A look ahead at the Winter Meetings: What the Cubs will look to do -- and what they won't

Over the last 3 seasons the Cubs have lost a lot of games.  But in that time they have built a foundation of young talent at the big league level as well as one of the best farm systems in baseball.  Nobody really disputes that.

It is also widely acknowledged that the Cubs are entering the next phase of the rebuilding process.  But I think some fans have taken this to mean that they should throw out everything they’ve done so far and go for it this offseason.  That is inaccurate.  The Cubs are not going to sell out their long term for the short term because of some artificial time frame.

Yes, they will start to acquire players who can help them win now.  Most notably they are pursuing 31 year old Jon Lester to head their staff.  They’re also expected to pursue veteran role players for their bench, bullpen, and perhaps another starter or platoon player.

But getting short term players doesn’t mean sacrificing their long term goals, which remain unchanged.

Among the things they won’t do…

1. They won’t trade good cost-controlled young  players or prospects for a veteran with one year left on his contract

These are the kind of players you deal for when you expect to win next season.  The Cubs are getting close, but they aren’t at the stage where you sacrifice some long term cost control for one year of a player.  In fact, you don’t really see any non-contending teams doing this.

The reason is you are trading for one year of a player and deals must be valued in that light.  The Cardinals can trade for Jason Heyward because they are  a legitimate World Series contender for 2015.  It makes no sense for the Cubs to risk potential long term players for 2015,  Moreover, Shelby Miller isn’t a player that was part of the Cardinals long term plans.  They have had 2 plus years to evaluate him and come to that decision.

The Cardinals are also in a position where adding 3-4 net wins in 2015 can have a significant impact.

The Cubs are not.

But what about extending that player?

That is all fine and dandy but you never pay good prospects for the right to negotiate a deal that a player would otherwise get on the open market.  Once you pay a player his fair market value, you have paid the appropriate price for that player’s worth.  Adding prospects on top of that adds to that cost.  In other words, you are paying the value of the extension + the value of the player(s) you gave up.

You are trading 6 years of a player for one year of another, often at a salary that is already close to market value.  Even if the prospect turns out to be a league average player over 6 years, that is still significantly more value.

You can say, so what?  It’s just money.  But that money could be used to acquire another player on the open market without having to lose a player or players in the first place.

In short, you are only getting one year’s worth of a player and after that you have to pay for him at market value — and that extension adds zero value to the deal.  You are essentially making a deal for 2015, a year in which the Cubs aren’t even expected to seriously contend anyway.

And also consider that the Cardinals deal is more of the exception. Ask yourself why a contending team would trade David Price or Jordan Zimmerman.  The answer is they know they are only trading one year of that player and potentially getting many in return, thereby extending their window by adding long term players and freeing future payroll space.  Does it make any sense that a non-contending team would value that one year more than a contender?

The equation changes once the Cubs become contenders or have short term talent they can exchange for short term talent, but that is not the case right now.

2 Giving up on top prospects and young ballplayers

There are a lot of people who have already written off Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, or minor leaguers like Albert Almora and figure now is the time to give them away and get short term value,  Why?

The Cubs cannot make a decision on such small sample sizes and give up on them for the sake of short term gain.  If they can get an equivalent talent with similar long term value, that is one thing, but giving up careers for the 2015 season just doesn’t make sense.

Giving up on them simply because they are prospects and not sure things — or because they struggled to start their career (as more and more prospects are doing as the gap between AAA talent and MLB talent has seemingly increased over the past few years) is a reactionary, knee-jerk move that could come back to bite them down the road.

Take a look at what Bill James projects for young Cubs players (h/t Bleed Cubbie Blue)

Arismendy Alcantara: 154 G, 582 AB, 38 2B, 19 HR, 70 RBI, 48 BB, 32 SB, .259/.317/.450
Javier Baez: 152 G, 612 AB, 33 2B, 32 HR, 82 RBI, 48 BB, 23 SB, .242/.298/456
Kris Bryant: 152 G, 530 AB, 32 2B, 33 HR, 75 RBI, 66 BB, 18 SB, .266/.347/.517
Jorge Soler: 146 G, 542 AB, 36 2B, 28 HR, 94 RBI, 67 BB, 2 SB, .247/.330/.483

Not bad (and maybe a bit optimistic), butthe arrow is pointing up on all of them.  They will presumably get even better.  Now consider that potential production comes at rock bottom prices for the first 6 years of their career.  That gives you payroll flexibility to add elsewhere, which takes us to our last point.

3. They won’t use a large amount of resources and surplus to acquire needs they can more cheaply fill within the organization (i.e. RH hitting, power bullpen arms)

We aren’t saying you shouldn’t trade prospects.  You absolutely should in the right deal.  But the purpose of building surplus in one area is so that you can exchange it for players that fill an area of need,  You don’t use that surplus to get a more short term version at your position of surplus.  That defeats the purpose. Even if you do extend a player you acquire through trade, you now have a player making open market dollars a year to do what prospects could have done for a lot less.

And even if that veteran player is better from a pure numbers standpoint than the young, cost controlled player, it is still an opportunity lost.  That same young player, if you had to trade him, could have been used to acquire a player at a position of need, one that you cannot fill from within your own organization.  Instead, you potentially trade and/or block a player down the road who could be about as productive but at much cheaper cost.

And as we mentioned earlier, you have not only squandered currency in terms of prospects on something you didn’t need,  but you have used up some of your payroll flexibility on that as well.  So this applies to signing free agents to long term deals at positions of organizational strength.

This is the reason the Cubs did not pursue Yasmani Tomas and will not pursue Justin Upton.  The Cubs don’t need to pay a premium for something they already have in house.  It is not that they can’t afford it or that the player can potentially be better than the one you have, the point is that is not the best use of that asset/payroll when you look at your organizational strengths and weaknesses.

So now that we know what the Cubs won’t do, what will they do?

