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My daughter – barely 10 months now – was affirmatively throwing a ball to me yesterday. It was not incidental, and it was repeated. She now throws. First female pitcher in MLB, circa 2034. Hopefully the Cubs will control her peak years.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marshall/Wood deal is finalized today, or at least if the names of the one or two prospects involved are revealed (physicals are expected today). I’ve been digging, and outside of vague, unreportable rumors out there, nothing seems certain. My understanding is that the Cubs started by asking for top – and I mean top – prospects in addition to Marshall, but the Reds understandably refused. The Cubs then turned their attention to Reds’ prospects that were discussed when the Padres and Reds were putting together the Mat Latos deal, but who were ultimately not included. The implication, obviously, is that the Cubs would be getting those prospects to spin off to the Padres in a deal, most likely, for Anthony Rizzo. Let me be perfectly clear, though: I cannot fathom a scenario where, for Marshall, the Cubs get Wood and Rizzo. What I mean is, even if the Cubs get prospects that the Padres want, I don’t see them as being enough, alone, to land Rizzo. Frankly, I’d still be surprised if the Cubs get “good” prospects together with Wood for Marshall. My expectations are currently hovering just north of “organizational filler.”
  • Reed Johnson agreed yesterday to return to the Cubs on a one-year deal, and he had a chat with his new manager, Dale Sveum, shortly thereafter. I’m sure he didn’t mean this as a shot at Mike Quade, despite how it sounds: “We talked about all the little things we need to do better next year to win games. It’s really refreshing to talk to somebody that knowledgable about the game of baseball, and hones in on all the little stuff. That’s kind of what I do, hopefully, those little things within the game that sometimes go unnoticed to help you win.”
  • Bryan LaHair is on a homer binge in Venezuela, hitting three in the last three games. It kind of feels like LaHair’s best shot to crack the Opening Day roster will be if the Cubs land a young, prospect-y first baseman like Rizzo this Winter. LaHair can help bridge the gap until Rizzo is definitely ready.
  • A fluffy piece on top prospect Brett Jackson. “I had an interesting year as far as coming off an injury, making adjustments in the right places,” Jackson said. “I had a tough month coming off dislocating my finger. When I got called up to Triple-A, I made the right adjustments to my swing, settling into a new atmosphere. I was really comfortable in Iowa, not that I was uncomfortable in Double-A, but the way it worked out with my finger healed, I [was ready for] the transition to the higher level. I took off from there.” The article also includes a post-season top ten Cubs prospects list, which is … questionable. Chris Carpenter shows up at number three, Jay Jackson at number seven, and Hayden Simpson at number nine. Again: that’s the post-2011 list.
  • Laura Ricketts, one of the family owners of the Cubs (though her brother, Tom, is colloquially referred to as the “owner,” he is technically the Chairman of the Board, which is comprised of the Ricketts family, who are, together, the owners of the Cubs), was recently interviewed about her time in Chicago and about the Cubs. She had this to say about the new President of Baseball Operations: “One of the things that impresses us about Theo [Epstein, president of baseball operations] is that his approach to player development and recruitment is to have guys on your team of a certain character, not just skill set. I want to see a winning team, of course, but I want players who appreciate what an honor it is to play for the Cubs, and appreciate how much loyalty the fans have to the team, who will go out there every day and work as hard as they can.”
  • Another good Grantland piece asks whether we’re in a prospect bubble, and whether established players are now the new market inefficiency. It’s true that the way we value things is in a constant ebb and flow – maybe things have flowed too far toward “prospects.”
  • Ah, so that’s why the Sun-Times is going to a paywall: it’s been sold. Just two years after selling for some $25 million, the Sun-Times and its suburban affiliates have been sold for $20 million. The head of the purchasing group is a technology entrepreneur, so you can expect the Sun-Times to refocus on its digital content.
  • Fishin Phil

    So, is she a righty or a lefty?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Switch pitcher. Boom.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        The Cubs need to get scouts over there ASAP! Talk about drafting early.

      • JasonB

        Does that mean that her posting fee will be double Yu Darvish’s?

      • Katie

        Change her name to Satchel Paige pronto.

      • CubFan Paul

        im gonna teach my kid how to kick ..45yarders by his 9th bday is reasonable

        he’ll be part two of my retirement/return on my investment of raising him

        • JasonB

          One word – longsnapper

          • CubFan Paul

            thats already a given! ..i live in Indy, and the longsnapper here has been here for 10plus yrs (justin snow) ..he has maybe 2 penalties in his whole career &is invisible but he has like a 7yr/$7million contract

            • JasonB

              LS in Chicago is the same thing – Patrick Mannelly has been here forever.  not sure what his contract is but that has to be one of the sweetest gigs in sports.

