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Unless a team is willing to go to three years for the 36-year-old reliever, Peter Gammons reports that we’ve got a decision on the way in 30 minutes on free agent Jason Grilli. The Cubs have been attached to him for days, so it’s unsurprising that they’re on the short list, together with the Blue Jays, Giants and Pirates. On a glance, he could plausibly have closing opportunities with all of the Cubs, Blue Jays and Giants, so there’s no advantage there, and the Pirates are his “home-town” team.

This could go in any direction. Gammons adds that a team can swoop in any minute and get him if they offer three years.

Also: thanks for setting the time at the start of the Rule 5 Draft …

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that Grilli will stick with the Pirates if all of the offers remain two years. So it might be three years or bust. Also, it’s 10:15 and we’re still waiting.

UPDATE 2: So, I now realize that Gammons – who is an East Coaster – must have meant Central Time, since the Meetings are in the Central Time zone. My bust. 10 minutes and counting …

UPDATE 3 (10:26am CT): Ken Rosenthal reports that the Giants are out, and that it’s going to be a two-year deal. Interestingly, he now doesn’t say anything about it being the Pirates if it’s a two-year deal. Maybe a team upped the money.

UPDATE 4 (10:29am CT): It’s pretty obvious at this point that Grilli’s agent – rookie Gary Sheffield – tried a little gambit to get a team (probably the preferred team, whichever it is) to up their offer with a little manufactured time crunch.

UPDATE 5 (10:58am CT): I think Gary Sheffield is okie doking us all. Jon Heyman just tweeted the following, based presumably on a conversation with Sheffield or a source: “Agent gary sheffield moving in wrong direction: yest was w/i minutes of signing deal (he said). Today, 4 teams involved.” I’m not holding my breath for an announcement any time soon. Tonight? Maybe. Tomorrow? Maybe. Shrug.

UPDATE 6 (11:47am CT): Craig Calcaterra (hooray for former-lawyers-turned-baseball-writers-who-live-in-Columbus) says he spoke with someone who knows, and Grilli is headed back to Pittsburgh. That may well be true, but it makes you wonder what the suspense is all about.

UPDATE 7 (11:51am CT): You knew this was coming … Grilli just told MLB writer Tom Singer “I have not made a decision. I don’t know where all these reports are coming from, bit it’s not helping me one bit.” Winter Meetings zaniness has a little bit of a pulse left.

UPDATE 8 (11:59am CT): This is an almost inconceivable update after that last one *8 minutes* ago, but Jon Heyman reports that Grilli has indeed decided to re-up with Pittsburgh. If true, that was clearly always his preference, he was hoping either to use the Cubs et al to leverage more money out of the Pirates, or was only willing to jump ship for a considerably better deal elsewhere (which wasn’t forthcoming).

UPDATE 9 (12:10am CT): Heyman says he jumped the gun – wasn’t aware of the Grilli comment in Update 7. Kudos for Heyman for the honesty, but I reckon that means he heard it from a very good source. Thus, probably, Grilli hasn’t totally made up his mind yet, but it’s likely to be Pittsburgh when he does.

  • Tuffy Rhodes

    Holding my breath…….crossing my fingers……..wondering where Jason Grilli might sign……..turning blue

  • Dustin

    The Phillies have acquired outfielder Ben Revere from the Twins

    • North Side Irish

      Twins get Vance Worley…I like that deal for Minnesota.

  • KidCubbie

    Phillies just landed Revere. That was freaking fast.

    • MightyBear

      Dang. So much for the Cubs getting Revere. No midnight ride.

      • DarthHater

        Now who’s gonna be ringin’ those bells to make sure that British won’t be trying to take away our arms?

        • MightyBear

          I don’t know about the British but the D’backs and Jays took our arms. Bastards.

  • Kyle

    That probably takes away one of the most likely Soriano landing spots.

    • North Side Irish

      Probably…also takes one big suitor away from Bourn.

    • ETS

      twins need an outfielder now, right?

    • Myles

      Don’t think he would have accepted Philly.

  • Tommy

    I would think twice about signing anyone willing to hire Gary Sheffield as their agent.

