Jed Hoyer Speaks: Free Agent Spending, Needing Pitchers, Evaluating Youngsters, Ian Stewart

Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke to the media yesterday (quotes here, here, and here - among many other places), and dropped some thoughts on the Cubs’ offseason plans. The most notable bit involved his concession that the Cubs will be active in the free agent market given the money they have available to spend, but I think you’ve got to view those statements through the lens of everything else the Cubs have said over the past year: big-time free agents are the last thing you add when you’re ready to be competitive. But enough about that, I’m preempting my own post.

The quotes, and thoughts …

  • On the Cubs’ financial wherewithal, and the pursuit of free agents: “We will have financial flexibility. We’ve been diligent to make sure we do have flexibility and we’re efficient going forward. We’ll obviously be active in the free agent market. That’s a big part of our research and work now is evaluating free agents. We have some money to spend and we’ll focus on it heavily.” I know it would be easy to see words like “active,” and “money to spend,” and “heavily,” and then conclude that the Cubs are going to go after every big name this Winter, but I think you’ve got to read these words carefully. The Cubs do have flexibility, and they do have money available. But they are going to be “efficient,” which means not overspending on big names just to spend. A team can be “heavily” “active” on the free agent market in other ways, though: there are many, many middle-tier and bounce-back names to consider.
  • On what happens to money that comes in the door, which the Cubs don’t spend on payroll: “All the money will go back into the team in some form or another whether it’s things that can help us in the future, whether it’s free agents or keeping money aside for the next free agent class. All the money baseball operations is given will always go back to the club.” I highlight this because it’s something we’ve heard previously from Tom Ricketts, with a slight tweak – whereas Ricketts had previously said all money that came in the door would be spent on the Cubs in one way or another (query whether paying down the debt that the Ricketts family took on to purchase the Cubs is money going back into the club or money going into the Ricketts’ pockets), what Jed is saying is that all the money baseball operations is given will be spent on the Cubs. While that means that low payroll years could prove a bounty in subsequent years (rolling over), it doesn’t necessarily mean that, as Cubs’ revenues sky-rocket in the coming decade (after the Wrigley renovation, after new TV deals, after the Cubs don’t suck, etc.), the spending will also skyrocket. Let’s hope it does, but, well, it’s something to keep an eye on.
  • On the Cubs’ need to acquire starting pitching: “We certainly have to be aggressive with starting pitching over the Winter. I think that hardly makes us unique among major league teams. We will certainly have competition to find starting pitching but we certainly will need to bolster our rotation …. Starting pitching we’ve had some good performances, but we need to add depth over the Winter. We obviously traded Paul and Ryan and have to replace those guys moving forward.” I expect the Cubs to focus on middle-tier starters like Shaun Marcum, Ervin Santana, Carlos Villanueva, Brandon McCarthy (if healthy), and possibly someone like Edwin Jackson. Maybe not those specific names, mind you – but those types.
  • On evaluating young players for the purposes of the roster over the Winter and in the Spring: “Some have shown a lot and some have done enough to not earn a position with the team but strong consideration for the Winter. Some have indicated they need more seasoning and starting next year [at Triple-A Iowa] would be the best. It is a mixed bag. Every guy who’s come up hasn’t shown we need to reserve a spot for him next season but that’s to be expected. We need to get better next year and having depth at Triple-A is important. A lot of those guys may feel they’re ready but if they start the year at Iowa, that’s probably a positive for our roster …. That first time in the big leagues, I think it’s really difficult to evaluate. I’ve had a number of players tell me the butterflies don’t go away that first time up, they’re nervous all the time, they have a hard time calming themselves down. Maybe the second time, the third time they come up, it’s like, ‘OK, I belong here.’ It’s hard to evaluate a guy when he’s nervous. It’s hard to blame them sometimes. This is their dream, they’re up for the first time, the game is faster. Sometimes those things can snowball. It did with Rizzo last year.” Hopefully that’s all we’re seeing with Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters …
  • On the possibility of bringing back Ian Stewart next year: “Obviously, we’ll spend a lot of time getting to the bottom of how it looks going forward before making a decision on his future with us. It is a year that’s hard to evaluate given the wrist. It’s challenging …. He’s got a lot of ability, the same ability that we saw when we traded for him. He’s got big power, he’s left-handed, he’s a really good defensive third baseman. There are a lot of pluses there. we need to figure out what part was the wrist and what part wasn’t.” Stewart is arbitration eligible and would be due for a raise on his $2.24 million salary this year. The Cubs won’t be tendering him a contract, but they might consider bringing him back on a cheaper one-year deal, or even a minor league deal if no market for him develops. Even if the Cubs don’t give Stewart a look, their options aren’t very attractive: Luis Valbuena? Josh Vitters? Or an extraordinarily weak FA class?
  • On what the front office will do in October: “When you’re not in the playoffs — you hate when you’re not — but when you’re not in the playoffs it’s a really good planning time.” Might as well take advantage of that time, eh?

