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The Draft is tomorrow, and what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall in the Cubs’ war room. What’s their board look like? Do they have any pre-Draft understandings? Which lower talent might they consider if they could get him to sign under slot? Are the Cubs waiting to surprise us all?

  • You’re already obsessing about Jorge Soler, but you might be able to relax for a few days: Soler’s agent, Barry Praver (with whom the Cubs have worked many times – he was, for example, Carlos Zambrano’s agent), has apparently told teams to submit offers for his client by Thursday, June 7. So, it seems pretty unlikely that Soler will sign before then. Also: do it, Cubs. Blow other teams away.
  • Dale Sveum says Jorge Soler looks pretty impressive on tape, but not quite as impressive as high school shortstop (and possible draftee) Carlos Correa did in person the other day.
  • Matt Garza is aware of the constant drumbeat of trade rumors and/or extension rumors, but he’s doing his best to tune it out. “Five days is the farthest I look,” Garza said after yesterday’s loss, according to CSN. “I can’t control anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen or what might happen or anything like that. So my job is to get ready every five days and go out there and give my team the best chance to win. That’s about it. That’s all I can do.”
  • Dale Sveum offered more thoughts on Friday’s gaffe by Starlin Castro (getting throw out stealing without a slide because he thought he heard Joe Mather foul the ball off): “Not to know what [Mather] did, thinking it [got] fouled off and didn’t even know he swung – and you’re two runs down. What if [Mather] hit a line drive to the outfield and [Castro] got doubled up? Those things are not acceptable. He knew that. Sometimes you have these brain farts, but that’s one you can’t have happen.”
  • Doug Padilla notes that, no matter how the Cubs mix and match in the lineup, little seems to be working.
  • Steve Clevenger thinks that the Matt Garza pitch that resulted in a bases-loaded walk last night was either a ball or a strike. He only made one statement about it, mind you, but Cubs.com’s take sounds like Clevenger is saying the pitch was a ball inside (“[The pitch] was in a little bit; it was definitely in,” Clevenger said. “It’s baseball — that’s the way the game works. The ball was definitely in.”), whereas the Tribune’s take sounds like Clevenger is saying the pitch was a strike (“The pitch was definitely in (the zone),” he said. “But that’s just the way the game works, but the ball was definitely in.”). I’m guessing he meant it like the latter, but the use of “in” made it a bit unclear.
  • Ian Stewart’s wrist continues to bother him, and he probably won’t start again until tomorrow, at the earliest.
  • The international signing bonus limitations that kick in on July 2 thanks to the new CBA don’t quite restrict spending per team to $2.9 million, as has been discussed widely. The limit is $2.9 million to spend however you’d like, plus six additional bonuses of up to $50,000 that don’t count against your cap (so the total can go as high as $3.2 million). Remember, that’s just for this year – after this year, your bonus amount will be a sliding scale based on the relative crumminess of your team in the previous year (like the Draft). (h/t Jeff Passan)
  • Congrats to Ash and Sean on winning the Cubs headphones, by the way. For those of you who didn’t win, thanks for trying, and hopefully we can do it again sometime.
  • ColoCubFan

    Regarding the new CBA, who’s nightmare was this, and who’s responsible???

    • tim815

      It was voted on unanimously by the owners.

      • ColoCubFan

        I’m trying to figure out why the owners of teams like KC and Pittsburgh would OK this disaster.

        • Eric

          It was agreed to by both the owners AND players. I’m guessing it was wrote up by the lawyers of the players association as it would benefit free agents more than anything else. The end result of this monstrosity is taking away big money teams advantage during overslots and international drafting. As well as making free agents much richer.

        • King Jeff

          This is Bud Selig’s baby and his first step toward an international amateur draft. Anyone who thinks these rules came about for any other reason is being naive.

          • Crockett

            Yep, exactly. As Keith Law said, this CBA and it’s destruction of the international market is basically MLB telling most foreign kids to go play soccer.

