Quantcast

Although there isn’t a ton of activity directly impacting the Cubs right now, there’s a great deal of tangential impact to discuss, given recent movement …

  • So, that A’s/Diamondbacks/Marlins trade (well, technically, a series of trades) that went down this past weekend is interesting for the Cubs in a number of respects. In case you missed the details, the A’s picked up Chris Young from the D-Backs, the D-Backs picked up Heath Bell (and cash) from the Marlins, and there were peripheral pieces sprinkled throughout (Cliff Pennington went to the D-Backs as well, and I suppose he has some value as a defense-first middle infielder). But Young, Bell, and Cash were the big three in the deal. Sub-bullets:
    • That Bell was movable certainly makes you wonder how things would shake out for Carlos Marmol on the trade market. Bell is owed $21 million over the next two years, and the Marlins ate $8 million of that to move him (and received a “meh” prospect in the process). That puts Bell at $6.5 million per year for the next two years for the D-Backs. Marmol is owed $9.8 million next year, but only next year. Thus, the total commitment to Marmol is less than that of Bell (the amount the D-Backs took on, that is). How do they stack up as pitchers? Bell was inarguably the better pitcher in 2011, but was inarguably far worse in 2012 (each was excellent in 2010, with the edge going to Bell). Factor in Marmol’s hot second half (which wasn’t just numbers – he actually look good, having both quality velocity on his fastball and quality bite on his slider), and it’s debatable whose 2013 picture looks brighter. You also have to consider that Bell just turned 35, while Marmol just turned 30. Who’s more valuable going forward, considering age, performance, and contract? Gut tells me it’s Bell (one bad year in a new place, more consistent track record; Marmol has been erratic and arguably declining for a couple years now), but it’s really, really close. So what does this deal tell us about Marmol’s trade value? I think it says he can be traded, and could even net a decent (top 25 in the system type) prospect if the Cubs ate a few million in salary – because then, suddenly, Marmol becomes a younger version of Bell on a one-year commitment, rather than two. (Of course, maybe a team would actually want more control of Marmol … but not at a $7+ million annual clip.)
    • As for the crowded D-Backs outfield situation, does dealing Young – who would have made some sense for the Cubs as a lottery ticket (as I predicted, he was dealt for little more than salary relief) – mean Arizona is all set? Not quite, says Ken Rosenthal, who believes Justin Upton will still be dealt. Remember, though, that Upton has the Cubs on his no-trade list, so before even starting that discussion, accept two things in getting Upton: (1) the offer would have to *start* with Javier Baez, and (2) the Cubs would probably have to agree to ink Upton (who, yes, is just 25, but is coming off a down year) to a big, big, big extension for him to approve the deal (he’s currently under contract for three more years and $38.5 million). That doesn’t mean it’s impossible (usually I poo-poo these kind of outlandish suggestions, but there is some plausibility here, given the Cubs’ young core, theoretically open outfield spot, and tons of payroll space).
    • On the A’s outfield side, Billy Beane says he doesn’t intend on dealing an outfielder, but with Young, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Coco Crisp, they’ve got an obvious glut (even with Smith DH’ing regularly). Easy bet says Crisp will be dealt, and the Cubs will kick the tires – they’re in the market for a center fielder, and they had interest in Crisp last year. Crisp, who turns 33 next week, was decent in 2012 – 105 OPS+, good defense – and is owed $7 million in 2013 (with a $7.5 million option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout). Unfortunately for the A’s, the outfield market is the one area that free agency looks primed to provide a fair number of quality options this year. They might have to move Crisp for scraps.
  • So, the Nippon Ham Fighters (they fight ham! (no, not really)) drafted Shohei Otani yesterday in the NPB draft, which provides an interesting twist to the question of which teams will be able to try and sign the 18-year-old Japanese prospect. Nippon Ham holds his rights now until the end of March 2013 (the window to sign him), which means that he can’t sign with an MLB team until at least then, if he doesn’t end up signing with Nippon Ham. Is it enough of a delay to get the Cubs back in the mix? Maybe, if Otani can wait a few more months after that to sign when the next international signing period opens up on July 2. In case you missed that whole discussion, here you go. (There’s some debate about how hard and fast the rule is that says MLB teams can’t swoop in and sign Otani right now – some say it’s just a gentlemen’s agreement that teams might be willing to break, others say it’s, like, a rule-rule. We’ll see what happens.)
  • Nick Cafardo says the Giants will shop playoff reliever Tim Lincecum this Winter. Obviously the memories of him as the best starter in baseball aren’t that cold, but this year was a disaster, both in results and velocity. He’s under control for just one year, and is a super expensive $22 million. A team might bite, but what are they really getting? The hope that he bounces back and then the right to negotiate a huge extension with him if he does bounce back? There’s a lot of ugly there.
  • (Cafardo also mentions that the Yankees should take a look at Matt Garza, among other number two starter types.)
  • Junior Lake trade bait? Yes, says Phil Rogers – and anyone else who questions Lake’s development, despite all the raw athletic ability in the world. I would be very surprised if Lake, who is already on the 40-man roster, is a Cub come Spring Training. Call that a hunch.
  • Spencer

