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We’ve got another edition of the Future Considerations er, Bleacher Nation Podcast coming later this morning. We explain that strikethrough on the show. Stay tuned.

  • They say that a good middle infield combination can act and think as one, but I think the Cubs’ promotional staff took the truism a bit too far with Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro:

  • The image has since been fixed. Now you can buy Cubs Convention passes in peace.
  • Now this is interesting. A report from Carrie Muskat, in passing, mentioned that Michael Bowden was having only limited success right now in the Dominican Winter League. She described one of his outings as a “start,” which made me immediately jump to his stats – indeed, Bowden is starting in the DWL. Bowden, who was successful for the Cubs late in the year out of the bullpen, was a long-time starting pitching prospects with the Red Sox. Sometimes guys “start” offseason games in an effort to get their innings in, but Bowden went five innings yesterday. He’s being stretched out, and he’s actually starting. Does this mean the Cubs are going to continue stretching him out in the Spring with an eye toward possibly converting him back into a starter? Not necessarily. But the Cubs clearly want to see what he’s got as a starter. Recall, I recently linked a fan blog’s look at the Bowden story (I describe it that way, because a fan blog’s take on stories like this is frequently the best picture you’ll get), and how he never really got a chance to settle in as a starter. This could all be nothing. But, like I said. It’s interesting.
  • Bowden, for what it’s worth, after a rough start to his time with the Cubs in 2012, ended up with sparkling numbers out of the pen: 2.95 ERA, 1.255 WHIP in 36.2 innings (but a mere 1.81 K/BB). Most of his success came in September, though, and you know how unreliable September stats can be. In total right now in the DWL, he’s got a 5.23 ERA over three starts and just 10.1 innings (one start was a 1.1 inning bomb-out). In his start yesterday, he allowed just five base runners over five scoreless innings.
  • The MLBullets at BCB, obviously, look at the Marlins/Blue Jays trade, and the reactions thereto. One reaction I had after thinking more about the deal: Is it┬áreally a good deal for the Blue Jays after all? Looking more closely at it, I do wonder – the Blue Jays gave up a bundle of prospects, essentially, for one year of Johnson and the right to pay Buehrle and Reyes the most expensive years of their contracts (it’s not like either of those two increased their value in the year since they signed as free agents (when they were available to everyone for just cash)), since those deals were massively backloaded. If you’re a Blue Jays fan, you better hope they win in the next couple years.
  • Brian

    With Reyes and Bonafacio in front of Bautista 140+ RBI’s is probably the minimum you would expect from him if healthy. That lineup could be scary good. Not to mention with Johnson, Romero, Morrow and Buehrle that is a hell of a rotation! Jays might be a force next year

    • Matt

      On the other hand, if they’re not a force next year… torches and pitchforks in the streets of Toronto.

      Not really. If they’re like my Canadian friends and culture I know, they’ll probably pat the exec on the back and say “Good try buddy, next year fer sure then eh?”

  • fortyonenorth

    What effect do you think the trade will have on Villanueva’s status as a starter in Toronto?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He gone.

      • fortyonenorth

        Have the Cubs expressed interest or has that been solely a fan-based conversation?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, there have been rumors connecting the Cubs to him (but a lot of it has been fan-based speculation (started, I think, by me several months ago), thought it’s quite logical).

      • Cubbie Blues

        Looks like Sharma is starting to rub off on you a bit there Ace.

      • Stinky Pete

        The White Sox got him?

        • BluBlud

          That the first thing i thought about when i read, “He Gone”

  • King Jeff

    If it was major market team, I’d say the move was a no-brainer, but like you said, it’s Toronto, and they’ve struggled with money in the past. It will be interesting to see the AL East play out the next couple of years with Boston re-building, the Yankees getting really old, Tampa being Tampa, Baltimore playing out of its ass, and now the big money Blue Jays.

  • CubFan Paul

    so it looks like Castro was supposed to be on the promotion and not the Gold Glover. i think it’s because Barney will be long traded for long term assets. expendable

    • hansman1982

      Or was it supposed to be Barney and Castro is getting traded for long term assets?

      • CubFan Paul

        you know that’s way less likely.

        I just like that Barney has trade value and may net us a quality prospect(s)

        • hansman1982

          Oh yes I know. I don’t think Barney goes anywhere…they will probably wait until mid-season with him to see how Watkins comes along.

          • CubFan Paul

            i don’t think Watkins has anything to do with it (he does in the sense that i want him take over at 2B at some point in 2013). Valbuena could easily open the season playing everyday at 2B.

            who knows, with a whole offseason Sveum/James Rowson could watch enough video to identify keys to help Valbuena vs RHP …250/.330/.400 is probably Valbuena’s upside with good coaching but with his defensive abilities I’d rather have him over Barney (.650 OPS)

            • hansman1982

              I do easily look over Valbuena. I guess I see Barney as more of a +1 trade option in that he would be able to get more prospect value if included in a trade with someone else.

