Winter Meetings Thread: McDonald, Navarro, Kazmir, non-tenders and other notes

Today seems as good as any day to start our Winter Meetings thread, which are actually about a week away.  That doesn’t mean things can’t happen until then.  It’s safe to assume the Cubs have laid down some groundwork during the GM meetings and it’s possible teams may want to strike before the meetings start, so we’ll start this daily thread.

Today is also the non-tender deadline so we’ll keep an eye on that as well.  We had a preview earlier today here.


10:30 PM:

  • Cubs tender contracts to Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Travis Wood, Pedro Strop, James Russell, and LuisValbuena,  according to Patrick Mooney.  No surprises there, though some had doubts about Barney.  RHP Chang-Yon Lim was not tendered, according to Carrie Muskat.
  • Another interesting non-tender: RHP Daniel Hudson.  May make an interesting flyer for the Cubs if they think he can be healthy.
  • The Cubs sign Donnie Murphy (!) to a one year, $825K contract, avoiding arbitration.

9:17 PM:  SOURCE: It was my turn to take the dog out (the source was my wife).  As such, I missed a couple of important non-tenders.  Former closers Andrew Bailey (Red Sox) and John Axford (Cardinals) have been non-tendered.  Of the two, I prefer Bailey.  When he’s healthy, he throws more strikes while missing just as many bats.  The fact that he played for the Red Sox is a factor even though he wasn’t picked up by the Cubs current front office.  Philosophies are still similar.  Bailey (or Axford) could serve as a closer or as closer insurance while allowing the Cubs to ease Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm, or eventually, Arodys Vizcaino into that role long term.

7:53 PM

  • Julie DiCaro tweets that a source tells here that the Cubs are more optimistic about signing Samardzija than they were a week ago.

7:46 PM

  • Cubs non-tender Matt Gamel.  Not a surprise.  It remains to be seen whether the Cubs try to re-sign him.  Once again it is Chris Cotillo with the scoop.  The kid is doing some hard work.

6:48 PM

  • The Nationals have acquired Doug Fister from the Tigers per Chris Cotillo.  While that doesn’t necessarily take the Nationals out of the running for Jeff Samardzija’s services, it certainly seems to indicate that they are no longer in a position where they may be forced to overpay on a deal.  And frankly, if the Nats can’t overpay on a deal, I’m not so sure I want what’s left in that system.   Jeff Samardzija has the same amount of cost control and is a year younger, but doesn’t have the same track record of success.  Whatever the Nats gave up for Fister, we probably shouldn’t expect much different for Samardzija.
  • UPDATE:  The trade is for LHP Robbie Ray, 2B Steve Lombardozzi, and LHP Ian Krol.  The Tigers got less for two years of Fister than the Cubs got for 2 months of Garza.  Incredible.  Still think Theo isn’t magic?  And if this is the market for good under 30 pitchers with 2 years of cost control, then the Cubs are better off keeping Samardzija.

6:28 PM

  • The Cubs have officially signed George Kottaras to a one year, $1.075M contract with incentives, per a tweet from the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales.  That’s almost $3M less than what Navarro will get and thus, $3M more the Cubs can spend somewhere other than backup catcher.

5:48 PM

Not much news on the non-tender market today.  To give us more coverage, I will be getting some help from long time reader/contributor Mike Moody during the winter meetings.  Mike has done an excellent job keeping us up to date through the comments section and Twitter.

  • Ex-Cub fan favorite Sam Fuld has been non-tendered, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.  Fuld had a nice year for the Rays two years ago, especially on defense, but he has been replacement level or below since then.

3:00 PM:

  • Another guy from our preview list, hard-throwing RP Kevin Jepsen of the Angels, has been tendered a contract.  MLB TradeRumors had him on a list of possible non-tenders but GM Jerry DiPoto said it was always assumed he’d be tendered.

2:00 PM

  • The Cubs will non-tender Daniel Bard after all, according to Jesse Rogers.  My guess is the Cubs have a deal worked out to bring him back on a minor league deal and ST invite.  The Cubs are probably still committed to him but it would be easier to do that without him holding a 40 man roster spot at this point.  If the Cubs keep him and he rebounds, he’ll probably be given every opportunity to regain that spot.

1:30 PM

  • The Cubs have re-signed OF Darnell McDonald to a minor league deal with a spring training invite.  The deal also contains an out clause should McDonald receive a more lucrative offer from the NPB, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.  McDonald is well respected by this front office and the Cubs would certainly like to have him around their young players as a leader/mentor.  He also has a shot of retaining his 5th outfielder role he held late in the season.
  • Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro signed a 2 year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Navarro is one of those guys the Cubs would have liked to have had back in an ideal world, but in reality, Navarro performed like a starting catcher and had become too expensive to retain in the backup catcher role.  And it’s not just about dollars in sense.  In a vacuum, the Cubs could have easily paid the $4m AAV to retain him, but diverting that much of your available budget to a backup is an inefficient allocation of resources.  There is also the issue that Navarro himself wants to start and he’s not going to get that opportunity now in Chicago after the emergence of Welington Castillo as a starter and potential core piece.
  • The Athletics are close to signing Scott Kazmir according to multiple reports.  It will be a two year deal.  The signing has ramifications for the Cubs as the A’s now have a surplus of pitching with Brett Anderson being the most intriguing  of the possibilities because he’s just 27 and throws left-handed, both of which make him an ideal flyer candidate for the Cubs.  The A’s have also expressed interest in retaining Bartolo Colon, so the A’s may have more than one pitcher to deal this offseason.  The total amount for the two years on Kazmir is not yet known but Jeff Passan of Yahoo says it is more than $16M.  UPDATE:  The deal is for 2 years and $22M, according to Jim Bowden.
  • Scott Atchison, who has a history with this front office as a member of the Red Sox, has been non-tendered.  I don’t know that the Cubs are interested in the 38 year old Atchison but familiarity, the ability to throw strikes, and the bonus of providing veteran leadership may make him a candidate for a Shawn Camp type role.
  • An interesting study by The Hardball Times shows just how good this front office is at finding value and role players.  The Cubs got more wins (WAR) from their non-regular players than any team except the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Cubs were especially proficient in finding value from marginal starters (both positional and in the rotation), but they did not do as well in finding pieces for the bullpen.  This skill may not seem like a huge deal right now, but it will come in handy when the Cubs have a strong core of players in place and will be able to fill the roles around them efficiently and productively.

