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Yesterday’s trade came somewhat out of nowhere (obviously the fact that Carlos Zambrano was probably on his way out eventually, and probably to the Marlins, has been known for a long time, but there wasn’t much in the way of rumors leading up to yesterday’s reveal), so who knows what’s next for the Cubs. But there are plenty of rumors to discuss…

  • A lot of folks are asking about the impact that trading Carlos Zambrano might have on the Cubs’ willingness to deal Matt Garza. I’m not really sure I see any impact at all. Zambrano was largely expected to be dealt, and he was replaced by another pitcher. Further, it’s not as though Zambrano was this hugely positive veteran presence in the clubhouse whose departure necessitates the retention of another veteran presence. I suspect that the Zambrano trade was in the works for a long time – long before the Cubs started seriously entertaining Garza offers. The Cubs will continue to do, or not do, whatever they were already doing with respect to Garza, without regard to the Zambrano trade (with the sole exceptions being (a) the Marlins’ possible reduced involvement in Garza talks, and (b) the possible reduced need to net another experienced pitcher back in a Garza trade).
  • Speaking of Garza, Buster Olney cites “many talent evaluators” who see Matt Garza as a middle of the rotation starter, which makes teams not want to meet the Cubs’ steep asking price. Sigh. Garza, who dramatically changed his approach in a very repeatable way in 2011 (less reliance on fastballs), was 13th in all of baseball in WAR last year and was 8th in FIP (the extremely rare bold, italicized, underlined emphasis). In what universe is that a middle of the rotation starter? Moreover, you didn’t have to watch him but a handful of starts to see that he had developed into one of the best starters in the game. The talent evaluators Olney cites? If they aren’t employed by the Tigers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, or Yankees, I’ll eat my hat.
  • Speaking of Garza redux, a story about the Tigers being “out” on Garza because they refuse to trade Jacob Turner has been making the rounds, but I’d ask you to read what Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski actually said before deciding anything definitive. Among his quotes that are utterly devoid of real meaning: “We are not looking to trade Jacob Turner …. We love the guy. But I have received calls from clubs wondering if we would be interested in certain players because they have interest in our players. And he is a guy they ask about immediately because he is held in such high esteem …. Do we listen to anybody? Yes. But we are not looking to trade Jacob Turner by any means.” Do I really have to explain how that statement is fundamentally different from “we are definitely not going to trade Jacob Turner in a deal for Matt Garza”? The other statement getting feathers ruffled: “I don’t think there is another call [other than about Gio Gonzalez] we’ve made in pursuing another starting pitcher.” You don’t “think” there’s a “call” “you’ve” made? I could drive a truck through that statement.
  • Speaking of Garza redux redux, Nick Cafardo hears that the Cubs are sticking to their demand for three top prospects before they’ll consider pulling the trigger on a deal.
  • Could Alfonso Soriano be the next contract dumped? George Ofman suggests that three AL teams are back at the table discussing Soriano with the Cubs. He mentions the Orioles by name, who’ve been connected to Soriano for quite some time. Their manager, Buck Showalter, who managed Soriano in Texas, is believed to be a big fan. The Cubs owe Soriano $54 million over the next three years, so any deal will include a huge chunk of cash coming from the Cubs, and a very unexciting piece coming back from the other team.
  • A good source tells me that the Cubs and Red Sox have indeed been discussing Marlon Byrd, who is under contract for 2012 at $6.5 million. The Cubs appear to be looking to save salary in the deal while picking up a lower-level, high upside type prospect. Byrd and the Red Sox have been connected for a couple weeks now.
  • MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes chatted yesterday, and said (1) he thinks the Yankees and Marlins are the most likely destination for Garza, with the Cubs getting two of the team’s top three prospects (which would mean two of Montero, Banuelos, and Betances from the Yanks), (2) he doesn’t think many teams, if any, are interested in Soriano, and (3) given the Cubs’ outlook for 2012, letting LaHair start at first base makes as much sense as signing someone like Pena or Kotchman.
  • Bruce Levine also had a chat, and said, among other things: (1) the Cubs don’t currently match up well in a trade for Anthony Rizzo, (2) the Cubs have started considering what a Matt Garza extension might look like, (3) the Cubs have talked to at least eight AL teams about Soriano over the last two months, (4) Boston, Washington, and Atlanta have had interest at some point in Byrd, (5) Carlos Marmol is probably sticking around for now, (6) Bruce doesn’t think the Cubs are out of the running for Prince Fielder, and (7) the Cubs are probably not interested in Edwin Jackson, considering his lofty demands.
  • jr5

    Sigh. I made the same point you did with regards to the “talent evaluators” and their likely goals on an MLBTR thread. Was immediately criticized because apparently Garza is a middle of the rotation pitcher.

