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No Bears fans out there, right? That was ugly …

  • A reminder: today is the deadline for MLB teams to file their reserve lists, which is the formal way of saying it’s the date by which they’ve got to set their 40-man rosters for purposes of the Rule 5 Draft. If you don’t want a Rule 5-eligible player to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft (held on December 6), today’s the day you’ve got to add him to the 40-man. The Cubs’ 40-man stands at 39, which means that they could add just one player today (without any other moves), and then not sign any free agents (or select a player in the Rule 5) unless they de-roster guys between now and then. Why not just do it today? In other words, I’m not banging on meaningless drum here: the Cubs really need to make some moves today.
  • Here’s a look at the players that are Rule 5 eligible that the Cubs might want to protect, and here’s a look at the current 40-man and whom the Cubs might want to drop. At a minimum, I’d really like to see the Cubs move guys like Ian Stewart and Steve Clevenger off of the roster (perhaps more), and protect guys like Logan Watkins, Trey McNutt (I still like his upside in the pen), and Christian Villanueva (if the Cubs think there’s a chance a team will really reach on him).
  • Of course, you just never know with these things: if most other teams are facing a roster crunch similar to the Cubs, there may not be very many viable landing places for the Junior Lakes and Matt Szczur’s that the Cubs might considering moving – and there may not be very many teams that have the space to claim players the Cubs waive (or select players the Cubs leave exposed to the Rule 5). I hate to think I’m getting heartburn for nothing, but if the Cubs sit on their hands today, I guess they must be thinking along these lines.
  • A profile of Anthony Rizzo, and a look back at how he landed on the Cubs.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig, in approving the massive Blue Jays/Marlins trade, issued a statement (which is, itself, a rare occasion upon approving a trade) that suggests he’s really unhappy with the Marlins, but can’t do anything about it: “After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future …. [I will] continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of.”
  • The Brewers are allowing their fans to design an alternate jersey that will be worn against the Cubs on March 22 in Spring Training. It’s the kind of delightfully tacky thing the Cubs could/would never do, and I hate that it’s the Brewers, because I think it’s awesome. I mean, it’s a Spring Training game, and it’s a fun thing for fans to do (and see). Here’s hoping they land on the most ridiculous uniform possible.
  • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

    If there isn’t a real move made by 5 PM……………

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Do we have confirmation that it’s 5pm, by the way? I looked back at last year, and my roster move post (which I know I wrote immediately upon the news) didn’t go up until like 8pm.

      • Alex

        I just asked Bruce Miles what time the final list has to be submitted by. He said 11p Chicago time.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Meaning what? The moves that are likely to be made are people removed from the 40 man roster, and a few minor leaguers added to the 40 man.

      • http://wavesoftalent.webs.com tim

        Or, a trade. I’m also interested who we leave unprotected. Since there are no games, that is what I fret about.

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          I think a trade is unlikely since all teams are facing the same roster crunch at this time, but I agree that people like Struck, McNutt, Watkins and possibly Villanueva would all be guys that we could lose.

  • Dave_MKE

    My Brewers uniform would be giant beer barrel with shoulder straps. The barrel would be filled with tears, broken dreams and Miller Park’s “Stadium Sauce.”

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I was thinking an enlarged liver and clogged arteries. I am not sure how you make this a cute logo, but they have a department for that, right?

  • kranzman54

    Brett, how does this work? Can we add guys to the 40 man roster and then later remove them or does this need to be our 40 man roster for the year (barring DL of course)?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, they can be removed later (but they’ll be subject to waivers and being claimed by any team that wants them).

      • kranzman54

        K so why exactly don’t we take someone like Soriano off the 40 man and add him back later, I mean he would deffinetelly not get drafted in the Rule 5 right?

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          I believe if the Cubs attempted to remove Soriano from the 40 man roster, then Soriano has to right to declare himself a free agent and the Cubs owe him all the money left on his deal.

        • Kyle

          Players who have never been added to the 40-man are the only ones who matter to the Rule V draft.

          Once a player is already on the 40-man, he can only be taken off by trade, release (in which case we pay his full salary), free agency, retirement or Designated For Assignment.

          DFA is kind of complicated, but in Soriano’s case it wouldn’t mean anything. We’d have to either release him or keep him.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The Rule 5 Draft is for minor leaguers who’ve not yet made it to a 40-man roster, so Soriano isn’t in that conversation.

