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As we enter into July, and, ultimately, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the rumor season is fully upon us (it usually waits until right around the All-Star break, but, with the Cubs buried in last place, it’s coming early this year). So, with that in mind, it’s time to perform a complete rundown of every tradable Chicago Cubs player. (“Tradable” here is “theoretically and realistically tradable” (yes, the Cubs will listen to offers for Starlin Castro if teams really want to make them, but he’s not realistically being traded (ditto guys like Casey Coleman)).)

Below are the names of each player, together with their age and contract situation, their relevant 2012 stats, the Cubs’ desire to trade that player, the possible return in a trade, and the likelihood that a trade actually happens.

The players are listed in positional order alphabetically (i.e., pitchers in alphabetical order first, then catchers, then infielders, then outfielders). All stats are through July 2.

Shawn Camp

Age and Contract: 36, signed for one year at essentially the minimum.

Stats: 2.93 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 43 innings. 33 K, 10 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Why not, right? He’s a free agent at the end of the year, and came to the Cubs on a minor league deal. If you can deal him, great. And his numbers are excellent, by the way.

Possible Return: The money isn’t an issue, and Camp’s performance, both this year, and in recent years, do make him valuable. But he’s an aging, righty reliever, and a mere rental. “Valuable,” therefore, is a relative term. The Cubs might be able to squeeze a prospect in the 15 to 20 range in an average system. Though I think they’d more likely see maybe a young, decent upside prospect … but not one with much of a chance to reach that upside.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Camp has no value to the Cubs going forward, and, as he’s demonstrated, he could be a solid middle reliever for a playoff-bound team. These are the kinds of guys that tend to move.

Manuel Corpas

Age and Contract: 29, signed for one year at essentially the minimum. He doesn’t have the service time for free agency, though, and could be under control via arbitration through 2013.

Stats: 1.64 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 11 innings. 8 Ks, 5 BBs.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Just under “High.” Why is Corpas not “high” like Camp? Well, unlike Camp, Corpas wouldn’t be a free agent after the year (he’s arbitration-eligible) if the Cubs wanted to keep him.

Possible Return: Probably even less than Camp. Corpas is younger and has better stats right now, but Camp is a slightly more proven (in recent years) righty. Whatever “prospect” the Cubs might receive probably wouldn’t crack the system’s top 30.

Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Like Camp, Corpas has some value to the right team. But, unlike Camp, Corpas is coming off major arm surgery. He didn’t even make the Cubs out of Spring Training – how could a team with playoff aspirations trust what they were getting?

Ryan Dempster

Age and Contract: 35, signed through this year for $14 million.

Stats: 2.11 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 81 innings. 66 K, 22 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Dempster is an impending free agent, and is not likely to be back next year (unless they can get him on a team-friendly deal (which they might be able to do (assuming he was willing to come back after being traded, which is extremely rare (but Dempster might be the exception, given his connection to both the Cubs and Chicago)))).

Possible Return: This is the real test for the new CBA. Dempster is a mere rental, and a trading team could not reap draft pick compensation if Dempster walks after the rental. But, at the same time, how many sellers are there right now? Seven? Eight? How many front-end starters are available on the trade market besides Dempster and Garza? Zack Greinke? Maybe. Cole Hamels? Maybe. Neither is certain to be made available (and would cost quite a bit more than Dempster, even though you might get the same performance from Dempster). So, given those conflicting inputs, it’s hard to peg Dempster’s value in trade. I’d think a prospect in the 5 to 10 range in an average system, plus another throw-in, would be a good return if the Cubs could get it. I also happen to think that’s about what they’ll get, with some play at the margins depending on how much cash the Cubs kick in. Getting a top 100 overall prospect would be a coup.

