Quantcast

Well this came out of left field (or right field, as the case may be. Hi-yo.)

According to Jerry Crasnick and Jon Heyman, the Cubs are close to finalizing a one-year deal with non-tendered outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

The 28-year-old outfielder was traded to the Phillies by the Giants midseason, and put up a .257/.321/.407 line across the two stops. He’s long been a platoon/bench type guy, playing both corner outfield spots, and put up a .278/.326/.430 line over 115 games in 2011. That was good for a 114 OPS+ (undervalued asset much?).

Multiple Cubs sources are confirming the signing, with the expectation that Schierholtz will be the Cubs’ starting right fielder.

He’s a career .266/.319/.413 hitter against righties, so it’s possible he’ll be a platoon-mate with Dave Sappelt, a righty (though Schierholtz’s numbers against lefties aren’t much worse). The advanced stats say he’s been decent defensively, but probably something short of very good.

It isn’t a particularly sexy signing, but Schierholtz was garnering a great deal of interest in recent days, and could make for a flippable piece midseason (everyone’s favorite phrase). He could be a stop-gap starter, or an eventual 4th outfielder. Either way, given the Cubs’ expectations for 2013, adding Schierholtz is just fine.

Obviously we’ll have much more on the signing in the coming days.

UPDATE: To including the numbers, Crasnick reports that Schierholtz is getting $2.25 million plus $500K in incentives, which, if accurate, is just a phenomenal deal. No, he’s not a game-changer, and yes, he’s just a platoon guy. But that’s a dirt cheap, minimal commitment for a guy who can actually produce some offensive value. I should be plain, though: it does signal that the Cubs are, indeed, not going to be particularly aggressive in terms of “competing” in 2013.

UPDATE Part 2: As noted astutely in the comments, if the Cubs like what Schierholtz offers this year, he’s actually under control through 2014 by virtue of not having enough service time for free agency by the end of 2013. So the Cubs could offer him arbitration after the season.

  • morgan

    they should just trade Garza for nothing, i hate seeing a pitcher like that waste his career on such a bad team, this moves just proves that there not even going to try to be competitive, Baker and Feldman are number 5 pitchers on good teams, theres just no point on having Garza on this team,

    • nkniacc13

      They may trade him before the season starts but not before spring training

  • nkniacc13

    yanks, redsox were 2 of the teams also in on him

  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

    I don’t understand this, they aren’t willing to offer arbitration to Ian Stewart but go out and pay Nate Schierholtz 2.25M to play right field.

    I just don’t get it.

    • RickyP024

      Do you remember what Stewart did last year?

      • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

        In 241 AB’s Scheirholtz hit .257 6hr & 21rbi’s

        In 179 AB’s Stewart hit .201 5hr & 17rbi’s with a bad wrist, while playing good defense.

        Clearly Stewart hurt was almost as good as Scheirholtz healthy.

        • Drew7

          Stewart- .627 OPS
          Schierholtz- .728 OPS

          That’s not “clearly almost as good”, even if you truly think Stewart’s defense is great (which it isn’t).

  • Matty Ice

    The amount of money burning a hole in Ricketts pocket must be staggering

  • OJ

    Can we stop with the flippable pieces crap? It’s NATE FREAKIN SCHIERHOLTZ. Seriously. Glad to see ESPN reporters mocking Cub fans already.

    jon greenberg ‏@espnchijon

    Can’t wait til a few Cubs fans start telling themselves, “Theo can flip Nate Schierholtz for a couple prospects at the deadline.”

    • Kyle

      Well, the difference is that Nate Schierholtz is kind of OK at baseball if the pitcher is right-handed, whereas Ian Stewart is really bad at baseball and has one good wrist.

      • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

        OK KYLE, we get it, you hate Ian Stewart

        • Kyle

          Good. I was worried I wasn’t getting that across.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Just because it’s cliche doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It is. He could easily become a heavily-sought after bench bat at the deadline. Folks can be as sick of hearing it as they want, but those guys have value. Not huge value – but look at Reed Johnson. His inclusion undoubtedly put the Maholm/Vizcaino deal over the top.

