Sanchez and the Starting Pitching in the 2014 FA class

There’s been some debate about whether the Cubs should have pursued Anibal Sanchez.  While I think it would have been an overpay, I do understand why the Cubs would pursue Sanchez, even if it wasn’t going to be the type of bargain signing we’ve seen early in this rebuilding process…

  • He’s 28 and in the prime of his career
  • He has the kind of peripheral numbers the Cubs like.  He throws strikes and misses bats.  His fielding independent numbers show that he can get a lot better results with a strong defense behind him.
  • The Cubs have a familiarity with him and the kind of person he is.

One other reason may be a 2014 starting pitching class that’s looking a little thin.  At first glance there doesn’t seem to be a pitcher that fits as well as Sanchez could have, so that may be yet another reason the Cubs were willing to pay a bit more.

The Cubs missed out on their top target in 2013, so who are the potential Anibal Sanchez’s of next year’s class?  Here’s a few candiates.  Ages are what they will be at time of their potential free agency.

  • Phil Hughes RHP (27):  Hughes won 16 games in 2012 and finished with a 4.23 ERA.  He showed some ability to miss bats (7.76 Ks/9IP) and throw strikes (2.16).  In a weak class, it’s hard to envision him being anything but overvalued.  He has always outpitched his peripherals and he is a well-known name from a major market.  If he has a good season, he figures to be in line for a big contract.
  • Josh Johnson, RHP (29):  Johnson is  a power pitcher who has front line stuff and solid control (3.02 W/9IP) and good strikeout numbers (8.17 Ks/9 IP).  Although he came back strong, he still wasn’t the same pitcher he was before his injury. The big question with Johnson is that he will be 30 by the time the year starts.  Are his best years behind him or can he still improve in a way that fits the Cubs timeline?
  • Jon Lester, LHP (29): Lester is almost exactly the same age as Johnson but has averaged over 200 innings over the past 5 years.  He appears to be healthy but the Cubs will have to analyze whether they are comfortable with the miles on his arm.  Like Johnson, it’s possible that his best years are behind him. There has been some significant decline in his numbers the past two years and his strikeout numbers have dropped in each of the last 4 years. He’s still at least a solid mid-rotation starter at this point, however.  There are no questions about his mental makeup and nobody would know that better than this particular front office.  One hangup is that Lester has a club option next year and may not become a free agent at all.And then, of course, he’s a rare commodity in that he’s a lefty in the prime of his career.  He’s a potential fit, but he’ll be costly.
  • Tim Lincecum, RHP (29):  The thought of Lincecum making it to free agency seemed impossible just 2-3 years ago but it seems likely as of today.  While he was perhaps the best pitcher in baseball in 2008-09, he has been in decline ever since and last year represented the biggest drop of all.  Lincecum has never had great control and last season he walked more hitters than ever (4.35/9IP), while also seeing his velocity drop into the low 90s.  There are concerns about the wear and tear because of the high pitch counts early in his career.  It’s a high risk gamble.  It’s likely that we may never see the Lincecum of 08 and 09 again, but it’s reasonable to expect the return of the 2011 version — which would still make an impact.  Unfortunately, it’s also possible he could continue his decline.
  • Matt Garza, RHP (29):  The best fit may be the guy they already have.  His strikeout numbers have risen as a Cub (8.95/9 IP in 2011, 8.33 last season) while the walk rates have improved and dropped into the 2.8/9 IP range.  Garza has improved his approach on the mound and has answered questions about his makeup.  He loves it here in Chicago and would be willing to re-sign.   Garza is coming off his first major injury, though he seems to be recovering well.  Perhaps the biggest negative is that keeping Garza could mean a lost opportunity to bring in young players  as he is the Cubs most valuable trade piece, but there’s also no guarantee any players they acquire will be as good as Garza has been.

Taking a look at the pros and cons of next year’s class gives us some more insight as to why the Cubs bid big on Sanchez this year.  There are some possibilities for next year but perhaps none outside the organization fit the Cubs long term plan quite as well as Sanchez did.

