Lukewarm Stove: Villanueva, Barney, Soriano and other MLB Rumors

Two Lukewarm Stoves in one September week? That’s a sad, sad record …

  • Apropos of little more than a few statements from Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos suggesting doubt about Carlos Villanueva‘s ability to be a starting pitcher over the course of a full season, I’m wondering if the free-agent-to-be could be a good Cubs target this offseason. He’s flown largely under the radar as even a middle tier type starter, thanks in large part to the fact that he’s split his time between the pen and the rotation in the last couple years, but Villanueva is certainly putting up good numbers in Toronto this year (3.48 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, 2.66 K/BB, 4.19 FIP (that one’s a bit meh)). He’ll turn 29 in November, and it’s possible he’ll be specifically seeking out an opportunity to start somewhere, and would eschew more lucrative offers as a reliever in favor of, for example, a one or two year deal during which he’ll be given a full and fair opportunity to show he can be a starter (something the Cubs could obviously offer in 2013). One red flag on Villanueva? His career ERA in the pen is 3.76, while his career ERA in the rotation is 4.57. That rotational figure has improved this year, though, to 3.58 (13 starts).
  • Bruce Levine chatted earlier this week and offered some offseason thoughts on the Cubs: (1) Bruce keeps beating the Bryan LaHair to Japan drum, which may have legs – the Cubs control his rights, so if they feel like they don’t need him next year, and interest on the trade market is tepid, they can sell him to a team in Japan (with whom LaHair would work out a contract, and make more money than he’d be making in the States); (2) Jorge Soler and Javier Baez aren’t likely on the big team by 2014 (recall, last chat, Bruce cited three scouts who said Baez would be with the big team in a year in a half, which I called quite aggressive – that would be mid-2014) thanks in large part to the Cubs’ preference for getting prospects at least 500 at bats at AAA; (3) Dale Sveum is “absolutely” back next year, and his coaches have done an excellent job with what they were given; (4) if the Cubs eat enough of Alfonso Soriano’s deal to make him a $6/7 million player in 2013 and 2014, they might be able to get a decent prospect or two in return; (5) Shaun Marcum could be a target for the Cubs (again, it’s the concept of the middle tier starting pitchers whom the Cubs can get on one or two year deals, and potentially trade); (6) Bruce doesn’t think the Cubs will want to pay Chris Volstad the $3 million he’d get in arbitration next year, and says instead the Cubs will try to move him (who’s trading for Volstad? it seems like he’s at least as likely to be non-tendered as traded; I suppose if the tender deadline in early December comes, the Cubs will have to decide whether they think there’s a market for Volstad at $3 million – if not, he’ll be non-tendered and the Cubs might try to re-sign him at a lesser rate); and (7) the Cubs like Darwin Barney’s “intangibles.”
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith chatted over a MLBTR about the broader MLB rumor landscape, and among his thoughts: (1) David Wright is not likely to be made available this offseason, and instead is more likely to be extended long-term by the Mets; (2) Felix Hernandez, ever the gigantic trade rumor, won’t be traded this Winter; (3) the Phillies, Reds, Rangers (if Josh Hamilton leaves, which Ben doesn’t think is likely), Nationals, and Braves figure it be in the mix for Michael Bourn; (4) four years and $40 million is going to be far too much to give Kyle Lohse, regardless of his 2012 season; (5) BJ Upton probably does not return to the Rays next year; (6) the White Sox might be forced to bring Kevin Youkilis back in 2013 at his $13 million option price because of the lack of alternatives out there; (7) Jake Peavy, if the Sox decline their option, probably won’t get more than a two year deal at a high annual value; (8) the Rays could entertain offers for James Shields and David Price; (9) Justin Upton is likely to be traded this offseason; and (10) the Padres could “name their price” if they traded Chase Headley.
  • Nicholson-Smith did offer one heavily Cubs-focused thought: Darwin Barney has clear and definite trade value, be it to a team that values his defensive ability, a team that needs a second baseman, and/or a team that values the cheap years of control on his contract. The Cubs may not be interested in dealing Barney right now, without an obvious replacement ready, but they’ll have to consider it if there’s pitching coming back in the other direction. Could the Cubs actually get a quality, young starting pitcher (someone better than, by way of example, Travis Wood) for Barney? Feels like the answer is no, but that’s what I think it would take for them to pull the trigger this Winter.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

115 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Villanueva, Barney, Soriano and other MLB Rumors”

  1. MichCubFan

    A decent pitcher in the AL east makes a pretty good pitcher in the NL central. Villanueva could be worth a look.