      • Spencer

        You can see how people find the terms “one year prove it contract”, “bounce back candidate”, and “flippable asset” to be a bit wearisome, though. I don’t know many successful baseball teams that are assembled using only this type of free agent strategy.

        • Internet Random

          If one has the patience of a 12-year-old and the attention span of a gnat, I could see where anything that takes longer than 15 minutes could be a bit wearisome.

          • Spencer

            That was a really fun and creative way of calling me impatient; great work.

            My underlying point remains: No one expects the Cubs to compete in 2013. I get that. And I accept that. But, as it turns out, baseball doesn’t stop after the 2013 season, so it’d be neat if the Cubs would assemble some quality MLB talent to supplement all of the guys that we have in the farm system that everyone is *hoping* will pan out. Because what happens if they don’t pan out? Then we have no talent at the MLB level, or MiLB level. That would be…oooh, a butterfly! brb.

            • Internet Random

              That would be…oooh, a butterfly! brb.

              Well done.

              Because what happens if they don’t pan out?

              What happens if Canada bombs Wrigley Field? I’m not in the habit of crossing bridges before I get to them.

              Those who have been following the Cubs for more than two years already know what it’s like to have no talent in the farm system but “some quality MLB talent”. Summary: It hasn’t been all that fruitful.

              • scorecard paul

                Hey, finaly some good news!
                I am quite sure that Wrigley Field is insured? Maybee at least that would allow us to get some cash to renovate!!!

        • MightyBear

          Maybe not successful teams but successful organizations. You want one? The Texas Rangers. Jon Daniels used this same strategy 5 plus years ago. People forget the Rangers were terrible his first few years but he stayed the course drafting well and stockpiling young players. When they got good he signed Beltre, traded for Cliff Lee and they went to the World Series twice and playoffs three years in a row. A few years ago they were ready to run Daniels out of town, now he could be Mayor of Arlington.

          • MightyBear

            Oh and they also have the best minor league system in baseball. The Rangers and the Blue Jays are about the same.

          • Lou

            He also had a blue chip MLB player to flip in Texeria, which got him players back that are all playing on the team. Not saying that this sort of thing couldn’t happen here but you need to include that point.

          • Kyle

            Which years were the Rangers terrible?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Well … they had a winning record just once between 2000 and 2008. They were never rock bottom, but that’s a long time to be worse than average. It helps you in the future if you use it properly.

            • Muck

              Mighty Bear knows whats up. and in 2007 they were 75-87. Not terrible but.

            • MightyBear

              2005-2007

              2005 3rd
              2006 3rd
              2007 4th

              4 team division

              2007 75-87

              • MightyBear

                They also hired Daniels in 2005. Youngest GM in baseball breaking the record of Theo Epstein.

      • OJ

        Correct, a bench bat. Not someone who’s going to net us anything of value by himself. We don’t need to attach flippable piece to every scrub we sign, I’ve seen him play tons. He is, at best…a 4th OF. A nice bat off the bench and nothing else.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “Correct, a bench bat. Not someone who’s going to net us anything of value by himself.”

          http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/10/16/marcelo-carreno-might-be-one-of-the-players-traded-to-the-cubs-for-jeff-baker/

          • OJ

            “Correct, a bench bat. Not someone who’s going to net us anything of value by himself.”

            http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/10/16/marcelo-carreno-might-be-one-of-the-players-traded-to-the-cubs-for-jeff-baker/

            Of value. Your response is to point me to a player who has done nothing? Do you think the Tigers gave that kid up cause they thought he would turn into something? Common sense. We traded nothing for nothing. Only one is younger. Congrats? Save “flippable piece” for players of actual merit, as I said before. Not every single bum we sign to a 1 year deal. You can wag your tail over a Nate Schierholtz signing but anyone who’s seen him play knows better. I’ll make sure to remind you of this when we’re on our way to another 100+ loss season. And you can tell me about the crappy fringe prospect we got. YAY!

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Ah, got it. Only top 100 prospects or big league players (quality players, presumably) are “of value.” Understood.