  1. They will be willing to sacrifice resources to upgrade their biggest need: starting pitching.  Their preference is to spend money, so expect them to try to sign Jon Lester and a second pitcher.  But if push came to shove and the Cubs have to trade surplus, it would make more sense for them to trade for this particular area of need — and that they would do it for pitchers who have a significant amount of cost control left.
  2. They will look to upgrade catching with a veteran.  They still like Welington Castillo and don’t seem ready to give up on him, but a veteran caddy to help him develop and provide a security blanket for veteran pitchers would be ideal.
  3. They will look for OBP and LH bats.  Tommy LaStella fits that bill but the Cubs would likely want someone more established that they can rely on.  The Cubs will hit for power, but getting players on base in front of them will be a big key to their improvement.
  4. They will listen to offers on players at areas of surplus, such as Luis Valbuena, who may soon be displaced by Kris Bryant.    The Cubs understand Valbuena’s value, however, even if it is just in a semi-regular role off the bench.  He is also cost-controlled for 2 more years, so the Cubs are in no hurry to deal him.  As we noted yesterday, we can expect to get a solid young pitcher or pitching prospect in return.  The market for Valbuena will open up once Chase Headley signs.  If the Cubs do deal Valbuena, that would make it even more important for the Cubs to get a LH hitting OBP type for the top of the order, though the La Stella acquisition gives them a fallback.  Much less likely to be dealt is Starlin Castro but even he isn’t off limits if the Cubs can get good young cost-controlled starting pitching in return.
  5. I expect the Cubs to fill out their bullpen with a veteran.  I like Luke Gregerson but the interest in him seems to be significant now that Andrew Miller has signed.  The Cubs may wait this out until the end of the offseason and see if they can get a veteran RP at value.

 

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Totally agree with you. This year is not the time to trade top prospects or overspend for 33+ year old players

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You could say that every year.

  • Soler is not hitting .247 more like .287

  • In reply to TD40:

    I hope so. In general they are optimistic but I was surprised with that lower average too.

  • In reply to TD40:

    Agreed-just in his Sept cup of coffee he showed patience and excellent hand/eye co-ordination. I wouldnt be surprised at all if Soler power ends up the best of the young guns.

  • In reply to TD40:

    If his OPS ends up at .813 then who cares if he hits .247.....

  • In reply to TD40:

    Lets hope so....as with any young prospect, I am just hoping he hits above .200 and shows progress during his first full season.

  • Thank you John for bringing up Baez. The "trade Baez" people on this blog (formerly known as "trade Castro" people) have been getting ridiculous. Makes total sense to give up on a 21 year old top 5 prospect because he struggled for 50 games. Those same people would be the first ones complaining when Baez hit 40 home runs on another team, while the overpriced pitcher the Cubs got for him is out for the year with Tommy John surgery. I hope Baez shuts all the haters up next season.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    I hope he does as well. He is potentially a special player. His skills are rare. It doesn't mean he can't be traded, but they wouldn't part with him as easily as some fans seem to think.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Joshnk24:

    Why are we haters for suggesting a trade of Baez or Castro? Could it be possible also that we really like those players but dream about the returns one player might bring the organization? It's also been stated that it's just to early to give up on those guys and then in the next breath they say we can't rely on all of these guys hitting their ceilings. I think that's more frustrating than a simple trade suggestion that helps a glaring need for the organization.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Part of what I tred to say here is that nobody is untouchable, but the deal has to make sense. Some offers make more sense than others. It is really hard to get value for Castro, but if it is out there at a position of need, it should at least be considered.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I can agree with this. And on one level the current talk of Castro for Sonny Gray does make sense, imo. Both are controlled thru 2020.

    But on another level I can see your point as well about not really having a surplus until Russell is ready to join the team.

    So with all that said, I'm fine with holding Castro for one more year or trading him for a Sonny Gray. My only real concern is that the Cubs really do need to score a TOR pitcher this winter. I fear that if they do not it will put even more desperation to score that guy next season.

    And we can all see now that just because we might be the highest bidder, players still want more! You can't just say buy pitching next year and it magically happens. We already have folks saying paying Lester 7/$160M-$170M is way too much. If it's too much and you don't land him this year, does the price of next year's free agents magically go down?

    And the players agents know this fact as well. Do we think the agents will say let's go to the Cubs because it's a feel good story? It's gonna take cash and lots of it

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    If Gray is available then you would certainly have to consider that kind of deal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have read the article. Twice, every word, studied every concept an nuance. And I am convinced that it will not convince some people. It is far too pragmatic and logical for some to digest!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    From everything this FO has talked about, they want young cost controlled players. So aren't Baez and Castro exactly what this front office wants to trade for? And for as much as people say Baez sucks because he struck out so much, what kind of dream return are you envisioning?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Joshnk24:

    I stated my wishes for a return on more than one occasion. I have also not heard one poster on this blog say Baez sucks. My earlier post tries to explain my stance.

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    "Baez sucks" is a total misrepresentation of what posters have said on this forum. The word "haters" is inappropriate, too. I'm not looking to trade him, but I expect the Cubs to have a surplus of infielders in the next year or so and would understand if one was traded for something to fill team needs.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    All true and valid points - but not yet. Does anyone think that one player can get them into the playoffs in 2015? Not me. More likely 2015 will be a year of adjustments and struggling and development.
    So I agree with your thinking, but
    hopefully for the 2016 season.
    BTW, you are one of the steadiest and most insightful contributors to this site!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to tboy:

    Thanks. I'm sure these same type of deals will be there next winter as well. At least I hope so.

    "“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” - Red from The Shawshank Redemption

    Being a Cub fan for so long, I'm not sure if I'm hopeful or just insane. lol

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    In the movie, didn't it turn out that Red was wrong?

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    I agree there's no reason to trade Baez now. He doesn't seem a long-term fit for our lineup with his low OBP and high strikeouts, but absolutely no reason to trade low on him. We won't be competing for a World Series title either of the next two seasons. Use that to our advantage and invest that time to develop him further hoping to increase his market value and return a better player(s).

  • In reply to Joshnk24:

    Totally agree. He has a couple of major mechanical flaws. I believe that the FO is smarter than me. I really believe they knew he would struggle and that is why he stayed up to struggle. Only by falling flat could he be convinced to give up on a few bad mechanical habits which are the only road blocks to future stardom! He can do it, if he makes choices.

  • Any particular young , cost-controlled arms that force Theo to consider one of his more valuable assets(I.e Castro or Baez? Sonny Gray? Wheeler? Syndegaard ? Ross?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Without knowing just how much the Cubs value any of those arms. all of those would fit the general description. I wouldn't trade them for Ross. (And they are all very unlikely to happen).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think we just said the same thing from two entirely different starting spots.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carl9730:

    I think the main guy that a deal would work with is Ross from SD. I am still not sure that SD values the same things that the Cubs do though so there may not be a match.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I think it will (or should) take two of the above in order to make a trade of a key player (Castro or Baez) worthwhile. Syndergaard and Wheeler - yes. Syndergaard OR Wheeler - no.