          But the answer to your question about de-rostering Soriano is that the way to do that would be to waive him (offering him and his contract to every team, after “designating him for assignment”). He would clear waivers, and then would be free to sign with any team for the Major League minimum. The Cubs, however, would still be on the hook for the rest of his contract. And would get nothing for him except $500k each year in salary relief.

          In other words, there’s no good reason to waive Soriano, as he’s worth far more than $500k per year.

          • kranzman54

            Thank you, makes sense. Baseball has done a good job of remaining smarter than me and preventing my people from cheating the system. Thanks Brett.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Haha. But never stop trying.

    • Stinky Pete

      I believe once a player is put on the 40 man, he has to be put on waivers and basically offered to every other team in order to be taken off. Pretty sure that’s how it works.

  • abe

    Maybe the cubs value Lake and Szczur more than Watkins and would keep that and run the risk of losing watkins.

    • AB

      I think Watkins is better than those two, but I do like Lake and Szczur more than anyone else that is eligible for the Rule V draft.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Watkins and McNutt have to be protected, at bare minimum. And I’ll be nervous if Villanueva isn’t as well.

    But Watkins and McNutt, at the very least.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Yeah, I’m with you. I’m also starting to get that uneasy feeling that McNutt will have a new team next year.

  • Fastball

    I hope the Cubs can make a lot of roster adjustments today. I expect several players to be cut from the roster before this evening. There is still a fair bit of deadwood and a few guys that we should protect. I don’t know about making selections in the Rule 5 that put is in another situation like last year. I think a solid position player that can have an impact would be a better pick than another pitcher like Lendy Castillo who didn’t provide any improvement or depth to last years 25 man. I think we could do better trading minor league players for other minor league players and not have to add them to the 40 man roster. McPhail isn’t around to fleece us this year. So we will probably be okay. I doubt the GM”s in MLB will come picking at the bones of the Cubs.

  • Fastball

    McNutts value has dropped so much I don’t know that he gets claimed by anyone.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Possibly but a guy that throws hard is pretty easy to stash at the back of the bullpen if a team wants to. McNutt is the guy I would be least upset about losing to be honest as well.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      He throws two plus pitches and is cost controlled. If his command even reaches the “average” level, he’s a very valuable middle reliever.

    • hansman1982

      Someone will stick him in the bullpen for the year especially a team like the Astros or Marlins or anyone that needs some innings eaten and feels they can control his development that way.

    • Kyle

      McNutt is such an easy guy to claim and keep, though, because MLB relief innings aren’t a bad way to continue his development.

  • Fastball

    I am all for signing BJ Upton. He will do well in the NL. He has been in a much tougher division in the AL. If we don’t take him someone else will and they will get what we need.
    Also there is nothing preventing us from trading him in a year or two if and when our prospects show up. I don’t bet my paytcheck on these prospects. Odds are not good on them making it and being any better than either of the Uptons.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I don’t think a guy with a .315 OBP over the last 4 years is the type of player management is looking for.

    • hansman1982

      I’d be all up for signing Sanchez and BJ Upton on 5 year deals. With that said, I don’t think either of them sign 5 year deals and that is where it muddies the water a bit for me.

      • hansman1982

        with that said…it seems that BJ Upton is Brett Jackson at his ceiling with more SB.

        • Spencer

          PFFFFFT

          • MichiganGoat

            Everyone just repeats the same arguements again and again.

            • hansman1982

              no my previous argument had more “F”s in it…

      • CubFan Paul

        i don’t see Upton getting anything more than $13M a year. i’d offer him 6yrs at $13M per ($78M). Sanchez will be well overpaid so no thanks. I’d rather sign & trade again this year for a couple more Vizcainos so that the rotation depth is young and talented for 2014

        • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

          So if he did get more than 13 million per year would you want to sign him?

          • CubFan Paul

            no, he’d be overpaid for what he provides (or doesn’t, like a .400OBP/walks)

            • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

              Okay so 13 million is your cutoff point for where the Cubs should be involved? I am just curious at this point.

              • CubFan Paul

                ‘so 13 million is your cutoff point for where the Cubs should be involved’

                yes. in my opinion Upton is a $10M a year player but because of he free agent available-ness he’ll get more than that. i’d cap over paying him at $13M a year for 4-6yrs. thats not bad for a 28yr old slugger who can play all 3 OF positions

                • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                  So if he signs for more than that you will have no problem if the Cubs don’t get him? How do you factor in perhaps Upton taking the same or slightly less to play for a contending team like the Braves that are reportedly interested?