              • Spencer

                little chippy, tonight eh ;)

                • Spencer

                  My comma is in the wrong place. And I just noticed it. And now it’s driving me crazy.

              • OJ

                Obviously, you don’t understand which is evident by your smug response. I can see how my point would go over the head of someone writing lame, jingoistic, lazy, “flippable assets” tags for every warm body the Cubs pick up off the scrap heap. Guess I can play the smug comment game too! :)

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  It makes me very happy to say that you’re better at it than I am.

                  Thanks for reading my lame, jingoistic, lazy stuff!

                  • Hee Seop Chode

                    I’m in an underwhelmed mood tonight, and I don’t like the signing….

                    But Brett is far from lazy as it pertains to this site, and he makes a horseshit product interesting (the team, not the site).

                    • OJ

                      I don’t have an issue with Brett’s site. I’ve been a long time follower of this website. I can remember back to the Fernando Perez debacle. I’m obviously a fan of the site but the jingoistic bullshit pertaining to bench bats gets gross and lazy. That’s just me.

                • David

                  Jingoistic? I do not think it means what you think it means. (Insert voice of Inigo Montoya)

            • johnny kelroy

              Hey OJ, the FO has been very up front with how this process will take some time. In a “baseball business sense” (for lack of a better term) all of these moves make sense. They are stockpiling potential assets that could be turned into value, which could lead to more prospects. Yes, they’re is a chance that between Feldman, Baker, Schierholtz, and whoever the next signing is that someone in that group doesn’t turn out. I.e., Ian Stewart, circa 2012.

              I would understand where your frustration is coming from if the Cubs were putting up a front and suggesting to buy your 2013 World Series tickets now! But they’re not, and this is all just trying to get the organization one step closer having “sustained success” year in and year out. Give it some time, or if you can’t wait, I’m sure they’re begging for fans in Miami, maybe give them a try, they seem to be headed towards perennial success!

              • OJ

                I understand how the process works. I ripped the mongoloids around here clamoring for a Josh Hamilton signing too.

                But to try and tout Nate Schierholtz as anything other than a 4th OF is misleading. He’s a bench bat. And I’m not frustrated with the process. I understand the rebuild and I’m behind it. I’m frustrated with lazy writing trying to tell me about Nate Schierholtz being a “flippable asset” before the ink has dried on his contract.

                • johnny kelroy

                  You literally said above that you are “tired of these types of signings”…

                  • OJ

                    You should double check yourself because NOWHERE did I ever say “literally” or any other way that I was “tired of these kinds of signings.” It is what it is. This roster would still suck if we landed Josh Hamilton so I have no issues. My issue is tagging every dead beat we sign to a 1 year deal with “OMGZ, FLIPPABLE ASSET GUISE!!11″ It’s lazy. Plain and simple. My other issue is people trying to make Schierholtz out to be more than he is. As I’ve said to the point of vomiting, he’s a nice bench bat. Not a starter. If the Cubs intend on starting him, that’s very sad for a big market club like ours but it is what it is.

    • Internet Random

      Archive that tweet. It will be fun to retweet it when Schierholtz is flipped at the deadline.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Done.

    • Mike

      Agreed. Unless Schierholtz has a break out year (I’m optimistic on a break out), I don’t know if the Cubs would get much in the way of prospects, but I don’t really care if they do or not. I just want to see this guy play in right field. I think Cubs fans will like his defense, at the very least. When was the last time we had a right fielder with a very strong and accurate arm, that prides himself in throwing runners out? Sure wasn’t Sammy Sosa. But, it would be Andre Dawson. For those of you who remember watching Andre, expect similar defense. Nate will be fun to watch.

  • nkniacc13

    wasn’t he traded for Pence?

  • calicubsfan007

    Wow, I was working for a few hours and had not checked this page for a couple of hours. The first thing I thought when I saw the headline was, “Wha?” But I do think that this is a good signing. It isn’t a sexy signing, but it wasn’t intended to be. I think that this is a better option than Bradley, as someone else pointed out. Low risk, possibly high reward signing. He has been around winning ball clubs, maybe he can help us with that knowledge.