Filed under: Winter Meetings


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  • fb_avatar

    Oakland is going to be tough with that staff. And the ballpark should help increase Kazmir's value going forward. Good signing for them.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Sure are. Maybe we can get Anderson for a relatively low price. If hes anything like he was 2-3 years ago hed be an excellent pickup. He just needs to stay healthy.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Excellent moving for them. Money is a little high, probably. Most thought he'd get about 2 yrs/16M, but A's in win now mode and now they can build rest of the team with trades. Not sure what this means for Bartolo Colon.

  • What do you think about Robbie Erlin for Schierholtz?

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    In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Do it!

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I agree. Although, since I can't imagine that the Padres wouldn't tender a contract to Erlin, I don't believe that that trade is anymore likely to happen today than it is any other day.

  • In reply to Greg Menke:

    I like Erlin but I'm not sure how much I'd give up for him. He's a bit undersized, not a hard thrower...then again, neither is Travis Wood.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think the Cubs would be giving up much by trading Shierholtz..

    To me, he is similar (although he has more power) to Bogusevic. However, Shierholtz is only under team control for 1 more year while Bogusevic is under team control for 3 more years.

    If trading Shierholtz could bring back something of value, such as a cost controlled left handed relief pitcher with a good K/BB ratio and a fairly consistently track record, I would make the trade. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if the front office found a way to bring back even more value for him.)

  • In reply to Greg Menke:

    I'd be willing to trade him as well. I guess it would depend on the return but I agree Cubs should be able to approach production with in-house candidates.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Speaking of players heading for regression, I would bet money Nate doesn't hit another 20+ home runs. He isn't really that good. He's fine for a stopgap, which is what we need, but nothing more.

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Absolutely Not!!!!! Nate is one of only two players on the Cubs who drive in runs with some consistency.

    Absolutely not!!! Nate is one of only two players who drive in runs with any consistency. Erlin is a marginal pitcher like many others in our own farm system. I suppose if you want to cement the #1 draft pick in 2015, trade Nate and Shark for suspects.


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    In reply to krn99:

    Well Scheirholtz is probably not even going to finish the year with the Cubs. I like Erlin because he doesn't walk anybody. He is somewhat undersized but he has played up at every level so far. He made the Cubs look bad in one start last year, though unfortunately you could say that about 100 different pitchers.

  • I am disappointed to see Dioner go. I wish him well. I know a lot of people didn't want to over pay for keeping him and thought he had a fluke year. How do we know Wellington didn't have a fluke year? Besides defense what made him a better choice? People say we needed a lefty bat with some pop. He provided that pop. Good luck Dioner!!!

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Better defensively at a premium defensive position, much younger, quite a bit cheaper, and a lot more athletic. Plus, I believe he has far more offensive upside than Navarro, as well.
    That's not to say I wouldn't have liked to have Dioner around as the backup, but of course he wants to start if he has the opportunity.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I think you could make a similar statement comparing Kottaras to Navarro. Similar defensively, the same age, quite a bit cheaper, and more athletic. Also, if you set aside last year, he is a better offensive player (neither player has much upside).

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Keep in mind, Navarro is the same guy who couldn't hit his way out of the minors in 2012. I'm willing to bet he becomes this year's recipient of the Jeff Keppinger award, meaning he's a career backup who played far beyond what his career numbers would suggest, and parlayed it into a fat FA contract before returning to his usual mediocrity.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I do expect Navarro to drop back down in productivity.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    So does the rest of the league, apparently, if $8 mil over 2 years was his best offer.

    Still, I think it's a good value signing for Toronto. Even with some regression, they are getting an OK catcher with enough plate discipline that he'll at least be an upgrade over Arrencibia.

    Some catcher hungry team will ask for Arrencibia. White Sox would be a good match.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think so. He had his career year and getting $8M is not bad for a career backup on the wrong side of 30, but still not a ton of money so it does seem that teams are hedging their bets.

    Could definitely see Sox looking into JP. He'll provide power at least but those OBP numbers are frightening.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree with you except "the wrong side of 30" part. When you are only 30 yrs old and signing a two year contract, being on the wrong side of thirty doesn't really matter. Should only really matter if you are signing players on the wrong side of thirty to long term contracts. Just feel that idea is being used way too often now as an excuse to "not" sign players.

  • In reply to dieharder:

    Well, given Navarro's position and less than ideal baseball body, I'd worry his decline could start faster than the normal bell curve, but in general, I don't mind over 30 for your backup catcher unless he's getting fringe starter money (like Navarro).

  • In reply to Zonk:

    According to’s Shi Davidi :

    "Three sources told that general manager Alex Anthopoulos will non-tender the 27-year-old ahead of Monday’s midnight deadline if a trade partner doesn’t emerge."

    But yeah AA could very well find a team to trade him to that needs a catcher.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Me to he always looks hitterish. He has had good 2 years back to back.
    I know its hard to trade within your own division but what about a of trade with the Reds with Shark (who I was hoping to keep), Villanueva and Szuarz for Bailley, + and maybe somehow figure how we can get Phillips.

  • The Rays did that with mostly home grown products, didn't they? Whereas most of ours were taken off the scrap piles around the league...

  • I think non-tendering Bard and re-signing him to a MiLB deal with a ST invite is the right thing to do for both sides...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. Hope that happens.

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    John -- @gammo in his latest news letter, called Baez a SS to watch in 2014:

    "–The Cubs’ Javier Baez hit 37 homers and slugged almost .600 in A and AA…and doesn’t turn 21 until next week. His batspeed has been likened to Gary Sheffield, and, like Sheff, he could get moved off short, but 37 homers at the age of 20 cannot be found at any Black Friday sales. And the Cubs absolutely consider him a shortstop, which someday could result in 75 homers out of the left side of their infield between Baez and Kris Bryant.