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  • Garza is the only one worth signing. Hughes and Johnson are both very injury prone. Lester has a lot of wear, and I don't know if he will return to form after last season. Lincecum's price will be inflated due to past performance, though I wouldn't mind them taking a chance if the price is right. I was hoping they would sign someone and then deal Garza, but they may have to wait until 2015 then. Are they that patient?

  • In reply to gocubsgo: many questions in next year's class. It helped me understand the large bid on Sanchez a bit more after I looked ahead.

  • If he is not signed to a 3 or 4 year contract by the start of the season
    I think he is gone. Let's hope he is ok by the end of ST.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Would rather trade him before season starts if teams think he's healthy. Really hard to get good value at deadline. Even the Brewers didn't get a whole lot back for Greinke.

  • I've watch a lot of Lincecum last year and he finally got things figured out around the start of August or so. He will be overpriced. He turned down a huge contract before the start of last season and while he won't be offered that again, he might sign a short term to rebuild his value.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Do you know if his velocity came back too?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It came back somewhat, altho I believe his velocity has been slowly dropping over the years. I believe his main problem was his release point. We'll have a year to figure Timmy out.

  • The Garza situation is really a conundrum for them, particularly if he pitches well but not great. If he looks vintage '11, I think they'll try to extend him. On the other hand , if he pitches well but not great,they see a SP mkt getting crazy , salary-wise, and might want to get in front of it-ala Sanchez pursuit.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Agreed. It really is a tough decision. The decision to extend or trade Garza is probably the biggest one they'll make from here until the trade deadline.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    If Garza can come back this year ( it's not to hard fetched ) he will become a piece we won't be able to afford to let him go.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    Absolutely. If Garza is healthy and pitching like we know he can, he's young enough and fits the profile of the kind of guy the Cubs would want long term.

  • If you had a crystal ball and could see that Shark would continue taking steps forward, vizcaino would become a front of rotation starter by early 2014, Garza would come back stronger than ever, one of Maples, Underwood, Johnson, etc. Dominate the minors and make it sooner then expected, you wouldn't go after Sanchez. But we don't, and while Sanchez was an overpay, he fit the plan and didn't break the bank. If he shows to be less than expected in 2 years, we absorb the cost an move on. A lot of people are worried about past mistakes Hendry made and worried about taking a chance. 2015 is not that far off and while the iron isn't hot yet, the pan's on the oven and it's time to at least start the burners.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Good stuff...agreed on all counts. I'm particularly excited to see how Vizcaino bounces back. I've heard nothing but raves about him from people I trust, and hopefully he's the same pitcher after the injury.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Break the Curse - I'm not sure I agree with your statement, "If he shows to be less than expected in 2 years, we absorb the cost and move on." Does anyone realize we are talking about 15 milllion dollars a year here? In comparison, Soriano is making 19 million in a back loaded contract and look how many headaches that has caused us!!! I understand we are all banking on this TV contract money, but bottom line is teams don't just walk away from 75 million dollar contracts after 2 years. If Sanchez had the upside of a #1 and just hadn't reached his potential, I'd get this deal, but he is at best a mid rotation starter. There are always going to be pitchers of his talent available. They just may not be the right age to sign to the long term deal... I'm just fine with that. Next year if we feel like we are in a position to contend, sign a Ryan Dempster type pitcher to a more team friendly 2 year deal. A pitcher like that may not be the perfect age, but at the same time we are not taking nearly the risk with a 5 year deal. I'm not saying we should never do a long term contract, but I am saying we should avoid the long term deals that we know from the start is bad value for a player that is not going to be an "impact" player. To me this is just common sense. I apologize that I'm not drinking the Cubs Kool Aid on this one. I am a big supporter of Theo and Jed and I typically agree witg most everything John writes, but even Theo and Jed will tell you the best way to build a franchise is not by signing big name free agents. And while some may argue that Sanchez not a big name free agent, but rather a building block, I will respond by asking, why then would we be willing to pay him like one. Call me crazy, but I'd much rather invest 25 million a year in Josh Hamilton and trade him immediately for a package of top prospects while eating 15 million / year than invest that money in Anibal Sanchez. Now there's a creative idea!

