No Bullets today, partly because there are few news items this morning, and partly because I’m going to The Game today (OSU/Michigan). If you don’t hear from me again, it’s because I was brash and decided to wear my Michigan garb to Ohio Stadium. In lieu of Bullets, please accept a tasty slice of the Lukewarm Stove …

  • Christina Kahrl suggests a trade the Red Sox should consider: “Trade to get Alfonso Soriano’s next two seasons and the last year that Matt Garza is under club control, sending Chicago a package of [Ryan] Kalish[Jarrod] Saltalamacchia and minor-league prospects Alex Wilson and Matt Barnes.” Well, I suppose I agree that the Red Sox should consider that one, but should the Cubs? Setting aside the fact that, after the Dioner Navarro signing, the Cubs don’t really have a spot for Salty, unless they’re going to trade Welington Castillo, I’m just not sure about that deal for the Cubs. On the one hand, the implication is that the Red Sox are taking on all or most of Soriano’s salary, which is certainly valuable. And Barnes is a legitimately interesting prospect. But Wilson is a 26-year-old relief prospect coming off a down year at AAA, and Kalish is a fringy young outfielder whom I wouldn’t take in center field over Brett Jackson. So, no, I don’t think I’d be on board for that deal because I don’t see a whole lot of value for the Cubs … but that doesn’t mean I think the Cubs could get more for Soriano and Garza right now. Soriano’s value in that deal is depressed by the Sawx taking on his contract (something I’d hope the Cubs would avoid, in favor of a better prospect return), and Garza’s value is depressed by the last vision of him on the mound being one where he’s grabbing for his elbow. Hopefully the Cubs won’t sell low on him.
  • The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $15 million deal earlier this week (despite him reportedly having better offers from other teams), which does not impact the Cubs directly – obviously they weren’t in on Kuroda, and his free agent value was really wonky, given his desire for a short-term deal and possibility of heading back to Japan. But the signing does have a modest impact on the Cubs’ offseason efforts: namely, it reduces the Yankees’ free agent pitching desires by way of a guy who was never coming to the Cubs. That is to say, had Kuroda decided to go back to Japan, the Cubs and Yanks may suddenly have been going head-to-head for a free agent pitcher or two (depending on the Yankees’ backup plans). Now, that almost certainly won’t happen.
  • Further, if the Yanks bring back Andy Pettitte, too, as they want to do, it might make Phil Hughes expendable – while he isn’t as desirable as he may have been a couple years ago, he’s still an intriguing, young, upside starter in the Rick Porcello vein.
  • MLBTR compares two of the Cubs’ possible free agent targets: Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy. The surprise is not that McCarthy is viewed more favorably (except by Tim Dierkes, who actually ranked Liriano the more attractive free agent when considering health), it’s that it isn’t a blowout. For me, it’s McCarthy, and it isn’t close. I’ll take the injury risk in exchange for the much more reliably solid performance. (Assuming the contracts were similar, I mean … which I don’t think they will be. So, if Liriano gets 1/$5M and McCarthy gets 2/$25M, well, then I could be more open to Liriano.)
  • The Royals are open to moving uber-prospect Wil Myers for a front-line starting pitcher, but, no, I don’t think Matt Garza is the guy (injury concern, one year of control, etc.). I also don’t think Jeff Samardzija is the guy, but I wouldn’t be totally crazy about making that swap anyway. To paraphrase Jed Hoyer: the Cubs need more Jeff Samardzija’s, not fewer Jeff Samardzija’s.
  • After picking up Ryan Wheeler from the D-backs, the Rockies could be looking to deal Wheeler – a third base prospect in whom the Cubs reportedly had interest last year – or another third baseman (Nolan Arenado?). Seems like a lot of speculation, but it was worth a mention. So I mentioned.
  • Zack Greinke is believed to be looking for a six-year deal, which, like, dude … ask for more.
  • Kyle

    If we’re not going to try this coming season, that Red Sox deal looks pretty sweet.

