Around the League: More Rule Changes?, Schwarber at 3B, Gleyber, Candelario, Lazarito, Arroyo, Desmond and More

Last season’s Pace of Play initiatives were slightly successful, shaving six minutes off the average length of the game from the season before. In 2015, the average length of games dropped from 3:02 to 2:56, though games were slower in the second half of the season (2:59) than they were in the first half (2:53).

Now, MLB and owners are considering two more changes that could help speed up the game again this season.

The first would be a possible time limit for managers to call for a pitching change during an inning. The idea would be to remove the slow walk to the mound used as a stalling technique or to get the pitcher in the bullpen a few more warm up pitches.

The other change is a modification of one of the new initiatives introduced last season and would reduce the between inning clock from 2:25 to 2:05 for non-nationally televised games. Once again, the batter would be expected to be in the box and ready when the clock runs out and the pitcher would be expected to deliver the pitch when the clock hits zero.

While neither change has been officially approved, the two sides are said to be “closing in” on an agreement to implement both for next season.

Another potential rule change being discussed is raising the bottom edge of the strike zone from the hollow at the bottom of the knee cap to the top of the knee cap, which is where the zone had been prior to 1996. However, any change to the zone cannot be instituted by the owners and must be collectively bargained. The change is likely to be discussed during the upcoming CBA negotiations which means it won’t be implemented until 2017 at the earliest.

Cubs Notes

During the playoffs last season, Joe Maddon was considering a potential switch and asked Kyle Schwarber if he could play third base. Schwarber agreed, went to the locker room to grab a glove and returned to the dugout. At which point Schwarber confessed to catching coach Mike Borzello that he had never played third base in his life. The willingness to try a new position during a playoff game highlights Schwarber’s willingness to play wherever the team asks, be it left field or catcher.

Matthew Trueblood at BP Wrigleyville makes the case for the Cubs NOT extending Theo Epstein. He makes a better argument than you’d think, but…no.

MLB.com’s Pipeline continued their prospect rankings with the Top 10 Shortstops, including the Cubs’ Gleyber Torres at #9 based on his “solid-or-better tools across the board”. Nine sounded a little low to me on first glance, but it’s hard to say that any of the players ahead of him should move down. The Dodgers’ Corey Seager (who is probably not a shortstop in the long run) and J.P. Crawford of the Phillies topped the list.

In yesterday’s rankings, Jeimer Candelario came in at #7 on MLB.com’s list of Top 10 Third Base Prospects, even though he appears to be blocked in Chicago. Following a down 2014 season, Candelario rebounded last year and reached AA where he posted an .841 OPS, which was better than he hit a A+ ball. According to MLB.com’s write up, the switch hitting 22 year-old projects to have above average hit tools and “all the necessary tools to stick at third base, including soft hands and above-average arm strength”.

CBS Sports began their positional rankings and have Anthony Rizzo as the 4th best First Baseman and Miguel Montero at #14 among the top Catchers. Rizzo ranks behind Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto, which is probably about right, though it’s not a stretch to expect him to be higher on next year’s list. However, #14 struck me as really low for Montero who ranked 9th last season in fWAR, especially given that he is below a number of players who missed large chunks of 2015 with injuries. But it’s probably best not to get too upset about made up rankings.

Jim Callis named Dylan Cease as the Cubs prospect to break out this year, saying he will be “two years removed from TJ surgery & ready to take off”.

Grant Brisbee ranked the top 3-4-5 combinations in baseball using OPS+ and the Cubs come in second to the Blue Jays. The Cubs group of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber actually ranked fifth using the numbers, but were bumped up to second due to their ages and small sample sizes. Brisbee adds that “the Cubs should probably be first”, but wants to wait to see how the league adjusts to Bryant and Schwarber, which is fair.

With the DH not likely to be added to the National League anytime soon, Dan Vogelbach continues to focus on improving at first base and wants to learn everything he can from Rizzo. “Obviously, Rizzo is the first baseman of the Chicago Cubs and that’s not going to change. So I can’t worry about what he does or how he performs. I can only worry about what I do. So if [the DH] opens up, that’s another chance and another bat in the lineup. But right now, I’m just going to continue to try to be the best first baseman I can be.”

One-time Cubs minor leaguer Ronald Torreyes was designated for assignment by the Angels today and will be seeking his sixth new team in the past eight months. Since May 7, 2015, Torreyes has been with the Astros, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Yankees and Angels, including just three days with the Yankees and two with the Angels.