    Anyone who takes Lincecum is crazy. If a team wants him, wait a year and get him for half that money.

    • Richard Nose

      SF will be paying a share of the $22 mill.

  • cub4life

    Interesting.

    Brett, any thoughts on doing a piece just after the WS (or maybe before if that is your plan) on the current 40 man? Like who is there, what there current contract status is, and the plausibility that they will/will not be on the team (in percentages and in your opinion) next season?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I definitely want to do something like that.

      • cub4life

        sweet. something else that just popped into my mind, possibly something on the players that were brought in (via free agency, trade or through the wavers {or any other way they joined the team}{and who we lost for them}) and see how that deal was either an advantage or bomb for us?

  • Richard Nose

    God I love Upton. But, God I love Baez.

    • Noah

      Upton’s power coming and going so much would be the concern for me. Baez as the only big piece I’d seriously consider, as I have concerns with Baez’s approach, but, for example, I wouldn’t give Baez and Vizcaino or even Villanueva (who I like more than Szczur).

      I would be willing to give a wide swath of what I’d consider our second tier prospects for Upton though, starting with B-Jax. But I have a feeling at least one current Top 25 guy would have to headline an Upton trade.

  • Dr. Percival Cox

    I’m not sure why the Cubs would consider moving their top prospect — by a fairly wide margin — for a somewhat erratic (OPS+ the last 5 years: 107, 129, 110, 141, 107) 25-year-old outfielder that his current team is doing everything in their power to rid themselves of. This seems like a recipe for disaster.

    I’m not in the hell-no-he-can’t-go camp on Baez, but if you do move him, you need to get real, established MLB quality back. Nothing about Upton tells me he’s anything more than a lottery ticket with a higher floor and lower ceiling than Baez.

    • Chris

      If the conversation starts at Baez, that’s probably where it should end too. I really like the idea of taking a shot on Upton, and I get you have to give to get, but there has to be restraint. If we know that Az is looking for pitching, and Garza is available, why couldn’t he be the start of a conversation? It’s just hard to believe that other teams are considering giving up their best prospect for Upton as a starting point for discussion. If they do, congrats to them and Az.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        The problem with Garza is that he remains the best chance to get some impact pitching at the high levels of the organization, and moving him for Upton would, obviously interfere with that process. Unless Theo gets the entire DBacks brass completely hammered at the Winter Meetings so they think Garza and Lake for Upton and Skaggs is a perfectly fair deal, I don’t see how Theo would go this route.

    • Myles

      I has a large post that got erased when I borked my computer, but suffice it to say, if Arizona offered Upton for Baez, straight up, and it was contingent on signing Upton to like a 7 year, 15AAV deal, I’d do that 100 times out of 100. Upton is the player you hope Baez ends up to be.

      • terencemann

        It wouldn’t be Baez for Upton, straight-up, though. You’d have to part with a few other prospects. This would probably be a pretty big trade. For Haren, they got Corbin (a 2nd round pick), Saunders (a #4-5 starter), Skaggs (a #40 draft pick and a big sleeper prospect at the time), and Rafael Rodriguez (a throw-in)..

        • Myles

          Oh, I know. I’m just saying that Baez is on the table if that’s what it takes to get an Upton like. If it costs SIGNIFICANTLY more than that, it gets much dicier.

      • Dr. Percival Cox

        If Upton is the player you hope Baez could be, why is Arizona doing EVERYTHING in their power to get him out of town? They’re stupid? The Aramis Ramirez comparison has been brought up, but there is a big difference, Ramirez was traded knowing he was going to be amazing because he was expensive. The Pirates were unwilling to pay him — the Cubs were. Upton appears to not be about money as much as the Diamondbacks genuinely don’t want him playing for them any more. That is NOT an encouraging sign.

        Second, it means we can’t trade Baez for, say, a #1 starter or a guy who has established himself as the best at his position and is on the market if we need a bat (think Mark Texeira a few years ago; as bad as that deal worked out for the Braves, it was still worth making.) Is what Upton — with all his issues — brings to the table worth more than that? I say no.