            We as fans will suffer.

            • JulioZuleta

              And it will make the Bubba Starlings of the world choose to play college football rather than sign for the HUGE bonuses. This thing was such a mistake.

    • ferrets_bueller

      This one is the players union. They wanted things swung in favor of established, veteran players ( you know…the ones with the say so in the union?) so that the money could be concentrated on THEM, not young kids in the draft, or foreign signings.

      This is pretty much the opposite of what the NFL did- Rookies were getting a massively disproportionate level of money, to the point it was damaging. In MLB…the veterans were already getting a disproportionate amount, this compounds that further- while also preventing the owners from having to spend as much (the revamped luxury tax).

  • nkniacc

    aren’t they looking at an international draft as well in 2014?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, but they were hoping for it in 2013, and couldn’t come to an agreement. We’ll see if they can pull it off for 2014.

      If/when it’s implemented, I reckon the spending limits will be similar to what they are called for in the CBA.

  • Goatbuster

    When would the new cba rules apply to a solar signing?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      July 2.

  • JP

    Vitters for 3rd anyone? He’s had 5 homers in his last 8 games and other than Brett jackson over the last 2weeks nobody has been hotter.

    • Cubmig

      Vitters has been enough of a question mark to keep him in the minors. I’m for bringing him up. Hell, things wouldn’t be any worse off. Or would they? I don’t know. All I know is that this year is taking on a strong “test this out, test that out ” that the time seems ripe for seeing just what Vitters can do. Let him audition.

  • Cub Style

    This Matt Garza thing is fun. One day I think we should extend him, the other I think we should trade him.

  • Cerambam

    I was going to start a message board thread about this but I’ll just ask it here to whoever is interested, if you can choose, mix, and match between the major league roster plus vitters Jackson, Cardenas and Rizzo how would you construct a lineup and assemble the field if it were to be for a game today (assuming contract clocks are irrelevant)

    • Bric

      I’d send Shark, Cardenas and Vitters to Detroit for Turner and Castellanos, send Sori to any team that will take him, get Archer back from the Rays and trade Demster and Garza in July. Bring Jackson and Rizzo up, put LaHair in left and leave Stewart at 3rd for the remainder of the year.

      • Cub Style

        Why would you trade them Shark when you could just trade them Garza for those two? Samardzija has a miniscule amount of innings on his arm, I doubt they want to move him.

        • Bric

          It’s a good point but I think Garza and Dempster will both have more value at the trade deadline.

    • ry34

      Jackson-cf
      Castro-ss
      LaHair-lf
      Rizzo-1b
      Vitters-3b
      Clevenger-c
      Barney-2b
      DeJesus-rf

    • art

      Vitters 3B, Castro SS, Barney 2B, Rizzo 1B, Jackson RF, Sczcur CF, LaHair LF, Clevenger C.

      1. Jackson
      2. Castro
      3. Rizzo
      4. Vitters
      5. LaHair
      6. Sczcur
      7. Clevenger
      8. Barney
      9. Jeff Z

  • Cheryl

    My lineup would be
    Campagna
    DeJesus
    LaHair
    Rizzo
    Clevinger
    Barney
    Vitters
    Castro
    Pitcher

    Until we have a better chlice at third than Vitters I’d trade him and Lake for Mousakos or another third baseman

    • Cub Style

      LaHair at 3rd? He’s our 3rd best hitter. Your best is supposed to hit third, or at the very least your most well rounded.

      • Cheryl

        He’s still my choice. If and whem he’s traded I’d put Soler there, depending on how good he is and if the cubs get him. My lineup for the distant future, depending on their development is
        Campagna, Soler, Dunston, Vogelbach, Almano (sp?), in the first five spots of the lineup. I am assuming that there will be extensive turnover, Castro, Rizzo, Barney may be among those gone. I’m not sure how Baez will develop but Campagna could be more than a utility player. But Soler, Dunstan, Vogelbach and Almano (sp?) could be the core of new team.