Likelihood of Trade: High. Dempster has no-trade rights, but he’s essentially told the Cubs he’ll accept a trade to a contender, as long as (1) it helps the Cubs long-term, and (2) he has some input on where he goes. Assuming he comes back healthy from his lat injury – and there are no real reasons to be worried – the Cubs will be able to satisfy those two conditions, and Dempster will be dealt. As a free agent at the end of the year, the Cubs could theoretically keep him, and make him a “qualifying offer” (around $12 million for one year) to try and get draft pick compensation, but taking that approach is risky (Dempster could accept) when you’ve likely got decent offers on the table now. I just don’t see the Cubs risking it.

Matt Garza

Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2013. Makes $9.5 million this year, and will make approximately $11.5 to $12.5 million in 2013 (arbitration).

Stats: 4.01 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 89.2 innings. 80 K, 26 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. Because he’s under control through 2013, is still on the right side of 30, and is a core part of both the rotation and the clubhouse, I don’t see any reason that the Cubs would feel like they have to trade Garza. But, at the same time, he’s easily their most valuable realistic trade piece. For an organization that needs to stock up on young talent, that’s a hard thing to hold onto in July. I’m sure it was hard to hold onto in January, too.

Possible Return: The Cubs aren’t going to trade Garza for less than a package that includes a couple top, high upside, near-MLB-ready prospects, plus maybe a couple lesser, younger prospects. If the Cubs pull the trigger and there aren’t two top 100 overall prospects in the package, I’ll be shocked (unless the deal is with a team that doesn’t quite have two prospects in the top 100, and they throw in a whole mess of top 200 types).

Likelihood of Trade: Medium to High. Unless the Cubs work out an extension with Garza in the next few weeks (seems unlikely given the perceived lack of interest right now), it’s very hard to see them refusing to cash in on Garza’s value right now. Yes, he’s under control through 2013, but do the Cubs really want to go into the offseason knowing they either have to pony up an extend Garza, or trade him for far less value?

Paul Maholm

Age and Contract: 30, signed through this year for $4.25 million (plus a $6.5 million team option for 2013, with a $500K buyout).

Stats: 4.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 83.2 innings. 55 K, 26 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. Unless Maholm really heats up, I’m not sure I see the Cubs picking up his option for 2013. So, you’ve got another guy who isn’t really in the Cubs’ plans for 2013 beyond being a fall-back option. If another team really wants him, the Cubs will be happy to oblige.

Possible Return: Maholm is on a very reasonable contract, and I doubt money would be an issue. The Cubs could even be willing to kick in a couple million to take this from a “meh” prospect to a kid or two in the 10 to 20 range in an average system.

Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Maholm has some value, but, if you’re a playoff contender, are you really all that psyched about making a deal for Maholm? It takes two to tango, and Maholm will have to have a couple more starts like his dominant last one against the Astros to get teams thinking he would really improve their rotation in the second half and in the playoffs. Obviously with injuries, though, you never know who might get desperate.

Carlos Marmol

Age and Contract: 29, signed through 2013, making $7 million this year, and $9.8 million in 2013.

Stats: 4.94 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in 23.2 innings. 30 K, 25 BB. 80% save percentage.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Very High. Marmol is not in the Cubs’ future plans, and they’d be thrilled to be rid of his contract.

Possible Return: A few million in salary relief. I can’t see Marmol netting a top 10 organizational prospect, even if the Cubs eat a healthy chunk of his remaining dollars. Instead, I think the Cubs will be lucky to be able to trade him at all.

Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. From the Cubs’ perspective, obviously, they want to pull a trigger. And with each additional appearance where Marmol looks good (genuinely, he’s looked good over the last couple weeks), the chance they can find a taker (not a “buyer”) increases. If all the Cubs want is a fringe prospect and a few million bucks, I think they could make this happen. Thing is, I’m not convinced there’s a team out there that feels good enough about Marmol to make that offer.

James Russell

Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2013.

Stats: 2.39 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 37.2 innings. 30 K, 14 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low to Medium. The Cubs would be plenty happy to hang onto a young, effective, cost-controlled lefty reliever. But, for all those same reasons, Russell has a fair bit of trade value.

Possible Return: Russell feels more like a piece that you include with a trade with another player to make the return excellent, instead of just merely good. If he were traded on his own, though, I can’t see it being for less than a top 5 to 10 prospect in an average system. Why would you trade him for less?

Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Teams will ask about Russell, and, although I’m not sure the Cubs would trade him straight up (unless it’s for a very good starting pitching prospect, perhaps), I could see them bundling him in a deal with a bat or a starting pitcher to really put the return over the top. I think the Cubs would like to keep Russell around, though.

Chris Volstad

Age and Contract: 25, under control through 2014. Makes $2.655 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).

Stats: 7.46 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 41 innings. 24 K, 15 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. I think the Cubs, all things considered, would much rather he put it together this year (as a 25-year-old), and settled in as a back-end option over the next couple years.

Possible Return: No better than Carlos Zambrano, right? Given his performance this year, and slide over the past few years, I’m not sure Volstad has much value at all.

Likelihood of Trade: Very low. I can’t see a team with a rotation void looking to add someone as unpredictable as Volstad for their stretch run, and I can’t see the Cubs looking to dump Volstad for nothing when they still don’t know what they have.

Randy Wells

Age and Contract: Turns 30 in August, under control through 2014. Makes $2.705 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).

Stats: 5.34 ERA and 2.06 WHIP in 28.2 innings. 14 K, 24 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium to High. Although he’s under control for two more years, I’m not sure the Cubs see him as a staple in the rotation the next time the team is competitive. If he’s got value, deal him.

Possible Return: Ah, but there’s the rub, eh? It’s hard to say Wells, who’s been up and down to the minors twice already this year, has any trade value. His $2.7 million salary, totally modest, is still enough to have scared off any teams from claiming him when he went on waivers last week. If the Cubs eat all of his remaining salary for the year, they could find a taker, but it’s hard to see them getting anything more than one of those 25-year-old AA relief “prospects” in return. That’s how amazingly far Wells’ stock has fallen.

Likelihood of Trade: Low to Medium. Again, from the Cubs’ perspective, they’re not itching to hang onto him. But why would a contending team want to take a chance and give valuable starts to Wells? Maybe if the Blue Jays remain both desperate and miserly.

Geovany Soto

Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2013. Makes $4.3 million this year, and will make approximately $5.5 to $6 million in 2013 (arbitration).

Stats: .168/.257/.328, with a .684 OPS since returning from knee surgery.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. I don’t buy that the Cubs are interested in seeing Soto stick with the club long-term, and if he shows he’s at least half-way back to where he was a couple years ago, his value will be high enough that the Cubs will bite.

Possible Return: *IF* Soto keeps hitting over the next few weeks, I could see him regaining enough value, especially at a defensive spot where teams are desperate for even the mere chance of offensive production, that the Cubs could get a prospect in a team’s top 10, and then maybe another top 25 guy.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. With Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo around, and Clevenger kinda-sorta-maybe showing that he could be a big league regular catcher (and every scout everywhere still convinced that Castillo can be one), I think the Cubs will be shopping Soto aggressively. If there’s interest, the Cubs will probably move him, even if they don’t get absolute maximum dollar in return. They’re not going to dump him for scraps, mind you. I’m just saying, there’s probably enough urgency on the Cubs’ part to call this “Medium.”

Jeff Baker

Age and Contract: 31, signed through this season for $1.375 million.

Stats: .242/.290/.352, and, um, he usually hits lefties well.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. Baker is a free agent at the end of this year, and highly unlikely to return. No reason to keep him around for the second half, lovely as he might be.

Possible Return: Fully salary relief and a young, minor league player you can only barely call a prospect. Think 25, in AA, with a high K rate, but an equally high BB rate, and an ERA that’s never cracked the good side of 4.00.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Although the Cubs would be happy to dump a free-agent-to-be who doesn’t figure into their future plans, Baker’s desirability is much lower this year than it was last year, thanks to the offensive struggles. And, in Baker’s case, lowered desirability doesn’t just mean a reduced return, it means it might not be possible to deal him at all.

Darwin Barney

Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2016. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2014.