        • Myles

          What are you hoping to get out of Javier Baez that is more than what Justin Upton has done for 6 years?

          Baez is 19. He’s currently struggling in the AFL.
          When Upton was 19, he was ALREADY IN THE MAJORS.

          Justin Upton is going to be 25 next year, coming off of his “worst” season so far, where he was still a league-average RF. His struggles last year were entirely luck-based (he actually had the lowest SO/BB of his career last year, but a low BABIP and HR/FB).

          Baez could be all that and more. But he could be David Kelton, or Felix Pie, or Bobby Hill, or Hee Seop Choi, or Corey Patterson, or Brett Jackson, or Josh Vitters, or Tyler Colvin, or Ryan Harvey, or Brooks Kieschnick. We all like to think that “our guys” are can’t-miss prospects but that’s dangerously untrue. I don’t know why Arizona wants to trade Upton but if they do we’d be fools not to pursue him.

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            What if they want to trade him because he’s an uncoachable jerk who causes all kinds of problems in the locker room?

          • Ted

            Thanks for this Myles. The prospect homer train gets a little too much steam around here.

            • Lou

              Couldn’t agree more but when Theo’s driving that train what do you expect exactly?

          • When the Music’s Over

            Yes, +1000

          • Tommy

            Myles nailed it. Nice post. I’ll take a proven commodity over a possible one every single time!

            • Tommy

              However, I wouldn’t give up 5 of our top 20 prospects for him. That would seem to be too great a price to pay imo.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          why is Arizona doing EVERYTHING in their power to get him out of town? They’re stupid?

          In a word, yes. The DBacks primary owner is one of those idiots who thinks that performance reflects character. Upton had a down year. Ergo, he’s a bad person. Now, this owner made a large fortune through computer programming, but it seems that his understanding of people operating systems is pretty crummy.

          That said, chances are very good that intelligent people in the DBacks FO are doing what they can to convince the owner that he should have paid more attention to Stratomatic baseball!

          • wilbur

            There is a reason they put IT folks in the basement and happy talkers between them and the rest of the org …

          • terencemann

            I didn’t think Kevin Towers was a bad GM but then he traded Chris Young for a utility player and a relief pitcher past his prime.

    • Kyle

      Baez for Upton. Hmm.

      On the one hand, getting 25-year-old MLB talent for A-ball talent is a great thing (cue screaming about Hendry doing this all the time or something). As much as I adore Baez, both for his prospect status and his attitude, there’s a lot of floor to go along with the ceiling. He’s still in the “presuming he learns some plate discipline, he won’t get eaten up by advanced pitching” stage, and that’s always a big “if.” Right now, he’s Corey Patterson (former No. 2 overall prospect, a height Baez will likely never reach, though it’s possible) with more bat speed and a lot less defense.

      It’s close. If this were a year ago, I’d say yes. But Upton’s stock (and his health isn’t a gimme) have taken a bit of a hit and Baez is on the rise, so I think I’d rather just hold on to Baez and see if “whatever the @%@#% he wants” includes making those Sheffield comps a reality.

  • gblan014

    Can someone remind me how Justin Upton’s no trade list works? He has four teams on there and the Cubs are one of those four team? Is it more of a strategy on his part, because since he can only name 4 teams, he named 4 big market teams who’d be most likely to ask about him in a trade? Or he legitimately would like to play for 26 other teams before he’d play for the Cubs?

    Also, according to Cot’s Contracts, the four “original” teams on his list were Cleveland, Detroit, KC and Oakland. Does that mean he gets to change the list every now and then and his present list includes the Cubs?

    • Spencer

      maybe he just picks the four teams with the worst records each year, so the Cubs are always on it.

      • terencemann

        Usually Cleveland makes every list because nobody wants to be there.

    • cubchymyst

      My understanding is putting big markets down allows for them to get more money. So he can block a trade to them unless they cough up a bonus or extension.

      • gblan014

        Hmmm that seems like an odd strategy. “The Cubs won’t give me an extension or a bonus if you trade me there? Fine! Trade me to the Pirates without an extension then!” I guess he’d be banking on the Pirates (or any team like the Pirates) not ever being in the market for him.

        • Chris

          It’s more of a gamble. They put big market teams on the list with the hopes that they can get more money out of them if/when they try to acquire you. Being that it’s more likely for the Cubs to trade for a young, salary-increasing, player than it would be for the Pirates, that’s the gamble to try and get more green. There are always legitimate teams on the list as well, like Cleveland.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It depends – some guys include teams to whom they truly don’t want to be traded, some guys include big market teams so they can squeeze them for an extension.