    Kalish is super overrated by Boston fans, but Barnes immediately becomes our best pitching prospect and not close. He belongs in the same breath as Soler and Almora.

  • Dustin S

    The Sox deal is interesting to think about but I don’t give too much credence to reporter armchair GM trade ideas. We all know how few leaked rumored deals based on real FO information actually ever happen, and the ones like this almost never do. In the case of Sox (and Yankees) writers, the theorized deals also usually lean towards benefiting the hometown crowd more too.

    In this case Saltalamacchia makes almost no sense for the Cubs, and I agree that Kalish doesn’t appear to be an upgrade over Jackson or even Campana. We already have 1 catcher too many and the last thing we need is another low contact/low OBP guy. Barnes or Wilson for Soriano (plus maybe a low prospect in the case of Barnes) gets closer to something I could see happening though.

  • Rcleven

    Randy Wells is now a Ranger.
    This is now the third FA the rangers have from the Cubs system.

    • @cubsfantroy

      At least he found a home. Maybe he can turn his career around in Texas.

  • DarthHater

    Wow, that was informative.


    One hundred and One Percent Awful = 2012 SEASON

    To steal a quote from SORIANO

    “Soriano credited Ricketts and Epstein for “doing a very good job putting a nice group of people” together. They weren’t that good at baseball, but they got along great.

    • MichiganGoat

      Ignored, you know there are sites that will actually enjoy this kind is trolling … Maybe you should find one.

    • BWA

      This has nothing to do with the conversation or the lukewarm stove update. Please save it for the message board.


    The best way to ignore someone is simply ignore them ,yet you keep typing – Please do as Brett instructed you to do with trolls just ignore them.. besides anything I type about little theo always get your panties in a bunch unless it praise . Yeah I do praise the young man when he does good things – player development Big Praise ! 25 man roster Big Joke.!

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    #1. Red Sox are interested in Mike Napoli to play 1B for them.
    #2. Alfonso Soriano could split time at DH with him, appeasing both players.
    #3. David DeJesus and Dave Sappelt will platoon, so we’d need two OF.
    #4. One year of control for Matt Garza is more valuable than one year of control for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

    I would offer Garza, Soriano and Barney for Barnes, Webster and Wilson.

    • J-Nasty

      Ortiz will be their full time DH.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Michael Bowden is getting stretched out to try his act as a starting pitcher from rotoworld.

  • Kyle

    “You said “those Boise prospects were in the system before Epstein got here”. Many were. Some weren’t.”

    Semantic piddle. People weren’t saying “Wow, what an amazing feat for Boise to be an almost all-prospect lineup” because of a postseason appearance from a relief pitcher.

    “’m not entirely sure what ‘terrible roster decisions’ he made, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

    Ian Stewart for 3b
    Joe Mather on the team
    Clevenger before Castillo

    Those three, at least, should be indisputable.

    • hansman1982

      And I have shown you already that it wasn’t the fact that Mather was on the team and performed awful that sunk the ship. It was the fact that we had no really good hitting talent on the roster.

      But hey even now we are just a couple dozen shrewd, non-big-FA, moves away from that playoff berth in 2013!!!!!

  • Kyle

    “The bullpen, heading into 2012 was a wreck. He played 40 Man Jenga all year long, and the 2012 Pen was hideous.”

    After 2011, the bullpen was borderline average with Samardzija and Marshall. It was awful “heading in” to 2012 because our front office broke it and then fixed it. They don’t get to have credit for simultaneously breaking it and fixing it/

    “In 2013, Marmol, Camp, Russell, Bowden, Chapman, Dolis, Cabrera, and Beliveau all represent decent options, before we invite in NRI types. No, it isn’t a finished product, but you can’t expect a finished product from a club that has been ruled by front office follies the last 8 decades.”

    So by fielding the exact same bullpen that was the worst in baseball last year, Epstein and Hoyer have fixed the bullpen?

    Dear lord, you can’t make this stuff up. I thought the insistence that Ian Stewart was a good pickup was the limit of pro-Epstein obstinance, but insisting that he improved the bullpen takes the cake.

