In the Tanaka aftermath, can the Cubs still hang on to Samardzija?

Today I spoke to a source who believes that coming up short on Masahiro Tanaka may end up costing the Cubs Jeff Samardzija.  It’s always been my understanding that it’s more about winning for Samardzija than it is dollars and cents.

Barring an unexpectedly good offer, don’t expect that trade to happen this offseason.

The understanding I have is that the Cubs would prefer to keep Samardzija, but another losing season may force their hand.

It’s difficult to be optimistic about the Cubs chances in 2014.  They will start the season with largely the same roster that finished up the 2013 season at 66-96.  It seems likely that if the Cubs have another sell-off at the trade deadline, it will include Samardzija this time.

There are essentially two ways to prevent that from happening.  The obvious way is that they extend him before the season starts.  The way things stand now, that seems unrealistic.

The other way to keep Samardzija is for the Cubs to surprise and make significant progress toward a contending team.  While that is admittedly improbable, the same source said that if that happens, “nobody is going anywhere.”

That said, it seems like 2014 is about getting all their ducks in a row for 2015.  With several top prospects reaching the upper minors, the Cubs will have a good idea about their direction moving forward.  In addition, the Cubs will learn a lot about several young pitchers, including Jake Arrieta, Justin Grimm, Alberto Cabrera, Kyle Hendricks, Arodys Vizcaino, and Dallas Beeler.  Can they be part of the rotation?  The bullpen?

There is also the question of the core players.  Can Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro bounce back?  Can Welington Castillo build on his strong 2nd half?  Can Travis Wood extend his good 2013 performance into 2014?

There’s a lot of questions to be answered and indirectly, it all affects Jeff Samardzija and whether he remains a Cub.  I, for one, hope he stays because that will only happen if the Cubs play well.  Trading him would essentially mean taking another step back.  And I’ve been as patient with the rebuilding process as anyone out there, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want them to start putting some wins together.  When the trade deadline comes around in 2014, I’m hoping the Cubs will be in a position to buy a piece that will help them for the present and the future.


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  • Do you think the return will be as significant if he is dealt midseason rather than now?
    Thanks for article

  • In reply to Tide23:

    You're welcome. I think it depends on how he does. If he pitches well then I think they'll get more than they were offered this offseason.

  • I think Samardzija could be traded in July, because he said he would change his stance if they were to sign Tanaka... So, they would have to do better than they look on paper for Samardzija to even be a little more convinced.

    If the Cubs need to sell again this season you can bet Samardzija is almost a goner..

    I'm just not sure the Cubs owe anything to Samardzija, not until he starts fulfilling his promise... That said, I think I only have patience for 1 more year.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think that sums up my feelings pretty well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When a player says over and over it's not about the money, It's most always about the money. If the Cubs offered him TOR $ today, I suspect he signs on the dotted line today. It has nothing to do with the Cubs ability to win right now, it's about the MONEY, problem lies in the fact Jeff's #'s warrant him middle of rotation $.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agree, Caps & John. Somewhere in the back of his head, spellcheck is still upset about the loss of he NTC/paycut. Too bad too, as he'll miss out on the sporting phenomena of the 21st century..... a Cubs WS winner!

  • In reply to Caps:

    True - barring some FA signing for a flippable contract the only real short-term for long-term swap trade chips the Cubs have on the current roster come the July deadline are Samardzija, Scheirholtz, Barney (if his offense rebounds resoundingly), and Castro. And I would argue that Castro is really only flippable and expendable if Olt has become a factor at 3B, and if Bryant and Baez force the Cubs hand and get playing time in the majors. Maybe Veras if some team in a playoff hunt needs closer or setup guy help.

    Of these guys - only Castro and Samardzija have real trade return value.

    I certainly hope that the Cubs find themselves within 'spitting distance' of 0.500 in July,... so that we have some sign that a contender might be coming and soon. However, it would appear an unlikely thing to happen.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    This front office was able to get Arrieta and Strop for Feldman and Clevenger. I wouldn't be suprised if they were able to get a good return on trades involving Scheirholtz or Barney

  • In reply to JoeV10:

    If fact, they got excellent returns for everyone they traded.