  • emrac

    this is a nice signing we need to be patient and see what he can do with a full season of playing time we don’t need to sign the most sexy name out there

  • Luke D

    Likely means DeJesus will be on his way out if/when Jackson comes knocking on the door next season.

  • Earl Cunningham

    .287 .360 .466 against righties, good move.

    • http://bleachernation ferris

      yes it is

  • Dustin S

    From a budget-buy standpoint he’s a good signing, but definitely not someone who’s going to all of the sudden hit 30 hrs, He never hit 20 even in the minors and hasn’t had 10 in the majors. Also, looking at his splits…at least last year he was ~100 pts lower vs. lefties (smaller pool but still). So he’ll get the majority of the starts since he’ll be going against rhp, but I think we’re in for a platoon for sure. This also I think confirms what I’ve been saying all along, which is that most or all of the signings for next year are basically cheap place holders or trade chips. 2013 is going to be rough. I totally understand it, but just eeks. Especially if Soriano goes, Rizzo might get 200 walks. This lineup won’t scare anyone. I may be drinking a whole lot of beer next summer, maybe that’s their plan lol. Be so bad that Cubs fans turn to drinking (well more than we do usually).

    • Lou

      I think this is the best post of the night. It’s fair in its analysis but with the understanding most games…well they may just be unwatchable this year….

      • MichCubFan

        No, its not. It isn’t all bad, but there is a whole lot of bad in there.

    • MichCubFan

      “He never hit 20 even in the minors and hasn’t had 10 in the majors.”

      Look at the number of Plate Appearances he has had from year to year. You can’t use a counting stat without looking at how many PAs the player had that year.

      “Also, looking at his splits…at least last year he was ~100 pts lower vs. lefties.”

      It is interesting because he hit lefties better than righties before the 2011 and 2012 seasons. And with the limited number of PAs he has had each year, you can’t really trust those numbers as much as you could if he had 550 PAs per year. But being that he is a left handed hitter and that most of the pitchers in the league are righties, he still has quite a bit of value.

      And look at the A’s last year. They used platoons on purpose because it is cheaper to get “half a player” (even though it is more like 66%/33% or something like that) than it is for a full player.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        “And look at the A’s last year. They used platoons on purpose because it is cheaper to get “half a player” (even though it is more like 66%/33% or something like that) than it is for a full player.”

        This. Properly done… and I don’t mean the Quade-style ‘play the hot hand and forget the numbers’ crap… properly done a platoon can outperform a large percentage of the league. I think people would be surprised at how many successful teams throughout baseball history took advantage of platoons to maximize their roster. Back with the Philadelphia A’s were stomping on everyone, for example, they were famous for using platoons. If it’s good enough for Connie Mack, it’s good enough for me.

        • MightyBear

          LaRussa did it for 30 years.

        • David

          Just to throw out a name, say the Cubs signed Reed Johnson to be the other half of the platoon. For $1.5mm, I would wager that the Cubs would get more productivity for their $4mm that the red sox will get from their $13mm in Victorino.

  • JR

    This signing gives me a headache because it’s so typical/boring/tradebait/sucks.. Oh to be a Cub fan.

  • Dustin

    The Cubs were in on Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez before they signed with the White Sox and Diamondbacks, respectively, GM Jed Hoyer told reporters. The Cubs are seeking someone who can help at the hot corner.

    Hopefully they sign Youk asap!!

  • morgan

    Guys who could have been had for the same contract or less are Nate McLouth, nyjer morgan, Ryan Sweeney, and Delmon Young. In fact Mclouth signed for a lesser deal than this scrub did, Nyjer Morgan would of been 20 times better than this bum lol, this signing is just baffling if they tend to use him as a starting of,

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      What are you basing the claim that Nyjer Morgan would have been twenty times better on?

      2012 numbers: Schierholtz against RHP: .826 OPS, Morgan against RHP: .610.

      Morgan’s line against lefties looks better, but he only had 25 ABs in that situation; he’s also a platoon guy.

      I’m not sure I see the argument here.

    • bbmoney

      Nyjer is that you?