    It is true that starting pitching is likely to be the Cubs greatest need next year. But if they sign two of McCarthey/Hammel/Liriano/(similar pitchers), the starting staff will be much more likely to be a strength that the offense. Trading Castro/Baez for a pitcher merely weakens the already questionable offense.

    Much as we hope otherwise, the chances of Bryant AND Soler AND Baez AND Alcantara doing well next year is rather slim. We will have holes in our line up next year. I would hate to increase the number of holes because we traded the guy that became successful for a pitcher similar to that which can be acquired on the free agent market.

  • John, have you heard theres any validity to the rumors the Cubs have an offer out to Headley?

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I haven't been able to confirm it. And the original source is rather dubious to begin with.

  • Off-topic, given the vast athletic abilities of our emerging core, do we fully expect to have a well above-average defensive team after all the positional decisions shake out?

  • fb_avatar

    Ken Rosenthal tweeted:
    "Sources: #SFGiants turning aggressive on Headley. Unclear how this relates to pursuit of Lester, if at all. Solid interest in Headley."

    This is the best of all worlds. Gets Headley off the market and probably gets one less bidder for Lester.

  • fb_avatar

    Now that I am over my Hamels fixation, it is hard to disagree with any of the article. Although if a trade were to happen, maybe the Cubs could get a long-term asset and a short-term one, like Gray and Crisp. I wouldn't trade one of those SS unless I got a lot in return. It will be fun to watch!

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I actually think Hamels fits in as a possibility under these guidelines, since he is controlled at a very comfortable 4 years at 22.5M per. It obviously depends on what they have to give up, though. Phils have to come way down, but 4/90 for a good lefty suddenly seems like a bargain with Lester approaching 150M. I'd much rather trade for 4 years of Hamels at that price than give up the same for one year of, say, Price and then extend him at today's free market prices.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh boy. I've thought for a long time that Hamels for 4/90 made more sense than Lester 6/$150m, but eventually got beaten down here and thought maybe everyone else was right. Now not sure what to think!!

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    It always made some sense but it is looking better and better as the Lester price continues to go up, especially if LAD really is in on this. But that still has to be coupled with a markdown in the asking price from Philly. Not much has changed. Still think it is unlikely but I do think it is an option.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe I'll create an official sounding Twitter account (Major League Insider) and next week post this tweet: "Phils send team to P Rico to scout Baez #Hamels trade" mess with people. Ha!

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    We have enough fake rumors out there :)

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I have long thought that CF is a logical place for a speedy, high OBP talent. It's great if Alcantara can develop into that guy, but until he does, he's an out-of-position surplus infielder. I've said it before - a package with Mendy as the centerpiece plus Olt, another surplus player and a lower-level player or two could get Hamels without giving up a critical part of the Cubs future.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    There is no way in my opinion that Philly or any other team would accept a trade of surplus and low level players or prospects for a true TOR pitcher. Giving up more mediocrity does not sweeten the offer.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    I don't know that surplus = mediocrity, and I don't suggest a trade with those players as an indication that they don't have ability. I see both Alcantara and Olt as solid infielders for somebody - but the Cubs have better. I think Amaro must, and will, come down in his demands, and I think the players I proposed are about as good as he'll get from another team that doesn't have the Cubs' depth.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I would love for you to be right, but that makes me think it is the too good to be true catagory.

  • In reply to Cphil:

    There really isn't a "right," it's just an opinion. I just think Alcantara is the most expendable of the youngsters, but would have a pretty good value to a team that needs middle IF help.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Mendy is a good prospect but he is not a stud. The Phillies need to get one top end prospect back in the Hamels deal. They need a young player they can build around and Hamels may be their one and only chance to get that player in the near future.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Olt was a top end prospect before he got hit in the head with a baseball. I think he was #16 on MLB.com prospect list one year. He very well could blossom if you don't give up on him early.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good stuff John. A few thoughts; theyd almost certainly have to pick up the 5th year option on Hamels but sure, at the right price he makes sense. I just don't see the right price as forthcoming. I wouldn't give up Castro or Russell and I probably wouldn't give up Baez. Hard to see how the Cubs put an attractive package for him without giving up a guy they haven't fully evaluated yet and you don't give up Castro because you haven't fully evaluated his successor. Catch 22 there. That's why Lester makes sense because it's only money. I think the picture may become clearer during the season so a trade then might be for feasible.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Thanks.

    I feel the same as you on Hamels. At some point there is a good price but I think Philly is nowhere near that right now.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hamels may be a better monetary bargain than Lester, but oh, the cost in prospects - I wouldn't do it. especially since next year (2016) the cubs should be in better position for contention and the buffet of FA starting pitchers will be so much more attractive. Latos, Cueto, Zimmerman, samardzija, just off the top of my head. It's been a long cold rebuild, folks, but let's give it one more year to bake.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Yes, that is a huge concern. At some point there has to be a balance between the two but the Phils don't seem to understand that part of the equation.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Yes, that is a huge concern. At some point there has to be a balance between the two but the Phils don't seem to understand that part of the equation.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    If this was 2016, I would be all in on trading for a guy like Hamels. But getting him now just means there is a year or two where we pay him to wait for the kids to grow up and cross your fingers he doesn't get hurt.

  • I think that it is important to mention that the Cards probably wouldn't have really had much interest in Heyward if it wasn't for the untimely and tragic death of Tavaras. They went from a possible question mark (due to Tavaras' youth) to a complete hole in right field.

    Trading for one year of a player makes very little sense to most organizations who have long term aspirations.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Yes, except that the Diirty birds didnt really give up much for Heyward. Miller has been a big leaguer for 2 seasons and the Cards found him expendable, even tho I think there pitching depth is questionnable. Except if Jenkins becomes the next Greg Maddux, the Cards got Heyward relatively cheaply. Cant say the same for Hamels.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Shelby Miller wasn't nothing though. He's 24 years old and looks like he could be a solid 3 in the right rotation. If Heyward doesn't sign that was a significant overpay. Of course it was also a move out of necessity a position they don't find themselves in often. The Cards don't make many mistakes but I'm not sure that wasn't one.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I really believe Miller needs a change of scenery and I hope he takes advantage of it. He is a talent but he has not lived up to it.