    And regarding Barney, i would hold on to him for the year and hope that he can improve his offense. I think he has the tools to be a decent hitter, he just needs to swing at better pitches. If he could put up a .350 OBP to go with his defense, he would be a very valuable player…i would work on him with that and see if he can turn into a long-term player.

    And then i also think it would be nice to be able to trade off Soriano next season if he plays like he has this year. We could use the pitching. My idea is to start Vitters in triple-A next year and play him at 3rd and in left. Valbuena can get more of a shot to play third at the major league level. Then Vitters can come up to play 3rd if Valbuena doesn’t work out or LF if we trade Soriano.

    1. Rcleven

      Isn’t that what Barney did last off season? Needs to raise BA by 25-30 points. Just won’t happen.

      1. Featherstone

        His BA is largely irrelevant, his OBP at .350 though would make him a very valuable asset assuming his elite level of defense continues.

        1. Rcleven

          Don’t get me wrong I am a Barney fan. Barneys career OBS (Milb or MLB) have never approached .350. Barney neither walks or strikes out much so he is a light hitting contact hitter. For Barney to raise his OBS .050 would be a career year for him.
          Leopards seldom change their spots. The only way Barney has to raise his OBS is thru BA. Just won’t happen.

          1. fortyonenorth

            I think you mean his OBP (not OBS), which is .299 this year and was .313 in 2011. Based on these numbers, I don’t think .350 is all that far-fetched. Goodness knows his OPS sometimes seems like it’s under .300, but it’s up around .600.

            1. Featherstone

              I agree I dont think an OBP of .350 isnt impossible. Hes coming into his prime years and if he works at being a little more selective with his pitches it seems doable.

              1. Myles

                With 1170 PA of .300 OBP in the majors, it’s incredibly statistically unlikely that he could get reach .350 with his current talent level, or even with a sizable improvement.

            2. hogie

              The numbers he is putting up in the majors are the same numbers he put up in the minors. This is what DB is. Do you really think that no coach along the way thought to get him to take more pitches? His defense is phenominal, maybe even worth his starting spot, but with the type of work ethic he seems to have, if he could change he would have done it by now.

            3. Norm

              Wait, .299 and .311 OBP……and .350 isn’t far fetched?

              That’s a pretty big leap.

              1. AB

                yup thats what I was thinking, he’d pretty much have to hit 320-330 to get a 350 OBP. A batter pitchers aren’t afraid to throw strikes to just isn’t going to walk that much.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  A batter pitchers aren’t afraid to throw strikes to just isn’t going to walk that much.

                  The bigger issue is that Barney puts a lot of pitcher’s strikes and non-strikes into play. Yes, that cuts down on strike outs, but it also cuts down on walks and overall OBP.

              2. fortyonenorth

                I don’t think there’s as much disparity as you suggest. Do the math. If Barney hit .275 with 500 ABs, how many walks would he need to have an OBP of .350?

                1. jungle_jim

                  Based on the total number of plate appearances Barney has had this season, he would have had to have 32 additional walks to raise his batting average to .275.

                  1. Drew7

                    And since he has a whopping 54 walks in his entire career, I’m thinking that’s probably not gonna happen.

    2. Bric

      Villanueva was already a pitcher in the NL central as as I recall, not that secial. -Pass.

  2. fortyonenorth

    I think Jake Peavy would look darn nice in a Cubs uniform. Do you think he’d be interested in a two-year contract on a bottom-of-the-division team?

    1. ry34

      didnt we already try this once and he told us hell no??

    2. nick cafardo

      Peavy makes greg oden seem durable..

      1. Eric

        He’s still a good gamble. If you sign him for 2 years, then he is having a great year, offer to pay most of his contract. If Dempster could get Delgado or Villanueva and Maholm could get Vizciano. Imagine what Peavy could get at the deadline.

  3. CubFan Paul

    No team will pay Soriano anything more than the major league minimum the next 2 years. Meaning to get a ‘decent’ return the Cubs will have to eat $34M of the remaining $36M. Bruce is delusional if he thinks a team will pay Soriano $12M-$14M at the age of 36-38yrs old

    I’m all for paying all but the minimum for a top prospect. If Maholm and the Steed can get Vizcaiano then Soriano could get comparable back in return. The payroll will be LOW enough next year to absorb the $34M easily

    1. Kyle

      Cubs fans bizarre opinions on Soriano’s value never cease to amaze me.

