Cubs, Rays still talking trade?

We originally reported on the possibility of a Cubs-Rays trade early in December and since then, there has been a lot of talk to back that up.  The teams match up well on paper.  The Rays have a surplus of young pitching and the Cubs have a surplus of young hitters.  When you have potential impact bats Jorge Soler likely batting 6th and Javier Baez coming off the bench, not to mention Chris Coghlan, who put up the best wOBA after the big three (Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber) among Cubs hitters last year.  He, too, could find himself fighting for playing time.

The Cubs have been busy this offseason and have built a team which many consider to be among the very best in baseball — and perhaps the odds-on favorite to win the World Series.

That does not mean the Cubs are necessarily finished improving their team.  While they filled some huge needs with a mid-rotation starter (John Lackey), rotation depth (Adam Warren), and two great fits as far as OBP, contact rates, and defense in Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, they would still like to add a cost-controlled starter and, if possible, improve their overall OF defense.

The Rays have plenty of pitching to trade, most notably Jake Odorizzi, whom Jim Bowden speculates is the Cubs main target.  But as we mentioned in the article linked at the top, they may have interest in other names such as Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, and Matt Moore.  Chris Archer is not in play and certainly not for players the Cubs might consider surplus.

The Rays also have the kind of defensive CFers that would improve the Cubs overall OF defense, as they could push Jason Heyward to RF, where he plays at an elite level.  Kevin Keirmaier is perhaps the best defensive CFer in baseball but like Archer, it’s doubtful he is being made available.  The  Rays also have Desmond Jennings who will find himself further displaced if the Rays do acquire an OFer.  Jennings has not lived up to expectations on offense, though he has been about an average offensive player when healthy.  He has been stellar on defense, though most of his best work has been done in LF.  As a CFer, he has graded slightly above average for his career with glimpses where he has been well above average.

Other than the aforenementioned  MLB bats the Cubs may have to offer, they also have a very deep system which includes top bats such as Billy McKinney, Ian Happ, and Jeimer Candelario.  All are offensive-minded top 10 prospects who are within a couple of years of contributing at the MLB level.  Should the Cubs and Rays want to expand a deal, it is likely the Rays would show interest in all of those players.

Of course, we have been down this road before only to see interest on both sides wane.  The Cubs have since added Heyward, Zobrist, and Warren.  Warren alleviates some of the urgency to add young, cost-controlled pitching depth, but the Cubs remain interested in a cost-controlled impact arm who can be a mid-rotation or better starter after Lackey and possibly Jake Arrieta hit the free agent market in 2 years.

The market is beginning to change since those talks stalled.  The outfield market is beginning to gain some momentum.  Other than Heyward and Zobrist (whom some sought as a LFer); Alex Gordon, Denard Span, and Gerardo Parra have signed.  Of the major free agent OFers only Justin Upton, Yoennis Cespedes, and Dexter Fowler remain unsigned while other potential starters such as Austin Jackson remain available.

It is important to note that the Cubs don’t need to expand the deal and acquire a CFer in a trade.  Their current starting OF of Schwarber, Heyward, and Soler is far more than adequate and they can sign or trade for a top reserve OF defender.  If they should trade Soler, then they have Chris Coghlan and Javier Baez still available for use as starters.  They could also sign a standout defensive CFer such as Austin Jackson or trade for a player like 4th OFer Jake Marisnick (whose defense makes him an adequate stopgap starting CFer) until prospect Albert Almora is ready to take over in CF.

They may also want to strengthen their bullpen with a quality arm lke closer Brad Boxberger or LHRP Jake McGee as part of the deal.  The Cubs have added a lot of depth to their bullpen along with a solid addition in Warren, but they have not added an impact arm and given the volatility of bullpen performance, it’s never a bad idea to have too many relief arms, especially those who can come in late in games, throw strikes, and miss bats.

The Cubs are in a much better position to deal than they were the last time we discussed this potential trade match-up.  They’re also in a better position to not make a major deal.  They can stand pat or patch holes with smaller deals. Essentially the Cubs have positioned themselves in a situation where they will only make a major deal if it improves the team overall.  While that may not mean surplus value, they will at least look to get equal value at a greater position of need and strengthen the roster overall.