        • King Jeff

          So you’re not sure on Baez, who is the Cubs best prospect besides Rizzo, but you think Vogelbach, Dunston, Soler, and I’m guessing you mean Almora, to be the core of the team, when none of them are even assigned to a level yet, and two of them aren’t even on the roster and have not played professionally in this country yet?

          • Cheryl

            That’s right. There are a lot of assuptions built into a look at the future. We should know more about Baez in another year. I’m guessing on our getting Soler and Almora. Give it another two years for Vogelbach and Dunston. If Vogelbach is the kind of hitter that reminds people of Prince Fielder, than there has to be a place for him. All the reports I’ve read on him indicate that he’s working tremendously hard. Also, it will be at least another two years before we know how good Soler and Almora really are. So, at this point in time we just don’t know anything except that there will be changes.

            • Bric

              I’m on board with most of your thinking except Dunston. If he’s anything like his father get ready for years of head scratching and gut wrenching grief.

              Castro has nothing on “the amount of talent and gun of an arm” that Dunston Sr. used to enjoy showing off by launching simple one hoppers into the dugout, bull pen, box seats, beer venders’ coolers, concourse area, etc. But he had a gun of arm…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Actually, you increase expected run-production very slightly by flip-flopping the traditional ideas of a #2 and #3 hitter.  That’s especially the case for NL teams because having the pitcher and (usually) a low OBP guy batting #8 means that #2 hitters will bat with 2 outs and men on base more often than #3 hitters.  Obviously, you win a lot more with 0-out RBI than with 2-out RBI, but you can eke out a handful more runs and probably a win or two this way.

        That being written, I suspect that Castro is still a better hitter than LaHair.  LaHair does have power and a good batting eye, but a ridiculous strike out rate.  Eris isn’t gracing his BABiP anymore, and he’ll never have a run as lucky as he did through mid-May this year.

        • Cheryl

          One more added comment. You are correct LaHair will never have another run like he did in May and part of the reason is that he has been reduced to a platoon player. Maybe Sveum is correct in that assumption but without regular at bats he won’t hit like that again.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Platooning has nothing to do with it: BABiP is uncorrelated with playing time.  It is all down to Eris!  As for the LaHair’s drop in slugging, insofar as that is just not statistical flukiness on both ends, then it’s the Red Queen rathe than a Greek goddess: pitcher’s adapt to batters.  Playing time is not the issue, BP time is.

            • Cheryl

              Doc you know more about statistics than I do. But isn’t there such a thing as getting into a rhythm through consistent at bats?

              • DocPeterWimsey

                There is no evidence that this is the case.  People who are playing well and playing consistently will say that they are in a rhythm: but lots of guys who hit well in platoons or against carefully selected starters show that the “rhythm” isn’t necessary.  Similarly, you have guys who play a lot for fielding reasons who don’t hit well and do not see any improvement due to the putative “rhythm.”

                This is very much a case where you get to spin any number of “it’s the manager’s fault” narratives to explain something with a more general explanation: nobody is not going to sustain a 0.600 BABiP and the MLB pitchers will quickly learn to avoid hot zone(s).  As luck would have it, the Cubs were about to face a bunch of lefty starters .  LaHair’s numbers were unsustainable and thus going to tumble, anyway.  However, if LaHair plays against the lefties, then people would blame Sveum for letting left-handed pitches screw up LaHair’s swing.  Alternatively, Sveum is guilty of not resting a guy with a bad back sufficiently.  If Sveum platoons LaHair, then people would blame Sveum for taking LaHair out of his sync.

                • Cheryl

                  You have a good point. I once enrolled in a statidtics class and soon discivered that I always looked beyond statistics. It’s the same case here. I can’t discount statistics, but I don’t go with them entirely.

    • gabriel

      I’m sorry the hate some people have on Castro is getting REDIC! He has the most hits in the NL since his callup, he’s developing power to go with his terrific hit tool AND he’s among the league leaders in steals. (nothing to do with line-up but his defense is improving as well). Oh also he’s 22. Anyone realize what Jeter was doing his 19-22 seasons? ( http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jeterde01.shtml ).