                  • CubFan Paul

                    So if he signs for more than that you will have no problem if the Cubs don’t get him

                    if someone overpays him fine. i dont care. right now he’s unsigned and available. ideally a 5yr $55M contract would be sweet but the NL East has a bone for him

                    How do you factor in perhaps Upton taking the same or slightly less to play for a contending team like the Braves that are reportedly interested

                    I could care less. That’s on theo&co not the fans

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      “How do you factor in perhaps Upton taking the same or slightly less to play for a contending team like the Braves that are reportedly interested

                      I could care less. That’s on theo&co not the fans”
                      So the Cubs offer 13 million and he takes 10 million to play for the Braves. Who are you mad at then?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      So the Cubs offer 13 million and he takes 10 million to play for the Braves. Who are you mad at then

                      i wouldn’t be mad. that’s how free agency works.

                    • wilbur

                      Your conversation is interesting, and for some reason made me think of a management philosophy (theory of constraints (TOC)) that I came across a little over a decade ago.

                      Basically TOC says if you attempt to maximize efficiency solely at the task level of a process you may create a subperforming process as you create limits that maximize individual tasks’ performance, but those task limits sometimes create barriers to the final product/outcomes you are attempting to achieve. For example, you limit a tasks throughput because you are aiming for optimal cost per part and don’t invest in new equipment. You may be limiting total process output and sales when people are begging for your product and those lost sales far outvalue the expense of the added equipment.

                      Point of all the above, sometimes you must intentionally overpay for a critical resource for one task (say in baseball a corner outfielder) because having that resource removes a constraint (lack of offense from corner outfielder) that was holding the entire process (team?) from achieving full output (wins?). What’s the added value (in wins, between what Cub centerfielders did versus what an outfield of DeJesus in center and Upton in right or left would do).

                      I don’t know what that is, but seems like that is how I would value value Upton or any other player. Their marginal value to the Cubs for what they can add to the overall equation may exceed the average method of valuation that “most” or the “avearge” teams pay.

                      Just an observation …

                    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                      Wilbur-that is an excellent post, and I think this gets to a core point that I think we all believe here. There is going to be a time and place for the Cubs to over spend on resources. The question is when is that time. Some feel that it should be this year and others feel that we aren’t there yet.

        • Mick

          Huh? Were you not posting yesterday that we should be signing every top free agent?

          • CubFan Paul

            no, if you think so please find it and copy/paste

  • North Side Irish

    I’m very confused with how the FO has been operating the past week or so. It seems really out of character to be using up 40 man roster spots on backup catchers and 37 year old relievers if it means losing guys from the farm system. That’s why yesterday’s trade rumors made sense, they knew they’d be opening up some spots before today’s deadline.

    I have to figure there are some cuts coming that a lot of us won’t like and that there will be some surprising names left off the 40 man.

    • cubsin

      I’d keep Clevenger over Tony Campana. Unless he’s signed to a team-friendly contract today, I’d say goodbye to Stewart. Brigham and Coleman should be derostered. LaHair should be sent to an AL or Japanese team. I’d add Watkins, McNutt and Villanueva.

      Don’t forget, we still need (at least) a pitcher and an outfielder, plus perhaps a Rule 5 pick.

  • Frank

    Roster currently at 38 with Camp.

    Definitely add:
    McNutt

    Probably add
    Watkins
    Struck

    Dont think they’d make it a full season on a big league roster, but don’t want to risk:
    Villanueva
    Whitenack

    Expendables:
    Coleman
    Brigham
    Clevenger
    perhaps 1 of Raley/Rusin
    LaHair (trade if we can)

    • Dustin S

      I’d agree with all of this, plus probably Stewart on the expendables list. I’m kind of surprised that move hasn’t happened already, unless they are leaning towards giving him another shot at a year while hopefully healthy. Then again – after the Vitters debacle, there aren’t alot of other options unless they give the Valbuena 3B full-time (eeks).

      Not to be negative, but looking at our 40 man makes me want to start thinking about another hobby for next summer.

  • Timmy

    I’m sure they’ll hire another few 1 or 2 year mediocrities and then trade them for grade D prospects…for the next 5 years until Theo is fired.

  • JulioZuleta

    Are we suuureee Villanueva is eligible? He’s only 21 and has only 3 stateside seasons (and 8 games in the DOSL in 2009). Without looking into the rules again, that doesn’t seem to add up to me.

    • AB

      It depends when he signed, not when he started playing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      It’s going to depend on his age as of June 1 in the year he was signed, regardless of where he played.

