Cubs News and Notes: Baez leads Cubs prospect rankings, underrated defense, Tanaka, and more

To keep our minds off a heartbreaking Bears loss, here are some news and notes to cap off the weekend…

  • According to Professor Parks, the Cubs could have 7 prospects in the top 101 and 3 in the top 25.   Leading the way is Javier Baez, whom Parks says is one of 5 shortstops ranked in the top 7 and one of the top 5 prospects overall.  Baez is still considered somewhat of a high risk prospect because of the high strikeout rate and low walk rate, but those of us who follow the minors closely have seen a steady improvement with Baez’s pitch selection.  The ceiling on Baez is ridiculously high, particularly if he stays at SS.
  • As to the other prospects, it’s safe to say Kris Bryant and Albert Almora will be the other two prospects in that top 25.  They are also the two Cubs prospects with the highest floors and not coincidentally, the first two top picks selected by the new front office.   As for the other 4 prospects, Jorge Soler is certainly next on the list while Parks has hinted in the past that C.J. Edwards and Arismendy Alcantara would be toward the back end of the list.  He has also told us here that Pierce Johnson has a shot at the top 101 and may have him ranked higher than Edwards on his personal list.  The other candidate for that 7th spot would be Dan Vogelbach.
  • Ben Badler says there will be 5 Cubs in his top 50.  We know he’s higher on Edwards than most so this one is a bit easier to forecast.  That list should be Baez, Bryant, Edwards, Almora, and Soler.  Badler also calls the Cubs system one of the strongest in baseball and thinks Baez has a chance to be a .350 OBP guy because of improving plate discipline, but power will be his calling card.
  • Buster Olney has been ranking teams in various categories.  I haven’t paid attention mostly because I figured they wouldn’t include the Cubs on most lists.  One top 10 they should have cracked, however, is in the defense category but not surprisingly they got overlooked.  The list concentrated on better teams and highlighted the discussion with marketable players.   The Cubs lack the star power for that kind of list but defensive metrics suggest the Cubs deserved consideration.  They ranked 5th in all of baseball in UZR (and 2nd in the last two years combined), 4th in range runs above average, and 9th in average defensive runs saved.  Highly rated defensive players like Luis Valbuena, Darwin Barney, and Welington Castillo aren’t exactly marquee names, so the Cubs missed the list here.   It’ll probably remain an under the radar strength of the Cubs until the team wins and their more nationally known players have better seasons.
  • In the ‘Zona, a Diamondbacks blog, rates the Cubs as heavy favorites to sign Masahiro Tanaka, giving them a 55% chance.  The Yankees are next closest at 25%.  The Cubs have been a darkhorse nationally on Tanaka so it’s nice to see someone besides us giving the Cubs a good shot at signing the former Ratuken ace.
  • Speaking of Tanaka, a report from Japanese site writes that Tanaka is looking for a 5 year deal in the $100 range.  I don’t want to speculate too much on this article because Google Translate has a… well… interesting translation for this article. Thankfully, we have a better translation thanks to a friend of Cubs Den reader Eddie.  The first part of the article is translated as follows..”Masahiro Tanaka is seeking to move to the Major Leagues from [Tohoku] Rakuten [Eagles] through the new posting system. According to multiple US sources, Tanaka’s agent is asking for at least five years and 10.5 billion yen (100 million dollars). If this deal comes through, his average annual salary will be 2.1 billion yen (20 million dollars) which will make him the highest paid Japanese player ever. For those teams who can’t compete with “purchasing power” are adding interesting proposals such as golf club memberships and toilet seats with heating functions. [Many teams are] using a US style “hospitality” to take part in the bidding wars over Ma-kun bidding.
    As the news over Rakuten’s approval over Tanaka’s transfer to the major leagues, the Daily News, the local news source for the Yankees, reported that [Tanaka’s agent] Casey Close (50 years old) is asking for at least a 5 year 100 million dollar deal.”
  • I’m a little late on this one but if you are still in the Christmas spirit give a listen to Christmastime in Wrigleyville, a tune written and performed by Cubs Den reader Kevin Henrickson.


