Cubs have decisions to make in the outfield this offseason

For a team that’s 20 games under .500, the Cubs don’t seem anxious to make a lot of changes next year, so they have to make the ones they do make count.  I don’t imagine much changing at catcher, the infield, or, barring the acquisition of Masahiro Tanaka, in the starting rotation.  I expect 2014 to start with many of the same familiar faces.

An interesting area to work on next year will be the outfield.  The Cubs traded away 3 veterans in Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, and Scott Hairston.  They have also bumped Cody Gillespie and Dave Sappelt from the 40 man roster.  The minor league outfielders is a mix bag of players with questionable long term starting potential and guys like Jorge Soler, who is too far away from the majors to make an impact next year.  If there is any potential impact outfielder who gets to Wrigley next year, it’s going to be Kris Bryant (if he switches from 3B).  I will do my minor league outfield prospect depth chart after the postseason.

Here are three options:

1.  Go with the status quo

The Cubs are giving long looks to Ryan Sweeney, Bryan Bogusevic, and Junior Lake and while none have been flawless, they’ve all shown themselves capable of contributing next season.  Nate Schierholtz has been solid all season.  The only missing piece would be a 5th outfielder which would be fairly easy to obtain either through free agency or other outside outlets such as the waiver wire or a minor deal.  They could also find such a player internally.  Jae-Hoon Ha and Matt Szczur come to mind as two players who hit RH and can offer good CF defense off the bench.  Darnell McDonald is the current 5th OF’er but I don’t expect him to hold the job long term.

Nate Schierholtz

.254/.306/.481.; 20 HRs, .338 wOBA; 110 RC+, 1.6 WAR

Schierholtz has worn down a bit down the stretch and it’s likely he’s more of a platoon player.  While he doesn’t walk a lot, he does see a lot of pitches which is what the Cubs want to see.  The downside is that the lack of walks really hurt his OBP numbers.  On the plus side, Shierholtz offers some power from the left side and good RF defense.  Overall he’s a keeper, but I don’t think he’s a long term solution.

Ryan Sweeney

.282/.352/.515, 5 HRs, .375 wOBA, 137 RC+, 1.2 WAR

It’s hard to believe that Sweeney’s WAR is less than half a win behind Schierholtz but Sweeney has added to his value with good plate discipline, an above average OBP, the emergence of the kind of power many thought was always there (.227 ISO), and the ability to play a very good CF.   It’s a small sample size but Sweeney looks like a potential starter who can produce plus offensive numbers from the CF position.  He also hits lefties well and should be able to be a full-time player.

Junior Lake

.309/.350/.468, 6 HRs, .358 wOBA, .125 RC+, 1.2 WAR

Lake also has added value in a very short sample size.  Like Sweeney he has shown some power and the ability to play CF, though it is erratic at times.  Lake adds tremendous speed to the equation though it has not translated to base stealing prowess at the MLB level yet.  The jury is still out on Lake as an unusually high BABIP of .388 and a 4.5% walk ratio vs. a 23.9% K ratio suggest regression is coming at some point.  Lake has shown the ability to adapt at all levels, however, so he deserves the chance to prove he can do it at the MLB level as well.

Brian Bogusevic

.277/.337/.489, 5 HRs, .354 wOBA, 122 RC+, 0.7 WAR

Bogusevic has been the most quietly productive of the new OF trio and his numbers are close to Lake’s, though he does walk more (7.7%), strikeout less (18.3%) and has an appropriate .306 BABIP.  It’s just a 100 PA sample but it seems realistic that Bogusevic could sustain those types of numbers throughout a full season.  He’s not really played vs. LHP, so he appears to be a platoon player at this point or perhaps the 4th OF’er. A platoon with Junior Lake, who has hit .388/.400/.551 vs. LHP is an option.

 2. Pick up a free agent outfielder

We discussed the merits of Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury here.  I think Choo is the better fit if the Cubs can get him on a short term deal because he adds the kind of OBP the team desperately needs.  I look at the Choo free agency situation as one similar to that of Shane Victorino where you have a past-prime player who is approaching platoon status because of his current lefty-righty splits.  Victorino got 3 years and $39M, which is likely about what it would take to sign Shoo, if not more.  The 3 years is the key as the Cubs will have Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and perhaps Kris Bryant as prospects coming through the system as outfielders within the next 2-3 years

Other free agent outfielders of interest are Curtis Granderson or perhaps flyers on Nelson Cruz or Corey Hart on short term deals.

 3. Trade for an outfielder

The intriguing name out there is Giancarlo Stanton, though it may cost the Cubs top prospect Javier Baez to acquire him.  It’s a choice between a more known quantity and the tremendous potential Baez will provide on offense from the infield — perhaps even at SS.  Stanton is still young but injuries have put at least a small question mark on his can’t miss superstar status.  He’s had an off year this season.  Some like Professor Parks, as Felzz mentioned yesterday, feel that Baez may be the prospect that ends up being the guy the Cubs send packing in order to fill current needs on the MLB club.  It’s a tough choice because the argument here is that you would hope that Baez could become the kind of offensive force that Stanton has been and should continue to be if he stays healthy.  Health with Stanton is a legit question, as he’s already had some knee issues early on in his career.

There are some, of course, who would prefer to trade Starlin Castro, who is also having an offseason, in some sort of package for Stanton.  That’s a less likely possibility with the cost-conscious Marlins.  Castro’s deal at this point in time doesn’t look like the bargain it was last season, though that could change quickly, of course.

What do you think?  How would you rebuild the Cubs outfield next year.  The poll below allows for multiple answers, so select any and all outfielders you’d like to see in a Cubs uniform on Opening Day in 2014 and give us your breakdown in the comments section.

** Note “Nelson Perez” is secret code for Nelson Cruz, though I know you all assumed that already. I didn’t want to have to start the poll over again **


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  • I LOVE Stanton but it'd be really hard for me to part with Baez. I'd give up probably any other prospect in a package for him though. His injury history is worrisome.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I agree. That's the part that concerns me too. 23 and healthy and I'd strongly consider giving up Baez. Right now that seems a little risky.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am obviously against trading Baez.

    Stanton is a guy I wouldn't mind acquiring, and would part with Soler in a deal to do so. But the knee does worry me. I think Stanton will remain fine offensively for the near future, but I fear he may need to move to 1B to take wear and tear off the knee at some point soon and just let him concentrate on what he does best.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I think Stanton at 1B is likely down the road as well and so that sort of takes out a little bit of the appeal -- but that bat will play anywhere as we all know.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I agree.
    Stanton's slow starts and injury problems aren't uncommon. Granted, he may hit 50+ HR's one year.
    I'd rather keep Baez.
    I think he'll start slow. Then, adjust and be a beast in his own right.

  • I think Nelson Cruz fits better as a RH power bat looking for a "make good" short term deal. Leave Castro in the leadoff spot and slot Cruz in at clean up between Rizzo and Schierholtz.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Cruz is interesting. Wondering if I should expand the poll to include a few more names. It would re-set the poll to zero, but it might be worth it.

    What do you guys think?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    can you do a separate FA "target" poll?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This is probably not very plausible but what about Beltran? He's past his prime but still consistently valuable and might be able to be had for a short albeit expensive contract. I would definitely pass on Cruz. Looking at Fangraphs, he just hasn't been very good at getting on base. Also, his home/away splits scare me coming from Texas. For his career .734 ops away vs. .915 at home in a very hitter friendly park. Also I think Melky Cabrera shows a cautionary tale of going after a guy that used to be juicing and cruz hasnt been nearly as good as cabrera was

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I doubt Beltran signs with a non contender.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I'd rather the Cubs suck than sign a player like Cruz. I don't have my head in the sand and think that every player in the league is clean, but I'm not interested in signing a guy I know is dirty, just because he would be a good deal. Let Oakland sign him.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I think Theo will try give an Beltre-type deal (one year to establish your status) to someone. Cruz could fit that bill. 1/$12M? It will be interesting to see if the Rangers extend a QA - which would be about that much.

    I could see Josh Johnson getting a one year deal as well. Then again, someone is always looking to overpay. The Angels say hello...

    The one FA I'm most interested in watching is Lincecum.

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    I went with Sweeney, Lake, and Bogusevic. It was a real tough call between Schierholtz and Bogusevic, I just have really liked Bogusevic this year and have a gut feeling he does better than Schierholtz next year.

    I'm 100% against moving Baez for Stanton. His performance this year as well as his seeming inability to stay healthy really scares me. Further, if it was just Baez for Stanton straight up, it's intriguing. But it's going to be a package, so we'll lose Baez and one or two other high ceiling prospects.