      Mclouth signed for less because for the better part of three years he was pretty much what Chone Figgens was in Seattle the past couple years. Which included an amazing OPS+ of 10 in his stint in Pittsburgh last year….small sample size but negative WARs for 3 straight years tend to limit the size of your contract.

      Living in MI and watching Delmon Young play, I’d be shocked if he’s anything but a DH or a bench bat. Guy let himself go, he can’t really move…and speaking of character issues…..

    • John

      i would rather have Schierholtz than anyone on that list.

  • kranzman54

    This is a GREAT sign! No this doesn’t lead to a championship, but he’s flippable and really affordable and if he stinks, bye-bye. No lose situation. The only negative thing is it locks up a roster spot (big deal he is not even close to our worst guy on the roster). If we can get a Bourn, great, but let’s be real, THIS TEAM WILL SPEND MONEY AT THE RIGHT TIME. Theo did not come here to work on a budget, they are not cheap, just rebuilding and there is no point to sgining Keppinger to a 3 year $36 millin contract during rebuild. They are findin good deals and taking them.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      wouldn’t it be fun if the Cubs signed assets, instead of getting guys to flip for assets?

  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

    ESPN has his salary at 1.3M last year, his number show a regression and we give him a raise, wow!

    1.5M maybe might be justified, 2.25M tells me free agents are telling our FO that if you want me to go there and play on a 100 LOSS team, pay up suckers.

    This FO is starting to look like the Emperor’s New Clothes!!!!!

    • Lou

      Wow, really. Yeah, I glad I thought I felt we’d signed him for too much. Suspicions confirmed.

    • Eric

      Are people actually complaining about $750K on a 1 year/$2.25 million deal. Good Lord.

      It may be boring and it may not work out but it’s much better than giving 3 years and $39 million to a Victorino.

      • Lou

        Actually, I would have preferred Sappelt in RF and Dejesus in CF. Then, when Jackson was ready for a call up or when DeJesus got traded, you’d have Sappelt or Dejesus in RF and Jackson in CF. This is the kind of move I would have expected a contender to make for a bench player before the season and not flipped to a contender later.

    • bbmoney

      That’s a really weird comparison to make considering the 1.3 (if i’m looking at this right) was his first arb year….this was his second….kind of what happens in arb years. Salaries tend to go up. Unless you go all Joe Mather in a year.

    • Jimmy james

      Um that’s the market…..you can pretty much count on players salary going up in arbitration

  • MichCubFan

    I took a look at his splits and they are kind of interesting. From 2007-2010 he hit lefties better, but in 2011 and 2012 he hit righties much better. I wonder how much the lack of sample size he has had to give from year to year really tells us the complete story here. I would want to give him a chance to hit both righties and lefties to give him the chance to prove himself to be an every day player. Platoon Sappelt with DeJesus who has had more time to prove he can’t hit lefties.

    I do like this signing. I was looking at him as somebody we could aquire and then he was non-tendered. Definitely a guy who show a lot with more playing time.

    • mudge

      I like the Sappelt/DeJesus platoon idea.

  • Zogie

    Lets just say Schierholtz is Marlon Byrd’s replacement from a year ago. :)

  • JR

    Ok, I was all in on team Thed and their thing with blowing up the system for their guys. But DAMN…. This sucks, and is not very fun.. Schierholtz? WTF??? Ok, I am done, and will go to bed now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not sure you know what “all in” means.

      :)

  • Muck

    I mean its just a one year deal … and they were right they didn’t know if some Cubs fans would be patient even though they knew this was coming. It doesn’t take a year to rebuild. Theo and Jed’s options in the outfield didn’t probably meet their criteria for HOW they wanna rebuild and knew they could rely on this option probably. Yeah we could do better but probably at a cost .. Just be happy you aren’t an Astros fan look at how they’re doing. Biggest news this offseason for them will probably be changing leagues.

  • Believe in 2015

    He won a World Series. Not many Cubs players can say that. :-)

    • MichCubFan

      Haha, i like that.

