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We’re not but a few days into the offseason – not even the REAL offseason when transactions can actually take place – and the Lukewarm Stove is already blazing. I’d apologize for the length, but, I mean, longer Lukewarm Stove is better than shorter, no?

  • Although Alfonso Soriano has received the bulk of the early offseason trade attention, there is another big-contract-having, good-season-having, possibly-value-having player the Cubs could be shopping this Winter: Carlos Marmol. The 29-year-old closer would seem a luxury in 2013 for a team like the Cubs, and Marmol is under contract only through that season – at a steep $9.8 million clip. Like Soriano, Marmol did his best to reclaim whatever value he’d lost in recent years, putting together a solid 3.42 ERA (115 ERA+) in 2012, striking out a healthy 11.7 per 9 (though walking an obscene 7.3). Since returning from a hamstring injury in late May with a directive to use his fastball more, Marmol’s numbers were downright Marmolian: 2.66 ERA in 44 innings, 60 strikeouts, 31 hits, 29 BB. He looked good. So, can the Cubs expect to net anything worthwhile? Eh. Not if they don’t eat almost all of the dollars on his deal. Even accepting his return to form, Marmol is still riding a streak of unpredictability – something no team deems attractive in a prospective closer. And if Marmol becomes a setup man on a playoff team, his value is reduced further. I wouldn’t expect more than a decent (think top 20ish) prospect and some salary relief for Marmol, or possibly a young, flawed, cost-controlled starting pitcher with some upside (think Chris Volstad).
  • Patrick Mooney digs into the Marmol situation a bit more. We’ll be hearing plenty about him this offseason.
  • Luis Valbuena for starting third baseman next year? Dale Sveum says he can see it. “I see him on the team,” Sveum said, per Carrie Muskat. “He’s definitely a quality guy, a left-handed quality utility player who can hit the ball out of the ballpark, give you quality at-bats all the time, catch the ball where he’s at. If we don’t sign somebody, you could definitely see him [at third on Opening Day]. He’s done a heck of a job.” Is it just me, or does that “if we don’t sign somebody” read like “holy sweet baby Jesus, sign SOMEBODY, Theo and Jed.” The Cubs do have an odd affection for Valbuena, who hit .219/.310/.340 in 303 plate appearances, and played decent, unspectacular defense at third base (UZR/150 says he was pretty good). His BABIP was just .260, which was definitely on the low end for his career in the bigs and minors (he’s vaccilated wilds between the .260 range and the .350 range, rarely settling in the middle). If that number is closer to .300, he hits closer to .260/.350/.400, and you start to see some value there, especially considering his negligible cost. But given the Cubs’ lack of upgradable options on the field, do they really want to settle for “some value” rather than “good”? But but, what other 3B options are out there this Winter? You can’t really predict trades (at least not yet), and the 3B free agent market reads “Kevin Youkilis, bunch of crap.” Maybe the Cubs were looking ahead when they mysteriously played Valbuena with extreme frequency in the second half. Maybe they knew he was going to be the best option in a pile of crummy options.
  • Upon the expectation that Brett Jackson will begin 2013 in the minors, and the possibility that Alfonso Soriano will be dealt (to say nothing of the possibility of David DeJesus being dealt), one of the focuses this offseason will undoubtedly be the outfield. To that end, one possible avenue could have the Cubs looking at the Diamondbacks’ crowded outfield picture. They’ve got Justin Upton, Chris Young, Jason Kubel, and Gerardo Parra there all as capable starters, plus A.J. Pollack and Adam Eaton as young up-and-comers looking for a shot. Upton is expected to be shopped, but he’s probably not on the Cubs’ radar given the expected cost. Parra would be a nice addition, offering excellent defense, offensive upside (he’s coming off a down year), and cost-control. The Diamondbacks might look to dump Young after another disappointing season and an ugly contract (it pays him $8.5 million in 2013, and comes with an $11 million team option in 2014 with a $1.5 million buyout), which could make him an interesting flip target for the Cubs, depending on the price. It’s fair to note that Assistant GM Shiraz Rehman and Director of Pro Scouting Joe Bohringer came over to the Cubs from the Diamondbacks, so there may be some extra insight there.
  • Bruce Levine chatted this week, and, although there isn’t much new, he does mention a name we heard about ever so briefly mid-season: Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. The youngster just turned 24, but hasn’t yet shown a great deal at the big league level in a couple of chances. He was a big-time prospect before last year, though, and projects to have a decent bat and a good glove. It’s hard to imagine that the Indians have already given up on him, especially because of the presence of vet Jack Hannahan. The Indians are a rebuilding club, which should make Chisenhall as attractive to them as he is to the Cubs. Maybe they’d prefer a couple younger, high upside pieces? I doubt this goes anywhere, but you can be assured that the Cubs will be exploring the market for players like Chisenhall all offseason.
  • Also: Bruce thinks the Cubs would take a shot at acquiring Justin Upton. Maybe. Of course, they’d have to wet Upton’s beak – the Cubs are one of four teams on his no-trade list.
  • Bryan LaHair believes it’s 50/50 that he returns to the Cubs or is traded next year. It sounds like he’s hopeful that there’s a team out there that would still view him as a nice, cheap starter next year. I’m just not sure his post-May numbers can be ignored.
  • It sounds like the A’s are going to try and re-sign Brandon McCarthy, who, before he was struck by a line drive in the head, was shaping up to be one of the more interesting possible Cubs targets in the offseason. Now that his future is uncertain (although, he’d had other health troubles that always cast a shadow over his effectiveness and his free agent value), it’s fair to wonder if he’ll want to sign a one-year “prove it” deal with the A’s, since that’s where he’s grown comfortable. Of course, the A’s have developed quite the young rotation in McCarthy’s absence.
  • Cubbie Blues