    I can't see many obvious trades. Maybe a prospect-for-prospect swap with the Cardinals to get Taveras, where both guys fill obvious needs for the other team.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's such a tough call. I was thinking about this as I was watching the ballgames this weekend. I think they have some interesting guys already in their OF but no sure things. Sweeney to me is the definite keeper right now and I think Lake needs to play a role because the Cubs just don't have players who makes things happen the way he does. Bogusevic may need a RH compliment. The one thing I like about all these guys is they are athletic and can do multiple things on the field.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I like Bogusevic-you don't know who will hit next year but I remember his catches in centerfield up against the wall when every one was hurt---Lake might me better at 2nd or 3rd --he has trouble reading the deep fly balls and that would give the Cubs another infielder that can hit

  • I think they should sign Granderson and Corey Hart to short term deals and start them in LF and RF with Lake in CF. Say goodbye to Sweeney and Schierholtz and let the cheaper Bogusevic be the 4th OF. Having decent OFs on short term deals opens up spots in the future for Bryant and Soler. Also off the subject, we should see if the Brewers would take Edwin Jackson (and $33 million owed) for Rickie Weeks ( and $14 million owed to him in 2014). Brewers get a SP for three years and we get a 2b until Baez or Alcantara ready

  • In reply to Craig:

    I think those are also good choices and I strongly considered adding them but the poll was getting a little long. I was hoping someone would open that discussion in the comments section. Those are two very intriguing options.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So many good teams need offense, I just can't see those guys needing to accept short term deals with the Cubs when they can get teh same deals with a contender.

  • Not sold yet on any of the free agents or trade partners. I really like the idea of Szczur being that fifth outfielder for defense, running and occasional start vs LHP. Don't want to trade any of our (hopefully) young studs. With an improvement with SP and the bullpen, I think they can be better anyway. Want to maybe push Alcantara into 2B and see what 3B brings around the all star break.

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    As much as I would like to see Szczur get called up, I would much rather have him play every day and get 500 AB's in AAA next year so that he is truly ready when he gets the big club.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Ghost Dawg... I had Szczur on my list too... but you make a very good point... one that this FO is likely to believe.

    Hart plays for me b/c he's a RH bat with some pop.

  • Dont ask me for how long or how much but I have this great feeling Ellsbury will be a Cub next year.

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    He'd be a great add if they think they can get him. Adds the kind of speed/athleticism/defense they like and does have some OBP skills.

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    Didn't he just break a bone in his foot? I don't want him unless it is on a team friendly contract so he can rebuild his value. Then we can flip him.

  • Give me Nelson Cruz on a cheapish one-year deal with lots of incentives and an option year or two. Otherwise, it's pick 'em between Szczur or Ha.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I think I'm going to reset the poll. I thought it would get too long but a lot of interest in those names as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Did you mean Nelson Cruz? The poll says Nelson Perez...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm assuming the Nelson Perez option in the poll is actually meant to be Nelson Cruz.

  • The other I voted for is Ha. I would like to see him get some chances.

  • I added the new names you all suggested, so let's start the poll over! :)

  • Start the season with Schierholtz, Sweeney, Lake, and a more short-term FA like a Cruz or a Granderson, who can offer OBP and power but at a cheaper rate than Choo or Ellsbury. Spend the extra money on Tanaka. I think a Tanaka/Granderson combo is much better than getting Ellsbury or Choo, both long and short-term. Schierholtz and Granderson/Cruz can be shopped at the deadline for prospects, and either Mike Olt or Bryant should be able to get some OF PA's in the second half.

  • In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    That sounds like a pretty rational plan. You can kind of take inventory and perhaps even make a trade in season if it isn't working and you change your mind.

  • I'm not interested in trading multiple valuable prospects and spending enormous sums of money on Price or Stanton, nor do I want to spend a lot and give up a draft pick for Choo or Ellsbury. If we're going to spend that kind of money, spend it on Tanaka and keep the prospects and draft pick.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I know what you mean. This is a farm system that took three years of hard work and lots of money to rebuild and I'm not sure I want to start trading them now before we even know what these guys can become.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    i agree about not wanting to trade away prospects but the cubs shouldnt be worried about losing a 2nd round pick for the right free agent

  • In reply to Andrew:

    The question is....does this free agent make you a contender? Would you rather have gotten a free agent 3 years ago who got the Cubs to 75 wins per season, but lost the 2nd round pick that got us Vogelbach or Blackburn?

    In other words, my analysis is that the only "right" free agent to give up a draft pick is one who will make the team likely to be a contender. The Cubs are one of the worst teams in baseball who,

    (1) for a significant number of games, had a lineup stocked with 3-5 waiver wire pickups, and

    (2) have no dominant TOR starter and really are relying on Wood not regressing and two pitchers in their late 20s (Jeff S and Arrieta) somehow developing consistency they never before had.

    IMO the Cubs couldn't sign 1 or 2 or 3 free agents and become a likely contender (obviously anything can happen....the Cubs could contend with any lineup/staff, as anything is possible, I am stating what would be a likely prediction). The Cubs would need to likely make some major trades and signings and have most of the players received have good years.

    I personally like the rebuilding for a nucleus that could have the Cubs contending for multiple years and do not want to give up another Vogelbach/Blackburn type unless we add something that will get us to the playoffs. IMO, that free agent doesn't exist.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I agree reason to rebuild the farm system and then trade prospects or give up draft picks for players that will not likely get you to the playoffs even once (and Choo/Ellsbury and Price do not get us to the playoffs).

    Stanton is attractive, but would be too costly (and I am not sure Baez isn't putting up similar power numbers with better average/speed/position by the time he is Stanton's age).

  • I seriously doubt they'd consider adding 2 significant OF FA. I figure that Lake and Sweeney have shown enough that they at least deserve to share a spot.

    I think you're really under estimating Choo. Yes he has platoon issues, but he is going to get paid. Victorino was coming off a couple poor seasons. Choo is getting on-base at a .425 clip, with solid power. If he could be had for Victorino money I'd jump all over it, but he's likely looking at least a 5 year 80 million deal. More likely 6/100. Ellsbury will be a bit more than that. I'd prefer Choo to Ellsbury.

    Granderson is the FA I want the most. Could easily be had for 3-4 year deal, for slightly less money.

    Kelly Johnson is a piece I'd be interested in as well if they strike out on one of these bigger FA OF. He's been getting time at 2B/3B/LF and is a pretty solid player. The added flexibility would be a nice bonus too.

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    Ryan Sweeney: Did he suddenly become a plus defensive CF, or is that small sample size? Maybe he never got a chance, maybe Wrigley's small CF is more forgiving, but it seems odd that Sweeney is now a good CF. He was always a professional hitter, so that part isn't surprising.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Sweeney has always been a plus defender. I can remember seeing him on sportscenter top 10 multiple times with plays in right and center for Sox and Athletics

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    I would love to see beltran on a two year deal if the stl doesnt offer a qualifying offer. I understand the upside for guys like granderson, choo, ,ellsbury , cruz etc. but for what they are going to demand and the pick i dont like it. I dont see why the yanks wouldnt offer grandy a qualifying offer and he would still get at least what victorino got. If cruz signs a make nice deal why wouldnt it be with texas who is already welcoming for the playoff run. If he hits the market i dont see any discounts coming. Ellsbury is looking for a 7 year deal north of 150 mil and choo could probably get 4 or 5 years in this weak market. Sign beltran bring back the four we have now and give them all 4-5 starts a week. Sit shierholtz against lefties, give beltran 1-2 games off a week and use sweeney as the main guy in cf. I think they all get plenty of playing time while keeping them all rested and playing to their splits. I understand the want for a leadoff guy like els and choo but I think we could use a 3 or 4 hitter more than that.

    Anyways, all those factors has me wanting beltran at 2 years possibly 22 mil..

  • I voted Junior Lake, Schierholtz, Sweeney, Bogusevic, and Other, the 5th player being Jae-Hoon Ha.

    Ha could use another 1/2 to full season at AAA if the Cubs were a contending team, but with the current rebuild I have no problem with some prospects learning on the job (as long as they don't just ride the bench)

    Lake should get the opportunity to lock down an OF spot. He is a 23 year old, 5 tool player, who has gotten better with each level. While his BABIP suggests regression, his past performance and stats indicate that he will adapt and improve as well. I expect him to end up as a .285 hitter with 20 hrs, 20 steals, tons of doubles and improving OBP and SO to BB ratio with each passing year.

    Schierholtz, Sweeney, & Bogusevic are plenty good enough to hold down the fort until not only Kris Bryant gets to the MLB as I believe he will be there BEFORE Almora & Soler (barring injury), but also the AA prospects such as Rubi Silva, John Andreoli, and Matt Szczur who will all be at AAA next year.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Ghost Dawg... I'm with you on Lake *and* Bryant!!!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I hope I'm right on Lake too!

    As far as Bryant goes, because of his NCAA experience, his advanced approach at the plate, and his though the roof talent I think the FO will continue to fast track him if he continues to succeed. If he holds his own in the AFL, they will start him in AA next year. If he has success in AA then they could skip him over AAA -Iowa as they will have Andreoli, Szczur, Silva in the OF, and either Olt or Villanueva at 3rd.

    That's a lot of if's but I think he is on an advanced pace and Theo/Jed don't mind cruising him through if he has success.

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    I am surprised the love in this poll for Junior Lake. What plus skills does he bring to the OF? He doesn't have plus power, OBP skills, contact ability, or base stealing. He has a great arm, but is not polished CF yet.