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  • fb_avatar

    Addison Russell has to be there, too. What a steal by Billy Beane.

    On the positive side, Parks doesn't even have Sano in the top 10. A significant fall by Sano and a huge charge by Baez. This sounds right to me since Baez really held his own against AA pitching while Sano struggled, but it's nice to hear an independent guy say it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    We made the argument to put Baez ahead of Sano, though Sano has the better plate discipline. I think Baez is either equal or better in just about every other category though.

  • Alway good to read nice things about our top prospects. Like I
    said nobody will out work Theo in trying to sign Tanaka

  • fb_avatar

    Nice article, as usual. I have been a fan for 45 years and I have never seen the farm system this rich in prospects. Like most fans, I know they all won't work out, but when you're this well stocked, your system is still likely to churn out more serviceable parts than most others.

    I see potential log jams at a couple different positions and lots of potential back of the bull pen power arms. Nice problems to have watching those situations work themselves out.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Cubs haven't been this stacked since the Green/Goldsberry days, in my opinion. Of course, that was yet another opportunity lost as the Cubs didn't build on that and actually sold off some of those players for win-now players. Hope they manage this good system better this time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Green/Goldsberry days. Ughh. The great "what if." Fortunately it appears we have better ownership today, leaving the baseball side to baseball people.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Green/Goldsberry days were incredible, though I would argue that (in terms of rankings/hopes though not actual performance), we did have a nice run in the late 90s/early 2000s. Corey Patterson was always highly ranked and we had Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Juan Cruz (who was a better prospect IMO and I believe more highly ranked than Z), Hee Sop, David Kelton, and Jeff Goldblach. I saw a low A game at Lansing with Corey, Kelton, Goldblach and Hee Sop in the lineup and Z on the mound and I was ecstatic about the Cubs future (Goldblach and Choi both homered, Kelton and Corey had two hits each and Z dominated).

    The excitement at that time gives me a little pause now, though none of those hitting prospects were near the production of Baez and, in a more limited sample, Bryant, at the minor league level.

  • In reply to springs:

    In 2001, I got to see Hee Sop Choi in Spring Training, as well as Mark Bellhorn (name ring a bell? no pun intended) got Marks autograph even. Then he somehow gets to the Red Sox and wins a Ring with the Red Sox, go figure! Didn't he catch the last out to win the game? I've seen a few Cubs in the minors go thru the so-called "fast track" to the Big Leagues, then flounder when they come up. I'm seeing the new Cubs brass not doing this as of yet. We have a myriad of talent in the minors, with at least 3-4 "good ones" at each position, albeit Pitching is a tad thin. Kepp them down on the Farm until they're ready. Josh Vitters got a taste last year and got stage fright.

  • In reply to springs:

    I remember Oscar Acosta resigning as Cubs pitching coach because he wanted Z as a starter and Cruz as a releiver, and Dusty wanted it the other way around. Seems the late Mr Acosta was a better judge of pitching. See Kerry Wood and Mark Prior for further details.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Agree, all the prospects need 1 more full year to see who will be
    kept or traded

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Absolutely. To trade any of them at this stage - without something just too good to pass up in retunr - would be a silly move.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agreed. If you're going to trade some of them, the longer you wait, the more you get in return.

  • The best part about the prospect Rankings is injuries are the only thing that kept Soler from the top 25. He could easily push his way into the mix by mid season and might even be first to see Wrigley since he's already on the 40-man...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. A lot of people (including those who make prospect lists) seem to forget that in mid-June when Soler went out with injury (and we learned he'd been playing hurt for a while) he was commonly thought to be having the better year vs Baez and would have probably moved to AA before Baez or at the very least at the same time.

    Add to that the completely unfair perceptions that arose in the AFL with regards to Solar's "hustle" when the coaches, trainers, and Cubs development people specifically told him to take it easy, play controlled, and not to rush since he was their to just get some at bats and little baseball before the next year since he'd been away because of injury for so long.

