Team Deadline Previews: Starting Pitching anyone? Looking at potential AL trade partners.

The real answer to this question is everybody.  All teams could use an upgrade in their rotation and the Cubs have 2 or 3 pitchers that may fit the bill.

The Cubs main trade chip this summer is going to be starting pitching.  Matt Garza and Scott Feldman have emerged as two of the most desirable names available on the trade market.  Carlos Villanueva may appeal to a team looking for a more versatile pitcher with some cost control — and he’ll be a well-rested pitcher by seasons end.

I’m looking at AL teams right now and we’ll do NL next.  I’m noting prospects of interest as guys who may possibly be available with the focus on getting young pitchers in return.

The Boston Red Sox

Why it’s a fit

The Red Sox are no stranger to the Cubs front office while Theo and crew know the farm system well.  There is a built in familiarity and working relationship between the two clubs.  The Red Sox have been known to covet Matt Garza in the past and he is seemingly available again this season.

Current rotation

  1. Jon Lester
  2. John Lackey
  3. Ryan Dempster
  4. Felix Doubront
  5. Allen Webster

Prospects of Interest

The Cubs would probably love to obtain  Anthony RanaudoMatt Barnes or Henry Owens but the Red Sox are not really in a desperate position.

An interesting arm is Drake Britton, who is a TJ survivor and a rare LHP that can hit 97 mph and averages 94 with good downward movement.  He also has a hard slider and a solid change that he sells well.  Command has always been shaky but he’s dropped his walk rate to just over 3 per 9 innings though it seems to have cost him strikeouts, which is at 7.75 per 9 IP.  He 6-5 with a 3.08 ERA in AA.  The Cubs also seemed to show some interest in Pat Light in last years draft.  Light was taken in the supplemental first round and  is currently pitching in short season A Ball.

Potential Stumbling Blocks

While the Red Sox have had mediocre pitching overall, it’s difficult to say they have a glaring hole in their rotation.  Doubront is adequate as your 4th starter and it seems likely the Red Sox will try and get by with talented rookie Allen Webster in the 5th spot.  But we’ll see what happens a month from now because things can get awfully competitive in the AL East.

The Kansas City Royals

Why it’s a fit

You may remember that we got wind that the Cubs were scouting the Royals system a while back, which has been among the best in baseball the past few years, though it has been somewhat diluted by trades and graduation.  Still there is still some talent there and the two teams fit well, in part because of differing philosophies and at different stages of the rebuilding process.  In fact, the Royals are now in contention after trading for James Shields and making other more “win-now” moves this offseason.  Their window of opportunity is now open for the team, but for Dayton Moore, it may be closing.  It seems like the perfect storm for the Royals to trade in some of their future to try and win this season.

Current Rotation

  1. James Shields
  2. Ervin Santana
  3. Jeremy Guthrie
  4. Wade Davis
  5. Luis Mendoza

Prospects of Interest

The Cubs heavily scouted Kyle Zimmer last year and he fits their profile in that he has good size and athleticism, giving him a good shot to pitch with power and command over the long haul.  He’s really struggled this year(1-6, 6.29 ERA) but he’s missing a ton of bats at the advanced A level — almost 11 Ks per 9 IP and walking less than 4 (3.84).  There’s a lot to suggest he’s had some bad luck and is perhaps trying to adjust to an advanced level of competition — but he certainly isn’t overmatched.  Yordano Ventura has a fastball that can hit triple digits but is just 5’11”, 175 lbs, so some may think he ends up in the bullpen because of durability questions and the issue of creating sufficient plane with his fastball, something that looms larger as he has to turn over a lineup of advanced hitters a few times. LHP John Lamb is a former top prospect who has been injury plagued and is yet another TJ survivor.  A lot will depend on scouting reports as Lambs fastball, which once reached the mid 90s on a good day, was 5-6 mph slower last season.  If the latter is still the case, it would put his velocity and ceiling on par with many of the Cubs current LHP.

Potential stumbling blocks

It seems likely to me that the Royals are happy with their top 3.  Both Ervin Santana and James Shields have pitched pretty well.  Free agent acquisition Jeremy Guthrie has put up good traditional numbers (7-4, 3.72 ERA) but he has had himself quite a bit of luck with a low BABIP (.256), a high strand rate (86.1%) — it all adds up to a ghastly 5.95 FIP.  But the Royals are one of the few old school teams left and it seems they’d want to give their investment a chance to pay off.  Luis Mendoza is an adequate 5th starter, so it may just come down to whether they want to upgrade the 4th spot by either trading for Feldman or acquiring Garza and slipping Guthrie to that 4th spot where he’s better suited.

The larger problem may be whether the Royals stay in contention.  They are 6 games off the division lead and while they are also 6 back in the wild card chase, there are too many teams to leapfrog for that scenario to be realistic.