  • Why not trade Garza once he proves healthy with the agreement that they will sign him long term next winter to a more player friendly contract. Garza loves Chicago and he definitely wants to win. The way I see it the benefits for him are helping the Cubs get better, staying in a city he loves with a team he loves and still getting a big money contract after the season is over. A win-win for both sides. Any thought John?

  • In reply to Chuck Stearns:

    That plan sounds great if they can pull it off. Things can change once you get traded. Marshall loved Chicago too, but didnt hesitate re-signing with the Reds once he got traded there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Might such an understanding present a case of tampering?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Probably, though it's always hard to prove.

  • I am not sure of Garza's ability to bring back a good return. I believe the Cubs overplayed their hand last offseason which I was afraid of.
    As for the players on the list I would like them to go for Lester. He is a #1 and I believe he will rebound this year. I think the environment was part of the problem last year.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    The Cubs would have reportedly gotten Olt, Perez, and another good prospect. I think they played their hand well. Couldn't foresee him getting hurt.

    Garza isn't worth trading unless you get multiple good prospects back. We've seen too much settling in past years. Always demand the best possible return. You can't worry about the stuff you can't control.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't see them getting much more then 2 good prospects for him now. I won't be surprised if Olt and Perez weren't those 2 prospects.

  • We will never know what we could have got for a healthy Garza.
    Let's just hope for at least 1 top prospect.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    We do know (see above). Garza is worth more than just one good prospect. Would rather re-sign him than trade him for that.

  • I'm hoping that by this point next offseason, the Cubs will have plenty of prospects in place where they can make a deal for a front line starter and still have plenty more in the pipeline. None of these starters except for Garza impress me. Extend Garza and grow the talent level in the minors.

  • In reply to Alex:

    That may end up being their best option when you take into the account the question marks and probable high cost of next year's class.

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    Hey John assuming we take either Appel, or the kid from Indiana state. do you think there is a chance we could trade Garza to Texas for Olt. I know we wouldn't get a pitching prospect, but from what i have seen from Olt he looks like he will be a very solid third baseman of the future.

  • In reply to Larry:

    There's always a chance. Right now the biggest concern is getting Garza healthy and on the mound again. Looks like he's on his way.

  • John, I take it you don't see Adam Wainwright wanting to hop on the Cubs bandwagon next year?

  • Age and injury history put him a bit further outside the profile. It would depend on how much closer the Cubs get next year, I imagine.

  • Not John, but I have a really hard time seeing Wainwright leaving STL. However, I would absolutely love to add him to the Cubs rotation. I would take him over Greinke or any of the FA options next season. Probably in the minority on the Greinke issue, but I would feel far more confident in giving Wainwright big dollars.

  • John, do you think that the Cubs could throw orthodoxy out the window and deal Garza, as early as May , if they do decide to deal him?

    After things have shaken out a bit this offseason, it still appears that TEX is still the team that makes the most sense for a Garza trade. That is primarily due to the fact that they have some prime, near ML-ready talent from which to choose.

    In Garza's case, by mid-May, you should know what you want to do and it doesn't make much sense to wait. I'd think a team like TEX- having no doubt about whether they're "in it" or not- would pay extra to have him for an extra 2 months. It would've been nice to deal with TOR but they're likely out of the mkt.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think they'll trade him if a) they can get the kind of value other teams are getting for their top SPs and b) the two sides appear to be far apart as far as an extension. A supercedes B if it's surplus value coming back but those two things go hand in hand.

  • FYI - Hughes is not a lefty.