All that said, a deal seems unlikely despite the good match between the teams.  The Rays have multiple teams interested in their pitching and are themselves in a good position to not make a deal with the Cubs and look elsewhere.  Still, few teams have the kind of hitting depth the Cubs do so the situation is worth monitoring as the market begins to clarify.

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  • John, right now Im leery about trading Baez/Soler, especially for a 3/4 starter.Now if the Rays want to talk about our minor league pieces like McKinney and Vogelbomb for McGee, Id listen.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I can't blame you there. There is every reason to be leery about such a deal. Unfortunately, the Rays do want bats that can help them this season, so it will likely cost them Soler or Baez to get a young arm with #3 potential like Odorizzi. But even if Odorizzi reaches his ceiling, it would still be below that of both Soler and Baez. The Cubs would be trading some upside for some certainty and to fill a greater need.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    In there lies the rub; this time of year every team thinks that they can still win, so they all ask for as much as possible. And who can really blame them. A little closer to the trade deadline after a few teams find themselves out of it, I'm guessing that more teams will be willing to deal for prospects instead of trying to raid other teams 25 man rosters.

    So in that light, I suppose we should be able to expect Vogelbach's, McKinnley's, Zagunis' or Villanueva's trade values to go up as the year progresses. Right now it seems like all pitchers are being over valued reguardless of experience and all hitters are being undervalued unless they have MLB experience. Is this normal, or am I just imagining things?

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    Yep and that may be why the Cubs are better off waiting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Patience and discipline at the decision-making level is ALWAYS a strategic skill, not that deliberate conservatism and absolute adherence to a preconceived plan, it is timing and timeliness where and when it was established that the entire organization stave off the sense of desperate urgency like a I see the Yankees, Dodgers and now the Cardinals heading towards. I think Dombrowski succinctly stated that either you are a contender or you are rebuilding, there is no middle ground. So in that context Cubs are contenders but still have some improvement and movable pieces yet again there is no urgency to act on an overpay.

    In my book what Tampa Bay has to offer is OF/CF defense at the high end, (Kiermaier 4.75 fWAR 2 yr ave) [not the replacement level as Jennings (3.2 fWAR '12-'13-'14, who reminds me of a RH'd only Fowler, 3.2 fWAR '15 ], maybe middle of the rotation starting pitching (Ordorizi 2.5 fWAR '14, '15 = Hammel) and above average late inning relief, (McGee, 1.6 fWAR '12, '13, '14, 15 ave = Rondon).

    The question for Kiermaier is about what does Soler (or more hesitation from me Baez) project in fWAR through the next four years, up to Sept last year Soler does not project well, but if he comes out in April and May and sets the world on fire, over the next four years. Now him and a big upside Almora or McKinney where their KOTAH projections could produce but not now.

    As for the others all are overpay unless one is willing to take non key members of the prospect pool.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    this is where the conversation is backward. if the Rays want Soler or Baez than they need to do a lot better than just offering something like Odorizzi (who I would like to have). Tampa needs to make a deal or sign a free agent of which there aren't many in there price range. The Cubs are fine doing nothing at this point and letting the first half of the season play out.

  • In reply to Steve Fowler:

    Odorizzi for either of those hitters is good value for the Cubs. The Rays don't need to do better than that and they don't need to make a deal that might make them worse out of desperation. The Cubs can let the first half play out...or they can make a deal that they believe makes their team better before the season starts. IF the latter beomes available to them, I fully expect them to make that deal. If they don't get that kind of offer, they can wait.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Soler is a keeper. Baez would have to bring back a strong return, if you feel Baez will blossom into a star. We have some other pieces to make a trade for a 3rd, 4th calibre starter...plus Coghlan, Montero?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Montero isn't going anywhere. He is the only starting caliber catcher this team has.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I agree... at least until next off-season and that is only if we see enough development out of Contreras & Schwarber back there.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Montero could still moveable if Lucroy is available for multiple prospects as has been reported.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    What if Almora progresses quickly, similar to others did last year? His defense last year in spring training was outstanding, he covers center very well. His bat is not bad either. If he competes for center field, Hayward to right, Soler to left, Schwarber to catcher sharing time with Ross and Contreras. Moving Montero moves salary that we could put toward more pitching in future. Our young guys like Almora, Baez and others are hungry to move up. We have a couple young 3rd basemen that made huge strides last season, what if they came up and we moved Bryant to left field? Schwarber is a catcher, not an outfielder.