    I think Lake should be on the roster, and possible platoon partner with Schierholz, but I think if he gets 500+ ABs next year, the results may not be pretty.......

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm a little surprised in that Lake doesn't fit the profile of what the Cubs normally like in the OF and he's definitely still a work in progress. I'd venture to guess that a lot of fans like Lake because he just seems to make things happen out there, he plays with energy, and he's exciting to watch. Maybe he can play some role out there for now as he continues to refine his skills.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lake is a similar player to the guy he replaced in the lineup (Sori) at the same age. In fact, Lake is now ahead of where Sori was as a 23 year old. I think it's a matter of Lake being in the right place (MLB ready) at the right time (the 2012 trade deadline). Lake has made the most of his opportunity and shown he deserves to get more opportunities to play regularly.

    He has great physical tools and has taken huge steps forward this year and each of the two previous ones. We probably shouldn't expect too much from him, but we also shouldn't be surprised if he turns out to be a good MLB CFer.

    IMO, Cub fans are a bit jaded in the wake of guys like Patterson and Pie. Lake is no better a prospect than the two of those guys, but their failures are not necessarily a reflection on Lake, either.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Just because people are voting for Lake doesn't mean they are voting for him to be a starter. He is going to make the roster next year, so not voting for him seems irrational.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    You're right that Lake is a bit of a tweener at this point, but all in all he's doing pretty well (posting an 800 OPS in CF at the MLB level) despite that. So, what's the problem, really?

    I would also argue that his base stealing skills are better than what he has shown thus far at the MLB level. In 2011, between A+, AA and the AFL, Lake went 58 for 64 as a basestealer over 144 total games. That suggests to me that he'll be a pretty good MLB basestealer, even if we haven't seen it yet.

    If you look at where Sori was at age 23, Lake is VERY similar and actually ahead of Sori, development-wise. Lake probably won't be the next Sori, but he has a chance to, and there's no reason not to let him play full time at this point. They can bring back Sweeney, too, as a plan B in case Lake flames out next year, but let the kid play!

  • I'd like to see them bring Nate, Junior, Sweeney, and Bogusevic back. We need another everyday RH OF'r. Stats will tell you we need an OBP guy more so than power when you look at our offensive production from this year. But w/o breaking it all down, that's somewhat narrow sighted because A). Sori & Hairston are gone, B). Can we really count on Navaro (assuming he is re-signed) for that kind of production again? C). We got lucky with wicked production from Valbuena/Ransom/Murphy at 3B.... not likely to happen again.

    So I'd like to see them bring those 4 back and sign a decent potential everyday OF'r ala Cruz or Corey Hart on a very short term "make good" contract. If our BP blows up, we flip him at the deadline. If we are hanging around .500 great! He's not blocking anybody before 2015 so we let him walk then. Might catch lightning in a bottle.

    I'd love to see Giancarlo as a Cub. But not if it costs Baez. I'd be willing to part with Soler, Szczur, and Villanueva/Olt though..... Lets face it, we HOPE Soler can become something close to Stanton, and he has similar injury worries. Szczur is not going to be more than a 4th OF'r, and we actually have some depth at 3B to deal from.

    I also think they should continue to search for value power & BP arms, since that was our undoing earlier this year and most difficult to predict year to year. I'd like to see them go all out after Tanaka. He may never reach Kershaw/King type status. But he s/b a decent option to having Shark's inconsistency as our Ace.

    So far as Junior, I think as his sample size grows, he's looking more like the "super utility" guy we thought he was. Still, he's earned the right to play himself out of "everyday player" status. If he comes back to earth, he's a great platoon/utility/speed weapon to have for the long term.

    Granted, it's a small sample size. But from what I've seen of Rubi Silva in the second half of this year, he could be more than a 4th/5th OF'r than I originally thought. For those that haven't seen him, think Junior Lake type speed, athleticism, & arm only more power and more polished in the OF. He probably needs a full year at AAA though, and he hits LH which he have 3 options there.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Good stuff Hoosier, I agree with a lot of what you say here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sometimes, I even impress myself ;)

  • I'm not interested in giving up Castro or Baez at this time so I'll pass or Giancarlo. I voted for the 1st four, but will let Bogusevic go if Choo can be had on a three year deal or w/club option for 4. I'll go with Ha as 5th outfielder. I prefer Szczur over Ha, but don't want to rush him.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think Ha can make a nice 5th OF'er because of his defense and his RH bat fits in with the current L-R construction of the OF. The only thing is you have to add him to the roster - but I agree with you that I'd rather see Szczur play in AAA next year.

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    Just curious what deals are the top fa option of going to get

    Els- rumored to be looking 7-149 as a starting point
    choo- 4 or 5 years maybe, probably around 15 aav
    granderson- 3 or 4 years maybe probably victorino like money, 13 aav
    cruz- depending on how he looks in the playoffs, 3-4 years possibly 13 aav.(i am guessing his contract is more than what melky got)
    Beltran- 2 or 3 years possibly 11 aav, maybe slightly less if he goes 3 years. If AL teams jump on him maybe more.

    I also think we see all these guys recieve qualifying offers.

  • In reply to marcf:

    All realistic concerns and they'll all be big factors. I don't think the Cubs want to sign a guy for that kind of money and those amount of years to be honest. And if it also involves losing a 2nd round pick, it will make them even more hesitant.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I doubt cruz gets the QO or that kind of money. If he gets a QO I would take it if i were him. Beltran might not get the QO considering how much the cards have in the OF and the fact that there is a decent chance he'd accept it too. Granderson is very interesting to me. Would finally give the cubs someone who can take a walk, even if it comes with all the strikeouts

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    In reply to Andrew:

    Melky got two years 8 mil aav. Cruz has always been a better respected player than him. If you are texas wouldnt you offer the qo? They need his bat in rf, so even if he accepts they might be overpaying by a few million. But way better option than jumping on the bidding for these other guys. If cruz turns down the offer then you get a pick. They paid berkman 11 million this year, i doubt they would complain too much about cruz at 14 million

  • In reply to Andrew:

    I think it's possible he does get the QO simply because the Rangers would like the pick and if he takes it, they could still use his bat for another year, especially with such few options available on the market this year. It's a risk, though, because I do think they prefer to let him go and move on.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Rangers generally prefer to restock through their farm system and currently I'm not sure they have many, if any, high minor league OF types that they are particularly high on. If I'm right, I can easily see them making a QO. In fact, reading some of the blogs concerning the Rangers, I wouldn't be surprised to see them try signing him to a 2/3 year deal if the $ are right.

  • Lake deserves the opportunity to nail down an everyday spot, how many times in the last 20 years have the Cubs had aguy get better at everylevel, have good tools , possess the ability to bring energy to the lineup, sell some jerseys ect, no to platooning Lake, let him prove everyone wrong and build value.

    Sweeney deserves a chance too, like that guy, Platoon Nate in RF .

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    If we do just hand the starting jobs to sweeney, lake, and nate and maybe bring back navarro then this team will be the exact same team that hasnt been able to win games since the asb. I have high hopes for baez and bryant but if we are expecting them to hit in the top five spots of the lineup anytime before 2016 or 2017 then it is going to be a long few years. Even if rizzo and castro progress like we all want them to i think we need to upgrade the offense at a minimum of two positions to be competitive. while sweeney lake and bogey are all nice players i dont think they can be the main guys in the outfield for playoff caliber teams. We are going to have to catch stl cin and pit and .500 ball wont get it done. Rizzo and castro are locked up long term and probably not going anywhere. Which leaves the easiest upgradable position this offseason being the outfield. While we may not love this fa class we may have to overspend slightly to uprgrade our lineup. Im not expecting two acquisitions to leap us into contention next year, but .500 should be obtainable. And look to infuse some of our prospects and another acquisition or two the following year.

  • In reply to marcf:

    my main point is to give Lake 2014 to establish himself as a everyday player and to turn into a real asset for the organization going forward. Seeney deserves 1 of the 5 spots, after that i am ok if they go FA route or whatever to improve the offense

  • In reply to marcf:

    I am confused. You admit that we have three strong teams in our division, so the climb will be tough. You also admit that adding some free agents might get us to .500 (though likely lose a draft pick and difficult to even say .500 when we have many games against three top teams).

    So if we don't have a likely chance to be a contender this year (or 2015) with the signings, wouldn't it make more sense to see if Lake can continue to develop, keep the draft pick and just add around the edges?

  • John .... with the Dodgers having a surplus in the OF does Crawford or Either make sense to trade for ? I'm not sure on their contracts ? The Dodgers might be looking to "salary dump" one of them.

    Or maybe a minor league trade with them to get Joe Pederson perhaps for 3B C. Villanueva ?

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Dodgers would have to eat a huge portion on either guys contract. Both are signed for too many dollars and too many years.

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    In reply to SouthsideB:

    I doubt the Dodgers are going to give Pederson for Villanueva. Pederson is a legit top 100 guy, whereas Villanueva just isn't there at the moment. The bat isn't quite good enough, yet. Olt would be a more likely trade piece if we wanted Pederson -- and even there, Pederson is on the rise whereas Olt is going the other way.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Plus, the Dodgers best prospect Seager is a SS, but he is going to move to 3B in all likelyhood.