  • In reply to Eric:

    I know he's a righty. Got some Lester/Hughes notes mixed up in a bad cut and paste job. Has been fixed for about 2 hours now.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Something is up then, because this is cut and paste fromabove -- and I just loaded the page:

    "Phil Hughes LHP (27): Hughes won 16 games in 2012 and finished with a 4.23 ERA. He showed some ability to miss bats (7.76 Ks/9IP) and throw strikes (2.16). In a weak class, it's hard to envision him being anything but overvalued. He has always outpitched his peripherals and he is a well-known name from a major market. And then, of course, he's a rare commodity in that he's a lefty in the prime of his career. He's a potential fit, but he'll be costly."

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's weird. That last part was supposed to be on Lester's mini-profile (as was LHP). Originally was going to start with Lester and then changed my mind.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Okay...fixed again. I hope. Not sure what happened. I thought I did that 3 times now. Maybe I'm losing my mind today.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Still doesn't appear any different to me -- sounding like this might be an error further upstream.

    If you were losing your mind today, this would be accompanied by a story about giving Michael Bourn a 5-year deal to make up for losing Sanchez.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


    This is really odd.

    Thanks to you and Eric. I never would have realized it was still off.

    I just looked it up and I think its fixed now. At least it looks that way on my end.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yup, fixed now.

    Easy way out so you don't have to apologize for being snippy: blame Theo for leaking the wrong information.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Thanks Eric. It seemed the change didn't take. Sorry if I sounded snippy...thought I had fixed it twice.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No worries.

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    The best acquisition isn't a FA. It's David Price. I just hope the Cubs can get him and the Theo supporters can stomach the price.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    There are certainly a few who would be upset. But I think you're misjudging the vast majority of Theo supporters if you think there would be an outcry at using top prospects (Baez for sure) to acquire David Price, especially if we can work out a contract extension as part of the deal. The more likely reaction is the Sanchez reaction times 10.

  • Key thing for going for Sanchez, besides knowing him from being a Red Sox minor leaguer, may have been not costing a draft pick in compensation, so no loss of prospect or player from trade. A free FA pickup.

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    Hey John, how about for bullet posts - how about Arguello's Bellows? The definition of bellow being; to make the loud deep hollow sound characteristic of a bull.

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Haha! This made me bellow out a laugh ;)

  • Olt seems to be the prospect talked about most in a trade for Garza, for good reason as John pointed out there was a deal in place last season for him. Given that Castro is locked up long term, likely at SS, and Baez is coming up, projected at 3rd, what would they do if Olt, Baez, and Castro are all in the same lineup? Move one of them to second, or left? Trade a package including Baez for Price next year?

  • In reply to Abe Froman:

    I think Vogelbach will make a huge impression and could be the center of any trade for Price.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Do you think he can be that guy next year, or will he have to hit in Tennessee before he's the centerpiece of a trade like that?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If we acquire Olt, do you think it would be Olt at 3rd, Castro at SS, Baez at 2nd, and in several years if everything pans out for the outfield prospects Jackson in Left, Almora in Center, and Soler in Right? I know it is not likely for all of them to pan out, but would that be the current projection?

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    In reply to Abe Froman:

    Personally I don't think Jackson has the bat for left -- he's going to live or die in center. If both Jackson and Almora make it, one can be traded.

  • Nice job John. When I heard the news I had the same thought - Sanchez fit their profile and upcoming free agents did not. I'm disappointed, because we desperately need starting pitching (at both levels). On the other hand it's very interesting to see another "unexpected" piece of the overall rebuilding plan. Looks to me like they will have to go the trade route to acquire impact pitching in the next year or two.

  • Really nice piece, John. My favorite part of the whole thing is the last line in the Garza section. I'm glad you included that. There are so many fans that have a 'grass is always greener' attitude when it comes to trades. Trade this guy, trade that guy...In my opinion there are really only two maybe three legitimate trade scenarios for Garz that have a chance to have long term positive impact. Often times the best trades are the ones not made.