    Eaton broke his hand in the last week. I’d much rather have Justin.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’d rather have Justin Upton over the largely unproven/semi-injured rookie?

      Are you SURE?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Yeah, it wasn’t the smallest limb I’ve ever been on. In fact if placed vertically that said limb may resemble one found in a first growth forest.

      • Poopypants McGee

        I dont detect any sarcasm here whatsoever

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Nor here.

      • MightyBear

        I’d rather have Eaton. Probably won’t get either.

    • North Side Irish

      The price for Upton starts with at least one of Baez, Almora, and Soler. Cubs aren’t in any position to give up the assets it would take to acquire Upton.

      Given the relative costs, I’d rather have Parra.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I find Parra to be very, very intriguing.

        • CubFan Paul

          I believe Parra is arbitration eligible for the 1st time too. No way Arizona pays four OFs (parra, kubel, young, upton) next year

          • Chris

            Just looking at their choices, I’d guess they try to move Young first, then maybe Parra. I really feel like the Cubs need to do whatever they can to get into the Upton conversation. I know it would cost a nice package of prospects, but he’s the kind of player they should focus on acquiring, as he is young and would produce at the major league level immediately. Maybe there are salary concerns that Jed can exploit, thus lowering the overall package value. Maybe they can agree to take Young too, eating his hefty contract. While that would cost more prospects, quantity-wise, maybe you could lower the quality of some of that package. And obviously, they’d have to extend Upton to get his no-trade approval.

            • Stinky Pete

              I like Young. He started out balls on fire before he got hurt. He mentioned having a new approach. Not sure what happened when he came back but I think Young would be the cheapest option personnel wise with the highest “surprise” upside.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Young is sort of BJax Light: or perhaps I should write BJax Heavy. He K’s a ton (albeit not as much as BJax does over X PAs) and walks a lot (about 1 time in 10 PAs; perhaps a bit less than BJax would), with good power and a pretty dismal BA.

                I’m not sure that I’d be thrilled to have Young at a high price; however, his OBP would probably be higher than Upton’s would be.

        • BD

          I happen to agree, I think he would be an excellent fit on this team.

          • Poopypants McGee

            I would rather take a flyer out on Pagan, who is a FA this year, then give up prospects for Parra. I hate the fact of trading prospects away for an outfielder.

            If prospects are to be traded, I would rather them go towards bringing in a starting pitcher or two.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Totally fair; though Parra’s upside, particularly given their ages (31 and 25), is quite a bit higher. In fact, Parra’s age would put him in the possible range of a long-term piece. Pagan would clearly be a short-term piece. In a way, they are an apple and an orange – choosing one over the other might say more about the surrounding team than it does about the individual players.