    Except DeJesus.

    Anyone have any ideas why they had to settle for a handful of cash for him. I would have thought he would have brought a lot more than Hairston.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    He was placed on waivers and claimed by the Nats.... much to everyone's surprise, they let the Nats have him. The Nats didn't want him, they were just trying to block a deal to someone else. Rizzo being an astute GM himself turned him into something for them...

  • In reply to JoeV10:

    True - the definately got value back from just about everybody they have traded since the new management took over.

    Volstad for Zambrano to Miami was a bust both ways,... but at least it got a festering sore out of the clubhouse.

    Colvin for Stewart was a bit lopsided favoring Denver, but really neither side did well in the long-run from that one either.

    Most swaps since have brought back some potential value. If Vizciano and Hendricks get some playing time this season (not to mention Christian Villaneuva's future potential) those trades of Maholm and Dempster will be looking more like brilliant long-term moves.

    The Hauls gotten back from trading Feldman!, Garza, and even Soriano are looking brilliant (so far) as well - especially the immediate returns from the Feldman trade.

    I'm sure that if Scheirholtz or Barney is moved this season - the return will have some potential, even if that potential is a developmental year or two (or three) from being realized at a ML level.

  • There seems to be a consensus that they'll wait til the deadline on you guys worry about the injury/underperformance risk in that gambit?

    Although the return ended up being very solid for Garza,you can argue that Epstoyer mishandled the process that almost left them with nothing. He should've been dealt after '11 season; they came quite close to getting nothin for him, due to injuries.

    I can still see TOR ponying up a good offer for Shark this offseason -given that they only really have Santana & Jimenez available to them. I can't see TB making a deal with them for Price.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think my biggest concern is waiting until July puts them between a rock and a hard place when it comes to starting pitching.

    The top 2015 starters are Homer Bailey, Justin Masterson, Max Scherzer and James Shields. What if Bailey and Scherzer are signed to extensions, but the Royals and Indians can't get anything done and are out of the playoffs? Now, all of the sudden, you have 2 top pitchers available to go with Jeff. And to make matters worse, it's probably the 2 the Cubs would least like to sign in the offseason.

    That's the worst of both worlds. A depleted Shark trade value due to supply coupled with less than desirable free agent options.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    The hindsight thinking on waiting too long to trade a pitcher can happen in every case. The Garza trade ultimately did work out, but the Cubs obviously waited too long to trade Marmol and got little in return (Matt Gurrier).

    (Personally I was calling to trade Marmol after the 2010 season and just before Hendry signed him to that foolish extension. That's when, in hindsight, the Cubs would have received maximum value in return.)

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I don't think that the Garza situation was mishandled. There are always risks in trades. If you trade someone now, you run the risk that you could have gotten more if you waited. If you wait, you might get nothing.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I agree they over played their hand with Garza and got very Lucky to get anything for him. I see them taking same approach with Shark, hope they trade him sooner than later.

  • Cubs with 3 top 20 prospects.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Meaning at least 12 teams didn't have any. I wonder who they are.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    There are 15: Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Royals, White Sox, Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Nationals, Marlins, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, Giants and Padres.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Yes, we had 7 top 100 prospects like Boston and only 2 fewer than the leading Astros. In addition, if Mike Olt returns to form, he's certainly a top 20 prospect as well.

  • In reply to krn99:

    Correction please, Boston had 9 and Houston 7.

  • If the offense produces exactly as it did in APR - MAY of 2013, the Cubs could actually represent a nice surprise in the NL Central... During that period last year, the bullpen blew an awful lot of quality starts... If we believe the bullpen's actually better this year v. last, I don't think it's a stretch to see the Cubs outperform early expectations.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Problem is - they are going to have to count on a very thin (or at least unproven) rotation at this stage to produce consistent quality starts if they do start out like they did beginning of last season.