Stats: .265/.310/.371, with 21 extra-base hits.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Barney is emerging as a Gold Glove-caliber, average bat at second base. He’s young enough, and cost-controlled enough that he could be an inexpensive part of the team when they’re ready to be competitive.

Possible Return: As usual, when you say glowing things about a guy and why you want to keep him, those are the very same reasons he has value in trade. Barney is probably more valuable to the Cubs than to most other teams, though, except those who view him as a shortstop. To one of those teams, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be worth a top 10 organizational prospect, and a top 25 guy, too. Even then, I’m not sure it’s worth it to make a deal. In fact, the only way the Cubs might get an appropriate return on Barney is if he’s dealt in a package with, for example, a Matt Garza, and the Cubs net three top 100 types instead of the two they might have gotten with Garza alone.

Likelihood of Trade: Low. As I said, it is going to be hard to get the appropriate value for Barney, because many teams view him merely as a utility player (I certainly did for a long time). There is no one standing by ready to replace Barney in the system (though I suppose Luis Valbuena could slide over from third … but then who plays third? Josh Vitters? He’s not ready.), and there probably won’t be for a couple years.

Ian Stewart

Age and Contract: 27, under control through 2014. Makes $2.24 million this year, and will get a slight bump the next two years, depending on performance (arbitration).

Stats: Doesn’t matter.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Doesn’t matter.

Possible Return: Doesn’t matter.

Likelihood of Trade: Not happening. With Stewart undergoing wrist surgery that could end his season, he won’t be traded.

Luis Valbuena

Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2013.

Stats: .246/.283/.509, with 9 extra-base hits in just 57 at bats.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium. There isn’t a whole lot to go on as far as track record this year, but Valbuena has certainly been serviceable as a fill-in at third. If a team really wants him, though, I’m sure the Cubs wouldn’t be too hostile to making a move. They did get Valbuena off of waivers, after all.

Possible Return: Not much. Valbuena has value in the sense that he’s probably worth a roster spot on 10 to 15 teams, but guys like that aren’t worth much of anything in trade – primarily because most teams have a guy like that at AAA right now.

Likelihood of Trade: Low. The Cubs would deal him, but it’s hard to see a team out there thinking to themselves, “You know the guy we really need? Luis Valbuena.” The other thing, and this is a much smaller thing, is that the Cubs might like to have Valbuena at third for the rest of the season now that Ian Stewart is having surgery. I’m sure they don’t want to be put in a position to rush Josh Vitters.

Tony Campana

Age and Contract: 26, under control through 2017. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2015.

Stats: .267/.304/.300, 25 SB, just 3 CS.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Campana is young enough and cheap enough that he could be a part of the Cubs’ bench for years to come.

Possible Return: A top 15 or 20 prospect in an average system? It depends a bit on how teams view Campana’s speed. He can’t get on base enough to be a regular, but he’s an incredible weapon to have at the end of the bench on the right team. And in the playoffs? He’d be incredibly valuable.

Likelihood of Trade: Low. Given that value, though, would the Cubs really go out of their way to trade him? He’s not costing them anything but a roster spot right now, and it remains conceivable (although very unlikely) that Campana could become a starting-caliber center fielder. Why give that up for a mediocre prospect?

David DeJesus

Age and Contract: 32, signed through 2013. Makes $4.25 million this year, and $4.25 million in 2013. Team option at $6.5 million for 2014, with a $1.5 million buyout.

Stats: .269/.362/.391, 37 runs, 30 BB.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low. Although DeJesus isn’t young, I get the sense that the Cubs really like having him as a model for the young players coming up. He’s a positive guy, a hard-working, and has the right approach at the plate. He’s on a reasonable contract, and he could hold down one of the outfield spots through next year as the Cubs get younger and younger.

Possible Return: With a reasonable contract, good defense, and decent on-base skills, DeJesus has value. Top 100 prospect value? No. Top 10 in an average farm system? Eh. Maybe at the back end. More likely he could net a couple top 15 to 20 types. Is that worth it?