 Texas Rangers

Why it’s a fit

Theo Epstein and Jon Daniels have a mutual respect and a good working relationship as we saw both teams make multiple deals — as well as reworking a deal last season when the Rangers subbed in Barrett Loux for and injured Jacob Brigham.  The Rangers also gave the Cubs a reasonably fair deal for Ryan Dempster even when they had tremendous leverage after the Dodgers hung them out to dry.  The Rangers also have an iffy rotation behind stalwarts Yu Darvish and Derek Holland.  The 3rd starter Nick Tepisch has an ERA of 4.84 while the 4th and 5th starters (Justin Grimm, Josh Lindbloom) are well over 5.    Lastly, the Rangers showed a great deal of interest in Garza and there are rumors that a deal was in place to send them LHP Martin Perez and 3B Mike Olt before Garza got hurt.

Starting rotation

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. Derek Holland
  3. Nick Tepesch
  4. Justin Grimm
  5. Josh Lindblom/Martin Perez

Prospects of interest

The Cubs probably aren’t as interested in Mike Olt, in part because of the drafting of their own top 3B prospect, Kris Bryant, but that wouldn’t necessarily preclude them.  Olt has had a tough start to the season but the Rangers chalked it up to a vision problem and took steps to correct, since then Olt has been playing better and showing his usual power.  The Cubs would like another crack at Martin Perez, who dominated in AAA (5-1, 1.75 ERA) and even has a start and it looks like he has replaced Lindblom in the rotation, so that seems unlikely. Luke Jackson is a power arm that can reach 97 mph and complements it with a hard slider.  He’s raw and still developing command and a change of pace, but he has #2 starter potential but could also end up a reliever.  Cody Buckel drew some attention last year but seems to have Steve Blass syndrome this year.  He’s been sent down to extended spring training after starting out AA with a record of 0-5 with a 20.25 ERA and 28 walks in 9.1 innings.  Those are not typos.

Potential Stumbling Blocks

It seems the timing is all off for a Matt Garza to Rangers scenario.  Prospects have floundered or in Grimm and Perez’s case, may have taken themselves out of the picture by stepping up and becoming a part of the rotation.  It may be tough to piece together a deal from the Rangers side, especially if the Cubs are specifically looking for starting pitching.   The Rangers would essentially be dealing for Garza to be a veteran presence at the #3 spot.  This is a very young rotation, even at the top, but going with 3 rookies may be a bit risky for the Rangers.

Other Teams:

  • The Baltimore Orioles rank near the bottom in pitching and may have the shakiest staff of all the contenders but they are said to have no interest in Matt Garza.  Scott Feldman may be a different story, however.  They could use an upgrade over Zach Britton.  A stumbling block with the Orioles is that they are top-heavy with prospects.  They are not trading Kevin Gausman, who may end up in the rotation if the Orioles can’t upgrade with a veteran.  Nor are they going to give up on top prospect Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing and currently throwing from 90 feet.
  • There was much talk about Matt Garza heading to the Detroit Tigers but they are set at the top 3 with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Dough Pfister.  Rick Porcello has struggled and perhaps the Cubs could exchange an upgrade in Matt Garza for a cost-controlled pitcher who still has very good upside. Drew Smyly is another player the Cubs have shown interest in but he’s been an important cog in the Tigers bullpen.
  • There’s always the New York Yankees but GM Brian Cashman seems reluctant to deal with Theo Epstein, even now that they are not in the same division.  It’s also a bad fit as the Yankees have a solid veteran rotation and few prospects to trade.
  • The Cleveland Indians are just 4 games back of the Tigers despite having a team ERA of 4.24, so you have to wonder if adding an impact arm like Matt Garza or a solid rotation guy like Scott Feldman may give them the push they need.  After much ado, Scott Kazmir has a 5.89 ERA while Carlos Carrasco has been very ineffective.  Ubaldo Jimenez is no longer pitching like a top of the rotation starter and really hasn’t since coming to Cleveland.  Most of the Indians best prospects are at the lowest levels of the system, though RHP Danny Salazar may be a pitcher of interest on the strength of a fastball that has reached 100 but sits 94-97.  He’s made it to AAA and he’s still a starter, but size and durability questions may mean his ultimate role is in the bullpen.  So far, however, he’s holding up a starter, putting up ridiculous numbers (13.6 Ks/9 IP and 1.45 FIP in AA; 10.73 Ks/9 IP and 2.46 FIP in AAA).
  • The Toronto Blue Jays have made a strong push to get themselves near the .500 mark and are just 7 games out in the AL East.  They’re fringy right now and you have to wonder if they’ll try and regroup for next year or continue the win-now philosophy they started in the offseason.  It looks like the acquisition of RA Dickey and Mark Buehrle are not going to work the way the Jays had hoped and the Jays system has been diluted, but there are still some very good arms such as RHPs Aaron Sanchez, Robert Osuna, Tyler Gonzales, Alberto Tirado and LHP Daniel Norris and Matt Smoral.