  • Myles

    We need to start trading with Philadelphia, holy crap did they get robbed in the Revere trade

    • marcel91

      Yea Worley and May for Revere? A guy who was on your rotation last year and your #2 prospect for a light-hitting center fielder? Wow, twins are feeling good About themselves. Question is who plays CF?

  • Dustin

    So now where does Bourn go?? I seen Seattle and Texas are interested in him,but if say Tex trades for Upton and Seattle signs Hamilton. I would think he would take a 1 year deal then and try again next year for a big contract. Maybe Cubs jump on that then

  • Believe in 2015

    Did you guys see the return on Revere? That is insane. Trade Soriano NOW!!!

    • Spencer

      He was real solid last year. Worley is kind of a joke, but two MLB ready pitchers for Revere is a solid return. Phillies did well to get Revere instead of Bourn, I think.

    • Noah

      I agree that the return on Revere is crazy, but completely different situations. Revere is 24, a very good defensive CF, and doesn’t even hit arbitration until at least 2014, so he’s under team control through at least 2016.

      Soriano is 36, is limited to LF and DH, and has an expensive two year contract (although the Cubs are likely to eat a lot of it).

      I just don’t think you can look at the return on Revere and think it says much about what a return on Soriano would be.

  • Dustin

    Revere will not be arbitration eligible until 2014 at the earliest, and is under team control through 2017.

    • The Dude Abides

      Not a bad pickup at all, five years younger than Bourn, both left handed and similar lines at same age. Twins looks like they got a decent return as well. Hope it works for both.

  • Spoda17

    CBS is reporting Gilli is staying with the Pirates, two-year deal

  • Muck

    Ok just saw this on MLB Trade Rumors but Brewers are possibly shopping Corey Hart. I don’t think it’s too late for the Cubs to make a move for him maybe even after Schierholtz. Doesn’t sound like too much of a commitment but I don’t know how his contract is at

    • Muck

      and i know its the Brewers but

    • bbmoney

      I think he’s due 10M next year. Only signed through 2013. He can play a little 1b too to spell Rizzo.

      I’m not crazy about trading any real prospects for him. But if the Brewers are looking to save 10M and just play Aoki in RF and have a youngster start at 1b……..he’s been a pretty good but not great bat, which lets be honest, we could use.

  • North Side Irish

    MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors
    RT @Tom_Singer: Grilli:” I have not made a decision. I don’t know where all these reports are coming from, bit it’s not helping me one bit.”

  • MightyBear

    Shoot. I was hoping the Cubs would get Grilli even with his high walk rate.

  • morgan

    let me guess he signs with us and we trade him at the deadline

  • Dustin

    Now the Cubs should push hard to get Bourn. I would offer him a 1 yr deal

    • Muck

      Wants more than one year though. If he woulda accepted a one year deal plenty of teams would’ve jumped on that already.

    • Myles

      He would never take a 1-year deal, but lets for shits and giggles do the math on it.

      “Fair market” for Bourn at this point is right around 5 years, 80 million dollars. That works out to 16 million a year. If you think is high, don’t worry about it; I’ll get to that in a second.

      The way contracts USUALLY work is pretty simple: the player gives a discount for each year he gets over market value, and teams give a bonus for each year they give under it. It’s usually 10% per year on the player side, 20% per year on the team side (or thereabouts and subject to market forces).

      For instance, let’s say we’re signing Joe Schmoeson, who is believed to be able to get 3/36. If the he signed for 4 years, he’d take that annual value of 12, discount it by about 1.2 million, and sign for 4/43. Alternatively, if you only wanted to be on the hook for 2 years, you’d be paying him 12*1.2 = 14.4, or 2/29. This only makes sense to the other player if he thinks he can get a second contract with a base salary of around $6 million in the first year (time value of money). Depending on the year, that is or isn’t feasible.

      So, if Bourn could get 5/80, he would get 16 million a year. If we bring that forward to one year, that might get pricey: 16*1.2*1.2*1.2*1.2 = 33.1 million dollars!