        • MoneyBoy

          Brett … a commenter on Cubs Den (who lives on the West Coast) says he hears talk that Parra is a really bad dude in the clubhouse and with his attitude. He can likely be had for a song – but given that the two you mentioned came over from AZ, you’d likely think they’re clued in to whatever his drawbacks are.

          • TWC

            *pfft*

            West Coast-living jerks…

        • santo’s toupe

          i don’t. he’s a younger version of dejesus. (no knock on david). we have enough guys that hit 260 with less than 10 bombs and 50 rbi’s in the outfield.

        • cub4life

          Brett,

          Got a question for you, do youfeel that trading away so of our good prospects for any of those guys is beeter then going afte some one like BJ Upton (which looks to be a free agent now)? And if we were able to bring in BJ would Justin take us off his list and consider a trade? What is your opinion on this?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I’m not particularly into Upton at the price he’s likely to command, given the flaws in his game. I fear he was an early peak-er.

            Prospects exist for two reasons: (1) to contribute cheaply at the big-league level if they’re good enough and last long enough; (2) to be traded for big-league talent. I have no problem with either outcome.

            • cub4life

              got ya, don’t see him much so I don’t know his whole game, or if a move would be good for him.

              what would you trade for Justin or Parra? Is there anyone that you wouldn’t trade no mtter what?

              as for valbuena…please God let us find someone (Wright? Reynolds? Inge? Chavez? Wiggonton? anyone else you can think of?

      • Ted

        I think it’s absurd to say “we’d have to give up an unproven 20-yo for a proven very good 25-yo, we should never do that!” Odds that all three of those guys pan out are probably 33%; maybe one of them is as good as Upton’s peak last year, one is 2012 Upton, and one is Ben Grieve. Worst case scenario? We trade away 4 cheap years of a guy as good as Upton — more likely scenario, we trade away 4 cheap years of a guy worse than Upton in that same package. Maybe on the whole it’s too much — we have to gut our farm system at a time when we don’t want to do that. But the fact that including one of those three is de facto a no is baffling.

        • Stinky Pete

          The problem being Which one? I think most of us get that it’s highly unlikely that all three become superstars, but then it becomes a game of roulette. I’d like to keep all three and see which pan out.

      • cubsin

        Soler’s contract would be a bit pricey for most teams, at least until he’s had some success in AA. Neither Soler nor Almora could be traded until next summer. I suspect Arizona would want Baez and a whole lot more for Upton, If we just have to have an Upton in our outfield, I’d rather have B.J., who would cost a ton of money but no prospects, plus he has a cooler name.

        • Chris

          I don’t think you can give Baez up. But I do feel like the Cubs should explore what it would take for Upton, and at least attempt to work something out that didn’t include the best overall prospect. We’ve seen evidence of this type of negotiating tactic, like the Dodgers getting Ramirez. Either due to money, attitude, or both, Upton might be had for the right mix of prospects, without sacrificing the top 3. The Cubs most plentiful resource is money. Upton’s contract goes up to almost $10mil next season. If they offer to take on the cash, eat Young’s contract too, plus give decent prospects back, maybe it’s workable. Not a high percentage workable, but my point is it’s worth a try. Who knows. Maybe they already tried and failed. Maybe Arizona wants a pitcher, like Garza, back in return. Instead of counting on prospects coming back for him, maybe we can get a proven major league player, slightly older than Castro and Rizzo. This is the kind of thinking I hope the FO is considering. And I’m sure they have made inquiries on this front in some form or fashion. It’s easy to discount this thought and think there is no way they give Upton up without Baez, Soler, or Almora in the package, but I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that. Remove money from the equation, and those are probably correct assumptions. But teams make moves all the time where money is a big consideration. Even with the cash, the deal probably includes Vogelbach, and pretty much any other prospect they want. It’s worth a shot to discuss the details with Az.

          • daveyrosello

            Why should the Cubs want yet ANOTHER guy with a sub-300 OBP? No thanks.

      • Alou and Vinegar

        Cubs don’t have the assets it would take to get Upton

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Nice post Brett! What are ya thoughts of the Cubs giving Junior Lake at 3rd?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My thoughts are he would be eaten alive at the big league level if he started there in 2013.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’m not confident he can survive at Iowa in 2013 to be honest. He has some of the best tools in the system, but he still needs a lot of work. Then again, he made some major strides last winter.

