Epstein/Hoyer Front Office come out way ahead on WAR ledger sheet

Last week I wrote about how things tend to be covered or followed as a series of spectacles (sometimes comically –check out the Doubting Theo site to see what I mean). When done well, summarizing individual events can be an interesting way to look back, but I want to do is take a different approach.  What this front office has set out to do is simple:  In the aggregate, the goal has been to add more value than they give up.

They are going to lose a trade once in awhile.  The DJ Lemahieu for Ian Stewart deal pops to mind.  They are going to make a bad signing.  Everyone points to Edwin Jackson.  In the case of Jackson, however, it is only a mistake in terms of the results.  There is nothing to be learned from as far as process is concerned.  Signing a 28 year old pitcher with a solid mid-rotation track record of success — and without giving up a draft pick — to just 4 years and a front-loaded $52M isn’t bad process. It just  didn’t out work well in hindsight.  Those things are going to happen.

But if you stick to a good, proven process, those mistakes will be greatly outweighed by the successes.  So, instead of looking at each event separately, let’s take a big picture look in terms of added and departed value since the new front office came to Chicago.

Important notes on Methodology

  • Value is measured in terms of fWAR (Fangraphs) for the 2015 season.
  • Added Value Team must be current Cubs.
  • No Cubs that were here before the arrival of this front office are included (i.e. Starlin Castro, Javier Baez).
  • Departure Team can be former acquisitions (i.e. Scott Feldman) as long as they were active with another team in 2015.
  • Departure Team members need not have played for the Cubs in the regular season (i.e. Liam Hendricks).
  • Teams are made up of starting lineup (8), bench  players (3 — and so long as the 3 players cover catcher, infield, and outfield defensively among the three of them), a 5-man starting rotation, and a 6-man bullpen.
  • The total WAR of the Departed Team is subtracted from the Acquistion Team to determine the Total Added Value.
  • For the purpose of this article, salaries/payroll/cost control are not a factor — but I will mention that the Cubs have much greater payroll flexibility  now then when the front office arrived.   The farm system improvement/value is also not factored in.  So even this article doesn’t fully measure the impact this front office has brought in in terms of overall organizational value.

All Theo/Jed Departure Team: Departed Value

  • Catcher: Welington Castillo: 1.7
  • 1B: Justin Bour 0.7
  • 2B: DJ LeMahieu 2.0
  • SS: Marvin Gonzalez: 1.3
  • 3B: Luis Valbuena: 0.6
  • OF: Marlon Byrd: 1.1
  • OF: Justin Ruggiano: 0.5
  • OF: Brian Bogusevic: 0.2

Lineup  WAR: 8.1

Bench

  • C Reserve: Dioner Navarro 0.5
  • Reserve 1: Ryan Flaherty 0.2
  • Reserve 2: Aramis Ramirez 0.4

Bench WAR: 1.1

Starting Rotation

  • Jeff Samardzija: 2.7
  • Andrew Cashner: 2.1
  • Chris Rusin: 1.2
  • Scott Feldman: 1.0
  • Matt Garza: 0.6

Rotation WAR: 7.6

Bullpen

  • Liam Hendricks: 1.5
  • Arodys Vizcaino: 0.7
  • Miguel Socolovich: 0.4
  • Tony Zych: 0.3
  • Carlos Villanueva: 0.2
  • Zach Putnam: 0.2

Bullpen WAR: 3.3

Total WAR: 20.1

Notes and observations

There are some interesting departures here.  Justin Bour has hit 23 HRs.  Marwin Gonzalez has put up solid numbers while playing SS and other positions.  The Cubs bullpen could certainly  use Liam Hendricks and/or Arodys Vizcaino.  DJ LeMahieu was an all-star and has outperformed all Cubs 2Bs this year in terms of WAR.  Whether that holds long term remains to be seen.

Two young players who did not quite make the cut but  who may factor in the future are Diamondbacks SP Zach Godley, who ascended through the minors and had a solid MLB debut, and Marco Hernandez, who performed well for the Red Sox AAA team and projects as a utility infielder.