    As good as I believe Baez & Bryant will be (perennial All-Stars), I think it's going to be Soler that blows everybody away next year with his talent.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I saw Solar twice this last year and I did notice a very lax attitude in both instances, i.e. very bad at bats. You really can't put much stock into eight at bats, but that along with the reports is a little concerning. Either way, I really hope you are right. Physically he is by far the most gifted prospect we have. He is massive for a 21 year old kid.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I agree, it's a little concerning at this point. I saw him play several times for Daytona and while the talent is undeniable, he seems pretty lax a lot of the time. It could be nothing, but with the bat episode and a couple of other reports, it could be something.
    I also agree with Gohst Dawg that he could explode next year and blow our other guys away.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I have noticed the same thing in the 5-6 games I have seen if his as well. He has that Robinson cano look And lack of hustling but maybe staying so calm and cool slows the game down for him. Sure has worked for that Cano fellow.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I don't really have an opinion on Soler's "lax attitude" as I've seen even fewer AB's of his than you. But I will caution everyone about the reports... 2 years ago, there were multiple reports of Baez "having a bad attitude" over a missed "take" sign. It was blown completely out of proportion and because of my familiarity with him; I knew it was BS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his attitude and there never was.

    There's a couple of things with Soler to keep our eye on... nothing more. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    And Baseball America's top 10:

    1. Javier Baez, ss
    2. Kris Bryant, 3b
    3. C.J. Edwards, rhp
    4. Albert Almora, of
    5. Jorge Soler, of
    6. Pierce Johnson, rhp
    7. Arismendy Alcantara, 2b/ss
    8. Jeimer Candelario, 3b
    9. Dan Vogelbach, 1b
    10. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp


    Best Hitter for Average - Albert Almora
    Best Power Hitter - Javier Baez
    Best Strike-Zone Discipline - Jeimer Candelario
    Fastest Baserunner - Jacob Hannemann from BYU
    Best Athlete - Jacob Hannemann
    Best Fastball - C.J. Edwards
    Best Curveball - C.J. Edwards
    Best Slider - Pierce Johnson
    Best Changeup - Kyle Hendricks
    Best Control - Kyle Hendricks
    Best Defensive Catcher - Will Remillard
    Best Defensive Infielder - Christian Villanueva
    Best Infield Arm - Kris Bryant
    Best Defensive Outfielder - Albert Almora
    Best Outfield Arm - Jorge Soler

  • I've got a friend that took some Japanese classes. I'll bug him to translate what he can of that article.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    10.5 billion yen, an ergonomic toilet, and a golf membership. He's referring to his list of demands as the "war chest". My friend's not fluent in Japanese, but he's taken it for multiple years. Apparently the exact description of the toilet is more a slang than traditional Japanese terminology. From the sound of it, he's making these ridiculous demands to make sure teams really want him and really want to keep him, and not just as a short-term thing.

    Given the whole gorilla suit incident back in Boston with Theo, I'm inclined to believe he'll find this man a nice golf course and whatever toilet and toilet accessories his heart desires.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    (cont.) Clubhouse business cards, vacation time to line up with Golden Week (late April-early May), and free parking.

    Apparently heated toilet seats are more popular in the US than Japan, according to the article.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    And he wants Jersey #1. Which both the Yankees (Billy Martin) and Dodgers (Pee Wee Reese) have retired (as do the Red Sox, for Bobby Doerr, should they enter the bidding). This could wind up being that stupid little thing that pushes the Cubs ahead of other teams. We don't have to have the highest bid, just the offer he likes most. And, hey, you never know what having the Cubs buy him a fancy toilet seat and guaranteeing his jersey number can do.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    That is ridiculously funny!

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    That's some funny stuff, but if all of this is true, he sounds a little bit like a prima donna.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    From the sound of it (again, running off a friend's understanding of both the Japanese language and culture), it's not so much that he's trying to be an ego case, as it is that he wants to be sure that whatever team he signs with really wants him - to the point of buying him a special toilet seat.

  • Can you rank the cubs top 6 pitching prospects.

  • Sounds like fun. I will take a crack.