Dexter Fowler is worth surrendering a draft pick to sign writes Ken Rosenthal, but adds that “clubs are using the picks as a negotiating tactic against lower-level compensation free agents”. Rosenthal names the Angels, White Sox and Orioles as teams who could use Fowler, though all three would need to use him in a corner outfield spot. Rosenthal also expects the Qualifying Offer system to be discussed during the upcoming CBA negotiations.

Cubs OF Chris Coghlan will be a guest this week on MLB.com’s Statcast podcast with Mike Petriello.

Patrick Mooney examines how the Cubs built their 2016 pitching staff by spreading the money around to multiple options. Rather than signing David Price or surrendering the package for Shelby Miller, the Cubs chose to add John Lackey and Adam Warren, while also bringing back Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard, and Travis Wood. This wasn’t the Cubs plan according to Theo Epstein, but the team had to adjust to the market.

“We really came to feel like the price of poker was very high to acquire starting pitching,” Epstein said. “Years and dollars were really significant for starters of note in free agency — and came with a significant amount of risk, frankly, that we weren’t completely comfortable with. “(In) the trade market, we felt like in a lot of cases we would have had to pay like two dollars on the dollar almost in return.

More News and Notes

Cuban free agent teenager Lazarito (Lazaro Armenteros) has begun negotiating with teams and expects to make a decision by February 10, which is the first date he’s eligible to sign. He is also expected to hold some private workouts with individual teams after over 140 team executives attended his showcase in the Dominican earlier this month.

With 10 teams already facing restrictions in the 2016 International Free Agent class, the Braves, Nationals and Padres are all expected to spend heavily. The Braves in particular are seen as likely to attack the market, with Atlanta being the front runners for 16 year old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, who is among the best July 2 prospects of the past decade.

The Rays are showing interest in free agent shortstop Ian Desmond on a one-year pillow deal, though the Rays are reluctant to part with their first round pick (#13 overall).

The Orioles were still in on Yoenis Cespedes after signing Chris Davis and Jon Heywamn Tweets that Baltimore had a five year deal on the table last Friday,

The Nationals agreed to a minor league deal with veteran SP Bronson Arroyo that includes an invitation to Spring Training. The 38 year-old right-hander will receive a $2M base salary if he makes the team and can earn an additional $8M in incentives if he makes 32 starts.

MySpace founder Tom Anderson offered to pay Tim Lincecum‘s salary if the Giants were willing to bring him back. And if you don’t know what MySpace is (was?), kindly get off my lawn.

 

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  • Given the mutual interest between Desmond and the Rays, I wonder if we should be a part of baseball's 1st "sign and trade."

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    So, sign Desmond and send him to the Rays with Soler for Moore and McGee thus allowing the Rays to circumvent the QO?

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    At first I thought, "no" since the signing team would need to wait until June 15th to trade the FA, but it looks like it can still happen with the player's consent, like in this case. I'm sure trading someone that cost the acquiring team a draft pick would require some compensation to make up for it.

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    In reply to Antone:

    Gonna bet that the commissioner would veto the trade anyway. Such a move would be clearly designed to circumvent the QO system. Imagine if a team with a top 10 protected pick signed every QO free agent and sold them off to the teams that actually wanted them in exchange for second round talent -- the teams that get the player would essentially trade a 2nd rounder to keep their first rounder and get their free agent anyway.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    If the Cubs sign Fowler and Desmond, then Desmond costs them a 3rd round pick, could be the little bit extra the rays need to give the Cubs what they are asking

  • In reply to nukee:

    The Cubs payroll is maxed out this year. We will not sign either Fowler or Desmond and certainly not both.

  • In reply to John57:

    The Ricketts are billionaires. There is always money available if they want to use it.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    It isn't that simple. They've basically spent their 2016 and 2017 FA budget this year. There are debt service issues and simple cash flow issues. Could they go up a million here or a million there? Sure but to sign Fowler even for a 1 year $12 mil pact would be difficult if not impossible without moving salary.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Plus that's Joe's money. Maybe he doesn't give a rip about baseball.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I would be shocked if we sign Fowler for 1/$12M

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    No, there's no way and someone will. Again if I'm the White Sox I'm signing him now.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I get all of that. However, there are ways around the debt service issues. If I remember correctly much of that is dependent on debt/asset ratios. Acquiring additional assets such as roof top buildings and not taking on debt with them helps the cause. The wealth they hold allows them to acquire those assets which in turn can allow them to spend more on payroll. I know there are some other creative accounting that can happen as well.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Absolutely but they've pulled in a lot of those chips already. They really dug deep for Heyward. If they add money either now or at the deadline there will be a corresponding move. I don't have any doubt of that.

