of the sport is to make always being in a position of strength really hard. I was talking to a Giants fan this morning and his view is they have to tear it all down and start over - that's a mere four years removed from a World title and two years removed from an NLDS appearance. Definitely like the moves the team has made so far, but right now the team isn't going to be as good on paper as it was at the end of last season.

    I know the farm is not "bare" but it is merely deep with potential arms at the lower levels vs. having any clear single chip or two to dangle.

  • In reply to Dave Sampsell:

    Schwarber will even more expendable and valuable next year on this date after Harper signs with us.

  • What would everyone say to signing CC Sabathia to a 1 year deal?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    As a last resort, maybe. I'd much rather see the Cubs looking for long-term solutions, but if that fails and Sabathia could be had for a reasonable price, it could be helpful.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    As a last resort, maybe, but a lot would have to go wrong for that to happen. If the plan was to target Jake or Darvish at the top, I could see CC on a one year deal as the second half of that equation, but no. I think we get Cobb, and I wouldn't be surprised to see another starter with minor-league options. I wanted Mikolas, but the DirtyBirds got him, and for more $ than I was expecting.

    On another topic, I've created mock "ex-Cubs" teams annually since I was a kid. They usually suck and I've always been thrilled if they could potentially play .500 ball. This theoretical team has had quite the offseason, adding Arrieta, Davis, Rondon, Duensing, Jay, Avila, and Rivera. The make-believe 2018 squad could push for playoff contention.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Who plays 2B - Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro or DJ Lemahieu?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    LeMehieu. Castro probably plays SS until Torres is called up mid-season, and Barney is fighting for a bench spot out of Spring Training.

    The team has some thump with Donaldson at 3B and Bour at 1B. The OF is thin, with only Fowler guaranteed a spot. Jay, Szczur, and Soler are options.

    The starting staff could be solid, with Arrieta stepping in to lead Archer and Shark. The back end of the pen would be very strong with Chapman and Davis vying for save opportunities.

    I haven't done the full 25-man yet, but the core is there.

    Go Ex-Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Is Schierholtz still available? Maybe Coghlan? Too bad Fuld retired!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Maybe Eloy Jimenez gets a September call up for that squad...

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I actually love this idea. At some point (2019), one of our young arms will be ready for that #5 spot.

    We've had some success picking up #5 retreads the past few years. No reason to go out and spend $60-75M to fill the rotation with a guy who won't start in the playoffs.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    No - Better to trade for a cost controlled starter

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Why would you give up player capital when we have cash to spend? a 2 WAR pitcher for the last spot in the rotation one a 1 year deal is what we should be looking for. I don't think there is a deal out there for a TOR cost-controlled SP that won't cost you 2 regulars and 2 other pieces. The Shelby Miller deal set the bench mark on cost of a TOR talent that has cost-control. That is too rich for my blood. What deal do you believe is out there and what move do you make?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I think you can still get a TOR starter for one of our position players plus prospects.

    I think you need to aim higher than a 2 WAR pitcher

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Who? No generalities. Who can you get with what you recommend?

    A 2 WAR pitcher out of the 5 spot on a 1 year deal. A 2 WAR SP ranked #40 overall in 2017. That's a pretty good #5.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    They need to aim higher than a #5
    You still need to replace Arrieta

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    If there is a TOR starter that would be available for one of our position players plus prospects he would likely be one whose contract was at or only slightly below market (call it $20-30M AAV). And if we are going to pay that much AAV we almost might as well just sign a FA and spend only money. Remember, we don't have much (if anything) for Top-100 talent anymore for "prospects." And all of our position players come with significant question marks. Much as we like them Baez still K's a ton. So does Happ (along with marginal defense). Schwarber is a mercurial hitter so no one is quite sure what to expect from him. Russell is a good defender but has only shown the ability to be a good hitter for short stretches. Almora runs great routes and seems to have good instincts but is still very early in his career. He might get a couple ASG nods but I doubt he finishes high in MVP voting. If you want to Certainly a team will want more than him for a TOR starter.