    1A - CJ Edwards. Limitation might be his size
    1B - Pierce Johnson. Does he ultimately have the stuff and control?
    3 - Vizcaino - how does he come back from TJ surgery?
    4 - Kyle Hendricks - might be a bit of a reach but I put him here as he is close to making the Major Leagues
    5 - Alberto Cabrera - His arm and slider vs. his struggle with his control makes him a high risk/high reward prospect.
    6 - I'm going Ben Wells here. Came back strong after surgery and had a real good year at A+. Making the move to Tenn will give us an idea of where he stands in the organization.

    I think the guys at Kane County and below are just to raw to project, but there are certainly some promising arms at this level and below.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I think all evaluators agree on Edwards/Pierce as the top 2, with Vizcaino close behind. After that, though, our system thins our really fast.

    I would put Hendricks #4 as well; I could see him becoming the next Joe Blanton, or I could also see his secondaries get launched at the ML level.

    I would go after that Zastryzny, Underwood, and Blackburn.

    Cabrera had a nice year at AA, but he was old for that league, and didn't pitch that well at AAA or majors. He is out of options, and the fact that the Cubs keep collecting bullpen pieces tells me they don't think that highly of him........

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I agree with your first two. Vizcaino will tell us a lot this season. He's questionable for me at 3, but based on all the question marks after him, I'm comfortable with him there. Since I'm an upside guy, so I have to go Paul Blackburn at 4. Everything I've heard is that the Cubs are very high on him. He's got a much higher ceiling than Hendricks in my opinion. So...

    1. C.J. Edwards
    2. Pierce Johnson
    3. Arodys Vizcaino
    4. Paul Blackburn
    5. Too difficult to call between Dillon Maples, Duane Underwood, Kyle Hendricks, Rob Zastryzny, Juan Carlos Paniagua.

    I'm so not sold on Cabrera as anything other than a reliever and a high risk one at that. The Cubs have a lot of depth in the power relief arm group. Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Corey Black, Armando Rivero, Trey Masek, Tyler Skulina (who could still make it as a starter) and others. But, you're right, if Cabrera can ever figure out his control, his FB/slider combo can be very effective.

  • For me it would be these 6 based on ceiling, stuff, etc, (Hendricks stuff is behind the other guys on this list but he makes up for it with great pitchability & command)...

    1 - C.J. Edwards
    2 - Pierce Johnson
    3 - Arodys Vizcaino
    4 - Kyle Hendricks
    5 - Paul Blackburn
    6 - Duane Underwood

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Lot of people leaving out Dillon Maples on this list.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I was never as big of a fan as others with Maples. Also Maples majorly struggled in Kane Kounty, and had to drop back down to low A Boise, and he will be 22 next year which now makes him old for his level. I still hope he gets it going, but the others are ahead of him for me.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Agree in that Maples struggled at Kane County and will be old for his league next season but a lot of that lost time was due to injury. The Cubs made an adjustment with him when he returned to Boise. They reduced his repertoire and forced him to perfect fewer pitches. It worked. Now the question is can he carry that forward into 2014. I have him in the mass of arms that haven't distinguished themselves yet like Duane Underwood and Juan Carlos Paniagua. But he still has a higher ceiling than Hendricks. His floor though is considerably lower.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Right they had him just FB - Curve and drop the change... which would make him a reliever. So he still has to master a decent change and start moving or he will stay a reliever but that's not a sure thing yet either. Not that Blackburn & Underwood are but they are younger and I like their stuff better anyway.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    He may be destined for the bullpen, but the Royals last year showed what you can do with a bunch of live-armed former prospects manning your bullpen.

  • The nice thing about the Tanaka situation means that the winter time will be broken up a bit. Usually there is a big lag in baseball news but the 3rd week of January will be a big deal in the baseball world, hopefully in Chicago at that.

    After that, it is 4 weeks until pitchers and catchers report.

    Thanks for the update on the prospects. Good to remind us of the future that is coming our way.

  • Found the comments in the Zona article interesting about the rarity of a free agent being just 25 years old, as is the case with Tanaka. They mention that the earliest even meteoric-riser Bryce Harper would be an FA is age 26. Just a cool way to frame it and reaffirm the fact that Tanaka is a perfect fit for the current state of the Cubs.
    Bryant couldn't have missed the top ten by much, could he? Held back by small sample?