Likelihood of Trade: Low. I’m not sure there’s going to be enough demand for DeJesus to justify trading him. So, is it worth it? Nah. Probably not.

Reed Johnson

Age and Contract: 36, signed through this year at $1.15 million.

Stats: .279/.338/.412, slugging .438 against lefties.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: High. As with many of the complementary pieces, Johnson is a great clubhouse presence, and a fine bench player, but he’s not of huge import to a team without playoff aspirations in 2012.

Possible Return: Full salary relief, and a C prospect. The Cubs aren’t going to get anyone sexy for Reed Johnson, but a future middle reliever type is theoretically possible.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. From the Cubs’ perspective – as with many players – they’d be happy to make a deal. But there has to be interest first, and there hasn’t been a whole lot surrounding Johnson. He’s playing well enough this year to interest some teams, but he’s not the kind of impact player who’s guaranteed to generate an acceptable trade offer. Still feels like there’s gotta be a playoff contender out there that would like to solidify its bench with a versatile outfielder who can hit decently well, and definitely adds something positive to the clubhouse.

Bryan LaHair

Age and Contract: 29, under control through 2015. Makes essentially the minimum this year, and is likely to be first-time arbitration-eligible in 2015.

Stats: .284/.362/.521, 13 homers, 28 RBI, 1 All-Star bid.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Low to Medium. LaHair is 29, which is a bit old for the Cubs’ projected core during their next competitive phase, but he’s also extremely cost-controlled. He’s blocked out of his usual first base spot, but, so far, he’s played a capable right field.

Possible Return: This has always been the question with LaHair. He was scorching hot to start the year, and has come down considerably since then, which would seem to reinforce the fears taking away from his value in the first place. Namely, that he was a mirage. Sure, he’s cheap, but if he’s not really this masher, then he doesn’t have much value. He probably wouldn’t net a top 100 prospect anymore, but I’m not sure I’d be interested in the Cubs trading him for too much less.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. Despite the valuation problem, and despite LaHair’s obvious value to the Cubs, he still feels like a square peg in a round hole. He’s not going back to first base any time soon, now that Anthony Rizzo has arrived. He’s not a natural right fielder, and I’m not sure how long-term they want to keep him there, with a plethora of outfield prospects on the way (including Brett Jackson by next year). I could see the Cubs willing to part with LaHair.

Joe Mather

Age and Contract: Turns 30 in July, signed through this year at essentially the minimum. He doesn’t have the service time for free agency, though, and could be under control via arbitration through 2016.

Stats: .238/.299/.389, .728 OPS against lefties.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Medium to High. While he’s a guy who could be under team control for a while, he’s also a guy who’s bounced around as a minor league free agent for some time, mostly for good reason. He’s versatile, but his bat is weak. If the Cubs could move him, they’d be fine with it.

Possible Return: Nothing of particular note. Maybe the fringiest of fringe prospects.

Likelihood of Trade: Low. If you were running a team desperately trying to make the playoffs, would you look to add Mather? Maybe if you were desperate for a versatile, light-hitting bench bat, but how often does that happen?

Alfonso Soriano

Age and Contract: 36, signed through 2014. Makes $18 million this year, and $18 million in each of 2013 and 2014.

Stats: .269/.327/.487, 15 homers, 46 RBI. Crazy hot since start of May.

Cubs’ Desire to Trade Him: Very high. Soriano doesn’t figure into the Cubs’ long-term plans, and, although he isn’t blocking anyone at the moment, come 2013, he will be.

Possible Return: $5 to $10 million in salary relief, and a young player or two you can only barely call a “prospect.” The Cubs could also take on a crappy contract, but I’m sure they’d prefer not to.

Likelihood of Trade: Medium. The Cubs would love to unload Soriano, and are willing to eat the cash to make it happen, but there just haven’t been many bites of interest despite Soriano’s great season. I can’t say the odds of a deal are better than 50/50.

  • mudge

    Soto to me is most likely trade after Dempster. & I think he’ll pan out for the right team. Sure hope they hang on to Russell.