      Starlin may not walk and believe me, I LOVE walks/high OBP guys, but he is easily our best hitter and has unrivaled potential. GET REAL. I respect your right to have your opinion, and this is more directed at the Castro detractors in general but hitting him 8th is just taking it way too far Cheryl – feel free to make your case.

      • Cheryl

        How do I convince you that it is not a matter of a hate for Castro? I just don’t see him in the same way you do. He is too impatient a hitter and by that I don’t mean he needs to take a lot of walks. He needs to wait for his pitch. Too often he swings at the first pitch. He can and should be a tremendous player. But he has to become more patient and know the strike zone better. How often has he come up with Campagna on base ahead of him and swug at the first pitch? If he allowed Campagna to get to second, he’d have a good chance of driving him in. He’s putting too much weight on himself – I could move him up to seventh. In time I think he’ll be what you want him to be, but he’s not there now. And if he doesn’t develop that patience what then? I’ve looked way into the future, maybe four years away and put a completely different team in place for the first five spots in the ineup. That is where almost everybody will disagree with me.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The far, far better solution is to drop Campana, who only rarely will have an OBP as good as Castro’s over any extended period of time, down to the #7 slot.  A stolen base in front of the #8 & #9 hitters does much more to create a run that otherwise would not have scored because those hitters are much less apt to get extra base hits (or even hits) that would score the runner anyway.  Indeed, many #8 hitters are proficient at making outs without K’ing, which is considered a “skill” by some old-schoolers.  That’s when steals can really “manufacture” a run.

          • Diesel

            I don’t know man. Rickey Henderson manufactured a lot of runs by stealing bases.

            • Joe

              Let’s not get carried away. I like Campy, but he is no Rickey Henderson.

              Campana line: .277/.323/.319/.642(career)
              Henderson line: .279/.401/.419/.820(career)

              Also, Henderson had almost 300 career homers. Lets not compare apples to oranges.

              • Drew7

                To take that further, I believe Henderson has gone on record saying all those stolen bases took a heavy toll on him physically as the season went on, and he was a little less effective overall because of it.

                • Diesel

                  I would take a less effective Rickey over any leadoff hitter currently in the game.

                  • Drew7

                    Well…yeah, but wouldnt you rather have a more effective Henderson? He had much better seasons at the plate when he didnt run as much. I will trade to get a 15% increase in OPS in exchange for 30 SB any day, especially with some of the guys he had hitting behind him.

            • ferrets_bueller

              And Rickey Henderson was a five tool player.

              That’s four more tools than Campana.

              • Joe

                I like five tool players! How come we don’t have any?

      • chirogerg

        Also, patience and approach at the plate is something that can be learned, but hitting ability like Castro’s is very rare and valuable.

        • Drew7

          If patience is something that can be learned, why dont more players show improvements in BB rates during their careers? For the most part, those who take walks have always done so, and vice versa.

  • Cubzfann

    I know that there is something about Garza’s intensity that sort of draws us in, but I truly believe it is best to trade him for a big haul while we can. I can easily see him becoming a “Big Z” very quickly. His “intensity” borders on “nut job” many times. It is sometimes even annoying. In Saturday’s game, FOX showed a shot of him in the on deck circle. There he was swinging and stretching like some jacked up power hitter. Also, his crazy stretching and expressions on the mound do not equal that of a staff ace or annual All-Star.

    I am concerned that neither he or Castro have the mental and emotional makeup to be counted on as cornerstones of this franchise. I believe Castro’s ability and skill set compare closely to that of Jeter. The difference is that Jeter, although never a 30hr/120rbi hitter, can/could be a team leader.