  • fb_avatar

    Have Cubs announced when pitchers and catchers must report to camp? I'm really missing baseball right about now!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Thought I heard February 23.

  • In reply to bocabobby:


  • In reply to bocabobby:

    It's February 13th and there's a countdown clock on the right hand rail. 44 days, 20 hours, 24 minutes, 40 seconds...and counting!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks guys! I can't wait for the minor leagues to start as well. I live close to where the Brevard Manatee's play. And I get to see Daytona when they come to town. Plus they a have a great deal. 10 tickets for only $50! That's 5 games for the wife and I.......

  • fb_avatar

    If Baez carries a .350 OBP, with that power, he'll be an absolute monster!
    Has anybody heard anything about talks with Tanaka? Have the Cubs been in contact? Anyone else? Does it look like he will use the whole 30 day window?

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I think the Cubs will keep a low profile on this. I have to think they have made contact by now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I would certainly hope so

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    About all I've heard is that the Yankees have been in contact with him. I would hope the Cubs have as well.

  • Interesting...according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, MLB has sent a letter to Rakuten wanting assurance in writing that they will make no side deal with Tanaka for money above and beyond the $20 Million posting fee.

    At a news conference last week, Rakuten President Yozo Tachibana called the new system unfair but said Tanaka would be allowed to leave for MLB.

    Tachibana also said Tanaka wanted to DONATE to improve the Rakuten stadium, including its facilities for players and fans.

    MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed Sunday that the league had sent the letter and requested those assurances. It was not immediately clear how Rakuten might respond.,0,3203193.story#ixzz2ovZuyghW

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I hope their response is "GFY."

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Agree. In fact, I hope they send Bud a napkin with just 'GFY' written on it a la Bill Belichick.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I don't understand how it is ant of MLB's business what Tanaka does with his money. If he wants to give back for the club for giving him the opportunity, that is his business! Does MLB discourage players for giving money to their high school, college, or church?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleedblue:

    @bleedblue I think the issue is more about Rakuten not swaying him to any one team so they can get more money depending on who he signs with.

  • In reply to Dan Schmidt:

    I think his agent can safely guide him to the most money. don't see this being an issue.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleedblue:

    They are doing that to protect Tanaka and future players from extortion. A club could say to say to it's star player, Hu Flung Pu, "Hu, we're not going to post you for a measly $20mil. You're either going to have to wait until you're a free agent in three years, or you're going to 'donate' another $10mil back to us as a thank you."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    A Japanese team would never do that. All Japanese have honor.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Do you remember that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor before officially declaring war with us. Does not sound too honorable to me. I would amend your statement to "Some Japanese have honor."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ray:

    My God, that's such a ridiculous and naïve statement that I don't even know what to say. Suffice it to say that most Japanese corporations are run the same way as most American ones. Money is what matters. Don't kid yourself.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I would argue this whole thread from "Hu Flung Poo" on down is ridiculous and naive, not to mention racist.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Lighten up. Regardless of what humorous hypothetical name I chose, the point remains the same. And I don't think that was any more offensive to Asians than Super Mario is to Italians like me.
    If the intent was not to offend, then those who are offended are such because they choose to be. I suggest a larger size of panties. they won't bunch up so much.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I didn't realize Mario's last name was Pooflingio...I don't need to lighten up, my friend, just pointing out you sound like an idiot.

  • In reply to Ray:

    I sense some sarcasm here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to hoffpauir6:


  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I know you meant it as harmless humor, but we don't get to decide what offends or doesn't offend those from other cultures. We should always err on the side of respect.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That isn't extortion, that is an offer. They don't have to post him if the two sides make an agreement that is between them. But there is nothing illegal to ask for a side deal.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    If clubs accept kickbacks from the players in return for being posted, it hasd the effect of a higher posting fee, and that cost will then be passed on to the MLB club in some form. It's not so important that they enforce the rule as much as they establish it as law. It Tananka is really determined to give back to his club, he will find a way; but if he doesn't really want to and is being pressured to, he can say "I can't, the contract forbids it." And his agent in negoiations can't say "We need more money 'cause the first $50mm goes back to the club."