    If you want to talk about a "young position player" that might interest a team in sending us a TOR starter at below market rates the list would probably start with one of Bryant, Rizzo and MAYBE Contreras. Are we willing to give one of them up? This is why I will read speculation on players like Archer coming to the Cubs but I am not holding my breath.

  • If the Cubs would consider taking Ellsbury and his contract, I think they could get a nice piece back from the Yankees. (assuming he waves his no trade clause. He was good before his concussion last year but that contract is toxic to the yanks. he has 3 and 65ish left and could play leadoff which is a clear need for the Cubs. Has a Theo connection. I thought Schwarber would have been a good fit but obviously thats not going to happen now. Yanks now have a hole at 2nd so could do Happ for Ellsbury and some salary relief + Adams, German, Wade, Betances. My trade proposals suck but if the Cubs took on a chunk of the contract then they could potentially fill the rotation with a young cost controlled MLB ready starter with plenty of upside, get their closer and some other bits for Happ who is essentially surplus.

  • In reply to NZCub:

    Taking on $22MM/year on e
    Ellsbury takes you out of any chance for Harper. I would rather take a chance on getting Harper than taking a chance Ellsbury returns to form.

  • In reply to NZCub:

    Not sure taking on an aging rapidly declining outfielder owed more the $68M is a good idea. Do the Cubs have a spot on their roster for this type of player?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    no team has room for that kinda player. lulz

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    No team has really. But if the Yankees pay down half, and Adams can stick as a number 4 maybe (probably has a ceiling of a #2, floor of a good reliever). Then you get a guy who fills a need right now and another who can be an integral part of the rotation cost controlled for years + some more. Cheap closer if Betances, more pitchers potentially.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to NZCub:

    I am not going to dismiss this deal out of hand. It has too many intriguing qualities. And I am not convinced that the Cubs will get Harper no matter what they do.
    1. Can play CF, if even only marginally.
    2. Bats LH. Could be an expensive version of Jon Jay?
    3. Even after he came back at the end of June his splits were not awful (.258/.348/.389, wRC+ 97). Decent BB%, good K%.

    If we can get someone else back as "compensation" for taking Ellsbury's off the Yanks' hands and depending on who that is it would be a deal I would at least consider. Or, if we don't get much back we could trade someone who isn't likely to amount to much.

    Not going to jump at the deal but not going to spit on it either.

  • When do we start trying to lock up some of our young guys? Having some cost certainty (and possible future savings) could go along way to deciding whom to keep and whom to trade. In just a year or two the arbitration #'s for Bryant, Russell, Javy, Schwarbs, Hendricks, etc are going to really add up.

  • In reply to berber31:

    This is a key question that needs to be addressed soon.

  • In reply to berber31:

    We started trying two years ago, and will continue to do so. No luck so far, but we all hope for the best.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm not begging. Pay those who want stay.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to berber31:

    Bryant and Russell are both Boras clients, I believe so, while not impossible to "lock them up," it would likely cost so much we might as well wait and save some money in arbitration and simply try to re-sign them from FA. Javy is a guy we love but might struggle in the FA market. He would probably sign a deal for less than we expect as a FA. Hendricks will likely always have questions around his 85-90 mph fastball. He will probably sign a contract in the vicinity of $15M AAV for 4-5 years. Not sure what Schwarber's status is in this regard.

    So I am sure the Cubs are trying to ink a deal with these guys but I don't know that it would be all that likely. But, then again, I was surprised by Starlin and Rizzo signing early so what do I know.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Schwarber could be a good candidate for an extension after that near career ending injury.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    What an enigma! If the Cubs sign him to multiple years AND he turns out to be the hitter they think he is, it's a big win. If they sign him and he flops - still possible, they're stuck with a long-term deal on a player that's hard to trade. If they DON'T sign him and he tears up the league in 2018, the price goes up, dramatically.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Also, after going to the trouble and expense of changing my middle name to Javier, it would nice if the Cubs would give him an extension.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Actually, give both Javy and Schwarbs extensions. We've seen the best and the worse of both. If only one reaches his ceiling it's still a value move.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    44 Javier slug. You are my new hero. I never could figure out if your name was a nod to Rizzo, or ammunition, or probably both. Add El Mago and I swoon.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Lol!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    44caliberslug.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    As a free agent, Baez will sign with the team that guarantees him the starting shortstop position and offers the most money, in that order.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    It will be who pays the most money - that almost always comes first