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

114 responses to “Jed Hoyer Speaks: Free Agent Spending, Needing Pitchers, Evaluating Youngsters, Ian Stewart”

  1. Spencer

    My opinion is that even thought the Cubs are not going to be competitive next year in any way, it’s still okay to go after big name free agents that are going to be signed for 4-6 years, so that way some pieces are already in place when/if the Cubs get competitive in that timeframe. This FO disagrees, and wants to wait until the farm system develops and we get the really talented young guys up, and THEN sign some nice free agents to compliment them. But what if the farm system talent doesn’t work out? Then you’re left with a bunch of prospects who were busts, and no good outside talent either. 2012 repeat.

    1. Chris

      Why does nobody ever mention the ability to trade prospects before they turn into busts when the argue against the current rebuilding plan. That was a big part of what the Redsox did under Theo/Jed. Jim Hendry was good at it too. The more prospects available, the more potential to make trades to improve the club. It’s not just about acquiring prospects.

      1. Dave

        I agree, The White Sox have been doing that for years and they have been successful trading their prospects to pick up players who were high draft picks
        but had underperformed in the majors.

        1. gutshot5820

          I agree, anyone not in the top ten should be traded for proven major league players along with half their top ten. the White Sox have been more succesful than the Cubs and have actually won a World Series, so I don’t know if you can say they underperformed. They did way more with a much less payroll.

          1. Drew7

            Wait, so the Cubs find a team with ML-talent and 5 top-10 prospects that they like, then get that team to trade those players to them in exchange for a bunch of players outside of the Cubs’ top-10?

      2. Richard Nose

        Indeed. I agree. I like the idea of trading Garzas for prospects, but I also like the idea of trading prospects for an Uptons or a Kershaws or someone like that, young semi-proven. The FA outlooks aren’t that incredible considering the age of FA’s and the chance that every young player gets locked up before they get there.

      3. wilbur

        It is a viable strategy, I assume this FO feels the first priority is get more prospects. When the prospect pool exceeds some satisfactory threshold they have in their minds there will be some moves like this.

  2. Spencer

    And the “heavily involved” is clear double speak. The entire rhetortic from this FO is that they are not going to sign big name free agents to long term contracts because it’s too risky and the team sucks. That’s fine. But say they make the same number of signings that they did this offseason, and that the caliber of players is about the same. Is that “heavily involved” ? Theo and Jed (and others) will probably pass it off as heavily involved and then they can say “See? Look at how many free agents we signed! They were all mid tier guys coming off Achilles tears, tommy john surgeries, and hip displacements, but we were heavily involved in signing them!”

    1. baldtaxguy

      Free agent market is described as “weak.” If the FO signed the top tier FA’s at 3B, CF, RPs and SPs, who would that be, and how many add’l wins would be projected? I’m asking and not researching, but would that result make the Cubs a playoff contender?

      1. Chris

        3B is weak. Unless David Wright’s option isn’t picked up, the best we could hope for is a short term deal with Youklis. And I just think the Whitesox are more likely to pick his option up than not, given the lack of choices. B.J. Upton will be a free agent too. If the Rays don’t offer him a qualifying offer, he might be worth a look. But I’d be leery giving him a long term deal. If he gets one from somebody else, I don’t think he’s worth a bidding war. 3-4 year deal at a $10mil per year salary would be acceptable in my mind, at most. There are a ton of pitchers, but not many great options. I don’t like Greinke, but that’s my own opinion. Most of the other good options will also probably get qualifying offers, so I wouldn’t be a fan of losing a draft pick for somebody in this free agent class. I look forward to seeing what they try to do.