    'Cubs fans may be moaning that Theo Epstein hasn’t made silly promises or paid for a bunch of over-the-hill mercenaries,' says one American League scout. 'But in 2015 they could have an infield with Anthony Rizzo, Baez and Bryant, each of whom could hit 30 home runs.' "

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    That is nuts (in a good way). I can't even imagine an infield where you could conceivably get 100 HRs no matter who is at 2B. This will all pay off eventually and we have already seen that this FO knows how to find role players on the cheap and get good production. That will be a huge asset when it's time for the core to get paid.

    That will be worth waiting for.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "I can't even imagine an infield where you could conceivably get 100 HRs no matter who is at 2B."...even Barney? I suppose if the other three IFers hit 33 apiece...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Even Barney :) though I don't think he'll be starting in 2015 and certainly not by 2016.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Seeing that I cannot see a single conceivable scenario where Barney is the starting second baseman on this team beyond 2014, its not something we even have to consider.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    It is possible that Barney actually counts as negative HRs for other players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree that it would be sick and possible to have 100 hrs from the infield spots. Only statement I do not agree on is that this FO knows how to find role players on the cheap and get good production. I would like for you to give examples of who was a good production and cheap.
    I for one am not sold a believe that this FO office is that good...yet.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Did you read the link above in the article from The Hardball Times? Shows Cubs got more wins (as measured by WAR) from these kinds of players than any team except the Rays. The difference is that the Rays have a much better core of players to build around right now. Once the Cubs build that core, you'll see how much more valuable these kinds of signings can be.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    the hardball times article was excellent, john. thanks for linking to it. it confirmed what i thought about the "scrap heap" kind of players this FO finds.

  • In reply to JamesInFLA:

    You are welcome and I must give due credit to long time reader Jim W., who forwarded me the link before I even had a chance to have my coffee. That's pretty quick.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Never a problem. Any time I can find interesting (and at least somewhat relevant) links, I send them your way, assuming you haven't already posted them. I see Cubs Den as one big family, in which we all suffer from the insanity that is believing that we'll see the long-awaited "next year" finally come to fruition.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    there is no doubt i am a more knowledgeable fan for discovering this community...i can't wait to drop some observations from the FSL for you guys next season.


  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I just don't buy the quote that we have already seen that this FO knows how to find role players on the cheap and get good production. They have made a couple nice signings. But they also have signed Jackson
    (over paid) Fujikawa, McDonald, Gillespie, Ransom, Lillibridge, and Neal in this past year.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    It's in the numbers. The study is objective. What you have is anecdotal evidence. I will take the objective evidence over anecdotal every time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Let me know who Fujikawa, McDonald, Gillespie, Ransom, Lillibridge, and Neal's WAR were better?
    Jackson too. He wasn't cheap.
    I will take reality over the "study"

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Schierholtz, Feldman, Maholm, Strop, Rondon, Wood, Grimm, Navaro, Arrieta.

    Some of those guys gave good production - some project to give good production for $500K.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I will give props for Schierholtz, Feldman, and Navaro as nice signings. Strop, wood, Grimm and Arrieta were from trades. My only concern is with Maholm is we gave him away for a guy who may never pitch.

    My list to counter yours is: Jackson, Fujikawa, McDonald, Ransom, Gillespie, Neal, Lillibridge. That is either over paid or under produce list.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Notice that John said 'find' not 'sign'. So trading for young / cheap talent is the same as signing some undervalued FA. Vizcaino is a lottery ticket that could pay off big, be a nice BP arm or never see the light of day. Regardless, we are paying him, what, $80K/year right now?

    Jackson is overpaid. Fuji's arm blew out - can't blame the FO for that. Not sure what to say about the other guys. They are just organizational fillers that don't cost more than the league minimum. Every team in baseball has those guys on the roster and almost all of them 'underproduce'. Thats why they are the 24th and 25th guys on the depth chart - because they aren't that good, but have some value (i.e. defensive replacement, pinch hitter, can steal a base, LOOGY, or a BP arm that is on the roster to pitch 3 innings of mop-up work when the team is down by 6 runs after the 3rd inning).

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Schierholtz, Navarro, Kevin Gregg, James Russell, Valbuena not to mention starters like Travis Wood

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I will give credit for Schierholtz, Gregg and Feldman. Those were nice signings and got something for 1 out of 3. Wood was a nice trade. I wouldn't say that Russell, Valbuena have been productive. Here are my list of FA to go against that: Jackson, Fujikawa, McDonald, Gillespie, Ransom, Lillibridge, and Neal. Not much to brag about there. And that was this past year alone.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Good production and mean like Schierholtz, Maholm, Navarro, Camp (2012), Feldman, Donnie Murphy and Kevin Gregg?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney, Bogusevic... While cheap usually pays what you get, you also have to give the scouting department some kudos for beating the odds at a higher ratio.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Nate was a nice find. Feldman was good and trade for some quality people. Navaro had solid year to be let go. My list consist of Jackson (over paid), Fujikawa, McDonald, Gillespie, Ransom, Lillibridge,and Neal. My point is the have made some ok moves and some not ok moves but I don't by the quote we all know how good the FO is at getting production.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Many free agent pitchers would love to come to the Cubs with a infield like that.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    I think someday soon FA's will be lining up to go to Chicago.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lets hope by that point the cubs are in a position to turn them down

  • So the Winter Meetings are going to be crazy balls this year, right? I think all the trades coming due to the diminished free agency in the new CBA is going to be way more fun than big (mostly dumb) FA signings of years past.

  • So not to look at the negative side (a Cubs fan being negative??? Whaaaa?!?!?!) but if our bench got the second most WAR in the MLB, the WAR from our starters must have looked uuuug-lyyyy.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Ha! That's the flip side but hey, TB got a lower pct. of wins from their starters than any other contenders, so there's that. I do think, though, that starter production won't be something the Cubs will have to worry about much in a couple of years.

  • This move seems to defy Beane's "mutual fund" strategy, as at those $$$ with his resources available, it's pretty high risk, high reward move.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Yes and I think it could have come down to paying more to keep Colon or going with Kazmir, who is still expensive at that rate but apparently cheaper than what Colon was asking for. That saves them money to spread around a bit more around roster.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This is a pretty huge investment for Scott Kazmir. $11M would have been near 20% of the total 2013 payroll (~$61M). It proves that sometimes rules need to be broken in order to reach a goal. I hope this front office isn't as robotic as Beane pretended he was (proven not to be the case by this move) before this move.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    It is, but I'm guessing it's a lot less than Colon was asking for so for them it's about saving a bit of money because they had intended on keeping Colon. kazmir gives them a cheaper (though not cheap) alternative.