        • AB

          “I’m not confident he can survive at Iowa in 2013 to be honest”

          To be honest, thats what people said about him at AA and he did fine.

          I know the AA guy on this forum hates him, but just a year ago people were talkinga bout converting him to a pitcher because they figured he wouldn’t hit his weight at Tennesee. He showed progress at the plate this year.

  • bluestainedivy

    Earlier in his season Valbuena had some clutch hits in key situations. I wonder how much that plays into his desirability in the eyes of management. But certainly, his numbers are underwhelming. He seems to have a little bit of the “big playability” in him.

    What’s the deal with Vitters? Was he bad enough to not get a more favorable look over Valbuena?

    • Drew7

      “Earlier in his season Valbuena had some clutch hits in key situations…He seems to have a little bit of the “big playability” in him.”

      S-A-M-P-L-E

      S-I-Z-E

      • Noah

        You have to remember, that we have a lot of people coming here doing their version of the Chevy Chase impersonation of Gerald Ford: I was told there would be no math.

        • Stinky Pete

          Lay down, Liberty. Good dog.

  • Kyle

    You might be right, but you are a little more hopeful of Marmol’s trade value than I am. My guess is we can choose between minimal salary relief or a minimal (think Zach Cates-style) prospect.

    • CubFan Paul

      Not if we pay all of his 2013 salary (minus the major minimum)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s not like I suggested the moon.

      • Kyle

        I get that, but I still think it’s a smidge optimistic. He’s still a 7 BB/9 pitcher.

        If he were a free agent, I wouldn’t expect him to get much more than a 1/$2 type flyer deal from somebody, so that’s what I expect his trade value to be.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      To be fair, Cates was No 31 (Baseball America) in a fairly decent San Diego system. He could easily have been top 20 in some other systems.

    • Grant

      I think Marmol’s worth more than you give him credit for. After he came back from his “injury,” he put up some pretty good numbers. I don’t think he’s worth $9m, but he could definitely round out a bullpen on a contender, especially at the discount on his services that the Cubs are likely to offer. I’d definitely say that’s worth a top-20 prospect, possibly better.

      That said, he may be worth giving one more chance. I was ready to give up on him too, but he seems to have figured something out. If he has, it could be worth overpaying next year to keep him around in 2015.

  • Patrick G

    I still don’t get why the D-Backs want to get rid of Upton? He’s still 24 and had an off year. I’ve heard things about his attitude or his lack of desire to play there, but he still has a lot of room to grow.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They won’t say it, but it sounds like it’s a combination of attitude/failure to reach peak talent and huge trade value. If the relative downgrade from Upton to Parra (for example) is a couple/few wins a year, but it nets them someone like Castro (not Castro, but someone LIKE Castro) … it becomes a pretty easy decision, no?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Personally, I think that it’s all in the owner’s head. He’s one of those self-made millionaires through computer programming, and he’s gotten it into his head that he got there entirely by hard work, etc. (ignoring the fact that thousands of other programmers with equal talent and work ethic are merely middle class), and “thus” that lack of success means lack of effort. Upton was not succeeding last year, ergo, he was not trying.

        One would think that a computer programmer would be better at logic than that…..

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah – he’s certainly said some head-scratching things like that to the media.

    • Chris

      I’ve seen the attitude stuff, but I think those are convenient things to blame. The real reason is probably the money he’s going to command going forward. Maybe they just don’t like him enough to have to pay him. If that’s the issue, he’s a talented young player and maybe the Cubs can swoop in and get him for value and not overpay. The opportunity should be evaluated, like any other one should. There aren’t young, talented, players like this that come available that often. And the change-of-scenery rhetoric is not always garbage. Occasionally, it works.

  • http://www.opportunity.org Seamhead

    I see Marmol, Garza and Soriano as July 31 deadline deals next season.

    They provide veteran stability through the first half of the season, and then at the deadline it is much easier to move whatever salary we don’t eat (and hopefully all three have had good seasons which reduces any productivity/health concerns).