      2. Spencer

        No. And that isn’t the point, if you read my first post on this page.

        1. baldtaxguy

          Understood. Where I was going was similar – its not likely that pulling every top 2013 candidate at each weak area will have the impact you would be targeting, i.e. the playoffs. That “heavily” need not be quantity, but quality, with an eye to the longer-term, vs. numerous 1-2 year guys. Under that definition, that could simply be Greinke.

      3. Kyle

        “Free agent market is described as “weak.” If the FO signed the top tier FA’s at 3B, CF, RPs and SPs, who would that be, and how many add’l wins would be projected? I’m asking and not researching, but would that result make the Cubs a playoff contender?”

        If we got the best available at all those positions? Well, technically David Wright could still be a free agent if the Mets decline to pick up his team option, but they’ll pick it up, so 3b is pretty slim. I guess it’d have to be Youkilis. I’m not really sure who the best RP is. Soria? Soriano?


        Some RP

        Doing some back of the napkin WAR calculations, that looks like about a 15-win improvement. Throw in the improvements already in place (like a whole season of Castillo instead of Clevenger, etc.) and you get maybe a .500 team on paper. Would be a borderline contender with some luck needed, but certainly not unthinkable that they could win it all.

        1. JR

          I guess anything is possible as far as winning it all if you catch some breaks. But the team your just put out there doesn’t look that appealing to me in the slightest. Thats just me though..

        2. ssckelley

          Have the Rays already announced that they will not be offering Upton arbitration? I assume they must if people here keep talking about him as a potential Cub signee. If the Cubs could that Upton from 2007 & 2008 they should be all over it as back then he took a walk and had an OBP of over .380. Otherwise the Cubs already have a crapload of players that strike out to much and have a crappy on base percentage.

          Very slim chance that Youkilis signs here as many have stated he wants to play for a contender.

          1. JR

            I think the Rays will definitely picking up his option with the assumption that he could get much more elsewhere. I would be shocked if the Cubs forfeit any of their picks this offseason. That would be against everything they have been trying to do.

            1. Chris

              Upton doesn’t have an option. He’s not arbitration eligible. He’s a free agent. They can give him a qualifying offer, which will cost them $12-14mil dollars for one season, and that will get them draft compensation. Or they can sign him long term. Or they can let him walk.

            2. Kyle

              A second-round pick is not remotely a good enough reason to pass up on any interesting major league player.

              I wouldn’t want the Cubs to give up their first-round pick (2nd overall, it looks like) for a free-agent signing, but the expected value of a 2nd-rounder in minuscule enough that there’s no reason to let it stop you from signing a player if you want one.

              1. Chris

                Who is that interesting player? I don’t see him in this free agent class. David Wright might be interesting. That’s about it for me. I don’t disagree giving up a 2nd round pick is worth it for the right player. I’m saying I disagree that the interesting player will be available in this free agent class.

                1. Kyle

                  I mean “interesting” in the sense that you could ever conceivably want him on your MLB roster. There’s dozens of interesting guys.

                  If you think a guy has a place on your major-league team, even for just a year or two, then there’s no reason to let a second-round pick stop you. Second-round picks generally suck.

                  1. Featherstone

                    I cant agree with that sentiment Kyle. The value of 2nd round picks has increased due to the shrinking of compensatory picks and also due to the Slotting aspect of the CBA. Losing your 2nd round pick means you dont get that money added to your pool to allot to your first-round pick if hes a tough sign. There is still worthwhile players in the 2nd round they are just much more scarce.

                    1. Kyle

                      You get roughly a 10% chance at getting a useful player in the early 2nd round.

                      Without the comp picks, but with the competitive balance picks, the Cubs’ pick should come at about No. 40 overall.

                      Since the draft was instituted in 1965, there have been 47 No. 40 overall picks. 4 of them became useful MLB players: Kevin Tapani, Hutson Street, Larry Gura, and Milton Bradley. The other 43 were total busts.