    After Samardzija (assuming he's not traded before season start) and Wood (assuming he doesn't regress from last season), you have problems.

    IF Jackson reverts closer to his career numbers in ERA and can keep his pitch counts down, you have an adequate warm body you can trot out there as the #3 guy,...

    But then you have a choice among Finesse Lefty Rusin, Erratic power pitcher Arietta, Consistent but unspectacular swing-man Villanueva, and a small set of #4/#5 prospect pitchers with little to no experience against ML hitters in Cabrera, Hendricks, Beeler, Raley, and recently acquired Brett Marshall.

    Unless they bring in a short-term FA like Maholm (if healthy), or Baker (if healthy and willing to take an incentive laden contract) - that's not a rotation that's going to strike 'fear' into the hearts of most ML level hitters.

    Defense behind them should be solid,.... which will help,.... but runs are going to be thin, and starting pitching is sort of an unknown at present.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Why would the offense produce like it did last spring since we no longer have numerous key run producers from that period and have not added any?

  • In reply to krn99:

    my larger point was the train wreck of a bullpen the cubs fielded last season. you'd grant me that the bullpen was horrendous?

    the starters, through the first two mos last season, were
    - 4th in ERA (even with EJax's horrendous 5.76)
    - 1st in BAA
    - 2nd in WHIP
    - 9th in IPs

    ...and were the only team under .500 among the top 13 staffs in baseball.

    not saying that the cubs may not have lost some oomph on the basepaths for 2014, but when you lose 9 games in the first 2 mos after your starters have left with leads..? that's raw sewage, right there.

    let's say they pull 7 of those 9 home with even an average bullpen... their record on JUN 1 would've been 31 - 23. the starters' performances were wasted by an inept bullpen.

    the other piece of your argument, though, is that the cubs have lost enough offense, that we've traded the bad bullpen for a horrid offense. don't want to put words in your mouth, but that's what it sounded like...

    i don't think the loss of offense represented by soriano, bogusevic, sappelt, et al equate to what the 2013 bullpen did to the cubs at the beginning of the season.

    heck, the guys that are gone really only represent league avg OPS+ numbers and from an oWAR standpoint, we're really just talking about DeJesus and Soriano.

    Sweeney/Lake can be expected to fill much of the CF gap and Ruggiano's going to have to make up much of the gap in LF...but the gamble's really got to be put squarely on Castro. he finished 2013 with a 0.4 oWAR...and he's still your starting SS.

    Castro, Rizzo, Lake, Olt...those guys show up, the starters perform and the bullpen's solid? that's a formula for a much better start in 2014.

  • In reply to krn99:

    It is funny that Theo would know that. I suspect he does and ants another high draft pick as getting anyone to be the ace without paying them the going RATE IS DIFFICULT. Tanaka was there biggest hope.

    know they will trade Jeff Samar.....

  • Almora 18th and Bryant 9th.

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    OT, but Patrick Mooney's slide into Scott Boras mouthpiece continues unabated:

    Also, Javy Baez placed 7th on's top prospects. Way too low, in my opinion.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I could swear he was going to be top 5... If anything, he's got similar power than Sano and more well rounded and he plays a premium position.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought Mooney's article was pretty good, critical in some aspects, positive in others. Why the "Boras' mouthpiece" shot? What did you specifically disagree with in the article?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    You could rip into him for agreeing with Boras but that column/video is spot on.

  • 7 Cubs in top 100 , been awhile since farm looked like this , 3 in top 18 . CJ got some real love Soler and Baez too low

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Vogelbach seems pissed. Can't say I blame him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hopefully it motivates him to lose some weight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    He's already lost about as much weight as he can lose on that frame.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree on Baez; I thought he should have been top 5 as well, but don't forget that Soler missed much of the year with injuries and didn't play all that well either.

  • I'm hopping on the Score 670 in about 10 minutes. Please listen in if you can. I'll try not to screw up.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Will do!