    I don’t think people understand that while he’s not Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, that doesn’t mean he’s not a top of the rotation guy. There are 150 rotation slots in the majors. There’s absolutely no way Garza is outside the top 30, and I’d put him much higher. Ergo, not a “middle of the rotation” guy.

    • aCubsfan

      Take a chill pill and relax, all these comments about evaluators, in/out, and not trading X, Y or Z, are negotiating tactics to try to drive the asking price for any player down.

      The Cubs have known for a long time that Soriano is a sunk cost with very little value to any other club. Therefore, as fans we can’t expect to get anything of real value in return. Besides with the roster at 40 and the Cubs needing to trim that to add other players a low level prospect which fills a hole, might be all the Cubs want in return anyway.

      Levine amuses me. His insistence that the Cubs want Fielder is a bit laughable and is getting old and tired now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      People like sound bytes, even if they’re wholly without evidentiary support.

      • Wilbur

        Amen … saves them from having to invest time and words in research, explaining and defending a position on an issue. Such trite endeavors anyway.

    • DocWimsey

      “There’s absolutely no way Garza is outside the top 30, and I’d put him much higher. Ergo, not a “middle of the rotation” guy.”

      This is a much better way to think of things.  There are 30 teams, and if we divided all of the starters evenly among them, then we’d expect the top pitcher on each team to be from the top 30.  The “middle of the rotation” guys are 61-90 in rank.  Now, Garza’s FIP stats from last year were high for him: but if you look at the last 3 years or so, then he’s clearly in the top 50, which means that he’d be 1 or 2 on most staffs.

      I think part of it is perception about how a guy is “in the clutch.”  Never mind that this is meaningless, as it fails to predict how a guy will do in the next “clutch” game: but nobody from Boston is going to forget Game 7 of the ’08 ALCS any time soon.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, Garza is would only be middle of the rotation on the Phillies, behind Lee and Halladay. People have an unrealstic grasp on what a “1″ is. I bet if you asked most fans/baseball people to list all of the “1′s”, they’d give you a list of about 8-12 guys. Obviously there is a huge gap in the “1-ness” of a team’s best starter, but I agree with what you said. The best 30 are ones, the next 30 are twos and 61-90 would be threes. I would like to meet the talent evaluators who think Garza is a middle guy (a three) and then I would like them to list me 60-89 guys better than him.

        • EQ76

          In my opinion, the 1′s are as follows:
          Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, C.C.Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy..

          the 2′s or “almost 1′s” is where Garza should fit in.. with guys like Greinke,  C. Carpenter, Hamels, Beckett, David Price, Latos, Volquez, CJ Wilson, Marcum, Gio Gonzales, etc.

          what hurt Garza was being on a bad team and the bullpen blowing leads.

      • EQ76

        Garza would be a middle of the rotation guy on the Phillies and Giants.. that’s about it.  He’d be a solid #2 on many teams, he’d be an ace on a lot of teams..

  • Mick

    Hey Brett, you omitted another interesting tid-bit from Levine’s chat:

    Mick (Mpls)

    Have you heard or do you have a gut feeling with what the Cubs’ team payroll number will look like this year?

    Bruce Levine (1:38 PM)

    Right now they’re committed to over $105 million. Last year it was around $131 million. My guess is that it will be about $10 million less than that.
    ——-

    If he’s correct in that the Cubs are still going to spend around $15 million on FA’s, what other additions do you see the Cubs making?

    • jr5

      I wasn’t sure how he got to that $105 million number, to be honest. They’re at $70 mil before arbitration raises, and that’s before you include the million or so saved by trading Z (while including the addition of Volstad).

      Edit: And from a quick look at Cots Contracts, I’m not sure how he projects $35 mil in arb raises. But whatever.

      • Mick

        I wasn’t sure how Levine got his numbers either (according to Cot’s) and Theo’s already said that a team projected payroll should be their most closely guarded secret for multiple reasons so, Levine’s guess that it’s around $121 is just that, a guess. But, being that it’s Levine’s job to follow the Cubs his guess is worth more than just our speculations. With that in mind, and the apparent total rebuild wouldn’t it make sense to acquire both Cespedes and Soler?