    • http://yahoo.com GIL REESE

      soto cant hit curve balls. he either swing and misses or takes called strike 3s.they wouldnt miss him for sure.

  • Bric

    Great analysis, Ace. Pretty much sums up the players targetted by the new management to continue the make over of the team. It’s also about correcting the remaining biggest mistakes of Hendry: Marmol and Soriano and the less major ones: Wells and Soto.

    It seems like just yesterday when some were saying Wells’ numbers were comparable to Garza’s, and Soto’s career was explained by up year- down year trends.

    • Scotti

      I hope that when Jed/Theo sign guys who get injured (Soriano and to a lessr extent Soto) that they aren’t held to the same standard that Hendry has been. No GM is psychic when it comes to injury/contracts (Theo certainly wasn’t in Boston). And while Marmol can be considered a Hendry mistake the mistake was in allowing his overuse NOT in his contract.

      • Bric

        Doesn’t Marmol have a limited no trade clause? Hendry used it as a standard re-signing strategy.

        In any case, it’s true Marmol has been over used. But if he ever figured out how to pitch instead of just trying to strike out the side his arm would be in a lot better shape than it is, as would his average pitch count, numbers and overall value as a player.

        Right now he’s about as useful and enticing as Eric Gagne minus the the glasses. No one’s fault but his own and Hendry for not trading the oncoming train wreck that many of us saw coming.

        • Bric

          And to add to that- remember Kevin Gregg? Marmol wanted (even insisted) on the closer’s job and wanted to be used that much. He’s a head case and always has been.

          Hendry collected and paid highly for a bunch “me first” guys that didn’t play as a team. For a couple years they beat up on inferior and much lower played teams in their division and then got smoked both times when they actually faced real competition. The Red Sox may have a huge salary but at least they did it to compete with the Yankees. Who was hendry competing with?

          • DocPeterWimsey

            All relievers should want to be the closer: that’s the pinnacle of relieving.  That does not make them head cases, it only makes them ambitious.  The “me first” stuff is irrelevant to baseball: all teams are the sum of their stats plus/minus error.  The Yanks do not win with “us first”: they win with 25 guys doing a better “LOOK AT ME!!!!” than the opposition provides.  When shove comes to push, every ball player is all alone in a void when the ball is in his hands or headed towards him.

            • Bric

              You sound just like Milton Bradley after Hendry outbid himself to sign him. I kid.

              But anyways, I’ve heard Suttcliffe talk about Marmol when he was doing games for ESPN, Maddux talk about him since he was a special assistant (or whatever), and others all describe the guy. All of them say the same thing- he’s got (or had) tremendous stuff but just couldn’t or wouldn’t listen and never put it together for more than a couple of months at most. Translation- headcase. See Eric Gagne.

              • Scotti

                FWIW, Marmol’s stats for ’07-’10 (four straight seasons):

                2.54 ERA (176 ERA+), 297 G, 308.1 IP, 1.158 WHIP, 4.8 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 5.6 B/9, 12.9 K/9.

                Any ONE season like that would be a great season and that is the composite of four straight seasons. Those are wiffle ball numbers! Translation–that’s putting it together.

                • Bric

                  Okay, Scotti. I agree. Marmol is a top 5 relief pitcher. His 4 years of stats stand for themselves. He’s worth at least 2 top 100 prospects. He’s worth even more than Mark Prior. my name is Jim Hendry, and I sponsored this message.

                  • Scotti

                    When Hendry signed Marmol to his extension he could have easily gotten two top 100 prospects. At the time, Marmol was what you hope your top 100 prospects turn into. And, yes, he is worth more than Mark Prior. If you haven’t noticed Mark Prior got injured–possibly because of overuse, like Marmol.

                    You can ignore stats (what some of us like to call reality) or you can hide behind opinion (even popular opinion) but that doesn’t change reality (what some of us like to call stats).