    And keep in mind teams have different goals right now. A's in position where a few extra wins above replacement can mean a division title. For the Cubs it may mean the difference between 70 wins and 73 wins.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry, I wasn't referring to the Cubs this year. More to when they're ready to go for it. Your write up of that article included a section that spoke about always trying to find value, not having questionable contracts on the roster and not pouring a lot of payroll resources into any one questionable/declining player. To me, this is a very questionable contract. He's nasty when on, but if he gets injured or reverts back to the past few years, that could be 20% of their payroll down the drain in a hurry, and far, far worse than a "-20% investment"

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    Agreed there. It's a pretty big risk for them. I can only guess their med team is satisfied he's okay.

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    In reply to Monkey Shines:

    To be fair, 11M is not really above average for starting pitchers at this point. It's just a bigger chunk that the A's usually give out.

    And considering the extra 25 Million in TV money every team gets starting this year, they're hardly overextending themselves.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Agreed. And if they end up moving Anderson they'll save even more and probably land themselves a decent couple of prospects...

  • With Brett Anderson set to make $9.5 million guaranteed over the next two years I don't know if it makes sense for the Cubs to pursue him. Oakland isn't the type of team to eat much money and Anderson, as many have mentioned, is extremely injury-prone. I could see a competitive team that's ready to win willing to take that kind of risk, but not the Cubs in their current situation.

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    Good point, but that could also work in the Cubs favor. The Cubs don't have payroll issues and can afford to pay the entire salary. The risk would only be short term money and taking on more money may mean having to give up a lesser prospect or player in return.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see that angle too and that is the sort of luxury that the Cubs should have over many other teams in rebuild mode, but I guess it's the risk with Anderson. It's just not like the Kazmir situation where things seem to be trending up for him by year's end (ie better velocity and strong peripherals). Anderson was having trouble even pitching out of the pen by the end of last season.

  • In reply to Denim Dan:

    I see it the other way. I doubt a competitive team can afford to have a guy like Anderson on their rotation. What if he is not fully recovered and even if he gets back to so resemblance of his prior self, he won't be able to pitch many innings in his first year back. May not even be able to pitch in the playoffs. Too many question marks for a team serious about contending to take that risk along with salary and loss of a good prospect.

    Small market teams in the playoff hunt, definitely cannot risk that much payroll on an injury risk. The Cubs are uniquely positioned to take the risk, be able to afford his salary and be patient.

  • Help me think about the potential Shark contract for a moment. Lets assume he will make $15M between '14 and '15. If we sign him to a 5/$75M contract - we would essentially be paying him $20M / year for 2016, 2017 and 2018 - right? I know its the AAV we should be looking at, but that seems like a lot of money for a guy that has put up #3 numbers? 5/$75M is the number that sticks out in my mind for some reason.

    5/$50, with two team options for $12M per year seems reasonable for a guy two years away from FA, no?

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    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    problem is none of the contracts being given out are reasonable.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Yeah, but those are FA contracts. You can't really compare a FA contract with a pre-FA deal. In theory, the Cubs get a 'deal' because they are extending him 2 years early.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    Yes, that is true. He shouldn't be getting paid as if he were on the FA market. He doesn't have that luxury. But my guess is he wants what he'll get in arb next two years plus what he is seeing similar pitchers get in free agency right now (roughly 11-12M) and probably more.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    I'm sure that's not how he thinks about it.

    If he improves next year (and I think he will, personally), or the year after, and makes it to free agency, he will almost certainly get a pretty good pay day.

    So he probably wants whatever that sum is regardless if it's now or later. He's willing to go through his arbitration years and bet on himself than take a lesser deal to sign now.

  • In reply to Roscoe Village:

    He is a 4th pitcher at best. Why the big contract?

  • Looks like we can cross Axford off the list. Haudricourt saying Brewers will have no non-tenders.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Axford finished season with Cards, didn't he?

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Axford was on the Cardinals last year

  • Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick 1m
    The #rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, according to a source.

  • So do these non-tendered players wait all day for phone calls like a jilted date? Or do they receive official non-tender messages or visits?

  • In reply to wastrel:

    The thing is a lot of times teams are trying to get deals done, and it may involve some of these guys so they can't really promise them anything. It probably varies from situation to situation.

  • So excited for the Winter Meetings and thanks for getting the thread up early, John! I also like Anderson a lot. Good call on that. Forgive me if you've already answered a related question but what is your preliminary idea of what it would take to get him? Also, with respect and forgive me if you've already said it but I believe Anderson will only turn 26 on Feb 1st so he's a full year younger than you mentioned.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I don't think he'll cost the Cubs a top 10 prospect or a core player. His salary is rather large compared to his performance last season and the A's just spent $11M to sign Kazmir, so maybe salary relief can take a dent out of the expected return.

  • Washington trades for SP D. Fister from Tigers .....

    This might take them out of the Shark race .....

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    In reply to SouthsideB:

    Nice post. I heard on MLB Radio today that it was down to ARZ and TOR but I think these guys are just talking out of their butts at this point and actually have no clue.

    One guy says ten teams are asking, and other says two. One guy says it is def. BAL, and another guy says he will re-sign.

    I think Felzz wrote the other day that they almost have to trade him now because of the backlash he will get for not being traded, and that is completely out of his control. Sigh.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Pretty much and even if it doesn't, it drastically lowers their incentive to deal and considering their farm system lacks depth, that effectively takes them out.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Still haven't heard the return, the first package tossed out as a possibility is Ian Krol, Steve Lombardozzi and Robbie Ray.

    That's like a package I propose to someone whilst laughing in a fantasy football league. There's no way that can be it.

  • According to Chris Cotillo the Cubs are involved in the Fister deal

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    Where do you see this?

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    In reply to David Davidon:


  • Disregard that, I misread something

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    In reply to David Davidon:

    DUDE - way to set my Monday multi-tasking into hyper-drive lol. I went from 3 browser windows to like 23 in less than ten seconds trying to find a story!