      On the list, it also depends – all up to the language of the contract.

      • gblan014

        It would be interesting to know why the Cubs are on that list then. Big market team from which to squeeze an extension or team he never wants to be play for if his life depended on it, you know.

        • JoeyCollins

          If I remember right the 4 teams were the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Indians (could be completely worng on this). With the thought that the Indians were the team he would hate to play for and the other three being the teams with deep pockets.

  • cubchymyst

    If the asking price from Lincecum is low enough the Cubs should be in on him. If he bounces back he would net a good prospect or 2 at the trade deadline and at this point the cubs have the cap space to add him.

    • Spencer

      I hope those one or two prospects he nets on the possibility of bouncing back after a horrendous year are better than the ones we would have to give up.

      • cubchymyst

        That is why I mentioned to do it if the asking price is low enough. The cube could probably absorb all of the 22 million which is a lot of salary relief for the Giants. The giants will still want a prospect or two, possible Lake.

        • cubchymyst

          “The Cubs” not the cube.

          • terencemann

            The funny thing about Lincecum is that it’s only a one year contract. If he were traded for 2 disposable prospects and then bounced back, it could be huge for the Cubs whether or not they keep him or trade him.

            • terencemann

              I mean this won’t happen but it would be cool if it did.

  • Myles

    I would take Lincecum if it was just salary (and the Giants would have to eat a good amount of it: say, $7 million). You could do worse than a $15mil gamble on a multiple Cy Young award winner to spin at the deadline (where you could eat the remaining $8 mil on the contract and come away with a premium prospect). This is an expensive way to attempt to “buy” prospects, but it IS a way and the Cubs have several pitching vacancies. I don’t think Lincecum has another Cy in him, but he could definitely have a few more premium years. Let’s not forget, he still struck out over 9 an inning, and was pretty hit-unlucky last year:

    BABIP: .316, career .301, MLB average .299
    HR/FB: 8.8%, career 5.9%, MLB average 7.6%
    LD%: 23%, career 20%, MLB average 19%

    His walks definitely went up and he’s not without warts. However, the Cubs are uniquely positioned to take on a “reclamation” project like Lincecum and it’d be unwise to not at least kick tires.

  • scorecardpaul

    I would love to see Lincecum pitch for the Cubs. If it’s only money (it’s not my money) absolutely.

  • Mick

    Production-wise, trading for Justin Upton would remind me a lot of like when the Cubs traded for Aramis Ramirez who coincidently was 25 at the time too. Giving up Baez would be a steep price to pay especially what we originally gave up for Ramirez:

    July 23, 2003: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Kenny Lofton and cash to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later, Matt Bruback (minors) and Jose Hernandez. The Chicago Cubs sent Bobby Hill (August 15, 2003) to the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade.

    Also, timing-wise of the Ramirez trade, the 2003 Cubs, without re-opening the wound, were pretty good. The 2013 Cubs…not so much. If there was any other way around trading Baez, like packaging Jackson, Lake, and Vitters or Garza, I’d do it. But, *starting* with Baez could get a little hairy in 3 years when he’s the starting SS for the National League All-Star team representing Arizona.

    • gblan014

      We can all agree that the Ramirez trade in 2003 was a complete and utter steal on the part of the Cubs. It’d be nice to pull something off like that again, but at the same time you can’t really expect those kinds of deals all the time.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        *grumble* It should have been a Cubs cap on Hill’s Cooperstown plaque…..

        :-)

        • Kyle

          Funny we’re talking about Hill and Szczur on the same day. That’s a strong offensive comp in my mind.

          • Dr. Percival Cox

            Just because this will never happen again: I actually agree with you on this, and think they’ll probably have similar MLB careers.

          • jt

            Cubs Den John Arguello’s critique of Szczur’s swing made me think of Johnny Damon’s “sweep”. However, Damon was amazing at adjusting his hands to the breaking ball. It couldn’t be missed even by an avg fan such as myself. It doesn’t seem Szczur is going to compare at the level.
            Perhaps Nate McLouth offers a better comparison. McLouth developed HR pop where as it would seem the hope is for Szczur to show gap power. The McLouth’s 2009 season would be my best hope with 13 of the HR’s turned to doubles and more SB’s. Sure he could become Bobby Hill. There is a good chance that he will. But there is also a chance he could do the above.
            Consider that The Yanks found value in Brett Gardner

  • Kyle N

    “BABIP: .316, career .301, MLB average .299
    HR/FB: 8.8%, career 5.9%, MLB average 7.6%
    LD%: 23%, career 20%, MLB average 19%”

    Hmmm. . His 2012 BABIP against was .309 and his 2012 HR/FB was 14.6% (!!) according to Fangraphs. I see your data is from B-R.