  • Baez,Contreras should be extended.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I like this idea. I think after the 18 or 19 season it would be prudent to shop Russell for big-time prospects. No reason we can't restock the cupboard while also competing for a title. Letting all our guys get to Free Agency sounds like a disaster.

  • In reply to berber31:

    I agree with this. The likelihood of signing two Boras clients in the same year is miniscule and you would think they would make every effort to resign Bryant. Of course Russell is going to have to improve at the plate to get the kind of value you would need for him.

  • Is it possible to have too much depth? I did feel like last season when Baez got a chance to play everyday he improved.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Absolutely, 09. Javy caught fire when he played everyday at SS. I don't think it matters whether its at SS or 2B, but he needs to play everyday. I remember a quote from him that he was more relaxed knowing he'd be playing tomorrow. As everyone here should know, I LOVE Javy. My favorite Cubs in a long time. Play Javy everyday!

  • In reply to TTP:

    I was referring more to Almora, Happ, and Schwarber. It seems they all could benefit from playing everyday. Of course, depth is important, and a contending team must balance winning vs. development.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubswin09:

    Any player would like to not only play consistently (as far as playing time) but most would also like to "settle in" to a spot in the batting order and a defensive position. It allows them to truly get comfortable in a way that moving around constantly denies them.

    That being said, though, I LOVE the thought of all the moving parts Joe can manipulate. Also, Javy has almost 1300 PAs in his career. And for a couple years he was "protected" by Maddon and put into situations to succeed. To build his experience without exposing him to abject failure. Then, as he excelled expose him to more challenging situations more and more. I think that is the stage right now for Happ and Almora.

    Also, with Happ, I think he was brought up kind of as an "emergency" situation and did so well there wasn't a good way to send him back to Iowa. But he is still far from a finished product.

  • I picture Mr. &Mrs Baez as they mozzy to the baseball diamond after a hard week of work and dinner dishes put away, carrying a rake to smooth the infield for the neighborhood kids. As the sun goes down they sit on the infield grass admire their effort. The stars come out and they lie back alone counting their blessings, including recent daughter Noe, born with spinal bifida. They are feeling loving.

    Months pass and a baby boy is born with smile conceived with a sprinkle of infield dust on his soul. The Baez' s like the name Javier. We call him El Mago

  • In reply to 44slug:

    mosey

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks

  • In reply to 44slug:

    What a beautiful vision - but a story that they were picking grass seed out of one another's hard-to-reach regions and became excited is as likely as your version...

  • Theo said the cubs didn't go after stanton because of "the make up of the roster,future financial commitments and some plans that we have"

    sounds like the cubs will definitely be pursuing bryce harper to me

  • In reply to bolla:

    They really don't need Harper and the huge deal they will need to commit to long term.

  • Neshek signed with Philly. Dang. I was hoping for him as an under the radar signing.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    every time I watch Neshek pitch, I think of the 2000 foot homer that Soler hit off of him in StL.