  • I agree with statement of lost a lot of games last 3 years and I agree with building up of you talent but I don't agree in last 3 years they have built young major league talent. Are you referring to Rizzo and Arietta ?? But does 2 qualify as a lot compared to the flops and small/ minor moves?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I think he's referring to Soler, Baez, Alcantara and soon, Bryant, and Russell. All are at or on the verge of being "young major-league talent."

    Seriously, would you trade the Cubs' current farm system for the same system, 3-years ago?

    Whether through the system or by trade, the bullpen is full of young talent as well. And, yes, Arietta is YMLB stuff, too. You can add La Stella to the list. I find it hard to disagree with John's statement.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    My point is that majority of talent we have drafted or acquired in a trade have been 2-3 years out talent. We have not gotten many mlb ready guys in last 3 years. I would not add lastella to the list.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I would count Rizzo and Arrieta as the big two, but I would count Rondon too. He seems like our closer for a while. Soler looks like a beast. Neil Ramirez is one pretty good set up man. Hendricks is a starting pitcher that looks promising. I would count Wood, Grimm, Strop, Valbuena also as MLB ready players. I don't know about LaStella because I haven't seen him play yet but I disagree with your statement, "We have not gotten many mlb ready guys in last 3 years."

  • John, I agree completely with keeping the long term prospects over the potential 3-4 game short term gain, however I am not willing to say the 3-4 extra wins would not be significant. I'm thinking the Cubs as they stand are a .500 team next year so if they add Lester and another 3-4 wins that is a playoff contender. So the bet I'm placing is that the long term prospects impact will out weigh the chance to grab a playoff spot with a nice year from the club.

  • Do the winter meetings start on Sunday or Monday? I've heard both.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Starts tommorow technically but generally not a lot of action on Sunday.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Should we be glued to mlb network for details since Twitter has turned into a cesspool of 13 year olds trying to be first to report anything?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    There are some adults doing it too. it is crazy. We've decided to stick with the national and local media guys we trust when it comes to that. Dan does a great job with it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes he does. I was just trying to make a joke

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Oh, I know :)

    Just adding to what you said and wanted to point out that there are a few Scott Swaim like adults out there doing the same thing on Twitter. For me that's worse.

  • One important thing that I would like to note that really isn't mentioned - and it was brought to my attention because of the projections - is that the Cubs need to be more efficient on the base paths, and run more. Starlin Castro stole 22 and 25 bases in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Him COMBINING for 13 the past two seasons is simply inexcusable. When Tampa Bay had speed under Maddon (Crawford, Upton, Jennings, Zobrist, even a little bit of Longo), the team ran. With Castro having speed and the capability to steal 20+ bases, hopefully Maddon is more aggressive on the base-paths. A full season of Alcantara SHOULD hopefully see 25-35 stolen bases. Javier Baez also has speed. He should be a threat on the paths as well. Apart for Bonifacio (who didn't even play half of the season with the team), no player hit double-digits in stolen bases. Setting yourself up in a better position to score will provide more RBI opportunities for the middle of the order hitters, and create more runs which would hopefully (in turn) lead to more wins.

    I think that's an under-rated element that should certainly be a focus for this upcoming season. Especially if the team doesn't particularly thrive at getting on base. The chances need to be taken.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I love the speed game. It so much fun. But I think you build a ball club based on your stadium. Wrigley is just screaming for power hitters. If we have a few high OBP type of guys we are going to score a bunch of runs without having to risk stolen bases. Just another way to look at it I guess

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think it would be a mistake to have a one-dimensional team that depends on the HR for scoring - especially in the colder weather of April, part of May, and (hopefully!) October. I see Maddon as an aggressive manager who looks for every advantage, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs do much more running in the future. Hopefully, Maddon's coaching staff will keep the risk you mention to a minimum by identifying those that are good on the basepaths and working with those who aren't.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The Cubs won't be one dimensional in the future. Plenty of guys they have coming up can get on base and put the ball in play. Speed won't be a huge part of the team, but guys like Baez, Bryant, Soler, and especially Alcantara are all good athletes and can take extra bases and even swipe a few here and there when opportunities present themselves. They won't be completely dependent on the long ball.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Just finished a sabermetrics book today and it wasn't too keen on stolen bases being a key element on a winning team. The exception is when an individual player has a high success rate (but it still values OBP and OPS far more).
    A couple quick thoughts from the book were: Baez doesn't have a great OBP but his OPS should be solid if projections come to pass, which is an even better indicator of runs scored. Defensive metrics are not very accurate, especially compared to offensive stats like OBP and OPS, or even more specifically walk and strike-out rates. However, the TB teams of the mid to late 2000's excelled at defense and subsequently excelled in general, which I think speaks well of the coming Cubs defense with three potential SS's running three of the infield spots with a great defensive 1st basemen in Dan Vogelbach (I kid). Bryant, Soler, and Almora in the outfield I think would be above average overall. And lastly, the difficulty in predicting pitching, and how unreliable it can be, makes me feel even more comfortable that the Cubs are so heavily investing in offense.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Castro was never efficient as a basestealer. He does not have better than average speed, especially now that his body has filler out a little. He is not going to steal 20+ bases anymore and he should not be asked to try.

    Alcantara could steal 35 if he gets on base enough. Baez isn't a blazer, but he can be sneaky on the basepaths and I think he could steal 15-20. Bryant also moves better than people realize and he will take a base when pitchers ignore him. He will have 10-15 by the end of the year. Soler could probably steal some too, but I don't want him using up energy on the bases next year. I want to see him hold up for 140+ games before asking him to add additional wear and tear.

  • Agree with #1 and #2, but #3 doesn't feel completely accurate. The Cubs have actually shown a willingness to expend some of their resources to get RH veteran hitting even when a cheaper in-house option is available. This was Russell Martin, and the resources were their payroll flexibility and essentially giving up on a younger, cheaper Castillo. So I can readily see the Cubs trading for the right veteran outfielder who possess great leadership skills regardless of whether he is RH or LF or switch hits. They would prefer LH, but great veteran leadership is such a glaring need that you don't pass on the right match. It's like saying, Dallas Green should never have traded for Gary Matthews because this left Leon Durham as our only LH bat in our lineup.