    If they move Pederson, I would think it would have to be for pitching.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I think they'd consider moving Pederson in the right deal but they have shown so far that they are often willing to eat salary rather then give up prospects to get the veterans they need. It'd be a tough get for the Cubs.

  • Schierholz is a good player on a great team. His numbers and presence would mean more to a contender than an also-ran. I would check in with teams like KC, Tampa and NYY this off-season and see if we can get another prospect arm for him. Bogusevic would them be his temporary fill-in until a permanent replacement arrives. Lake needs to be used all over the field next season. Raw talent and versatility are his calling cards, so I don't see him as an everyday outfielder, but more as a hybrid player like the Cardinals produce. I like what Sweeney has done in CF as a guy who plays hard, gets good jumps and hits for some power. Ken Rosenthal wrote yesterday that the Rangers and Mariners will be all in on Ellsbury, so Choo will probably be the consolation prize for whoever doesn't get Ellsbury. I don't think Hart is an outfielder anymore. Milwaukee was going to keep him at first until his knee trouble. Granderson would bring energy to his hometown, but I think he fits better with the White Sox. Stanton and Yelich are the cornerstones for the Marlins and neither will be traded. From a leadership and impact standpoint, I wouldn't mind throwing two years and $20-24 million at Carlos Beltran if StL isn't going to re-sign him, because of his age. He would add some stability to the clubhouse and if he can stay healthy, he could be protection behind Rizzo in the four hole. The Dodgers have surplus of outfielders, so it will be interesting to see what they do. I don't think Ethier would be the answer, and he is likely the first one out the door, but if Matt Kemp is deemed expendable and his injury history brings his trade price down, that would be worthy of consideration.

  • Hmm, definitely don't want to trade what it would cost to get Stanton right now. No reason to rip the heart out of the minors untill we see what we have. Maybe in a couple years we dip our toes into that swimming pool. I hate the idea of losing draft picks, even 2nd rounders, but Choo may be worth the cost. Will Cruz get a QO? If not, I'm for I short term deal and flip if we're not in contention.

    Junior should definitely get a shot at regular playing time in left/center and always play against lefties. How much time he gets vs righties depends on who we pick up if anyone. Schierholtz keeps his platoon role. Silva, Szczur, Ha are next up later in the season.

  • Lake in left, Sweeney in center, Choo in right.

    Sweeney's WAR is that close to Schierholtz's in so fewer games because he is a better everyday player, in every way. And he is poised to break out. I'm tired of platoon guys. I want a hitter you can rely on in any situation.

    Lake may fail, but he's been playing like this since winter ball. Bogusevic backs him up.

    Choo is a must for this team, IMO. For a team with only about a fifty-run differential, the Cubs are poised to turn things around, and bigtime OBP at the top is the difference-maker to swing a lot of one-run losses to the win column.

  • Brett Jackson didn't make the poll or even get brought up in any comments. I wonder if the FO will expose him to the Rule 5 this off season. At the very least I think he could at least be a defensive replacement/pinch hitter type payer?

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    John will probably mention him in his OF write-up, but B-Jax is probably a DFA candidate this offseason. He's the poster child for why contact matters, because he has every other skill, including a good work ethic and attitude. It's a shame, but he's a bust......

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    Anyone notice that long-time Cubs fringe prospect/org-filler and Evergreen Park native Jim Adduci was called-up for the Rangers?

    I didn't notice, he had a great year at Round Rock, and nice to see him finally get some ML-time, even if it's likely to be fleeting.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I did notice and I was happy for him. I was hoping we would do the same for Ty Wright this year. I mean did we really need to see Cole Gillespie for so long, or give Darnell McDonald one more chance to be bad in the majors? They could have let Ty Wright have a week in the majors before they called up McDonald.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm glad to see him get his chance. He worked hard for it and he never complained even though the Cubs moved him up and down the org as needed. Great guy from what I hear so very happy for him.

  • I keep Lake and add two from any one of these guys: Hart, Choo, Ellsbury, Granderson. The two have to take two year deals, so that may not work -- although I'd give Curtis or Ellsbury on 3 year deals.

    Nate, Sweens and Bogie are all platoon players.

    Forget trading for Stanton. Just way too risky to give up Baez. I'd give em Soler and 2 second tier prospects, but not The Man!

  • Next year is another waiting year. Let's not kid ourselves. I don't want to see the Cubs waste $$$ on a free agent who is on or is approaching the other side of the hill, like Choo or Ellsbury. Play the program out. Wait for the internal prospects to surface at the MLB level. Matt Szczur and Jae-Hoon Ha are not MLB ballplayers. We're waiting for Almora, Soler, and maybe either Bryant or Baez. Don't rule out Hanneman yet although things have been kind of quiet so far in this corner.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I agree on Szczur and Ha. I had some hope for Ha coming into the year, but I just don't think he is ever going to hit enough. I do think Rubi Silva could factor in next year at some point. I'm hoping Sweeney/Lake and Silva can hold down the fort in CF until then.

    Bryant could make it before next year is over, but I'm still hoping for 3B. I'd be fine if they move him though. Soler, who knows.

    I'm not holding my breathe on Hanneman though.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    We'll see on Hanneman. Right now he seems like a similar ballplayer to Szczur, Andreoli, and a few of the Cubs extra outfielder type prospects, but the Cubs obviously saw something they really liked. He gets a lot of love, but realistically we haven't really had a chance to see what that is yet because of injuries, so I'm looking forward to seeing him next year at Kane County.

  • Changes will have to be made.

    The roster constructed as is (plus the likelihood of a further infusion of young talent) will only lead to an even worse season next year.

    Since the Cubs moved Soriano (the final veteran dealt), they have been like 12-27 since. Absolutely abysmal.

    Additions have to be made for this team to get better. I don't care if its one player or five players, but the team needs veterans who get the job done. We can't regress.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Been there, done that, and what did that do for us? Better to be patient and bring in the young players as they're ready than to bring in over-paid, declining veterans. If the Cubs were one player away from being a contender, that's different, but they are not. I'm looking forward to whomever the Cubbies bring in with that 4th draft pick and the 35th pick (?) after that. I really liked Soriano, because he was a classy ballplayer, but we don't need to clog up the works with another one like him. That change was made. Let's let it play out and see what happens.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Amen...glad I am not the only one thinking that there is absolutely no expected benefit from adding aging veterans for 2014, particularly not for long term deals that will be needed for won't make us a contender and will likely cost a draft pick while possibly block a youngster from getting a chance. I'd rather see Ha/Jackson platoon (and likely struggle, but get some experience) than spend $14 mm/yr for 4+ years on Choo.

  • John, let me join the party and throw out a new name: Coco Crisp. He's coming off a 2 yr, 14 mil deal. He'll be 34 this November, and may be available on a short term deal. I don't think the A's make a QO with Cespedes, Reddick, and Young there already. He's a switch hitter/lead off man hitting .257 w/ an OBP of 331, SLG at 436 and OPS of 767. 115 hits, 20 doubles, 3 triples, 18 hr and 54 rbi's from the lead off spot. 52 bb and 59 k's. Great clubhouse guy who can still handle cf.

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    Not a bad idea. Crisp always seemed to be overlooked. A's seem to always find those types of guys that make a nice impact...

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    Wasn't Crisp on the Cubs' radar when he was a free agent a couple years ago?

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    I've always liked Crisp and I think he's a nice fit as a guy who can rotate in and out in what will probably be a fluid OF situation for the Cubs.

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    In reply to AZBOB:

    oakland has 7.5 mil option with a 1 mil buyout. if they let young walk i think they would keep crisp

  • In reply to marcf:

    Oakland still has Michael Choice and Michael Taylor in their outfield picture, so I don't know if they pick up 7.5 mil for Coco. Choice and Taylor have been up and down for a few years now and haven't been able to stick.

  • I'm actually thinking Chris Young could be a nice reclamation project. He is RH. He can play CF. If he regains his stroke he can hit in the middle of the order. I can't imagine Oakland excercises his option. I think he would be available and would accept a short term make good deal.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Both he and Crisp are interesting possibilities. Even when he was hitting, Young was really a hacker though; not sure I like that.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agree on both counts. I'm just thinking as a RH with power that at the very least should be able to platoon with Schierholtz I think Young would fit. He'd be an upgrade over Hairston at worst. And if he bounces back he could be a 25-30 HR CF that Ks 200 times.

    LF Bogusevic/Lake platoon
    CF Sweeney
    RF Schierholtz/Young(or Crisp) platoon

    I could live with that next year. Crisp would basically give us the same flexibility asa switch hitter. We would have LH/RH matchups and 4 guys that can play CF.

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    Complicating this picture in the OF is that it's the only feasible place to spend FA dollars for a quick improvement on the field.

    While next year we don't figure to contend, again, it seems the FO is starting to feel pressure from the fans to improve. Most glaring area is offense, but buying a top FA at 3B or 2B is not wise given the advanced prospects we have at those positions.