              Bullpen Catcher would be another one

              • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

                Bullpen catcher would be #1, guy who stands in front of bullpen catcher at Wrigley #2, punter #3, kickoff kicker #4 and field goal holder #5.

              • colocubfan

                That was always my son’s dream job- bullpen catcher.

                • JasonB

                  Do bullpen catchers have groupies?

              • MoneyBoy

                This is Mannelly’s’ 14th yr.  This contract is for just over $1mm dollars and runs through next year.

      • Bluekoolaidaholic

        Be sure to keep her away from Boras, he will publish a 75 page book on the advantages of switch pitching in the baby leagues, then hit the Cubs up for a 2 yr 10 billion dollar contract (2034)

  • CubFan Paul

    hopefully one of the minor leaguers will be a top 20 prospect like Lamarre. my hopes for another good piece in the deal is high after the mike adams trade

    • JasonB

      My only issue with using the Mike Adams trade as a baseline is that the circumstances were different.  The Rangers were paying for 1 1/2 years of Adams and they were also paying for potential Type A FA compensation.  The new CBA has eliminated the latter from the equation which has changed the market for middle relievers.

      I’m hoping we can land one of the Reds’ top 10 prospects, but am not overly optimistic that it will happen.  Although Keith Law did say that based on what he’s heard, the Cubs should be pleased with the return.  Not sure how good his inside information on the Reds is though.

      • CubFan Paul

        we should have someone at the airport looking out for these kids

        • JasonB

          I think they were spotted at the Wrightwood/Racine Starbucks this morning.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        The new CBA changed free agent compensation, but didn’t eliminate it. Marshall could still net compensation – two picks – if his team offers him a one-year contract worth the average of the top 125 salaries (about $12 million), and he signs elsewhere. It’s no lock that he’d reject a huge one-year deal like that, but it’s also possible that he’ll see a few multi-year offers that go well over $20 million.

        Your point about Adams is a good one, though. I just want to make sure to be clear on the compensation issue.

        • JasonB

          Thanks for clarifying – I guess my rationale was that Mashall would not get $12 million / year on the open market.  Adams could I suppose since as a righty, he could be more widely viewed as a closer, which is yet another instance of discrimination against us southpaws :).

          • Hawkeyegrad

            Thanks for restating the new CBA rules…I forgot how compensation works. Is there a lower salary scenario where compensation would be 1 pick?

            I’m not sure what the discount would be due to his position but based upon WAR average alone it would put him in that $13 million range ($5 million per WAR with an average WAR of 2.5 over the last two years) provided he performs in that range this year.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              My understanding is that’s the only compensation that exists anymore. It’s two picks for a big timer (a guy you’d be willing to offer $12 million plus) or no picks at all. I’m open to being correct, though.

              • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

                I am glad you are open to being correct.  Additionally, aren’t they now supplemental round picks so the signing team doesn’t actually lose anything?

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Yes, the pick is after the first round (but the signing team still gives up their first rounder (unless they’re in the top 10 picks, in which case they give up their next highest pick)). This will take some adjusting.

            • JasonB

              It’ll be interesting to see what the market comes out at for both Marshall and Adams, who are both arguably the best setup men in the league.  I’d have a hard time thinking Marshall will get that much though since closers are barely getting those salaries and they are peceived to be more valuable.

              I’d guess Marshall’s perceived market value is somewhere in the $7-$9 million range so if he keeps performing at this level, he should be a valuable asset.

              • Pat

                I’d guess more like 5, maybe 6 for a top setup man.

  • http://Www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Wow, that is an interesting prospect list. Either Mayo is really high on Carpenter or he doesnt think anyone else is better than a good RP.
    Sounds like Brett Jackson was pretty happy with his season. Really hope he improves his contact as I am on the pessimistic side in thinking he will struggle to hit .250 in the bigs. I’m thinking his slash line will look a bit like Drew Stubbs.

    • Matt

      I think he was just really high, not really high on any player. That list was hilarious.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Call me a pessimist, but I see him struggling to post a slash line much better than Stubbs…all while having less speed, and a bit less raw power. I expect a similar BA, a bit higher OBP, and a bit higher SLG, with less homers and less steals.
      But if he bats .270…I’d be very happy.

      • Jim

        I agree, in fact I wouldn’t mind if the Cubs capitalized on his perceived value and use him in a deal.

    • Mike Foster

      Brett, I’m kind of a Hayden Simpson fan, have you run across any good review of his work last year? Thanks.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        No good reviews. Only explanations, tied to the terrible bout with mono.