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    IMI, we should only be singing pitchers if they are a true Ace. Sanchez us good but on his best days he's still a #2.

    I'd rather break the bank if Detroit has trouble signing Verlander or LA with Kershaw (just theoretically, I don't know what their contract situation is) than sink money into a guy that will not make us markedly better.

    I get that there's not much in the way of FA next year, but if that's the case, stick to the plan and keep moving.

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    The cubs old motto,,,Wait for next year...The Cubs new motto ...Wait for 2 to 5 years....

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    In reply to Barry Bij:

    The Cubs old philosophy: change little to nothing about the operation by next year and assume the problem will fix itself.
    The Cubs new philosophy: completely rip it up from the ground up and assume things that have worked for other successful clubs will work in Chicago in the next 2 to 5 years.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Couldn't have said it better myself, Mike.

  • This whole thing baffles me.

    They offer Sanchez $75 million and didn't extend Garza??
    IMO, Garza = Sanchez!

    If they don't watch it they'll end up with some minor league suspects, and no Garza or Sanchez.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    I agree 100%! Extend Garza, keep developing our own prospects. I think Garza is better than Sanchez so lets lock him up long term

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    In reply to Craig:

    If Garza is 100%. IMO, he's better then Anibal Sanchez.

    If some reports are true that the Sanchez signing would have meant trading Garza, I am glad it fell through.

    Time to give Garza that $$ as soon as he proves hes healthy

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Can't disagree with you guys that are saying Garza > Sanchez.

    The injury is a minor hiccup. Nothing that's a long term issue.
    Cubs need to quit screwing around and get Garza locked up.

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    If I were a GM - and I'm not, I would never spend money on pitching. It is just too unpredictable and the chances for injury are too great. I'd rather develop pitching and spend on offense, and when you put together a team that is a front line starter away from a genuine chance at a World Series, then you reassess and strike, but preferably by trading for a player at the end of his contract. But I am not a GM. No bites on my resume either.

    Sanchez represents a bargain if he stays healthy because in years 3,4 and 5 he will have a slightly undervalued AAV at $16m if you base that on the inevitable escalation in salaries and if he performs at current levels. Other than that, ho-hum - he projects to 13-14 wins on a team that went to the WS this year. That makes him a 9-10 win pitcher on the Cubs., though wins are the worst way to judge any pitcher.

    I read today that Babe Ruth earned the equivalent of $15m in today's economy over the course of his entire career. Now we are paying journeyman pitchers that much on 2-year deals, and I'm looking squarely at you Brandon McCarthy.

    The other thing Epstien and Hoyer did in their pursuit of Sanchez is show their hand on Garza, not only to Garza's agent, but to the rest of baseball. There is a stop limit on that Matt Garza option and it is probably in the 5y/77.5m range. That gives Garza's agent and other GMs a little bit of extra leverage, I would think.

    There is a reason teams are locking up their players early. The future of baseball is keeping talent in your system up to the point that someone will eventually overpay to let you off the hook of having to re-sign them as their careers start to fade. Theo/Jed backed Detroit into that corner, I mean, my God, one dinner in Miami cost Detroit an extra $32 million dollars. Detroit bit, the Cubs are better off having lost. With a slotted pay scale on draft choices, the teams that draft well and lock up their best players long term in their early parts of their careers will be the teams that over perform annually. Baseball is becoming strictly asset management.
    But I am no GM certainly. And nobody is biting on my resume.

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    Another way to look at it is this: Detroit paid an extra $32 million to have Sanchez pitching for them in his age 34/35 season. Ouch. The 2017 Tigers are going to look a lot like the 2013 Yankees and will probably be the oldest team in baseball if they can't move those contracts. But, they have a legitimate shot at a World Series title next year.

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    In reply to Jive Wired:

    Detroit still doesn't have a closer. Hint, hint.

  • Who knows what the next off season will look like. The Cubs and the rest of baseball may have changed as far as top prospects go. Surprises and disappointments yet to happen. Lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  • John,
    Why do you think the FO did not go after John Lannan, too much like Wood? Seems like it would have been a low cost risk.