    I think the FO feels they HAVE to buy a bat in the OF. Granderson, Choo, Ellsbury have been mentioned before, though they may go cheaper for Hart or someone simliar. I like Choo, but signing him would force Cubs to find another RH bat for the OF; with him, Schierholz, and Sweeney, that's alot of Left-handed ness

  • IMO, the Cubs drafting of Bryant makes trading for a guy like Stanton seem like less of a good idea. If they had ended up with drafting Appel or Gray, a Stanton trade would make some sense for the Cubs. Bryant is likely to be up before the end of 2014, and is likely to be a monster power hitter but with more team control and less of the injury control of Stanton. The Cubs also have guys like Olt, Vogelbach, Soler and Baez--which makes me think that, 2-3 years from now, power will not be much of a concern.

    The other issue with Stanton is that he will hit FA about one year after the Cubs start to get good. I don't think a Cubs trade of Baez for Stanton--even straight up--would be in our long term interests.

    I like the idea of a Choo signing, but he's likely looking to sign with whatever team will give him the most years, and that may not be the Cubs. I also think he'll get more than that Victorino contract: for one thing Choo has been better and more consistent offensively (with the exception of his one injury season); for another, there's fewer good OF options on the market this year than last year.

    An OF of Choo/Lake/Schierholtz with Sweeney as the 4th OF/backup plan for Lake looks pretty decent to me. Bogusevic is also a real nice guy to have around, but I'm a little skeptical about his long term value--although we probably need to cut him a little slack in regards to past struggles due to his late-in-career transition from pitcher.

    A guy like Hart on a one year contract seems intriguing, but what he brings to the table (low OBP RH hitter w/power) is not what the Cubs need. I also believe the Cubs have moved beyond the phase in which they're dealing veterans to stock pile the farm system, and instead are in a phase in which they need to try to establish young guys--so signing a veteran like Hart doesn't really do a whole lot for the club over the long haul. I'd rather have a guy like Choo, who fits what the team needs and can help for a number of years.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Enjoyed your thoughts here and I have to say that I share the same concerns as far as trading for Stanton -- and your point about Bryant lessening that need makes some sense. At the same time, Stanton is already a good MLB player and a potential superstar and he's just a little older than Bryant, so it'd be a way of bringing in a potential long term piece who is already a great player and probably will be as good or better than we hope Cubs prospects will become. There's a balance there and for what it's worth, I think the acquisition of a guy like Stanton is unlikely -- but it's a fun thought exercise. You and a lot of readers here came up with some great points.

  • I have a big problem drafting and developing players to use as trading chips. Especially so with a player of Baez's high ceiling. We already know the risk of injury with Stanton. With Choo, why do I want a player another team would let walk?

    If a rebuild requires patience, I'm all for being a little more patient. If the 4, 5, or 6 players we currently have such high hopes for begin to appear to be treading water, OK, then make a move.

    It may mean diminished returns, but could prevent a MAJOR mistake. We either have confidence in our vision, or we don't.

  • I have already excepted the fact we will struggle next season but think we should make a big improvement and splash in 2015. I do think we will get sample of some of the talent in the second half of 2014.

    I do not want to go after any older free agents. I also don't want to waste money on a guy for 2-4 years . I think 4 four outfielders we have now are the guy for next season. Lake, Bogo, Nate, and Sweeney will have to do. I would have loved to seen Sczur up to see what he can do. I do want to see Lake in line up most days. Brings things to this team hat we do not have. Hit homer and bunts for base hits. His raw speed is important.

    I do not want to hear us trading Castro, Baez, or Soler!!! We finally have some home grown talents and I want to see what we have with it and not become the Expos (meaning losing great talents for whatever reason).

    Once we figure out all this young talent, then I would look to the free agency or trade. That way we can wait and see what we need and make that move that will allow us to compete for NL Central.

    Cubs finally have young talent to be excited about, please wait and see what we truly need. When is the last time a Cub fan has been excited about a couple of prospects that are coming up?

  • People need to realize that even if all of our prospects become MLB players, they are probably 3-4 years away from being impact players. Look what Rizzo was doing in Iowa just last season and look at the struggles he's had now as a 23 year old MLB player. The Trout's and Harper's of the world are few and far between It usually takes guys a few years and until their mid-twenties before they start reaching their potential. I think its absurd that some people are so dead set against trading highly rated prospects for a stud like Stanton. Trading highly rated prospects is how the Cubs acquired players like Aramis Ramirez and Derrick Lee.

    Obviously you need to develop your own players, but if fans want to wait for these prospects to be good to great major league players, you're probably looking at a 4-5 additional years. I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to find many teams that succeed with 5-6 every day players that are 25 years of age or younger.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I'm all for building with prospects but I hear what you're saying. I don't think they should necessarily wait for all these guys to come up. I'd like to see them improve the team and get a mix of players since it's likely they won't all pan out. At the same time, I don't want to bring in players if it costs the team long term in any way.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    2003 Florida Marlins

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Juan Pierre was the only player 25 or younger (and he was 25) who started more than 90 games. Cabrera was 20 but only played in 87 games.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    The only really young guys on that team were Beckett and Cabrera and I think both of those guys fall into the exception rather than rule territory with guys like Trout and Harper. Derek Lee was a young guy that was starting to put it all together but he had already struggled for a couple of years. Pierre had been around, same with the 2B whose name is escaping me. And Rodriguez was obviously a veteran that was anchoring the lineup.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Beckett, Penny, Willis, Cabrera, Pierre, A. Gonzalez = 25 or under

    Encarnacion, Burnett, Lee, Castllo = 26/27

    But yeah I admit, that was a bad example.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    When we traded for Ramirez, we also had Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano in our rotation, had Sosa and Alou as lineup anchors and were a contending team. Also Ramirez and Lee were both young and we got Lee pursuant to a legitimate ripoff.

    Trading for Stanton wouldn't make us a contender (see how the Marlins are doing, for example) and would possibly make our rebuild even longer. Unless you think Jeff S, Travis Wood and E Jax are Wood Prior Zambrano (and I would argue that in terms of projection, none of the current three are anywhere close to Wood or Prior and likely not Zambrano either) and Rizzo/Lake/Castro/Castillo can make up the Sosa/Alou anchors, your comparison is really apples to oranges.

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    I think the Cubs have a pretty good situation in the outfield. I would love to Add Choo. Maybe a 3 year deal. I do like Sweeny Bogusevic, Lake, & Schierholz. I Think those players, and Choo have the makings of an excellent 5 player outfield. I would probably add Matt Szczur if Choo couldn't be had. He is excellent defensively, and even though he has almost no power he gets on base, and steals bases. Not sure if they will have more run producers from this group next year, but it would be one of the better defensive, & athletic outfields in the league. Should be a definite improvement over what they started the season with if this outfield can stay healthy and play an entire season together. It should be adequate till the kids start coming up to stay.

  • Maybe the Cubs should just go all in for Tanaka and be patient every where else. The fans that stay away one more year will be back down the road.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    If I had to pick one guy to go after, it's Tanaka. Best fit for them in terms of what they are looking for long term. He's young, he's a potential TOR starter, and he won't cost them anything except for money, not even a draft pick.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    ...and the Dodgers may not actually be in on him, giving us a chance. They just spent another $32mil on that Cuban SS, they have to run out of money sometime.....right?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Ha! You would think they'd run out of money but they don't seem to be concerned. $42M for Puig when there was so little info at the time, another $32M for this guy, whom some think is a utility infielder. They basically print money.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is this going to tick off Hanley?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I guess they might be looking at him as a 2B.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm in with this plan.

    Plus there's always a possibility of adding a low-cost rent-an-outfielder who's a righty with the bat if there isn't a fill-in at AAA.

  • I like the idea of a Hart or Cruz playing left, with Sweeney in center, and Shierholtz in right, but with Lake playing a lot. He can platoon with Shierholtz everytime a lefty is pitching, but also relieve Sweeney and Hart/Cruz 2-3 times a week. Give one of the young guys the fifth outfield spot in Szczur or Ha.

  • In reply to NathanE:

    I wouldn't want any part of Cruz hanging around my young players.

  • In terms of the guys in the OF next year, I think that you have to start with Lake, Sweeney, and Schierholz. They show the most promise for next year. I think that you are putting off the future to sign either Choo or Ellsbury. Choo is on the old side for a three year contract and Ellsbury is not a safe bet injury wise. The only trade I would consider is for Perez, on a one year contract with bonuses and possible renewals. He will have a lot to prove next year and he potentially brings a big right handed bat.

    It is too early to trade any of the kids. I think that Baez should start in AAA next year and Bryant in AA. There should be the possibility to bring either or both up at midseason if they are doing well. In this case, then it makes sense to bring Bogusevic back as a solid player and try to sign Perez.

    Bryant could play 3B or corner OF, and neither has to be permanent. Baez could play at 3B or SS, with Castro at SS or 2B - again not necessarily permanent beyond next year.

    With all of the uncertainties of the games, you can not plan too far ahead. The real decisions on trades start after next season. I would rather see how our young guys do before trading them. Then in 2015 you have the possibility of seeing Solar, Alcontrera (sp?) Almora getting a taste of the bigs.