    Anyone else a bit concerned at how these two sabermetric data institutions are really moving way apart with their calculations and final products? Especially on something pretty straightforward like BABIP. . .

    (HR/FB could vary, obviously depending on how a FB is classified versus a LD. But 14.6% compared to 8.8% can really change the interpretation of the data.)

    • Kyle

      IIRC, one version of HR/FB is actually HR/Outfield Fly Ball and gives infield pop-ups a separate category, the other doesn’t.

      • Myles

        You got it. I use BR because it’s much, much cleaner.

      • Kyle N

        Ah, that would explain a difference.

        Still wondering why the BABIP figures are different. I have noticed a discrepency for multiple players when comparing B-R and FG.

    • ron

      You know 67 percent of all statistics are made upon the spot.

      • wilbur

        Your number is different than mine, I thought it was two thirds …

  • Me

    Brett,

    What about Garza for Upton? Would the Dbacks be interested in him and lets say like Vitters?

    • gblan014

      My guess is it would depend how bad the D’Backs want him out of town and I don’t suspect they want him out that bad. Garza’s hurt and only 1 year left on his contract and, well, if we want to get rid of Vitters because he sucks, I don’t see why he would look all that interesting to the D’Backs.

      • Rizzo 44

        Garza (if healthy), Lake, Vitters, and Jackson plus 12M for Upton and Tyler Skaggs.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          No chance the DBacks take it. One year of Garza and three increasingly marginal prospects for a 25 year old with all the talent in the world and a top-10 (in all of baseball) prospect? Garza *might* get you one of them, if healthy.

          • gblan014

            Exactly. Again, if Vitters, Jackson and Lake look expandable to us, I’m sure they look expandable to others, too.

            • Rizzo 44

              If a team trades players then they were expandable to each of those teams. Thats a stupid statement. Those players all have talent of so kind. Just because they didn’t prove it in one month in the show doesn’t mean they dont have talent. Look at what Rizzo did this year vs. last.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                Really, you’re showing your ignorance of minor league players here. Rizzo was a still a top first base prospect after struggling last year. The others are dropping fast because scouts are not sure their tools will ever play at the big league level. Comparing Rizzo’s 2011 season and Vitter’s call-up is a little like comparing apples and gearshifts.

                • Rizzo 44

                  Not really Vitters wasn’t ready that simple. He can hit so I disagree with you. BJax strikes out a ton I agree. But for a package of Baez, BJax, Vitters, and Soriano with 30M going to the Rays doesn’t look that bad to me. Rizzo came cheap to the Cubs. Cashner stays hurt and Rizzo is going to be soild if not a super star for the Cubs.

              • Kyle

                I feel like our most expandable prospect is Vogelbach. None of the rest seem all that expandable.

                *rimshot*

                • DarthHater

                  He’ll be performing all week, ladies and germs. And please, try the meatloaf.

    • cubchymyst

      If Garza is traded pitching talent should to come back. The cubs lack of pitching in the upper minors is likely why Cabrera is being tried as a starter again. Garza is the cubs biggest trading chip that is likely to be traded, and if he goes i’d like to see the Cubs use him to bring back a power arm. I’d be fine with locking Garza up to an extension as well.

  • Rizzo 44

    I think the Cubs should work a deal with the Rays for David Price. Cubs send Javier Baez and Christian Villanueva for David Price. He’s under control until 2015 and we have the cash to sign him long term. I also would like to see the Cubs make a play for Evan Longoria. If that means scraping the deal for Upton and trying to get Price and Longoria in a deal I would try that first. Just my opinion.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Your deals are completely unrealistic. The Rays wouldn’t take it. Baez is good. He’s not 3 cost-controlled years of Price good.

      • Rizzo 44

        They can’t afford Price already being talked about in a trade.

        • Rizzo 44

          I can see the Dbacks giving the Rays a better deal but not many teams can do better than Baez. They need a SS so I think a deal could be worked out maybe a 3 team deal with the Cubs, Dbacks, and Rays.

          • gblan014

            I think a lot of teams could do better than Baez, especially if we assume that 28 teams other than the Cubs would also love to have David Price in their rotation. I’d believe that he’s getting to be too expensive for TB, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have plenty of great offers to choose from should they want to trade him.