All Theo/Jed Acquisition Team

  • Catcher: Miguel Montero: 1.8
  • 1B: Anthony Rizzo: 4.9
  • 2B: Tommy  LaStella: 0.2
  • SS: Addison Russell: 2.4
  • 3B: Kris Bryant: 6.2
  • OF: Kyle Schwarber: 1.7
  • OF: Dexter Fowler: 3.1
  • OF: Jorge Soler: 0.0

Lineup WAR: 20.3

Bench

  • C Reserve: David Ross: 0.1
  • Reserve 1: Chris Coghlan: 3.0
  • Reserve 2: Chris Denorfia: 1.0

Bench WAR: 4.1

Rotation

  • Jake Arrieta: 7.0
  • Jon Lester: 4.6
  • Kyle Hendricks: 3.1
  • Jason Hammel: 2.2
  • Dan Haren: -0.2

Rotation WAR: 16.7

Bullpen

  • Hector Rondon: 1.6
  • Travis Wood: 1.2
  • Pedro Strop: 0.9
  • Justin Grimm: 0.6
  • Clayton Richard: 0.4
  • Trevor Cahill: 0.3

Bullpen WAR: 5.0

Total WAR: 46.1

Total Added WAR: 25.8

There have been some hits and misses as you would expect.  There are some players that perhaps the Cubs should have kept long term — or at least kept long enough to get greater return value. No front office is perfect.

Overall, however, the hits have far and away outweighed the misses.  The front office has accomplished what it set out to do — and that is to bring in more value than it gives up.  In terms of WAR, they’ve added 26 wins in terms of acquired players versus players they traded, let sign elsewhere, or lost via Rule 5 (Gonzalez, Flaherty, Bour)

And they aren’t even finished yet.

 

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  • But if you stick to a good, proven process, those mistakes will be greatly outweighed by the mistakes?

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    Did you mean successes?

  • In reply to SteveBB:

    I did, thanks. Fixed now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good cause I didn't think you were talking about the Phillies! :-o

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    Some really good stuff here John!

    On the performance side alone it's easy to look at this larger picture and see why we are going to the playoffs this year. But I also remember how folks complained after some of these moves individually. It's really hard to see the "plan" unfolding in front of your eyes if you look at each move as they are made individually.

    Which then brings me to the ultimate question. What's all the WAR gonna cost the Cubs? You have to look at it just because it's the real world. The picture really comes into focus then when you look at possible moves we may or may not make in the future.

    Thanks again for the great report!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Thank you, Bobby. I tried to limit the scope on the article to just 2015. I didn't calculate specific numbers but it is pretty safe to say the Cubs payroll situation is far healthier now than when this FO arrived.

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    I would be curious how this stacks up against the rest of the FO's around the league for the last few years. I bet Thed is up near the top.

  • In reply to Brandon Halford:

    I would bet on that. Astros may be up there as well. Pirates. Even the Cards. They stay good by continuing to bring in more value than they give up.

  • That's a good way to look at things overall. The Arrieta for Feldman trade may one day be equal to Brock for Broglio (not to even mention Strop as part of that deal). Only other lopsided trade in our favor that comes to mind is Sandberg for DeJesus, even though Ryne was just the "throw in" in a Bowa for DeJesus deal.

    So here's a question: How much, if any, criticism do Theo and Jed deserve for failing to acquire just one more quality starting pitcher either before this season started or at the trade deadline? Prior to the season, most were saying 2016 is what we're gunning for. Many were saying, its not worth pursuing a "merely" a wild card spot. Yet now we are pretty happy to be in the dance -- even though its just a wild card spot -- because we got Arrieta for that one-game play-in.

    Yes, it still remains to be seen. First, of course, we have to win on Oct. 7 -- which is the equivalent of a Game 7. Holy smokes, I'm already getting a queasy stomach in anticipation of that. But if we win, then what? What do we have after Lester and Arrieta? Does anyone have an ounce of faith in Hammel? Hendricks' last two performances suggest he might be the guy to give us at least 3 quality starters for an NLDS/NLCS series. But when your 4th best option is Bullpen Day, well . . . .