      Unless there is something else going on with him Szczur style. To be honest, I haven’t looked into his case too closely.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, he’s one of those guys that I cannot imagine another team stashing, but I’d be really pissed to lose. I could see the Marlins taking him and putting him on the end of the bench for half a year before he gets one of those season ending jammed thumbs in july.

        • MightyBear

          or the Astros

  • BD

    Maybe they like some of the guys on the 40-man better than some of these guys that we want added? I don’t, but I’m just saying that’s another possibility.

  • Craig

    I don’t know why people keep wanting to get LaHair off the roster. He was essentially a rookie last year. I think he should be starting RF this year and be given a chance to make adjustments. (maybe at least platoon with Sappelt) Everyone talks about how great Rizzo was last year in his second season and how much promise he has. But consider this, if you look at the stats, LaHair and Rizzo had an almost identical amount of ABs, On Base Percentage, Homers, RBIs and runs. LaHair was better at drawing walks. Everyone is down on LaHair because of his bad second half but this was his first full season. Give him a chance. Why spend money on a low average hitter like Upton or someone like Bourn who will eventually lose his speed. Move DeJesus to center and put LaHair in right and we may end up with a cheap 25 hr, 90 rbi guy.

    • MichiganGoat

      He had a good couple of months and then sucked he is past the age where it’s worth protecting and he is just not very good defensively. It was a nice story but time to move on.

    • fortyonenorth

      The difference is that LaHair is 30 and Rizzo is 22 or 23. I’m sure the FO agrees—LaHair deserves an opportunity to make adjustments—I just don’t see it coming with the Cubs.

  • Stinky Pete

    Just thinking the reason for no moves all the way up to the deadline is gamesmanship. Harder for other teams to design their strategy if they aren’t sure who’s coming out and such. Just a thought.

    • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

      Probably true, but I would hope that the decision to unroster Casey Coleman doesn’t require gamesmanship.

  • Zachary

    Lahair is almost 30 years old. Don’t call him a rookie

  • RoughRiider

    It just doesn’t seem right that the worst team in the National League has to worry about losing players. They should make it so that the 6 teams with the worst combined records over the last 2 years should be exempt.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Wouldn’t be fair to the players.

  • RoughRiider

    It just doesn’t seem right that the worst team in the National League has to worry about losing players. They should make it so that the 6 teams with the worst combined records over the last 2 years should be exempt.

    Or get to have a special roster exemption to allow maybe 4 or 5 extra players to be protected.

    • AB

      The Rays lost some great players to the Rule V even before they were competitive.

  • fortyonenorth

    I don’t see any major moves coming today, other than the aforementioned roster moves ala Clevenger, Stewart, etc. As nice as it would be to see Upton and Sanchez on the Cubs, I think Theo wants to make sure we’re drafting in the top 10 again in 2014. He views that as much more important to our long term success than tacking on a few extra wins this year.

    • bbmoney

      I don’t give any credence to the idea that, “Theo wants to make sure we’re drafting in the top 10 again in 2014″. If there are moves that can make the team better next year and into the future (Sanchez, Upton, etc. etc.) I think Theo and co will look at doing it. That doesn’t mean they’re going to sign those guys, but to say Theo WANTS to be one of the 10 worst teams in the league next year just seems silly.

      From my standpoint, that’s a completely different statement than, ‘Theo won’t sign any players to contracts that he think will hinder the Cubs long term progress’. Maybe I’m splitting hairs…..but I think there is a clear distinction.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Spend your money on pitching & sign position players to shorter term & less money deals. We can probably sign Keppinger & Chavez to platoon at 3B for a combined salary of 6 – 7 million tops. That takes care of the infield. Then make a trade with A’s for Coco Crisp who is a top notch CF & switch hitter & is signed for approximately 6 million.
    Now if you are going to spend a total of 80-90 million on this years salaries you have 30 million to spend on 2 starting pitchers. That should land you a Jackson / McCarthy/ or Sanchez.

    • bbmoney

      I do like the idea of signing Keppinger for a year or a year plus option if we can. And of course I like the idea of getting a legit starter or two.

      Less wild about trading for CoCo. He’s just not someone I’d want to give up any kind of reasonable prospect for.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Coco Crisp is signed for 7 million in 2013 with a 7.5 million option for 2014 or a 1 million dollar buyout. A’s just traded for Young from D-Backs & with Cespedes & Reddick are set in the OF.
    This deal would fit perfectly with Cubs plans for OF with Jackson/Almora/Soler etc.