                      I don’t like those odds enough to pass on any useful player. In the MLB draft, there’s basically the beginning of the first round and then a prolonged craps shoot. I’m not too worried about taking one less roll of the dice back there, whether it be the 2nd round or 20th.

                    2. Featherstone

                      That’s not especially fair to restrict it only to the 40th overall. Look at the entire 2nd round if you want a real comparison. In addition not having a 2nd round pick limits your ability to sign your first round pick.

                  2. Chris

                    Let me spell my thoughts out a little more. Qualifying offers are $10-14mil dollars. In order to sign one of those players that have received that offer, you’d have to spend more than that over more years. Greinke can’t receive a qualifying offer, so he’s not part of my argument. Overpaying Upton and anyone else is not something that is palatable to me. And on top of overpaying, you lose a draft pick. I understand your point, 2nd round picks are worthless in comparison to a major league player. Things are different with the new CBA. I don’t know if you can use the last 60 years of draft results as a comparison, but that’s not even my main point. David Wright would be worth the money spent and draft pick lost. I just don’t see anyone else worth the long term money AND loss of draft pick in this free agent class. You and I may disagree on that, and really it’s a fools discussion, as we don’t know who’ll fall into the qualifying offer category until it actually happens. I’m just saying I don’t see much worth a huge expenditure that also takes away a draft, regardless of how useless you think they are. At worst they draft a tradeable asset. Forget whether or not a player makes it to the majors successfully. There is value in a minor league prospect for trading purposes. You need many to be able to trade for major league players. Highly touted bodies are nice to have around, just from that perspective.

                    1. Featherstone

                      I agree with you almost completely about the weakness of this year’s FA class. I do believe you are wrong about a couple players though. A few names (Not necessarily for the Cubs) that spring to mind that would be worth losing a pick to the right team are Hamilton, Swisher, and I’d even throw Haren out there given his past. But yes, Upton is not worth it imo and few players in this class warrant that.

              2. Featherstone

                Were in agreement here for once Kyle. I agree the loss of a 2nd round pick, since the top 10 of the first round are protected, is not enough of a detractor to sign a worthwhile FA. I would argue however if Upton fits that category of worthwhile.

              3. JR

                I understand all that. I am not saying right or wrong. But for everything the FO has done and said thus far. I really do not see them giving an early 2nd round pick for a player who has regressed like Upton has.

              4. ssckelley

                But why throw away that 2nd round pick along with the pool money when all you are getting is a player marginally better than Brett Jackson? The Cubs already have a center fielder that strikes out a ton but will still take a walk and might have a higher upside.

                1. Kyle

                  Because that player is a *ton* better than Brett Jackson. Holy balls, I know Cubs fans overrate their prospects (just like every fan), but the entirety of baseball has noticed that Jackson is a washout but Cubs fans still want to pencil him in as almost as good as Upton.

                  If you don’t want Upton, that’s fine I guess. If you don’t want him because of Brett Jackson, I’ll agree to disagree. But if you do want him, then the 2nd round pick is a terrible reason to pass.

                  1. Chris

                    Jackson has nothing to do with why I wouldn’t want Upton. I got hammered on when I tried to suggest that Jackson is just another chapter in the long line of homegrown CF prospects that have bust out. Jerome Walton… Doug Glanville… Corey Patterson… Felix Pie… What are your thoughts on Upton? Upton has not lived up to expectations. The expense/term of what it would take to get him does not appeal to me, thinking of their long term health. And if it also costs a 2nd round pick, I’d be less in favor of it.

                  2. JR

                    Jackson, had an absolutely terrible year. But I don’t know how you can say he has no chance of ever being ok in the majors. I know all the statistics about players who strike out as much as he has too. Who knows exactly whats going on with him I know he has changed his stance many times this year. Hopefully he can prove a lot of people wrong next year.

                  3. ssckelley

                    I am not overrating Jackson at all, in fact I think he strikes out WAY to much. But at least Jackson will take an occasional walk while Upton strikes out way to much and his walk totals has declined considerably over the past 4 years. His obp went from .380 to .300 and the Cubs have a lineup full of these type of players.