  • fb_avatar

    Does anyone else think that the Yankees didn't give up that much for Stanton? Two relatively high prospects and Starlin Castro for a 28 yr old power hitter just coming into his prime. I know he has some health issues but we gave up our top two prospects for Wilson and Avila along with two other prospects.
    The Yankees might be looking to replace Castro and Happ could be an attractive piece but we would have to get good prospects back. I would rather trade Schwarber. I know that many think we would be trading at the low point of his career, but he hit very well since he came back from Iowa and everyone who sees what he's doing in the offseason is amazed so his trajectory is pointing up. I have high hopes for this Cubs team and we aren't done yet.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    No question that the Yankees lucked into that deal. The Marlins are even eating some of Stanton's salary. The circumstances were extremely unusual, however, because of Stanton's NTC. There is no comparison with the deal the Cubs made to add an experienced backup catcher and a well-respected reliever to a team in playoff contention.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Stanton's still owed $265 million if he doesn't opt out.
    You don't give up much when you take on that much salary.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes. But that’s more reason to believe that trading our sluggers, who also aren’t Giancarlo Stanton, will not net what the Cubs would want in return.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Our young players have a number of years of control which other teams desire. They have a lot of value.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Yes, they have a # of yrs control. But they don’t have 59 HRs & 132 RBIs w/a .376 obp.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Neither does Stanton, in any year other than 2017. The "what are they worth" question has a simple solution - the FO gets what they want or they don't make a trade.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    And I am on the same page with the FO if that is the case, which I hope it is.

    Not sure where you’re going w/your 1st sentence... At age 28 he already has an 8 yr track record that our young OFers can only dream of having right now... HoF HR pace #s. There is no comparison.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    They gave up more than I thought they would have to but the Marlins were insistent on getting something back. Without including Castro and his money and eating a little bit they wouldn't have gotten anything. Now the Yankees have a slugger in his prime on a 10 year deal well below market value. Kind of a brilliant move.

  • In reply to TC154:

    As I understand it, the Marlins were happy with the low level prospects they received because they had little choice on what they would receive. It was the Yankees that insisted they take Castro to remove the $11Mil ($8.6Mil towards the luxury tax) from payroll for this year and next year. The deal to the Yankees was better than what the Dodgers and Astros offered. I don't think the Cubs got past Hi Derek.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    The Dodgers didn't make an offer from what I understand and the Astros were late the party. The bottom line is that the Dodgers couldn't take a salary on like that. They would have been in the 92% tax with Kershaw still to sign next offseason. Stanton didn't make any sense for the Cubs IMO. I agree though, it wasn't a bad deal for the Marlins considering and they'll trade Castro if not now at the deadline when someone needs help.

  • fb_avatar

    Cobb, Jay, and a trade for Colombe(sp).
    I know the OF is crowded, but the FO can make a trade mid season.

  • Yankees traded Hedley to Padres. Padres reported to be looking for cost controlled young SS.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Salary dump to make room for someone. They were still under the luxury tax after Stanton but just barely. Could be Cobb, could be that they're getting in on a trade for Machado who they will certainly target next year in either case.

  • So it looks like there are legs to the Danny Duffy rumor, Happ's name mentioned. I like Duffy. His velo was down a tick and he had some minor surgery but he's a far better option than Cobb.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I like Duffy also. $13M AAV. Nice number for the salary cap. Although Duffy will cost a MLB player and more maybe where Cobb just cost money but, more money then Duffy.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Duffy has 60 million left on his contract he’s a year younger than Cobb and Cobb will be in the 55-70 million range

  • In reply to TC154:

    Meh, far better option, not sure about that but I would still rather have Cobb mainly because he only costs money and I personally don't like 3 lefties in a rotation. I also think if the Cubs get Cobb it really offers them alot of flexibility to add in other areas.

    If the Cubs do indeed trade someone off the MLB roster it would be nice to replenish the farm a bit, specifically add a pitching prospect or 2 who could both serve as a future rotation guy but also be a 6, 7 or 8 starter should injury arise.

  • What do you think of this deal: Machado and Zach Britton for Russell and a young arm?

    We give up 4 years of Russell and a potential starter to improve our lineup and add a legit closer to the bullpen.