      The man is 4th in the league in home runs, but he’s only going to get offered the league minimum?

      If he were an FA, the bidding would start at 2/$20 and probably go higher.

      1. nick cafardo

        Its been reported the saux would offer soriano a turd hotdog if he were a f.a. No way sori repeats this next yr. He’s playing out his a$$..

      2. hansman1982

        I have been of the mindset that I would be utterly flabbergasted if Soriano is on this team next year.

        In a true salary dump Soriano would be cut loose for probably close to that $10M per mark.

        To get the prospect he was worth at the beginning of the year (i.e. if everything breaks right for that kid throughout this next year he will be a true prospect, otherwise he might be toast) would probably be the $6-7M per mark.

        Max deal is probably $3-4M in relief and a decent true prospect

    2. ry34

      lets just keep soriano, he is the least of our problems at the moment!

    3. Richard Nose

      I think a decent age/salary/worthafuck comp was Ibanez’s deal a couple years ago. 36, solid, 3 yrs /$30 mill. I’m not saying it should be paid to a person like either of these 2, but apparently someone does. Sori’s health history and extra yr of course change things, but league minimum? 2 mill? 3 mill? nah, he’s got a little value left.

  4. Patrick G

    I honestly like the Shaun Marcum idea. Him, Garza(if with team or healthy), Samardzijia and maybe another middle-tier starter and fix up the bullpen a bit, Marmol has been dominant of late. Could be a decent team next year, but again, I did say that about this years team.

    1. EQ76

      I agree.. shoot, what would our record this year if Demp, Maholm and Garza were still 3/5 of our rotation.? This team looks to be a couple years away from being a contender, but may only be one productive off season away from being decent and possibly a .500 team.

      1. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        We would only be 20-25 games under .500. That is worth keeping them. I agree.

        1. EQ76

          We would only be 20-25 games under .500. That is worth keeping them. I agree.

          I wasn’t saying we’d be a .500 team this year with Garza, Maholm and Demp.. we sure wouldn’t have been this bad though.. I did say we could be decent next year with some good, productive moves this off season. read carefully next time. you took 2 different comment and combined them.

  5. scorardpaul

    I don’t know why, but I still feel STUCK with Soriano. I just don’t think there is any way he fits on this team. I would still be happy if we ate 100% of his salary and got a descent prospect.

  6. DarthHater

    If he were an FA, the bidding would start at 2/$20 and probably go higher.

    If this were true, it would only prove that there are some incredibly stupid and incompetent GMs out there

    1. fortyonenorth

      “…it would only prove that there are some incredibly stupid and incompetent GMs out there”

      Which, of course, there are.

  7. Stevie B

    Is there a stigma attached to Alf?? Look at his #’s the last 3 years…

    2010 .258 BA 24 HR 79 RBI

    2011 .244 BA 26 HR 88 RBI

    2012 .260 BA 29 HR 96 RBI (with 19 games left…so possibly 31-33 HRS and 101-104 RBI)

    I’m not GM, but i do have eyes and a brain.

    He is worth 4-5 million per in a DH / part time LF role.

    1. Stevie B

      ^^ That comes out to an average of:

      .254 BA 27 HR 87 RBI

      Yup, he has value.

      1. hansman1982

        Please tell me you didn’t just add those three batting averages and divided by three.

        1. TWC

          Yeah, I actually did the math. It, coincidentally, works both ways. But I feared the worst.

    2. Featherstone

      You’re clearly not a GM because if you were you wouldn’t cite avg, hr’s and rbis as meaningful stats.

      2010 .258/.322/.496 114 OPS+
      2011 .244/.289/.469 104 OPS+
      2012 .260/.316/.502 119 OPS+

      With better defense in left field this season he clearly has value, but let’s cite for the right reasons.

  8. When the Music's Over

    “…..the Cubs’ preference for getting prospects at least 500 at bats at AAA.”

    Not surprising, but the Cubs rebirthing effort due date is looking much more like 2015/2016 rather than the original 2013/2014 that many people were hoping for after Theo and Company came on board last offseason. I’m guessing they also have a penchant for pitchers to get a good amount of IP at AAA.