    • bbmoney

      It would if you think CoCo Crisp is any good and the A’s would trade him for some crap prospects. But his value is derived almost entirely from his basestealling and maybe slightly above average (from what I’m seeing) defense. He’s fine, but like I said, I don’t want to give up any half way decent prospects for the right to pay him 7M a year to play centerfield for a year or two. That’s the bigger issue than the money.

      Maybe I’m just a CoCo hater.

      • bbmoney

        If the Cubs could just sign him to a 7m a year deal….I’d say sure.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Crisp more of a salary dump for cost conscious A’s – probably could get him for one of our infield prospects like Torreyes, or a Vitters.

    • bbmoney

      And I’d say heck no to giving up Torreyes or Vitters for the right to pay a guy market rate.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    We need some “bridge” players to hold down these spots in our OF & 3B until the kids are ready to take over. The Cubs can afford players like DeJesus & Crisp – which also gives us a true leadoff hitter – in the interim. Spend ” big ” bucks on starting pitchers & we have a competitive team on the field this year & hopefully once the kids are ready for many years to come.

    • bbmoney

      I’m fine with bridge players. However, I don’t like trading prospects for bridge players, I’d rather just sign the best available bridge option. Maybe there isn’t a good one.

      But calling Crisp a true leadoff hitter is a huge stretch. While his ~.325 career OBP may be an upgrade over Cubs leadoff hitters, he’s not really what you look for as a leadoff hitter unless you don’t really care about high OBPs and just throw your fastest guy in the #1 slot.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Lineup with Crisp & Chavez would look pretty decent with more balance from the left side & better speed at the top.
    1 – Crisp CF
    2 – DeJesus RF
    3 – Rizzo 1B
    4 – Soriano LF
    5 – Chavez 3B – Keppinger
    6 – Castro SS
    7 – Castillo C
    8 – Barney 2B
    Starting Pitchers : Garza, Samardzija, Sanchez, McCarthy, & Wood/Baker

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This is not a criticism of your construction, because I do think that’s close to what the Cubs end up with …

      … but that lineup scores like two runs all year.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Also, a lineup bad enough that Crisp is leading off is not good. Yes, the A’s won starting him: but Crisp had a flukey good power year, and the A’s offense was mediocre last year.

        As for Chavez, he is not the player that he was. For one thing, he’s one dive or one awkward throw from a prolonged DL stay: and at this point, possible retirement. For another, his nice numbers last year were probably a little lucky but also helped by limited playing.

      • BD

        Clearly there is a hole at 3B, and also a need for a CF/RF. Apart from adding people to those spots- what other upgrades are there to make?

        I understand that part of the process is waiting for players to come out of the minors, but who are we complaining about out of this group: DeJesus/Rizzo/Soriano/Castro/Castillo/Barney?

        Or is it just that ideally we need to fill those 2 empty spots with really good players in order to have a lineup that we like? (I understand “ideal” isn’t going to happen, I’m just trying to wrap my head around this)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You just underscored, for me, why I’ve said all along that I don’t see the Cubs being competitive in 2013. (Because, you’re right – in the near term, it’s not easy to upgrade at some of those spots.)

          Longer term, I’d like to see upgrades in LF, CF, RF, at 3B and 2B. And in three of the rotation spots. Plus a couple spots in the bullpen.

          So … everywhere. :)

          • Chad

            Brett, do you think Castillo is the longterm answer at C? I’m not sure about that.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Depends on your definition of “long-term” – I think he’s got a shot to be slightly above average, overall, for a nice three/four year stretch coming up.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                At which point we sign Buster Posey?

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Bingo. Long-term plan!

      • BWA

        I love that rotation though. It would be quite good if McCarthy and Baker work out and is reasonably priced IMO. At the deadline, if we suck we deal Garza and Baker and should get quite a good return with Wood and Vizcaino ready to take over. We would also be able to avoid having 5 minor leaguers pitching the last couple months of the season, which is what put us over 100 losses and made it unwatchable.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Castro is going to hit fifth in that lineup. Because that’s his long term home and the Cubs want him to get used to it and Chavez/Keppinger would be one year rentals. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that Castro outproduces the platoon next year.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yes, a probability of 0.9999 is a strong possibility! Castro also outproduces Crisp by a fair amount.

        If you are stuck with that lineup, move DeJesus to #1, Rizzo to #2, Castro to #3, drop Crisp between Castillo and Barney (or between Castillo and whoever is subbing for Chavez that day), and cringe!

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          Well, yes, but talking about how Castro produces relative to a theoretical leadoff hitter is kind of pointless because Theo and company have made it pretty clear they don’t see him in that role.