    “The Cubs usually stroll into camp with 5 starting pitching options (Trade Gorzelanny, as it would be foolish to have a sixth starter, right Jim Hendry) and maybe 6 potential relievers. Pitchers never get hurt, right?”

    I’m not entirely sure what this has to do with anything. And I would hope we enter camp with mroe than 11 pitchers.

    “I’m guessing a 4th or 5th place finish this year, again. There will be more questions answered. And, in your view, more time will be wasted. Because we didn’t throw eleventy scazillion dollars at Upton.”

    It will be wasted because we’ll be bad at baseball.

    • tim

      I guess there are two ways (at least) of looking at everything.

      If you thought Sean Marshall was worth an extension on a fourth/fifth place team at 9 mil a year, then, yeah, keeping him makes sense. I’d consider that foolish, but knock yourself out. For Marshall, we pegged a cost-controlled SP (oh, yeah, cost matters nothing to you), a meh outfielder, and a solid young 2B Prospect. That’s a win of a trade to me, but I was good with a 100-loss season.

      After trading Marshall, and watching Wood and Marmol melt down, Theo added Jaye Chapman and Michael Bowden for, effectively, nothing. They may be quality relivers. They may not be. But Theo will continue to play Waiver Garage Sale this year as well. Much of the Bullpen Disaster 2012 was from guys no longer in contention for the bullpen. Wood. Hinshaw. Socolovich. Castillo.

      I’m completely good with 2 years of bad results to see the system upgraded through the draft, International signings, Waiver moves, improved instruction, and whatever else. But, then, I’ll listen to more Tennessee games, Peoria games and Boise games than Cubs games.


      • Kyle

        I didn’t say they shouldn’t have traded Marshall. I’ve repeatedly called that trade a masterstroke, for all the reasons you described.

        That doesn’t mean that the bullpen was improved.

        • jt

          From June 25 to the trade deadline The Cubs were 19 W and 11 L
          In August The Cubs gave up 153 Runs in 248.3 IP
          The combined ERA of Shark, Wood, Marmol, Camp and Russell for August was 3.24.
          The combined ERA of the rest of the staff was close to 9 (I didn’t parse ER from runs so it is just a bit lower than 9).
          From the middle of June through the end of August (perhaps longer) the BP must have been good in at least 19 of the 30 games as the Runs Allowed avg in those games was 1.86 for the team.
          I guess Marshall could have closed instead of Dolis.
          Wood’s August 37 IP and 17 ER’s along with Marmol’s August 10 IP and 1 ER probably was more than Marshall could have contributed. In other words, they would have been even worse in August had they not made the trade

          • Kyle

            The games that happened before June 25 and after the trading deadline counted, too.

            There’s nothing meaningful about cherrypicking out a few weeks that best prove the point you want to make and saying “See, if you look at these weeks and ignore everything else…”