            • Rizzo 44

              And I’m not saying just Baez he’s just got to be in the deal.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          Presumably you’re talking about this Buster Olney piece written up at MLB trade rumors:

          Price’s trade value will never be higher than it will be this winter, Olney writes. However, the left-hander’s salary will rise considerably from $4.35MM following his Cy Young-caliber 2012 season. This means the budget-conscious Rays will probably decide to part with Price at some point between now and when he hits free agency after the 2015 season. “There will be a day when the Rays trade him,” Olney writes.

          That’s a very far cry from: they’re going to trade him this off-season for a lesser package. A deal for Price this winter will make Garza’s take seem small.

          • Rizzo 44

            I agree

          • Rizzo 44

            Yes it would take a great deal to get him, but I think it can be done.

            • Dr. Percival Cox

              Your deal isn’t even in the ballpark. I’m not sure the Cubs could make it work, because the Rays would want a top young starting pitcher in return, and Vizcaino is coming off TJ with injury concerns galore.

              • Rizzo 44

                Okay Dr.

                • Dr. Percival Cox

                  Let’s reverse this. The Cubs actually have David Price. Then they trade him to the Twins for Miguel Sano and Travis Harrison. How would you react to that?

                  • Mick

                    Holy crap, you said Miguel Sano, I’d give my left ventricle for that guy. But, why Travis Harrison, another 3B prospect. Do you plan on moving Sano to LF! Tell me, Dr. Percival Cox, what do you know???

                • Mick

                  Who would we offer? Would Baez, Vizcaino, Vogelbach, Candalerio, Amaya, Sczur, Lake, Vitters, and Jackson get it done? Is it worth trading all of our top prospects for 1 great pitcher when we’re coming off a 100-loss season? I say we save our bullets for when we’re good again and then go deep-sea fishing,…because we fish with guns, what?

  • WGNstatic

    Regarding Otani, I would be shocked to see an MLB team sign him before March. I don’t remember the exact situation, but didn’t the MLB higher ups nullify the contract of a Korean players signed by (I believe) the Orioles this last year?

    So, if he has to wait until April to sign with an MLB team, I have a hard time imagining why he wouldn’t wait until July 2 to sign formally, then go to work on the 3rd.

    Certainly if he is viewed by teams as someone worth blowing up the “cap” to get, then the Cubs may likely be out, but, we will see.

  • Peter O

    I don’t think the Fighters hold Otani’s rights. He hasn’t signed anything yet, so there’s no reason he couldn’t sign with a MLB team.

    • Melrosepad

      As Brett put in the bullet, they hold his rights due to drafting him. He can only make a deal with Nippon Ham until March, when he would become available to the US.

      • Peter O

        Source? It doesn’t make sense to me that he can’t negotiate with teams outside NPB simply because the Fighters drafted him.

        Imagine a kid drafted by an MLB team, I don’t think there would be anything stopping him from signing with an NPB team.

        • DarthHater

          There is an agreement between NPB and MLB under which a player drafted in NPB isn’t supposed to be signed by MLB for a period of time. Exact terms and enforceability of the agreement unknown. Source? Just about any article about Otani being drafted published today. Go read them yourself.

          • Peter O

            Well Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote an article today that stated this:

            “Otani, an 18-year-old Japanese high school righthander, has stated publicly both before and after the NPB draft that his desire is to sign directly with an MLB team. Just as an MLB draft pick in the U.S. is free to sign with a Japanese team instead, Otani could choose to decline an offer from the Fighters and join an MLB club, and he doesn’t have to wait to make a decision.”

            So I guess there’s that.

            • DarthHater

              There’s nothing that prevents Otani from signing. The agreement prevents MLB teams from signing him until after the date in March. I’m not going to waste my time going back and finding one of the articles and quoting it here for you. If you’re so damn convinced of your own opinion that you’re too lazy go to read for yourself, that’s your problem. But the fact that Otani says he would be willing to sign with an MLB team today is not in any way inconsistent with the fact that MLB teams can’t (or won’t) sign him until March because of their agreement with NPB.

              • Peter O

                Too lazy to read for myself? I just read and quoted an article from BA Sparky. Pretty sure they know a thing or two about amateur signings.

                I think the whole hullabaloo over this kid is there isn’t any precedent, and that this will challenge the “gentleman’s agreement” between MLB and NPB. The difference here being the kid has publicly stated he wants to sign with an MLB team instead of an NPB team. The point of the agreement is for MLB not to try to persuade Japanese kids to sign with them instead of NPB. In Otani’s case, there’s no persuasion necessary. That’s why I believe teams won’t wait until March.