        • JasonB

          I’m hoping he can regain his velocity and turn things around next year.

      • Cedlandrum

        apparently he had some sort of injury as well. I have heard it could have been a stress fracture or something along those lines.

      • AB

        Miles wrote he had a ligament problem in his arm they didn’t detect until th end of the season.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett you get to control her peak years now, till about age 12…….. Enjoy.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Ha my daugter started her “I do it by myself” speak this year at age three.

  • Daniel Guerra

    So, who’s the next domino to fall from the Cubs? I keep hearing rumors of Rizzo but do the Padres really need Garza? Maybe there’s a 3rd team involved? Well the Cubs just traded one of there top producers by position last year, even though he was just a reliever. I can think of two others that produced the most at there position. Garza and you guessed it, Castro. I’m all in, lets trade those two also for the MOTHER LOAD!

    • Alec

      The only person thats not available is Castro

      • Daniel Guerra

        Has Theo ever mention that Castro is not available?

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          I think its a given. Castro is the exact type of player Theo wants. Young, affordable, under team control for a long time, and high upside.

          There is absolutely no reason to trade Castro. and they won’t.

          • Daniel Guerra

            Really? Castro is the exact type of player Theo wants? Don’t get me wrong, Castro is young and an elite player. But…, he’s not perfect. He commits an error 1 out of every 20 chances he gets at shortstop. So his defense needs improving, but he’s young so he gets a pass for now. Castro’s upside is tremendous, but Mark Prior’s upside was high before also. If you could get 5 prospects from the Texas Rangers that’s within’ the top 10 in there farm system for Castro, would you do it? :D

            • Kansas Cubs Fan

              What are the chances those 5 prospects pan out?

              And his fielding % went up from .950% in 2010 to .961% in 2011. Still bad but a pretty big improvement.

            • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

              I only want perfect players.

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              I’m with Daniel in thinking NO ONE is untouchable.
              It wont happen, but if SEA comes and offers Pineda, Ackley, Smoak, and a 4th, how do you pass?
              The point is any one is available if the price is high enough.

              • Kansas Cubs Fan

                Yeah I guess no one is untouchable. But the amount and quality of players to get him would do more harm to the team than it would do good.

                So its not far fetched to call him untouchable.

                • Bric

                  That’s the way i see it too. A couple of days ago Theo said that nobody was untouchable and that includes Castro. But he’s one of the few players that’s really worth more to keep than trade. The only way you trade him is if you get a player of equal calibre in return. And there isn’t anybody out there that fits that bill. So it makes more sense to just keep him.

                  There’s a difference between braking the whole team down and rebuilding it and making trades just to make trades.

              • ferrets_bueller

                Pineda, Ackley, Smoak, and a 4th? Hmm, depends on the 4th. Because if they’re not an elite prospect, I still wouldn’t do it.

            • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

              How many of those errors are on balls that would get past the average SS?  Castro will commit more errors because he has more range than most.  The advantage of that range?  An error on a ball that would get past most SS will still keep the runner at 2nd from scoring (unless he throws the ball into the stands)

              • Kansas Cubs Fan

                People seem to let the errors get in the way of realizing he has really good range.

                • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                  Most errors I remember are on routine plays and bad throws. I don’t think anyone can argue that he has been ‘good’ on defense.

                  • ferrets_bueller

                    I think he’s broken even- he’s made some plays most people couldn’t, and missed some anyone should make. So, I think he’s been good. Not bad, not great, but good- with the ability to be great.
                    Take a guy like Alexei for instance- he wasn’t great at first, but has turned into possibly the best in the entire game. Castro has the potential to do that.

          • EQ76

            Yeah, I tend to think that trading Castro would be counter productive and make little sense..

          • Stinky Pete

            Don’t know the timeline for sure, but didn’t Theo trade Hanley?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That deal actually took place during Epstein’s hiatus.

  • Kyle

    I’m pretty disappointed in that Grantland article.

    It touches on a very interesting subject, the relative value of prospects over time, but it doesn’t make any serious attempt to address it in an informative way. It’s one step above just some random anecdotes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The examples were weak. But conceptually, I found it very interesting. I’m not sure we’re to the point where prospects are actually overvalued sufficiently to create an inefficiency, but it could be headed in that direction.

      • Kevin

        Forgive the ignorance here vultures, but what about prying prospects with cash? Does MLB have restrictions in place to prevent teams from simply buying young talent? If our payroll is significantly lower, and not in line with the “sliding scale” mentioned by Ricketts upon buying the team, perhaps we could offer more financial incentive for a guy like Rizzo or Simon Castro. This, to me, makes a little more sense than taking on a bad contract like Hudson’s, especially from the Padres standpoint. I’m not saying 10 million or anything; there must be restrictions for this approach, I am just ignorant to them. Okay folks……attack the “noobie” as one so eloquently phrased it.