                    Where would you bat a guy like this? He has good speed but does not get on base enough to bat him leadoff, strikes out to much for a #2 hitter, he has good power but does not drive in enough runs to bat him 3, 4, or 5.

                    1. Kyle

                      “Where would you bat a guy like this? ”

                      Probably 6th or 7th. A CFer who can be your No. 6 hitter is a great value.

                      Brett Jackson is on pace for a 0.4 WAR season if you project out his MLB performance to a full year’s worth of playing time. He’s coming off a year when he struck out at a higher percentage than any successful MLB player ever has.

                      And yet you say he’s “marginally” worse than a guy who has been averaged 3.2 WAR/year over the last four seasons.

                      That’s absurd. Brett Jackson’s very unlikely to-be-reached ceiling is almost as good of a player as Upton in decline.

            3. ssckelley

              But Upton does not have an option year, he has 1 year remaining of salary arbitration. I think the only way he becomes a free agent is if the Rays decline to offer him arbitration, and I think that means no compensation pick.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                No, BJ Upton is a FA this winter. He has been steadily declining over the last 3+ years. He’s only in his late 20′s, but he’s already losing plate coverage like a guy several years older.

                So, please, don’t sign BJ!

                1. Kyle

                  wOBA since 2009:

                  .310, .337, .337, .329


                  2.4, 4.1, 4.0, 3.4

                  I’m not seeing the “three years of steady decline.” If anything, that would make him a good bounceback candidate.

                  1. ssckelley

                    Why do you have such a hard on for Upton? Why not move DeJesus back to center and go after a corner outfielder where there are many more options? Hamilton, Cody Ross, Nick Swisher are all available. Even Tori Hunter may make a good option while the Cubs are waiting for one of their outfield prospects to be ready. Ludwick may be available as well.

                    1. hansman1982

                      Ross – 31 – Having a good year – offensively similar to Upton – gonna want a long term large $ deal

                      Hamilton – no thanks…drug issues, age, likely contract – pass

                      Swisher – 32 – Solid player – would be a good addition if we were knocking on heaven’s door but again, offensively similar to Upton

                      Basically, the only one of those that is clearly better than Upton is also a giant risk.

                    2. Kyle

                      “Why do you have such a hard on for Upton?”

                      I don’t. I’ve simply addressed specific points brought up about him.

                      1) Someone asked what it would look like if the Cubs got the best FA CFer, and that’s Upton.

                      2) Someone said that Upton has been on a clear decline for three years, which I think is pretty debatable.

                      3) Someone said that Brett Jackson was only “marginally” worse than Upton, which is absurd.

                      4) Someone said that we shouldn’t sign him because we’d have to give up a second-round pick, to which I replied that it’s fine to not want Upton, but a second-rounder should never stop you from signing someone if you do want them.

                      I wouldn’t mind Upton at the right price, but I don’t think “hard-on” for him is the right term.

                    3. Mick

                      You seemed to skip over few candidates like Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino, and Melky Cabrera. I’d take any of those three over BJ Upton. Melky could actually be the steal of this off-season signings and Bourn would make a pretty nice leadoff man. Heck, if the Cubs signed those two, a couple of pitchers, and got creative at 3B, we might have a winning record.

                  2. Myles

                    His O-Swing % has risen each year for the past 4 years while his Z-Contact % has essentially decreased each year for the past 4 years. He also has an aberrant HR/FB% this year (around 17%) that are padding his numbers. His walks are down 3.5% from his career average, also.

                    All that being said, he’s still a very, very good baseball player. I think he can contribute 4/4.5/4.5/4/4/3.5/3.0/2.5 over the next 6 years. That’s worth a 7 year, $120 million contract or more, for a contending team. For the Cubs, I’d say they could still do it and be very happy because their window hopefully opens in 2-3 years when he’ll be at his theoretical peak. There is no heir apparent at CF (I like Ha and Szczur, but lets me honest, neither are moving Upton off CF), and if one develops, you could play Upton at COF (I’d avoid 3B, he was dogshit there).

                    I don’t know what kind of contract Upton is in line for, but if it’s at all reasonable, the Cubs should 100% be in that discussion. He IS the kind of person that could be a 3rd/4th best player on a championship team.