    If we could somehow dial down the expectations that have been placed upon Castro, and envision him as a quality defensive shortstop, number two hitter, role player, he could be absolutely wonderful. However, at this point, anything short of a .330/.380/.500 line in the next year or two will be deemed a disappointment in the eyes of many fans. We should maybe look to trade him while expectations are still high in other GM’s eyes.

    • gabriel

      My goodness I don’t fancy myself the defender of all things Starlin Castro, but some of these comments leave no choice…Starlin Castro is on a HOF trajectory. I’m am in no way saying he will actually be a HOF player (he probably will not considering the general odds) but it is his current career trajectory and we’re going on 3 years of that level of production. HE WONT BE TRADED

      The “expectations” are for whatever reason totally unreasonable. He’s already one of the 3-4 best hitting SS in baseball if not #2 (Tulo is #1 to me). Also, to compare him to Jeter from a leadership perspective is totally unfair considering two factors: 1. he’s 22! and secondly the language barrier. Castro’s english is getting much better but Jeter is from Michigan. Speaking fluent english makes it much much easier to be a leader in the clubhouse & the media. Please people give the kid a chance to develop – he’s already a star, but he shouldn’t be expected to be the best player in MLB.

      • Cub Style

        He could very well be the most valuable player in the MLB in regard to positional scarcity by the time he’s 30.

        • Cheryl

          I agree. But he’s not there yet. If he develops more patience I’d put him in 5th place in the batting order. Right now he’s comfortable in the second spot. I can’t see him returning to third in the batting order. Doc you’re probably right about LaHair I’ll remove him entirely from the batting order. Put whoever you see fit in the three position, except for Castro. He is not comfortable there.

          • Cub Style

            I think you have to use him in the lineup like your Derek Jeter considering that they’re incredibly similar players.

            • Drew7

              The have similar hit tools, but after that im not seeing the comparison.

              Jeter has always shown MUCH more patience than Castro, and Castro has hit for more power at his age than Jeter did. Hopefully, Castro will develope the power like Jeter did as he matured. As ive said before, I think that is the key to him truly becoming elite.

              Defensively, the only similarity is that they both play SS. Castro has twice the range Jeter had even in his youth.

              • Joe

                I think castro has the tools also. The problem with the Cubs right now is they know it’s a lost cause.(for at least this year)

          • gabriel

            Patience isn’t everything (its very very important, but not everything) – he is the perfect #2 hitter in any lineup and I think he stays there for the next 10 years. I do not think he becomes a middle of the order bat, but he isn’t CLOSE to an 8th hitter.

            • Cheryl

              I can accept that.

    • Cheryl

      Cubzfann, Do I agree with you!!! There is too much expected of Castro right now. Let him continue to develop as a quality player.

    • Joe

      Ya, Castro is coming up short of expectations. He was once touted as the Cubs “savior.”

      • MichiganGoat

        Really so he’s not hitting .350 with a .400 OBP and he’s not living up to expectations? Seriously? At his age most players are still in A/AA so yeah I’d say he is meeting expectations. What is your expectation of him?

        • Joe

          What? Castro line: >316/.330/,439/.769 That last number says it all! Castro is not that good!

          • chirogerg

            You are a terrible person. You know that, right?

            • Joe

              Please explain.

          • Cub Style

            You conveniently ignore his 104 wRC+.

            • Joe

              A wRC+ calculation means NOTHING to me. Don’t know if anybody really tracks such a thing. If they do, it’s not something thats recognized by the baseball community.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                Fairly standard and useful stat, actually.  If you think of it as a park adjusted OPS+, you won’t be too far off the mark.

                Edit: Similar to OPS+ in that it is a quick indicator of individual production relative to the league, that is.  The two can be used interchangeably in most situations, although wRC+ is probably going to be the better option.

  • Kevin

    The new CBA will slow down the process of turning the Cubs around. The only to get better faster than other teams is to outsmart them in the draft and get more value in trades than you’re giving up. In the BIG picture, our Cubs are simply an escape from reality.