Filed under: Rumors/Speculation


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  • John, do you think Webster from Boston is too much for Garza?

  • In reply to CubsML:

    Not necessarily, because the Cubs tried very hard to get Webster for Dempster last year and it's a similar situation. Of course, LAD was being unreasonable because they had all kinds of leverage. Maybe Boston decides they want a proven AL East guy down the stretch over a rookie.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's essentially the argument for the Rangers giving up Perez, no?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pretty much. They both have a choice to either gamble with youth or go for it this year with a proven vet. Not an easy one for those teams because they are expected to win, so more pressure to make that type of win-now deal.

  • Red Sux intrigue me the most. Theyd really be willing to give uop say, Matt Barnes and Ryan Lavaraway?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I don't think they'd have any problems giving up Lavarnway who is 25 and at AAA now. They don't seem to trust him as a catcher which is where his bat has real value.

    Barnes is a bit more tricky. He's having a tough year but Boston is smart enough to know that there are some good numbers behind the bad results.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    And I'm guessing that's not a typo ;)

  • I hope we don't acquire any more TJS recipients.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I'm getting a little wary of that myself. It doesn't seem to be the market inefficiency they thought it'd be.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Disagree here. It's working so well that they're turning guys like Kyuji Fujikawa and Ryan McNeil into TJ cases in order to increase their return.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha! That's quite a scheme.

  • Thanks John, I love trade rumors. I think if the Cubs trade Garza and/or Feldman it's either with the Red Sox or Rangers. Mainly due , like you said John, to the relationships Hoyer/Epstein have with both teams

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    It's that time of year. Decided to start the trade stuff with just a month to go so I don't get too burnt out on it. This is really the time to start thinking about it.

    Apparently there are a lot of teams interested and have called the Cubs as Theo said, to say, "Don't do anything until you check with us first"

    I like the sound of that.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I wouldn't mind acquiring Luis Sardinas and Jorge Alfaro from the Rangers system. If they wouldn't part with arms.

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    By the way, interesting to look back on last year a year later. If the trades had gone through, we would have had Perez, Olt, Delgado, and I'm guessing Austin Meadows, and would be trading Paul Maholm this year. (Here's the logic, if we' kept Maholm, that's probably enough to put us 4th or 5th in the draft, and we would have preferred Meadows polish over Frazier's power or Stewart's being a pitcher.) As it is, we wound up with Hendricks, Villanueva, Vizcaino, Kris Bryant, and whatever we get for Garza this year.

    I tend to think we're better off as it shook out, but it's debatable.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think the Cubs would have picked Moran if they had the 5th pick. Scouted him a lot down the stretch.

    Interesting to look back and see how things could have been different.

  • Unless they go parabolic in their hitting, I would like to see both Soler and Baez spend the rest of the season in the Florida State League and each get around 500 bats. The FSL is a pitchers league and a quantum jump above the Midwest League, with the difference between high A and AA, not so much. If both improve over the second half of the season, that would really be encouraging, stamping their tickets to the majors much closer. Let's take a trip down memory lane:

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    I keep thinking that KC is a good trade partner because their needs and our surplus match up very well (Especially with a healthy DeJesus.)
    We might end up trading with KC and be their one stop shopper if they decide to go all in.
    The trade scenario I have seen that I like the best is Barney and Feldman to Baltimore. Not saying it is going to happen but it is interesting to see if we could maybe pry away a Wright or better prospect from them.

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    In reply to Rich Hood:

    I really like the move, partly because it makes sense, and also because their minor leagues are still pretty stacked. Zimmer, Ventura, Mondesi, Cuthbert, and Lamb would all be nice gets, and would also take a flyer on Elier Hernandez, Kyle Smith, and Miguel Almonte.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dont forget about King Bubba. That would be a HUGE get but I don't know how much KC is going to want to part with his type package.

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    In reply to Rich Hood:

    The strikeouts scare the hell out of me.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    Talented guy but has a real long swing. Needs a lot of adjusments.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I totally agree that he has adjustments to make but so do a lot of 2 sport guys. His numbers have been getting better since his eye surgery. Still has a huge swing though.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    That's a good point about Baltimore and Barney. They have a real hole to fill at 2B. And they don't want to trade their hot prospects for a top arm, so Feldman might fit their second-line tastes. But who do they have that we could get?

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    The ones I like are Mike Wright (who is a decent ceiling RH in AA) and Eduardo Rodriguez (LH guy in high A). But they are both flawed players with upside more than huge prospects types. I think it matters on what Team Theo is going to be looking for.