    • J-Nasty

      I hate to say it, but I would rather have Ian Stewart than Chavez/Keppinger. Chavez’s back will hold up for about a week and Keppinger doesn’t have the bat to be an everyday third baseman.

  • BD

    I understand the idea of not getting locked down with long contracts, especially for guys that won’t be here when the system starts sending up regulars. However, I would prefer that the Cubs overpay for a guy like Sanchez, than even considering signing Upton. I don’t think Upton really provides anything that we can’t get in house, except for the fact that he has experience at the big league level. With Sanchez, he should be a solid starter for the next 4-5 years (which seems to be the earliest the SP prospects will start popping up). I would guarantee him 5 years and a couple options- that way if he’s still doing well, they can keep him. Or pay the buyout and let him go. But it helps both now and going forward.

    • CubFan Paul

      I don’t think Upton really provides anything that we can’t get in house

      25HRs & 80rbi in CF, in house? thats the upside of BJax, but i don’t see him doing that in 2012.

      • BD

        Re-reading that, I didn’t type that out I was thinking it: “I don’t think Upton provides a large enough increase for what it likely will cost to sign him.”

        I realize the vast difference between those two statements- that is just an oversight on my part.

        • CubFan Paul

          I don’t think Upton provides a large enough increase for what it likely will cost to sign him

          ok. we’ll wait and see what he signs for

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Brett – How many runs did the Cubs score per game this year ? I believe it was close to 3.5 to 4. So you are telling me the lineup with Crisp in CF & leading off & Chavez/Keppinger batting 5th is worse than this year’s lineup ? I’d be very surprised if that lineup could not beat the mess we had out there with Valbuena & Stewart & Vitters & Baker at third with Campana, Johnson, Byrd in CF. PLEASE !!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The Cubs were third to last in runs scored last year. 613 runs in 162 games. http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting

      In other words, even if that proposed lineup is as good as last years or slightly better, it’s still atrocious. They would have to score 100 more runs (a 17% increase!) just be average. Yowsah.

      • Myles

        Nah, man, we’re just an average 3B and a CF away! :)

        • Kyle

          And fix the bench.

          We were 70 runs below average last year. According to baseball-reference:

          Stewart/Vitters/Valbuena were -25 runs below average
          Byrd/Campana/Jackson were -14 runs below average
          Clevenger/Hill were -20 runs below average
          Joe “I got my job based on a hot spring training” Mather was -13 runs by himself

          That’s the entire 70 runs right there.

          Soriano/DeJesus/Barney/Castro/Rizzo/Castillo were a combined +31 runs above average. Fix 3b, CF, backup catcher and utility guy, and you’ve got at least an average offense.

          • Kyle

            This yet again proves what so many Cubs fans don’t want to understand:

            We have a lot of good players. Our problem wasn’t so much a lack of good players, it was that in the spots where we did not have good players, we had horrifically, unimaginably awful players instead of merely bad or average.

            • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

              I would also say that we lack true elite level talent, but covering up the ridiculously bad would make this a much better team in the near term.

              • Dr. Percival Cox

                Castro is one step away, but other than that, I agree. However, the A’s showed you don’t really need elite level talent if you build your team right. That was a stunningly deep team, though.

                • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                  There pitching staff was amazing, and the Cubs have no where near that depth. And while I don’t really have numbers to back this up. I have come more and more to the conclusion that if you can roll five guys in your staff that you give a better than average chance to win your team will do well no matter the rest of the team.

                  • http://www.worldseriesdreaming.com dabynsky

                    Ugh used the wrong form of their.

                  • Noah

                    I’d also say the A’s have a stadium you can play to much more than the Cubs do. While he might be the world’s largest outlier, there probably aren’t very many team Tom Milone could pitch 190 innings for without getting exposed as a right handed pitcher who doesn’t strike out hitters or induce ground balls, and his road/home splits from last year would bear that out.

            • jt

              And you didn’t even mention the SP’ers brought in after the trade deadline.
              There are no dreams of a ring in 2013 but there is no reason why the team should not greatly improve.

            • hansman1982

              I actually disagree highly with this statement. I don’t think the Cubs have a lot of good players, I think we have a couple good players and then a bunch of meh to garbage players on the offensive side.

              • Kyle

                *shrug* Semantics. We have enough players to produce an average-to-above-average offense if the gaping holes of suck were filled in. Whether you consider all those players “good” is just quibbling over definitions of “good.”