      Obviously that is subject to diminishing returns. What Bourn (and Boras) really want to do is maximize Bourn’s lifetime earnings. He’s going to be 30 next year, so this is probably his last big contract. If he gets $80 million with this guy, he will be 35 afterwards and maybe get a bench job for 3-4 mil per afterwards. If he does as well as he has been, next year he’ll could get a similar deal to 5/80, sure; probably not as much, though. Maybe 5/65, or 4/56. Remember, he’ll be a year older and a 5-year deal will bring him into his age-36 season.

      All of this ignores, however, that there’s a very real chance Bourn loses a step and becomes much less valuable. Even if you think there’s only a 10% chance that happens in the next year, the math becomes dicey:

      90% chance of 65 million = 58.5
      10% chance of 24 million (a 3-year deal or something similar) = 2.4
      Expected earnings: 60.9 + whatever you make on a one year deal.

      Even with the low chance of losing a step (and I assure that just random variations will diminish his performance with greater than a 1:10 frequency), he’d have to make around 19 million for 1 year, just to break even. And that would not be paying him for the risk he’s taking of losing a step! In the stock market, only a fool would take that gamble for free. The bare minimum for that one year contract is probably 23 or 24 million dollars.

      If you think 5/80 is outrageous, you can reduce it to whatever you want. It’s a rate problem, so it really could just be n years at x dollars. If you think that Bourn is a 4/50 guy, a)the Cubs should have signed him already and b) the one year contract is probably more like 15 or 16 million dollars, oddly more palatable to me because that what I value him at by AAV.

      Anyways, it’s all theoretical, because unless the market totally, totally collapses on him, he’s going to get at least 4 and probably 5, maybe 6 years.

      • King Jeff

        Shane Victorino got 13 million + a year. I think that pushes Bourn’s value past 16 million.

      • BD

        I would only sign Joe Schmoeson to a 1 or 2 year deal, preferably 1 with an option. That way we can flip him at the deadline.

  • Holden

    I know the Cubs are all about hoarding as much young talent as possible. Why not trade, some of that talent for impact players and more young talent. I have to think if you dangle a guy like Shark to KC they dangle Myers plus back. Shark, if he decides not to extend, gets one year in our “window”. I know everyone focuses on trading Garza, but we know he is open to an extension. Open the talks with Shark and see what he says. I know this hair brain. The Twins did just get a solid return for a solid but not great, player in Revere. Imagine what the Cubs could get from a solid with super start potential Shark. Just a thought

    • David

      Who the heck is shark? Samardzija?

      • MichiganGoat

        Yes

    • Lou

      Exactly. Cubs could have gotten Revere.

      • AB

        I don’t get what people see in Revere other than a 4th-5th OF

        • MightyBear

          He batted 293 last year with 40 steals and played solid defense. He’s only 24 and is under team control for 3 more years. Other than that, he sucks.

          • AB

            I wouldn’t give up two pitching prospects for that

          • JR

            Actually he is under control thru 2017, and had a 2.4 WAR at 24. I like Revere a lot. I wish the Cubs would do something cool like get a player like him..

          • Lou

            C’mon he sucks. And only a couple of years ago he was considered one of the Twins top prospects throughout circles in MLB. Cubs fans sure have become experts in MLB players since Theo has taken over.

          • Cubbie Blues

            The AVG was empty because of his BB% and SLG.
            2012 stats wRC+ 88, SLG .342, OBP .333, GB% 66.9 wRAA -9.3. The best stat there is the OBP and that needs to go up. Espeacially with his .325 BABIP.

            • Lou

              So, he’s got a solid OBP. We really don’t that have a large sample size though, do we?

              • Cubbie Blues

                The BABIP and GB% wipe out the OBP. If the OBP ticked up another 20 points then it would be solid. (And yes sample size was 553 PA.)

      • King Jeff

        For who? Which two near major league ready pitchers do the Cubs have that they could have convinced Minnesota to trade it’s starting CF, right after trading Denard Span? I don’t think the Cubs had the immediate impact value that the Twins would have wanted to part with Revere.

        • Lou

          You have to try. Garza. Worley was coming off injury just like Garza. The Twins are in a position were the need to make a strong push. New stadium—Mauer and Morneau contracts need to be justified to the fans base that the team can win again with them. And the Twins are DESPERATE for SP. DESPERATE. Garza would be their #1 starter. I think the should have been at least considered because the Twins are that desperate.