    This is also why the pursuit of Martin made sense, and why trading for a great and still highly productive RH outfield veteran would make equal sense. Whether one is available and at the right price is another question. But I see this front office as completely open to this strategy both in their past acts (pursuing Martin) and past statements on the need to add veteran leaders regarding of which side of the plate it hits from.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    They were not going after Martin for his RH bat. They wanted him for his framing ability, handling the pitching staff, and leadership. They realize his bat is going to fade quickly.

  • In reply to John57:

    Exactly. He is a unique player that the Cubs would make an exception for -- and it isn't for his RH hitting ability.

  • Great article, John. Very well said. Keep the kids as long as we can! If they do end up with production near those Bill James projections, they'll only be at rock bottom price for three years instead of six.

    I love me some Luis Valbuena but I also like Nate Eovaldi as a potential return for him. Guy's stuff is way, way too good for him to be so average. Kind of like Jake Arrieta.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks...just wanted to kind of touch base again with the basics before the rumor mill starts again.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Eovaldi would be an interesting return. Not sure what his arbitration status is, but that is the type of arm with some untapped potential that they should be targeting for Valbuena.

  • I have lots of things to say today, so I'll get right to it....and I guess this thread is as good of place as any to put it.

    1. First, a bit of a rumor I am hearing down in south-central Indiana: The Cubs and Nationals are talking about a trade that will relieve the Nats of some payroll burden. From what I am hearing, it is the Cubs who are interested in Drew Storen. The Nats want salary relief more than a return, so if this happens don't expect the Cubs to give up a lot in return. This is the Cubs liking Storen more than most, and simply being opportunistic with their payroll power.....Storen I think is lined up to make about 5.8 million next year.

    2. My speculation: if #1 comes true in some version, the Cubs will potentially look to convert Justin Grimm or Neil Ramirez back to a starting role, potentially starting them in Iowa to control their innings and lesson the pressure.

    This is the same source that told me 2 weeks in advance that the Cubs would likely take Kyle Schwarber (which I did post here), so he has some credibility. Again, not a sure thing, just a somewhat strong possibility to happen next week.

    3. Would the Nationals consider moving Bryce Harper? It seems insane, but their relationship is somewhat fractured I am told at the moment with an arbitration dispute going on currently and with some of his outspokenness in the clubhouse. I view this rumor to be mostly unrealistic, but it is fun to think about Bryce Harper in CF for us somehow, isn't it?

    Look for Boston to get leaked as a potential trade partner for Washington if this would somehow gain traction.

    Just for fun, what would a Cubs potential package for Harper have to look like?

    4. Am I the only person who loves Alcantara's defensive potential at 2nd base? I think to me AA is a 2nd baseman, not a true starting CF, as his OF arm is too weak for my taste.....I value OF defense more than most do admittedly.

    I think our best defensive line up someday with our current roster is : 1B Rizzo, 2B Alcantara, SS Castro, 3B Russell. I'd move Bryant to LF, Keep Soler in RF, and hope Schwarber pans out at C. That leaves a hole in CF, unless you are a believer an Albert Almora, which at this point I am not.

    Would a deal with Oakland centered around Baez going to the them, with Sonny Gray coming to Chicago make sense to anyone besides me? I'd try and pry Coco Crisp from them as a stop gap in CF in 2015 in that deal.

    5. Since I would do #4 if possible, then I'd follow that up with moving Bryant to LF now so he can get comfortable in sprig training with that role. I'd keep Valbuena in 2015 to man 3rd base, and maybe play Olt vs lefthanders.

    6. I'd keep Edwin Jackson until spring training, and wait and see if a need develops with an injury somewhere else that we can move him to in March. If we can't, I'd turn him into a reliever...where I think he might be able to shine actually.

    7. No one is talking about it, but we are almost certain to sign at least 1 left handed reliever next week, and maybe 2. I bet we sign Randy Choate and maybe one other lefty reliever for depth and flexibility.

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    #1 is plausible since I know the Cubs have asked about Storen in the past.

    I think Grimm is far more likely than Ramirez as a starter but I am skeptical on that one.

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    #7--hah! I thought the same thing, I have Choate on my list of free agent predictions we made last month.

    #6--Problem there is that EJax takes forever to get warmed up, not exactly a useful trait for a relief pitcher. I think he ends up as a long/middle reliever simply because there's nothing else to do with the guy, but I predict it won't be pretty.

    Other--I don't see why Oakland would be motivated to trade Sonny Gray, what's the point? He's exactly the kind of guy they want and need. Storen OTOH, that one's a possibility.

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    #3) They'd want Russell and Edwards or Beaz. I wouldn't want to do that. But if for some stupid reason they were willing to take just Russell, I'd do it.

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    Nice post, man.

    To CHC: OF Bryce Harper
    To WAS: SS Starlin Casrto, OF Matt Kemp, IF Luis Valbuena (or another tertiary piece)
    To LAD: SS Ian Desmond & SP Doug Fister

    ***I'm not predicting this but its just a fun little dreamer.

    There are flaws. The Nats would have to be motivated to move Bryce based on back room stuff rather than on-field value. I've heard the Nats clubhouse scene is pretty rotten right now. Some FO's care about that, some don't so...

    Obviously The Dodgers are getting the least amount of control back here but they could clear out their OF picture, pick up 2 picks when Desmond and Fister walk, and better position themselves to win the WS in 2015.

    The Nats like I mentioned, would have to be motivated to move Harper. They're in the arb-eligibility dispute right now. He's a polarizing personality. This part is my own speculation, and nothing personal against Bryce, but out of the 40 plus guys in a clubhouse (including everyone else besides players), I'd be willing to bet 15 of them don't really like Harper. Its plausible. Again though, some FO's could care less about chemistry so...Anyway, they get their SS of the future, and established RH power who can keep the team in line for a division title.

    The Cubs get Bryce Harper.

    The Nats would be the one team of the three that wouldn't do this one in my opinion. Maybe the Dodgers would want a third piece who is younger.

    A trade like this would also be predicated on a big signing Like Lester or Scherzer. If the Nats signed Scherzer they could part with one year of Fister. If the Dodgers whiff on a Starter (unlikely if they really want one) Fister or Zimmermann would slot in very nicely.

    Fun to try to figure out, huh?!