        I read this article a while back by a Cuban baseball beat writer http://www.baseballdecuba.com/EngnewsContainer.asp?id=2595 and his analysis of Cespedes, I always think back to it every time I broach the subject. In his analysis, Cespedes’ success this last season was mostly by fluke and in this writer’s opinion Cespedes wasn’t even the best player on his own team. It’s a pretty telling article and paired with Cespedes’ juiced up work-out videos it gets me thinking pretty negatively about his possible acquisition. I would much rather Soler because he’s much younger and would be had on a less risky investment.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m not saying the article is bogus, embellished, or anything like that. But you have to be very careful about taking it all as gospel, considering the source, and the fact that Cespedes is, in their eyes, abandoning the country.

          • Mick

            I agree you have to consider the source but you have to admit it was a really well written article and its fascinating to see Cuban baseball through the eyes of a native. It appears that the Cespedes and Soler signings are going to start coming to a head soon and I think this is a good enough article to share with the rest of the nation if you do another write-up on the subject?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I appreciate it, Mick. I’ve actually been aware of the article since Cespedes’ name first came up. I decided not to share it or write about it because of the incendiary nature of some of the accusations/rumors in it. I’m not saying it’s definitely bogus or that it isn’t an interesting article. I would just rather not attach my name to sharing it, even with the caveats we’ve discussed.

              • JB88

                I read that article around the time it came out and it struck me as absolute, unmitigated propoganda/hack job by Cuba. Some of the stats were certainly interesting, but it just goes to show that information is such a tangible commodity, especially when most people don’t have access to that information.

                • Mick

                  I think your assesment might be a bit extreme JB88. The writer’s final assesment was pretty fair to Cespedes and all those MLB clubs with interest:

                  In summary, Céspedes is a definite big leaguer in the view of this writer. What he is worth (dollar-wise) on the open market I leave to the judgment of professional scouts and agents who determine such matters; and also to fans and journalists who seem in recent years to put far more stock in contract numbers than they do in old-fashioned statistical performance lines. How far Céspedes actually goes – both in the big-league bidding wars and in his eventual on-the-field performance – of course depends on all those intangibles and “unmeasurables” that always attach to any untested top prospect – no matter what his country of origin might be.

                  • JB88

                    Sorry, but this to me equals hack job

                    “The biggest negatives seem to be the intangibles connected with off-the-field issues. It is known (although with few tangible details) that Yoenis first temporarily abandoned the Cuban pre-selection team last July in Havana, then after a sudden change of heart was involved in a tragic fatal automobile accident while in route back to training camp. His dispute with team officials is rumored to have resulted from personal dissatisfaction over having been assigned to the pre-selection club heading for the ALBA Games in Caracas, rather than the teams ticketed for the World Port Tournament in Haarlem or the World Baseball Challenge in British Colombia. Many rumors (most of them likely unfounded) now surround the car wreck in which Céspedes was apparently driving, an injured pedestrian subsequently died, and a formal inquiry was never successfully completed by Cuban authorities. One story has the victim testifying before his death that the ballplayer was not actually at fault, another version has Cuban authorities searching the countryside for the missing ballplayer during the resulting criminal investigation. All that is clear is that Céspedes indeed fled Cuba before the matter was ever resolved or the details were ever made public.

                    One can not help but recall here the case of Bárbaro Garbey, former Cuban League star in the late 1970s. Garbey was implicated in the same hushed-up game-fixing scandal on the island that lead to the suspension of a handful of capital city ballplayers including future Industriales and national team manager Rey Anglada. After Garbey reached the USA during the 1980 Mariel boatlift (reportedly as one of the many prisoners dispatched from Cuban jails) he was welcomed with open arms by North American professional baseball and enjoyed a brief if controversy-marred big league sojourn (mainly with the Detroit Tigers). Despite the nearly century-long sanctimonious stand by major league owners and various commissioners against even the slightest hint of gambling or game-fixing (note here the case of Pete Rose), Garbey’s apparent sins back in Cuba were all-too-easily dismissed as merely an admirable blow struck against the corrupt (i.e. socialist) Cuban baseball system. The question will now be raised in some quarters at least about any welcoming of Céspedes without at least some inquiries into his current status within with the Cuban civil legal system.

