I had planned to post just a couple things this morning, the second of which is a holiday card of sorts, and then semi-head-out for the holidays. With the Marshall trade still not announced and the Corpas signing to discuss a bit more (probably), that ain’t happening.

  • Assuming his physical in Cincinnati went well yesterday, the trade of Sean Marshall could be formally announced today. We know the Cubs are getting back pitcher Travis Wood, but the identities of the other players in the deal remain a strangely guarded secret. I have my theory as to why (perhaps the Reds are trying to work out an extension with Marshall, in which case the prospects they give up will be slightly better – just a theory). Regardless, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to wait to announce the deal this weekend or next week.
  • Speaking of those prospects: Keith Law says he’s heard names, and they aren’t just filler. He thinks Cubs fans will be happy. He also says the Cubs should heavily shop Matt Garza, and says he wouldn’t trade Brett Jackson for Anthony Rizzo if he were the Padres.
  • The Cardinals signed outfielder Carlos Beltran, who turns 35 in April, to a two-year, $26 million contract with a no-trade clause. Beltran, whose knees are in bad shape, is coming off his first full, good season in a few years. Normally, I’d say he’s due for a regression. But no one regresses in St. Louis. Voodoo magic. Beltran won’t quite replace the departed Albert Pujols, but with Adam Wainwright coming back from surgery, the Cards might not be much more worse for the wear in 2012.
  • The A’s traded young lefty starter Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals for right-handers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, lefty Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris. To the extent each qualifies as a prospect, all four were in the Nationals’ top ten according to some lists. Cole and Peacock tended to be near the top of those lists (behind some kid named Bryce). What does the deal mean for the market for Matt Garza? Well, it leaves Garza as the best pitcher available in trade, by my accounting, and continues to set the bar high as far as acquisition prices go. Garza wouldn’t net quite as much as Gonzalez, who is younger, lefty, and under control for longer, but he could be close. The deal also leaves the teams most interested in Garza – the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox – looking for a starter. The Nationals weren’t pursuing Garza with any vigor, so it’s not like the Cubs lost a suitor.
  • According to a report in the Peoria Journal Star, the Cubs’ Single-A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, have been losing money for four years. The losses, which average around $600,000 (and climbing), are attributed to a bad economy and the attending drops in attendance.
  • Former Cub favorite Mark DeRosa looks set to sign a Major League deal with the Nationals. He serve in a utility role, and will probably become their Reed Johnson of irrational badassery. Speaking of Reed, FanGraphs gives him a look in light of the Cubs’ re-signing, and comes to the conclusion: he’s pretty average, and that’s fine for a back-up outfielder.
  • The Cubs are giving back to the community in a variety of ways this holiday season – or so says this Cubs press release.
  • The top ten baseball books of 2011 according to Baseball America. I gotta get me a library card.
  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Hmm do you think the Cubs could be looking for a new single A ball club?

  • Fishin Phil

    Do you think the Voodoo Magic will depart with TLR?  Maybe Beltran pulls a hammy, Berkman’s arm falls off, etc.  It could happen.

  • Cedlandrum

    Depends on if they stopped LaRussa and Mckay before they left with the dufflebags of syringes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, McKay works for the Cubs now…

      • Cedlandrum

        yeah I know. Not sure I am happy about a guy who used to be the strength coach for the A’s and wrote a book about weight lifting technique with Canseco, and then followed TLR to Cards being on our staff.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It’s not a great resume, at least in some regards. But he’s one of us now …

  • OlderStyle

    FanGraphs concludes Reed Johnson is average OF. Hmmm, interesting. Yes, sir, I do like it. Certain posters can put that in their pipe and smoke it.

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


    • EQ76

      Air out your grievances at the aluminum pole!

  • Sean C

    I’m thinking the Chiefs could pick up in attendence this year. There should be several noteworthy prospects playing there for the majority of the season. I know I’m planning on making a trip or two to Peoria this year.