  • In reply to John57:

    If Desmond was traded to the Rays, the Cubs wouldn't pay his salary this year, so that isn't an issue.

  • When is baseball gonna it. Making the game better isnt by shaving a few minutes off the game so everyone can get home 10 minutes earlier, make the game better! As in balancing out offense with defense and pitching. How can they talk about changing the bottom half of the zone when umpires get multiple calls wrong every single game! It doesnt even matter. You wanna make the game better and more exciting while making it completely fair for every pitcher and hitter? Then get rid of human beings making calls on 95+ with movement in a zone with imaginary lines it makes no sense anymore with all the technology we have! And I wont even get into the dh and the benifits of that. The MLB just moves so slow on things its hard to sit by and here them talking about the stuff that really isnt even that important. Just simply make the game more entertaining.... Is it that hard?

  • In reply to youngcub91:

    A steady-to-increasing stream of $$$ to the decision makers tends to perpetuate the status quo.

  • In reply to youngcub91:

    They need to improve the pace of play. The time between innings is not a big deal to me, although I won't complain about any slight improvements there. The big issue is the final three innings of games and modern bullpen usage. Watching the 7-8th innings of baseball games has taken on the viewing pleasure of the final three minutes of a basketball game. When tension in the game is at its highest point, there is endless amounts of downtime and commercial breaks as managers and pitching coaches meander back and forth from the dugout and switch pitchers every batter. It is an AWFUL viewing experience.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Managers should not walk out to the mound to make a pitching change. It should be signaled from the dugout. The reliever then should have about 90 seconds to make his way to the mound. He can take 3 warmup pitches and if the manager or pitching coach wants to meet him out there and discuss strategy while he takes those three pitches, fine. 75% of the time during pitching changes is just stall tactics. It is utter nonsense and can be eliminated. If your relief pitcher isn't ready to come in the game TOO BAD. Don't use him then. Sending a catcher out to "talk" to a pitcher, then having the manager "walk" out to the mound after so that he can "talk" to the pitcher, all while the reliever in the bullpen throws 10 more pitches, and then the new reliever gets to take his time coming in and getting more warmup pitches and finally 5 minutes later we get to see this reliever throw 5 pitches and then start the process all over again before the next hitter as the manager switches pitchers again, and then having to potentially sit through it a third time in an inning kills all the buildup of tension in an inning.

    The bullpen mounds are there so that guys can be ready before they come in. If your guy isn't ready it is your own fault.

    I'm actually of the opinion that managers and pitching coaches should not be allowed in the field of play. Keep them in the dugout. There is absolutely no need for them to be out on the field barring an injury to one of their player's and even then the trainer should be the one out there. If a pitcher isn't prepared to face a certain hitter or know what to throw in a certain situation, again, it is your own fault.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I couldn't have said it better. The only issue is that you can't limit the number of pitching changes or the game really changes. This is another reason why expanded rosters in September make no sense, because for the last month of the season (the heat of the playoff chase) we see the pitchers mound become a revolving door and it is especially boring

  • In reply to youngcub91:

    Here, here. Well said.

  • That BP article blows. First and foremost it hurts my feelings because Theo is all things amazing. More importantly, this guy is talking about bringing in less talented people to run the show, possibly from outside fields, and presenting it as a viable option. All because he pulled some info from a Harvard Business Review last year and now wants to shoehorn it into an apples and oranges field. Trueblood is brutal

  • Re: Rizzo/Bryant/Schwarber as 3-4-5 combo -- ironically,,Schwarber never batted fifth (or third, for that matter) last year. He actually did appear in every other spot in the lineup.
    Who knows where Maddon will bat him next year? Personally,I wouldn't mind seeing Schwarbs and his high OBP vs. RHP in the leadoff spot... .

  • In reply to djbk:

    and he's only 22!
    sorry, couldn't help myself-- just getting giddy about this season

  • In reply to djbk:

    Idk when that picture was taken, but he looks to have slimmed down a bit

  • After graduating Bryant, Russell, Schwarber, Soler and Baez, the Cubs currently still have 4 position players in MLB's top 10 players at their position lists.

    Willson Contreras is the #1 ranked catcher.
    Ian Happ is the #3 ranked 2B.
    Gleyber Torres is the #9 ranked SS.
    And Jeimer Candelario is the #7 ranked 3B.