  • Njriv

    Anyone else check out Jim Bowden’s trade suggestions for the Cubs? What are some of your thoughts?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I’d love to see a couple of those trades, especially the Garza for Castellanos trade.  And that’s why I don’t expect them too happen: they seem too good for the Cubs.

      • Jeremy

        I think the Garza one could easily happen. Castellanos and Turner both make sense but I think there would have to be more moving parts with those three being the main part. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I’d be shocked if the Tigers decided to trade Castellanos.  Good young 3Bmen are a rare commodity, and he looks like he could be in MLB by 2014 (although 2015 might be more realistic).

          • Jeremy

            Given the fact that the Tigers seem to be going all in this year I could see them moving Castellanos.They do still have Cabrera at 3rd for awhile so they may look at moving him and trying to find another one in the future. I agree that Castellanos being moved probably won’t happen but if they offered him for Garza with other parts I would take it.

            • calicubsfan007

              I like Cast. We need a solid 3rd baseman prospect, in case Vitters doesnt pan out. Adding Turner or Smyly would make the deal absolutely perfect. I agree with you about the Tigers moving Cast because they seemed geared to win now and seem desperate to add another pitcher.

    • Cub Style

      No one should ever check out Jim Bowden’s anything.

  • Jeremy

    Quick, someone tell Sveum that getting both Correa and Soler is not an either/or situation.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Correa is definitely my personal top choice. Wouldn’t be disappointed with Almora, though.

      I really dislike this years pitching crop….no thanks.

      • Jeremy

        I love Almora as well. I agree about the pitching but I really do like the top guys and Fried, I think though that you can afford to pass on these guys because there are quite a few power arms that will be available in the sandwich round.

  • Kevin

    Are teams allowed to ask a potential draft pick if he is willing to sign for a predetermined amount of money? What happens if the person you pick in the draft decides not to sign? Would the club get a supplemental draft pick the following year?

    • Kyle

      If the pick is high enough (first round? I can never remember), you get a replacement pick the next year, one spot later than the one you failed to sign. So if you fail to sign the No. 6 pick, you get a No. 7 overall supplemental pick the next year.

      If you fail to sign that pick, however, you lose it. You only get one second chance.

  • Kevin

    Is it legal for a team to negotiate terms with a prospect before selecting that player?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No, not officially.

    • Joe

      No, But it seems to be a common occurrence, for sure.(It’s not a crime)

  • Lou

    I like to see the Mets stay in the NL East race and make an offer for Garza. Really like their prospects much more so than that other team in NY.

    • chirogerg

      Really? The Yankees have two really good pitching prospects that I would like to see at Wrigley. Personally, I would love a trade that centers around Garza and Manny Buanelos/Dellin Bencantes

      • Lou

        The thing that people fail to realize is that Betances stock is falling, whereas the Mets have plenty of solid SP prospects. Benuelos won’t be traded, the Yankees have enough concern over Pineada’s future and health and rightly so.

      • King Jeff

        I don’t like either of the Yankees top pitching prospects. I think that they are both highly over rated, and both have extremely high bust potential.

  • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

    Hunter cervenka (via Byrd trade) pitched 2 perfect innings in Peoria lowering his ERA to 0.87!!!

    • rcleven

      Saw him today and really don’t know what to think. Was really unimpressive but effective. Most of the kids today were pretty much two pitch pitchers with fastball and change.
      Pena was throwing in the 90’s and straight as an arrow but hitters couldn’t keep up with the fastball. Threw some sliders but couldn’t find the plate with it. Parelta was pitching from behind and would have to groove pitches to throw strikes.

  • http://Cubbie4life.weebly.com Tonycampanathebasethief

    I’m really starting to like this kid any possibility he reaches daytona this season? Maybe this Byrd trade could maybe start leaning towards the cubs side!

    • Toby

      Don’t forget that the Cubs might be able to keep Bowden if teams don’t claim him. I’d like to see Bowden go down and work on his pitching in the minors. He’s still very young and could turn it around.

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