  • ty

    dollar beer and dollar dog night has not worked out for PEORIA.. Next two/fers

  • Kyle

    That Fangraphs article is pretty bad.

    You simply cannot credibly evaluate Reed Johnson’s 2011 without trying to account for the .394 BABIP. And once you account for it, it’s clear that his underlying skills are as terrible as they were in 2010.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In truth, I think if you cornered Theo and Jed on re-signing Johnson, they would concede it had as much to do with (1) continuity/leadership in the clubhouse (you have to keep some guys around, and preferably the ones with the best attitude – Theo’s always been about that), and (2) irrational fan love of Johnson, as it did with his actual ability.

      And even that part isn’t that bad. As a 4th/5th outfielder who can play all three in a pinch, and who can still very much hit lefties? Shrug. He’s fine.

      • Kyle

        I agree that this was a continuity signing. This was another “We don’t want to start the service time clock on any prospects so lets just sign some cheap filler” move, and that’s fine.

        But they could have easily found a much better fourth outfield/right-handed platoon option off the scrapheap without trying that hard. Reed Johnson’s skill set fell off a cliff in the 2010 season* and he became a 260/290/370 hitter, but some extreme BABIP luck in 2011 masked that. The smart projection is on him being a 260/290/370 hitter yet again in 2012.

        The difference between Johnson and the theoretical scrapheap OFer they could have signed? Not much in terms of WAR in a season where wins aren’t even going to be that important.

        But it’s the attitude that bothers me. The fact that they could have done better, even for a league-minimum contract, and chose not to because “Eh, this guy’s just been hanging around lately and 2012 won’t be good anyway” disturbs me. This is supposed to be the front office that works harder and fights harder for every tiny edge.

        The Wood for Marshall trade more than makes up for it, though. That was a stroke of genius, the exact sort of deal I used to drool over when other teams got to make them because they had guys like Epstein.

        *- Go to his fangraphs page and look at the percentage of PAs he K’s and BB’s each year. In 2010, he went from a consistent career of striking out about 17% of the time to 23% of the time, and from BBing 5% of the time to 2% of the time. Those are the classic signs of a mid-30s hitter who has lost just enough bat speed to crater his production. And that bat speed ain’t coming back.

      • Pat

        Brett, I think you are dead on that irrational fan love had a lot to do with it. Theo and crew aren’t going to sign some long term deal to appease the fans, but something like that, sure. They are finally starting to see backlash from some fans who thought the team could be turned around with a couple a expensive band aids, who don’t like the reality that the team was in such bad shape that it just can’t be fixed in a year or two. So you throw them a scrappy white guy or two.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Reed is a 4th outfielder to play against lefties. Are there people who think he’s more than that?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Unfortunately, there are some folks who think he should be starting. Seriously.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Oh. I guess they believe he finally learned to hit righties based on his ’11 numbers.
        I’ve seen Reed called the right handed DeJesus…not exactly sure what they mean by that

  • MC2

    I’ll Gladly welcome the Chiefs here in Fort Wayne instead of the Padres affiliation (Tin-Caps)!!!!

  • Toosh

    Maybe the Cubs can send some cash along with Marshall to the Reds so they can sign him to an extension. In return, along with Wood, the Reds send the Cubs prospects the Padres want.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Would be nice. I’m not sure how much cash you could get away with sending, though.

  • 2much2say

    6 Teams left for Garza / Five Years for Fielder/ 4 years left for Theo / 3 Tommy Johns / 2 Cuban prospects and a Championship in a 100 more years

  • baseballet

    Looking at the 2011 WAR total for current roster (position players, minimum 20 MLB games) on Fangraphs. DeJesus is our second best position player, and Barney is our third. Yikes.