    Now they just have to get their pitching to the upper levels. Underwood at AA is a start and Callis picking Cease to break out will help. If one from the group of De La Cruz, Clifton, Steele and Sands can break out, then they'd have something going.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Not to mention if someone older who has upside but hasn't yet produced consistently (Skulina, Pierce, Stinnett, Norwood, Rob Z., Null) can come around, they could be more immediate impact.

  • Excellent article by Trueblood, but I have to agree with NSI and most of the commments on that site: very comprehensive, thought-provoking, and wrong. The lessons from the last years in Boston have been learned, and were largely a product of ownership interference. Trueblood makes a compelling case, but I can think of a counterpoint to every arguement. The bottom line is the job is not done. Future success is not guaranteed, nor should be taken for granted. He mentions the sense of urgency leading positive results within a given timeframe, and I completely agree, but again, let's finish the job. I say let's revisit his argument in a couple years.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Theo was NEVER the problem in Boston . Lucchino was, which is why they decided to get rid of Lucchino at the same time they let Cherington go, Im guessing Dombrowski might have told ownership he didn't want Lucchino in his way.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I think Luccinho was moved out before Dombrowski actually, ostensibly to concentrate on the Pawtucket Red Sox and their potential new stadium (which has since fallen through), but a move that was made when he arrived was a separation of the baseball and business sides much like the Cubs have with Sam Kennedy in the Crane Kenney role.

  • Fowler's still lurking, with more smoke every day. Is he worth a year or two (and, basically, a second-round pick), and wouldn't there have to be a corresponding move?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I got into a rather heated discussion about this last night. Even on a 1 or 2 year deal I don't see how Fowler makes you significantly better. Yes it frees Soler up to be moved for pitching but what pitcher? That makes some sense when you're talking about an outfielder in his mid twenties coming back in a deal but are we really considering Fowler an upgrade in stats or fit over Soler? I've been as willing to move Soler as anyone but Fowler's key attributes have been replaced on this team by Heyward and Zobrist. I guess the argument would be that Fowler improves defense at two positions, RF & CF, but I'm still not sold. Now tell me we're going to finally swing a deal for Danny Salazar by freeing Soler for trade and I'm down, otherwise I don't see it.

  • In reply to TC154:

    If the Cubs could deal Soler for Salazar, then yes, I think they offer a short term contract, but as you said, that's not likely to happen. Besides, Fowler wouldn't improve defense in two positions, just RF. In my opinion, Heyward is a better CFer than Fowler ever was.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree, Fowler's no longer a perfect fit, and definitely not a need. I'm not advocating for him, it just seems as though the whole situation is ... lingering. This front office is known for being opportunistic. Would Fowler take a short deal to be a 3rd/4th outfielder before heading back out on the market? I don't know. I do know that GM's have long moved on from offering contracts based on numbers on the back of a baseball card, so I don't think his situation with the Cubs would diminish his future earnings that much. Again, I'm not advocating, just might be starting to smell something.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think Fowler takes a deal with the Cubs UNLESS they already basically have a deal in place for Soler. Taking a pillow contract (1-2 years) is usually done to "rebuild" value. Fowler's value is pretty high after his season. If he comes back and is demoted to 3-4th outfielder it will be hard for his agent to bring in the "big contract" that he surely desires. If the Cubs suddenly have an outfield of Heyward, Soler, Schwarber, Coghlan, Fowler that would be a very expensive outfield and it might be hard to find playing time for all of them. While I would love to see Fowler back, I just don't see how it could work out well for him.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I see everyone's point, and don't see it making sense without a lot of moving parts. I just have this feeling, which is often wrong. I think it has more to do with the genius of this front office than my personal beliefs. What if we sign Fowler cheap, trade Cog's for, say, a lefty pen arm, and go from there? I'm so confused. Then Almora will be up in July and make the whole point moot.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'd like to see the Cubs sign Austin Jackson for the 4th OF spot and trade Coghlan to be honest.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    The shame of it is that Fowler should have more value than he has. the guy is a good ballplayer with a lifetime .781 OPS. The problem is that he isn't a sexy signing. Dude goes out and does his job. Defensively he's not great but he's not a huge liability either. I was really surprised that Span signed before him because while he is a slightly better version of Fowler his recent injuries would have to give you pause, but SF felt differently obviously.