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Who cares? Stopping players and clubs from doing this limits their options. If Tanaka really wants to go and the eagles say they can't for only $20 million, a side deal lets them both benefit. Not allowing it (as MLB would like) along with a capped posting fee means that Eagles say "Not worth it" and Tanaka has to accept that. Why take options off the table for player and team?

    Player can always say no if team wants a cut, and he is no worse off. MLB just wants absolute control sometimes and it often makes the game worse. Just look at how they cap and regulate draft salaries. Just makes it so teams must be "really bad" to get top prospects and increases the chances that teams will have to do an Astros type rebuild. It also pushes much more money to the already overpriced FA and away from younger (not yet union members - coincidence??) players.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    "Who Cares?" (104YearsofGlory)

    How about the MLB, the NPB players, the NPB players union, and the MLB players union.

    If the MLB sets a rule that the NPB (including Rakuten) signs off on, and then NPB teams just circumvent the $20 Million limit by extorting their player for more money, then it has the effect of rendering the limit obsolete which means that the fundamental intent of the posting limit (for NPB players to receive a higher portion of the overall money) is made ineffective.

    What's to stop a team down the line from telling the player we want 50% of whatever you get? They player would still be getting more than he would in Japan. How about 60% or 70%? You have to draw a line somewhere. If Rakuten didn't want to agree to a $20 Million posting limit, they should have voted against it, or not posted Tanaka. Agreeing to it, and then trying to scam the system is a different matter all together.

    If Tanaka wants to "donate" to the team, that's fine, maybe he really is very thankful that Rakuten has developed him and is now giving him this opportunity to follow his dream. At least that way it remains a handshake deal, instead of an NPB teams requiring a player to sign over a certain amount of money for a chance to post.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I wondered if an mlb team would overpay in a post for another Rakuten player to "make it even." $20 million for Tanaka, another $10 million for a teammate of his. This wouldn't be breaking any rules although you'd have to figure out what to do with the other player so the idea probably wouldn't work...

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Are you Ben Badler?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    "What's to stop a team down the line from telling the player we want 50% of whatever you get?"
    The player saying "No".

    Letting them do this at least gives them both options. What if Tanaka really wants to go to MLB but the Eagles need at least 35 million to make up for lost revenue? In that scenario, Tanaka doesn't get posted(against his wishes) and the team loses out on $35 million of revenue when he walks the year after. Lose-lose. Let them work out a side deal and they can come to an arrangement they both like. Tanaka can contract to give up 15mil and require an extra 15mil from team.

    The problem is the stupid cap, which is a bad solution to a non-existent problem. Allowing the side deals just allows teams and players to work around the dumb rule. Stopping that will not make it better, but worse. Japanese teams will just post players less and those players will not get to play where they want. Bad for Japanese teams, bad for Japanese players and bad for MLB teams who are more than willing to pay.

    Don;t mistake the desire of players union and MLB for that of the best interest of the game, future players or fans. They are not the same thing.

  • In reply to 104YearsofGlory:

    "The problem is the stupid cap, which is a bad solution to a non-existent problem. "

    You said it right there.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Which is why i don't want MLB to make the situation even worse, by trying to "fix" the work around teams and players come up with to get around the cap.

  • fb_avatar

    We may indeed have a logjam in some positions - but we've been following the progress of some of these prospects for so long, it's going to be heartbreaking to see any of them traded for pitching. Hard to think with your head and not your heart in that situation.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I see where you're coming from. Me personally, it will only be hard to see Baez, Bryant or Almora be traded. Depending on the player coming back of course, I would happily trade Soler, Alcantara or Vogelbach. I'm a bit emotionally invested in C.J. as well. That would be tough.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I don't think it is a good idea to trade prospects. I like the way TB does it. They wait for a player to have a few good years in the majors and then trade them for a haul in prospects. Trading prospects before they perform in the majors does not bring much back. And of course TB has some prospect that comes in and replaces the traded player. Keeps the waves coming for them. The first candidate for this would be Castro. I think Baez will replace him with little trouble.