  • In reply to berber31:

    Those guys are both rentals. You're basically trading multiple shots at a WS for one shot. No thanks.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I've watched Russell for 3 years, and I am not sure of his upside. If this trade is truly possible, it is a difficult decision. Is Russell someone who will be one of the best shortstops in the NL for next 4 years (future MVP per Kasper)......or is Russell someone with declining defense, who will always strike out more than 100 times per year, and never hit over 250?
    Adding Machado and Britton gives Cubs best offense and bullpen in the NL. Cubs become favorites to go to 2018 world series. Even one year of these two guys might be worth the risk.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    You are higher on Britton than I am. Machado would be great, but as TC says, both would be rentals.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    If a rental gets the Cubs to the World Series in 2018 it might be worthwhile. (Same thinking Cubs used when trading Torres in 2016). And I think Machado makes Cubs the favorites for 2018.
    In my opinion, the definition of the Cubs' "winning window" is the years they control K. Bryant. He is a generational talent that we know will be a top 5 offensive player every year. Any trade giving the Cubs a World Series chance within the window should be considered.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Good points on the WS chance. But they traded a lot of their top prospects already & now we’re talking tearing into the young hitters: A ML SS on top of it...

    Can’t be for a rental alone. Maybe a prospect w/Machado as well in some sort of package...

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    While there is no question that Machado is a significant upgrade at SS to Russell there are questions on Britton's health so that part of the deal is very risky. You mention that they would then become favorites for the World Series. Sorry, but they would not. They're still lacking a TOR starter and by trading Russell you're giving up and opportunity to possibly get one with a Russell, Baez or Happ. Let's say the deal went down and the Cubs sign Cobb, they'd be a division favorite but both the Nationals and Dodgers would have better odds to win the NL much less the WS. This idea that a team that lacks a TOR and backslid in 2017, not from run production which was almost identical to 2016 but from pitching and defense, could be better by adding bats mystifies me.

  • In reply to berber31:

    I’d only use Russell to bring back a couple top starting pitching prospects from whichever organization included in any package minimum. He’s already a Major League young, under control, really good defensive & decent, w/more potential to improve, hitting SS.

    W/out a true “ace” I wouldn’t use any of our trade chips for anymore rentals.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Now if the Orioles could work in a prospect & Cubs add something then maybe that could work. Cubs 2018 WS chances would definitely go up w/Machado in the lineup.

  • In reply to berber31:

    Jesse rogers just mentioned this.He said cubs might be interested in a machado for russell deal.

  • As much as I would LOVE Machado, I agree if you are trading Russell and I personally think he is the most likely to be dealt, then you use him for pitching whether thats a the MLB level or a "close' prospect or 2.

    I am hoping the Cubs get Cobb cause if they do I believe Happ or Russell will be floated to help restock the farm a bit, especially on the pitching side.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Yes, I agree. I would much rather win in AA and AAA. Cubs already got a world series ring who needs another. Just kidding. I could not disagree more. Trading Happ and or Russell to restock the farm makes no sense to me. The Cubs are in win now mode.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    They can still make moves to “win now” with an eye towards 2019. It doesn’t have to be 1 or the other.

    I don’t believe there is an available ace “now”. But maybe there’s a ToR prospect who can be acquired now & ready in the middle of the window or 2019. So they’re not in this position every year, trying to find one, or trying to find a closer, rebuilding half of the bullpen...

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    A prospect is just that a prospect. To trade proven MLB players for prospects when you are contending does not sound good to me. Just my opinion.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    If they were developing their own ToR guys or had 1 ready for this year, I’d agree w/trading the young, cost controlled, WS winning SS for a 1 yr rental who doesn’t have 1 yet...

    And I did describe 1 scenario I’d agree to trading Russell for Machado. It would have to be an expanded package that would include 1 of their top hitting prospects, or &/a pitching prospect::: That extra guy(s) would either be ready now/soon for the Cubs &/or be flipped in a different trade.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    My theory all sort of revolves around signing Cobb or perhaps Darvish or Arrietta. I am not saying reload the farm to win in AA or AAA I am saying reload so you could have a young 6, 7 or 8 starter ready in case on injury and/or have the depth to make a move at the deadline. I am thinking someone like a Snell or Faria, they have minor options. You could argue that the Cubs biggest moves over the past 2 years have come at the deadline, not sure the Cubs have the ammunition this year to pull off such a deal.