      • Tim

        The cubs just signed Castro to an extension. Everybody is moaning about the dodgers maybe trading eithier right after they locked him up, it’s the same discussion. If they were thinking about trading him, why wouldn’t they have put him on the market at the deadline. The dodgers would have stepped up to that

        • hansman1982
  • JR

    Brett, thats exactly what I thought from the Blue Jays perspective. What the hell are they doing? Reyes actually lost a ton of value in my eyes last year coming off the batting crown the previous year, and Buehrle is just another yr older too. I think they only got like $4 mill in salary help too from the Marlins. Pretty stupid deal in my eyes for Toronto. But that doesn’t make what the Marlins did right either. They’re just flat out nuts..

    • Hee Seop Chode

      How often do the Jays have Boston and NY looking at down year(s)? If they ever plan on winning the division, now is almost certainly the time to try.

  • http://worldseriesdreaming.com/ Rice Cube

    Hahaha…424 pointed it out last night and I was very disappointed to see that they had fixed it very quickly after the error was spotted. Glad you were able to get the screencap ;)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I saw it around 10pm last night (ET) and knew I should grab a cap immediately.

  • fromthemitten

    STARWIN BASTRO

    • BluBlud

      Derling Carney

      • ichabod

        and we have our winner

  • fromthemitten

    a substantial factor in Toronto’s success relies more on Bautista coming back from an injury, Encarnacion proving his breakout year wasn’t a fluke, and a rebound from a pitching staff that had a deplorable year than these new acquisitions. Maybe it was a elaborate plot to get rid of Escobar

    • Mick

      My prediction is Escobar also gets flipped by the Marlins. The Twins and A’s are both badly in need of SS.

  • ruby2626

    I am not a fan of Bowden. His fastball which which tops out at maybe 91 is a joke. It absolutely has the least movement on it than anyone can imagine. Of course Mark Prior in his prime never had any movement on his but at least it was upper 90’s and always on a corner.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Bowden’s fastball sits at 92 and tops out around 94. The movement thing, though, you’re largely right.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=4440&position=P&pitch=FA

      • Kyle

        I really hope we aren’t thinking of Bowden as a starter. It’s a vicious cycle. A guy can’t hack it as a starter, gets moved to the pen, finds a little success, and we convert him back to a starter. Sometimes it’s OK to let guys stay where they’ve found success.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Agreed. The tricky part with Bowden is that he hasn’t ever been given a good chance to settle into being either a starter or a reliever. He was jerked around – levels and roles – from the time he was 21. His story actually sounds similar to Samardzija’s in that regard.

          (Which is NOT me comparing Bowden to Samardzija, or saying that converting Bowden back into a starter would be met with the same success as Samardzija.)

          • Kyle

            I was pretty strongly against converting Samardzija back to a starter either. Begrudgingly awarding a point to Theo.

          • Melrosepad

            I don’t see the downside of stretching him out. If he works out, awesome. If during spring training it seems he won’t be viable as a starter we still have him as a reliever. Just like with Russell, it won’t hurt to allow him this chance.

            • hansman1982

              The downside is that starting and relieving are two different ways to slice the same pie.

              If you can get a guy to settle in on one way to slice it they become better at it. I just hope that Samardjiza’s success doesn’t taint the front offices approach.

    • Frank

      Kyle Farnsworth didn’t have much movement on his fastball–but it was fast.

  • North Side Irish

    How happy is Reyes going to be when he figures out the difference between Florida’s 0% state income tax and Ontario’s 15% province tax? How happy is Buehrle going to be when he finds out his pit bulls are banned in Toronto?

    • JR

      Reyes and Buehrle have to both be pretty pissed. But at the same time, they had to have in their back of their heads something like this may happen. The marlins are known for this type of behavior. #marlinsarebushleague

    • Mick

      Ha, that’s funny, good find. The Marlins just completely erased any possibility of ever competing for top FA’s or at least they’ll need to pay through the nose if they ever hope to sign one ever again. Part of me used to respect the Marlins because, although their tactics were unconventional, they found a way to win 2 World Series in such short time whereas, our favorite team hasn’t won one in last 100 years. What the Marlins did gives MLB a black-eye and amunition to critics anytime a team asks for public funds to build/renovate a stadium.

      • Pat

        They might have to overpay, but probably not as much as you might think. Remember Florida is 0% state income tax, while any of the California teams would be 13.3%. That’s a pretty big incentive already.

  • Kubphan82

    The Marlins weren’t very good this year and with the “team” moving to Toronto, I wouldn’t suspect that Marlins North now performs, that division is just getting nasty!

    I think the BJays felt compelled to take on that many players because they’re having a heckuva time signing players on the FA market….

    • Lou

      Yeah, I think that’s a good read. The Jays definitely were having trouble getting marquee FAs to sign there. We’ll have to see how Buerhle fairs in the AL East and Johnson’s health to get the true value of the trade.

  • Still Love the Cubs

    Can anyone imagine if the Marlins had gotten Pujols? They almost did if you recall. How steamed would he be to be playing in Toronto?

    • DarthHater

      True, but Pujols was never going to sign without a no-trade clause, so that was never gonna happen.

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