          • Cubbie Blues

            WHAT!? Garza for Revere? That is way more than a 4th-5th OF would ever get.

            • JR

              I would trade Garza for Revere in a heartbeat. WIthout even thinking about it. Garza’s value is terrible right now, and will never be close to where it was at last yrs deadline.

              • King Jeff

                Even if the Cubs would, I don’t think Minnesota would, simply because Garza is a free agent after the season and Revere won’t even be arbitration eligible for two years.

                • JR

                  Yeah there is no way Minnesota would have dealt Revere for Garza. I was just saying it’s a no brainer for the Cubs.

              • Cubbie Blues

                But it will be better than it is now.

              • Lou

                And with nerve damage, which is what I believe Garza has, who knows how he’ll fare once he starts. I know all about the effects of nerve damage and repetitive motion. I have difficulties walking due to an inoperable spinal cord tumor that is compressing of the nerves of my central nervous system. If you wait too long with Garza, as we all saw last year, you may not get anything for him. You’ll wish the return was a player like Revere.

                • JR

                  Yeah Garza’s injury the last 2 yrs are really weird, and I don’t want the Cubs signing him longterm. So I am sure other teams have their hesitation.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  He has a stress reaction in his elbow. If it is nerve damage that is news to me.

                  • Lou

                    I’ve heard that it revolves around nerve issues….but I could be wrong here. In fact, I believe a former pitcher on here talked about in those terms…so I’m going on that. Again, you could be right and that’s great news if that’s the case.

                  • King Jeff

                    Just to add, a stress reaction is a bone injury, not a nerve injury.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Thanks Jeff, that’s what I thought. I was hoping that I was not misremembering.

          • King Jeff

            I think that a healthy Garza is more valuable to the Cubs than Revere, and I don’t think that the Twins would want one year of Garza for I think 5 years of Revere. I think Samardzija is possibly the only equivalent the Cubs have, and no way would I want to trade him for Revere straight up. I do wish the Cubs were going after a young, cost controlled position player through trade. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing a few prospects if it lands someone who is young and is going to be in Chicago for at least 4 or 5 years, and hopefully longer.

            • Lou

              That’s why you have to make the offer and see what transpires.

  • Dustin

    I agree, but almost every team that was in on him,signed a CF already. Offer him a 1 yr deal and he can go into FA next year and hope to get a big multi yr deal. If he has a break out season and were not in the playoff hunt,trade him to a contender.

  • Dan Bachicha

    Why are the cubs going after these has been/nobodies? I can see rebuilding but you gotta get them when they are available especially Sanchez. The rangers are trading young which the cubs should be in on I’m sick of losing.

  • Dustin

    Rangers sign Randy Wells to a minor league deal

  • MightyBear

    Rangers signed Randy Wells. Good luck to him.

    • Mac

      He’ll be stashed away in Triple A. Especially since it looks like they’ll get Greinke

  • Dustin

    The Pirates re-signed reliever Jason Grilli, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

    • Justin

      Did you see when that was dated? That was at 9:50 ET this morning when he posted that

  • Fastball

    I am all for trading Shark to the Royals for Myers. He as had one decent season with the Cubs. He isn’t an Ace as he was inconsistent over several starts last season. So it would make sense to trade him while he highly regarded. We can always go out and sign another starting pitcher on the FA market if we trade Shark. He isn’t the key to the 3 lock box IMO.

    • MichiganGoat

      It will take more than Shark to get him

    • Holden

      Sometimes I think the front office is getting caught up on flippable assets only meaning vets on short contracts. How about some of our young guys that are highly regarded that can net us something useful. Pitching is weak, I get that. We can fill out a respectable rotation. Garza, (McCarthy/Marcum/Jackson), Baker, Feldman, Wood. If we dont plan on winning anyway why dont we throw some of these guys we are grooming to be starters out there and let them learn by failing. I know it hurts confidence but if we tell them what they are going out there to do then they can know its a learning experience and when they go out there and have success they will only feel better about the opportunity and try harder and find more success. Its about building these guys up and giving them a chance. No better place to learn to pitch in the bigs than in the bigs

      • Jack Weiland

        Mama always said “Nothing builds a man up like being told he’s going out there to pitch at a level where he will certainly fail.”