  • I'm really glad we didn't get Olt and Buckel, the popular names last year.
    If I'm Dayton Moore and I'm feeling squirmy about my Royals' lousy RISP-hitting and lack of power, I'd look into getting Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena asap. But I suspect he's staying -- with all fingers and toes crossed -- with the Frenchy/Lough platoon in RF and the balsa-bat Chris Getz/Elliott Johnson platoon at 2B.
    I also suspect he's not going after pitching. Royals have allowed the fewest earned runs in the AL (partly because of the strong bullpen).

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    In your "Need" idea for KC do you see them parting ways with Moustakas? That would get them all they need and still their minors in check.

  • Awesome article. Thanks for the analysis.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Thanks Svaz!

  • I know we can only trade so many veterans by Aug 1, but if we
    can get the right prospect(s) we should go for it.

  • The thing about trades is all about perception. Can Theo and Jed create the perception out there that teams are calling a lot about Garza/Feldman? If he can create that demand, or heighten it, it will improve the chances of a bloated return.

    It also good to see the AL East tightening up. Toronto has played very well of late and should consider themselves in the running for a playoff spot. Two teams in the above article reside in the AL East and could heighten the perceived need to bolster their rotation.

    Same thing with Texas. Can Oakland keep playing great baseball? Can the Angels put a crazy run together to get back in race? The wild card competition is basically the AL East for Texas, so they may not want the Cubs trading someone to whom they are competing against for a playoff spot.

    And we haven't even covered the NL.....

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I don't know if it's real or fabricated but Theo said he's gotten more calls than usual this early in the process and that teams are telling him not to do anything before contacting them first.

    If that's true, it indicates that GMs already anticipate some competition.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe this could be true, but let me play devil's advocate. Let's say Theo figures there are only going to be one or two serious bidders for Garza. Doesn't it make sense for him to lie about the size of the market publicly when he starts negotiation?

  • Personally, I just don't want anyone at lower than AA ball for Garza, unless he's a really strong prospect. We have enough guys at this point who will contribute in two or three years.

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I think they are going to be shooting for almost ready prospects in all of the trades they do this year. But you had better believe that if someone offers a top 20 guy that is still years away they will listen. I really expect a nice return on Garza this year.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Agreed. I want a near ready guy who's not a finesse type. Tall order, but possible if competition for Garza/Feldman is intense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely, we need a potential TOR power arm. I'd be okay with a high upside (closer &/or back of the BP floor) kind of guy like Vizcaino.

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    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    So if we just give him a QO, we'll probably pick in the late 20s. This year, that translated into Rob Kaminsky and Ryne Stanek. If we can't do better than that, no reason to make the trade.

    Where I think I disagree with you,is that if we get a potential TOR guy who happens to be in A or high A ball at the moment -- say a Lucas Sims type -- we should still make the deal, because we're unlikely to get better in the draft next year.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree, A lot of great players in A Ball. People shouldn't be hung up on a designation or level of competition when considering trades, backseat GMs that we tend to be. He'd never be available, but I wouldn't tell Minnesota, "Uh, sorry, Buxton is in A Ball - we'd like someone at the AA or AAA Level instead." SMH.

    Also, I find it funny that everybody talks about Theo. What about Jed Hoyer? He is the GM. I know Theo plays a big part in everything, but it's not like this is a puppet regime or something. I think Hoyer is quite capable.

  • In a perfect world, we would see not only vets traded, but also some of our 'dead wood' in the minors tossed in to bundles to get slightly (albeit very slightly) more in return. This would also clear up some logjams when it comes time for promotions later this summer.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Most definitely. Could see a guy like Jackson and Vitters moved this year. I really expect them to clear a lot of a bunch of 40 man spots with the moves this year just to get ready for the off season. So Sczrcur and McNutt and others maybe moved as well.

  • In reply to Rich Hood:

    I to expect the Cubs to try and clean up/ adjust the 40 man a bit at the deadline and even more maybe right after the year. They could move some of these as a controllable player giving the acquiring team something to have if they lose the main player to FA after the year.

  • Danny Salazar would make a very intriguing scenario..... plus he's a 2010 TJS survivor (so you know we'll love him) who has already demonstrated to be fully recovered and throwing harder...

    We should be able to get him plus?... for Garza or Feldman either one. The question becomes what's the plus? The strength & depth of their farm seems to mirror ours. No way they would part with Bauer, would they?

  • Seems like Theo/Jed's MO in trades like these is to target talented prospects who are either blocked/overshadowed or underappreciated. Alonzo made Rizzo expendable, Olt made Villanueva expendable, Teheran and the other young Atlanta starters breaking in made Vizcaino expendable, and a guy like Torreyes was perhaps a bit undervalued because of his size plus he was several years away.