  • In reply to thunderbird1245:

    1. I'd be fine picking up Storen, especially if they don't want much of a return.
    2. Keep them both where they are. They are both effective. Ramirez is a high effort delivery guy with a history of shoulder issues, I don't think he could hold up as a starter, and is perfectly suited for what he is doing. Grimm has the better frame and I think he could hold up as a starter, but I don't think he would be better than a 4/5 guy. The team already has that covered. He looks like he might become one of those rubber arm guys that can do everything out of the pen that is needed.
    3. They would only consider it if they are stupid. Harper shouldn't go anywhere. Building around Harper and Rendon is their best bet moving forward.
    4. Baez is a better SS than Mendy, he is a better 2B than Mendy. And I suspect he would be a better CF than Mendy. Castro and Russell would be better defenders at 2B too. There is no best defensive lineup that includes Alcantara on the IF.
    5. No. If Bryant can stick at 3B he could rival Trout as far as value. Give him every opportunity to stick there.
    6. Wouldn't shock me if he is still around in the spring and it wouldn't shock me if he becomes a reliever. He and Turner are very similar guys with decent stuff that are not getting the expected results as starters that might be better off in the pen.
    7. They won't sign 2 lefthanded relievers. They already have one and maybe two of Wood, Doubront, Wada available for the pen and Rosscup, Ortiz, and Jokisch also on the 40 man roster. McKirahan and Cervenka are in the upper minors. A vet like Choate on a 1 year deal would be fine to give them someone proven, but depth isn't really an issue as far as lefthanded options.

  • I will be surprised if Luis Valbuena is a CHC at the end of the winter meetings.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I will be very surprised if Valbuena is dealt. What teams do you think are calling on him?

  • Valbuena for Montero and cash. unless the DBacks think Jake Lamb is the truth. NYY, SF , just a couple others 3B is the weakest position and one of the hardest to fill in baseball , and Theo publically talking about teams calling about him and saying he wont be given away , kind of a hint, his value wont ever be higher.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think Valbuena's value could get quite higher. A .775 OPS in a bad lineup in '15. What could he do in a solid one? As for Montero, there's no way we should be giving up much value unless DBacks eat a huge chunk of that $40 mil remaining.

  • Valbuena is what He is , good at few things but a bench player on a good team . He had a good season, this offseason is the time to sell high. And I did say Montero and cash

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I totally could be wrong, but I think Louie V could reach .800 OPS with what I believe will be a stronger lineup. So, Montero & cash is selling way low, in my opinion. If we were desperate for a catcher...that would seem alright...but we aren't. Cheers

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't think you realize how many good teams have starting 2b and 3b that are way worse than Valbuena. And he is cheap as well. I'm fine with trading him, but Montero (even if they cover a decent chunk of the contract) is not the right return. They could probably get a young BOR starter with MOR upside in exchange for Valbuena. I would rather do that than signing Hammel to a 3 year deal.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree that the time to sell on Valbuena is soon but his season last year is exactly the kind of thing that makes GM's think they're smarter than everyone else and the Cubs could take advantage of that. I think you're right on what he is but someone will see him as a poor man's Sandoval and overpay. I wouldn't rush to deal him and instead wait on the right offer.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Agreed. There is zero rush to trade him because he has use off the bench even when Bryant comes up. The Cubs like Valbuena. They are not going to give him away and he has more value around the league than most think. The Cubs will get a solid young pitcher for him if they wait it out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm a Valbuena fan and like him in the lineup, but I trade him for Montero and cash. The Cubs need catching help to get to the next level and there is not many options out there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would trade him for Cole Hamel and take the 96M four year contract.

  • John, what is your opinion of trade value Castro vs. Baez. Can you lay it out for me, in some depth?

  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    It depends on what you are looking for. If you want upside and cheaper cost, it is Baez. But if you want a guy who is established and getting a sure thing then it is Castro. I think the certainty of Castro would be more attractive to many teams looking to win short term. But if I were looking to start over and needing a potentially huge impact, I'd go with Baez.

  • The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the O's are receiving major interest in Chen. I would have to question what "major" would qualify as, but do you think he would be worth considering? Would a one-year rental be worth Valbuena?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    With Valbuena having 2 years, I wouldn't. Plus, I still think we haven't seen the finished product with Valbuena. I want to see what he does inside an improving lineup!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    box of rocks for valbuena would be worth it.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    Stop trolling. You really have no idea what you are talking about.

  • John, Way off topic...but I was scrolling through noteable Rule V eligible players. Delino DeShields is available. It may seem crazy, but I think we should take a chance!! I've read that he has some 'tude issues...so maybe buy low & take a chance on that upside. Sounds fun, doesn't it?!

  • He is poor defensively to go along with the attitude issues. 3 years ago, they might have considered it, but he is not the type of chance the Cubs should be taking anymore.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I hear ya! But he does have a combo of speed & some pop that could work as the 25th man on our '15 roster. I guess I'm just dreaming that he could be the Josh Hamilton that could have been but never was!

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I also wonder if the Cubs could pick him & then make a trade with Houston that would allow us to send him down. I guess it would all depend on how badly Houston wants him back.

  • Great article, John. Very clear dos and don'ts. Now I understand perfectly.
    So….Is it Monday or Tuesday that we trade Jake Arrieta for Hunter Pence? And Baez, Almora, Alcantara, and Russell for Justin Upton? ;}

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    3 infielders and an OFer. For a one year player. That's insane. One 2 of those players are ML ready and other 2 are not far behind. The braves don't need a SS anyway. I could see a 3 team trade where the cubs trade ejax castro and ptbnl for Upton and then castro goes to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp. A few prospects would need to be involved but that would be better then giving up 2 of your 3 top prospects.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    This is absurd. Never going to happen.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I know I'm just saying getting rid of dead weight like castro and Jackson would be a lot better then 4 for 1 deal when they won't keep Upton anyway. Trading Baez and Russell is flat out the dumbest thing they could do or even consider. Russell is the #3 prospect in baseball for a reason. Baez was #7 The problem With castro is he was not ready for the big leagues. Hendry was saving his job at the time. Now is the time to trade him for a ml ready pitcher. DeGrom or Zack wheeler straight up is a great deal for both sides.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    Again, absurd. Castro isn't dead weight and no, that would not be a great deal for the Cubs. Why do you read this blog if you have no regard for player value? It is central to what we do. This whole article spells out the absurdity of such proposals. Did you even read it or do you just come here to comment?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    All I am saying castro needs to go of the 3 SS they have. I don't see him being traded til at least 2016. I did read it. Youre just some fan that disagrees with me. Your opinion means nothing to me. How is castro for deGrom or wheeler absurd? That's a great deal for both teams. Cubs need pitching Mets need a SS

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    Good, then find another blog. You don't appreciate informed analysis or thoughtful discussion in the comments section. This isn't the place for you.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Where's that spam filter when you need it?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Ha!