                    Please understand that I am certainly not drawing any direct parallels here between Céspedes and Garbey, and I am most assuredly not accusing Céspedes of any misbehavior or character flaws in connection with the mysterious events of last summer. I of course do not know what actually happened that might have lead to Yoenis Céspedes’ personal decision to flee from Cuba. Few others apparently know any more than I do. Did he depart the island to follow his baseball dream, pure and simple? Was he fleeing imminent criminal charges or some sort of legal morass? Was his baseball future already ended on the island, leaving no option but seeking to play elsewhere? We simply have no answers and that is especially unfortunate when a multi-million-dollar contract and the moral integrity of major league baseball might be squarely on the line. But let us assume for the moment that Yoenis Céspedes was in no way at fault for any misdeeds in his homeland. I am only suggesting here that the future of this potential new Cuban big leaguer will likely fare far better (especially in the heated spotlight of a MLB media circus) if certain unanswered questions are now directly addressed and clarified by his current handlers – sooner rather than later. Let’s set the record straight on what happened in Havana last July and then devote full attention to the more enjoyable issues of raw baseball talent. ”

                    He compares Cespedes to a guy who was fixing games. Sorry, no matter how you want to read that article that is an apples to spaceship comparison. One is certainly not like the other. Hence, to compare Cespedes to effectively persona non grata amongst Cubans is a hack job IMO.

                    • Mick

                      Yea, it does kind of read like a whole lot of, “I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.” I agree that segment was unnecessary in describing Cespedes’ MLB potential and his performance and prospects in comparison to other Cuban defectors. It’s almost like the author gave us the Us Weekly version or in your opinion the Star version to go along with his pure statistical analysis and in that I would question the author’s motives.

                    • Ryan

                      Who is more likely to be in the Cubs Organiztion at the start of the year Cespedes, Soler, Byrd or Soriano

              • Mick

                I can understand your reluctance but there isn’t a whole lot of anaylsis out that compares Cespedes to the league he played in and how his skills would translate to MLB. You da man though Brett, this is a cool blog please don’t kick me out.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Haha. It’s all good, Mick.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A good question, and I definitely could have included it. It’s hard to say how the “remaining money” will be spent, because I still think there’s going to be a fair bit of turnover on the roster (heck, with the 40-man at 40, there has to be).

      Right now, I’d say the priority for available cash is Cespedes and Soler.

      • JulioZuleta

        I’d be thrilled with Soler, Cespedes would be nice, but I could take him or leave him. I don’t see any way that he DOESN’T start the year in the minors, probably AA. I think it could realistically take him until the middle of 2013 to be a regular contributor.

  • JasonB

     “I could drive a druck through that statement.”

    So exactly how big is a druck?  About halfway between the size of a duck and a truck?  Just curious :)

    JK – you may want to fix the typo though

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      What, you’ve never heard of a druck? :)

  • cubincardinalland

    I guess they mean because on the Phillies he would be a middle rotation guy. That’s about the only team. I really hope he gets off to a hot start, then we can tell the Yankees and Tigers, sorry boys, price of poker went up, should have pulled the trigger.

  • JasonB

    The prospect we’d get in exchange for Byrd seems to be about what I was thinking.  Maybe we could settle the Theo comp thing with the Red Sux in that deal as well?

  • rcleven

    Still believe Rizzo will at 1st base for the Cubs in spring training. What it will take I don’t know.With SD looking for a ss how about Barny, Lake, & ???.

  • Edwin

    I wonder if there’s a reason most of the National media see’s Garza as a middle of the rotation starter? When Garza pitched in the AL East, he pitched like a middle of the rotation starter. Then he goes to the Cubs. Even though the Cubs are a big market team, they didn’t have the type of team this past season that people really had to pay attention to. Looking at Garza’s quick numbers, his ERA was very good at 3.32, but his record was only 10-10. While I think that ERA and especially Wins are a terrible way to judge a pitcher’s true talent, these are the numbers that are easiest for most fans/media members to digest.

    I’m sure most East Coast Media members (ESPN) had a first impression of Garza as a middle rotation guy (never the most hyped guy of the Rays staff), and one season in Chicago in which Garza “only wins 10 games” won’t change that impression. Plus, if a team if thinking about trading for Garza, I’m sure that team’s media is doing everything they can to drive down the asking price.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      What about the other 10 games he would have won if it wasn’t for the inept Cubs Manager and bullpen???

      • Pat

        Every pitcher in the league has games the bullpen loses, or where they don’t get run support. You can’t say they should have won those games. And to say 10 games is absurd. Sure, Garza pitched better than his record, but not ten wins better. Probably not even five. 12 and 8 for a .600 win percent though? I’d buy that.

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    If we traded Z for Volstad, not exactly excited about what well get for for Garza. Not sure how Theo pulls off a steal of a trade for Marshall, then a straight DUD for Z. Hell probably trade Garza to the Yankees for Jorge Posada and Andruw Jones. I can’t think of 2 better bounce back candidates. I’m losing interest in the only sports team I truly love. Heartbroken.