                • Kyle

                  An example:

                  The Astros finished 6 games worse than the Cubs last year.

                  The Astros fielded precisely one player worth -1.0 bWAR or worse, Matt Downs (-1.1). They fielded no such pitchers.

                  The Cubs fielded six such players worth a combined -8.9 bWAR. When those gaping holes of suck start to be filled in with competent major leaguers, the Cubs have an opportunity to improve much faster than people think.

                • hansman1982

                  Reds bottom 5 in wRAA: -63.5
                  Cubs bottom 5 in wRAA: -57.9
                  Red top 5: 107.7
                  Cubs top 5: 47

                  Reds top 5 without Votto: 64.6

                  All Cubs +wRAA guys: 56.3

                  We don’t have many good offensive guys. Soriano (our best hitter this year) would have been 4th on the Reds. I’ll do more of this on other teams tomorrow.

                  • Kyle

                    If you take out Joey Votto and adjust for park, the Reds are pretty much in the same boat offensively as the Cubs. Their offense wasn’t the reason they won 97 games. Their offense could improve scary-fast.

                    Fortunately, their pitching isn’t likely to repeat the kind of year they had.

                    • Kyle

                      Also, we were talking about the offense and you keep insisting on using wRAA, which includes defense.

                    • hansman1982

                      According to the glossary on FanGraphs (and maybe I am horribly confused) wRAA is calculated using wOBA which solely looks at offensive production. bWAR does look at defensive contributions. From their glossary:

                      “Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA) measures the number of offensive runs a player contributes to their team compared to the average player.”

                      Reds having a park factor of 103 (average of 2006-2011 numbers and compared to Wrigley’s 104)surely didn’t stop them from fielding:

                      “horrifically, unimaginably awful players instead of merely bad or average”

                      For reference sake, the 2011 Cubs fielded a total of -18 wRAA (i.e. the 2011 Cubs were NOT Maholm and Wood away from contention).

                      The 2011 Red Sox posted 181.7. Top 5: 198.3 (GOOD GOD) and their bottom 5: -29.1. Interestingly enough, their top 5 includes 0 big-name free agents.

                      What am I trying to say? Our offense needs A LOT of help and not just from the bottom but from the top.

          • Noah

            While I agree with one of the general points you often make: that the Cubs had several players with significant playing time last season who posted below replacement level performances, and that at least posting replacement level players should be fairly easy to find, there is a difference between finding replacement level players and “league average” players. Replacement players should cost essentially nothing. That is not true for league average players.

            But I agree with your basic premise, that the Cubs have some above average pieces in place, and their real problem at least as far as competing in 2013 is concerned is that there are several positions where, based upon current talent, they might not even be replacement level, particularly at 3B and CF.

            • Kyle

              That’s all true, but I’m not sure why you brought it up. We weren’t talking about replacement level. We were talking about league average.

              This is actually a tangentially related but separate argument from the replacement-level one. This argument is that the Cubs have 6/8ths of an above-average lineup.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I’m going to need to see position-adjusted averages for that one. To my eye, the Cubs are/were below average at 3B, 2B, CF, and RF (when position-adjusted). They were also below average at C last year, and are far from guaranteed to be above that in 2013 (though I’m hopeful for Castillo).

                • Kyle

                  Note that I didn’t say they had 6 players who were each above average. They have six players who, in aggregate, were well above average last year.

                  Soriano/DeJesus/Barney/Castro/Rizzo/Castillo were a combined +31 runs above average.

                  • Myles

                    Hmm. The Astros have a combined 26.5 runs above average (wRAA) from their starters across the field (except the black hole of LF), but they only scored 583 runs. I’m pretty sure, however, that if you added an “average” LF to Houston, their offense wouldn’t suddenly be above average.

                    The Indians have 53.2 wRAA tied up in Choo/Santana/Cabrera/Brantley/Chisenhall, and their offense wasn’t anywhere close to good.

                    Also, over half of your 31 wRAA were from Soriano, who will not repeat last year.

                    • Kyle

                      “Hmm. The Astros have a combined 26.5 runs above average (wRAA) from their starters across the field (except the black hole of LF), but they only scored 583 runs. I’m pretty sure, however, that if you added an “average” LF to Houston, their offense wouldn’t suddenly be above average.”

                      I’m not sure who you are counting as starters, because their starting CF was -15 and their starting RF was -14.

                      If the Astros added an entire average outfield, their offense would look pretty average-ish. Their infield isn’t bad.