            • jt

              I’m not assessing the season. Point in fact, I stated that Marshall could have become the closer instead of Dolis which would have saved a couple of losses.
              You stated the trade hurt The Cubs. At seasons start Stewart was taking the AB’s at 3B, Soto was getting them at C, Byrd was in CF and Soriano had a 0.590 OPS in his first 125 AB’s. DeJesus was taking walks and showing no power, Castro was getting singles and Barney was earning about a 0.720 OPS by getting a few doubles. If they didn’t have LaHair it is doubtful they would have scored any runs at all.
              I once posted the number of Marmol/Dolis blown saves. But having Marshall would not have rescued the Marmol lost saves.
              In another post I stated that a rise in ERA by the front of the rotation should be offset by a lowering of the ERA of the back of the rotation.
              That is where you should have protested. There is not a linear is ruled by the quantum. Once a team passes a threshhold of RA on the steady basis determined by their offense they are bound to lose more than they win. In order for the back end of the rotation to held they would have to become better than the aces.
              Below is not cherry picking. In August Wood, Shark, Marmol, Russell and Camp had a combined ERA of 3.24 but they still could not win.
              In 21 of 30 well pitched in the July period resulted in 18 victories.
              Good teams have depth. The 2012 Cubs never had depth so they were never a good team. They did have a good team type stretch though.
              June 25 through and including the loss on July 31 their record was 19 W and 11 L.
              It is interesting to see what went right during that period.
              116 Runs Allowed in that 30 game period.
              9 = games in which Runs Allowed was high
              …….17, 10, 7, 7, 9, 12, 7, 9, 5
              83 = Runs allowed in those games
              21 = games in which Runs Allowed was low
              43 = Runs Allowed in those games
              1.57 Avg Runs Allowed in Games pitched well
              18 = number of wins in games pitched well
              1 = number of wins in games pitched poorly Cubs win 8 to 7
              Koufax/Drysdale syndrome…100% pure fantasy
              If Cubs sign Greinke (lol) and Shark and Garza pitch like aces (lol).
              Permit me to “what if” the 3 pitch 88 of the 98 games slotted for the top of the rotation
              They pitch (like aces would) 85% of their games at the 1.57 runs Allowed/game and they win 6/7 of those games (as the July 2012 Cubs did).
              That would include 75 of the 88 games and they would win 64 of them.
              The 13 games not included from the 88 game set could still be won depending upon how poorly they pitched and how good the offense performed.
              That leaves 87 games not in the 75 game set. To get to 81 wins for example, they would need 17 W’s and 70 L’s in the 87 game set.
              The 2013 Cubs should score more runs than achieved by the 2012 guys.
              But, are they going to score that many more?
              They have proved that they can win with great pitching. It does not seem they are going to get great hitting.
              They need pitching! They need very good pitching!

      • When the Music’s Over

        “I’m completely good with 2 years of bad results to see the system upgraded through the draft, International signings, Waiver moves, improved instruction, and whatever else.”

        You may find yourself enduring another 2+ years of bad results after the 2013 season. Those that are waiting on the prospect train to arrive in 2014 are setting themselves up for disappointment. Also, these young guys may never develop as hoped, so the risk on that front is very real and very high. Only way this team gets turned around for 2014 is through a combination of trading away minor league talent and signing free agents. Could that happen? Certainly. Is it likely to happen? Not sure, flip a coin.

    • jt

      Not all year! In July the SP went deeper into games and Marmol had gotten himself straightened out. Cubs pitching limited RA to 93 and the team went 15 W and 10 L for the month.
      The BP under that set of circumstances was not bad.
      Having said that, I believe Camp and Russell should share the role of being the 4/5 best RP’er(s).

  • cubsin

    Without the yard sale at the trading deadline, the Cubs would probably have finished the year with 91 losses instead of 101.

    Thanks to those trades, we acquired Vizcaino, Villanueva, Chapman, Loux, and Hendricks. All we lost moving forward was one year of Paul Maholm. We’ll also have larger bonus pools for the Rule 4 and Rule 5 drafts, and pick earlier in the Rule 4 draft. All of the prospects who played for the Cubs in 2012 got extra playing time. The front office had the opportunity to audition quite a few of the other teams’ castoffs, and at least Bowden looks like a keeper.

    I don’t expect the 2013 Cubs to break .500, but I doubt that they’ll lose 100 games again.


    • Kyle

      I don’t think anybody dislikes the yard sale. The issue is that mistakes and bad choices by the current front office caused the yard sale to be necessary, and I would prefer not to go down the same path in 2013.

      • cubsin

        Please be as specific as you can, and tell me what mistakes and bad choices Team Theo made that might have enabled the 2012 Cubs to play .500 ball? Not trading Tony Campana for Justin Verlander?

        • King Jeff

          It’s hind sight now, but if they had done a better job about putting together the bullpen, and had done a better job at filling 3rd base, I think the team could have challenged .500 last year.

    • Westbound Willie

      Did you use to post the same stuff over on the royals board but with different player names?

  • cubsin

    Add Marcelo Carreno to the list of players the Cubs acquired. And Texas still owes us a PTBNL.