        • Holden

          If someone comes to you and says we are going to teach you to do this job, its probably one of the hardest and most stressful jobs in you entire field of work. Its going to take a while to get the hang of it, you are going to make plenty of mistakes, but thats okay. We are going to be there with you and help you understand where you made your mistakes. We are here because we are supposedly the best in our organization at helping you learn these things. We are going to teach you where you messed up and show you how to do the job right. You will learn to do it right and then you will be extremely successful. IT will take tome to do this but you will figure it out.

          • Jack Weiland

            I understand what you’re saying. There’s just no basis for it. The minor leagues exist for a reason. Players need time to develop. You can’t just throw every prospect onto a Major League field and expect them to “eventually get it” … it’s lunacy. It’s hard, but you have to be patient.

          • Jack Weiland

            Also how bad would watching baseball be if teams did this?

            • Holden

              I agree with you, but if we are already sinking the burning ship, might as well put some Cadette fire fighters on it to see if they learn anything about fighting fires.

  • Fastball

    Social media at it’s best. Grilli says he hasn’t made his mind up yet and the Twitterer’s are saying he has. Grilli says its pissing him off. Imagine that.

  • Dustin

    MLBTR had it updated that Grilli was resigning with the Pirates, I refreshed the page a few mins later and it was gone. Could this mean it isn’t official ?

  • Rizzofanclub

    If the cubs keep waiting around they may be able to snag Bourn on a 5 yr 75 million deal. Phillies out on him now, I think the M’s will sign Hamilton, I think its too much money for the reds. Trade Soriano for some nice prospects (we will eat all the salary but 6 million a year) sign Bourn, sign McCarthy/Marcum, resign Stewart. I would call this offseason a success (2 more good pieces for the 2014 team) Bourn,Dejesus,Castro,Rizzo,Schierholtz,Stewart,Castillo,Barney. Its rebuilding the RIGHT way.

    • David

      Agreed, 100%. and a Garza – Samardzija- McCarthy-Baker-Feldman rotation with Wood to start for the injuries to boot. could be a .500 team, has a shot to contend in 2014.

      • brickhouse

        3/5 of that rotation will be gone at the July trade deadline. You will need 3 new starters for 2014.

  • randy

    Yes he is no he isn’t such bull shit

  • Kyle

    uh-oh.

    So I figure we’re close enough to a 25-man roster that I did my first set of projections for 2013. I thought I had a nicely pessimistic set of individual player projections, with the caveat that I didn’t downgrade for any injuries, and I came up with an 80-82 projection.

    This is scaled to Baseball-Reference WAR, which sets replacement level at 52 wins and is generally lower than fWAR:

    Soriano(2.5)/DeJesus(1.0)/Schierholtz(1.0) (Sappelt/Campana) (1.0)
    Valbuena(0.5)/Castro (4.0)/Barney(2.0)/Rizzo(4.0) (????/Clevenger)(0.0)
    Castillo(1.0) (Navarro)(0.0)

    Garza(2.0)/Samardzija(2.5)/Baker(1.5)/Feldman(1.0)/Wood(1.0)
    Marmol/Fujikawa/Camp/Russell/Dolis/Belivaeu/Rondon (3.0)

    team total: 28 WAR

    • Jack Weiland

      Why is that an uh-oh? That’s about what I would expect …

    • MightyBear

      See? And I think Garza, Baker and Feldman are low. What if all three are at 3.0 WAR? What’s the Cubs record then? Assuming no add ons or injuries.

      • MightyBear

        That’s 85 wins. Factor in Sveum working some magic and getting us an extra 3-5 wins and boom, we’re in the playoffs.

      • Kyle

        3.0 bWAR from a pitcher is pretty hard.

        • MightyBear

          Baker was at 4.2 when he blew his arm out. No hill for climbers. The Cubs will be keen in 2013!

    • mudge

      offseason ain’t over yet.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That sounds… high.

      But at a glance I see no faulty numbers. I may have to dig into this tonight myself.

      • Kyle

        That’s my problem. It all looks so reasonable, but it just doesn’t seem reasonable as a whole.