  • In reply to TTP:

    I don't think the question was not shooting for a WC berth, I think the question was how realistic it was to expect even that. To start the season I think the thing was that no one knew anything. You just don't have a clue how rookies are going to perform and Russell and Schwarber were expected to be late season call ups. They did a lot in the offseason to improve. To have gotten another pitcher was in the "it would be nice" category as evidenced by their dalliance with James Shields.

    The deadline was another story. The WC was by no means a sure thing and I think, while they wanted to acquire a pitcher to improve the rotation, the value to value equation didn't seem to work, at least in the FO's minds. In hindsight, particularly if they to get to the NLDS, not getting a pitcher could prove costly. A failure though? I wouldn't call playing the odds a failure.

  • In reply to TTP:

    They tried at the deadline but couldn't make a deal that made sense, as teams were asking for part of this Cubs core. We should give them the benefit of the doubt that there wasn't good value in any of the trades offered to them.

  • In reply to TTP:

    The odds of all of the rookie hitters having the years they had were pretty small. The offense has progressed faster than anticipated. I don't care how talented the prospects are, fielding a competitive offense when half the lineup on any given day is a rookies is ridiculously rare.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'd rather have several more years of Russell and Schwarber and Bryant and Baez and the other rookies than just a few months of a deadline deal pitcher -- especially a pitcher that they could sign and only lose a supplemental pick this off-season.

  • In reply to David Johnson:

    There was no chance the Cubs were going to trade any of those guys. Not only would that have hurt the future, it would have subtracted from the present as well. Those guys are why the team is where they are. I am on record that I was fine with Haren and Hunter acquisitions. I just wanted them to get a couple of competent, proven MLB pitchers and the team managed that. Both have struggled, and that is unfortunate.

    The argument could be made though that they certainly could have gotten a better pitcher than Haren if they had been willing to deal guys like Torres/McKinney/Underwood. That would not have altered the present and potentially would not adversely effect the future if one or more don't pan out. I'm patient, and am more of a process being more important than the results type of person, so I am willing to go all in with the youth movement now and in the future, but the window has opened for this team right now, and not taking better advantage of this initial phase may end up being the wrong decision. I'm personally completely confident that this team will win a WS over the next 5 years. I think the rebuild process has been thorough and redundancies exist in case of injury or unexpected performances. But there are no guarantees.

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    In reply to TTP:

    I was one who said it is not worth much to chase desperately after a wild card. We are winning the wildcard handily. I wouldn't have believed it if you had told me that at the beginning of the year. I freely admit this team has VASTLY outperformed what I expected and now my prediction of 85 wins (+/- 3) seems somewhat laughable. I said "A lot of things would have to go right for them to make the play-offs." And a lot of things did go right.

    As far as criticism I don't think they deserve any criticism. Getting JA Happ would have been nice but who knows what the Mariners would have wanted for him. But the team really stuck its neck out signing a huge contract for Lester and also brought in Ross and Montero. We thought we would see what we had and then, next year, maybe bring in some more help once we had a clearer idea what to expect from Bryant (MVP candidate?), Russell (Very good player), Schwarber (Looks like a possible AS/MVP candidate), Baez (looks like he is in the process of turning things around), Alcantara (took a step back this year). Remember how many questions there were in ST? Now that they are answered it is not fair to go back, with hindsight, and question the moves.

    As for the trade deadline we were 55-47 at the end of the day July 31, 3rd in the division and 2nd in WC (by 1 game). We were over-achieving (look at our Pythagoran W-L record) so there was a possibility of a correction. Since then we have had one of the hottest teams in baseball while playing lots of tough games. Our performance took off like a rocket. Arrieta turned a good month into a historic 1/2 season. I am thrilled with what the team did but I don't blame Theo and Jed for being conservative in their acquisitions after signing Lester and bringing on Montero.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I keep repeating myself, but I think "Bullpen Day" is a terrific option.