              • gutshot5820

                “Otani can sign with an MLB team at any time, an MLB official confirmed to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Signing with an MLB team at this stage would likely irk the Fighters and other Japanese baseball officials, however.”

                http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#R6eiXZwfRSmDR4uw.99

                What’s the fuss? Apparently, he can sign with any team at any time if he chooses?

                • Starwin Bastro

                  http://www.npbtracker.com/2012/10/report-nippon-ham-intends-to-draft-otani/
                  Heres the link I posted on the message board thread regarding Otani. Let’s just say it would be frowned upon by both the MLB and NPB if he signs with an MLB team before March, but as Brett pointed out it is unclear whether there is a concrete rule in place to prevent that. Hope he doesn’t sign though for the Cubs sake

        • WGNstatic

          I alluded to a related situation above. The Orioles signed a 16 year old Korean pitcher, Seong-Min Kim, to a contract. From a MLB-centric perspective, no big deal right? Not any different than any other 16 year old foreigner signing with an MLB team, right? Well, not so much. The Korean baseball folks were pissed, banning the Oriole’s from scouting players in Korea. This was viewed as a breach of protocol since the player still had 1 more year in HS before being eligible for the Korean baseball draft (as I understand it).

          In the end, MLB voided the contract, so clearly they viewed this as a big deal.

          Remember the various leagues around the world have a host of agreements in place to help insure they can each hold onto as much of their own piece of the pie as possible. Yes, sometimes these agreements may seem odd, see the posting system as a prime example, but they are there.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Question for anyone? What do you think a package of Vitters or Jackson, Lake, and Vogelbach would bring? V is a top 50 positional prospect. Lake is as toolsy as it gets and with Vitters or Jackson you could possibly get an impact player for the second half next year.

    • AB

      Someone hanging up the phone.

  • Randy

    Why is everyone in a hurry to trade Vogelbach? This guy has done nothing but hit and put up huge numbers. I realize it is in the lower minors, but you don’t get rid of someone with those numbers. Everyone is so concerned about his weight, but it has not affected him so far and Cecil Fielder/Prince have had no problems in the MLB with weight issues their whole career. OPS this year over 1.000 and if given close to 600 a-bats, was on pace for 50 dbls, 40 HRs, 140 RBIs, and 80 walks to about 120 Ks. Again I realize it was low minors, but lets give this guy a chance. I would rather him put those numbers up at Wrigley on a daily basis then somewhere else because we wanted to give up on this guy to early. Plus people say well Rizzo is our first baseman of the future, it has only been 1 season. Also I think Rizzo would have no problems defensively switching to the OF for Vogelbach to play first. That gives us 2 really awesome LEFT HANDED bats in the line up for the future. To me, this guy should be untouchable right now.

    • terencemann

      Vogelbach and Rizzo can’t exist in the same every-day lineup which is why he’s a popular player to imagine a trade with. Neither of them will ever play positions other than first base. I don’t think his value is as high as it could get yet, which is why I’m ok holding onto him.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Vogelbach is so far away that there shouldn’t be any need whatsoever to mention him in the same sentence with Rizzo.

        • Randy

          There is always a need. What makes team great is that they don’t just think about the current season, they think about 2 or 3 seasons ahead. What makes him so far away? No one ever talks about holes in his swing, the only issue they talk about is his weight. This guy can hit and I could see him in AA by the end of next season. If he continues to tear it up, I bet we could expect to see him as a Sept call up in 2014, that really is not that far away. I know this is all best case scenario, but from everything I have read and seen, this Kids bat is for real and the Cubs need to find a way to get him and Rizzo in the same lineup.
          And yes, they can exist in the same line-up. Moving Rizzo to LF or RF might weaken us defensively, but their combined offense would allow for a weaker offense, but outstanding defensive CF.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            The Cubs will not rush Vogelbach to AA by next season. That’s not optimism, that’s crazy talk.

            • Randy

              Unlike the Hendry regime, Theo & Co. have had no problems testing prospects that are tearing up their leagues. He will do it again next year and AA is not out of the question. He will be 20 this coming season, Castro was playing in the MLB by that age. Volgebach bat and strike zone recognition is far better than Castro’s right now, so AA is not crazy.

              • Kyle

                Vogelbach’s bat is nowhere near what Castros’ was at 20. Not in the same universe.

              • Kyle

                Also, it’s imaginary Hendry time again.

                Epstein’s regime has been much less aggressive about promotion so far. Hendry’s regime was marked by aggressive promotion of top prospects, going back to Corey Patterson.