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    I'm pretty much in agreement with John here but heck, I'll play. A few weeks ago Peter Gammons was being interviewed on a NY sports talker and the host suggested the Mets offer deGrom for Castro and Gammons replied "and who else?". Trading a 24 year old, cost controlled, three time All Star SS that projects to be a year in and year out 3 plus WAR player for a young unproven starting pitcher that projects out as most likely a solid three or a reach at 2 is not value for value. It's an overpay on the part of the Cubs. Now if the Mets were to add a second starting arm and the Cubs added a prospect of say McKinney caliber and you might have something but the Mets don't seem inclined to make that deal and the Cubs aren't in any hurry to trade a young star.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    Yeah, Castro is such dead weight many teams have inquired about a trade: We give Castro, they give half his salary and pay his transportation, right?

    Castro is above average offensively and is getting their defensively. He was down to 15 errors last year. If he makes 12 this year I would be happy.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    How do you figure that the only proven SS on the Cubs roster - Castro - is Dead Weight?

    Don't be absurd dude.

    This time next year IF one of Baez or Alcantara or Russell have demonstrated they are the SS of the future - maybe consider moving Castro if the deal is superior. But that trade you cite is nuts and a bad idea.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    Something flew over your head.
    If you thought I was serious, you 1) are not a keen reader, and/or 2) not a follower of some absurd trade proposals of recent note.
    Oh, I see you have your own wacky, absurd trade proposals. Zzzzzz…..

  • It is a fact,.... if all of Russell, Bryant, Soler, Baez, Alcantara, Almora, Olt, Schwarber, La Stella and McKinney develop (they all won't pan out - but for sake of arguement,...) and Castro, Rizzo don't fall apart,.... a subset of those guys are going to be traded - eventually.

    I don't think that becomes an issue to be directly delt with by the Cubs until AT LEAST the beginning of 2016. Chances are guys like Olt, Valbuena, and Coghlin are expendable now,... for the right price - but to get rid of the 'surplus' at this stage for sort-term assets is a generally short-sighted idea.

    And - I don't think any of us would view Hoyer and Epstein as short-sighted at this stage.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    you are giving up on Olt a season too soon.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Bryan - note I stated,.... 'for the right price'. I suspect Olt has value as a corner OF/IF guy this season, and with at least one solid season under his belt, his value either to the Cubs directly, or to another team in trade, goes way up.

    Wouldn't be at all shocked to see Olt open the season up as a starting 3B guy - at least until Bryant comes up.

  • He should be given every chance to win the job , He is n asset that if moved now would be selling low, if he has a bad 2015 then his value is the same as now, if He hits then the Cubs have a very very valuable asset going forward . Cubs have nothing to gain trading him now

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'm not a big believer in Olt. I think his ceiling is as a backup. But I do agree that trading him now makes no sense and the team would gain nothing by trying to do so. He and Lake are guys that will have to have show well at AAA and hope an injury or trade opens an opportunity and then they have to seize it as soon possible. Olt could get a chance out of ST prior to Bryant's arrival, or a Valbuena trade would also provide a further opportunity.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I thought Lake was out of options. Was that not true?

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I believe he has one option left for the 2015 season, but that is off the top of my head.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I do think Olt should have chance to win job. And hopefully he can hold it down til Bryant is ready. The reason Cubs have nothing to gain for trading him is nobody wants or will give anything that can contribute for him. Cubs need him to at least hit slightly below average to get something useful for him.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Pretty short term gig though. Could be 11 games unless something goes horribly wrong with Bryant.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    My hope is that Olt can eventually spell Coghlan or Rizzo against tough lefties.

  • John, well said as always. One quibble though, Jon Lester is not 31, he's 30. He turns 31 next month. Now that doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but many seem to think that signing Lester to a 7 year deal means he will be 38 at the end of it. He won't. Even if he signs for 7 years, he'll throw his last pitch for the Cubs at the age of 37. And obviously if he signs a 6 year deal, he'll be 36. The pros and cons of signing a long deal term like that can be debated, but we should be accurate with the man's actual age.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    If the cubs sign Lester for 7 years. He'll only pitch 5 and a half years for them. They end up trading him. Get nothing back for him and then he'll promptly win the cy young lol. I do think they will get him but 7 years is a bad idea.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    That wasn't the point of my post. My point is the man is 30, not 31. To your point, that's a false choice. The choice isn't Lester for 7 years or Lester for 6 years (or less). The choice is you want Lester enough to make him the strongest offer needed to get him (which likely means 7 years), or you don't.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    And, in the meantime, they get to the World Series 3-4 times? I can live with that, even if they had to pay Lester for not pitching in years 6 & 7.

  • I like the increased chatter in this thread regarding the Nats. More and more, it seems like there is an opportunity for some neat trade combination possibilities with two very smart GMs like Rizzo and Jedstein. Harper, Zimmerman, Storen, Clippard, Fister--lots of potential moving parts at the Nats end, any of which would likely be interesting to the Cubs. If only they could get some chatter going about my dreamiest prospect: Giolito.......

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    The Nats will not trade Giolito. They will need a young stud starter to replace the losses of Zimmerman and Fister in the near future.

  • fb_avatar

    You don't trade Baez. That's stupid. It's way to early to tell if he's gonna fail..aside from 90+ k he had a good year for only 190 ABs. 10 hrs. He can play 2nd he has great range. Russell will move be the SS by next Sept. A full time SS for the cubs by 2016 Castro will by the odd man out.. He doesn't have the range to be a career SS. He needs to go. You can agrue that he's a 3 time all star. But as a reserve and a injury replacement. While making 3 errors and going 0-6. Not exactly mind blowing.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rizzo44:

    Castro is nothing but a reserve and injury replacement. O...kay....gotta remember to look for your posts....