  • fb_avatar

    Cahill has really impressed me since he has arrived. Not sure if bosio has worked some more of his magic but he is a different pitcher than he was prior to arriving in Chicago. I could see a game where he makes a big contribution. I have watched j happ pitch well for the Pirates and wonder why his acquisition was not talked about much. He seems like a nice 2 or 3 and nobody has really talked about him much. I would love to have another top 2-3 starter, but am glad we haven't had to trade away any top prospects as of yet. I think it's a testament to the fo that they haven't reacted like some other teams, they have a plan in place and haven't deviated from that plan.

  • In reply to Bill Judd:

    I think they have deviated from the plan in significant ways, mostly by bringing up Russell and Schwarber far quicker than planned. Schwarber's play in the first month of his "permanent" call up was the spark that caused this playoff fire.

    I wish they had deviated from the plan one step further and gotten someone better than Haren. That said, we can still beat the Pirates and Cardinals with what we got. But if we get to the NLCS, I suspect that's where our lack of SP depth will bite us in the arse.

    But no matter what, its all good. A joyous season, a highly anticipated Game 7 vs. Pirates and, best of all, the promise of the greatest era in Chicago Cubs history unfolding before us. Yes!

  • In reply to TTP:

    The problem with acquiring a top line starter at the deadline is I think the conversation would have started with Schwarber.

  • My only real complaints regarding personnel during the FO tenure is that I don't think they did a thorough enough evaluation of the prospects they inherited in the system before they traded them or lost them for nothing via the Rule 5 draft.

    This a common practice during regime changes to bring in your own players, but this team was in shambles when they arrived and it is disappointing they didn't protect a couple of decent utility guys in the Rule 5 in Gonzalez and Flaherty their first year here, and then traded two others in LaMehieu and Hernandez without getting anything of value. They were able to offset it somewhat with the acquisition of Valbuena to perform a similar role but the they actually inherited decent infield depth and essentially gave it away. We could have been spared the Mathers and Herreras.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I do think that the new management did make a mistake in their assessment of LaMehieu,.... although I still don't think that the "idea" of trading him and Colvin for Stewart was inherently bad,....

    If Ian Stewart had stayed healthy (strike 1 against the guy) and given something approximating the numbers he put up in Colorado 2008-2010 and been a decent 3B defensively for the Cubs - a 0.240/0.320/0.420 line at the plate would have been nearly as good as the Cubs got from Valbuena. Less defensive versatility obviously,....

    Woulda,.... coulda,..... shoulda,.... I didn't think it was a bad idea for a trade at the time (although I admittedly didn't know much about LaMehieu at the time),.... Not all 'not bad' ideas work out,.... and this was one of them.

    Similarly,... signing EJax wasn't a bad idea for that term and that price,.... just didn't work out as planned as EJax just lost something he used to have.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I actually agreed with the trade at the time. LaMahieu was a righthanded contact hitting 2B. The Cubs already had a better version of that in Castro who was expected to move off SS at some point even then. The team did not have any left handed power, and taking a chance on Anthony Rizzo and Ian Stewart was a good idea.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The point I was trying to make was that the team actually had 3 MLB quality, cost controlled utility guys (two of whom were high draft picks so they weren't exactly out of nowhere guys) and the team lost all three of them and had to use Joe Mather for 200+ PAs instead. That is bad asset management.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I got your point Michael - I really did. And the Castro comparison bit is extremely on the mark in comparison to what the Cubs already had in Castro.

    Whether it was LaMahieu, or one of the other two - Cubs would have been better served by holding onto at least one of them. That's also a valid point.

    But - if Stewart had stayed marginally healthy until a better 3B option was found or developed, and not had such an apparent personality issue, chances are Mather wouldn't have gotten those plate appearances either. One 'event' kind of led to the other IMO.

    Cubs farm system didn't have any viable 3B options back then - other than LaMahieu (considered a 2B guy then) and Vitters,..... Look at the options the Cubs started out this year with as potential 3B guys on the 40-man roster,.... Olt, La Stella, Bryant, Russell (potentially), and stranded down in AAA,.... Villanueva.