  • UPDATE: Cotillo is reporting that the possible package for Fister is Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and maybe Ian Krol. If that is the market for good under 30 year old SPs with 2 years of cost control, the Cubs need to keep Samardzija.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'll be stunned if that's the deal. Makes no sense whatsoever.

    Cubs got more for Garza than that and Garza was cost controlled for .5 a year and is a worse pitcher than Fister.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Me too. Cubs got a much better deal than that for Garza. But I've heard there is no Giolito in the deal -- so even if there's more, it's not going to be a great package. Maybe AJ Cole?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    David Cameron ‏@DCameronFG 31s
    Pretty much everyone I talk to agrees that Texas gave up more for two months of Garza than WAS gave up for two years of Fister.

    You're not alone...

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    But why do I feel so alone? :) This trade bums me out.

    And thanks. And thanks for the good work as always.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The Nationals' twitter account confirms.

    What an unbelievably bad deal for the Tigers. Amazing that another team didn't come in and beat that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    So the Tigers get 20some yr old MLB 2B, RP and a Top 10 prospect ..... not a great haul.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    buzzkill. that looks like a bad trade for the Tigers. Cubs should have made an offer for Fister (Fister? I just met her...). Maybe it is such an outlier it will not affect the efforts to trade Shark, but brings you down some.

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    I didn't expect Shark this winter to attract much more than what Fister attracted. His value is still a lot of potential. But then all the buzz of trade possibilities... but the Fister deal may return that speculation to earth. My original guess was that Shark would start the season with the Cubs with the hope he builds his value further with a strong 1st Half. I don't see the Cubs giving him up for what the Tigers got: a bench IF, middle reliever and still developing mid-minor starter... although the Tigers' Robbie Ray has a lot of the attributes this FO looks for. This FO is just looking for at least two of him for Shark.

  • Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 2m
    Source: #Cubs non-tender Mat Gamel

    Who else....

  • Chris Cotillo is saying Mat Gamel will be non-tendered (I read this one correctly)

  • Julie DiCaro ‏@JulieDiCaro 1m
    Source: #Cubs more optimistic about re-signing Samardzija than they were a week ago.

    Well yeah...once they saw what the Tigers got for Fister...

  • Washington Nationals ‏@Nationals 2m
    The #Nats have acquired Doug Fister from the #Tigers in exchange for Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol & Robbie Ray:

    Just wow...

  • Real disappointed to hear the package of Steve Lombardozzi, Robbie Ray and Ian Krol... That's like sending Chris Rusin, Logan Watkins and Neil Ramirez for someone like Fister...

    Maybe it ruins Samardzija's market... In the other hand, I hope it increases the Cubs' chances of landing a young pitcher without having to deal a top 100 prospect.

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    "Going back to Detroit in the deal will be second baseman Steve Lombardozzi, lefty Ian Krol, and a prospect, tweets Jim Bowden of with 22-year-old, left-handed pitching prospect Robbie Ray also headed to the Tigers."

    That "prospect" might change the whole nature of the deal.

  • Nationals just confirmed that was the trade. Sigh.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can imagine Theo and Hoyer just facepalming themselves over that... Mike Rizzo deserves GM of the year already... Way to trade nothing for an impact starter...

    Only had to give up a lefty reliever, a utility IF'er with no power and a prospect projected to be a bottom of the rotation/bullpem arm...

  • Why would the Tigers accept that kind of package? There's got to be more to it than this, at least on the surface.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Money. Have to believe ownership got involved to clear more space.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Still doesn't justify this package. If they were interested in dumping money, they almost certainly could have gotten better prospects while still dumping that money.

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    Completely changes the market for Samardzija. I believe they are on a similar time clock. BUT, there is still that whole "stuff" thing, of which Samardzija has in spades and Fister does not.

    Just think what kind of pitcher Samardzija would be with his stuff and Fister's ability to "pitch."

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    You'd have Verlander.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I thought the same thing.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    "Completely changes the market for Samardzija"

    Maybe, not necessarily. When supply and demand rules, what someone else paid for something gets thrown out. Theo/Jed can channel their inner Scott Boras and simply say, listen, I don't care about the Fister trade, this is what we want for Samardzija. Take it or leave it. And if Tanaka and Price are off the board, GM's needing a young controllable SP with upside projection aren't going to have a lot of options. And remember, Cubs don't HAVE to trade shark, they just want to. At the right price. They can wait for the price to come around.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    I agree with you for the most part. The problem is that there is a slight reduction in leverage. In a supply/demand market there is a bid/offer that is extremely fluid. Rumors and speculation fuel volatility, and an actual trade tempers that because it sets a market value. Volatility works in the Cubs favor i this instance, market stability works against them.

    Now the floor is set (or the ceiling, God forbid) because of the Fister trade so the bid/ask is no longer as fluid. Teams can bid low, and the Cubs can continue to ask high (as you indicated they would and rightfully so). But that market between the bid/ask creates a greater gap.

    So let's just say that the consummation of a trade, for numbers sake, is a halfway point. In effect, the Cubs are coming down toward the bid a lot further than the other team is coming up toward the ask.

    True, the Cubs can just say "If we don't get our offer we aren't moving Samardjija" and that is probably what will happen. But with WAS/DET setting a market that low it likely hurts the Cubs in any attempt to generate their original expected return IF the desired goal is ONLY to move him.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    I agree this doesn't help the cubs in any way, and can only hurt them. But I also think that every trade is a new deal; as much as we try to reduce players to numbers, every situation is different; you can never say "player A= player C, and player B = player D, therefore A for B should be the same as C for D." Salary arbitration is based on those sorts of comparisons and equivalencies, but it just never works out that way in trades.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Yup. It's just leverage. The Cubs certainly have enough options to skew the market for Samardzija a little more in their favor (keeping him, signing Tanaka themselves), and like you said, market factors (Tanaka signing with the Cubs or elsewhere, possible Price trade) can certainly move the market for Samardija more toward the mean.

  • Mike DiGiovanna ‏@MikeDiGiovanna 2m
    Source: #Angels will not be tendering contracts to RHP Tommy Hanson and 3B Chris Nelson. These moves were expected.