                    1. Myles

                      I’m seeing 3 years, 27 million for Upton as a next contract. If he signs anything like that his agent should be fired IMMEDIATELY. Holy crap, he’s worth at least 10 million a year in this FA class and is entering is prime (read: payday contract) years. That would be unbelieveable if he signed that deal.

                    2. Kyle

                      “His O-Swing % has risen each year for the past 4 years while his Z-Contact % has essentially decreased each year for the past 4 years. He also has an aberrant HR/FB% this year (around 17%) that are padding his numbers. His walks are down 3.5% from his career average, also.”

                      The O-Swing/Z-Contact thing is an artifact of changes in how the computer tracking software defined such things. Those numbers have changed a ton for every player.

                2. ssckelley

                  Then baseball reference has his salary status screwed up.

                  1. hansman1982

                    B-R is correct. It presently has his service time as 5.126 which means that before this season he had that many years.days of service time. After this season it will be 6.126 and he will be a free agent for the 2013 season.

                    And ya, not sure if Doc is looking at Justin Upton or Kate Upton or what but while BJ’s BB’s are ticking down his SLG is ticking up.

        3. Richard Nose

          Man I hate things named Youkilis and I love things named Upton!

        4. Mick

          I like what you’ve done here but would this really satisfy you enough not to gripe next season when we’re nearing 90 losses? Wood as a #4, Volstad as the #5, Soriano on the team? Plus, like you said in your post, the Sox are likely to pick up Youk’s option. I’m all for adding some FA’s and I’d be happy w/the following:

          Melky Cabrera/Upton/DeJesus


  3. cubs1967

    kudos to the miami marlins; a team I have a strong disdain for by giving adam greenberg a 1 day contract so the kid get actually “bat” in a MLB game.

    too bad, ricketts, a “supposed” cubs fans could not of done the same, but then again what has ricketts done for cubs fans so far……………zip zero goose egg city!

    kinda of stunning considering a nut-job owner like the marlins have with their nutty mgr doing something right………..oh well, svuem would screw it up anyway and probably bat mather as a PH for the kid as soon as a lefty came in the game.

    1. AB

      I had eggs and a blueberry/banana smoothie for breakfast

      1. Spencer

        that sounds delicious.

        1. BFiddy

          I had a bowl of LIFE cereal…I’m jealous.

          1. Frank

            Not even that for me . . . I think I should start eating better . . .

            1. wilbur

              Ham and cheese omelet … can hear my capillaries slamming shut.

      2. Southern Cub

        oatmeal (maple and brown sugar)……the instant kind

        1. Richard Nose

          instant oameal for me too…now I’m gassy. You?

    2. hardtop

      even though this post is total garbage, this:
      “oh well, svuem would screw it up anyway and probably bat mather as a PH for the kid as soon as a lefty came in the game”
      … is funny.

      1. cubs1967

        and accurate and not garbage…………but thanks for the backhanded compliment.

        1. Spencer

          how about “accurate and off topic”. Better?

      2. Frank

        See what happens when you encourage him?

  4. Cubbie Blues

    I like the typo on stewart:

    On the possibility of brining back Ian Stewart next year

    It is a bit salty.

  5. hardtop

    bounce back player = one or two uncharacteristically good year(s) followed by a series of characteristically bad years.
    please Jed, no more bounce back players.

    1. Featherstone

      Bounce Back players are fine as long as you trade them when they are at their peak. See Maholm, Paul

      1. hardtop

        point taken. i generally dont like our odds on that gamble, but i get you.

        1. Featherstone

          I agree it hurts to be on the wrong side of a gamble, but in a lost season like this and with such a low-downside to most of these deals why not? Maholm’s deal certainly didn’t break the bank and he netted a prospect to help fill the gaping hole that is our pitching depth.

          I’m perfectly fine with the low-downside high upside fliers that the FO seems to like to take. If only 1 pans out it will more than cover the rest of the lost gambles.

        2. terencemann

          Look at this on the bright side, at least now the team has been able to acquire some players at their lowest value and then selling high. In the past, it seemed like it was always the other way around.

          I have no doubt at this point that part of acquiring Ian Stewart was the idea that they could trade high on him given the lackluster 3B market if interest was high enough.