  • Noah

    Gerardo Parra would be interesting. He would be fine in CF until Brett Jackson is ready (if Jackson ever is), then could slide over to RF when the Cubs inevitably trade David DeJesus. He’d need a caddy against LHPs, though, as he’s only a career .642 OPS hitter against them (although that’s way better than what DeJesus did against lefties last year). So the amount I’d be willing to give up for him wouldn’t be particularly high, with the best prospect I’d be willing to give being someone in the Junior Lake/Matt Szczur range, both of whom I view in more the 10-15 range on Cubs’ prospect lists now.

    I really want the Cubs to take a look at Angel Pagan in FA, though. Pagan fits the bill for the type of player who can really get undervalued in FA. He has some injury history. He’s never been a star. He’s on the wrong side of third. He’s good at a bunch of things but not standout great at anything.

    But he’s been a 4+ WAR player 2 of the last three seasons, and if you could get him to a reasonably priced 3 year deal he’d still only be 34 at the end of the deal and is pretty eminently tradeable.

    • Poopypants McGee

      agreed.

    • ssckelley

      Parra looks like DeJesus v2. Cubs need a slugging corner outfielder to compliment Rizzo & Soriano in the lineup.

      • Drew7

        “Cubs need a slugging corner outfielder”

        The Cubs *need* to have players that out-OPS their opponents.

        Brett Gardner was a 3.3 oWAR LF’er in 2010, and put up a 105 OPS+ (compared to DDJ’s 106 this year). He did it while slugging a hearty .379.

        Before you say it, yes – The Yankees had more thunder at other positions than we’d expect the ’13 Cubs to have, but that’s the point: You don’t *need* powerful corner-OF’ers to win, you just need guys to produce more net-runs at their positions.

        • Stinky Pete

          I absolutely hate the “position” argument.

          • Drew7

            Ok, so if Castro were to be able to play the same quality of defense in RF, he’d have the same value?

            Whatever your answer, explain to me *why* you hate it, if you don’t mind.

            • Stinky Pete

              No. Not that “position” argument. I was vague. The concept that Grace was a horrible 1st baseman because he didn’t hit enough homers or just defining what a players stats should be by their position. Yes a lot of 1st basemen hit 25-30 hrs but I don’t believe that should diminish Grace’s contributions. Basically agreeing with you about Gardner.

              • Drew7

                Gotcha

        • ssckelley

          But the Cubs do not need a bunch of #2 hitters, as that is what DeJesus is and that is what Parra appears to be. If the Cubs go after an outfielder in the off season then either give us someone who hits for power and can protect Soriano & Rizzo or give us a good leadoff hitter with speed to get on base in front of them. The Cubs are going to need another slugger in the lineup especially considering how unlikely it is we are going to see another 30 hr 100 rbi season out of Soriano.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Well, a lineup of DeJesuses plus the usual NL #9 hitters would probably have been the 8th or 9th best offense in the NL last year, which would have been a huge improvement.

            However, you need one of the top pitching staffs in the league to win with league-average offense; after all, the expectation with league average is that you are going to do the same as the other guys, and therefore you need to consistently and greatly reduce their productivity to win much. (Or get very lucky!)

  • william

    i could see texas exploring upton the most in a way of surrounding elvis andrus do to their need and want of a short stop i wouldnt mind seeing a person like swisher in a cubs uniform he is said to be the ideal clubhouse player and would make a good mentor for up and comers

  • Sebastian

    The Cubs should try to get double Upton

    • TWC

      You mean, Kate?

      • Sebastian

        Of course I mean Kate. Who else would I mean?

        • TWC

          Uh, I dunno… Bill? Bill Upton?

          • Ogyu

            Upton Sinclair?

            • Featherstone

              It is a jungle out there.

              • Frank

                I didn’t know Randy Newman switched to baseball . . . or was it Adrian Monk . . . ?

  • TakingWrigleyToSãoPaulo

    Although, I agree our offense needs a bit of work I think we´ll see enough improvement that the offense that we should focus more on the pitching side.

    Given the lack of depth in our farm system, I wouldn´t mind the cubs giving larger deals to Edwin Jackson (3-4 years @ 10-15 per) and Ervin Santana (3 years @ 10-15) until the younger guys drafted this year are ready.