  • In reply to Rock:

    Perhaps they did. He was looking for a chance to start and the Cubs couldn't guarantee him that. I think Phillies had more to offer in terms of role and the chance to play on a winning team. It's not often other teams are in a position to offer a better opportunity for a bargain bin player, but in this case the Phillies were.

    As far as comparing him to Wood, I like Wood better. Still more upside there. Lannan more of a serviceable type.

  • The Rays got Meyers and Odorizzi for Shields and Davis. If Garza comes back healthy this spring with the velocity all there is there any way we could get a Profar and Perez for Garza and Marmol plus cash kind of deal?

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    In reply to Matt:

    Wouldn't you rather have Olt? I mean we have Castro. Not disrespecting Profar by any means.

    Larry Bowa suggested an Alfonso Soriano - Mike Olt trade on MLB TV today. Where do we sign up for that one?

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    nothing against Olt but Profar is the best prospect in all of baseball and potential superstar. If we put either Castro or Profar at 2nd our middle infield would be the best in baseball by far. Then when Baez is ready he could play 3rd and our entire infield would be ridiculous. I wouldn't be disappointed with Olt but I think Profar would be much better if we could pull off a deal like i described.

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    In reply to Matt:

    Lets just trade the Soriano for Olt. Then we can ask them to take Garza for Profar and a couple of other pieces.

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    In reply to Jive Wired:

    While I respect the people at MLB TVs individual knowledge of the game, when it comes to trades and who sign where they usually have no idea what their talking about and are known to suggest things that don't make sense.

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    In reply to Matt:

    Shields and Davis have a combined 7 years of team control. Garza has only 1 season of team control. He's not going to bring anywhere near that much in a trade. Not even half of that.

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    Good article John! This was actually the first thing that crossed my mind when the rumors about AS and the Cubs broke. It's refreshing to have a FO that thinks strategically like this.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks Michael.

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    If Texas gave us Olt for Soriano, I would find religion.

    If that happened I'd gladly give up Garza, Barney, and Watkins for Profar, lol.

    I've always thought Castro would be better at 2nd anyway.

  • With the market thinning out for OFers, do we think Sori is eventually going to get moved?

    It would seem that NYY,PHI, and TB would stil be in the mkt for a power hitter, pending Cody Ross decision.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    Maybe that's why some think Sori for Olt? Panic move by the Rangers?

    Don't get me wrong, I seeeeeriously doubt even the possibility, but Xmas is around the corner and we could use a miracle.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I think some teams will make some desperation moves. There are so few power bats available. The Yankees supposedly are interested in Vernon Wells. The Angels would likely pay the majority of his salary, but even with the poor production, at a low enough price some of these guys that were thought untradeable can be traded. I just hope that if they can work out a deal for Soriano it's to a team he's willing to waive his NTC for.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    We know that last year the Rangers were on the brink of trading Olt and Perez (as John said above -- I didn't know Perez was confirmed there) plus one more prospect. If Garza is healthy, does Olt for 67% of the above control of Garza really seem that unlikely?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm sorry. I just woke up (yes, I know) and misread your post. My bad. I agree on Sori for Olt.

  • As far as ridiculous Bowa rumours, I'd be ecstatic if we could get the package of Olt & Perez for Garza. I know we have some depth ,if not impact -save Baez-, at 3B in the system but Olt seems like a real "core" type player. Gamer!

  • I think a lot is going to have to go wrong for the Rangers to deal Olt for Sori. Ross to Philly, Swisher to Indians, A.J back to Sox, Laroche to some other team.

  • John, what do you think the chance that either Scott that the Cubs signed this year to one year contracts has a breakout year and wants to resign with the Cubs and the Cubs want them too?

  • It's NOT happening. We were all ecstatic at the thought of Sori for Brown and Olt is much more highly regarded than Brown, at this point.