    Stewart seemed to be a decent option back then,.... Mather,... if Stewart had been on the 25-man roster, would have been DFAed IMO.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    In the case of LeMahieu, I've heard many of the old regime scouts considered him the best hitter in the system at that time (better than Jackson, Vitters, etc.). History has proven them right. That is something I see as a mistake more than Jackson -- and I am willing to be the FO would acknowledge that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I just find it especially bizarre in that they actually kept Wilken around, presumably for his input, so it wasn't like it was all new voices in the room. I understand they didn't actually give LeMahieu away and that the Rockies needed something of value in return, but the Gonzalez/Flaherty thing always left me scratching my head. They made the right call in protecting Robert Whitenack that winter, as he was a decent upside arm even in light of the arm injury, but there was plenty of room to protect at least one of the other two.

    Obviously neither are huge losses in the grand scheme, but for a team in the position they were in with one of the worst rosters and worst farm systems, to lose two guys in the Rule 5 draft that winter? That is inexcusable, especially in light of them having to role out Joe Mather the next season in their place.

    This is all nitpicking of course. Overall the FO has done a terrific job. They actually implemented a full rebuild in the method I always wanted to see one take place with focusing most resources on young hitters, and then collect volume pitching, and worrying about filling in the top of the rotation when the rest is in place.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Geez John, I started twitching at the reminder of Jackson & Vitters being 2 of the 3 best Cubs prospects. Yeesh! At least you didn't drop a Luis Montenaz on me...

  • In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    Ha!

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    In reply to YouCannotBeSerious:

    WHY DID YOU MENTION THAT NAME!!??? What's next? Brian Dopirak?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To be honest, I'm still not sold on LeMahieu. Not to say he's bad, but his year has been lucky. He has zero power, he plays in Coors with all of that space. BABIP is .367 this year, including .382 at Coors. A full season in Wrigley and he's a 1 WAR player or so. I'll go as far as to say that if LaStella played a full season, and played his home games in Coors Field, he would out perform LeMahieu offensively.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    I think he is a low end starter or high end utility guy who has his numbers inflated a little by Coors. The guy makes contact and plays good defense, I'm not sure he has anything left to prove in those regards, he is a pretty decent player.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I think the issue for most of us is that he always seems to do it against the Cubs. You'd think if they were going to get rid of him it would be because he 1) couldn't hit the curve, 2) too easy to jam, 3)doesn't hit in the clutch, 4) can't hit up in the zone, etc, etc. Why are we unable to pitch to his apparent weakness. So frustrating.

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    Bryant's WAR is ridiculous. Excited to see how well he does next year and beyond. I sometimes feel like the team wasn't aggressive enough at the trade deadline. That they weren't really sure how good this team would become. It's probably just me, but I still wish they would have traded some of the more elite prospects for Cole Hamels. The Rangers have won his last eight starts, moved from out of the playoffs to leading their division, and are setup for next year. But I can definitely see the arguments for not being aggressive at the deadline as well. Mainly that those trades rarely seem to work out, and the one-game playoff is risky.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I'm actually quite glad the Cubs weren't too aggressive at the trade deadline this year,....

    They didn't really trade away any long-term resources during 2015. They got a chance to see how the rookie crew of Bryant, Soler, Russell, Schwarber, Baez and even guys like Alcantara (given, some regression there), Edwards (late season anyway), Szczur and Rosscup played out the season.

    Now - they are tied for the 3rd best record in all of MLB, probably couldn't have caught StL anyway for the division title, and have all of their "chesspieces" to assess over the Winter.

    This is a team that can be potentially very good for a lot of years to come if they can manage those resources as well as they did this season.

  • fb_avatar

    I guess I am glad too. I definitely see the logical. But as a fan, I'm not always logical. Ask me again in a month how I feel. If they win the Wild Card game and then lose the next series because Lester, Hendricks, and Hammel get out pitched by the Cards; and then next Spring Training Rizzo is hit by a pitch in the hand and misses half the season, and Arrieta comes down to earth...I might not be happy there weren't more aggressive this season.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Also keep in mind that Arrieta was still down on Earth at the deadline. He became more than a mere mortal later on.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I think there can be a legitimate case for arguing they should have been more aggressive at the deadline this year, but it is hard to argue that weren't plenty aggressive coming into the year. Adding Lester, Hammel, Fowler, Montero, Ross, Motte was a big financial outlay and brought in a ton of leadership.