    To me the best fit left for him is the White Sox. I know they were hot for Cespedes but that's the kind of player they always like. Fowler would provide them with a second OBP guy along with Eaton to set up some of their power bats. I think Eaton has athe better arm so you move him to RF while Fowler takes CF. I don't really see the Sox doing much in a tough division but they would be a better ballclub with Fowler on it.

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    In reply to TC154:

    I agree that Fowler should be getting more attention, but this is his one chance to cash in. Now, if he is fielding (no pun intended) nothing but 2/$25-30 contracts then he might consider it. It would be great for the Cubs as it could free up Coghlan (or Soler depending on what we get back) for trade, maybe a high-ceiling/mod-high risk Class-A pitcher or something. But I don't see that happening. I really think he will get somewhere between 3-6 years (6 years is probably high) with dollar amounts in the $45-75M. If that is the case I think the Cubs should thank him for his solid play, and collect their draft pick (2nd rounder is what it would be now?) and move on.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I know, I know, Schwarber's not ready to catch full time, just thought this would be fun to type out:

    CF Fowler
    2B Zobrist
    1B Rizzo
    3B Bryant
    C Schwarber
    LF Soler
    RF Heyward
    P
    SS Russell

    Or any combination thereof...

    Good grief!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I know. It's kinda ridiculous what the Cubs have going on right now. This has been the ultimate line-up in my head since I started wanting them to sign Heyward last summer. It would be for 2017 though...

    2B Zobrist
    C Schwarber
    3B Bryant
    1B Rizzo
    LF Soler
    RF Heyward
    SS Russell
    P
    CF Almora

    That's assuming, obviously, that Almora continues raking like he did in the 2nd half last year in AAA in 2016. If he does... that line-up is fantastic and young. Everyone but Zobrist would be between 23-27 in 2017 and, when Baez plays 2B, it would be all 8 of them!

    Plus, they'd be very strong defensively with the weakest link being Schwarber at C. Soler's D plays up in LF where his arm would have an even greater impact and his lack of range would have less.

    If Contreras does well in AAA this year, the bench would have Contreras, Baez, La Stella and a 4th OFer. The flexibility, talent, youth and depth would be off the charts.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I do believe Almora will be up with the big club by the end of this year, putting my Fowler theory even deeper in the hole.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    What a lineup! I do see Almora up, maybe even by the AS break. If he puts JH in RF and Soler to LF we've got an excellent 2/3 of an outfield and Soler at least average to above average with more experience. Our infield is good to above average and with power and OBP the only aspect lacking is speed, but really no clunkers on the bases also. That's fun to look at. I really like the fact that we have mostly all patient hitters too, because when they're not hitting homers or extra base hits there should be someone on base and just getting them over or in with RISP is better this year than last.
    It's going to be fun. Maybe this is how Yankee fans felt when looking at all their lineups over the years.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I love the thought of Soler in LF but if we don't have Schwarber catching it kind of limits our line-up. We could do a platoon but is that really the best use of either of them? Both needs ABs.

    Ideally Schwarber takes a big step forward this offseason on his catching. Cubs brass are still talking about him as a catcher who simply played LF last season most of the time. But that would take some things really breaking in his/their favor. I see it as a best-case but unlikely scenario for 2016, though I wouldn't be surprised if he works on it all of 2016 and next off-season and is able to take on a "back-up"--as oppposed to "emergency"--role in 2017. Overall, this is a ballclub that can really turn some heads as the season moves along.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'd do the same thing with Schwarber catching, but move Zobrist to left and Javy to 2B.

  • Boy I'll tell you if nothing else that Bruce Levine knows how to stir a pot. Every other Cubs site this morning has a piece about Fowler coming back to the Cubs all citing Levine. Of course it's also brought out the meatballs that know nothing about baseball. It makes my head hurt. On the other hand if there's any truth to it I hope it means a trade for a young pitcher is imminent. If not I'm content going into the season as is.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Levine has the Cubs signing Fowler and talking to the Rays about a trade. My money is on neither of those happening.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    If Soler get us Blake Snell and another prospect I make the deal. Other than that, no thank you.

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    In reply to TC154:

    What makes me nervous about that is what happens when/if Heyward opts out of his contract (or do we simply say, "We will pay whatever it takes to keep you)? Move Bryant to RF and hope Candelario or Baez can take over at 3B?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Or make another move. That's future window stuff for me. I fully expect some guys to be traded by then and yeah maybe someone develops in the system. The thing that scares me the most about that second window is pitching.