    • polocubs

      damn dude, you are really a downer. give this thing a chance. this organization was really screwed up when theo came in. they are completely turning it over. i have been a fan for almost 50 years now, and from what i have seen in that time, what they were doing did not work

    • rcleven

      Z was gone by last September.Let it go.

    • fearbobafett

      what did you honestly think they were going to get for Z? At first they were hoping to save 5 million plus which was a joke. The guy has a NTC, and you know damn well that he would only accept a deal without some sort of compensation, was if it was to his buddy Ozzie’s club. Thank Jim the fool for this trade’s review, don’t blame Theoyer.

      When a player holds all the cards you are stuck with what you get. We should be lucky we got a ML arm back in return. If the guy doesn’t pan out he gets cut next year, who cares when you are trying to get rid of a headcase.
      Z could go onto win the Cy Young this year, great for him and the Marlins, they can enjoy it and also enjoy that 19+ contract for next year.

      • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

        This is why you keep him. If you pay him, might as well have him pitch for you. I don’t blame Hendry. When he re-signed Z, its was for under market value. Any GM in the league would have given Z that contract. Same with Soriano. I personally don’t think Hendry was a bad GM. Theo is threatened by Hendy’s presence and Hendry’s guys. Seen like he is just dumping guys so he can say my team. Look at the rule 5, look at the Stewart trade. I like Stewart, but he gave up to much. Look at Kerry. I would rather have Kerry a 5 mil per then Theo. Theo can’t win games. Then the one Hendry guy he brings back is not even worth a roster spot. Johnson is a good player, but a waste for this team.

        • Martin

          Zambrano was a market value contract. Soriano was a massive overpay, and people said so at the time.

          There’s absolutely no reason a middle reliever is more valuable than a general manager. That’s absurd.

        • fearbobafett

          Z is a headcase out there, the other players can’t stand him, why is it better to keep him around and hope he rebounds? You keep him around you are stuck with him all season long, you will not be trading him at the deadline for the following 2 reasons:
          1) if he sucks no one is going to want him, including the Marlins
          2) if he is pitching well, most likely we are still in the race, so you are not going to trade away a guy pitching well

  • http://www.whyb2.com BryceB

    Brett, I love this site and I’m saddened I have only found out about it this last fall. I check it numerous times a day. I can’t get enough. Thanks for all your hard work.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, BB. I do my best.

  • JulioZuleta

    Where are all the commenters who kept saying “Seeeeeee I told you Zambrano would be a part of the Cubs rotation next year”.

  • CubsFanBob

    At this point I hope we keep Garza signing him to an extension as he becomes our ace and leader on the team. I like his gutsy ballsy approach to the game.

    Things I would like to see:

    1: Keep Garza, extend him, and build the starting pitching around him
    2: Dump Soriano, It’s not his fault he is getting over paid but at this point he just doesnt fit what this team currently needs
    3: Trade Byrd to make room for Jackson
    4: Acquire Rizzo allowing LaHair / Baker a chance to hold 1st base till Rizzo is ready

    In my vision for the 2012 Cubs I see a 500% team that wins on defense and small ball with a strong bullpen and starting pitching that at the very least keeps you in the game till the 6th / 7th innings.

    • Falselife

      Unfortunately, I think 4 happening would in some fashion involve a direct contrast to your first statement. If we could get Rizzo and keep Garza, I’m all for your list. That said, I would like to add a #5.

      5) Move Castro to third and get a defensive shortstop that can hit .270 and has moderate speed. To me it’s obvious Castro is destined for third base as he matures and bulks up. He plays off instinct and that shows as a liability at short. Let’s get his ass to third where his reaction skills can shine and let him develop his power.

  • Alex

    It’s funny how all the Garza haters out there are skewing his stats to prove a point against Garza’s value in a trade.

    But from a non-stat standpoint. Didn’t Garza win the ALCS MVP in 2008 against the vaunted Boston Red Sox?

    Just from the standpoint that he is playoff tested AND proven puts him a step above the Gio’s and Latos’ of this world. I’m just sayin’.

  • Funkster

    Thank you Brett for bringing up the Olney comment. I saw it this morning and just rolled my eyes.

  • JK

    What about trading Jackson straight-up for Rizzo? It seems that the Cubs may have options in CF soon with Szczur, Lake, Sappelt?

    • rcleven

      Pads are looking for middle infielders. Trades have to work for both teams. Pads are alot more willing to deal Rizzo go now they have 1st baseman of the future.

  • rcleven

    Don’t see any reason to extend Garza (right now). If you extend now it will only hurt chances of moving him at the trade deadline if not moved earlier. We still have 2 more years. Plenty of time to extend if that’s the direction Theo/Jed decide to go.