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks for listening Caps!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Great job, man!! Among the chaos with the rooftop owners, Boras, Passan, Wittenmyer, Paul Sullivan and others... You sound like a real voice of reason... And like me, you don't jump into conclusions one way or the other without any proof to support your statements... Good job.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nice job, John. Really enjoyable listen. Your reasonableness came through nicely.

  • In reply to Gerald:

    Thanks, Gerald. I appreciate that. I tried to keep it balanced.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't always get the Score here in S. Dakota but had a chance to hear your comments... good job, John. Everything you said regarding the rooftops, prospects, and re-build is a carbon copy of what you mention here on a daily basis.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Thanks Paulson. I didn't know you were out in South Dakota. I tried to stay consistent. Joe does a good job of setting me up. He's very good at what he does.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No idea who this John Arguello guy is, but everything he said on the Score I have been reading on a blog called the Cubs Den.


    Well done John.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Haha! Thanks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    nice job on the Score. i enjoyed the segment

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Thanks Tide.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My cousin, Eldon Ham, is occasionally on WSCR talking legal issues. I always seem to hear about it after. Now you're doing this to me. As with him, I would have loved to listen in. I am sure you did great.

    BTW, I grew up in Wyoming, IL and Eldon in Toulon. I suspect those towns familiar to you from your Bradley days.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Heard you on the Score last night on the way home from work. Great job! You have convinced me. I am in for one more year of staying the course. I hope we start seeing a few glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel by the end of the year though.

  • In reply to RxMan55:

    Thanks Rx! I really think this is the year they get things set up for 2015. Not to dismiss this year because anything can happen, but I think we're going to learn a lot about where the Cubs are going this summer.

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    I think Shark was going to get moved whether we signed Tanaka or not.

    If he's not moved by the deadline it'll only be because they're still waiting for the best offer.

    I think the season is a lost cause and I'm a-ok with that as long as we get more minor league progress and make some good trades.

  • He's stated that he would not re-sign with a team that trades for him and pass up a chance at free agency. That makes me think that they may need to trade him at least by mid-season (if they think he won't re-sign) to get good value.

    I just don't see most teams making a 6-month rental like the Rangers with the disproportionate value of prospects in a market with ever escalating salaries.

  • In reply to Deacon:

    Jeff is not a 2015 free agent; he goes out with Price in 2016.

  • Without Tanaka I think Shark's as good as gone by the trade deadline if he's putting up numbers like two years ago. If Garza can still get $13M AAV with his health concerns, I'd believe JS will be getting around $16M per, which I don't believe the Cubs would pay.

    Baez is probably a bit low on the MLB list and Sano a bit high, but having 7 prospects in the top 100 is simply awesome. If not for injury concerns Vizcaino and Olt would also be in the discussion for top 100 and Vogelbach can't be too far away... what an awesome farm system the Cubs have built.

  • On an unrelated matter, does anybody know what our current expected payroll is for the year? We ended the year at $100MM but with some of Sori's contract being paid by the Yankees and a few other big salaries off the it stands now are we looking at $70MM? $80MM? Apologies if this is has been posted elsewhere.

  • Lets hope he pitches well until July 30

  • I am sure that every organization is like this, but it seems like these prospects that came to the Prospect Camp last week really seem to get along, respect each other, cheer for each other and really have a sense about what is going on here.

    Nice to see them tweet out stuff about their future teammates.

    Again, maybe everyone is doing it, but encouraging that these guys are going to know each other well when they make it to Chicago.

  • john great job on the score, I like the point you made about not having to have the number one pitcher at this moment. If we can get 3-5 from inside the org then that would be huge. I have to ask why neil ramirez doesn't come up when we talk about call ups this year ? And what are your thoughts on him ?

  • In reply to seankl:

    thanks. Ramirez is a possibility for later this year. I think he, Hendricks and Beeler get first crack of the SP prospects.