    And to add to Milk Stout comment below, the farm is still thin on pitching, most of the top pitching prospects wont be ready to contribute for another 2-4 years. Lester 2018-2022 is going to gradually decline and while I like Chatwood he is still an unknown. Plus as we saw last year injuries happen and depth matters, the Cubs cannot carry 6-7 starters on the MLB roster. You need guys on the farm that can help and provide depth and if you want to retain guys like KB, Baez, Hendrick, etc. you have to save in other areas. Why do you think the Cubs could afford Lester, Heyward, Zo? Because KB, Rizzo, Baez, etc are so cheap, eventually the script will flip.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    The Rays are a lot less likely to trade Snell than they are Archer and that’s already a long shot. If the do rebuild it’s going to be around Snell and Honeywell. I think Snell is going to be one of the best pitchers in the AL in 2018.

  • In reply to TC154:

    They want the same haul or better for Archer that they got for Garza... Ha ha!

    Let’s see, Victor Caratini (Chirinos), Chesney Young (HJ Lee), Albert Azolay (Archer) Mark Zagunis (Guyer) & DJ Wilson (Fuld)... LoL! Do Cubs or Rays make that trade?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Adbert*

  • I know i'm in the minority here but I just don't get the Baez love from Cubs fans.I know he is a great defensive 2b, and he got his moments with the bat.Overall, I would trade him before Happ.I know a K is just another out but I hope this year Cubs put the ball in play more.They need to get back to working the count and get on base more which by the way a lead off hitter is badly needed.

  • In reply to CubsfaninFL:

    Javy can play SS & play it very well, 3B, 1B & I wouldn’t even bet against him being an emergergency catcher or OFer. With his arm I bet he could pitch too. That said, I love Happ as well.

  • In reply to CubsfaninFL:

    Happ had a higher strikeout percentage then Baez in 2017. Baez is a far better defender.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    But Happ out homered him 24-23 in about 100 less pa and also higher OPS.I can see Happ improves on the K's but Baez not so much.

  • In reply to CubsfaninFL:

    I think Happ will be a very good player but I don't see one thing special about his game. Baez is a special defender and has some offensive tools that we've seen glimpses of, even if not fully developed. I don't think there's any doubt that Baez has a higher ceiling and we know he has a higher floor even if he's just an extremely versatile defensive player. Happ looks to me like the kind of good solid ballplayer that are on the market every year and not at the high end of the market like a JD Martinez for instance. This team needs pitching in the worst way and Happ looks like the most expendable, but hey if someone makes a great offer for Baez I'm listening.

  • Sounds like the cardinals about to acquire ozuna from the marlins.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hope they give up a lot of pitching for ozuna. :-)

  • In reply to bolla:

    That leaves a Yellich...

  • Congrats to Morris & Trammell btw...

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Eh. Congratulations for sure, but I'm a small-Hall guy. Trammell was a joy to watch, and had a few dominate years to go with his long, productive career. I still don't agree. And I was a fan throughout Morris's career. There is no way, IMO, he is a Hall-of-Famer. He was a very solid pitcher for a long time, but I don't ever remember him being anywhere near the best. I don't even have to look at numbers. He was not one of the very best pitchers of that era. I think his legend grows with his extra-inning performance in Game 7, but good grief, one game shouldn't get you in the Hall. You may as well elect Tuffy Rhoads, Mark Whitten, and Scooter Gennett.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm pretty much with you BP on the small hall thing, but I have to give it to Trammell if for no other reason than the fact Barry Larkin is in. Their numbers are nearly identical and they were both really good for a long time. The fact that Trammell had such defensive flexibility only adds bon us points for me. Plus he was really, really fun to watch. As far as Jack Morris I saw a lot of him over the years, I used to go to a lot of White Sox games (dad was a WS fan, mom a Cubs fan so sue me lol) and he had nasty stuff. His ERA was higher than you'd like but he had six seasons pitching over 250 innings and ten seasons (!!) over 240. If he was pitching today he would never have been left in that long and I'd bet he'd be in the mid to high 2's in ERA. Now, all that said, I don't think he had a HoF career, more like the hall of the very, very good, but I see the appeal. Regardless I like the new "Modern Era" committee. It's made of ex players, writers and I think executives so it's not as biased as the old veteran's committee concept. Bottom line Trammell and Morris meant a lot to the sport. Good on them.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm taking nothing away from either of them. Trammell is more deserving, IMO, but I'm a defensive-oriented fan as it is. I took great pleasure watching both of their careers, and would take both on my team in a heartbeat.