  • CF

    My math gets to $70M and change currently committed to 8 players (Volstad/Z trade is a wash salary-wise after arbitration). Then you’ve got Garza, Soto, Wells, DeWitt, and Baker all eligible for arbitration (MLBTR projects around $17.5 for the group). 12 more players around the minimum ($500K) gets you another $6M. That’s a grand total of around $93M for the 25 man roster.

    • Pat

      Dempster/Soriano/Z(Volstead) is 50
      Marmol is 7 (57 for 4)
      Byrd 6.5 (63.5 for 5)
      DDJ 4.25 (67.75 for 6)
      Pena 5.0 (72.75 for 6)
      R Johnson 1.25 (74 for 7)
      Garza, Soto, Wells, Stewart, DeWitt, Baker are arb eligible – Garza 8.5, Soto 5, Stewart 3, the others say 4 combined. That brings it to 94.5 for 13
      Spellcheck at least 2.5 brings it to 97 for 14

      Plus you still need 11 more. Minus a major salary dump the starting roster is probably at least 115.

  • Pat

    Two things. While Garza was 13th in fWar, he was nowhere near that high using bWar.

    The other thing is that he did change his approach last year, meaning that batters were often seeing pitches they did not expect. It will be interesting to see if he gets the same results using the same approach this year.

    • Hrubes20

      bWAR uses ERA+, which isn’t a very good basis, IMO. fWAR uses FIP, which is a much better stat. This isn’t to say that fWAR is without problems of its own.

      • Pat

        They both have issues, but seeing a bWar values Garza around 15 million and fWar 25 million in this instance I have to lean towards the side of bWar.

  • NL_Cubs

    I don’t see any value in rushing to trade Garza unless another team wants to pony up the goods that Theo and Jed want, which is hopefully a boat load of potential.

    If the Cubs can’t move Garza by spring training, so be it. They will continue to shop him, we hope Garza pitches impressively / up to his potential. Trade him to a contending team who develops a big hole in their rotation and is forced to give the Cubs what they want, whether it’s before, during spring training or before the trade deadline.  However it works out, “Cubs Win” with Garza (even if its only every 5th day)!

  • d.

    At the current asking price, I can’t see any way the Cubs deal Garza to kickstart the re-build. Garza’s a very good pitcher. I think he’s a #2 on most teams, but the Cubs are asking for a return that only guys like Halladay & Lee should command. While I’m glad the Front Office is aiming high, Garza in no universe will net you two of Montero, Baneulos & Betances. He’s not worth that. It’s just not reasonable & so today I’m convinced the team will try to extend Garza…which is ok. We need someone to pitch those innings but the team is going to have to figure out another way to infuse young talent into the organization.

    • JulioZuleta

      What I think some people are starting to realize is that Montero and Banuelos have some pretty serious holes in their games. Montero is kind of without a position and Banuelos is pretty tiny, 5’11″ 155 pounds and had a 1.55 WHIP last year. Neither of them are sure fire by any means.

      • d.

        They aren’t Matt Moore & Bryce Harper, that’s true. They have flaws but they’re still very well regarded. Ideally you’d have Montero at first base or DH – in NY that’s problematic but his bat is considered elite & has been considered so for quite awhile. Recently I’ve read that Baneulos might be a #3 pitcher with a chance to be a #2. That kind of pitching prospect – close to the majors, with many years of control left has a fair bit of value attached. I think if the Cubs were able to get 1 of Montero / Banuelos & a couple of lower rated guys, than that would be a very good deal for the Cubs.

    • rcleven

      The market is what the market is. For a better option you have to pay the asking price if you believe it better your team. Many things in this are perceived as too expensive. I would never spend $5.00 for cup of coffee at Starbuck’s when I could make it at home $1.00. Many people don”t have a problem having two. It’s all in the perception.

      • d.

        What you say is very true. I’d only say that in this case the Cubs are reportedly asking for ’3 A Level’ prospects – which from where I sit is greater than the A’s got for Gio, a pitcher with a 4 years remaining on his contract. It’s a wildly unreasonable demand & it’s why I think we’ll see a Garza extension…which again, is an ok outcome.

        • JB88

          Only difference is that Garza is a better pitcher than Gonzalez, doesn’t have incredibly questionable splits, has performed very well in a pennant race, and has done so in the AL East.

          Plus, the A’s got 4 high level prospects for Gio, albeit probably only one that was top 50 range, it seems.

          • d.

            I like Garza better too but it’s all about the 4 years of club control for Gio vs 2 for Garza. That difference is huge & teams will always pony up more for the asset they’ll have for 2 additional years.