        • WGNstatic

          My understanding is that any deal that includes a financial exchange over some set amount ($1M?) has to be approved by the commissioner. My guess is he would squash any such straight purchase of a prospect.

          I am curious why you think that would be better than just taking Orlando Hudson? In essence, that is exactly what a deal like that would be. If the Cubs took Hudson and his salary, they would be essentially giving the Padres $6M (I think that is his salary). If the Cubs don’t want him they could always cut him.

          • Kevin

            WGNstatic, that was my initial thought with a guy like Hudson as well. The Padres must think he is worth a respectable return via trade. Cash coupled with Cashner for example, might leave them an additional trade chip with Hudson. Of course, take Hudson if cash is the same exact thing. Thinking of what assetts we have is frustrating considering cash might be our best bargaining tool after guys like Marmol who aren’t in our future plans.

            • WGNstatic

              I completely agree regarding $$$ being our best asset. That is why this Marshall -Wood trade is so perplexing to me. Don’t get me wrong, value wise, a straight-up swap of Marshall for Wood has a good chance of being a winner for the Cubs. However, Wood is pretty non remarkable from what I can tell. Basically, he is a cheaper version of Paul Maholm. So, did the Cubs really just trade Sean Marshall so they could save the $5M or so they would have had to spend on Maholm? If so, yikes.

              • Mick

                You ask a really good question, “So, did the Cubs really just trade Sean Marshall so they could save the $5M or so they would have had to spend on Maholm?” We could have signed Maholm and traded Marshall for something different. Signing Maholm would have required a 2-3 year deal at maybe $7-$10 million/season. So, now we’re going backwards on team payroll putting us just under $90 million, which is $47 million under our 3-year average team payroll. My question is, what are the Cubs going to do with their surplus of cash? Are we going to use it to sign Soler AND Cespedes? Are we going to start banking it to build Wrigleyville? Did our savings go to buy the McDonalds across the street?

              • Kansas Cubs Fan

                No because Marshall was a free agent after next year and Wood is under team control for like 5 years for way less money. That should also answer your Maholm question.

                • WGNstatic

                  This trade isn’t happening in a vacuum. What I mean is, it is not a question of Wood+Russell vs. Marshall+Maholm.

                  It could have been: Maholm+Russell+another prospect(s)

                  • Kansas Cubs Fan

                    I am extremely lost.

                  • Mick

                    I think I get what you’re saying. I think you’re saying, all things being equal by taking away the Cubs “rebuilding” and the Reds going for the pennant who would you rather have, Marshall+Maholm or Wood+Russell (Marshall’s replacement)+the 2 Reds prospects? In this equation I would rather have Maholm and Marshall for 2012 because Marshall is a stud reliever and Maholm is in the prime of his career and has a more proven track record than Wood.

                    My question is, now that this trade has gone through signifying we took the lesser of the deal for 2012 on-field production and created an even greater surplus of cash, what the hell are we going to do with $47 million???

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Best bets for the cash (and they’re just guesses): Cespedes, Soler, Fielder (but only if he’d take a short-term deal (“rebuild” or no “rebuild”)). Maybe another pitcher. Otherwise, they’ll pocket it, which I know would be an unpopular outcome, but there’s not to say it couldn’t be used in the future.

                    • JasonB

                      We could also save it for a brighter day.  There is going to be a time, hopefully very soon, when we are going to be ready to be perennial contenders and just need those few pieces to put us over the top.  That’s when we spend the cash in FA and that’s when we start making the Adrian Gonzalez for Rizzo/Kelly type trades (assuming we have those types of players n our system).  The money doesn’t disappear if we don’t spend it in the next 90 days.

                      I agree that Wood + Russell is an inferior combination but it doesn’t take salary into account.  Over the next three years, if Marshall + Maholm costs $10 million per year more on average than Wood + Russell, that’s the difference between adding CJ Wilson to your rotation or Chris Capuano.  Finally, Marshall + Maholm has peaked in value, Wood + Russell has not.

              • Kyle

                Wood’s floor is Maholm. He has upside on top of that.

                • Mick

                  We don’t know what Wood’s floor is, we hope it’s Maholm, but there’s not enough data to make a fair analysis. The question in this debate was, if you were to draft a team for 2012 and you had to choose between Marshall+Maholm or Wood+Russell (Marshall’s replacement)+the 2 Reds prospects, who would you choose? There was also a follow up question, now that this trade has gone through signifying we took the lesser of the deal for 2012 on-field production and created an even greater surplus of cash, what the hell are we going to do with $47 million? Your statement of, “Wood’s floor is Maholm. He has upside on top of that,” did nothing to add to either of these questions. C’mon man!