  • I would like a combo that includes Moore and a high leverage reliever but I suspect that a deal involving him would need to take place during spring training to see if he is close to his old self

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    That is a good point. And in general, a ST deal may be more likely as teams understand their rosters and health situation better.

  • Maybe it makes sense to trade prospects for prospects at this point. Neither teams wants from their major league roster.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Both teams not interested in prospects as centerpiece, though. Both teams want help for their MLB roster.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    This is where I'm at. I'd like to see the Cubs get a better version of Pierce Johnson. A pitcher who they can leave in the minors if necessary, or who if that person blows up this year can be inserted. It seems that Underwood may be that person next year, but we seem to have only one of those this year -- johnson, and we should have a couple more.

    Also, there does seem to be a sufficient number of our guys that are blocked from the majors with the Cubs, but may have value elsewhere to get something of value through this route.

  • I do wonder with the market for Fowler shrinking at the same time that the Cubs and Rays (who have interest in Soler) talks heat up mean anything. I know it's unlikely but I think Fowler could be had for a deal right now. Is it better to have Fowler + a MOR arm or high leverage closer than it is to just have Soler?

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    It sounds like a toss up, but at this point I would prefer Soler.

  • In reply to Brian Steiner:

    Agree, Soler is young and fits so well with Rizzo, Schwarber, Bryant...two lefty power bats/two rightly.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Bryant isn't going to be around long term. That core is going to get disrupted in the future. I think it more likely that Russell stick around than Bryant, but...... That being said, I am less inclined to trade Soler or Baez.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Well, we don't get Fowler for free and I figure there's an elite CF defender (Almora) on the way soon at the MLB minimum. I'd love Fowler for 2016 (and frankly I worry a bit about losing his top-of-the-order mojo and clubhouse chemistry in the early going)... but his salary could limit future flexibility.
    As for Soler, I'd hang on to him as our LF of the future (remember how well Soriano' arm played out there back in the day?). But heck -- there is so much flexibility in this roster the team should be able to trade for immediate need when and if they have to.

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    Hey John, would you think a trade could work if we sent Baez and soler for ordorizzi, kaiermeir, and McGee. I desperately want kaiermeir, he would give the best cf-rf defensive combo and hep cover ground for Schwarber if he's in left.

  • In reply to Tom English:

    I really don't think the Rays are interested in dealing him at this point.

    Plus, I think he is probably overvalued a little overvalued at this point. He is coming off historic defensive numbers last season. There is no doubt he is a premier defender but from the research I have seen the players that have been able to put up similar numbers to what he did last year were unable to replicate it again in their careers. Trying to get him now would definitely fall into the category of buying high.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Franklin Guitierrez several years ago. had a monster GG season for Seattle and has nevedr been able to replicate it, mainly due to injuries he incurred making those plays.

  • In reply to Tom English:

    Keirmaier would be nice but the Rays don't seem interested in dealing him. I think if the Cubs can get someone like Jackson, Marisnick or the equivalent in CF, that is more than enough. Even Heyward should be above average there. Kiermaier in Wrigley's small CF might be overkill and it would probably cost too much anyway. Remember too that the Rays believe they can compete and, like the Cubs, are more interested in trading from surplus.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would like to see a deal centered around Archer and Keirmaier for Schwarber, Hendricks and Almora

  • In reply to Craig:

    Bite your tongue on the Schwarber talk! Although the Cubs trading him is about as likely as TB parting with Archer the odds on each somewhere in the neighborhood of zero.

  • In reply to Craig:

    no chance. I dount trade an absolute impact bat llike Schwarber. You don't find many like him.

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    In reply to Craig:

    Love it! Done! Not sure either front office makes that deal, but I would if I were Theo. Then again we'd have won 42 games last year if I were the Prez.

  • What would it take to get Tyler Skaggs from the Angels. Coghlan + LaStella + Vogelbach maybe. I'd rather take a bigger risk to not give up Soler or Baez. Angels need LH OF and 2nd baseman and have stacks of SP.