    Name WAR
    Starlin Castro 3.4
    David DeJesus 2.2
    Darwin Barney 2.2
    Geovany Soto 2.1
    Marlon Byrd 2
    Tony Campana 1.5
    Alfonso Soriano 1.3
    Reed Johnson 1.2
    Bryan LaHair 0.3
    Blake DeWitt 0.2
    Lou Montanez -0.1
    DJ LeMahieu -0.1
    Jeff Baker -0.1
    Ian Stewart -0.6

    • Kyle

      The good news is that there’s probably some upside on a lot of those guys to surpass that in 2012. Soto can do better, DeJesus can do better, Ian Stewart might not be that terrible. I think Soriano’s still got some 2.0-WAR seasons left in him. Campana and Barney are probably inflated by unsustainable defense and baserunning totals, but otherwise I don’t see a lot of downside.

      The bad news if some of those guys hit their upside, it just takes us from “terrible” to “bad” on position players.

    • Pat

      What’s really scary is that fWar is high to begin with, so even those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There’s still plenty of time, and some guys could rebound.

      But … AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      I did some research the other day and it came out to that the Cubs needed to acquire roughly 30 WAR this offseason to be a playoff contender, on the free agent market that is an Metric ASS-load of money, rebuilding is the only way to go and we are going that way.

  • Noah

    Keith Law is both significantly lower on Brett Jackson and somewhat higher on Anthony Rizzo than most prospect gurus. They’re both going to be guys who walk a good amount and hit for good power, but Jackson can play an above average CF while Rizzo is a 1B (although I’ve heard he’s very good there defensively). I really like klaw, but I think he’s significantly low on B-Jax.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I don’t buy the ‘above average centerfield’ for Jackson and BJ has significantly worse contact problems than Rizzo. They are equals IMO.

      is this the Noah I know?

      • Noah

        Yep, same Noah. We’ve had some lengthy discussions about B-Jax. I meant above average defensive centerfielder in the comment. I agree on the equals comment. I just don’t think it would help the Cubs to make hole at CF to get an equal at 1B, especially when it’s easier to find an average 1B than an average (this time I mean over all) CF. Also, I want to note that I don’t think klaw is down on Brett Jackson because of any biased reason. I think he has a methodology that is slightly different from most of the other independent scouting gurus, and that according to that methodology he doesn’t think that highly of B-Jax.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The one thing that makes me feel better about Jackson’s huge K numbers (which is what makes guys like Law and Goldstein down on him) is that he also takes a ton of walks. To me, that suggest a guy who’s K’ing a lot because he sees a lot of pitches, not because he doesn’t have the adjustment ability or bat speed to make contact regularly.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Agree with the walks, which is why I think he can still be a good contributor even with a .240 AVG.

    • Kyle

      The two differences are age and K-rate.

      Rizzo has been able to keep his around 21%, which is about the absolute most that you can live with in a hitting prospect.

      Jackson’s was up to 27% last year in AA and AAA, which projects to something like 33% in the majors, and that’s just too much. If minor-league pitchers can miss his bat that often, MLB pitchers might destroy him.

      I still like Jackson, but I’d probably trade him for Rizzo straight up without too much hesitation.

    • Cedlandrum

      Keith Law hates every Cubs prospect. Seriously.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Except Vitters and Baez and Cashner

  • CubsFanBob

    Reed is a gamer. Give me 25 gamers over a team full of players who watch out of the box home runs turn into doubles, are afraid to get dirty, etc

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      …as long as those gamers are also really good at baseball, I’d rather have them than guys who stand and stare, etc.

    • Pat

      I’ll take 25 guys who are actually good at baseball, regardless of if twice a year they watch what they thought was a home run turn into a double. What’s the point of having a good player like Ramirez bust his ass down the line on an obvious out? So that twice a year he gets a single on a muffed play, but spends two weeks on the DL with a strained hammy from one of the other times? I think too many people listen to that moron Bob Brenley.

      • Bluekoolaidaholic

        Yeah, that moron Brenly, he only managed a team to the World Series. Something several other Cubs geniuses (including you) haven’t been able to do.
        He is a great baseball man and I respect his opinion. He played and managed and continues to be in baseball ” the right way”.