  • In reply to John57:

    I agree with you for the most part. But it all depends on the value you have coming back, and I did say it would have to be for the right player.

  • In reply to John57:

    Well, of course that is the best strategy if every prospect pans out. Jim Hendry would have gotten a whole lot less had he waited until Bobby Hill or He-Sop Choi played a few years in the majors before trying to trade them for other assets.

    I am not disagreeing with your sentiment that many of the Cubs top prospects look like they may very well pan out and we should be patient, just that there can be some major advantage in trading prospects before they reach their potential if that potential turns out to be much less than the acquiring team believes it will be.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Agree on Baez, Bryant and Almora, but I disagree on Alcantara. I really think he is undervalued right now. His mix of speed, athleticism and power can be a huge asset to the Cubs. If he can continue to play like he did at AA at the major league level, he opens up so many possibilities in the line-up and defense. Think Chone Figgins or Ryan Freel in their early years.

    I think what you would get back for him now versus what he 'could' be is a gap large enough to justify holding onto him.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Exactly - although it is a good problem to have.

    If we have 2-3 extra servicable MLB caliber SS/3B/2B players, or 2-3 spare potential corner OFs once our own OF or IF is stocked it makes a great way to restock the MiLB pitching and position player prospect lists.

    Hate to see a good player go,.... but also hate to see a good player waste away on the bench or in AAA when he could be playing somewhere else and demonstrating how well our drafting and player development has come along.

  • Given the fickle nature of pitching, I think Epstoyer is hoping to acquire good to elite SP talent by three means:
    1. Draft
    2. FA- costs just $, not elite hitting prospects.
    3. Shark trade.
    In the spirit of John's article yesterday, they've put themselves in a position, through system depth development & FA austerity, to be really stingy & hold on to Big 4 , if they like. They have many angles to play & lots of "dry powder", financially-at least we assume coffers will be opening soon. As the Wil Meyers trade underscores, it rarely makes sense to trade high-end hitting prospects for arms, no matter how good, given the obvious injury risks with Ps. Hence, the "waves of pitching" mantra of Epstoyer .
    # build your own

  • Nothing really new in that Japanese article. Mostly rehashing things the reporter had read in the US media. The 5/100 comment was supposedly attributed to Tanaka's agent in a NY media article. Also some references to a comical article that a Diamondbacks writer at columnistazcentral sports wrote the other day (I suspect that's where Google translate was having problems!)

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    "...those teams who can’t compete with “purchasing power” are adding interesting proposals such as...toilet seats with heating functions."

    Can't...can't he buy that with 10.5 billion Yen?

  • Great article about Javy Baez by Carrie Muskat on the Cubs website. Speaks to depth of character. Very encouraging.

  • "Great article by Carrie Muskat"

    There's a first time for everything, I guess. But seriously yes, a very touching story about his kid sister.

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    In reply to adamlweber:

    Good post Adam. BTW, have you ever seen the movie Blast From the Past? The Brendan Fraser character is named...Adam Webber. (Anyway, it's a good flick, safe for the whole family)

  • According to Kiley McDaniel of, a source with direct knowledge of the Yankees plans says they plan to spend $12-15 million in bonuses on international amateurs this year, blowing past the spending limits.

    The difference is the penalties are harsher this year vs last year when the Cubs did it (and are still doing it).

    The penalties for 2014:

    A 100% tax on the overage from 0 to 5% (up from 75%)

    A 100% tax on the overage from 5% to 10% (up from 75%), and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $500,000

    A 100% tax on the overage from 10% to 15%, and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $300,000 (down from $500,000)

    A 100% tax on the overage from 15% and up, and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next two signing periods with a bonus in excess of $300,000 (previously it was just one bonus period)

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That article says that the reason the Yankees are announcing it is because an exec for another team that exceeded last year's cap complained that agents didn't think they were making offers in good faith, assuming that teams didn't want to go over the cap. That can only be the Cubs or Rangers.