  • Abe Froman

    This is the Schierholtz that broke the rebuild’s back apparently. I’ve been really interested in the transactional side of operations for the last few years, the strategy of it all. It seemed that most fans, especially those that frequent Bleacher Nation were as well, so I am a little surprised to see such a groundswell of negative reactions to this pretty minor signing, that I agree with Brett on, all part of the plan that has been communicated time and again, short term value assets and whatnot.

    Maybe everyone had really high expectations for the winter meetings and are chomping at the bit, maybe there are some new voices on the message boards, or maybe patience is running thin on the rebuild. Not sure, but I’m staying a cock-eyed optimist too, not saying that is the right approach, but if you disagree I would offer the notion to be thoughtful in disagreement and not just shaking fists at the moon. Not that the moon issue is not a critical one, we can all agree on that count certainly.

  • emrac

    maybe this video will make some Cubs fans feel better about Nate

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5KG9h8S13Y

    • Earl Cunningham

      Nice

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. That’s awesome.

    • OregonCubFan

      Great video, thanks for sharing. Loved the music too, though it may be a bit of blasphemy :-)
      I think that Schierholtz probably has more upside than many of the naysayers are giving him credit for. Theo and Jed and company seem to be rather astute judges of talent thus far and from their history at Boston. Let’s give him a chance and see if they know what they are talking about. I suspect his numbers may turn out to look a lot like DeJesus’. That means good solid fundamental baseball from the RF and CF spot. If Sappelt breaks out, maybe the two of them end up platooning as suggested above. If Sappelt can’t hit and plays bad fundamental baseball (his past problems) then at least we have two average hitting solid defensive outfielders in front of our trio of Castro, Rizzo and Soriano. It’s not hopeless – not probable to exceed 81 wins unless we make a number of other major traditions, but not hopeless. If we get 75 to 80 wins it bodes well for forward progress and will say a lot about Sveum and his coaching staff.

    • Whiteflag

      Awesome…I love the signing now. lol Great video!

  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

    I don’t hate this signing, but they over-paid by a Million

  • pj

    Following this up with Cody Ross will make things look better. Relatively.

    • Muck

      He’ll ask for too much and Yankees are interested I suppose so ya. sounds like a good option but.

  • Martin

    People need to be prepared for this: There is at least 3-4 more years of this coming. There is no help on the way in the next two years. Signings like this, and the hopes of flipping them for B-/C+ prospects, are all you can expect. Then, if the players in the low minors pan out, there might be hope in year 3 or 4; however, even then, Baez, Almora, Soler, et. al. will still need 2 years of experience to become contributors at the MLB level.

    Best case scenario: Cubs are close to becoming a .500 team in 2015.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That is not the best case scenario. “Best” case scenario is playoffs on 2014.

      Likeliest scenario, however, is a far different thing. I’d say challenging for .500 in 2014 is pretty plausible.

      • Kyle

        Best-case scenario is that the platoon and bullpen plan works, nobody MarlonByrds, our five best starting pitchers all miraculously make 30 starts, and we get like 4 or 5 wins of positive luck variance. That could take us to like 86 wins and a WC berth in 2013.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I guess I was going for “best-that-isn’t-three-or-more-standard-deviations-to-the-right-in-the-realm-of-likelihood.”

          But I like when you say things like that.

      • Lou

        I disagree Brett. I agree with Martin. More of the same in 2014 and 2015 .500. All young players coming up to be the “difference” on this team. Those players have to adjust the MLB game.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “Best case scenario.” Don’t be intentionally hyperbolistic. You’re describing what you think is the likely scenario, not the best possible outcome.

          • Martin

            “Best Case Scenario”=what is the best possible outcome within a realistic framework. And the framework is this:

            The Cubs have two, maybe three players on the team right now that project as above-average major league players. Two or three out of forty.

            The fourth (Garza) is injured or will be traded. There are no players in the minor league system currently that will be above average major leaguers in the next three years.

            Unless they bring in a high number of above average major leaguers in the next 12 months (which has it’s own pitfalls financially), .500 in 2015 is the best case scenario, given the reality of this team.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              This sentence I flatly disagree with: “There are no players in the minor league system currently that will be above average major leaguers in the next three years.”