    This is going to be a long stretch of mediocrity (or worse).

  9. True(ly) Blue

    I can’t understand posters who want to trade Barney for a couple of prospects. First, most prospects are just that, prospects of whom very few make the majors to say nothing of making an impact. Following that philosophy lets trade Castro, Rizzo and the Shark for prospects so that we POSSIBLY can have a great Double A team in 2 years. Yikes!!!!!
    It seems to me that a great defense up the middle would do more for a middle of the road pitching staff and provide the team a chance for a modicum of success in the next few years than a couple more prospects.

    1. Norm

      Comparing Barney to Rizzo, Castro, and Shark… you see the problem there?

      1. Tommy

        Thank you Norm.

    2. TonyP


  10. 1229rock

    Is Sappelt for real? If he is, we have a new right/left fielder. I think Sori is gone if they believe Sappelt is the real deal.

    1. TonyP

      Sappelt is for real as a possible 4-5 outfielder. I would let him get more than 30 September ABs before heading down the path of him being starter caliber. He could get bump from the 40 man roster over the winter.

  11. OCCubFan

    Soriano is tied for 4th in the NL in HRs, tied for 3rd in RBIs, but 27th in OPS. RBIs are not a good measure of a player’s offensive worth.

    Over the last few years here are Soriano’s OPS: 2006 (Wash) – 0.911; 2007 – 0.897; 2008 – 0.876; 2009 – 0.726; 2010 – 0.818; 2011 – 0.759; 2012 – 0.818. His career OPS is 0.828. Offensively, Soriano, as a Cub, was better in 2007 and 2008. 2009 & 2011 were down years.

  12. cubzforlife

    I know this is a business and emotions are not part of running a business but sveum seems to love soriano. If he gets a vote he’s a cub in 2013.

  13. Tommy

    Soriano will be moved if at all possible. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention this year. They tried to trade him twice, and Sori rejected the trade both times. He is not part of the future, and by being on the team, he is merely blocking younger players from getting an opportunity at playing time at the major league level.

    I love the guy, but seriously, does anyone honestly believe this FO is interested in a 38 year old outfielder starting for them?

    1. mudge

      “If at all possible” is relative. If they don’t get value, he stays.

      1. Tommy

        “value” is relative.

  14. daveyrosello

    re: above comments–

    Sappelt is a possible Reed Johnson replacement. No more, no less. Every team needs a 4th OF, so I hope he pans out, but hardly a big deal considering the many more glaring holes on the Cubs.

    Soriano–some people are REALLY getting bizarre in their thought process here. He has just two years left on his contract. He’s the best power hitter/run producer on this gawdawful team. If he was a free agent right now, with his production numbers, ABSOLUTELY he’d get a 2/10 deal minimum, likely more along the lines of 2/15. So unless a GM offers that and Sori waives his NTC, then no way do you just “give him away for league minimum.” That’s crazy talk. His remaining 2/36 is a sunk cost, so you keep Soriano, let him produce in LF (with no young prospects imminently arriving that are better), and he plays out his contract here.

    Barney–I don’t care how good his defense might be, a regular starter with a sub-300 OBP is not acceptable. If a team is willing to offer an attractive pitcher or young prospect for Barney, absolutely I move him. In a heartbeat.

    1. LEO L

      You said it. it is a god awful team. so why not trade him for some young talent. Just like the money, next year is sunk and probably the next. so why not see if we can save some money and develop a player for when we need him. We dont need Soriano.

    2. OCCubFan

      I agree in part. The $36M due Soriano is a sunk cost—forget about it. Assume he is worth $10M on the open market for the next two years. The Cubs choices are (1) Keep Soriano for two years at no cost beyond the sunk money; (2) Let another team have him and pocket the $10M they are willing to pay for his services, getting back no worthwhile prospects; or (3) Let another team have him for the league minimum ($1M over two years) and getting one or two decent prospects in return. In the last case, the Cubs pocket $1M and get prospects. In effect, Option 3, compared with option 2, converts $9M into decent prospects. With the new CBA limiting spending on the amateur draft and the international draft, this might be the best way to convert cash into prospects. Of course, the prospects would have to be pretty good and pretty far along to be worth $9M. This is essentially what the Cubs did with Dempster and Maholm.