                  • Kyle

                    I ignored the questions because they are kind of pointless. “If we ignore all the reasons the deal was relevant and also assume other deals we don’t know if they are possible, then how do we evaluate the deal?”

                • WGNstatic

                  I don’t know that we can say Wood’s floor = Maholm. Maholm has been a decent starter. Wood has a good year and a poor year. I am optimistic that he will improve on 2011, but, at this point we would have to say that 2011 is his floor.

        • Kyle

          MLB severely frowns upon straight player for cash deals. If you made a habit out of it, they’d probably start rejecting them.

          • MoneyBoy

            Charlie Finley tried that decades ago and Bowie Kuhn vetoed the trades as not being “in the best interest of baseball.”

      • ferrets_bueller

        I think he’s trying to paint with a broad brush, when it simply isn’t true. Especially his examples- the only one that is legitimate IMO is the Haren trade, which was lambasted at the time as ridiculous from ARIs side, and still is.
        Besides that trade, he’s comparing apples to oranges. A guy like Santos, with very little track record, who is a reliever, who could have simply played way over his head last season (I kinda suspect he did) isn’t going to net you a whole lot. Similarly with Cahill, he’s not an elite pitcher- no team is going to give up a huge load for a non-power pitcher unless their name is Greg Maddux.
        The huge players who have been dealt have netted huge returns- Teix, A-Gonz, Grienke, etc. The average/above average players have netted fitting returns as well.

        If anything, this is the most efficient its ever been- ever since the ridiculous Mets trade for Victor Zambrano.

      • King Jeff

        I thought it could have been more in depth, but it was an interesting idea.  I immediately went and looked up every yearly prospect ranking I could from 2000 on, the amount of guys that actually make it as compared to the number that is highly regarded is pretty crazy.  Good stuff from Grantland, even if I think Simmons is a douchenozzle.

  • The Omnipresent Mystery Team

    I think Rany’s article raises some interesting points, but I’m not buying his argument fully. Part of what’s hard for us to analyze in the deals that are being made are what the teams internal scouting says about the prospects they are giving up. I remember when we gave up Jose Ceda for Gregg it was supposed to be a huge overpay. Well, we didn’t get much in Gregg, but we got rid of Ceda knowing what his problems were, knowing how unlikely it was that he’d pan out.

  • Toosh

    If I were the Reds I wouldn’t tell the Cubs who the Padres were interested in before they agreed on the Latos trade.

    • WGNstatic

      No, but the Padres might.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Not only might they, that’s who would be doing the telling – because, in theory, they still want the prospects.

  • RoughRiider

    I know I’m just an observer and there are a lot of things that as fans we aren’t aware of. I’ve no idea if Wood will be a star or even decent starter in the future. I am concerned that we are sending a 29 year old left handed pitcher, who grew up in the Cubs system and has been effective, away to save some money for a questionable prospect. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of 30 something left handed pitchers come into there own and become stars. Marshall could be one of them. He’s one of the few Cub pitchers that hung around Greg Maddux during games to get insight. In the spring of 2010 when the Cubs had several pitchers trying to win a starting role, Marshall was the best but he was deemed more valuable as a reliever. Now that the Cubs have some possible replacements at lefty reliever, I had hoped Marshall would get a chance at starting. On the otherhand, if you have a good player who you believe you will lose to free agency at the end of the year, now is the time to trade while the value is highest.

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      Jesus people, look at the big picture.  Theo traded Marshall because Marshall becomes a free agent after this year and even if he fits into those plans you still have the opportunity to sign him next year AND you get prospects and Wood.  Either way, as soon as Opening Day roles around his trade value can go nowhere but down between performance and the new CBA.

      I am as big of a Sean Marshall fan as anyone but this is a case of selling high on an asset that is not going to do anything for you in the time he is going to be here.

  • Boog

    I don’t understand why people look at this trade and think that Marshall could ever have been a SP for the Cubs. He’s 29, and he’s never pitched more than 150 innings in a season, even when he was starting, and he averaged 5IP per start or less… The guy just doesn’t have the stamina to be a starter, and it’s well established.

    • King Jeff

      I think people are looking at how CJ Wilson turned out and think that Marshall could have a similar career path.  It’s a logical step to take, and his numbers from both the minors and majors have been pretty good as a starter aside from his rookie year.   I think that other teams value him so much as a reliever that it would be foolish of the Cubs not to trade him for a good haul.  I like Travis Wood, but I think that they need to get two pretty good prospects to make this trade worth it.