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    In reply to TC154:

    What if the Cubs have won a WS or at least been in one or two? He might decide that he prefers winning to a few more million dollars a year.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I think the compensation pick is a huge factor here. Obviously when you can add Heyward and Zobrist to a good team you don't worry about the draft picks. But knowing how our FO values those high picks, I don't see Dexter coming back.
    I think the Cubs got a little lucky last yr getting a whole season out of Fowler considering he missed 99 games due to injury from 2012-2015 and had played 140 games just once in 7 yrs. I agree with Joel that his value may never be higher.
    The other side of the coin is, of course, that he's a really good dude that fit in great with his teammates and Bruce needs something to talk about in late January.

  • In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    Agreed. That's why the White Sox with their protected first round pick are a good fit for Fowler.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It would be like the Chisox to announce a Fowler signing, this weekend.

  • I don't see Dexter in blue either, but, just to play devil's advocate, there doesn't have to be a trade with the signing. With Schwarber in LF and Soler in RF the bench becomes Fowler, Coghlan, Baez, LaStella, and Ross. Long bench vs. long pen given Warren, Wood, Cahill and Richard can all go once through the line-up if needed. Everyone gets 400 PA with early defensive substitutions. When Joe needs an extra arm Ross gets a groin injury and Miggy handles Lester for a few starts. He's going to have to get used to it since he owes us 120 more without Ross starting in 2017. Essentially Fowler takes the spot of either Szczur or the last arm (Ramirez, Brothers, ?). Pen will shuttle anyway subject to remaining option years.
    Not likely but more plausible than trading low when pitching is selling high.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    When you put it that way it does make a lot of sense. That bench would be incredible. Fowler had just about played himself into a platoon role anyway before the All-star break saved him.
    By the way I love your scenario:
    Joe: Dave, you're on the DL again
    Ross: What do I have?
    Joe: Groin injury
    Ross: Okay

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    Yes there does have to be a trade for a Fowler signing. We are at our payroll limit. Fowler will make at least 10-12 million a year and that will put us 10-12 million over what we have to spend.

  • In reply to John57:

    There isn't a person on this board that knows precisely what the team has available to spend currently, and it could easily change. Business operations feeds 100% of their net into baseball operations. If business operations signs Wrigley Rooftops as a premier partner or we see the "TD Ameritrade defensive substitution (trade) of the game" Tom or daddy could fund whatever they choose to fund. Doesn't mean that any big signing is going to happen, just that the payroll cap is more fluid than it is purported to be.

  • In reply to charactercounts:

    There were several followers who comment here that seem to know the debt and income restrictions the Cubs have to deal with when we signed Heyward, Zobrist and Lackey. It was discussed multiple times on this blog. They said we were at our limit.

    Theo also said they could not sign Zobrist unless they unloaded Castro salary for this year which I think was around 7 million. If we could not handle Castro's 7 million dollar salary, what makes you think we could handle a 12 million dollar salary for Fowler? I don't think the payroll limit is as fluid as you think it is.

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    If I remember correctly, Levine was the first reporter to report the Cubs' interest in Heyward. So I see Levine as fairly credible. CBS lists Zobrist as #5 second baseman. Looking forward to MLB Network's Top Ten Right Now tonight: they look at third and LF.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    He was, but he isn't right very often. He also insisted Scott Kazmir was a Cubs target for two months before Kazmir was moved last summer. The Fowler thing is a real stretch unless there is a corresponding move with Soler.

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    In reply to TC154:

    It seems unlikely. I see the Cubs trading prospects mid-season.

  • I was mused at the thought of Schwarber playing third, but he probably would be ok there as well. Third is kind of a blue collar get dirty spot. Let's be honest Kile is no gazelle, but fast, strong and quick enough with a good arm. I'd worry a bit about the bricks in foul territory.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm not too worried about the bricks. Yes, they are old but they can be easily replaced if Kyle hurts them.

  • Astros sign Doug Fister.

  • Sounds like Dickerson is heading to the Rays and McGee back to the Rockies. Does this make Jennings available?

  • Jake McGee to Colorado for Corey Dickerson. Thus endeth the Cubs dalliance with Tampa Bay methinks.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I don't necessarily think so for two reasons. One, I think this makes Jennings available from the Rays. Two, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rockies flip McGee possibly to the Cubs. They are in a division where they are likely going to finish 3rd or worse. They need to commit to rebuilding and McGee makes no sense for them.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I think they hang on to Jennings they need more offense than they're getting from Steven Souza Jr. They picked up Dickerson for his bat.

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