    Could see Hanson on a minor league deal...didn't look like there was much left last season though.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Hanson is interesting but I think there are some concerns on a number of different levels.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Chris Nelson. Wow. A long time ago he was supposed to be the next great .300/power hitting SS. Nelson is a great lesson in getting too close to the prospect hype. I hope we don't see a 28-year old Jorge Soler drifting from team-to-team on the DFA conveyor belt some day. Sadly there are far more stories like Chris Nelson's than we want to believe.

  • Is the Detroit GM under some sort of mandate to dump salary. First the Kinsler deal for Fielder and Now this crazy deal for Doug Fister to the Nationals for Robbie Ray, a low ceiling, pitchability type prospect, a utility man in Lombardozzi and Ian Kroll a 22 yr old left reliever with 1 not bad year in the majors.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Probably looking for money to lock up Max Scherzer to a multiyear contract.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I'm still a little confused - I read the MLBTR piece as 4-for 1: Lombardozzi, Kroll, "a prospect," and Ray. Maybe it was poorly worded.

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    Boy that seems like a weak return for Detroit doesn't it? How good of a prospect is Ray?

  • In reply to Just Win:

    low ceiling, good pitchability, probably back of the rotation or middle reliever

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Ray is their best hope. Last I saw him he was a skinny kid with a good arm. Most see a #4 type starter but maybe as high as #3. I have to think the Tigers have him graded on the high end.

  • I think we shouldn't all get too bummed out over this Doug Fister deal, while it maybe a shock to the trade market for a day or two, I think we will find that this deal is an outlier in the trade market.

    Teams have been overpaying up until this point for starting pitching. Also knowing the high price that the Cubs are asking at least 8 teams as reported by Kaplan were still talking to the Cubs as of a couple days ago.

    Other teams can compare Fister to Shark all they want, but if their is no other team willing to make a deal for such low value then the market will quickly right itself. Remember the FO said they were willing to let the market play out even until after Tanaka.

    Also like John said Shark is 1 year younger than Fister, he has about 300 less Innings pitched than Fister which equates to about 1.5 - 2yrs of wear on the arm, and some teams believe that Shark is not a finished product yet so there is room to project value.

    So yeah, I think the Fister trade will end up being more of a result of Detroit management dumping salary and end up being a big outlier when it's all said and done.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Now I'm sure the Fister trade with Washington was much more about dumping salary then acquiring the best combination of talent...

    The Angels beat writer...

    Alden Gonzalez ‏@Alden_Gonzalez 2h

    Before Kinsler-Fielder trade, #Angels offered #Tigers Kendrick for Fister. Wouldn't do it. Today, they got Lombardozzi/Krol/Ray from #Nats.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Saving salary appears to be part of it, but it doesn't seem like much of a salary dump. The Tigers saved $4 million, maybe $5 million this year. And holding out to get better/more prospects back doesn't run counter to cutting the big league payroll. It's certainly a reality check trade on Shark's value. But this value will surely go up during the first half if he has a good start to the season and without FAs adding to the available supply of pitching at the trade deadline.

    P.S. -- Regarding Angels deal. I wouldn't have made that deal either. Put it this way, if the Cubs were a contender and payroll was no concern, would you trade Shark for Kendrick? Heck no.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Its going to be more like 7 mil. He made 4 last year.

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    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    It seems to me that Detroit is setting themselves up to acquire one more pitcher or another stick. I can see letting Fister go because they had to send $30mil to Texas in the Fielder deal. Everyone thought it would be Porcello but he's younger and more cost-controlled. It's still a pretty formidable rotation with Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez and Porcello. Your #5 guy could be Smyly or someone in the minors.

    They probably don't have the depth to get a guy like Price or Samardzija in a trade, but hey - they just set the market awfully low!

    I could see them going for a guy like Granderson, Choo or Ellsbury.

    If they decide to go for Tanaka , and land him, wow, best 1-5 rotation in baseball in a landslide and losing Scherzer next year won't hurt quite as badly, so the one year float on Tanaka is not obnoxiously awful.

    I don't see Dirks as a starter. Dombrowski has a thing or two up his sleeve. Stealth is the operative word.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    It's gotta be a power bat, right? I mean it could be about making room to re-sign Scherzer, but I can't see them targeting another big FA SP. Plus Miggy only has 2yrs left... Like you said, that rotation is good enough; but who will replace Prince's 25+ HR's and 100+ RBI's? His name is not Ian Kinsler, that's for sure...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think they're going speed and defense. I see Ellsbury as a fit IF Austin Jackson can play a CO, or Choo. Maybe Granderson. MAYBE Robbie Cano, hmmmmmm? [STRETCH ALERT]

    Move Kinsler to DH and trade V-Mart who I always thought was way overrated.

    Probably -- Castellanos comes up to play 3B, Miggy goes to first. Iglesias is a defensive wiz. Kinsler is better than Infante. The weakest OF link would be Torii Hunter which is slightly below average for a corner outfielder. Jackson plays RF and Choo, Ellsbury or Granderson gets CF.

  • Andrew Bailey got non-tendered, it seems like it was a bluff after all to try to trade him... I hope the Cubs get him, he's definitely a good flyer.


    Looks like the Red Sox non-tender Andrew Bailey after all

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    Anyone know what Fister is projected to get in arbitration this year? Can't be the $11 mil per that Kazmir got today. I've very happy with that trade if I'm Washington.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    He is projected by MLBTR to earn $6.9MM this year from Arbitration

  • Red Sox non tender RP A. Bailey & OF R. Kalish.

  • Add John Axford to the list of former closers who have been non-tendered

  • There's more and more sentiment that we will land Tanaka, assuming he's posted.

    Really if we did and re-signed Shark, to go along wit ha top FA SP next year and CJE, Wood, Arrieta, etc... that's playoff caliber, no?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I heard that part of the posting system that MLB has proposed to the NPB includes a biding cap, and that if multiple teams' bids reach the cap, then the bidding would be awarded to the team with the worst record in the previous season

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    I'd love to see that system implemented this season...and then changed in a few years when the Cubs are hopefully better. That article linked above said the cap would be $20M, so ideally that would be a bit higher.