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    I don't think 16/yr. for 5 yrs. is even too bad for Sanchez. Based on WAR, fangraphs has his value per year at 17 mil. and 19.8 mil. the year before. Once you factor in that he's probably just entering his prime, inflation, and the fact that the rest of the pitching market looks pretty weak at this point- like you said- and I don't think the contract he got is a reach at all.

  • I think that Soriano and Garza could go to the Rangers in the same deal I think the Rangers have painted themselves into a corner. They area going to need power and pitching. The Cubs could get a good return if they are packaging players like Mike Olt, Martin Perez, Jorge Alfaro and Neil Ramirez (he fell a little but still could be a very good pitcher.).

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I'd take that in a heartbeat. Hope you're on to something.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I would be too Mike...could they use Marmol too?? Sweeten the pot right??

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I would be thrilled. Olt and Alfaro would be awesome itself, any pitching is just icing.

  • I don't think Lester's a fit, but Johnson or Hughes could be, especially Johnson. But going by the numbers the best fit, like you said, is probably Garza. If the FO thinks he's healthy, I can definitely see us extending him but wouldn't be at all surprised to see us deal him at the deadline to get prospects back (don't see it happening in the spring) and then still pursuing him next offseason.

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    I'm far from an expert on MLB contract situations, so if John or anyone can answer I'd be grateful.

    If teams are still showing skepticism regarding Garza's health, would it be possible to sign him to a 2-year, front-loaded contract?

    I mean, it would benefit the Cubs to sign him to a contract that's got a small(er) payout in the 2nd year, to make it more trade-friendly.

    But is that something that players (or their agent) are OK with?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You're last question is the most important one. Generally, the answer is no. You rarely see a front loaded deal in baseball. You're more likely to find that in leagues where owners hold a strong upper hand, as in the NFL.

    Front loaded deals leave a lot of doubt as to a player's future and longevity with an organization. Nobody wants to put themselves in a situation where they can be used and dumped conveniently and baseball is one sport where the players are strong enough to prevent that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John.

    I've followed the NFL for a long time but, until recently, didn't follow baseball outside if my own team.

    I wasn't sure if there was any precedent for something like a 2 year/ 20 million deal, with 13-15 in the first year and a light 2nd year

    Sounds like not so much.

    Here's hoping the light SP market provides the Rangers (or Mariners?) with motivation.

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    I'd love Mike Olt on the Cubs , and Giffmo your spot on any pitching is icing...Harry Carray said it a few times, a pitcher a starting pitcher gives you a chance to win once or twice a week, but an everyday player gives you that chance EVERYDAY...I would love out infield with Olt, Castro, Barney and Rizzo...Holy Crap that's right up there potentially with the Cubs infield of the mid-late 60's..key word Potentially!!

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    I need to point out that the Larry Bowa thing (Soriano and $26m for Olt) was a SUGGESTION and not a rumor. Sorry I did not point that out. They asked Bowa what he would do if he were the Cubs and he said (I believe this is all correct)
    1. Sign Edwin Jackson
    2. Trade Soriano and $26m for Olt
    3. Trade Marmol for Bourjos

  • In reply to Jive Wired:

    1 - No way...Jackson wants Sanchez $$$.....Jackson is a #4 starter.

    2 - Rangers going strong to get Stanton.........who would you rather have, Soriano or Stanton on your team?.....Rangers lost out on Hamiliton & Greinke.....they need a major impact player..... they have the prospects to get Stanton and sign him for 10 years..

    3 - Marmol is not going to get traded until where Rafael Soriano signs.....if Soriano signs with some other team than the Tigers, then the Tigers will be calling for Marmol........Angels are not stupid to trade Bourjos for Marmol........

    Rumors has seven teams after Porcello....but the Cubs were not one of them.......did Theo find out something about Porcello?