          1. terencemann

            Good Lord, the typos in that last post are offensive :(

  6. Southern Cub

    I don’t see how the Cubs don’t bring back Stewart next year (assuming no other team offers him anything of substance), as Brett mentioned, the 3B FA’s are HORRIBLE. Valbuena is almost assured a roster spot, and I’m betting Vitters is part of a trade during the winter.

    1. wilbur

      Have same sense …

  7. cubs1967

    congrats to ARam on being the oldest player in the modern era to have 25 dingers, 50 doubles and 100 ribbies…………..but we got Stewart ladies and gents……….and that’s all that matters!

    1. Chris

      They got one of their top 20 pitching prospects for letting him go too, with the extra draft pick acquired. He had a good season and I’m happy for him. The Stewart acquisition is another matter entirely…

    2. Frank

      Key word–”oldest.” That production would’ve meant what? Two more wins?

  8. dw8

    Angels just decided to decline options on Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. I think one of those guys would be excellent. Haren would probably be looking for a multiyear deal, but Santana might be a nice buy low, trade at the deadline type of guy.

    1. ssckelley

      I would do a 2 year for 20 million for either of those players, perhaps throw in a 3rd year option. The Angels must not see enough value in either of those pitchers to throw away 4.5 million to buyout both contracts.

    2. cubchymyst

      Any report if they are still planning on making a qualifying offer to either of them? I could see not picking up their options and then giving them a qualifying offer to get draft picks back.

      1. ssckelley

        That makes no sense. Let me get this straight you can decline an option, pay the buyout, but still make a qualifying offer to get a compensation draft pick? I don’t know much about qualifying offers but the Angels are already paying 3.5 million to buyout Harens contract. If I remember correctly the Cubs only agreed to pick up Ramirez’s option so that they would get a compensation pick, knowing Ramirez would decline it. My understanding was if the Cubs had not agreed to pick up the option year then they would not have gotten a compensation pick. So I do not understand how or why the Angels would get one.

        1. Mick

          I believe it’s because Ramirez’s contract option was under the previous CBA wheras Haren’s is under the new.

        2. cubchymyst

          Here is a link about Qualifying offers from MLB Traderumors

          I’m not sure if declining a team option means you can’t make a qualifying offer still. I don’t know why it wouldn’t.

          1. ssckelley

            It would not make any sense for the Angels to make a qualifying offer to either Haren or Santana. They have to pay Haren 3.5 million to buyout his 15.5 million dollar contract, if they have to make a 12 million offer to him to get compensation then they are back to paying 15.5 million. They have to pay Santana 1 million to buyout the last year and if they give him a 12 million offer then they would be back to paying him 13 million.

            1. Mick

              Yes, it does make sense for the Angels to make qualifying offers to both Haren and Santana because they’ll get comp picks when they sign someplace else. Conservatively, Haren will probably get $40 million and Santana something north of $20 million. There’s no way either of those guys are leaving that much money on the table.

  9. Ramy16

    Detroit may not pick Up Brennan Boesch’s option this winter.. Plays great defense, has some pop! Reference was from Hes a Dale Svuem type of player hard nose plays the game hard! Can play Rgt or Lft field

  10. Kyle

    “That’s not especially fair to restrict it only to the 40th overall. Look at the entire 2nd round if you want a real comparison.”

    That’s quite a bit of data to crunch through. And it’s not really relevant, because as you touched on, changes in the rules over the years have left “2nd round” meaning a lot of different things. Second-round picks have ranged anywhere from 17th to 94th overall.

    The Cubs’ 2nd round pick will be around 40th overall. Looking at picks in that range makes the most sense, not just generic “2nd-rounders.”

    At 39th overall, we have Barry Bonds (!), Don Baylor, and then the third-best is Todd Hundley. It gets a lot worse from there.

    At 41st overall, we have Fred Lynn, then Dan Plesac, and then Joba Chamberlain, with nothing useful after that.

    The ratios stay pretty consistent.

    “In addition not having a 2nd round pick limits your ability to sign your first round pick.”

    That doesn’t seem likely. The Cubs early-drafting team to go overslot last year.

  11. coal

    “All the money baseball operations is given will always go back to the club.”