                    • Toby

                      At the same time, Marmol was considered one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. If Hendry would have traded Marmol and went on to a Bruce Sutter/Lee Smith like career then Cub fans would be all up in arms.

                    • mudge

                      That’s like saying a measurement for a dress is the same thing as the dress. Stats are a way of measuring. They are a way of measuring what people have thought of measuring, and still there will always be things we love about the game that are not measurable. I’m not “ignoring stats” but I think it’s a serious moral error to equate them with reality. People who do that tend to be as contemptuous and dismissive of other points of view as any other fundamentalist believer. In my tradition, we’re told not to worship things we make with our hands. To claim sabermetrics as “Truth” puts you on the wrong side of humility. Psychology – not “pop psychology” – is a huge part of the game. I’ve been able to accurately predict series winners by the looks on the guys’ faces before the series. Maybe I’m nuts. But your approach seems to me, with all due respect, to be a mighty bloodless and soulless approach to appreciating the game. Too many people on here sound like they think their arcane knowledge makes them superior to the men playing. Nerd city.

                    • Drew7

                      In my tradition, we’re taught not to judge something we dont fully understand.

                      Your view of people using measurables to determine a player’s value seems to be very misguided: its not about ignoring the human-element, but rather, factoring it in as well. Baseball is a game deeply rooted in insufficient traditions – giving up outs, the use of a closer, and, most importantly, the skills that make a good baseball player. Statistics takes bias (be it racial, “make-up”, or others) out of the equation and gives you what you SHOULD be paying attention to: production, plain and simple.
                      Baseball is a great game. In general, its not *nerds* that are pushing the use of these tools. Rather, its guys (like myself), that played the game, but just didnt accept these traditions that tell us the best ways to win games.

        • Scotti

          The VAST majority of GM’s sign high-priced players to contracts that include no-trade deals (in part or in whole). That includes Theo (AGon, DiceK, Crawford…).

          Regarding Marmol “not putting it together for more than a couple of months… The guy has had some really, really good seasons. Take a gander at his stats. Regarding Marmol wanting to strike out people… Well, he’s a strike out pitcher. If a guy has plus, plus sinker then he should try to get ground balls. If a guy has a plus, plus slider and a plus FB then he should try to strike guys out. Marmol has done so and better than almost all other MLB pitchers in the game’s history (his career k/9 speaks to that). He isn’t a starter so hedoesn’t need to pace himself.

      • MoneyBoy

        Bric … nothing in Cots indicates anything about any sort of no-trade clause.

        • Bric

          Thanks for clearing that up. I remember hearing it as it was first reported when he re-signed but never heard anything since then and always wondered where to look it up.

    • Cyranojoe

      How was Soto in any way a mistake? Home-grown, one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball until very recently…???

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Even this year, Soto’s numbers are weighed down by incredibly unlucky BABiP.  His doubles, HR, BB & K numbers are completely in line with his historical rates.  He just cannot buy a single.

  • Brady

    My buddy is a Cleveland Indians fan and we were discussing a possible trade to the Indians. I took a look over his prospects and saw that nearly all their good pitching prospects were traded to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez. Do you guys think a deal could be done for Garza or Dempster regardless? (I’d like to think that we NEED pitching prospects in place of the starting pitchers we are trading away)

    • nkniacc13

      Most people in a trade with Cleveland were talking Soriano or Lahair because of the lack of depth in their farm system regarding pitching prospects

  • die hard

    heresy idea but with Carpenter out Garza to Cards to reverse curse of Lou Brock trade? who would they give up?