                      “The Indians have 53.2 wRAA tied up in Choo/Santana/Cabrera/Brantley/Chisenhall, and their offense wasn’t anywhere close to good.”

                      The Cleveland offense is actually pretty average. They just play in an extreme pitcher’s park. They had a 100 OPS+ as a team, and if you adjust their R/G to their park factor it comes out as precisely AL average.

                      “Also, over half of your 31 wRAA were from Soriano, who will not repeat last year.”

                      That kind of analysis isn’t useful without looking at all the players and projecting who might decline and advance, and I think +10 is very much within Soriano’s range, while +15 again might be a bit trickier.

              • Noah

                I’d disagree with that statement, though. I’d say they’re above average at three positions: shortstop, left field and first base. I think you could make a pretty strong argument that Castillo will be above average at catcher next year, but SSS. David DeJesus is average. Darwin Barney is below average offensively, and then there’s the question of whether his defense (which everyone admits is good) is being overrated by the pundits based on a low error total and by the advanced defensive metrics due to not accounting for defensive shifts. I still tend to agree with the scouts on Barney: he’s probably not a starter on a good team.

                I agree on the black holes in CF and 3B, and I think the Cubs are fairly likely to try to bring in players on DeJesus like contracts to fill those roles.

                • Kyle

                  An above-average offense doesn’t have to have every single player above average. The Cubs have six positions filled, and those six players in aggregate should provide above-average offense. Fill the remaining two with average, and you’ve got an above-average lineup in sum.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        And then the pitchers have to give up 50 fewer runs to get the team up to 0.500 (+/- luck).

        The Chavez/Keppinger + Crisp plan simply would not take the Cubs far: it is not just that both will provide fewer runs from the position than average for other MLB teams, but I would not be surprised if neither produces more than existing Cubs players would produce.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    How did the Giants win a WS with the lineup that finished out the last 2 months & the playoffs ? Melky was gone & the entire team except for Posey MVP was not very productive. They basically won with great pitching & clutch hitting late in games.

  • Rizzo 44

    Thats why you sign Keppinger and put him at second. For a full season I would guess his line would look like this 285/350/390 30 Doubles, 8HRS, 55RBI. Trade Barney to the Tigers for Porcello. Trade DeJesus and Wood to the Indians for Choo and Chisenhall. Chisenhall at 3B with a line of 275/350/500 30 Doubles, 20HRS, 85RBI. Choo’s line could look like this 285/370/440 30 Doubles, 20HRS, 85RBI. Thats just a couple moves the Cubs could make. Keppinger could move to a utlity role if Watkins is ready to take over. Choo could be signed after this next season or let go if it doesn’t work or a younger player is ready. Chisenhall may be the answer to the future at third. Porcello is young and could be in the rotation for years. We don’t have to give up much to get these deals. Also I say sign BJ Upton for 5 years 70M if we can.

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      Trade DeJesus and Wood to the Indians for Choo and Chisenhall.

      How drunk are we going to get the Indians first? This isn’t even a starting point. It’s an insult that would simply end the conversation. And probably any future deals between the Indians and the Cubs.

      • Rizzo 44

        Well add a player or two don’t be a dick. I’m just saying it can be done.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          Neither of those two gets us close. This isn’t “add a player or two” this is “completely rework the trade.”

        • AB

          It can be done, but you’d probably have to add 2 or 3 of the Cubs top 10 prospects.

  • blackmaskreplica

    “How drunk are we going to get the Indians first”

    that is a pretty insulting stereotype

    • Dr. Percival Cox

      The stereotype that drunk people do stupid things? Replace Indians with Chris Antonetti if you like and the sentence has the same meaning, but no one knows who he is.

      My meaning was clear.

      • Rizzo 44

        And I think your an idiot. Your meaning was rediculous.

        • Dr. Percival Cox

          “And I think your an idiot” “rediculous”

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • bbmoney

        I think the meaning was pretty clear. I mean any GM would have to at least be a little tipsy to not hang up the phone on that one.

        It was just unfortunate the team we were talking about, which is their mistake, not Docs.

    • WGNstatic

      In fairness, the “Indians” he Dr. Cox is referring to are the baseball team, not a group of Native Americans.

      Is the fact that the the Cleveland American League Ballclub still chooses to be called the Indians and use the remarkably inappropriate “Chief Wahoo” as a mascot… well that is another matter. But hey, at least they don’t call themselves the “Redskins”

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yeah, I caught that, too. I think that it was an unfortunate confluence, there! (DocCox doesn’t come across as that sort, any way.)

  • Njriv

    Save my man Logan!

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