    My suspicion is that Theo & Jed's number one priority is to get the most talent possible in return for whomever they deal, and they're probably combing through the systems of teams with MLB pitching needs, looking for redundancy or guys for one reason or another teams might be willing to part with. KC has a lot of intriguing pitchers in their system, and to me they look like a team the Cubs might want to partner with if at all possible. The Cubs do need to get at least SOME pitching in return, but IMHO they would rather get elite/high ceiling A ball guys than less talented guys in the high minors. It's all about long term building blocks. They can always sign one or two more Maholms and Feldmans next year if they need to.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I think this is the best way for them to trade. Let's hope Garza
    and DeJesus get traded for such prospects

  • I agree, let's hope Garza and DeJesus get traded for such prospects

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    I don't think Cleveland or KC will be real serious buyers. I think everyone realizes that the Tigers are far superior to everyone in that division.

    I think Barney to Baltimore is real intriguing. I could see the O's wanting Feldman but the question remains who would they give.

    I still think the Red Sox make way too much sense. They're going to be "all in" to win this year and I think if they're true businessmen, they'll deal with the Cubs.

    I also think Cashmen will deal with them as well and could see Soriano going there after the July 31st.

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    In reply to Dale Miller:

    There are 2 wildcards in KC. The biggest being that Dayton Moore's job may well be on the line. If he gets bounced in KC, it's hard to see another owner hiring him based on his extreme old school philosophy. Given that, it makes sense for him to go all in to save his job, regardless of how uncatchable Detroit seems.

    Similarly, even if Moore's job isn't in danger, they really went all in with the trade for Shields. It essentially gives them a two year window to win it all. With that window, guys like Zimmer or Cuthbert who figure to help them outside of the window have less value than guys like Garza who can help this year.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Depends on how it goes. Cleveland spent a lot of money on two outfielders and while they have time, they may want to strike while those guys are still in their prime.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Even if there's an impression that Boston/NYC wouldn't want to deal with Theo, there's always a far-shot possibility of three-way trades which would probably be less of a pill to swallow for these A.L. East teams and their fans.

  • I know were talking about the trade deadline here, and the topic is on flipping some veterans who aren't a part of the Cubs future for prospects that can be future stars. But, here's a question I've been pondering for awhile; when are the Cubs going to bite on a big name player like a David Price or Giancarlo Stanton?

    The idea of a homegrown line-up is very intriguing, but at the same time it is very unrealistic. Also, even the idea that the Baez, Soler, Bryant, and Almora all even make it to Wrigley is a long shot. So that's the question, when does Theo go out and land a big name player from trade or free agency to fill the many holes in the line-up, and possibly give up some of these big name prospects. The Cubs will have the pay-roll in a few years to pay for those types of big name players. Also, there could be a push by Ricketts to get a big name guy to put fans in the seats, because for next season and half they're going to have a tough time getting fans to come to the games with no stars on the field.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    I think you bring up some valid points insofar as all our top prospects making the bigs. However, I think it is too early to tell on any of them. Not only are they still in A ball, combined I am guessing they have a grand total of less than 1000 PA's.

    Bryant hasn't seen a pitch as a pro, Almora has about 20 games and Soler has about 50-60 games. Just way to tough to project with such a small sample size.

    Of course, the Big 3 do have immense value right now because they are performing well, which could faciliate a trade for a Price/Stanton type player.

    All of which makes being a GM a tough gig.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    I think this is exactly what will happen, and soon. I love how the front office has built up the system. However, i think we all know it's a pipe dream that the big 4 plus others are going to be up in 2015, and we'll be ready to compete. If we go that route, the team wouldn't compete until 2017-2018, maybe.

    The hope is that a few hit for us, and others are moved for proven mlb talent. In my opinion i could definitely see them moving a Jorge Soler and others for Stanton or some other star caliber player from a smaller market.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    I think that's part of why you grow a farm system. You don't think of them so much as a team ready to come up together at the same time and play together for 10 years -- though that would be great if it happened.

    They are assets. And you use them to build the best team possible whether it's by playing them or trading them for something you need.

    I don't know if it will happen this offseason -- it's certainly possible, but I can definitely see that happening as soon as next year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point, John. By this time next year, the Cubs should have a clearer vision on a lot of things. So perhaps best in the meantime to keep "acquiring assets," as the regime likes to say.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly. To this point we can look at extending Samardzidja too. At 28 do we dump huge dollars here if we don't plan on competing until he's on the wrong side of 30? And why would he stick around if we aren't in a ready to win mode. I think this deadline and offseason we'll see a huge push to improve the mlb product.

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    In reply to rlh21:

    RLH21: To me it comes down to when the Cubs think they can contend. For example, Stanton is a free agent in 2017, so how much sense does it make to deal for him now unless you think you can sign him to a long-term contract?

    Sticking with the Stanton scenario, however, I would be willing to deal Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler for his services if the Cubs could work out a deal that would ensure he be a Cub for at least five more years.