            Zack Greinke is considered a #1, an ‘ace’. He had 2 years of club control when he was traded & he fetched Lorenzo Cain (a then 24 yr old outfield prospect), Alcides Escobar (an all glove SS), Jeremy Jeffress (a relief prospect) & Jake Odorizzi (a pitcher who became the Brewers default #1 prospect after Brett Lawrie was traded). I wouldn’t consider that a huge price for a pitcher like Greinke. It’s nothing to sneeze at but to expect more for Garza’s 2 years strikes me as unreasonable & certainly it’s why we’ve seen the clubs balk.

            • rcleven

              Greinke with all his talent still needs to be a small market pitcher(a bit of a head case). Seem to remember him having nervous break down towards the end of his days in KC. Milwaukee still took a large gamble on him. I don’t think he would thrive well in larger market.

  • 2much2say

    That was sarcasm for the few who don’t appreciate the effort the Cubs put into acquiring the former 1st round pick Volstad

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Gotcha.

  • 2much2say

    If Volstad was in the Cubs farm system he would have been mentioned with the likes of Cashner and Mcnutt

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    So if the Cubs trade Soriano and eat 40-45 mil, will they be getting some low A ball no name back?

    I’m all for trading Sori and I wouldn’t be upset if they ate that much of his contract but the guy still has value.

    He hits 20-25 HR’s a year, around 80 RBI’s. So the team that would get him would get that much production for around 3.5 mil a year. I’m sorry but that’s a damn bargain if I’ve ever seen one.

    I think if the Cubs eat that much they should get a good prospect or two back.

    • rcleven

      If traded to AL team he might have better numbers. All he will have to do is hit.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That’s a legit point, I would think. Playing the outfield has to be tough on his ever-declining legs.

    • Skinner

      Cubs aren’t going to get anything for Soriano, maybe not even what they got for Z. He’s a bad baseball player now plain and simple. He was 1.3 WAR last year, which is bad enough, but when you break it down, you find out he was worth slightly more on defense than he was at the plate (oWAR 0.6, dWAR 0.7). He’s not that far from replacement level at this point, even if you keep him off the field. Cubs will be fortunate to get a Volstad return eating the bulk of what remains. Maybe Theo can dump him on a GM still living in the previous century (I like that the Orioles are in the conversation), but we need to manage expectations here and be prepared to accept Soriano’s absence as a positive regardless of return. At his age, Soriano is just about finished. If he were a free agent he would struggle to get a contract of any kind at this point. He’s an excellent example of a player who, despite being able to hit 20 HRs still, is not very useful. He can’t get on base, he can’t run, he can’t hit for average, and his defense, god forbid you stick him out there, is inconsistent at best. 20 HRs does not mitigate that. Even less so the pedestrian amount of RBIs he generates as a power hitter.

      • rcleven

        All good arguments to move him now & move on.

  • BlueBlood23

    If you want to put the whole Garza is a “middle of the rotation” comment into perspective, you need look no further than the starting rotations of the teams rumored to be in on him to debunk that whole nonsense:

    Detroit:
    Verlander
    Fister
    Scherzer
    Porcello

    No one can tell me your taking Fister or anyone else over Garza, so he’s your clear number 2 on this Staff.

    Toronto:
    Romero
    Morrow
    Cecil
    Alvarez
    McGown

    Romero is a “Nice” pitcher but Garza is your clear number one on this staff.

    Yankees:
    Sabathia
    Nova
    Garcia
    Burnett

    Again who other than Sabathia are you taking over Garza here… Starting to get the picture???

    Florida (Sorry Miami):
    Johnson
    Nolasco
    Sanchez
    Buerhle
    Zambrano

    Johnson, when healthy is fairly nasty, so I’ll give him a slight edge with Garza as a close 1A. Once Josh goes down for the year AGAIN, Garza is the man… Sorry Buerhle fans, your boy just doesn’t make the grade here!

    Boston:
    Lester
    Beckett
    Lackey
    Buchholz

    I want to like Lester more than I do, but I’m not sure I don’t slot Garza slightly ahead… I’m sure I’ll get chastized on that one, but hey he’s not going to Boston anyway!

    I’m going to bother with listing the Padres rotation, since they aren’t a real player in the Garza sweepstakes and we all know who their “ace” would be…

    So based on the above, I challenge the so called experts to explain to me and rest of CUB NATION… in what world is Garz a middle of the rotation guy???

    • Jeff

      Nice post Bluebood, totally agree!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Yup. Well said.