    The time to fill in is when two or three of these kids make it and you still have one or two slots to fill.

  • I'll play devil's advocate with regard to Stanton. He's flipping 23; we're not talking about a mid-30's Andre Dawson, health-wise. Secondly, he's an ESTABILISHED star and has already proved his mettle @ the major-league level, unlike Baez or Soler. Thirdly, I can understand the aversion to dealing for Price, given that -due to injury - you could be left with nothing at any point in the next couple/few yrs. What is the likelihood that a Stanton deal would completely blow you up? In theses types of deals-almost regardless of sport- the team that ends up with the established star wins the trade. If we didnt have serious high floor guys like Bryant, Soler, and
    Almora behind him, I could see the extreme fear in moving Baez. Guys like Stanton are rarely made available and when they are..... Worse case scenario, you lose marginally. Another scenario is that Baez never slows down his game enough and we're left with a perennial All-Star & HR crown contender.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Exactly, Stanton is who we hope all of our prospects can become at the plate. As I said, his injury history is a little concerning but if a deal could be made, he's the kind of player you go get. And who knows, maybe in 3 years there is a DH in the national league and he goes there.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think the concern with Stanton is he is just 23 and is already having what appear to be chronic knee issues. He is also a very large man so there is the concern it will never go away. If it keeps causing him to miss time and go on the DL every year it forces your team into a tough corner sometimes even if his production is good when healthy.

    And I think you are off base in thinking Baez's floor isn't just as high as the other 3. Because it is and on top of that his ceiling is higher. He is not the guy you trade from that group. I'm all for acquiring Stanton, I just wouldn't include Baez, I don't think the Cubs have any intention of dealing Almora because they seem to love his makeup. So that leaves Bryant and Soler. Bryant can't be traded until 1 year after he was drafted. That leaves Soler as the only option in my book. I would do Jorge Soler, Pierce Johnson and another good piece for Stanton in a heartbeat.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Mjvz, your points are well-taken. The injuries are a definite concern; I'd assume we'd do thorough due diligence there. With respect to Baez's floor, I'd argue it isn't as high as Bryant's ,for sure ,and probably not Almora's. That K rate is alarming & there is a bit of a "book "developing on him. As far as cost, I think you'd be looking at Baez, Alcantara , and P Johnson type package.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    How can you call Baez's k rate alarming and then laud Bryant who has a k rate at high A that surpases Baez's rate at AA.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Baez has great instincts. Yes, he gets over anxious at times and that get him into trouble, but there are zero holes in his game. He can hit a fastball, he can hit a breaking ball. He has good pitch recognition. He is an excellent baserunner. He can play anywhere on the field.

    I know people worry about the Ks and the errors. But for guys like Baez it is more of a process of him determining what his own limits are. He thinks he can do everything and so that is what he tries to do at first, then once he determines what doesn't work, he begins to weed that aspect out from his game and his performance improves.

    I'm sorry but I couldn't disagree with you more. His floor is about as high as it gets. I won't guarantee he becomes everything we hope he can be, but he is about as certain to make an impact in major league baseball as there is. At worst he is a low OBP/high SLG middle infielder that plays average defense. At best he is an MVP candidate. There are 30 teams in baseball that would take that in a heartbeat.

  • i am very against taking on any player that will potentially block any of our top prospects when it comes time to contend. im my mind almora is the cubs future in center with some comibination of soler, bryant, olt or lake filling out the corner spots.

    for this reason i am pretty high on corey hart (on a one year deal) and potentially curtis granderson (on a 1-2 year deal) this offseason. i would also like the cubs to bring back dejesus.

    to me, the outfield of choice (barring a stanton trade or something similar) looks like this:
    Lf- Hart
    Cf- Lake
    Rf- Schierholtz
    Bench- Sweeney and Dejesus.

  • One other trade candidate would be Andre Ethier. Probably wouldn't cost much in terms of prospects. And they could probably get the Dodgers to eat some of the salary. If the Cubs are taking on something like 4/52, while giving up a middling package, I'd be pretty happy with that.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I"m thinking the Dodgers would love to get rid of Ethier. Cubs should try to get that as cheap as possible.

  • Man, this is a fun one!

    I voted for Lake, Sweeney, Schierholtz, & Bogusevic. Lake's clearly not going anywhere, nor should he. Sweeney for me is the pearl of this group. I agree with Dale that if he were to get 500 AB's he would most likely have a really nice season. I can certainly see a .290/18/65 out of him with that many AB's. He'd be a nice choice to hit second in the order in my opinion. I was hoping Nate would flirt with .300 as in BA not OBP. I like Nate but he clearly needs the platoon partner. Bogusevic is a terrific 4th OF/two week fill in and he should get a spot on the 25 man to start the year. Every guy in the poll will probably get hurt for at least two weeks in 2014.

    Pass on Stanton. If they decide Javy is a trade chip he needs to net a number one starter. I love the idea of Bryant in the OF and Javy at third. Hang onto the cheap premium D at 2b for one more year and hope Javy's ready for third by June 1st. Javy can always move over to second from third. Ryno did. I agree with you, John about Bryant having a chance by next summer.

    I see the Cubs being near the back of the line as a free agent destination for the top FA outfielders. It would take a significant overpay to land Choo, Ellsbury (although his recent injury helps in that regard), Beltran, Cruz, and given the presence of Almora, Bryant, Soler, & Lake, I'm not for that. The overpay should be for Tanaka. Grandy man on a 1 year deal with an option suits me.

    I'll throw out a few more names. As a RH platoon guy with Nate how about Justin Ruggiano? He could be had cheaply. Plays a nice CF so he'd be good elsewhere. Has some pop. FREE in baseball salary terms. I like him as a good stopgap guy who might hit 15 bombs. He had a .909 OPS in 320 PA in 2012 and has 16 bombs this year. Combined with Schierholtz that looks pretty good.

    I'm going to throw three more names out there. Matt Kemp. Andre Ethier. Carl Crawford. With the presence of Yasiel Puig, Hanley needing to get re-signed, and 200 million plus in the tank for Kershaw there's going to be some noise on the trade front before next season starts. Biggest story of the winter meetings perhaps?? If you have 6+ years of big league time, gold gloves, silver sluggers, and multiple all star games like all three of those guys do, and make 15+ million, you're not a 4th outfielder. What are they going to do? Bench Puig? My guess is Crawford gets traded and they eat a good chunk.

    I'm not necessarily advocating a trade for any of those three guys but it will be fun to watch. If nothing else it is going to affect the way the dominoes fall and maybe the Cubs end up with Ellsbury or Choo much cheaper than anticipated.

    Minor league sleepers for PT in the OF before the end of 2014: Matt Szczur, John Andreoli, Mike Olt

    Sleeper FA: David DeJesus 1yr 3.75MM with 4.25MM club option for 2015.

    Sorry this is so long but one final thought on Javy for Stanton. Javy is the kind of talent that you could put him anywhere and he will have a productive career. I'd rather them just put Javy in RF. Zero chance he embarrasses anyone and great chance he turns into a really good right fielder in relatively short order. That's why I think third is a really good spot for him. The Manny Machado experiment has really boosted my confidence that a 20 year old can play third at that level. Talent wise, he's right there on par with Machado!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Manny Machado is so valuable because of his defense. His wRC+ is only 108, for comparison Castro gave you a 109 in 2011. Machado and Baez are nothing alike

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Nothing alike? Yes they are. They're both top 10 draft picks as SS's who'd likely move but could probably stay for a few years. Great bat. Strong arm. Good hands. I'm not going to compare Javy's metrics to anyone because he has no big league time. He has the skillset to be a good third baseman. In terms of both of those guys being premium talent, they are right on par with each other. Machado is so valuable because he's 21, playing great defense, and posting a strong offensive campaign. Not simply because of his defense. The comparison is a highly touted minor league SS being able to handle playing third every day in the major leagues. If Manny Machado can do it, there's no reason Baez can't do it. Good feet at Short are great feet at third. A strong arm plays anywhere. Nothing alike?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Machado is a slightly above average offensive player, again his high WAR number is almost solely because of his defense. .293/.323/.447 thats not great from a third baseman. 10th in OPS among third basemen.

    Baez is a slugger that has been a butcher in the field for most of his minor league career. He's starting to reign that in somewhat but he's still nowhere near Machado who Fangraphs evaluated as the best defensive third baseman in baseball, by a wide margin

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Baez would be a better third baseman than he is a shortstop. Machado's a defensive standout at third because he has the tools to be an above average shortstop. The tools. The premium talent. I respect the metrics that you sighted regarding Machado and I did my research on that too. I know he's middle of the pack offensively but he has had a fine offensive campaign as a 21 year old. He's not all glove. He is mainly glove, I'll give you that. Right now. Give Baez 1727 innings at third base and then we can compare the metrics of the two defensively. He doesn't need to be the #1 guy like Machado but he certainly has the tools to be in the top 10. I don't think anyone would have predicted that Manny Machado would be the absolute best third baseman of 2103 a year and a half ago. They would've said he has the tools to be really good there.