  • In reply to NZCub:

    Skaggs is coming off surgery. Id like to see how healthy he is first. Besides, the Angels want to stay under the $189M payroll threshold so they don't gety nailed with a luxury tax. Coghlans and LaStellas salaries would put them over it.

  • At this point, unless a deal is a no-brainer, I'd prefer they address any potential holes in June and July when they have a better idea of needs.

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    Over the next two years, how much better is odorozzi, than hendricks, Hammel or miller? I know Hammel is likely gone after this season, but we are talking about giving away potential all-Stars for half a war if that? That's not even including the fact that you don't have rotation spots available. Personally I'm not against sending hendricks down for the year, but that is a very hard sell on this message board. And if you think Hammel was not happy last year, just wait until you try to send him to the bullpen.
    Unless you are moving parts you don't believe will get any better, any potential deal that has been discussed is losing value in the short and long term. If you are set on moving Soler, I'd rather it be for people that have TOR potential that are maybe a year away from the big leagues.

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    To trade Soler/Baez we would have to get a TOR pitcher who is going in to his prime and I don't see that happening. Even in trading Almora or Contreras we would be trading 2 positions where we don't have minor league depth. I have trust in this FO and I'm sure they are thinking all of what we say here. Ideally we have an offensive club (Schwarbs in LF and Soler in RF) and then in late innings put Heyward in RF, who in CF and who in RF? That's where maybe Austin Jackson might be signed again and just wait for Almora to come up. If his bat is decent then why not bring him up just for defense--Russell was brought up and he did fine.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree with this. If Jackson can be had for a 1 year deal, I hope the Cubs go for it. Or if Almora shows up to ST looking good, maybe he gets the Russell treatment like you said.

    Also if the Cubs trade Baez, the back up SS is Zobrist or Alcantra or they have to go outside and bring someone else in. I agree with Michael with what he said earlier today, this makes him very unlikely to be traded.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Who is on second.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Who is on first base.

  • Baez and Soler are the 2 top trade baits we have. We should
    not trade any of them unless we get what we really want.
    Include some non-top prospects to try to get a better deal

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    In reply to emartinezjr:

    I disagree. I think Baez and Soler are two of the best assets the organization has period.

    the Heyward move along with the addition of Warren and the signing of Richard's, and Wood means the Cubs do not need to make any more deals.

    Now if someone wants to come looking for Cog's our high prospects we should talk. But unless your gonna blow me away with an offer, Soler And Baez are just fine where they are

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    I've found that when an exec from one team specifically mentions "good alignment" or something similar with another team, that means a deal between those two teams will not happen.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Seems correct. Remember how many said the Mets and Cubs matched in about June 2015?

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    In reply to jack:

    Exactly. I think Hoyer actually said a deal would eventually happen. As it turns out, they were actually in discussions with the other team from NY, with essentially the same Castro/Warren deal on the table that ultimately went down. But we never heard a peep until it was finalized. Maybe the Rays management is very open, but the only benefit I see is to prod another team to pony up more by making it seem like you're interested in dealing with the Cubs.

  • In reply to jack:

    The deal was we stole Zobrist from them.

  • The Colorado signing of Parra yesterday has increased the sense of urgency for a trade. TB is talking to both the Cubs and the Rockies. TB is looking for a MLB OF bat, which Colorado has available. The Cubs could trade Cog or Soler, (Hopefully Cog) and combine several prospects.

    I think the only way the Cubs and TB make a trade, if this is expanded to a SP, McGee, and either Jennings or Kiermaier.

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    Give up:
    Soler
    Hammel
    Vogelbach
    Cash

    Get back:
    Odorizzi
    McGee
    Jennings

    Improved the pitching quality pretty significantly, in the rotation and bullpen. A combination of Heyward, Schwarber, Coghlan, Jennings and Baez... with an occasional appearance by Bryant... there's a ton of possibilities there.

    When discussing Soler, it's also worth remember how much outfield depth the Cubs have in the upper minors. Almora, McKinney and maybe even Happ are not far away. Moving Bryant out there more often creates opportunities at 3B for Villanueva, Candelario and Baez.

    We've got the depth to make this move.