              I can make you a case that within the next three years the Cubs will feature one of the best bullpens in the NL built largely on players from the farm system.

              I’m also fairly confident on above league average at second and at least one outfield slot with players currently on the farm. I’d say 60/40 they are above league average at third thanks to the farm system by then. The bench should be mostly from the farm system. Should be enough quality candidates to field at least a league average 4th and 5th starter as well.

              They will need more than that to make the playoffs, no question about that, but the system is hardly the barren wasteland you’re portraying.

              • Martin

                In no way did I say that it was a “barren wasteland.” It’s simply REALLY hard to be an above average major league player, and the majority of the Cubs talent is not above high-A ball.

                You could say that the Cubs could have an above average bullpen, but everybody knows the quality of a bullpen is the most volatile part of a baseball team each year. I could make an equally valid case that it would be one of the worst in baseball, and given the likely variance of relief pitchers, both are defensible.

                I’m just going to have to disagree with you on the position players. I could see league average players at all of those positions, but there simply isn’t anything that indicates that anyone currently at AA or above will be an above-average major leaguer. If Jackson can successfully change his swing, he is obviously the most likely, but that’s going to be tough.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  Using a minimum of 100 PAs and ranking players by wRC+, the median 2B in the National League last year was:

                  Justin Turner, NYM. With a line of .269 / .319 / .392

                  Granted, median is not the same as mean (average), but that is still not a high standard to beat. I strongly suspect Watkins has that in him. And within three years, Torreyes sould get a crack as well. I think the odds are in the Cubs favor on this one.

                  • Martin

                    100 PA is not nearly a high enough sample size to approximate an “average major leaguer.” An average major leaguer must, by definition, be a starter (or at least a platoon player). 250 PA would be a better minimum for a platoon player at minimum. If you do that, your median 2B is Omar Infante, who went .274/.300/.419.

                    I don’t see Watkins or Torreyes doing better than that in the next two years. I just don’t.

          • Lou

            I gotta admit Brett, you’re getting a little chippy tonight as Spencer just stated. You have to give young players time to develop at the MLB level, especially when its your core. Even Fangraphs will indicate to you that Mike Trout had a regression statistically in the second half of the season and it was due to opposing teams making adjustments to him. He was arguably the best player in the AL last year. If he was arguably the best player in the AL last year, and his regression was due to this factor, the collectively as a whole, the rookies are due to take their “lumps” especially in their first season. It’s not hyperbolic or what I think is a likely scenario. It’s just the realities of the game. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/mike-trout-reasons-for-caution/

      • Martin

        How are they going to be preparing for a .500 season one year from now?

        Soler, Almora, Baez will still be at least a year away from the big leagues.

        Castro and Rizzo will be solid MLB players.

        Garza will be a FA or traded for AA talent that will still be a year away at best. Samardzija will still be what he is: a #3 starter. They will not have a #1 starter. Their only minor league help coming in the next 18 months will be Vizcaino, and he’s a question mark.

        They won 61 games this year, and won’t win much more next year. You expect them to make a 21 game improvement within 18 months, without a significant influx in talent at the major league level? “Plausible” is not the word I’d use to describe that.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          So you’ve already dismissed Jackson, Vitters, Watkins, and Zych as amounting to nothing over the next 18 months?

          No, they aren’t Baez and Soler, but I think they have the potential to be minor league help.

          Could probably toss Ha in there as well.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            … to say nothing of improvements in Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija, young relievers, and on and on. Plus, the big obvious one: free agent additions. The Cubs will make them next year.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              And on top of that, it’s only December 5.

              What month did the Cubs trade for Matt Garza? I’ll give you a clue… it was after December.

              • Spencer

                I sorta feel bad for Martin (even though I halfway agree with him). This is like a Bleacher Nation double team.

            • Martin

              Vitters is not a major league player. It would take a massive change in his skillset or approach to make him one. The task ahead of Jackson (reworking his swing) is massive and cannot be taken for granted. Watkins, Zych, and Ha can be average major leaguers, but that’s about it.