  • Tobias

    If Cubs were looking at 3B then why not see what it would take for Ott? Texas might want to resign Napoli especially if Hamilton leaves.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    I would be shocked if we didn’t make a deal with Arizona before next season.

    Q: If you had to choose, who would you rather see starting at 3B on Opening Day: Valbuena or Stewart?

    • Kyle

      Valbuena, ainec

    • Picklenose

      Can I choose none of the above? If not I have to go with Valbuena for the better defense.

    • Poopypants McGee

      stewart. better defender, higher upside in terms of SLG.

      • Kyle

        I don’t think there’s too many people or metrics who would agree that Stewart is a better defensive 3b than Valbuena.

    • hansman1982

      Stewart

      • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

        valbuena

    • RoughRiider

      Trevor Bauer might be available. Although he won minor league pitcher of the year for the Dbacks they are miffed at him for his attitude when he came up to the majors and they didn’t bring him back up in September call ups.

      • nkniacc13

        He maybe but I think the cost will be to high for the Cubs

        • RoughRiider

          The Dbacks are looking for a shortstop and a veteran starting pitcher. The are much coser to competing for a playoff spot than the Cubs. A trade of Garza and, as much as I hate to say it, Barney for young starting pitching (a Cub need )and Eaton might be a good trade for both. By young starting pitching I don’t mean just Bauer but maybe Holmberg and reliever like Barrett as well.

      • Frank

        If Theo is going to make us suffer for the next 2-3 years or so, I really hope that he plans on agressively pursuing top prospects like Trevor Bauer when they become available. Otherwise, building a team based soley upon internal options is too much of a crap shoot. Ask the Pirates and Royals. Even the Brewers, who brought up Braun, Fielder, Weeks, Hart, and Gallardo within a 2-3 year time span needed to trade away what was left of their once top of the line farm system in order to be competitive.

        I know that once the prospects do start hitting the bog leagues, the Cubs will have money to spend to build around them, but it would sure be nice to add some sure thing prospects to the mix of raw but high ceiling guys.

  • Bucktown Scott

    I have decided that I will be pushing for a trade for Alex Cobb the rest of the offseason. I would give up Barney and minor league pitcher for Cobb. He is 25 and has been solid the last 2 years. Rays have pitching and would value Barney’s defense highly.

    getting Upton would be great, and worth giving up a top prospect, but the Cubs need to focus on pitching first, second and third.

  • Bren

    So is that all she wrote for Vitters and Jackson already?

    • Kyle

      Maybe? Probably not, I’d guess.

      Both could be dealt for pitching over the offseason if any other team really likes them. Otherwise, they’ll go back to Iowa and hope to earn another shot.

  • Kyle

    Watching the Wild Card Showdown, I’m again struck but how my I hate and envy the @#%!@#% Cardinals.

    If they win tonight, that’s their 10th postseason series win in the last decade. The Cubs have one in the last 103 years, 2 if you want to include the 1998 regular season tiebreaker game.

    Their roster composition is just $%@$ perfect. Top 8 position players: 4 homegrown, 3 high-priced free agents, one trade. Top 8 pitchers: 4 homegrown, 2 trades, 2 free agents (plus Carpenter as an FA).

    They’ve managed to build this perfect machine where the farm system just produces oodles of useful players, despite not having lost 90 or more games since 1990.

    • KyleNovak

      Agreed. I am equal parts envious, very angry, and yet. . . respectful.

      Not to mention that organization has been on the receiving end of some very serious good small-sample karma. Playoff teams like all of those from 2000s Minnesota Twins are shaking their heads in disgust at this.

  • Jeremy

    Intriguing corner OF option for me is if the Yankee’s decline their option on Curtis Granderson. Id sign him in a heartbeat, especially if we trade Soriano. Give him a 3 yr deal between 30-40 million. We gotta enough money to make that happen and it doesn’t cripple us financially.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No chance they decline the option. $13 million with a $2 million buyout means he costs them $11 million – that’s not even a decision. Even if he finishes in the top 5 in MVP voting, and the option increases to $15 million, he’s worth the $13 million. He’s a Yankee in 2013.

  • fromthemitten

    The front office’s obsession with Valbuena reminds me of Hendry’s obsession with Neifi Perez

  • Picklenose

    worst invoking of the infield fly rule ever?