  • jim

    Redbirds r dedbirds! ” might not be much worse”?? Must b lak of sleep. We’ll see. Willing to bet big dropoff. 9 pitchers ( beer) at nisei lounge.

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

    FRIDAY: The Cubs will received Wood, Dave Sappelt, and Ronald Torreyes from the Reds for Marshall, reports ESPN’s Keith Law (on Twitter). The trade will be announced later today.

    Sappelt, a 24-year-old outfielder, hit .243/.289/.318 in 118 plate appearances for Cincinnati last year, his big league debut. He produced a .313/.377/.458 batting line in 336 plate appearances for their Triple-A affiliate in 2011. Torreyes, a 19-year-old infielder, hit .356/.398/.457 in 306 plate appearances at the Low Class-A level this past season. Baseball America ranked Sappelt and Torreyes as the Reds’ 20th and 22nd best prospects, respectively, in last year’s Prospect Handbook.

    • NyN

      Just saw that on MLBTR. I am OK with those guys. Top 25 guys are better than late 20s minor leaguers.

    • Kyle

      That’s awesome. Those are two legitimately useful prospects.

      I’m calling it: Hoyer traderaped the Reds.

    • King Jeff

      Torreyes is a pretty good prospect, and in some top 10 Reds list(from before Latos trade).

    • Kyle

      Torreyes raked in A-ball last season. I have to think he would have been much higher than 20th this time around.

    • Pat

      Along with Wood, that’s a good haul for Marshall. Better than I expected.

      • EQ76

        now just imagine what a Garza trade could net us..

    • ottoCub

      That’s a good return for Marshall. Can’t complain about any of it… a back-end lefty starter and two solid prospects. Merry Christmas Cubs fans!

    • Jason

      Sappelt is going to become the new Tony Campana/Reed Johnson scrappy fan favorite type but is probably no more than a 4th OF.

      Torreyes could be interesting. Played A ball at 18 last year, which is young for that level. Doesn’t strike out – doesn’t walk either. Supposed to be fast but not a great basestealer yet. Had an insane BA last year in A ball (.356) that drove his OPS (.857). ISOP was only .101. Looks like he is limited to 2B on defense. Baseball HQ had him as the Reds’ 9th rated prospect after the Latos, so he would have been 12 otherwise. Could be something here

    • ferrets_bueller

      I think this ended up pretty even, because I’m not too high on these two prospects.  Neither of them has the frame to have much power at all, and neither seems to be a very efficient base stealer.  Although neither seems to strike out much, and both seem decent at taking a walk, neither projects as much of an impact bat.  Although, if either is great on defense, that changes things.

      here’s an SR on Sappelt http://redlegsbaseball.blogspot.com/2011/03/2011-top-prospect-list-10-dave-sappelt.html

      • Kyle

        I’ve seen Reds fans describe Torreyes as “excellent defensively” at 2b.

        • ferrets_bueller

          Well, in that case, and in the case that the internet is correct in calling him a “wizard” with the glove, then we won this trade.  All depends on whether he makes it to the show.  But getting a young lefty 3/4 starter for a reliever is almost always a win IMO.

  • jim

    If really 19, great for the trade!

  • ty

    I can not believe Cinc gave us Torreyes. Able to see him play for awhile in Phoenix and all eyes were on him–very athletic and flashy as hell.

  • Dumpman

    Wow.. I’m really surprised that Walt agreed to this. This is the type of deal a GM will get grilled on. Hvae you guys looked up Torreyes’s stats? Insane. Sappelt looks like a good 4th OF too. Lefty masher who can play all 3 OF spots, although I’d bet he shouldn’t be CF full time. I REALLY like this deal overall. Great deal for the Cubs.

    • Bric

      I think the two prospects (or at least Sappelt) are going to get flipped to the Padres in a Garza deal. Brett, have you heard anything this morning? I would imagine if a trade is going to get done before the new year it’s going to probably happen today.