      • Boog

        Thinking that Marshall could become the next CJ Wilson is a stretch. Wilson is pretty much the exception to the rule. Marshall was given a chance to prove himself as a starter, and showed that he didn’t have the stamina to go deep enough in a game to be effective.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Agreed. If there was a belief he could be a great starter, the Cubs would have made that transition, or a team looking for a starter would have picked him up for more than the Reds.

  • Irish cub

    With the cubs Rebuilding would they still go after a guy like cespedes?

    • cubsnivy56

      I hope so.  If the money is not too high it seems like a great way to add talent to the organization.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Juan Fransicso!!! Keep our fingers crossed!!!

  • Bric

    Brett, do you recall the conversation we had a couple of days ago about the Padres looking at James Russell? I only mention it because I suggested most teams were throwing Russell’s name out there (presumably) because the asking price on Marshall would be too high. Man was I wrong.

    But since Marshall’s gone I’d like to see Russell and Samardjia gone as well. Package them for a 2nd base prospect.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Russell is still very cheap and under control for a while. No need to deal him unless it’s to acquire another young, long-term piece. Similar with Samardzija, though he’s a bit more expensive.

      • Bric

        That’s true but it’s also the point. Both have upside in both pitching potential and contract/control wise. Seperately, it probably makes more sense to keep them. But packaged, you could probably get a good prospect.

        Even if they pitch better this year than before, they’re value is going to decrease as their salaries increase.

        • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

          Both of them possibly factor into the next window of Cubs contention – 2014 and both have valuable roles until then.  Shark needs to develop into a starter and Russell needs to become the new LH setup guy

  • http://bleachernation aaton

    Do not know why everyone keeps talking about wanting this Anthony Rizzo as he is shown as number 4 on there depth chart.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s expected to start back in AAA next year. His spot on the depth chart has very little to do with his standing in the future – he’s considered one of the Padres’ top two prospects, and is a top 50 prospect in the game.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      He is number 4 because the Padres have one hell of a good farm system and they just got Yonder Alonso from the Reds who is also a very good 1B prospect.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      I’m not sure either. My understanding is that he raked in the minors. However, from a quick glance at his numbers, it looks like he is no better than Bryan LaHair, at all. The only big difference I see is that Rizzo is 22 years old and LaHair is 29. Both tore up the PCL in 2011. They pretty much walk, strike out, and hit home runs at about the same rate. They practically have the same slash line with Rizzo’s looking like .331/.404/.652 in 413 plate appearances and LaHairs looking like .331/.405/.664 in 523 PA.

      Unless we have Fielder starting at first next season, I’m not sure why we would be trying too hard to pick up Rizzo when we already have LaHair. The only reason I can see is that Rizzo is considerably younger and may have the higher upside in future performance.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Are you being sarcastic?

        • Ol’CharlieBrown

          Not that I’m aware of. If you disagree, it would be much preferred that you respond with facts and figures and help me to have a better understanding of this situation, rather than indirectly call me a fool by asking me if I’m being sarcastic. I don’t know a whole lot about Rizzo. Like I said, I took a quick glance at his numbers and saw nothing that blew me out of the water. Especially when comparing with LaHairs numbers from last year. I understand that Rizzo is 7 years younger and almost certainly has more potential in the long term. Though, I’m not sure what we would have to give up in order to acquire him either.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            It’s the age difference. Rizzo’s numbers at 22 (and in the years before, and his pedigree from scouts) are far more impressive than LaHair’s at 28/29. The theory – and this is for all prospects, really – is that Rizzo is still developing. He was pretty young for AAA last year, meaning he was playing against older, more fully-developed competition. That makes his numbers even more impressive. LaHair, on the other hand, is fully-developed, and there is a belief that he would be exposed – at his current ability-level – by MLB pitching. Breakout 29-year-olds are very rare because usually, by then, the player has stepped up and emerged, or at least has scouts telling the world that this guy can do it if he’s given a chance. No one has done that for LaHair, and he hasn’t done it himself. That tells us something about his ability.

            • KyleNovak

              Brett,

              Excellent points and some food for thought:

              A guy with a similar past that comes to mind is Casey Blake.

              He signed as a 22-year-old, 7th round pick, had solid minor league stats, jumped around the majors with cups of coffee for three consecutive years, and at 28-years-old, was as close to standing in the baseball unemployment line as you could possibly get. Basically, he was old, hadn’t broken through yet, and was probably being told he never would.

              Then Cleveland signed him as a free agent for 2003, and he had to earn the starting job as their third-baseman as a 29-year-old with NO sustained major league playing time.