  15. die hard

    The civic minded thing for the Ricketts family to do would be to offer to pay 2% to match the City’s 2% to teachers so the teachers can get what they deserve and Ricketts can get his tax concessions from the City when its time to negotiate for the Cub expansion etc..

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Really? We are going there now? I would say you are better than that, but it would only be a lie.

      1. cjdubbya

        Consider the source

    2. baldtaxguy

      May be clown post of the day. Has my vote.

  16. Bret Epic

    I would like to see what Sappelt is capable of before we designate a 25 year old with less than 50 pro games under his belt as a 4th outfielder.

    1. Luke

      Sappelt has 538 professional games (minor leagues are professional), 232 of those games at Triple A where he has a cumulative OPS .757. That’s a fairly reliable indicator that he is not going to hit well enough in the majors to hold down a starting job.

      1. Flashfire

        Killjoy. ;-)

  17. cubbiecop

    Has anyone seen this Austin Meadows kid in person? From what i’ve read he looks to be the real deal. Could be another Trout, and wouldn’t it be nice to have that guy on our team? I know he’s only a HS player, but he put on a hell of a show for USA. Brett/Luke do you guys have any good info on this kid? Looks like Appel is going number one according to a lot of accounts. This is a good link for the prospects… great read for those of us who don’t know too much about those out prospects out there.

    1. someday...2015?

      I haven’t seen Meadows in person but as everyone has herd he is as close to the real deal as anyone in this up-coming draft gets. I hate the thought of picking Appel at #2 seeing as in how much money he expects to be after. Going through that respective mock you cited I noticed one kid that really popped. Obviously every team wants the next Trout and this “scouting report” doesn’t sound too far off. This is right from that mock. 9. Pittsburgh Pirates* — Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville HS (GA)

      An incredible hitter with some of the best bat speed you will ever see, the ball jumps off Frazier’s bat like few other players his age. Has been one of the more impressive prep players in summer tournaments, cementing his name as one to watch for the upcoming season. Also runs a 6.4/60, showing great speed to go along with his hitting abilities. As a junior, he hit .424 with 24 home runs and stole 14 bases over 118 at-bats.

      I would be happy seeing the Cubs pick Meadows, a pitcher, or the top rated catcher, but Clint Frazier is definitely a name to watch out for.

      1. cubbiecop

        Thanks someday… I just hope that the draft from last year and this year yeilds better results than in the past..patterson, pie, etc etc..

    2. Luke

      You can safely ignore any and all projections of the 2013 draft right now. It is just plain too early to do much more than pull names out of a hat. The spring baseball season will have a dramatic impact on the names at the top of the draft; it always does. Some of the guys that some analysts consider can’t miss Top 10 picks today will fall out of the first round entirely, and some guys we aren’t even thinking about yet will jump up to take their place. It always happens that way.

      It’s interesting to look over the candidates as they stand now, but just remember that list of candidates is far from complete and that any rank ordering is nothing less than pure guesswork.

  18. daveyrosello

    Not knocking Sappelt at all, just noting that his upside is Reed Johnson. Which is a nice upside, I love RJ and every team could use a guy like that. If that is Sappelt’s future, more power to him and the Cubs, absolutely.

    BTW, Cutler sucks, ready for a REAL QB in Chicago, yes………

  19. ssckelley

    Funny, we go from a love fest for Cardenas to a love fest for Sappelt. This Cub fan is tired of seeing AAA talent in the starting lineup. Sappelt is fighting for his roster spot, he will not be anything more than a 4th outfielder at the most. He does not have exceptional power, does not have exceptional speed, he is not exceptional defensively. He is someone who has had a couple of good games with only 20 at bats, I need a much bigger sample size before getting to excited about Sappelt.

  20. JR

    I will be happy when Soriano is traded just so we don’t have to talk about Soriano being traded. Sure, he’s had a great year, but do teams really think he will repeat what he did this year at his age and stay healthy? I have my doubts, and I am just some random dude.. I am sure execs will have serious doubts as well.

    1. JR

      Teams on on the East coast definitely missed the boat though for a playoff run with Sori… I am looking at you Tampa Bay, and your never a buyer mentality. Stupid..

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Sori would not have accepted a trade to TB, although TB could have used him. If nothing else, then playing on artificial turf would be pure torture for him.

        You are correct, though, that TB has hurt itself a little by never buying.