        It keeps coming back to the fact that last season, our awfulness had a *lot* more to do with sub-replacement awful players than it did with the good players not being good enough.

        • MightyBear

          Ah – Hah. And yet you doubt the Theo Jedi magical mystery tour. Add in a top 5 farms system and things are beginning to click.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m wondering what this exercise looks like for another random expected-to-be-crappy team. Maybe there’s something internal to the process that has an inflating effect?

          • Kyle

            Well, keep in mind that I’m of the (rather well-supported, imo) opinion that most teams should project between 72 and 91 wins at the beginning of the year. You can get a ton of variance during the season that takes teams way outside that range, but the mean projection for most teams should be pretty tight. There’s a lot of parity in baseball.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Yeah, but I don’t much care for that opinion because it f’s with my belief in the best way to conduct a rebuild.

              Show me a 65-win projection, pronto. :)

              • Kyle

                If it makes you feel better, there’s a ton of downside to that roster. More than the upside. It’s hard to imagine how that team suddenly turns 80 into 92 or something through improvements and good luck.

                But if two pitchers get owies and two more are traded in June, Welington Castillo can’t really hit and Alfonso Soriano’s knees give out, you can shoot down to 65 or fewer really fast.

                • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

                  With the numbers you used:

                  Soriano(2.5)/DeJesus(1.0)/Schierholtz(1.0) (Sappelt/Campana) (1.0)
                  Valbuena(0.5)/Castro (4.0)/Barney(2.0)/Rizzo(4.0) (????/Clevenger)(0.0)
                  Castillo(1.0) (Navarro)(0.0)

                  Garza(2.0)/Samardzija(2.5)/Baker(1.5)/Feldman(1.0)/Wood(1.0)
                  Marmol/Fujikawa/Camp/Russell/Dolis/Belivaeu/Rondon (3.0)

                  I would think there is more upside than downside. Castro and Rizzo are the only players higher than 2.5.
                  I can see Welington Castillo being much better than a 1 war catcher. And at least one of Wood/Baker/Feldman surpassing 1.5.

            • BT

              Where would the 2012 Cubs have finished if no one got hurt and no one got traded away? Probably closer to 80 wins than to 60. Once Wood took over for Volstad, Rizzo came up, and Marmol got his head out of his rectum, the team would have been bad instead of atrocious. And pre-season WAR assessments would have probably said the same.

              • MightyBear

                I think the K-man had them at 73 wins. Is that right Kyle? I thought I saw that in another post but now I’m not sure.

                • Kyle

                  I probably posted a bunch of different things leading up to the season. I think 76 or 77 was my most optimistic, 73 was for the roster that went into Opening Day (I really thought we left a few wins on the table with our roster decisions in ST).

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    I can hear you raging about Mather and Stewart from here…

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          Isn’t a team of “replacement players” approximately a 45-48 win team?

          • Kyle

            Replacement level is like 0 degrees temperature: It’s whereever you choose to set it.

            Fangraphs uses 43 wins. Baseball Reference uses 52 wins. I prefer Baseball-Reference’s scale because I think it more accurately represents the value of really bad players (Using 43 wins tricks you into thinking really bad players still have a little bit of value because their WAR is slightly positive).

            3 wins in Fangraphs is the same as 2 wins in Baseball-Reference roughly speaking, the same way 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 0 celcius.

    • Cubbie Blues

      So, what your saying is that you are expecting an 80 win team?

      • Kyle

        No, because I don’t expect those five pitches to combine for 162 starts and I don’t expect the team to be intact by the deadline.

        But if we kept it together and got miraculous pitching health… I don’t know. Maybe?

        • MightyBear

          It all depends on the start. If they start out crappy, you’ll have your fire sale. If they start out fast or even play reasonable through April, May and June, they will be BUYING in July and look out because they should have some money to spend and upgrade.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Unfortunately I’m not well-versed enough in the bWAR scale to speak intelligently. But surely this struck you as high, right?

      • Jack Weiland

        Well, it’s high because it assumes the Cubs will have Garza, Soriano, Shark, etc all season. Last year’s record wouldn’t have been nearly as crappy if they hadn’t trotted out such a horrible post-deadline team. It wouldn’t have been good, but it wouldn’t have been as bad, either.