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    In reply to Justin Tierney:

    Not Soler! Don't forget that we have Warren too. He might be as good as Ordorizzi and we've already traded for him.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thank you. Why do we want to give up Soler? He is our right handed bat with Bryant amongst Rizzo, Heyward, and Schwarber.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    At this point I don't believe they will trade Soler or Baez unless they're blown away by a deal. Of the two, for 2016, I think Baez is more valuable in that on a 4 man bench he can play almost every position on the field and provide pop off the bench whereas Soler is a corner OF who really has to start to maintain value. At this point I think more signs point to being able to acquire the kind of pitcher they want at the deadline with both Jose Fernandez and Sonny Gray likely to move. Both would cost one of those guys and a lot more but the picture on a lot of things will be clearer at that point.

  • In reply to Justin Tierney:

    With a starting rotation that has to be Top 3 NL in WAR and a young roster full of hand-picked high-upside hitters who are all proven MLB hitters now -- I can't see a reason to tinker. In other words, this roster is probably a 17 at the blackjack table. If it becomes clear this summer that "the difference maker" is available, we have a boatload of assets to entice other GMs.

  • I just don't see Odorizzi being on the table without one of Baez or Soler going the other way. I think both teams are wise to hold out on a deal like that. Just don't see it working.

    A deal for one of the Rays other starters and/or relievers is a distinct possibility in my mind. There seems to be varying scopes of deals that would be beneficial to both clubs.

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    We heard earlier that the Rays "covet" Baez. If that's true, the Cubs may have a leg up in any deal.

    When I first heard that the Cubs and Rays were talking to one another again my first instinct was that one or both teams couldn't get what they wanted for their surplus and so decided they really DID love one another all along.

    I suspect John has more info than I do but my guess is that a trade is somewhat likely given that the two sides are talking again and that it will involve Baez, not Soler. I also predict Cubs fandom is going to be pissed with the result.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Before Castro was dealt I could see it. Without Castro the Cubs have no other viable SS above A ball besides Baez/Alcantara. And I don't see a contending team banking on Alcantara to be a key bench piece when their starting SS has gotten hurt every season of his young career.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    We'll put Vogelbach there and assume that the bat will make up for defensive deficiencies.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I will be pissed if Baez is involved as well. He will be a big part of this years Championship team. In all honesty, I remember several references to the Rays eyeing Vogelbach. The Rays are trading pitching soon, this almost seems as a "bring me your best offer" situation.

    There are so many possibilities between these two teams, both in talent and objective. John has said before that you don't have to "win" every individual trade. How good would McGee or Boxberger look in our pen?

    I will continue to go back to the '04 season. Theo dealt an absolute icon, a hero, in Nomar to finish off his historic, curse-ending

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Sorry, cheap phone... team. We are witnessing history, some of these moves might sting. Looking ahead 10 years, we may lose a trade by a few WAR. But, damn it, we're going to win.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I just read up on that trade. This is from boston.com Sports
    "The Sox also decided to move Garciaparra after he informed the medical staff within the last three days that he would need considerable time (more than just random days off but not a trip to the disabled list) the remainder of the season to rest his injured right Achilles' tendon. The Sox disclosed the information to the Cubs before they completed the deal. Garciaparra missed the first 57 games of the season with Achilles' tendinitis."
    He was also 31 years old and the Sox thought he would leave after that year in FA.
    I can't see the Cubs trading Baez or Soler before their careers had even started, and I doubt (who really knows) but the 25 yr old Nomar. So they did trade him, but the circumstances are different. One thing is true though--if Theo thinks he is improving his team then all bets are off. I just hope he doesn't.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I agree, Jonathon, the circumstances are different. I didn't mean to compare values in trades. Nomar was obviously in decline, but my point remains. When this front office sniffs a Championship, no one is off limits. This Cubs team doesn't have a declining Nomar to deal, but possibly an ascending Jorge, Javier, Willson, or Glyber. Ya'll know I view Javy as attractive as Mary Ann, but if dealing him wins us a Championship, I'll load up on Old Style and Jose Cuervo and deal with it. "Go Cubs go..."

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    That's a great description if Baez and Mary Ann!!

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I thought Zobrist could play SS? Was that in a younger body?

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    It depends on how much the injuries last year affected him. The Cubs probably have better insight on whether they feel he can still handle the position, but my gut feeling is those days are past for Zobrist. 2B and COF is probably where he fits best at this point.