  • They could have traded for a starter. Yet somehow they've already won 91 games with this staff.

  • fangraphs thinks the Cubs have their #3 starter in K. Hendricks

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-cubs-have-a-3-starter/

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I think they're right. It has to be him right now.

  • Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman is beginning to look like Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, particulary if we can get Jake on a long-term deal.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    lets give it a few weeks. Brock played well for 12-15 years after the trade. Let's see how Jake does and if he's even a cub after 2017. It's a good trade but Broglio won 7 games or so in his career after the cubs got him. Feldman has done much better (18 so far) than that so I'm not sure it's in the Brock for Broglio category yet or ever.

  • Not to deviate from The Plan, but I'm very optimistic about this off-season. For all the genius that is Theo & co., they are also human, and fans. While I'm sure they revel in the monotony of building the foundation of success, I have to believe putting the finishing touches on the final product at the big-league level has to give them extra motivation. It's simply human nature at this level of competitive excellence. I anticipate a surprisingly awesome off-season, although as knowledgeable Denizens, it may sting a little.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I would have no problems with big trades this offseason. It was my targeted window for those types of moves all along. I've always been prepared for the day when the team would start dealing prospects to supplement the big club, and that will likely begin occurring this offseason.

    I've always just been against two things:
    First, dealing any of the first wave guys, which thankfully they haven't done so far, because that represents the high upside core of this team moving forward and establishes the base of cheap, cost controlled depth that will allow this team flexibility moving forward.
    Second, I don't want a second ridiculous FA contract to a 30+ SP. I believe they will try to stay away from that this offseason, and will attempt to make a more reasoned mid level FA deal and then pursue a higher upside young arm via trade, using the 2nd/3rd wave prospects in the deal.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Totally agree. That was my point. All the pundits are saying sign sign Price and Heyward. I think we are going to surprise a lot of people with our creativity, not to mention depth and future financial flexibility. Lots of "experts" don't know what we have at the lower levels.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm not going to be disappointed if they sign a guy like Price, I mean it's David Price, he's amazing. If you are going to spend top dollar, you need to spend it on actual top dollar players like Price. I just don't think it is the best strategic choice for how to allocate resources.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    doubt we go after Heyward, we might throw an offer at Price. not sure we get him though

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I think they will do due diligence with Price. Maybe offer him 5/$125M and see how much he "wants" to pitch for the Cubs. My guess is he laughs and says, "Don't call us, we'll call you" but that is the way it goes.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I actually think they'll offer him 7/$185 and he'll go take his $230 million from the Yankees or Dodgers. 5/$125 probably doesn't get you Kazmir.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    While I would not be unhappy to see the Cubs sign Price (or for that matter Zimmerman off the Nats) - I just don't think that Heyward is worth the price he will likely command. Especially if the Cubs already have Soler, Bryant, Schwarber, and Cogs who could be jockeying for position in the corner OF spots.

    Cubs need a CF (assuming that Fowler doesn't come back) more than anything else, and Heyward hasn't played much CF.

  • My guess is that if the Cubs were more aggressive at the deadline then we probably wouldn't have Biaz on the roster. Of course no here knows for sure. Whether that would be worth it now could be debated. Whatever trades were offered were not acceptable to the FO so we move on. By the way, John, I appreciate your approach that not every "bad" trade is horrendous. As your article says, Cubs are very much on the positive side at this point.

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    Fantastic article- John! Cubs really won the Sean Marshall- Travis Wood trade...Travis has come through on many occasions this season in relief...They also did great by picking up Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard- who have really helped in middle relief.

    Has anyone heard more about the cubs opening up Wrigley for fans to view the Wild Card game next Wednesday??

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Opening up Wrigley? You mean like standing room tickets? I'm sure there is a fire code cap on what they can offer.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'm speaking for Bob from Salem, and I'm sure many others who may want to attend. I assume he meant opening up the gates to Wrigley to allow interested fans to enjoy the game together. The last I heard, the Cubs are opening Wrigley for the wild-card game. I have no information regarding ticket prices, etc. I'm sure that information will be forthcoming. Should be a hell of a party.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    They're planning this. Just waiting for MLB approval.