    From what I've been reading about the Castro situation, Sveum has told him what he needs to do to get back on track and he isn't doing it. And I think that's a red flag. And even if you're a Castro supporter, you have to admit that he doesn't fit in with the grinding at bats approach that Theo wants.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I think it just comes down to who Theo/Hoyer think fits in the lineup the best, and those who don't fit you trade off for guys that do.

    I just hope some of us who follow the farm system don't go calling for Theo's job when he trades a way a top 5 prospect for a MLB player, because sooner of later it's going to happen.

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    In reply to rlh21:

    I think the trend has moved toward the Cubs targeting guys who are more selective at the plate. That's why I tossed out trading Castro. It doesn't seem like he's a fit in that regard.

    Folks say just let Castro be Castro and he will be fine. Well, first of all, they've picked up this extra movement that he has from when he came up that he apparently doesn't recognize. And secondly, Castro being Castro doesn't fit with where Theo & Co. want to go in terms of approach at the plate.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I've always been a big Castro defender, but the more I watch him struggle the more disappointed I get. The good thing about Castro that most don't realize is that we really aren't paying him to be a huge star. He's getting good money, but not Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes money. If the Cubs develop/acquire enough pieces to be a contender and Castro is an average shortstop it really isn't a huge loss. On top of that, with his team friendly contract it won't be hard to deal him for some big name prospects, or big name MLB player, as long as he doesn't completely fall apart in the next few years.

  • In reply to rlh21:

    No no no man.. Big name MLB player? You're talking about exactly what has failed the Cubs for years. Stay the course! And give me the Sandberg or Patrick Sharp trade over Nomar. Izturis was MLB ready, too. Heck, to go back to the Hawks, they didn't acquire Hossa until they had already made the playoffs once. That's the model.

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    Great analysis John, as usual. I think it's shaping up as a real buyer's market, so the front office is really going to have to earn its pay to find the diamonds in the rough.

    Any prospects the Cubs get offered, in my opinion, whether it's Garza or Feldman or whoever, are going to come flawed. That was true last year even, with the Maholm deal, but I think it's going to be even more that way this year.

    And the longer the Cubs wait, the worse it's going to get. There will be more teams selling, fewer teams buying and fewer starts for whoever the Cubs send to the contending club.

    If the Cubs can find takers for Garza, Russell, Feldman and DeJesus, I would be ecstatic if they could come away with three guys with enough upside to be ranked Nos. 7 or 8 to 11 or 12 in their system. If they could snag even one Top 100 guy I think it would be a success.

  • Last year we waited to long on Garza and we know what happen

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It's not about the Cubs waiting. Other teams want to wait too. You don't really see deals until the week before the deadline. And really, the guys that were being offered with the exception of Martin Perez haven't been very good anyway.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John: The thing is, you don't have to wait. It's a choice. You make your offer, and of course, the other team may decide the time is not right. But there is no written rule, as you know. It may be the way things usually play out, but you don't know unless you make your pitch.

    That said, because the way these guys operate is the way they operate, I don't expect there will be much activity until that final week. And when that week comes and there is a flurry - or not - I don't expect the Cubs will find much out there to their liking.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I do think teams start throwing names around early, but in the end human nature takes over. There's no sense of urgency until the trade deadline nears. I imagine trading is a lot like the negotiations I used to do in a prior job. I offer to little, they ask for too much and as time goes and we want to get this off our workload, we finally come to an agreement.

  • I felt like Theo and Jed waited too long last year. I don't know if it was their doing or the market's doing. I remember saying on Facebook, that they better trade Garza before he got injured.

    And, that's really the scary part for me, and why (ideally) I would like to see the Cubs deal now. (At least, deal the pitching now)

    Injuries and poor performance. I don't want to see Scott Feldman bombed for 10 runs next week and suddenly his value is blown. Or, see Garza hurt himself again, knowing that Olt and Perez could have been here this year instead.

    I really am hoping they can do something early or the guys can put up good numbers and stay healthy if not.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    Yes, in my opinion waiting too long to deal this year is going to leave most people out in the cold. At the wire, the teams that really feel they have to have player A or B are going to have options.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    How can you say they waited to long? Did they have offers on the table and they told the other team to wait as Theo/Jed hoped they could get more?

    You or anyone else has any idea how far along in trade talks they were with anyone or if there were firm offers on the table.

    What if Theo/Jed didn't like the offers? Should they have pulled the trigger on a bad deal?

    Of course not. It isn't a matter of the Cubs FO "deciding" when to trade a guy. It is a matter of getting an offer they feel is acceptable in value for their goal for the team.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Nobody is arguing about waiting for the right offer. But thinking you can get a better offer doesn't mean you will. You don't get something for nothing. But I'm sure Theo & Co. have their targets, and if they get turned down, they move on. Nothing wrong with that.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    This is exactly right. If they had Olt and Perez on the table for a week but were holding out for Profar, then it was a blunder. If the Rangers wanted to wait until Dempster and Greinke were moved to get Garza, it was bad luck. We just can't know what was on the table and what was said.