  • John, I would love to get Olt & others from the Rangers!!!! I saw Hot Stove Cubbies on twitter that trading Lake & Marmol for Porcello is the big talk there. In your opinion which is more realistic for us or which is the smarter move???

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    In reply to Jer Bear:

    Jer Bear,take the guy from Hot Stove Cubbies with a grain on salt, he loves the Cubs it's obvious but he makes up a ton of stuff..can't tell you one thing he was right on

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    That is correct, there's a lot of made up rumors at Hot Stove Cubbies. I don't even go there anymore.

  • Looking over the 2014 F/A list......biggest names are Cano, Johnson, Garza, Morales, Hughes, Santana, and Marmol....everyone else is past their prime or wash outs.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    If Cano is on the market I think you can make a strong case for him. However, the last few years of that deal will probably hurt. Not Alfonso Soriano hurt, but hurt.

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    Resiging Garza should already be done and Ricketts needs to Order Theo to get it done asap and maybe even take over and call garza's agent and get it done and also call smardza and get it done also..Then they need to give Cano hat ever he wants next year..You have to spend Big to win and he deserves the Biggest Contract he is a Proven winner......Now for the truth.Theo has made way more mistakes in his career then he has smart ones and he will not do anything he should and the truth is the cibs will not snoff a series win in all 5yrs of Theo's contract and you cubs fans will see I told ya so from the beginning about this Liar and Dreamer......So the cubs will not get noneof these Top notch FA above and you will be dreaming agian next year this time......Have fun

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    In reply to Henry Jannenga:


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    In reply to Henry Jannenga:

    "Spend big to win big."

    Jim He dry would like a word with you.

    And before you call Soriano a bad decision, please recall he was coming off a 40/40 year.
    Can will be 31 next year, IIRC. Signing past-their-prime infielders to ridiculous contracts is how we got into this in the first place.


    Trade for talented prospects. Build from within.
    Strike when the RIGHT deal presents itself.

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    I do not think Soriano was a bad investment and I want him kept long term.The problem was not Hendry it was the Tribune Company they never gave Hendry everything he needed..The year he signed Soriano he needed to go get more help and they told Hendry no..........The Cubs have big money to spend and have made 2 huge mistakes the last two offseasons(Pujols,Hamilton,Sanchez and not trying to get Hanley ramirez from Miami)..........The Cubs are a Bg market team and trying to act like a small market team and asking your fan base to accept losing evern for one season is always a mistake...No names and Prospects are not gonn win a series and Riz no atter how good he dones last season could go into his sophmore slump and never recover and Solar and Biaz(not sure how ya spell it) and Amora and Jackson may never be big league all stars..You go get proven winners when you are a Big market team thats a luxury you get to do for being Big market..
    The cubs have been the lovable lopsers for way to long and they are going to have to over spend to get any Winners to play here..So face the facts and open your wallett is what Ricketts needs to accept if he ever wants to win a series..After a 100 plus years the playoffs is not enough,going to the Series is not enough..........Like Beane said if you don't win the 4th game of the Series it was all for nothing..........Ricketts and company owe it to Millions up on Millions that waited those 100 plus years for a series and are now dead.......He owes them he accepted that Job when he decided to buy the team........if you think the cubs will win a series with no names on league minimum salaries please tell me your dealers name because he has the best stuff on earth

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    Cano will continue to be good untill he is 40..

  • In reply to Henry Jannenga:

    The Yankees like Cano and probably will keep him until he is 40. If you like Cano maybe you should become a Yankee fan so you can follow him.

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    None of the big spending teams have won the Series recently.

    The teams that won did so by building their teams the right way.

    The last "big spending" team to win was the 09 Yankees and even they are amongst the most respected in the league for their farm system and building from within.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    The Yankees are pretty unique. I do wonder how the team will do without Jeter -- guess we'll find out this season.

    And I have never wanted a team to fall flat on its face as badly as I want the Dodgers to next season. This new monster needs to be staked before it can terrorize the land.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    So many of those new Dodgers have a high likelihood of falling flat.

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