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    In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    Zero chance he can even play an average SS right now. He will make the plays hit to him, but not much range at all.

    Lucky Maddon and co are the shift experts and this will mask his subpar Range at second for us.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    This is exactly what I hope happens, and secretly think might happen - that the Cubs will "dangle" Soler, who they never intended to trade in the first place, and have Baez, who they did intend to trade, "pried" from them.

    But I think Soler is >>> Baez. Bacause Javy.. That K-rate is .. just.. I mean... Ouch. There are so few incidents of people with 40% plus k rates turning into elite baseball players.

  • In reply to discubobulated:

    What makes you think he's going to have a 40% K rate? He worked really hard on his approach last year and got it down substantially in the minors. I think he might actually be under 25% at some point which is probably where Bryant will be most years as well.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I'm working on using less words to make my arguments, which isn't easy :). Kris and Javy both need to improve their contact rates, which are at the bottom of the league in the 66% range. It's probably something they can get away with against mediocre pitchers, but not against the elite hurlers they'll have to solve in October- which is when we need the Cubs to be their best. I really believe that all of the Cubs young bats need to work on this. My original point was that it's rare for someone to come into the league at 30-40% k-rates and sub-70% contact rates (or sub 60% in the case of Javy - which few in history have even done), and then become elite. I think there are more bumps on this road than people realize with the young Cubs, and I'm glad we have very good pitching in the meantime.

    You also have a good point regarding Javy getting better. No one will work harder. But I still secretly believe that the Cubs will move him and not Soler.

  • In reply to discubobulated:

    I'd trade Soler over Baez 10 times out of 10 if for no other reason than he's the more versatile player. I think what Baez did last year by working on his game in a tough, tough year for him was raise his floor. It had always been said that while he had a higher ceiling than Soler he had a lower floor. I now think his floor is as a MLB utility player than can play almost every position on the field and give you some pop off the bench. His ceiling, with that bat speed, is silly good. Soler's floor is probably as an MLB player as well but as a 4th OF/platoon type player. I don't think either one of these guys will only achieve their floor but if that was the case wouldn't you rather have Baez who could play anywhere on the field? Ideally neither moves I would just be sadder to see Baez go.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Agreed.

  • Red Sox get Schwarber, Vogelbach, Candeleiro. Cubs get Betts and Owens.

  • In reply to NZCub:

    Schwarber's not going anywhere (except to Cooperstown, in about 20 years(

  • In reply to NZCub:

    If Chris Sale or Chris Archer becomes available than Schwarber+ can be on the table. If Schwarber is included in any trade that does not return a proven ace I will lose my mind.

  • What about Baez, Vogelbach and Pierce Johnson for Odorizzi, McGhee, and one of the Rays minor leaguers who shows potential.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I don't see the Rays having to add in that scenario. Cubs more likely.

  • As is, and assuming Szczur makes the roster out of ST as a late-inning defensive replacement for Soler/Schwarber, the Cubs have seven openings for bullpen arms. Right now, I believe that Brothers, Edwards, Leathersich, Patton, Rosscup, and Olmos either get released or sent down. This leaves eight arms (Rondon, Strop, Wood, Richard, Cahill, Grimm, Ramirez, and Warren) for seven spots.

    Tough call. How can they keep them all? I see a ST injury in the future.

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    I think Brothers is a lock for that bullpen. I'd be very surprised if Ramirez makes the team. He's likely the odd man out and a trade possibility in ST.I also think they carry 13 pitchers. Position player wise I think they pick up a defensive player to cover some CF instead of Szczur, maybe Austin Jackson. In that case you bench would be LaStella, Baez, Jackson, Coghlan.

  • In reply to TC154:

    And David Ross gets waived?

  • In reply to TC154:

    And I wouldn't trade Neil Ramirez right now. His value is at a low point. He might be a DL candidate though, but I doubt the front office is done with him. He was the team's best reliever two years ago. Just a hew months removed from injury, he still has tremendous value to this team.

  • In reply to TC154:

    You forgot Ross.