  • In reply to Bob from Salem:

    Thanks!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nice save, and nice article. That's why we all continue to support Cubs Den. The unmatched content coupled with the unwavering support of the Cubs fans. The discourse here is amazing, but I will always debunk a bully. Sorry if I come across wrong way, it's just the way I see the evolution of people's comments. No one here is a "better" Cubs fan than anybody else. Now that I've said that, I'll say something to which we can all agree. GO CUBS!!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks BarleyPop!

  • Interesting article. Wonder how this would look if you added cost control, and salaries to it?

  • In reply to couch:

    It would be really, really long :)

    But I think the comparison as far as cost control is better done with the original vs current roster.

    Could do it with acquired and departed format I used here, but given the Cubs were rebuilding for 3+ years, it would certainly show a heavy advantage in cost control acquired vs given up.

  • Hi John,
    Do you know the terms of Soler's contract? I seem to recall reading he can opt out at the end of next year. Is that right? If so I think we should trade him this offseason for a Gausman, Carrasco, Walker type pitcher if we can. It would be a shame to see him just walk away for nothing.

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    In reply to NZCub:

    I don't know when it is but he can't "opt out" but he can apply for arbitration when he would usually be eligible, (after 3 complete seasons). He can't leave, however. We would just have to go to arbitration.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yes, he can opt out and choose the arbitration route instead, but he cannot opt out and become a free agent. Either way, the Cubs still control him for at least 5 more years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Which he will do since arbitration virtually guarantees players raises. Basically his deal guaranteed him a minimum salary if something catastrophic happened (injury, flame out in minors, etc.), but if he is a big league regular he will be more expensive than the dollar figures listed in his deal.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    He would definitely do it barring disaster. So in reality, we should all hope he opts out because that means he is playing well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Knew we were all on the same page, but just was providing extra (perhaps unnecessary) information.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Never hurts to add and/or clarify things.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Thanks Joel.

  • I might be one of the only ones who doesn't think that the Edwin Jackson signing was bad. Unfortunately, $12M per was the going rate for middling starters. But he served the important function of starting 59 games for a bad team. He was a known quantity. Throwing him out there is preferable to pushing some minor leaguer before he's ready, even if that minor leaguer isn't set to be a star.

  • In reply to tbshaw17:

    For all intents and purposes, the Jackson signing was a bit of a stop-gap, innings-eating pill to swalliw during a rebuilding process. Not to mention a reaction to missing out on the "other" signing. Edwin served his purpose. He did not live up to the expectations, or even arguably terrms of his contract, but that is baseball. Edwin is a good dude. Our focus from here on out is, and should be, much higher.

  • In reply to tbshaw17:

    I didn't think it was a bad signing. If they had gotten Anibal Sanchez, their original attempt at a transition starter the results would definitely have been better but nobody though Jackson would suddenly go from serviceable to awful. I look at the bright side, if it they had signed Sanchez Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber would be playing for other teams as they would have loss a few less games affront the draft order. Silver linings and all that.

  • Bryant
    Rizzo
    And Arrieta came close to equalling the departed.
    Also, I don't see a zero hung on Soler too many years.

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    You know I still think the Cubs will have more than enough financial resource to sign another front line pitcher while extending Arrieta himself, but IF they did go the cheap route why not Lackey? He's having a great season, despite age doesn't appear to be an injury risk, should be cheap by MLB standards, and would Likely be willing to take a short term deal which would give the Cubs a short term stop gap before their wave of young pitching is developed and ready. There's also the connection w/the front office, and how well he'd fit in the Clubhouse culture with his pal Jon Lester.

  • Fun stuff John.

    One nit pick, I do think including draft picks in this type of ledger analysis seems to naturally skew the results . . . there is no negative counterbalance to the draft pick as there is with a trade or free agent signing/loss. All GMs will have a positive fWAR with their draft picks.

    Think the ledger makes sense for non-draft transactions.

    For the draft, would think that normalizing based on 'average fWAR per draft per year' or 'average fWAR per selection spot' would give a better insight.

    Not that you need more work to do.

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