  • He's been a starter for only 2 years now which isn't enough time to grow into a consistent TOR type pitcher. There's not a whole lot of inexperienced starting pitchers that throw 213 innings with 214 K's in their 2nd year of starting in the mlb. The consistency will come with more reps and a better understanding of how to pitch an entire mlb game rather then an inning or 2 like he was doing only 2 years ago. And it bothers me that some people are saying hopefully he pitches well before the deadline so we can get some good pieces for him but if he's doing well why would you ever want to trade him? I love prospects and young talent just as much as anyone else but you don't give up young talent for some more young talent. If he becomes the guy we hoped he would be we shouldn't even think about trading him. He's an athletic freak who's only a junior in school terms as far as starting pitching experience goes and that's usually when players become more comfortable with their approach and their game really starts to mature. And this guy wants it badly. Big mistake if we trade him instead

  • Just reposting lower in the thread...

    Great job, man!! Among the chaos with the rooftop owners, Boras, Passan, Wittenmyer, Paul Sullivan and others... You sound like a real voice of reason... And like me, you don't jump into conclusions one way or the other without any proof to support your statements... Good job

  • Not only am I impatient to compete but I don't feel optimistic about the return Shark will bring. Prospects are unknown till they aren't, especially pitching. On a totally different item, who is holding up the DH from the NL? It seems like a winner all the way around.

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    In reply to rsanchez11:

    Ugh. Why not have 9 DH's then. You could field a team of Darwin Barneys and then send up the local beer-league guys to the plate. No thank you. I'd prefer the AL got rid of it, but it created jobs for aging sluggers and fattys who can't play D and the union will never allow it.

  • So is this article saying Shark won't sign ANY contract extension until the Cubs prove they are contenders? If not, then obviously his decision is mostly about dollars at this point. He wants to be paid at or close to a level as if he were a free agent coming on the market right now. It's fine for him to demand this, and it's fine of the Cubs to refuse it.

    Based on this then, if the Cubs were to start the first two months of the season in first place, then I can't see Shark suddenly accepting the Cubs' early extension discount that they are now offering. If anything, if he feels he's key to that new competitiveness, his price goes up further. So it's mostly all about the dollars. Shark maximizing them, and the Cubs minimizing them.

  • How about Cubs buy a player who can help in present and future NOW. And I'd prefer they pay with cash now instead of prospects in July.

  • In reply to Teddy P:

    They tried hard with Tanaka, who would have been ideal because the price was cash and not prospects, but the Yankees reportedly outbid the Cubs by a whopping $35M (according to Mooney on CSN.Chicago).

  • John, if you're right about the idea that it's more about winning than dollars and cents with Samardzija and that then influences him to not want to sign here, then he really doesn't believe in the direction, does he? Why would he not want to be part of a winning, perhaps history making, culture here if he believes it will happen? I really wouldn't want to see him go, but if he can't get on board with this rebuild, then maybe it's good riddance. We need everyone pulling in the same direction.

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    Not signing Tanaka probably makes it more likely Samardzija is traded before July 31st, but neither thing is all bad. Another top 10 draft is probably almost a given.

    The Cubs are going to get there. It's just going to take longer.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Fangraphs has them projected for finishing with the third worst record in MLB this year.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I don't think they will do that poorly.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If the Cubs trade Samardzija, and I am all for it, I would think we'd have two more years of top ten picks. They may have the #1 pick in 2015 with or without Samardzija.

    I feel like this year's team is similar to the initial roster in the movie 'Major League'. Maybe Renteria is the second coming of Lou Brown.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    When you say two more years of top ten picks do you mean in 2015 and 2016? If you do then I disagree. There is no way we pick in the top ten spots in 2015 and 2016.

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    We don't have the pitching depth at all to allow Shark to leave. Look no further than the MLB Top 100 prospects; there are 58 pitchers total on that list.....we have 2 (Edwards and Johnson), and Pierce barely made the list at #100.