  • Extremely shortsighted to suggest baez should be traded especially for something that is a luxury not a need.If russell,bryant and or zobrist goes down with an injury the cubs are screwed.Baez has more value to the cubs now than he ever did.He has shown he can play great defensively at 3b,ss and 2b.Unless you prefer to depend on a 35 year old zobrist or la stella to cover multiple positions

  • In reply to bolla:

    I agree bolla. A year ago I would have jumped all over any opportunity to get a decent young arm for Baez. But this past year he really impressed me with his focus and additional maturity. Not to mention his improved play. I don't trade either Javy or Solar until we give them the opportunity to show their full value.

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    this was on a fantasy draft site - thought it was interesting

    Jack Leathersich
    Chicago Cubs – I can’t for the life of me, understand why the Mets would let this guy go for free! To make matters worse, he ended up with the Cubs. Leathersich has 15.2 K/9 over 210 minor league innings. That is really all you need to know about him because that is head and shoulders above any other minor leaguer. The lefty might not have the top WHIP or ERA, but if you roster him he will rack up 100 Ks over 60 IP for you out of the pen.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    Coming off an injury and control has always been a major issue for him. Keep in mind he became a free agent after the Cubs picked him up on waivers and he signed a minor league deal with the team. Every team had a chance to offer him an MLB deal and he didn't get one. Definitely the type of arm that it wise to stockpile though.

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    I tend to agree. The Cubs were more in need of a starter before signing Lackey, and the deal didn't go down then. If the Cubs are even more solid than before their signings they have more leverage. Tampa will probably trade with a team more needy for pitching. But things might change by the trade deadline. So Tampa might be a future Cubs trade.

  • How about a prediction? Whether it e with the cubs or elsewhere I predict Vogelbach will have a breakout season. The home run power will be back at between 28 and 35 homers. He will have finally adjusted to the weight he lost and his defense will improve to about average for first basemen.

  • Chris Coglhan seems to be our most valuable redundancy right now. What's the likelihood we swap him for McGhee or Boxburger?

  • The Cubs will not trade Soler or Baez for a guy like Odorizzi. No one should ever trade a "potential" elite level bat for a "potential" number 3 RHSP. Would any of us trade Soler for Hammel? Just stop this silliness. Baez and Soler are much more important to the Cubs than a potential number 3 pitcher. There is also no reason to give either of them up for a center fielder with Almora waiting(almost) in the wings. These things just aren't happening. I'm not so sure the Rays are even interested in Soler since he can opt for arbitration soon. Plus, Baez is our only decent SS back-up. I fall back on the same argument I always do. Its not worth it unless they make it worth our while.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    Hear, hear!

    If there is one thing John and company taught me here it is about "value added".

    Some here are talking about trading Soler or Baez for Odorizzi et al. Odorizzi had a WAR in 2015 of 2.9 and a projected WAR in 2016 of 2.4. I would assume he will be similar to 2015 and have a war of 2.9.
    Jason Hammel had a 2.4 WAR in 2015 after his 2nd half collapse post injury. His projection for 2016 is 1.8 WAR.

    The difference is a WAR of about .5 overall.

    I believe absolutely that the FO will only acquire a young cost controlled pitcher with a high upside. And though Odorizzi basically fits that mold, at what price? Since most of the trade happy here are focused on "winning now" and often project remnants of the JIm Hendry approach, I would ask if trading Soler or Baez for their short term is worth an improvement of 0.5 WAR? Can we reasonably assume that Baez or Soler will not contribute 0.5 WAR this coming season? In building a team it is the accumulation of WAR over the entire roster that basically determines success.

    As a coach I look at a few things in players swing mechanics. Quite frankly barring injury, I think Soler's success based on approach and swing mechanics is much more conducive to success than Bryant's! I do believe some specific tweaking would help Bryant's contact rate, but that is a what if. Soler has few issues with his swing, the most common complaint being "loft". I am not sure as a coach I would even worry about it, since his exit velocity is so high, and his line-drive swing will be highly productive. So with that in mind, I am not trading him for 0.5 WAR.

    Baez is a project, and changes need to be made, but the upside is huge. I agree with TC154 that Baez is more valuable due to flexibility. He has shown the ability to adjust. He isn't a light-switch, he is more of a light-dial.

  • I wish the Cubs would trade Coghlan + to Angels for one of their BOR pitchers (someone to throw 6 OK innings), then send Hammel/Candelario/Vogel for R handed CF (4th OF) and a pitching prospect.

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