    The Cubs had this strategy last year, and now it appears that the Yankees are going to take it to the extreme; had we known what we know now, Cubs would probably have spent way over $7.5 mil and really cleaned up

    If the Yankees follow through on this, you can bet there will be changes, probably an international draft

    I don't like the Int'l draft, because it rewards teams that haven't invested resources in Latin America that other clubs have

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The Cubs are still doing it, the period is not over until next years International Signing Period, and kids are turning 16 all the time. Also just like the Cubs signed #25 Int. prospect Vladamir Galindo, I am pretty sure that #30 prospect Wasner Peguero is also unsigned thus far.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Check that, I was close but their is a few days gap in between, the International Amateur signing period is July 2 - June 15 (the next year). So Cubs still have 5 1/2 months to sig International Amatuers this signing period....and wy wouldn't they since they are already over and it's "only money"

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Also a International Draft is coming whether the Yankees did this or not...

    Per the MLB Modified Agreement:

    International Draft
    The parties had extensive discussions regarding the inclusion of international players in a draft, and developed a process that may result in those players being included in a draft beginning in either 2013 or 2014. In order to incentivize the Union to agree to a draft, the agreement provides that if a draft does not become operational by 2014, the penalties that Clubs will incur for exceeding their signing bonus pools will become more severe beginning with the 2014-2015 signing period (as described below). The agreement establishes a joint committee to discuss all of the issues relating to a draft and contains a very specific timeline for accomplishing the predicate steps necessary to make a world-wide draft operational. The agreement does not resolve the issue of whether there should be a single draft or a separate draft.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    An International draft is coming one way or another. The teams want it in place to save money. The Yankees will just give its proponents a bigger club.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Can't say I'd mind if the Yanks blow a bunch of cash on a relatively bare cupboard and then get penalized for doing it.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    The article actually says the executive is from one of 3 teams that have used this strategy, so the Rays are a possibility as well.

    Considering when the Rays attempted to do this no one had done it before, I think they're the most likely team that met resistance from agents. By the time the Rangers and Cubs were both trying it, agents must have discovered that this was a legit strategy.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Also according to the modified MLB Basic Agreement, if they do go over into the harshest penalties, IF an Int. Draft is instituted in 2015 then the Yankees might have to forfeit their 1st & 2nd round picks.

    PDF to MLB Basic Agreement:

  • @BenBadler Do the Cubs have any potential TOR arms in their system?

    Ben Badler ‏ @BenBadler 3h
    CJ Edwards. Still surprised they were able to get him.

    @BenBadler I was hoping to avoid asking this as it's probably frequently asked, but do you see Edwards having a better career than Sanchez?

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler 3h
    As in Aaron Sanchez? Yes, I'll take Edwards over him.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That's two for Baez over Sano now...

    @BenBadler Baez or Sano?

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler

  • Just thinking about if Tanaka signs with us, Jeff S stays, and Baez and Bryant are called up in late summer (because they earned it). We could be looking at a lineup which looks something like this in August/September. Now that would be fun to watch.

    Jeff S



    Bryant (not certain if he'd be at 3rd, but like the idea of Olt doing well and forcing the issue)

  • In reply to JB55:

    And thus the reason I took the plunge into the lake known as Season Tickets.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Just keep rubbing it in :)

  • In reply to JB55:

    A possible option in your lineup could have Baez in LF and Alcantara at 2B. This would bump either Lake or Sweeney to the bench.

    But I really like your lineup too.

  • And I think that when our first LH outfielder goes down with an injury, Rubi Silva will get the call and never go back down. He has the best arm in our system (16 assists last year), played all 3 OF positions last year, and everything off his bat is a screaming line drive.

    And I'm hoping that Rentaria gives Logan Watkins a shot at 2B. Once you get a real look at his playing style (not the 2 starts over 2 months we saw last year), you're gonna like this guy.

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    I agree. I really love Watkins. With some work and some improvement, he can be out poor man Dustin Perdroia as he already has the grittiness and can hit to all fields.

    Man if he turns into something useful, this team could really make some noise If these geniuses can figure out that Rizzo needs some protection behind him plus this team constructed is very light in the power department, but you never know Ryan Sweeney could bust out and have a Brady Anderson season and if Barney beats Watkins out and has been eating his spinach this offseason and develops some Bret Boone type pop, then we will be fine !!

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