    Theo and Co. certainly have improved the farm system since taking question, but we started at such a low state we still have way too much work to do in pitching to allow any young starter to walk

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    In reply to Zonk:

    If Samardzija doesn't want to be a Cub, the FO has no choice but to trade him.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    But he's still Cub property for 2015 too. They don't have to play their hand just yet. A solid 2014 by Smudge combined with draft pick compensation will still make him attractive next winter.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Meh. If (big if) they take a pitcher with their first pick and then trade Samardzija (presumably for at least 1 top 50 pitching prospect), then you have 4 pitching prospects in the top 100 (assuming Pierce and Edwards stay on the same path) and that's not even accounting for any other pitchers that may have emerged. Not worried about the pitching depth, much more concerned about the fact we don't have anyone that looks like a #1/2.

  • I'm trading Jeff and Edwin Jackson to the highest bidders I can drum up and putting a big star next to October, 2016.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    It'd be fantastic if Shark and EJax have good first halves and we can trade both at the deadline for good pitching prospects.

  • John good jon on the score! I dont like trading shark but a top ten prospect and another top 5 pick isnt terrible if your looking towards our future.

  • I don't give a d about top ten prospects; what I want to see is legitimate front of the rotation prospects. A lot of teams have over-hyped top ten prospects that are #4-5 at best. Finding and acquir4ing legitimate 1,2, and 3 pitching prospects is tough; just ask Theo who has been trying for 2+ years and hasn't even got one yet. Edwards and Johnson have to start pitching more than 4-5 innings per start against low minor leaguers to be legitimate front of the rotation pitchers. We need starters who can give us 220 innings plus the playoffs and World Series. 5 inning pitchers against minor leaguers won't get us there.

  • It definitely feels like the org took a step back this offseason. And that's saying something since last year's payroll was less than Boston's was in 2001. I think the Cubs were counting on signage revenue coming sooner that it now seems likely that it will.
    I think they have to trade Shark for the best pitching prospects they can, and not worry about those prospects being on the cusp of reaching the majors.

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    Have a little faith fellas!! Keep in mind, the cubs played an awful lot of games in which they lost by one or two runs oo many times. If we would have won half of those games or a little more than half, the records would have been better and we'd be picking in the teens instead of number 5 in the upcoming draft. Renteria is going to be a godsend and will exceed every one's initial expectation. Woods and Arrieta will be competitive, Jax,shark, Castillo, and Castro will improve. Rizzo will hit 260 plus and his defense and leadership will make feed off tremendously, Watkins will supplant Barney, Veras will take off where Gregg left off. Olt will hold his own with power and RBI while hitting 240-250 and gold glove defense. Lake will be a spark plug. Sweeney,Schierholz, and ruggiliano will be decent if not great. Baez and Bryant will come up in Late July in time for the playoff push. The cubs will not make the playoffs but surprise everyone with its scrappy competitive approach just in time for the push of all those studs in the minors! Have faith gents!

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    That sounds great to me, a competitive team with improving youngsters would make this summer much better

  • In reply to Cubsforlife:

    You are far more optimistic than I am Cubsforlife,.... but seeing what you write unfold is not impossible,.... and would be a pleasure to see happen.

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    Cubs and Wood avoid arbitration.

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    In reply to Ray:

    Mooney tweets that Wood would prefer to go year to year vs. sign long term. Advanced metrics point to a regression for Wood; it wouldn't surprise me at all if in 2014 E-Jax was the better pitcher.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Isn't that a change in Wood's stated position from mid year last season when I thought he publicly stated (I thought) his preference for an extension?

  • In reply to Ray:

    3.9 Million for a year,.... not too shabby. Good deal for both him and the team IMO.

    If he doesn't regress much from last year to this year - hope the Cubs try and get him on a couple year deal to buy out his first year or two of FA. Quality lefties are hard to find & I think they have one here.

  • It would appear that unless the baseball gods are smiling ont he Cubs and drop an ace in their lap, the franchsie will need to be creative to acquire an ace, or more likely, they will need to draft and develop one.