        Whatever they are projected at and what they end up at are very different things because of this.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Good point.

          … still seems high. :)

          • Jack Weiland

            I agree, unfortunately. An 80 win season seems like a pipe dream.

            As they say: le sigh.

      • Kyle

        The scale doesn’t matter really for the result. If I wanted to use fWAR scale, I would have added about half a win to each player and it would have come to the same result.

      • Kyle

        It does seem high.

        It’s basically:

        Last year’s 65 pythagorean wins + 2 in CF + 2 at 3b + 5 in the rotation + 2 on the bench (Screw you, Joe Mather and Steve Clevenger) + 5 in the bullpen (which was so, so, so bad at the end of the year).

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Doing it that way, I can see some reasonableness, but the bullpen is going to need another MAJOR addition for me to “feel” like it’s a five win improvement.

          Plus, we’re totally speculating on Fujikawa, for whom there’s a huge variance in possible outcomes.

          • Kyle

            I could definitely be pursuaded to dial back the bullpen a bit. I’ve basically got it as an average pen in that scenario, maybe a little worse than average.

            But keep in mind last year we fielded:

            Alex Hinshaw, 135 ERA
            Kerry Wood, 8.31 ERA
            Brooks Raley, 8.14 ERA
            Lendy Castillo, 7.88 ERA
            Casey Coleman, 7.40 ERA

            If you can just lop off that end of the deck and replace it with not-terrible pitching, you can make a ton of gains really quickly.

            • Myles

              Look at the 2012 Cubs pitching page on BRef, then look at Cincinnati’s.

              Then cry.

          • Jack Weiland

            Thinking about this really drives home how sweet Mike Trout’s 10 win season was last year. Dang.

            • Kyle

              It really drives home for me how unusually awful our 3b, CF and C situations were last year. These weren’t ordinary “oh man, we have a bad player at this positions” levels of bad. These were apocalyptically awful.

    • Myles

      Soriano(2.5)[1.8]/DeJesus(1.0)[0.6]/Schierholtz(1.0)[1.6] (Sappelt/Campana) (1.0)[-1.1]
      Valbuena(0.5)[0.4]/Castro(4.0)[3.5]/Barney(2.0)[4.6]/Rizzo(4.0)[2.3] (????/Clevenger)(0.0)[-1.3]
      Castillo(1.0)[1.2] (Navarro)(0.0)[-1.0]
      Garza(2.0)[1.0]/Samardzija(2.5)[1.6]/Baker(1.5)[3.3 Dempster]/Feldman(1.0)[1.4]/Wood(1.0)[0.6]
      Marmol/Fujikawa/Camp/Russell/Dolis/Belivaeu/Rondon (3.0)[2.3 – best 6]
      Shitty pitcher WAR last year: [-0.1 – 0.2 – 0.3 – 0.4 * 5 – 0.5 – 0.5 – 0.6 – 0.6 – 0.9 – 1.2 – 1.5 – 1.9 = -10.3]

      Basically, you’re omitting the very real possibility of fielding very sub-replacement level pitching this year (and at the back of our offensive depth). Looking into the data, you’re essentially right – we are an average team. If we can shore up the back of our staff and bench we can wipeout around 10-15 wins, and then we’ve at least got a shot at it.

      For posterity, here’s the list of pitchers with neg WAR on our team last year.

      Scott Maine
      Rodrigo Lopez
      Blake Parker
      Jason Berken
      Alberto Cabrera
      Manuel Corpas
      Randy Wells
      Kerry Wood
      Lendy Castillo
      Chris Rusin
      Casey Coleman
      Alex Hinshaw
      Brooks Raley
      Rafael Dolis
      Justin Germano
      Chris Volstad

      • Kyle

        That’s just it. I’m not ignoring the possibility, I’m using the probability that we *won’t* field that many sub-replacement pitchers again (with the caveat that as I mentioned before, this presumes perfect pitcher health). Because that’s hard to do. It happened last year, but it won’t happen every year. Or more importantly, the sum replacement of those innings should still be expected to be replacement level (i.e. some pitchers who replace those guys should be a little above replacement, some a little below).

