Early in the trade season a discussion popped up on twitter about the return for Jason Hammel. Many of us looked to the Scott Feldman trade as a model that the Cubs might look to emulate. As a fun thought experiment I searched through major league roster looking for a Jake Arrieta type pickup. Two names popped up in my searches, Felix Doubront and Jacob Turner. Now Jason Hammel was already traded (and included a young major league arm reclamation project in Dan Straily), but the Cubs managed to nab one of those two names already in a separate trade. Add in the news that Jacob Turner has been DFA’d, and the Cubs have a chance to make me look prophetic.
Jacob Turner presents an interesting scenario for the Cubs, and it is a obvious target for the Cubs. Or put more succinctly:
I mean, Jacob Turner is pretty much the picture-perfect definition of a Cubs Pitching Reclamation/xFIP Regression Special.
— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) August 5, 2014
Jacob Turner makes a ton of sense for the Cubs with a recent uptick in velocity and good peripherals. This is exactly the move the Cubs should make. The problem is that the Cubs don’t have first dibs on Turner in a waiver claim. The Rockies are also starved for pitching, and a former top prospect that can be had for the price of a waiver claim and Turner’s modest salary (1 million this season with a 1 million team option). The Marlins do not have to waive Turner immediately, and are probably looking for trades at the moment. The problem of course is that the Rockies will be between the Cubs in waiver priority for at least the next four days even if the Rockies sweep and win another game during a Cubs losing streak.
The possibility is that the Cubs work out a trade with the Marlins for Jacob Turner. Teams generally do not block trades from happening particularly when it involves teams not vying for a playoff spot. The Rockies might be jerks and do that given the opportunity to acquire basically free talent in Jacob Turner. But if the Cubs and Marlins do work out a trade in advance than it is possible that Turner sneaks by the Rockies. I don’t see a way that Turner isn’t moved for at least a small return given the situation.
Have heard in the past that the Marlins are fond of certain Cubs prospects. The top guys, of course, everyone likes them, but others too.
— John Arguello (@CubsDen) August 5, 2014
The problem for the Cubs becomes two fold. One what is an appropriate value for a talented kid with a tricky roster situation. Two how are the Cubs going to handle that tricky roster situation. Turner cannot be sent down to the minors, that is probably largest reason he was DFA’d in the first place. He is not injured in anyway so the Cubs couldn’t DL him like Felix Doubront. The Marlins would probably be quite upset if the Cubs tried to at least. And there are only 5 rotation spots.
Turner could move to the bullpen, but it is unclear if that is the best approach for his development. Doubtront almost has to be put into the rotation given the issues he had in Boston with being a reliever. The Cubs could send down Wada and Hendricks to give the two rotation spots, but those two have pitched well at this point. So question is it is worth it to send down two guys performing well with back end of the rotation profiles to give two jobs to guys with higher ceilings and not performing well? I am not certain the answer to that question which is why a random thought popped into my head. What if the Cubs could trade Edwin Jackson for Jacob Turner?
The Marlins actually have a need in the rotation right now with Henderson Alvarez battling shoulder issues right now. That injury was why Jacob Turner even made a start this month. The Marlins are hopeful that it will be a minimum amount of rest that is needed, but shoulders are tricky issues. Jackson provides a guy that can take the ball every fifth day whether you want him to or not. If Alvarez comes back healthy soon, Jackson could bump Brad Hand back into the bullpen.
The Cubs would have to eat virtually all, if not all of, Edwin Jackson’s salary to make this work, but the Marlins are on the periphery of a playoff race at the moment. Miami can roll the dice on Edwin Jackson returning to form with a change of scenery to a ballpark that is difficult to home runs in unless you are Giancarlo Stanton. The contract being paid for the Marlins can cut ties whenever they feel like it moving forward.
The Cubs do this to open up a rotation spot for Doubront or Turner. Tsuyoshi Wada is probably the player bumped for the rotation in this scenery. The front office saves a little face by getting something for the mistake that was Edwin Jackson. The trade can happen easily enough given that no one would want to take on Jackson’s contract. That said it is a stretch that this might happen. The Marlins could easily prefer to get back young talent over 2 plus years of free Edwin Jackson, and the Rockies might not play ball by letting Turner slip by.
However, it is possible that Turner makes it past the Cubs and Rockies. After all there are only so many 25 man roster spots. The Cubs have a number of players to try with Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, Felix Doubront, Dan Straily, etc. And there are only so many rotation spots even in September. The Cubs have to make a decision which reclamation projects deserve one of those under-appreciated resources in major league playing time.
As other reports suggest, #Cubs won waiver claim on Miami SP Jacob Turner, former touted prospect, still just 23. But haven't acquired yet.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) August 6, 2014
Cubs and Marlins are working on a deal at the moment to bring Jacob Turner to the Cubs. Marlins don’t have a ton of leverage in this situation, but will be interesting to see what the Cubs have to give up to roll the dice on Turner.