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    I read something somewhere where it said if they implemented a cap and multiple teams bid the max, then the player could choose who to negotiate with like any FA.... Obviously, nothing is finalized yet

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Maybe....though lots of uncertainty. Tanaka...who knows how good he will be? Edwards hasn't pitched above A ball, Wood has had one good season and Arrieta hasn't even had that. So our "certain" pieces are Shark, who I consider a #3, and hopefully a #1 we sign. I wouldn't be buying non-refundable playoff tix until I see a bit more.

  • One reason the Cubs got so much WAR from part-time players is that they had so many of them. When they have actual major leaguers in the OF, 3B, SP and RP, they'll have far fewer opportunities for part-time players, and thus less WAR from them.

  • when i heard about the doug fister return, i honestly thought that thats about what the cubs could get for edwin jackson. very disappointed and i hope gm's around the league realize that this trade shouldn't have any type of consequence in price/anderson/samardzija deals.

  • I think losing Navarro wasn't so much about the money--because after all, he had roughly 100 G and 300+ ABs for the Cubs last year. He can start 1-2x per week and pinch hit another 3x per week. If he could keep up what he did last year, he would easily be worth 4 mil/year.

    But the problem is more that he's unlikely to repeat the performance and he wants to be a starting catcher.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    True, and I think the Cubs really want to give Castillo more ABs this year than last year.

  • Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs
    Lim, Bard, Gamel non tendered, per Cubs. Everyone else tendered. Kottaras and Murphy sign deals.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Also, Donnie Murphy signs 1yr for $825K, can make up to $1.175 w incentives...

  • It's the midway point of Winter ball and so far the story has been Junior Lake crushing the ball (+ Rubi Silva in a smaller sample size)...

    Junior Lake - Playing LF - Batting 3rd or 4th in the lineup every day
    Estrella (Dominican League)

    22 games - .360 avg/404 obp/.465 slg% - 6 stolen bases
    40 total bases in 86 ab's - .869 OPS

    Rubi Silva - Playing LF - Batting 2nd in the lineup mostly
    Leones de Ponce (Caribbean League)

    11 games - .372 avg/.413 obp/.465 slg%
    20 total base in 43 ab's - .878 OPS

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Good to see those guys playing well. Only thing is neither seems to be hitting with much power.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I thought about that.

    I'm guessing for both those guys in their End-of-Year interviews the front Office stressed Contact, Plate Approach, and OBP as the main things to work on during the winter. That's been the problem for both of them, so it makes sense that they would be assigned "Contact" as their winter homework assignment. What do you think?

  • The Lim non-tender surprises me. I know his contract was weird (I think it was a split deal?), is it possible there's a provision that they can remove him from the 40 man and still retain the minor league portion of his deal?

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I don't believe that is possible. Would be nice. I think if it were the case they would have kept him. He may have to sign a minor league deal and he may well stay with the team. There should be opportunities.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    That's why I was surprised they brought him up for a look last fall. I remembered reading that when they did that, he would have to clear waivers if they released him or sent him back down. They could have just left him in the minors. Weird... I assumed they would tender him, but obviously either they have a side deal worked out or decided to go in another direction.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Considering how goofy that contract sounded, who knows what other terms were included in the deal. Maybe if the Cubs didn't put him on the 40 man after year 1, he had the ability to select free agency? Then it'd make sense why they put him on the 40 man. Otherwise, I agree with you, wouldn't make much sense to put him on the 40 man at the end of last year if it meant risking losing him this year.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Yeah, the whole thing was weird then and even more weird now. I can't find the link I had last year that spelled out the details, but basically it was worth up to $5MM on some sliding scale depending on performance at certain levels.

    This could be nothing more than a financial decision if he was set to make $3MM-$4MM. IDK, Could we find a replacement cheaper? He didn't exactly dominate in his limited MLB exposure like he did in the minors. He'll be 38yo this year so maybe they just decided to let him go while they looked for longer term pieces....

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    The A's are going to win a lot of games next year.

  • I like Atchison. Didn't realize he was 38 though. Suppose that doesn't matter as much out of the bullpen.

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    Missed a lot of the Fister talk.

    Personally, I don't think the Nats/Details deal affects the market for Shark much at all.

    The Tigers and Cubs are about as far apart as two teams can get at this point and I think that affects negotiations a lot.

    The Tigers are a WS caliber team, so if they're dangling a starter, they have absolutely zero leverage. Why would a top team be moving a good pitcher? Money is the answer one way or another. Either they don't want to pay him or they think Smyly could do the same cheaper.

    Regardless, they are in no place to demand a lot. They're not going to be able to convincingly say "we can just keep him" because that's exactly what they would do if it was an option.

    The Cubs are not even remotely close to WS caliber. They're rebuilding and it's no secret. They have a low payroll and can easily afford every cent if Shark's contract. And they have no need to move him unless it is for a good return.

    The only effect this has in a Shark trade is that it takes Washington out of the picture.
    And like John was saying, if they're not willing to part with Gioloto, there's no deal there anyway.

    No way the FO lowers their demands. Especially considering this means there's one fewer starting pitcher on the market. Demand remains high and supply just went down.

  • This roster is intriguing in that there are still 8 or 10 players that could be released or traded without harming the team too much. Middling prospects, role players and underperforming starters are plentiful. I see this last bit of turnover happening gradually this year, after which we'll really start seeing Theo and Jed's team on the field.

    2015 really is "Year One". Unfortunately, the free agent market looks pretty weak next year to supplement what needs to happen. This trade season is going to have a significant impact on how quickly this team rises.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Agreed. But be prepared to be sorely disappointed. I'm expecting more middling prospects, role players and underperforming pitchers. But, hey, they'll be "Value" pick ups who won't hurt us when we're ready to compete in 2015? Or is it 2017? Seems its gotten pushed back lately as we push for the handful of our actual elite MLB players to be traded for, yes, more prospects! Because, you know, you just can't have enough prospects.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I fully expect Baez and Bryant by mid-season. It changes everything. They may not succeed right away, but they offer us a real middle-of-the-order, something not seen since DLee and ARam.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    From your lips (fingertips?) to Theo's ear (eyes?), Mr. Wilson. I'm really frustrated. I want to keep Shark. I want to sign Tanaka. I want to see Olt seize the day and Rizzo, Castro, Castillo to take charge. I want Lake to continue to excite. I want to see really tangible progress, not merely more projections and more prospects. I, damn it, I want Ellsbury too! All of the above, and the Cubs would be so exciting and maybe, just maybe, buyers instead of sellers in late July. I can happen! Right?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Actually, the FA class next year has several impact players. Of course Kershaw, Scherzer, Lester, etc. may never make it to FA... How many of the others actually make it to FA is the question....