    I do not see a near term solution to this shortcoming in our starting core of the future.

    If some of the prgnostications about our prospects come true, in a couple of years we could a very good offense but lacking in top tier starters, which means run prevention would be an issue.

  • Not sure why so many are in a hurry to extend Shark. He hasn't proven himself yet, there is too much risk for many of these GMs in extending unproven players too early. Yeah, if you wait too long you end up paying more, that's true, but that's the cost of uncertainty resolution. I say Shark is under the Cubs' control for 2 more years, let him play it out at arby rates and if some team makes an attractive trade offer for him in the meantime, so be it. In the interim, he can help the Cubs win a few games, and we can use the wins.

  • as soon as someone offers a prospect that's at AA level or better and projects as a 1 or a 2 then I send him on his way , multiple prospects even better . No way He makes it thru the whole year as a Cub unless an extention happens by opening day .

  • John - first time poster, long time lurker. Started following the blog pre-draft and haven't left since. You do an excellent job and this has become my go-to site for Cub news and analysis. Keep up the excellent work.

    Seeing what it would have taken to land Tanaka, I'm glad the Cubs didn't get him. My immediate reaction was that Jeff has got to go for premium pitching prospects. What if we call Toronto again and offer Jeff & Vogelbomb for Sanchez & Stroman. Is that enough for Toronto to bite or do we need to offer more? Frankly, I just don't see how Vogs fits into our future line-ups.

  • In reply to BleacherBum:

    Vogelbach could get in the line up a number of ways. Rizzo could get sick or hurt. Rizzo could regress. NL could go DH. Rizzo could get traded for TOR SP. I would not want to trade him this early. He still has minimum 2 years to go in the minors. What is your hurry?

  • Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 32s
    An earnest shout of thanks to those that clicked on the #Cubs top 10 list. Traffic-wise, it was our most successful team list ever. #want

    We finally finished first in something....

  • So Shark wants to pitch for a contender and we have him for two more years, right? ...Then why not just wait and show him that the Cubs will contend in a couple of years (of course this assumes that all of our patience and hope isn't for naught). If it's strictly about winning, then I don't see the big deal about waiting. He'll be, what, 29 in a couple of years? 30? Whatever it is, it's a "young" 30 too, right? So just keep him.

    Also, remember when there was a report that the Cubs' payroll was going to increase by something like $20-25M this year? Ha.

    I'm starting to get bitter about this process.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Not everyone, especially the athletes themselves, are cool with 6 straight losing seasons, regardless of whether there is a plan in place or not. In his case, he's already endured 4 straight losing seasons, 3 of which were miserable. And he's very likely staring at another miserable one in 2014. Losing sucks, especially when you're on the team that's doing it, and the people that are partially responsible for how well the team fares, are purposely tanking seasons. I'm not saying either way what I agree / don't agree with, I can just unequivocally understand why he would want out.

    2014 (almost definitely)
    2015 (likely)

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    I definitely hear you. Though if 2015 is a punt as well, I'm going to be pissed.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    The 2014 season will go a long way in dictating that. In other words, I think "the plan" is still fairly fluid.

  • John I agree completely with you assessment of what Jeff wants. Jeff knows if he stays healthy and is productive in six months he will be traded and playing for a contender and in twelve months he will have the contract he feels he deserves. Jeff holds all the cards.

  • Hey Jeff… Everyone keeps saying it's about whether or not the Cubs do well. What about Shark? I think he has a lot to prove as well. He hasn't shown he can put together a whole season yet. He wilted in the second half of last season. Sure, you can blame some of it on the supporting cast, but on the same team, Wood had a better more consistent year than the "ace" did. He hasn't made me a believer yet...

  • There's no way Jeff will stay with this current lineup. I hope they kick the tires on Arroyo. Sign him for 2 years. The same length of time Shark has left as a Cub. Maybe that will convince him that the FO means business. What are they going to do with Baker? The rotation is filled with a lot of if's and when's.

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