    I like Baez's bat over Machado's but I think you're short changing Machado a little bit. I'm sure you know he leads the league in doubles and has 177 hits in 142 games. I respect the numbers that you sighted. Those stats play with me. Bottom line, Machado's not "all glove" and Baez probably isn't going to be "all bat". They're both premium, young, athletic, right handed, infielders from the class of '92 (along with Bogearts). Easy comp for me.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Haha ;) Glad you liked it. I think it's getting really hard not to start looking toward 2014 the way things are going right now.

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    I'm not for trading any of our top prospects right now. We're simply not close enough for that yet, and besides, trading Baez has the potential to haunt this franchise forever. I'm perfectly fine with free agents on short term deals.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If I had to guess I'd say that aside from Tanaka, that's the plan.

  • John, how much more do you think it would take to get Stanton or Price in a package that includes Castro?

    As far as the OF, I'm all in on Curtis Granderson. He's hit 40 Hrs each of the last two seasons and plays a average CF and projects to above average Corner OF. He's got a career 10% walk rate and can still steal some bases. He seems like a younger, faster, more disciplined and lefty version of Soriano that would slot in wonderfully in the middle of a bunch of righties (sans Rizzo) for the next 3-4 years.

  • In reply to Rudy:

    I think it would take another top prospect with Castro. Perhaps Jorge Soler. The problem is Castro is going to make bigger money down the road and the Marlins don't seem to want to pay anyone long term. I think a deal with Castro is unlikely.

  • I feel like Ha and Szczur still need another year or so in the minors, though for the 5th outfielder job, I wouldn't mind seeing the two of them in a competition with a couple of veteran guys, and maybe the likes of Thomas Neal, assuming they're all still around.

  • I dont like the idea of trading prospects for Stanton. until we are a team that shows that can win to even be in the playoff picture. giving up any of our talent is a mistake imo. cheap free agents to fill spots here and there is fine till the young guys prove themselves is what I would like to see.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    People know Stanton is only 23 right? He's like 2 years older than Soler and Bryant and younger than Anthony Rizzo. Its not like you are trading prospects for a 27 year old player thats in the middle of his prime.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    he is also alot closer to arbitration. his cost will rise alot quicker, and him hitting .230 isnt gonna make us that much better to the point to even justify making that move.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Yes he's arb eligible after next season, but he isn't going to cost $14 mil a season. He's not a free agent until 2017. And, this is Chicago and the payroll is about $65 mil, you can afford to have a highly paid player if he's worth it.

    Also, Stanton has never hit .230 in his career and since when is batting average the end all, be all, of hitting statistics? He has a .365 OBP which would be by far the best on the Cubs as would his 129 OPS+ and .838 OPS. Even in the worst season of his career, he'd be easily the best hitter on the Cubs.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Stanton's cost is going to skyrocket the moment after he gets traded. Any team that trades for him is going to do everything in its power to lock him up long-term on a huge deal. Nobody's going to empty the cupboard for a 23 year old stud only to see him hit free agency at age 26. In this particular case I don't see cost control as a huge issue. If it is it will be between keeping the cost at 'high' versus letting it get to 'enormous'.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    If you were talking just Soler and backup prospects for Stanton, the point is different. You are talking about multiple prospects, likely Baez and a top pitching prospect for someone who (1) may have chronic knee issues developing at the age of 23 and (2) sure as hell didn't make the Marlins a contender by himself.

  • Ah, Choo.

  • I really like Choo's skill set ,but i think Granderson could be had on a 1 or 2 year and put up similar #'s. (not sure where the 3 year deal is coming from...guys coming off broken wrist injuries don't get 3 years.)

    I don't expect Choo to have such a stellar OBP next year he will probably fall back to the .370-.380 range. I think if Granderson is healthy he will put a decent obp, .340-.350, with a little more power than Choo. He also has good speed and would be a plus defender in the corners like Choo.

    Granderson's deal should give Soler enough time to develop.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    totally agree

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    In reply to Mitchener:

    I really think the outfield free agency contracts will b e heavily influenced by qualifying offers. Cashman could cripple granderson's value by making the offer. I understand it would be considered overpaying, but we are only talking a few million(he is probably worth 10 mil on the open market at least). With the arod suspension they could probably afford it. I could really see the rangers do it with cruz as well(easier to overpay by a couple mil for one year than jump in on the bidding for the rest of the fa field). If they dont get the offers then i think the bidding will get driven up on both these guys.

  • I think a 1 or 1+1 is the only way to go. No trading of promising
    prospects for mid-aged players with health issues

  • Granderson would be the best value. If he doesnt accept QO from Yanks, you could probably do 2/25. I'm sure he'd love to come back to Chicago. The OBP is always decent and we all know how LH power plays at Wrigley. Also, he'd be a great influence on the young players , which is something that they should consider when signing a vet to that slot. Sori clearly filled that role, while he was here. I just worry that he might well end up back in NY.

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    If 4/5th of the OF consists of guys like Bogusevic, Schierholtz, Sweeney and Lake the Cubs will not field a team worth watching. There is no protection there for Rizzo, and if you add Kris Bryant to the mix it will stunt his growth. Free agents like Choo and Beltran, etc. aren't going to want to come here with that hot mess of OFs. Boras will price Ellsbury out of the Cubs market.

    Frankly, the Cubs are going to have to be creative in acquiring more skilled players into the lineup while they wait for their Big Four. They could probably get Chris Carter cheaply from Houston because he strikes out once every 4 PAs, this winter. I imagine Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo will be available. Hunter Pence will be available, right? I think he would bring the Cubs a draft pick if they trade for him before opening day and he walks after 2014. Maybe Colby Rasmus. Joc Pederson is an intriguing name who is rumored to be available because the Dodgers have too many immovable contracts - Scott Van Slyke would be worth looking into too.

    I could see the Cubs actually trading Schierholtz for pitching. My fear is that the ChiCubs five OFs next year will consist of guys like Lake, Bogusevic, Josh Willingham and the two Justins -- Maxwell and Ruggiano. Who knows, they may bring back David DeJesus. I guess I'd like to see Hunter Pence and Joc Pedereson on the Cubs if I had my choice so I vote other.

  • Barring any FA pickups, the number of options we're looking at for next year speaks volumes compared to the current season's beginnings - the waves are beginning in earnest next year!

    I was aghast that we were looking at no positional battles in SP this year. Coming off a 100 loss season there should have been at least 6 or 7 positions up for grabs, but the cupboard was pretty bare last year at this time.

  • Saw that the Cubs blew their 26th save this weekend. Not sure how many of those blown saves they actually converted to a win - but the mlb average save % is 69%. Lowering it to 65% to be conservative - if the Cubs converted 65% of their save opportunities it would have resulted in ~17 more wins. Or a few games out of the WC hunt. How many games would Garza / Sori / Feldman given us since their respective trades? Conservatively, lets say 3. That would put us just outside of the WC hunt.

    Yes, I understand that the Cubs didn't lose all the games in which they blew a game -but that number really, really surprised me.

  • With regard to LA glut of OFers, although Ethier & Crawford are somewhat interesting-Crawford more so- I don't think LA would eat enough $ to make it appealing. Ethier @ 4/52? No thanks. I'd much rather grab Grandy, Cruz,Hart on a 1-2 yr deal as a bridge to the kids.

  • Stanton put up 5.6 fWAR last season at age 22. If the Marlins will trade him for a package built around Baez, do it. There are injury concerns there, but Stanton has stupid power and he's already done it at the big league level. Even in his "off" season, he's posted a 133 wRC+. Take that and never look back.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    You'll be looking back when Baez puts up a 150 wRC+ at 22 for the Marlins. As a SS.

    While we are getting that from a RF and paying him 10x as much. And have him on the DL once or twice a year because of his knee.

  • I think people are missing the broader point. We have assets-4 top ~30 prospects. Why not de-risk A BIT and parlay one of those guys + a couple of other pieces into an established, franchise-type player. That still leaves with you 3 top-tier everyday player prospects to go along with Castillo, Rizzo, and Welly. From a financial perspective, you probably buy out the remaining 2-3 yrs arb and first couple yrs of free agency. I think that speeds up competitive timeline. I'm just not seeing a ton of downside here. Stanton is a beast & you wouldn't have to empty the cupboard to get him, considering the depth of our system.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    Because the established, franchise-type player is dealing with serious knee problems that could short-circuit his career. He's a better bet than Baez, but certainly not a 100% lock.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Moody, of course we'd have to ascertain the condition of his knees, before considering something like that. Can we all agree that trading an everyday prospect of Baez's caliber for any SP doesn't make a ton of sense? Too much risk in that.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    I'm not saying ascertain it, I'm saying what we know is risky. Even if they decide the risk is one to take, it's risky. There is NO chance the doctor says: his knees are just fine. Nothing at all to worry about. Because it isn't true.

    I'm not even sure how an SP came into this conversation. Didn't you want to trade Baez for Stanton?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sure , there is injury risk with Stanton. However, there is greater performance risk with Baez.