  • Responding to trolls like Rizzo44 only encourages them. Best thing to do is ignore them and they will go away

  • In reply to cubbybear7753:

    Agreed. I should have ignored it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm not a troll dude..your the blogger here. You're suppose to be above that. I actually like your blog bro. I agree with most of it but the thought of trading Baez or Russell before seeing their full potential is just dumb to me. We've seen what castro can do and not do. He's just not a leader the cubs expected him to be. He's a .300 hitter sure but Not much after that. 10-15 hrs 75 rbi that's decent for a good SS but a change a scenery is always good.

    For the record I have no desire to find another blog.

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    "...a change a scenery is always good."
    --Please follow your own advice!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I moved from Chicago 15 years ago. Way ahead of you broham

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    "Broham"?? Inglish pieez.
    Sir: You obviously do not comprehend subtlety, among other things. I meant a change of blog scenery might bring you a soupçon of serenity.
    BTW, using a sledgehammer to drive in one's insipid points is a poor choice of tool--and a waste of time. Sir.

  • Apparently, John is just some fan that disagrees with him. Him reads John's detailed anaylsis and thoughtful discussions yet John's opinion means nothing to him. Please go away.

  • Hey everyone, I appreciate the support but I want to bring the conversation back to baseball now. Thanks!

    Should be a fun week.

  • fb_avatar

    John- what would you think of castro for DeGrom..maybe not this year but 2016 when we will know for sure deGrom is Not a one and done. I think Russell is the future unfortunately I haven't seen him play. I think it's same to assume he won't be ready til 2016?

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    At this point, Castro is worth more than DeGrom. DeGrom does fill a need as a starting pitcher but it is an uneven trade for a few reasons. 1) Castro has a longer track record of success. DeGrom was a bit of a surprise (he was pretty mediocre in the minors) and there is still the possibility it was a fluke and 2) Pitchers are inherently more risky than position players, particularly when it comes to injury. It is even more risky with DeGrom because he has had TJ surgery already. 3) Shortstops, especially cost-controlled ones trade at a premium. The Cubs need to take advantage of the market for the tight market for good shortstops. They can and should ask for a premium. It is a risky deal and while the Cubs may eventually want to trade Castro, they still have to get what they feel is good value in return. The Cubs will likely want two pitchers to balance out the risk involved and I doubt the Mets would do that.

    DeGrom revamped his approach on the mound and some think that is why he outperformed expectations, but his future is still a bit of an unknown. Would be a good idea to see how he does in his second tour through the league. I do think 2016 would be a good time to revisit the idea if both players repeat their performance.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I didn't know about deGrom having TJ surgery and to be honest I only know 3 of the Mets pitchers and Matt Harvey just game off of TJ is clearly off limits. I see your point now that it would not work out right now. Zack wheeler is likely off limits too.
    Another thing I don't know many pitching rotations as good as the Mets are suppose to be. That is why I mentioned them over someone like Dylan Bundy since the O's have their SS in JJ Hardy for at least 3 more years

  • In reply to Rizzo44:

    The Cubs and the Mets are a good fit in terms of their respective needs. They both, however, have a different perception of value -- or rather, Mets GM Alderson is notorious for trying to extract surplus value in a deal. Theo isn't going to let that happen. So while the teams match, I think right now a deal is very unlikely but that could change over the next year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To quote Peter Gammons: "Degrom and who else?"

  • fb_avatar

    Late to party on this article---TERRIFIC ARTICLE btw--could not agree more w the views ln our young player- in regards to Castro for Degrom, not even close value wise- the way I see Castro at this point is the top available middle infield hitter who could(for the right deal) be available- w the cost of those types this year(mixed w the deal for did gregorious) that's a top cost control ml ready pitcher (Paxton,syndegard,Harvey)+ another prospect--depending on the additional prospects projection maybe Cubs throw in another b tier prospect- just my opinion and maybe in overvaluing a little-but that would be the type of deal I would expect after the contracts that have been handed out-
    Depending on what Ian Desmond gets next year, that price could rise(which is a good reason to hold unless getting a "blow u away" deal)

  • In reply to David McKenzie:

    Thank you.

    I think if you want to trade that core player, you need to get a couple guys back, especially when we are talking about pitchers. The Cubs seem pretty particular about who they like when it comes to arms, so it is going to have to be at least one that fits their mold. Trading a productive 24 year old SS cannot be taken likely and the Cubs must demand a premium because they are such a rarity in this game.

  • John, thank you for your POV. To be perfectly honest, after the past miserable years, I am fine seeing the "plan" enter year 4, with continuing improvement. This will be shown with either more of our raw talent beginning to develop and/or a few new faces added along with Joe Maddon at the helm...
    I am not over anxious and do not believe we need to make moves that don't dovetail with Theo's long term plan...we have come this far lets play this out.

  • In reply to NCcub:

    I think they can start buikding from both sides, short and long term -- but I think a lot of fans out there assume that building for short term means to forget the long term plan now. I look at it as the Cubs adding new short term goals to the long term goals, not replacing them.

  • The longer the mystery club who offerred Chase Headley $65m remains a mystery the more it appears it could be the Cubs. Yankees, Giants, and Marlins all reportedly are not in on him at that level.

  • fb_avatar

    I think it would be a mistake not to trade valbuena this off season. His value is at an all time high and he 2 years left of control. With LA Stella added and olt showing a blip of life in September I think valbuena for pitching makes too much sense. Olt starts till Bryant is up hopefully building some value.

  • In reply to marcf:

    Personally, I don't think we've seen the best of Louie V. If a team makes an incredible offer, they may jump at it. However, I think he is more valuable to us than what will be offered right now. Plus, I'm bullish that he can further increase his value in'15. Hope Im right if he's not dealt!! Cheers

  • In reply to marcf:

    Plus, isn't Valbuena the kind of guy you want playing for Maddon?

  • fb_avatar

    I think he is what he is now. A very good 3b. But he is part of a surplus for the cubs. He can bring a very solid return with LA Stella and bryant he be can replaced.trade at peak of his value. Under 2 years and he starts losing a little value.

  • Looks like Red Sox owner wants Lester really really bad..

    http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/11990786/boston-red-sox-owner-john-henry-travels-one-one-visit-jon-lester

    I say we send Theo, Jed, Joe and Ryan instead of the owners.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    If he wanted Lester so bad he shouldn't have made an insulting lowball offer and then when Lester didn't accept the insulting lowball offer, trade him about as far away from Boston as possible.

  • Wonder what would happen if the media carried no stories about Jon Lester until he actally announces his decision? Would it have any affect on moving the process along?

Leave a comment