              The reason? Cleveland was very bad in 2002 (Jim Thome would leave at season’s end), was planning on being much worse in 2003 (they were) and decided that it would be best to rebuild. The chance he was given to start was completely situational. If he had been on another team, one with a better record at the time or with younger prospects ahead of him, he may have eventually been out of the league.

              So what happened? Blake ended up being a solid mainstay in the Cleveland lineup for five and a half YEARS, posting a solid .266/.337/.451 with power and steady defense during his time there. He wasn’t eye-poppingly spectacular, but was exactly the kind of player they needed to compliment the rest of their top talent at the time, which ultimately came one game away from making the 2007 World Series. (Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, even Asdrubal Cabrera towards the end) He has been a solid major leaguer for almost TEN years! Who would have predicted that back in 2003?

              The Cubs, as much as we may tell ourselves otherwise, may be in a similar situation to that 2003 Cleveland team, albeit not quite as bad.
              LaHair might end up being the solution by default, if our other plans fall through.

              Don’t get me wrong, landing Fielder for the right price and contract length would be excellent, even though Scott Boras will continue to push for a contract that the Cubs could see and unwieldy and possibly unwise. Anthony Rizzo is a top prospect, a young player with a good track record and great upside, and is an ideal guy to fit in a lineup long-term. I just have a hard time seeing San Diego trading him to anyone.

              Could LaHair be a possible stopgap until someone like Vogelbach is ready in three or four years? Maybe. And it might be a safer bet than signing Fielder to an albatross contract.

              Like I’ve mentioned before in my LaHair-related posts, it’s all situational. If you’re sitting behind an All-Star, you might not get to break through. If you’re an older, less valuable prospect sitting behind a young (unproven) first-rounder, you might not get to break through. If you had your chance to play, but then got hurt and sent back down, you might not get to break through. People need to take that into consideration when evaluating a possible player, instead of just lumping them together with everyone else.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Glad you’re back, KyleN. Your thoughts have been missed.

          • Kansas Cubs Fan

            Sorry I wasn’t trying to be an Asshole.

            They would want Rizzo because he is putting up those numbers at age 22 and LaHair is doing it at age 29. Rizzo also has the potential to be a very very good 1B and will be under team control for quite a while.

            • Ol’CharlieBrown

              No worries, you’re not an asshole Kansas. I appreciate the responses, fellas. It’s far more clear to me now why Rizzo will be much more valuable to us than LaHair will ever be. I saw the age difference and thought Rizzo being much younger is better of course, but didn’t really think about the fact that Rizzo is also doing at the age of 22 what LaHair is doing at almost 30. I didn’t think about the fact that he would be under team control for a while either. Sometimes I only see what I am looking for and forget to look at the bigger picture. This off-season has me losing my mind, I believe. Appreciate the insight, Brett and Kansas.

              • Kansas Cubs Fan

                I think this off season has a lot of people shaken up. Hendry was fairly predictable and could never keep it a secret to who he was going after. And this new group is air tight when it comes to rumors and what not.

  • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

    Brett – very very important, teach her to throw with both arms.

    Increases her value significantly if she can pull it off.

    • http://justinjabs.com/blog Justin Jabs

      Shoulda read the comments…you’re way ahead of me, Brett.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m fast like that.

  • ottoCub

    Even if we find out that the prospects the Cubs got from the Reds are mid-level, I still really like this trade.

    This is a significant trade, setting a new course for the Cubs management. We fans aren’t used to the Cubs trading high, getting good return for players when they are at their peak value. This wasn’t Jim Hendry’s approach, and I think it’s gonna be part of the new Cubs way, especially while the team is re-building. We need to prep ourselves for some heartbreak when the Cubs trade strong players at the peak of their careers, but it is in the Cubs best long-term interest.

    It’s also important for all the fantasy-baseball players out there to remember that baseball teams have to consider more than their major-league roster when making deals. The Cubs need to improve their farm system. The overall weakness of the system hurts the team because there aren’t as many major-league ready prospect to join the Cubs. But, more importantly, it also hurts the team when they go shopping for trades. Adding a group of mid-level prospects to the system is a great move… these players may at some point contribute to the Cubs, but more likely they’ll be used in trades to get major-league talent in the future.

  • jandersonjr81

    Anybody suggesting we trade Castro needs to realized you would be trading away an eventual .320/25/100 with 30/30 potential type of player. I willing to bet he wins a gold glove before its over, or Atleast become a pretty good defensive shortstop. You don trade that type of player. It would take 5-6 top prospect to get him.

    • JasonB

      I say he tops out at 20/20, hits .300 a lot and competes for a batting title or two.  The expectation is that, given his body type, he is going to slow down as he ages.  That’s still incredible value offensively from a SS.