              • Tommy

                Volgebach bat and strike zone recognition is far better than Castro’s right now, so AA is not crazy.

                I think you’re failing to take into consideration the fact that Castro was facing major league pitching, while Vogelbach was facing Rookie Ball and Short Season A ball pitching.

                I doubt very much that Vogelbach would perform very well in the majors. Look no further than Vitters to see how much of a difference the pitching is from the minor leagues.

                • Randy

                  Vitters does not have close to the strike zone recognition of Volgebach. This guy had 5 more walks in 300 less a-bats.
                  Kyle what level are you talking about? Castro has only put up an OPS above .800 twice, .829 in Rookie ball, and .990 after his second year at AA. Since getting to the Majors, he has not cracked .800 and his slugging % sits around .430.
                  So where has Volgebach been in his short 2 years, last year his OPS was at .912 and this year between 2 different leagues over 1.000. SLG% .542 last year and over .600 this year.
                  I’m telling you that this guy can hit plan and simple. Now am I saying that he could come up today and have an OPS over 1.000, No. But I bet today he could step in and put up quality MLB numbers. In a few years this guy is going to be an Offensive force and lets just hope it is with the Cubs.

                  • Tommy

                    I think you misunderstood the comparison. I wasn’t comparing Vogelbach to Vitters, I was comparing minor league pitching to major league pitching.

                    It doesn’t matter which one of those guys has better bat and strike zone recognition. The point is, when Vitters, who was hitting extremely well in AAA was moved to the major league club, his offensive numbers didn’t just dip, they were abysmal. Point being, you can’t adequately compare a player in the minors to a player in the majors because you have absolutely no idea how the change in pitching would affect his ‘strike zone recognition’.

                    Let’s at least wait to see how Vogelbach hits Low A ball pitching before getting too psyched about him. I like the power he’s showing, too, but it’s way too early to start making comparisons to Castro. Especially if you’re saying he’s better.

                  • Kyle

                    Sorry, but I think you are incredibly underestimating how big of a jump it is from low A to AA, let alone low A to the majors.

      • Mick

        Fingers crossed but here’s hoping the DH makes it way to a ballpark near you!

  • Believe in 2015

    Garza and Barney for Upton and another player?

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      If the other player is Tyler Skaggs then yes.

  • terencemann

    Just to point this out, since there has been a lot of worry about the 40 man roster, if Lake and/or Szcur are included in deals for major league players, the Cubs would be acquiring major league players to put on the 40 man roster for players who are not major league players who are on the 40 man roster.

    • cubchymyst

      Lake and Szczur are on the 40 man roster

      • cubchymyst

        Never mind miss read your post.

  • pfk

    Trading Baez would be nuts. He has nothing but incredible upside and will be trained in the Cubs Way. Upton had a down year and is a big “maybe.” Plus the money would be silly and the Cubs had several really good outfielders coming along.

    • Quintzy

      I’m not entirely sure why, but…..

      “He will be trained in the Cubs way”

      …..made me laugh out loud.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        qui gon jinn

        “I will train the boy.”

        • Mick

          This feels like an inside joke?

          • TWC

            Should be a picture of Qui-Gon Jinn.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Picture shows up for me … am I alone?

            • TWC

              It’s an “Image hosted by Tripod” badge.

              • Bric

                Rebel scum…

                Hey Weather or Brett (or anybody else that can help) I’ve been trying to change my avatar for some time but forgot how to do it. Ace, you used to have a link in which to do it but it got removed because everybody (but me) now knows the secret. Can you help a brother out and put the link up again? Thanks man.

                BTW, it’s true that the Hamfighters don’t actually kill pigs but their fightsong (loosely translated) does mean Eat Mor Chiken.

                • Spencer

                  go to http://www.gravatar.com and make an account (or login) and then upload the picture you want to use and it will appear here.

                  • Bric

                    Thanks Spence, for some reason I kept thinking it was Avatar, not Gravitar.

                    • Bric

                      Please disregard, people, this is just a test.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      It can take a little time to show up, by the way.

            • Spencer

              yes.

  • nkniacc13

    Brett I agree i think Lake is gone maybe by the time rosters have to be finalized for the Rule 5 draft

  • Lou

    I have to say i’m not so sure about trading for Upton. Theo seems not interested in acquiring big names until prospects come up (say 2015). Thinking the biggest off-season trade–Marmol and some prospect(s) to Angels for CF Bourjos.

  • nkniacc13

    Wonder if the Cubs could be a legit 3rd team in an Upton deal

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+