              I disagree on the free agents. Aside from the fact that the Cubs have said they’re not looking for high $ FAs until they’re ready to contend (which won’t be 2014), more and more players are getting extended by their teams before they hit free agency (see Cain, Matt, Longoria, Evan, Zimmerman, Ryan, et. al.).

              Castro and Rizzo will improve, but in a steady fashion that will make them above average major league players (and probably All Stars, especially Castro). Samardzija is a #3 starter. That’s what he is. He’ll be 30 in 2014.

              The minor league system is improving dramatically, especially in terms of depth. But the help is not coming soon, and when it does, it will still take time to develop.

            • Lou

              How can you be so sure about that? The FA market isn’t much better than this year and with all the talk of “GM are paying stupid prices for this players”, are you saying that the FO will be targeting impact players or flippable pieces? OR Will Theo have to pay those “stupid” prices because other teams are driving up the costs? Yes, I get that Castro and Rizzo will likely make improvements but it’s a lot to ask to expect them to be that good in that short of time. @Luke–really Garza going to be flipped without teams seeing how healthy he is before spring training or during the regular season. That’s just unfair.

          • Muck

            HA

            • Muck

              Oh crap how do i delete my comment lol

        • Melrosepad

          Last time I checked Baker and Feldman were better than Volstad, Berken, and some of the other names we threw out there on the mound.

  • Muck

    If we’ve waited 105 years for a World Series I’m pretty sure we can deal with one year of Nate Schierholtz in our outfield ..

  • John

    The signing is not a bad one. Best case, he holds down the fort until Jackson is ready and either he or DeJesus is moved at that point. Worst case is he flames out and we really aren’t any worse for it. To me, unless we really get after it now, it signals that we’re in for another tough season. Now we wait and see what happens with Garza, Marmol and Soriano. I didn’t expect something really big, but I was hoping for them to go out and acquire another core piece. Maybe they still will with a deal involving one of the three aforementioned players. One question though, why would we not take a gamble on Stewart if we are paying Nate roughly the same amount? Might just be a timing thing…maybe they really like the progress Valbuena has made…only Theo and Jed know for sure.

    • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

      To answer your last question: I think the arrogance of this front office is their downfall. They didn’t offer Stewart arbitration thinking they could low-ball him into a minor league contract if they couldn’t find a better replacement.

      Given the lack of quality 3rd base options, they will probably end up without a seat as the music stops playing. Stewart will easily get a 2M+ salary from another team if Nate Schierholtz can get 2.25M

      • Rcleven

        Do you go into a used car dealer and offer full price on a car that has a dent in the fender and a knock in the engine ?
        Same with Stewart. Lived without him for most of last year. If he signs withe the Cubs fine. If he signs somewhere else fine. At least the Cubs are trying to save enough to pay for the repairs.

  • Mike

    I love this signing. Nate’s actually the one outfielder I was hoping they would sign. He’s got a heck of an accurate and very strong throwing arm, with a quick release. He will be fun to watch on defense. Kinda reminds me of Andre Dawson on defense….he’s very aggressive in throwing out runners. Plus, I think he could hit a little better than previous seasons indicate if he can get 400-500 ABs. This guy really wants to show what he can do. I say, give him a full time spot in right field. And, the Cubs will have control of him for 2014, if they so desire. Nice pick up. Check out Schierholtz’ defense on youtube under “nate’s gonna gun you down”. It’s a great 2.5 minutes.

    • Chris

      I hope you are correct. I don’t know anything about his defense, so that’s got to be the missing piece of this. Otherwise, why dump LaHair? Don’t get me wrong, LaHair was awful starting in May/June. I don’t have any ill will towards the Cubs for letting LaHair go to Japan, but this guy doesn’t appear to be a better hitter by any means. If he’s not by far the better defender, even at this low salary, he’s still overpaid compared to LaHair.

  • abe

    Suck it up guys. Would you rather have Pagan for 4 years 40 mill? There is no one out there unless we go after Hamilton. We finally have an owner and front office who gets it. I am on the ban wagon. Anyone who wants to get off the ban wagon the white sox just signed Keppinger go root for them!!

    • MightyBear

      And they’re not going to make the playoffs either.

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+