  • Puma0821

    Not saying this would ever happen but you trade Castro for Bryce Harper? Would the Nationals do it? How bout Castro and Garza?

    • jandersonjr81

      Hell no. I wouldn’t trade Castro for Harper straight up. Not a chance in Hell.

      • JulioZuleta

        This is probably one o those trades that neither team would do. Starlin is somewhat of a known commodity in the sense that he is already an All Star, but I do that he is still frar from is ceiling. I could definitely see him be a .315 20 hr guy, maybe even a .330 guy. His swing is so natural and easy, and at such a young age, it’d be very hard to trade that. On the other hadn, I would also say Harper’s ceiling is higher than Castro’s. If you factor in his douchiness, and the sense that I could never get myself to root for that piece of shit, no I wouldn’t make that trade either.

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          I’m not much of a Harper fan myself, but imagine being 19 with all the talent in the world, getting all the hype, and all the money hes getting. I’m 19 and I would be hard pressed to not be that cocky. Just imagine being in his shoes.

    • JasonB

      I suspect that Harper is largely off limits.  Assuming he wasn’t though, I’m still not sure I’d trade Castro for Bryce Harper.  From a pure production standpoint, Harper is probably going to be a better player even when adjusting for position scarcity, but by all accounts, he is a Grade A asshole and I wouldn’t want him to be the leader/face of my franchise.

      At the young age of 21, Castro’s career is comping out to Jeter and Yount – not bad company for a 21 year old to keep.  I’m inclined to leave well enough alone.

  • Kyle

    I would trade Castro and Garza for Harper without even thinking that hard about it.

    The guy put up an .894 OPS across A and AA *in his 18 year old season!!!!!!!*

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Castro hit adequately/well in MLB as a 20-year-old. If we’re talking age/level, I find that more impressive. And that’s without considering position and defensive upside. For me, it’s Castro.

      • Kyle

        Nothing wrong with liking Castro, but my goodness does Bryce Harper make me drool. At the same age Harper was last year, Castro put up a lower OPS in rookie ball, three steps lower.

        Getting Harper before he hits the majors is basically like what the Cardinals did in getting Pujols for all those cost-controlled years. It sets your franchise up for a decade without much effort.

    • ferrets_bueller

      I wouldn’t even consider giving up Castro for Harper. Or Harper and another piece.
      In fact, if I could take any one minor leaguer, it wouldn’t be Harper- it would be Trout.

      • Kyle

        I can see liking Trout over Harper, but the problem is that much of Trout’s offense has come from batting average. It’s hard to project how much of that he can keep up as he moves up the ranks. Sometimes a great BA in A-ball is a great hitter, and sometimes it is the terrible A-ball defenses.

  • Puma0821

    As much as I love Castro I would do a Harper for Castro trade straight up and not feel bad about it at all. As far a the Nats go though, I think it would take both Castro and Garza at least, they may even ask for more (B jackson?) and that would probably be too much to give up for me.

    • JulioZuleta

      That’s just crazy. There’s no way any prospect in history nets you a 21 year old All star, a late 20s #2 starter, and a very good #1 overall prospect. I don’t know if I’d do that from Harper and Trout (assuming they were on the same team or some fancy 3 team trade was worked in. This kind of goes back to that Grantland article. I have thought for a long time prospects were overvalued, but the problem is, even if a GM knows that, he can’t afford to undervalue them, because everyone else holds them in such high regard, If that makes sense.

      • King Jeff

        As crazy as it sounds, I don’t think that’s too far off from what Washington would ask if they were “hypothetically” trading Harper.  If the Cubs had a stud like that, I could only imagine how “untouchable” most people would consider him.  It is ridiculous to think that the Cubs top 3 most valued players might only net a minor league prospect.

      • Puma0821

        Right, I’m just saying what they would ask for. I’d have to think hard about Castro and Garza for Harper though. That’s possibly a franchise changing player, Pujols type, like Kyle said.

      • Kyle

        It’s February ’96. You get a guitar, picked it up in the mix and commit to the licks like a nickel bag of tricks.

        Oh wait, that’s not what I meant.

        It’ February ’96, and the phone rings. The Mariners want to make a trade. They want your B-graded No. 1 prospect (only No. 1 because of a weak system), a 21-year-old SS who is already above-average and projects better, and a mid-20s No. 2 starter with two years left before free agency.

        In return, they are offering you a 21-year-old Alex Rodriguez. He’s a former No. 1 overall pick and the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball. He is coming off a .360 .411 .654 slash line in AAA.

        You don’t think long and hard about that?

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