        • Jeff

          Brett,

          What do think is fair compensation in return for Garza from the three top teams involved: Blue Jays, Tigers and Yankees?

          Who would you like to see back from each team?

          • KCubsfan

            I think thats a little of a loaded question for Brett.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            That’s a tough question to answer in the abstract – there are dozens of combinations of players in return from each time that I’d consider fair. I’m not trying to cop out, but I also don’t want to spout off and give you an answer that’s fair too specific to be accurate. Multiple top prospects, which is a totally generic phrase, is about as close as I can say. Wouldn’t mind if the Cubs got a young, MLB-ready player or two in there.

  • OlderStyle

    @Kansas Cubs Fan I have a similar view of this. The difference is that Soriano is not a universally known problem employee that the FO painted themselves into a corner over.
    I would hope the terms of any transaction would be more favorable to the Cubs. If not, his production is still needed and until he’s blocking someone (Cespedes?) why move him at all?

  • 2much2say

    Soriano makes sense if managed properly. Hit him 3rd in front of Fielder. Trot Jackson out there in the 7th. LF will produce 100 plus RBI’s which is not out of the question. Would cost 14 mil plus for that production

  • 2much2say

    Who bats 3rd? Castro, Byrd, Soriano
    1st ?
    2nd Barney (2)
    SS Castro (10)
    3rd Stewart (0)
    LF Soriano (26)
    CF Byrd (9)
    RF Dejesus (10)
    C Soto (17)
    74 HR’s 48 without Soriano

    • rcleven

      Reliance on the long ball is a lot over rated to me. If the game is played right(no selfishness) “small ball” is a very successful way to win ballgames.Just not as exciting as as the longball walk off. To win at this game all you have to do is score one more run than your opponent on any given day. Little things win games ie: hitting behind runners,the sac bunt, taking the extra base moving 1st to 3rd when the ball is hit behind the runner. This should all have been drummed to a players head from little league. This is not what I have seen from the Cubs for as long as I have been a Cubs fan. From low minors to major league club I hope this will not only be taught but demanded.

      • 2much2say

        Now you’re gonna make me dig up the SB totals (69). The Cubs as they sit lack speed. Pretty sure Castro only stole like 22 bases.

        • JasonB

          Speed and stolen bases don’t always equate.  Stolen bases and baserunning ability don’t always equate.  Need an example?  Ryan Theriot stole a lot of bases – was he a good baserunner?

          There are more things that a good baserunner does than steal bases.  Having a high SB% is one, taking extra bases is another, and not making Theriot-esque blunders when running the bases is yet another.  Evaluating a players’s baserunning abilities on SB alone is like evaluating a pitcher based on Wins.

          I’ll add one more to rcleven’s small ball discussion – drawing walks.  The best Cubs team of the last decade (2008) was near the top of the league in OBP – that is not a coincidence.

           

    • Joe

      I thought Theo labeled DeJesus or Stewart as our likely 1-hole hitter when we got him. Why would you bury Soto’s bat (assuming it re-awakens) at 8th? And didn’t Castro hit markedly better in the 2-spot for all of last year?

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        I think he was listing production by position, not in terms of a batting order. He’s got 1B at the top of the list, and it is extremely rare to find to a first baseman who hits lead off.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I’m not exactly high on Stewart, but I’m pretty sure he can at least match Darwin Barney’s home run total if he stays healthy for 100 games. I think even Stewart’s most ardent critics will give him that much credit.

      I think you could safely pencil 3B in for a minimum of 6 HR. If Stewart can’t produce that that level (which is pretty low for 3B), then he’ll probably get benched in favor of Baker / DeWitt. I’m pretty sure those guys could combine for 6 HR if necessary. You could probably estimate as high as 10 with a fair degree of confidence.

      • JulioZuleta

        I could match Barney’s homerun total with a wiffle bat.

        • Rick Vaughn

          haha

  • jim

    Any soto talk?

  • 2much2say

    Seattle Baltimore landing spot for Soriano? TB maybe Yankees no Boston maybe Jays no Detroit no KC no Cleveland yes WS no Twins no LA no Oakland no Texas no
    Likely Seattle Baltimore Cleveland Unlikely Boston Tampa

    • rcleven

      If you are going to eat his contract for the next two years really doesn’t matter where he goes.

  • 2much2say

    If the Cubs move Soriano that will make 100 HR’s lost from last years total of 148.
    You can get some back from 1st base but there are no power OF’s no power added to IF.
    The record for fewest HR’s by a team was 3 in 1908 Chicago… White Sox

  • Ryan

    I hope they can get something useful for Byrd since it sounds like they would like to basically clear his salary.

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