    My point about a pitcher is that it's not a risk worth taking for one of the Big 4, due to the huge inherent injury risk(s) with pitchers.

    I'm not dying to move Baez but ,if Stanton's on the table , you'd have to listen. Bird in the hand....

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    The best alternative to add offense is through trade and/or promotion.

    I think Baez will break camp with the team from spring training. This could mean in an outfield spot or infield.

    The good thing about Sweeney and Lake is that they're able to play any outfield spot. That said, I see us getting a real centerfielder.

    I'd say a good target would be Michael Bourn. He underperformed this year and the Indians will look to tweak what they have. He'll be cheaper than Choo or Ellsbury. Another option is Either but he can't really play center.

  • I just feel like there is nobody out there that wil make us a contender next season. I would rather wait and see who doesn't pan out and/or what are weakness is and make a move based on that. All these dejesus, Nate, and Byrd (even tho he is have a great year) are not doing anything to get better.

  • Here is some outside the box thinking. Two names NEVER mentioned. Jose Bautista for RF and Josh Hamilton for CF. The Angels are tied up financially and need to make a move. Toronto needs to free up money and get a little younger. Hamilton, for a reasonable package at 50 cents on the dollar would help the Angels. Would cost us Solar and Vogelbauch. Interested in comments.

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    In reply to cubs25:

    In Hamilton you're bringing a guy having one of the worst seasons of his career, after a season where there were smart people saying to everyone who would listen that his numbers were deceptive. Even at 50 cents on the dollar he may not earn the contract. What makes it worse is that you're bringing a guy who is known to have a drug and alcohol problem right into Wrigleyville, with games ending just as the parties start. Hamilton on the Cubs is a bad idea.

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    In reply to cubs25:

    I'd rather save money and continue to collect prospects.
    The last thing I'd want to do now is give up 2 good prospects for an injury prone veteran who would only help us in a small window of possible irrelevance.
    I hang onto both Soler and Vogelbach.
    Especially if there's doubt about Rizzo.

  • In reply to cubs25:

    Hamilton needs adult supervision 24/7'

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    Ryan Sweeney.
    I'm not convinced the Cubs will be much better than this year. Choo would make us a lot better. I'll agree with that. But not even close to contenders.
    I'd rather go all in on Tanaka. We're a major market rebuilding in need of young arms. That's where the money should be allocated.

    Lake/Sweeney/Shierholtz in the oufield.
    We're not contenders in 2014. We should still be collecting assets for our AA/AAA team. Sweeney and Shierholtz could be dealt. And we'll monitor the progress of Szczur, Bryant or Olt if he doesn't break camp at third. We'll have in-house options that need a shot.
    By the end of the season, we should see Baez. Maybe Alcantara and Bryant.
    Bringing in an outfielder limits flexibility. Can we get Choo for 2 years? Yeah, I do that. But it'll cost more and sacrifice getting these kids valuable playing time.
    Hell, Soler could start in AA and rake...I'd rather be realistic with our chances before 2015-2016.

  • Daytona is the 2014 FSL Champion!

    Combined one-hitter from CJ Edwards and Ryan Searle.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That pitching staff was absolutely insane.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They dominated the playoffs and pretty much the last month of the season

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Tennessee announcer mentioned that hey have won 16 of their last 18 games. Break up the Daytona Cubs!

  • I like the idea of going full blast for Tanaka and sitting tight with what we have in the OF for 2014. Lake, Bogus, Sweeney, Scheirholz, and Ha. Szczur needs more time in AAA. If by chance B. Jackson has a good ST I wouldn't mind him either but I don't think there is much chance this happens.

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    Just driving home from the DCubs game where they took home the trophy and I sat two rows in front of Theo Epstein and talked baseball the whole game! Couldn't believe how amiable and candid he was!
    Me: "Any chance we see Javy in Wrigley next year?"
    Theo: "We'll see, he's got a lot of work to do in AAA."
    Me: "So he's done in Tennessee, then?"
    Theo: "Haha, again we'll see, but that's the plan, good fall, then have him break camp with Iowa."
    Me: "Are we going to Almora here next year?"
    Theo: "That's the plan, hopefully he tears it up and he's on his way!"
    Me: "Did we just see Bryant's last AB as a DCub?"
    Theo: (smiles and nods)

    Nothing that unexpected but straight from the horses mouth!
    #1 baseball experience I've had; shaking Theo's hand congratulating him on his first Cubs championship!

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    That's freaking amazing.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    You could also see Theo's eyes light up when we talked about Edwards, he's really excited about that kid (I can see why, his stuff is absolutely filthy in person!)

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Nice work, thanks Matt.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Very awesome, Matt. You da man.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Are you kidding me? Maybe I should be embarrassed to say this, but I've literally had a dream thats pretty close to that. That's just awesome.

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    In reply to KSCubsFan:

    It was! I thought I'd ask one question, and he'd chuckle and give me some ambiguous answer, but he just really likes talking baseball. Between every inning we just chatted, I didn't even feel like I was bothering him!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:


  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    It's great to see the fruits of their labor and be willing to discuss the franchise plans so openly with you Matt.

    I'm all in for the current outfield of Junior, Bogs, Sweeney, & Nate next year, but what about up grading two other spots that haven't been talked about. We need an everyday 3rd basemen & as much as I love Barney's defense?? he should become our utility SS & 2nd.

    As for free agents--go all in on Tanaka & what about FA--Michael Young??? Can play 2nd, 3rd, DH, & maybe a little outfield??

  • DAVID MURPHY!!!!! I've mentioned him a couple times here, but he's a solid all-around player who is coming off a very unlucky year in terms of BABIP. His peripherals are close to unchanged from his great 2012.

  • I think start the season with an OF of Sweeney in CF, Schierholtz/Lake in RF, and Bogusevic in LF.

    Let Lake roam around a bit in the field position-wise most days, and pair up with Schierholtz in RF until he proves he can't hit in a platoon to complement Schierholtz's weakness.

    Assuming that one of the two does well out of Spring Training - Give Ha or Szczur a flier as the 4/5th OF.

    IF you are going to make a play for a FA,.... go for an incentive-laden contract for Granderson. He's got a couple gallons left in the tank and although he appears to be of that age where he is an regular injury risk - he still gives you a sound LF defensively and has some pop. If you bring on Granderson - keep Bogusevic on the roster as the 4th/5th OF.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    To bring on Granderson, I agree, it must be incentive-laden contract, say something like a two-year deal that can max out at $25M. If he performs, he can be a good veteran presence, but also could be affordable trade bait next July if Olt, Bryant, or others are ready to go major league on us. But I do not advocate signing any OF for more than two years. Spend the $$$ on Tanaka. Sign Travis Wood to a 3-4 year deal at an avg of $10-11M. Test the trade market for value on Shark, and move him if we can get some really strong return. I would not be in favor of trading Baez. And, by the way, keep an eye out for Sveum's replacement ;)

  • Professor (who is not a professor) Jason Parks has lost all credibility when he thinks the reason the Cubs will trade Baez is because they traded for Mike Olt. He has a thing against Baez, which is fine, but it means he is NOT taking an unbiased view of him.

  • I am not so sure about Bryant at 1B unless, Baez moves to 3B and that opens the door for Alcantara at 2B, being a switch-hitter. Why? Because Rizzo is LH, and most of the Cubs top prospects are RH. Almora, Soler, Baez, Bryant, Szczur all RH. Rubi Silva is LH.
    So what would the lineup look like with these guys?
    Castro RH
    Almora RH
    Baez RH
    Bryant RH
    Soler RH
    Lake RH

    w Rizzo LH
    w Alcantara SH
    w Brett Jackson LH
    w Jeimer Candelario SH
    w Szczur RH
    w Olt RH

    Where is the left handed bat going to come from? I think at some time Olt and Volgelback are going to be trade bait, and I think for a left handed OF, or 1B.

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    If the Front Office gets the chance to get Stanton for Baez and no other significant prospects, I think its a no brainer. If for no other reason than putting people in the seats. It allows Rizzo and Castro to grow without being the "Star". It allows almora, soler, Bryant to come up with no pressure..

  • In reply to Cublando:

    I disagree. Cub fans have been waiting and looking forward to a home grown talent. We have plenty of outfield talent developing in the minors. What we don't have and must teams don't have either is a power hitting shortstop in the system. Baez in my eyes is to valuable for that trade.

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    I think the Cubs try to pry Ethier away from LA. I think if they paid 33%-50% of his salary, the Cubs would fork up a solid hitting prospect or two...maybe Dunston and ?

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    At this point, the Cubs having gone through perhaps the most painful part of the rebuild, I'd hate to see them give top prospects up. I know Stanton is 23, but he's an OF vs. Baez who is 22 and has crazy talent as a SS/IF. In the offseason, the only place I see the Cubs upgrading is in the OF, but if they do, I would guess it be someone with pop in the bat. I think they'll see how Olt responds and that will go a long ways to answering the question of who moves between Baez and Castro. If Baez gets better defensively and Olt regains form, I think Castro gets moved, either out or to 2B. If Olt doesn't regain form, Baez goes to 3rd. I think Bryant is ticketed for the OF.

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