  • Robert

    This game is absolutely crazy!!!! Cards get so effing lucky!!!

  • Believe in 2015

    Can you see the Cubs trading prospects for young major league pitching talent?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Absolutely. But then again, lots of teams would like to do that, too.

  • Picklenose

    Did MLB bring in replacement umps for this game? Although, with the errors the Braves have done a nice job of shooting themselves in the feet anyway. Either way the Cards are not earning this win.

  • Kevin

    Terrible call! MLB needs to save face and overturn call.

    • THEOlogical

      I was at the game, horrible call. It may have been right but the umpire was late on calling it. I wasn’t one of those who threw bottles or shoes onto the field, but it sure was classless and funny, all at the same time. It was more about it being Chipper’s last game than anything else. Chipper could go for presidency in the next election and win all of the Southeastern U.S.

  • Chase S.

    I think to say the call was “bad” per se isn’t necessarily true.

    The infield fly rule states: “a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule… the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder—not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.”

    It’s arguable the infielder would have made the play if not for the miscommunication. I think the big issue with the call is that the umpire did not identify it as an infield fly until the ball was close do falling in the outfield. I think it could be a different scenario if he had called it off the bat.

    Regardless, I do disagree with the call and I will be rooting against the Cardinals as hard as I would be cheering for the Cubs in a WS game.

  • morgan

    tough already watching how exciting these playoffs are already, and have to think that the cubs wont be there for maybe another 2 years or more, just hard

  • Dustin S

    The Valbuena situation is going to be like a lot of them on the team. Theo will be happy to keep a cheap placeholder solution at 3rd for 2013 (like Ian Stewart was going into this year). Plus if by chance Valbuena tears it up next year that’s a bonus. But I’m sure they’re really hoping it’s Baez or Lake by 2014. Mix and match however between those 2 and Castro defensively for SS and 3B, maybe even 2B if they both pan out and then Barney becomes a trade chip.

  • Cubs1967

    all i need to know about dale quade is the fool played ian stewart wayyyyyyyy too long when he was hurt and sucks AND now it’s the luis valbuena; he of the .219 avg? WTF!!!

    it’s highly questionable at this point after 3 yrs of no playoff for theo; the worst choke job in MLB history by theo with the bosox, and the huge improvement the padres made once jed got out of there this year; that these 2 or DQ have any clue….

    no one needs to go to the circus this winter at the UC; the show is already there at wrigley!

  • nkniacc13

    I still think that lake gets traded this offseason.

    • daveyrosello

      What would be the point of that? He hasn’t developed enough yet, and has enough questions about his game still, to generate any kind of meaningful talent coming back in return. Instead, you see how things develop with another year in the minors (AAA?) and hope he shows enough that THEN you can trade him for good talent. Because I agree with others, if he makes the big leagues, it won’t be with the Cubs, we have enough better (on paper) SS and 3B prospects that we don’t need to deal with Lake’s question marks.

  • Carne Harris

    Holy Sweet Baby Jesus is my favorite chocolate Easter bunny.

    Youkilis wouldn’t be a bad option. He’d provide veteran leadership, and maybe he’s looking for a prove-it 1 year deal too. I’m big on Valbuena also. Quality ab’s and good in the clutch. We have so many 3b’s in the pipeline, I wouldn’t mind him starting, or maybe him and Cardenas platooning. Also with so many in the pipeline, I wouldn’t be surprised if we went for a utility type guy who can play more than just third so they can move around when our prospects start getting called up. Jeff Keppinger or Brandon Inge maybe.

  • baldtaxguy
    • Jeremy

      I’d be alright with Cabrera. Good player.

      • Njriv

        If he can produce like he did in 2011, those are power numbers for a third baseman, but do the Cubs have enough to get him, that’s the issue and it also depends on what they are going to do with Ian Stewart. The are going to have to pick-up at least two starters and depending on what they do with Garza, they are going to need three if they don’t get any in return, they really do not have any in-house options to fill in for a whole season. I would also like to see them pick up another outfielder and they are going to have to build a new bench, because the only one I see on the bench for 2013 is Valbuena. The Cubs have money to spend and it should help speed up this rebuilding process, compared to other teams that are also rebuilding and don’t have any.

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