        For example: The Colorado Rockies, who were almost as bad as us, fielded no pitchers of -1.0 bWAR or worse last season, and had a total of -3.7 bWAR for their worst 339.2 IP of pitchers last season.

        The Cubs fielded three pitchers worse than -1.0 bWAR, and their worst 330 IP had a total of -8.5 bWAR.

        Our worst pitchers were *five* wins worse than the Rockies’ worst pitchers, and the Rockies also sucked and had the worst overall pitching in the league.

        (AND those 339.2 IP took the Rockies into their replacement level or better pitchers. We still had a chunk of sub-replacements to go).

        • Myles

          Oh, I know that very well. However, you just used the Rockies as an example. We have terrible pitching and terrible pitching depth. We will give those 300 innings to pitchers who will give us -3.5 WAR in return. This is a thing that will happen, or at least is the most likely outcome.

          2011: 300 innings, -3.5 WAR
          2010: 300 innings, -5.6 WAR
          2009: 300 innings, 0.3 WAR

          Here’s another way to look at it. Last year, our pitchers combined for -0.1 WAR last year. You predict them to provide 11 WAR of value next year. Do you feel like our pitching staff right now is 11 WAR better than last year’s? Oddly, I think it is actually pretty close to 11 wins better, if not exactly. We probably just save 5 wins just by probability (you’re right, we won’t have that 8.5 hole, probably like 3.5). Baker and Feldman hopefully get us another 3 combined (getting rid of Volstad and Germano with those two would account for like 6 wins right there). The rest of the pen is where the other gains would likely have to come from, and I’m not sure I see them. Even very good pens don’t provide tons of WAR.

          • Kyle

            Unless you are intentionally trying to be bad, you should never project sub-replacement from any set of playing time.

          • Kyle

            Sorry, didn’t answer your question.

            If the Cubs’ pitching is healthy and kept intact, yes, I expect them to be 11 wins better. That’s not really all that hard, considering how awful it was last year.

            That’s basically just average, and I think our pitching can be average this year.

            • gutshot5820

              Kyle, considering the injury history of our pitching staff, plus the mandatory mid-season sale, I expect them to worse than last year.

              • Kyle

                Oh, I definitely agree that’s the massive downside.

                It *can* be average. But if those two things come to pass, then it can be very, very awful as well.

              • BT

                The only mandatory mid-season sell off would be Garza. We would not be losing 60 percent of our staff as we did last year.

                • JR

                  I would be shocked if Baker, and Feldman weren’t dealt at the deadline too. They are completely in the Maholm mold.

                • gutshot5820

                  Okay, we must be both watching different movies.

    • Kyle

      For contrast, here’s what it looked like last season in the end, using bWAR:

      Soriano(4.6)/Campana(0.9)/DeJesus(1.6) (Various)(1.1)
      Stewart(0)/Castro(3.5)/Barney(4.6)/Rizzo(2.2) (Various)(-4.2)
      Clevenger (-1.0) (Various) (0.8)

      Garza/Samardzija/Dempster/Maholm/Wood (8.0) (Various) (-6.2)
      Bullpen combined (-2.6)

      Total: 13.3 wins

      Projecting: 65.3 wins. Pythagorean record: 65 wins. Actual wins: 61 wins.

  • Justin

    I agree, Bourn’s options are dwindeling so I am sure he starting to feel a little pressure on signing somewhere soon. This is the chance the Cubs can swoop in and grab him. Give him his 5 yrs and maybe an option year as well. Give him 80 mil and an upfront 5 mil signing bonus to cut down how much is owed throughout the contract. The Cubs have the money to give the signing bonus so why not do it. This signing would move Dejesus to left now and Soriano would be on the move and I am sure the Cubs are waiting for a trade partner. Just send him to ATL for delgado and call it good.

  • Justin

    I just think the Cubs will wait too long to deal Soriano and it’s going to kick them at the end

    • Brian

      You have to have interested parties to deal!

  • Tim

    Phillies got Ben revere from the twins. Out on Soriano?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not necessarily. Writing about it later.

    • Justin

      No way. Revere is going to play CF. They still need power for LF. It would have been nice to get Worley and May though.

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