  • Jeff1969

    I think for many of the Cubs on the current roster, they’re being there for the most part was to try to gain some value in order to be moved for prospects, guys like Camp & LaHair are perfect examples. The Cubs need these guys to perform decently in order to trade them for something younger & hopefully more useful down the road. The more you throw at the wall, the more likely one or more of them are gonna stick. Guys like Volstad, Wells, Soto, Marmol, have played themselves into having little value, even to the Cubs. Reed Johnson, Miller, Valbuena, guys like that, aren’t even worth trading either cause you’d get so little in return it wouldn’t be worth it. A guy like Stweart really blew the model for Theo & Co. He wasn’t able to build any value, actually lost value. The same building value theory works in the minors. Think of how more valuable Vitters is becoming, both to the Cubs & as a trade piece. I just think we have to get used to the idea that this isn’t going to turn around for some years here people. We have right now in the majors, in our lineup, our SS, our 1B, our 2B (for now), and our backup catcher (Clevenger), maybe our 4th OF (Campana), and that’s it. Who else is close? Jackson? Lake? Let’s just hope lady luck smiles on Theo & Co. & our Cubs.

  • Andrew

    Can someone please tell me why all the experts say vitters isn’t ready to be called up? He has hit the cover off the ball since may. defensively he can’t be that bad(12 errors isn’t horrific). Seems like a perfect time to give the kid a look

    • Scotti

      .934. That’s his fielding percentage. That would place him among the bottom three qualifiers in MLB (and 88th among non-qualifiers). He’s improved his fielding percentage considerably in the small sample size that is 2012 (last year he was .903 and .905 in 2010). But he has a way to go until you can COUNT on him to be even MLB fringe defensively. He’s 22-y/o. Give him a full AAA season to develop the neural pathways needed both offensively and defensively and he could develop into a serviceable 3B with plus power.

      There’s no reason to rush your long-term prospects. Two good months does not a season make. He still has more work at AAA to do.

  • Andrew

    Disagree. He’s 22 yrs old. Quit babying him. Let’s see what we got. If he fails we send him back down he’s a big boy he can handle it.

    • dabynsky

      Theo’s Red Sox have had a philosophy in trying to give players around 500 ABs in AAA. They didn’t do that with every prospect, but that is what they’ve done in a lot of cases. Given the position prospects they developed I will trust their judgement.

  • nkniacc13

    He’s 22 most prospects at 22 are in AA or lower. They want to give him a full season or so in AAA they rushed Rizzo last year and don’t need to want to rush Vitters or Jackson for that matter. Another thing why start Vitters Arb clock? No reason to do it they aren’t going to contend this year and he isn’t forcing his way to the majors like Rizzo did so why not seek him down there then call him up in Sept and get a look at him then

  • Cheryl

    Nudge and Drew7, Your statements are exactly why I gave up battling for LaHair. I don’t believe statistics will ever be the full-proof way of judging a player, nor do I want to discard statistics in their entirety. But it seemed like one camp would never listen to the other camp.It seemed like one group believed a player could change, another didn’t. There was a world that existed before the reliance on statistics and that world did vey well. At the same time statistics have brought us infotmation we never had before. Let’s just say each has its place.

    • dabynsky

      Thankfully we finally have a front office that is finally willing to use both sets of tools.

  • Dr. G

    Soto is an HGH/Steroid Casualty.
    A player doesn’t lost all-star calibre numbers overnight like he has.

    • hansman1982

      No but even All-Star caliber players have an off year. Maybe if you actually looked at his stats you would see that he has become better offensively each year (per OPS+) since his rookie campaign.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      If Soto is a PED casualty, then why are his power numbers basically normal for Geo? Remember, the difference between 2012 Soto and pre-2012 Soto is that 2012 Soto cannot buy a single.  11% of the balls that he hits are singles this year; usually 20% of the balls that he hits are singles.

      That’s not PEDs, that’s horrid luck.  (And, let’s face it: he seems to line out at least once a game; I’d bet his average on line drives is under 0.500, when it should be over 0.700.)

      • hansman1982

        his ISO numbers aren’t that bad, he just isn’t getting jack diddly to fall for a hit.

        The homerun last night appears to prove that he still has power as well although I am highly dissapointed that Moreland called it, while Judd tends to yell there is at least a range of emotions in him.

    • Drew7

      Wow…

      Soto’s BABIP is .13 lower than his career average, while all other rates (BB-rate, K-rate, etc) are all very close to his career rates. This is an extreme case of bad luck, not a guy coming off the juice.

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