    The deal before the season started was supposedly for Turner and Theo was holding out for Castellanos. He proved to be right in the guy he wanted. And, further, we'd be criticizing him if he'd traded Garza for what Turner has become. (His numbers look good, but his 3.82 xFIP suggests a pretty major regression is coming.)

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sometimes it's a crapshoot. Love these debates/discussions, though. So good to read all the different perspectives. Except for you guys online, I don't have anybody to talk Cubs baseball with out here in Virginia.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    It really shouldn't be a "crapshoot" when you're trading an asset like Garza. You know he's worth, minimum, a high 20s draft pick. If you have faith in your scouting and development, that has a pretty easy to determine expected value. If you trade him, you have to be entirely comfortable that you are getting that or more back.

  • Boston:
    I'd actually prefer a Cecchini/Workman package over something centered on Barnes, Ranaudo, or Owens.

    Olt would still be the guy I'd target but I'd have interest in Odor and CJ Edwards.

    Lamb's velocity has not returned yet, at least from what I've read. I wouldn't touch him. Kyle Smith is interesting, as is Jorge Bonifacio, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Raul Adalberto Mondesi.

    Boston would be my top choice, but I think KC brass just might be feeling the heat enough to pull the trigger (especially after their draft gambit appeared to pay off).

  • In reply to StatHead:

    I think the Cubs should target guys with more impact potential. Workman's a back end starter and probably a reliever because of his funky delivery and stuff. Kyle Smith is another bottom rotation/reliever type.

    I like Bonafacio. I've seen him play but my concern is will he hit for enough power to be a corner OF'er since he isn't a CF'er. Could be a tweener which would make him a 2nd division starter or 4th outfielder. Cuthbert has not developed as hoped so far.

    Cecchini is kind of interesting and I know you sometimes want to acquire assets, but another 3B? I don't know. The pitchers are all top level prospects and fill an organization need. Given the choice, I'd rather have an asset that fills a need rather than one that doesn't.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I fully admit it's kind of cheezy to take your whole statement and ask a question on point, but I'm going to do it anyway. What is it you don't like about Cuthbert? I don't want him as the primary piece for Garza/Feldman (we have to get a pitcher there -- no question), but he seems to me to be a guy who is young for his league, making contact, putting up good OBP numbers, and showing doubles power. Seems like a Villanueva-type who could grow into more.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I like Cuthbert but it worries me that there really hasn't been much progress. There's more risk than I like for a position player prospect. I like his upside and he's still very young, but the combination of organizational need and the desire to minimize risk just make him less of a priority for me.

    But who knows? Maybe it's a good time to buy low and get him as part of a package deal. I know he just got promoted, but Moore is sort of like Hendry when it comes to that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    KLaw has Cecchini as a top-25 guy, so I think he's fairly likely to be an impact guy. Especially given his statistical profile, with the extremely good approach at the plate, I think he's the type of player that fits very well into what TheoJed are trying to build. If the rest of the 3rd basemen pan out, then you have a good problem. Workman is probably a 4, maybe a 3.

    The thing about Barnes is whether his changeup develops. I haven't read that it's really improved and I haven't seen it show up in his stats, but if it does then you have a number 2 guy. If it doesn't, I'm not sure he's much better than Workman. So that's why I'd prefer Cecchini/Workman, assuming there's that choice (which may not even be a good assumption).

    I forgot to mention him in my earlier post, but Swihart is also a guy I hope would be in the conversation. The Cubs don't have a lot of depth at C. His BB% is way up this year and his K% is down, if his power develops as expected he'll be a really nice piece.

    I definitely understand wanting to focus on pitching (the Cubs must do that at some point), it just so happens that for the teams that may match up well with the Cubs I prefer their position guys to their pitching.

  • Maybe in a year or two if the right guy is available. Right now it would take too many of our best prospects to get that done. We can't do that until there is good talent up and down the entire system.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Sorry my post didn't link to the question which was when do the cubs go after big name FAs and such.

  • Sometimes the best trades are the ones that you don't make. Who needs Mike Olt if we sign Kris Bryant?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Very true.

  • Don't look now, but the Tigers just DFA'd Valverde.


  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:


    Marmol? That's funny!

    Gregg? Maybe


  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Gregg or Papelbon much more likely. I'm sure they prefer Papelbon, but Phillies not clearly out of it yet. If I were the Phillies, though, I'd trade him anyway. They made a mistake giving that much to a closer to begin with.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Reminds me of a couple I used to know. They break up, get back together, break up, etc.

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    Wow, I go to sleep for a few hours after being at work all night making sure the world doesn't run out of stainless steel, and this happens.

    John, I was actually working on a guest post about this very subject, but it was specifically about Boston. Anyways, instead of finishing it, I'll just summarize it here.