  • Crazyhorse

    SS Edgar Renteria (2004, 4 years, $40 million)
    RHP Matt Clement (2004, 3 years, $25.8 million)
    SS Julio Lugo (2006, 4 years, $36 million)
    RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2006, 6 years, $52 million plus $51 million posting fee)
    RHP Brad Penny (2008, 1 year, $5 million)
    RHP John Smoltz (2009, 1 year, $5.5 million)
    RHP John Lackey (2009, 5 years, $82.5 million)
    OF Mike Cameron (2009, 2 years, $15.5 million)
    RHP Bobby Jenks (2010, 2 years, $12 million)
    OF Carl Crawford (2010, 7 years, $142 million)
    OF Wily Mo Pena for RHP Bronson Arroyo (2006 from Reds)
    C Doug Mirabelli for RHP Cla Meredith and C Josh Bard (2006 from Padres)
    RHP Eric Gagne for OF David Murphy and two prospects (2007 from Rangers
    RHP Byung-Hyun Kim for INF Shea Hillenbrand (2003 from Diamondbacks)
    C-1B Victor Martinez for RHP Justin Masterson and two prospects (2009 from Indians)
    OF Coco Crisp (2006, 3 years, $15.5 million)
    RHP Joel Piniero (2007, 1 year, $4 million)
    RHP Curt Schilling (2007, 1 year, $8 million)
    3B Mike Lowell (2007, 3 years, $37.5 million)
    list goes on with the redsox – thank god for that gm from baltimore

    lets do the cubs
    Named Dale Sveum manager.
    Agreed to terms with OF David DeJesus on a two-year contract. (team control colvin)
    Selected INF Ricky Alvarez from the L.A. Angels in the Rule 5 draft. Acquired 3B Ian Stewart and RHP Casey Weathers from the Colorado Rockies for OF Tyler Colvin and INF D.J. LeMahieu.
    Named Chris Bosio pitching coach, Dave McKay first base coach, Jamie Quirk bench coach and Mike Borzello and Franklin Fort major league staff assistants. Reassigned bench coach Pat Listach to third base coach.
    Last in almost every thing batting ,pitching and BUNTING lol
    Agreed to terms with LHP Andy Sonnanstine and RHP Manny Corpas on one-year contracts.
    Acquired RHP Chris Volstad from Miami for RHP Carlos Zambrano and cash considerations.
    drum roll
    Agreed to terms with RHP Kerry Wood on a one-year contract.

    • Crazyhorse

      Opps didnt get it done. but the list continues

      • Crazyhorse

        Agreed to terms with RHP Rodrigo Lopez, LHP Trever Miller, C Jason Jaramillo, INF Alfredo Amezaga, INF Edgar Gonzalez, INF Bobby Scales, INF Matt Tolbert and OF Joe Mather on minor league contracts.

        • Crazyhorse

          Selected the contract of C Blake Lalli from Iowa (PCL). Optioned RHP Chris Volstad to Iowa.

  • Crazyhorse

    Selected the contract of Rodrigo Lopez Iowa (PCL).

  • Crazyhorse

    Added RHP Michael Bowden to the roster.

  • Crazyhorse

    Selected the contract of LHP Chris Rusin Recalled LHP Brooks Raley from Iowa

  • Crazyhorse

    yes the 25 man roster- no major Free agents

  • Crazyhorse

    What he did well THE DRAFT! and to insure that he has the 2 nd pick next year- thou he was actually trying for good ole number one

  • Crazyhorse

    The draft is his strongest point but it will take a couple years for that to pan out but it will. until then a 500 team is not in the picture. Remember win or lose Wirgley field sells tickets- from papa ricketts

  • arta

    if, if, if.

  • JR

    I haven’t researched it yet, but are any of those dudes in the proposed Red Sox deal coming off Tommy John surgery? If so I am sure the Cubs would love to do that trade.

  • Jeff1969

    Crazyhorse, cocaine is a hellofa drug.