    You make a good point about Trammell over Larkin, but that gets into a fear of mine. When we start lowering the bar, and then using that new standard to gauge future nominees, the whole pool gets diluted. Morris is a perfect example. I can already hear the arguments ten or twenty years from now: Lester was better than Morris, so Lester should be in. I just think the Hall should be the best of the best, and not a collection of all the good players who have played the game. Everyone has their own opinion, I respect that, but that one is mine.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Hall of the Very Good?

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Every time I hear that term, "the Hall of Very Good", I immediately think of Mark Grace. He led all of baseball in hits in the 90's, much like Morris led in wins in the 80's, but that does not a Hall-of-Fame career make. Both were very good players, for very long careers, but neither was dominant. That is what I want to see, for multiple years, to be considered Hall-worthy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I certainly agree. For me, the Hall is for the exceptional. You make a great point about Mark Grace. Leading the ML in hits in a decade is special but he just doesn't measure up to the elite standard. I just looked at his slash line--.303/.383/.442/.825. I just looked up Luis Aparicio's line--it's .262/.311/.343/.653. He's in the HOF and Grace isn't. I'm not dissing Luis because he was a WS, but I don't think he's worthy either.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think Luis Aparicio's glove helped him get in. He had 9 gold gloves. Also, not to compare but I guess I am. Ozzie Smith's slash line was .262/.337/.328/.666.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That's it. It's impossible to compare one player to another. Modern metrics try, but can't take into account the changes in philosophy. How many times did Bob Gibson or Fergie Jenkins pitch into the late innings, (not) knowing they were less effective the third time through the order? How many times did they pitch through pain, when any modern-day starter would be pulled?

    We can all argue what numbers warrant induction into the Hall. I haven't had the pleasure of watching the legends who played from the mid-1800's to the 1960's, but I've watched everyone since. I think I know when I'm watching a Hall-of-Fame career, and Jack Morris is not one.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I have to agree with you Barley.....up until last year though my all time favorite World Series was that 1991 with the Twins and the Braves......fantastic pitching......but that shouldn’t have been enough to get Morris in......he just happened to be in the right place at the right time the following year too.
    Trammel’s claim to fame all the time is the longest DP combination in history......whatever....

  • Chili Davis is in arizona working with heyward

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yes he is. I'm as big a Heyward fan as there is, and I guarante no one will work harder or be more self-critical, sometimes to a fault. Hopefully Davis can strike a chord, because there is a lot of untapped potential there. Heyward's return to even normal production would be a huge boon for this team.

  • Mike Montgomery wants to start or be traded to a team that will let him start via ken rosenthal

    The nerve of this guy

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    Can't say I'm very surprised. He was reportedly told he'd start in 2017 when we traded for him and wasn't ever really given a fair shake since he's been here IMO.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tyler Cunningham:

    Fair shake as in he was too valuable not to have in the pen.

  • Cubs sign drew smyly 2 year deal

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    I like this as a low risk medium reward signing. I have to believe the plan is to try him as as a LIR.

  • In reply to bolla:

    WOW! Cubs are saying bring me your past pitchers with injuries. Interesting.

  • What's a LIR? Not familiar with that acronym. If it is a typo my apologies.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Late inning reliever.

  • Did you just invent that Tyler LOL. Just kidding.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I thought I've seen it here before but I'll gladly take credit haha

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