    Why Boston? It's a good match up both ways. Boston has more than one need the Cubs can provide for. They also could use an outfielder and bullpen help, and depending on what they decide to do on the left side of their infield, the Cubs could help them there as well.

    Their potential interest in Garza is obvious. They've tried to trade for him twice before when Theo was still in Boston. They can also afford to extend Garza. So it doesn't have to be a rental for them. Because of that, they might be willing to give up more, especially if it were a sign and trade.

    Bowden was reporting last week that the Red Sox want to acquire a shortstop and move Drew over to third base. I'm sure, if Xander Bogaerts were part of the deal, Castro could be had, but short of that, maybe they'd be interested in Valbuena at third as a platoon partner for Middlebrooks and leaving Drew at shortstop. BTW, that would be the only way I'd trade Castro to the Red Sox.

    The Cubs could also help the Red Sox with their outfield depth. It's to bad DDJ had to go down when he did. He seemed the perfect fit, but Nate Schierholtz would also be a good fit for them.

    Finally, while Miller and Breslow having been getting it done from the left side of their bullpen, they may want another solid left-handed reliever like Russell, especially since he is still a controlled player for two more years, and Kevin Gregg may have some appeal for them as well given concerns about Bailey and Hanrahan.

    The Cubs could be a one stop shop for the Red Sox in their drive for another title.

    The matchup for the Cubs is obvious too. There is the familiarity with the Red Sox system, but it's also a system loaded with what the Cubs needs, and unlike other systems, Red Sox prospects won't have to learn the Cubs Way. They already are living it.

    I don't buy that animosity from the Red Sox towards Theo or from Theo towards the Red Sox would keep these two teams from dealing on anything but minor deals . Larry Lucchino may hate Theo's guts, and Theo might not piss down Lucchino's throat if his guts were on fire, but in the end, this is business, and in this business instance, I see the potential for a mega-deal that helps both teams.

    I do think though that the Red Sox will want more from the Cubs than just rentals if the Cubs expect to get what they will want from the Red Sox, which is young major league ready or almost major league ready players.

    I have some ideas about potential trade packages, but my wife and I are kidless this weekend, and she's going to kill me if I don't get off this computer so we can go out.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    We've talked about this, but my stance is still: if they want James Russell, they can send us Xander Bogaerts. Otherwise, we wish them well in their search.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't see them trading Bogaerts unless Castro was coming back to them.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I agree, and thus Russell will not be in the deal. The only way I deal Russell is an unbelievable overpay. He's too valuable to us both short and long term.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Tulane Cubs submit a nice guest post but I didn't use it because he posted it on BCB. Nothing against BCB, just didn't want to repeat the same material.

    I think there are some interesting points here and Boston is a good match, but I don't think they're in dire need so negotiations won't be easy. Depends on how much they think guys like Garza, Russell, etc. can offer as far as an upgrade.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. Their short term need is not as dire as others, and KC's desperation factor may trump all else. I think Dayton Moore is moron, especially after his statements this week about why Royals hitter don't draw more walks being the fault of their home park.

  • Did you notice.......

    Theo's old team in first place in A.L.East......

    Jed's old team the Padres are only 2 1/2 games out......

    both teams lousy in 2012......both doing good in 2013.......

    would it be possible we can get prospects back that could crack Cubs top 20 prospect list?........time for BJax and Vitters to be off that list.......and no more TJ projects!

    Atlanta, Diamondbacks, Giants, Nationals & Braves must be on the trade list........I would think even the Reds & Cardinals have something we might want.....who cares if they are in a our division.

    Most likely Cubs players to be traded.......

    1 - Garza..............A team in A.L. East
    2 - Feldman.........Braves
    3 - Schierholtz.....Braves
    4 - Villanueva......Nationals or Giants
    5 - Navarro.........Diamondbacks
    6 - Gregg..........Tigers or Oakland
    7 - DeJesus......late August trade if he clears waivers
    8 - BJax.............included in a package deal?
    9 - J. Lake........traded to A.L. team for prospect pitching
    10 - Soriano.....long shot...but will likely be our 2014 left fielder again.

  • I love this site. Kc jus seems like a perfect match. Pressure to win, desperate gm. If u can pry Zimmer and another high ceiling pitcher. Thts a huge win.

  • With Garza especially when I look at what the cubs could get back I think because of the arb offer they can make, the Cubs shouldn't look at taking back anything that wont fit into a 2014 lineup smoothly. If that's in in majors or minors. They have to get impact that makes them move other players around. When looking at Cubs depth in minors they have to get pitcher, catcher or OF. With the depth they have for the most part in the IF with their top tradeable players they can be a bit selective on the positions they ask for

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    I hope they put together some good packages of veterans to get the good packages of prospects they'd want.

    I'd be OK with "overpaying" a little bit too, if it means we get to avoid the problem of negotiations dragging on because teams want the BEST deal.

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