    This statement is bugging me. Exactly how would “all the money baseball operations is given” NOT go to the club?

    Am I missing something here other than “we reserve the right to do anything we want in the future but I have to answer this question so I will provide a vague, nice soundinig non-answer.”

  12. ssckelley

    Kyle, I was the one who said Upton is only marginally better than Jackson and it is not absurd. You are judging Jackson (using WAR) on a small MLB sample size as I would hope Jackson would improve next year with some experience under his belt. The Cubs do not need another 6 or 7 hitter, they have to many of them as it is (Jackson being one of them)! DeJesus is under contract for next season, why not put him in centerfield and go after another corner outfielder? One that can hit in the middle of the lineup instead of the bottom.

    1. Kyle

      Mostly I’m judging Jackson on the fact that nobody has ever struck out at rates like that in AAA and the majors and gone on to become a productive MLB hitter. He literally can’t hit.

      Jackson is a No. 6 hitter at Iowa. He has no place in a major-league roster long-term.

      If you don’t like Upton, that’s fine, but Jackson can’t be the reason you past, imo.

      1. ssckelley

        But look at Uptons stats, they are not much better. He is going to end up with way over 160 strikeouts and is OBP is .300. I do not want to see Jackson in the lineup either but I would rather the Cubs roll the dice on him than go out and sign Upton to a FA contract. Again the Cubs have a centerfielder in DeJesus, if the Cubs are going to sign an outfielder then go out and get a big bat that plays the corner outfield position.

  13. Kyle

    “You seemed to skip over few candidates like Michael Bourn, Shane Victorino, and Melky Cabrera. I’d take any of those three over BJ Upton. Melky could actually be the steal of this off-season signings and Bourn would make a pretty nice leadoff man. Heck, if the Cubs signed those two, a couple of pitchers, and got creative at 3B, we might have a winning record.”

    Oh man, I totally forgot about Bourn. Bourn >>>> Upton.

    Cabrera I’m not a big fan of, but I totally get why most people would like him over Upton.

    Victorino? Meh, I’d rather have Upton.

    1. ssckelley

      Now you are talking! If the Cubs are going to sign a free agent center fielder than go out and get Michael Bourn. He would make a perfect lead off hitter in the Cubs lineup and then bat DeJesus at #2

    2. King Jeff

      I would love to have Bourn too, but I think he’s going to be vastly overpaid this offseason. He would solve a hole in the offense that’s been there since Kenny Lofton.

  14. Jim

    I don’t hear anyone talking about Ryan Dempster. Why not? Give him a 3 year deal with a chance to retire as a Cub. He was really good this year. Add him and maybe Marcum and that is a pretty good rotation. I would also go after after Melky. Braun had another good year after getting caught, so why not Melky? He might be looking for a shorter contract to restore his name. Those would be 3 solid moves to help this team!

    1. calicubsfan007

      @Jim: My only problem with Melky is that the Braun example is more an exception to the rule, rather than the rule itself. More times than not, these guys who get caught fall into obscurity. Otherwise, I can’t really argue with your Melky idea. The guy technically could qualify as a player Thedstein would seriously pursue.

  15. Tennessee Cub

    1st base–Rizzo
    2nd base–Barney
    3rd——-Need Somebody

    SP–Marcum, Liriano, Santana, Mcarthy
    SP–another of the above


    What ya’ll think? I think they could compete.

    1. BleedingCubbieBlue

      I am liking Anibel Sanchez and Ervin Santana.

    2. calicubsfan007

      @Tennessee: Yeah, I like Sanchez and Santana. I am not crazy about Marmol as our closer, but I understand the current reality that we can’t trade him. Maybe Chavez at third?

  16. calicubsfan007

    Hey Brett or whoever,
    What the heck happened on that Hot Stove page? Wow, it was world war iii for a while there! I wasn’t really sure what the other side was arguing. I personally think that Brett makes his sentiments known, but that is just me. I am not a brown nose for anyone, not even for Theo (I know, someone is gasping right now). Jeez, miss one day and I miss a helluva argument!

    1. ssckelley

      It might have gotten a little heated but it sure was fun. Arguing with fellow Cub fans beats watching the games.