  • If the Cubs are going to "compete" in 2015, they will have to bring up their young "core" players in early 2014. These players will need MLB experience in 2014 for it translate to a good team in 2015. What this means is that the management should be prepared to "break camp" with Baez & Bryant, at the minimum, if they have a good spring training outing. Cubs need to pick up a table setter this year--either Ellsbury or Shoo. Pitching wise, fans can expect at least one starting pitcher to emerge from the farm system in 2014.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    I don't think they're looking for any short cuts like you describe. Ellsbury and Choo do not nothing to help this team except show fans that don't seem to comprehend the definition of "LONG TERM plan" that they're willing to waste draft picks and millions of dollars on window dressing.... Do you really think the addition of Ellsbury or Choo would have made us a contender last year?....

    Realistically, we can't expect Baez & Bryant to break camp with the big team until 2015, at the earliest. They probably won't be up until late 2014. There's still no guarantee that they won't need more time in the minors for parts of 2015.

    I think it's more like 2016 before the "Big 4" can be counted on consistently at the MLB level and 2017 before we can "expect" to consistently go deep into the playoffs. Where would Ellsbury or Choo fit in then?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hooosier...How do you suppose Ellsbury would be a"short cut?" The Cubs don't have a table setter. The Cubs don't have a table setter in the minors who can come up and have impact. Where are you going to get a proven table setter? Time will tell, but if Cubs are expecting to compete in 2015, then 2014 has to be when the core gets experience.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Not just Ellsbury or Choo, but promoting any of our prospects before they are ready is a short cut. Look how that worked out for Castro.... I think they'll be careful to not repeat that. Your entire premise is based on being competitive by 2015. Which IMO, is not realistic.

    But why would we sign Ellsbury? No one outside of the current BOS administration knows his worth better than our FO. He's 30yo, and Boras is on record as expecting a 7yr $150MM contract for him. Oh and we have to give up a draft pick too... How is that worth 3-4 extra wins per year? Especially the first 2-3 years of his contract while we're still "re-building". Trust me, if this FO expected to be competitive by 2015, they'd be balls out after him and other FA bats.... But they're not, so can we bank on him still being a 3-4 WAR player once we are really competitive? He wouldn't be a terrible addition. But his contract may prevent us from going after other meaningful FA's in the future which we may need more than him. I think the Cubs are rumored to be in on him, on their terms... which means some desperate "win now" team will sign him because he will expect a premium, not a discount to come to Chicago for a rebuild. John wrote an article about the pro's and con's of signing Ellsbury and it was discussed ad nausseum there. It should be in the archives.

    My point was, and still is; I don't believe this F.O. or anyone with "REALISTIC" expectations are thinking we will be competitive by 2015. We're all frustrated, but the time to spend $150MM is not now.... but next year or the year after. You simply can not buy a rebuild. Nor can a major overhaul of the entire system or any "long term" plan be completed in 3 years. They're a hair over 2 years into what will likely be a 5 year process.... If you are expecting them to be competitive in 2015, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment, IMO.

    But to answer your questions about "table setters" within our organization currently... we still don't know. Will Junior Lake be a consistent table setter?... What about Alcantara, Reggie Golden, Szczur, Andreoli, etc?... All of them might be, or may just be part timers, we don't know yet. Will Castro or Almora prove to be table setters or 6/7 type hitters?.... We still don't know for sure.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Castro has been doing fine. Had a down year last year. I suspect he will come back to his natural level.

    Regarding Bryant & Baez, if they have an very good ST, don't see why FO would want to baby these guys--maybe month or two in the minors, but that would be it. We are talking about 20+ year old.

    Table setter is critical--when the Cubs did well, Dernier was key. And as you pointed out, we don't have one and won't have one that fits the role of lead-off anytime soon--I hope I am wrong.

    As far as Ellsbury or Choo...Well, if you don't have an established lead-off man, then have to find one. Free agents is the only way to get an established lead-off man without giving up young talent needed for "sustained success."

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    I've long been in this camp.

    We do need a table-setter, we do need a lefty-hitting outfielder, all rolled into one. Wait until next year, and you see Span, Crisp and Gardner available as free agents. Crisp is too old. Gardner and Span? Well, they're not exactly impact guys, and they'll be over 30 as well.

    It's not good enough.

    I'm mostly excited about Ellsbury and Choo because they can actually help to make our offense considerably more respectable in 2014. Add Baez and Bryant by July, and this is a whole new team. I think those guys need the support of an impact bat so they don't put so much pressure on themselves to be The Man, like Rizzo and Castro have been doing.

    Fire up the offense with an impact veteran bat, and all four of these guys will feel less pressure, not to mention have someone special to learn from. A guy like Ellsbury is really going to be like another coach, a mentor. I really think it will help.

  • I honestly think Baez and Bryant will have an immeadiate impact because:
    1-the FO wont bring them up till they are ready
    2-I think even if there averages arent high, these kids will hit the longball
    3-there arrival should take some pressure off Castro/Rizzo and give them protection

  • With the Dodgers surplus in the outfield, and their apparent willingness to eat the majority of the contract of any of the three albatross OF contracts they have, with the hope of acquiring a good, but not great prospect, what about trading Christian Villanueva or someone of that ilk, for Andre Eithier and agreeing to pay about $45-50M of the remaining $69M on his deal.
    That comes out to about $11.25-12.5M/year over 4 years for a 31 year old former gold glover (in RF, yes, but better than average CF), true lead off hitter who has never had an OBP of less than .350 in his career, a veteran presence, left handed bat, and only a 4 year commitment allowing time for Almora to continue to develop. Not to mention when Almora is ready, should Soler or Bryant not have forced their way into RF, he can easily slide over to RF and be a plus defender.

  • I pass on Els and Choo. Chalk it up as bad timing. 2014 is another assess and develop year. I agree that the best success starts with good table setters and Hoosier is correct the Cubs have candidates on the way. Alcantara, Almora. Andreoli, and Szczur for starters.

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