        1. JR

          I must have missed him blocking a trade to TB. I knew about Baltimore and San Fran blockage. I hear ya about the turf, but they could have played him sparingly in the outfield and DH’d him a lot. I think out of all the team in the league TB would be the most frustrating to follow. They’re so close, and never will truly go for it..

          1. ssckelley

            He never blocked a trade for TB as there was never an opportunity, the op was commenting on how TB does not make moves.

            1. JR

              Yeah TB is never a buyer. I know they have no money flexability, but the Cubs would have eaten Soriano’s entire contract for the right player. Even though they draft and develop very well, I just find them irritating as hell.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                TB’s farm system has had some hiccups lately. Their #1 picks from 2008 and 2010 both were suspended for inferred PED usage this year. Some of their other highly touted guys have not progressed as rapidly as hoped, too. Heck, even their looting of the Cubs farm system did not turn out that well for them: Archer might become a decent MLB starter, but HJ Lee was underwhelming in AA and the others have pretty much fizzled.

                Paradoxically, having such a high success rate over a short period of time might have hurt the Rays by giving the organization a false impression that they were good at developing players when, in truth, they probably just got lucky.

                1. hansman1982

                  And there is a substantial difference in drafting top 5 every year to drafting middle of the pack and/or late 1st round every year.

                2. SirCub

                  Man, Archer looks really good though. And whenever you say about a young, hard throwing Rays pitcher that he “might become a decent MLB starter” they tend to blow up (in the good way).

  21. DocPeterWimsey

    Clarification! I do not have any reason to think that Sori did block a trade to TB. However, I have every reason to think that Sori would (have) block(ed) a trade to TB. Moreover, I think that you are correct: TB is too cheap to make such an acquisition: they are always playing for next year, even when this year is winnable.

    They did that to themselves last year, too, in a different way. In order to keep Desmond Jennings under control for another year, they played Sam Fuld way too much: despite Fuld’s highlight reel catches, he probably cost the Rays 2-3 games relative to Joe AAAA with his horrific offense. (He can draw walks and steal, but that is about it.) Given Jennings positive WAR, that might have been a difference of as many as 4-5 games over the season.

    Give the Rays that, and they would have been running neck and neck with the Yankees and Sox going into September, and they would not have needed a Sox collapse to reach post-season.

    (They almost certainly still would have faced first round elimination because the Rays actually did not play all that well in September whereas both the Rangers and Tigers were on fire last Sept.)

    1. JR

      I gotcha. I just thought they made a ton of sense geographically, and need wise.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Oh, I entirely agree about the need, although it’s very possible that the turf would have hurt Sori’s productivity. Geographically, well, I suspect that this is a case of “I don’t think that word means what you think it does” with Sori. He wanted West Coast or East Coast, but West Coast actually meant LA. I suspect that East Coast meant NYC.

        Still, I suppose that means that Sori’s geography is better than the average American’s is!

        1. Chris

          Wouldn’t the turf issue be less of a concern for a DH? That’s what he would have been, had he been traded to TB.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            Less of an issue, yes. Not an issue, no.

        2. JR

          Yeah you’re right. Probably is just the Dodgers and Yanks. He’s cool playing with a bunch of 22 yr olds on a team that has no chance to compete for several yrs on the second worse team in baseball. Thats how Sori rolls..

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            I suspect that Sori thinks or believes that the Cubs will be competitive much sooner than that. Ballplayers buy heavily into the myth of rapid turnarounds. Indeed, Sori himself was part of one of the rare examples of this: the 2006 Cubs were pretty much as bad as the 2012 Cubs and yet they won the division the next year.

            (What gets forgotten is that the division was very weak and that there were good free agents on hand that winter.)

            1. ssckelley

              Good point but I wonder if the Cubs will be as active in this upcoming off season as they were after the 2006 season. Cubs went out and got Soriano, Floyd, Lilly, DeRosa, and Marquis spending a bunch of money to get them.

  22. Terencemann

    I wonder what the trade market would be like for Barney as a shortstop?

    1. ssckelley

      Probably less than what you would get as a second baseman.

  23. Mr. Gonzo

    My Off-Season Wish List: Pick up both McCarthy and Villanueva on short-term deals, and get rid of at least one veteran for a decent pitching prospect. I also hope we let Barney’s trade value grow over another season or two until we know what we really have in J. Lake, Watkins, etc.

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