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stoveIt’s been a chatty post-Christmas period with a couple of interesting sessions to discuss.

Bruce Levine did his weekly chat over at ESPN a couple hours ago, and it was loaded with his thoughts on various possible deals, and rumor-y tidbits …

  • Bruce thinks the pursuit of Anibal Sanchez and signing of Edwin Jackson may have something to do with incentivizing the fans not to jump ship after some crappy  years. Shrug. Jackson isn’t exactly a glamor signing, and it’s pretty easy to evaluate why the move makes sense within the context of a near-term rebuild. On the other hand, it’s not like the fans are irrelevant to the rebuild, itself: if enough jump ship, revenues drop, and the funds available to spend when the spending seems right will be depressed. It’s a bit of a tight rope walk, but I suppose if a move like Jackson energizes the fans, that’s fine with me, because I like the move regardless.
  • All is quiet on the Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol trade rumor fronts, and the Cubs might decide it’s best to break camp with them, and see just how competitive the team can be in the first half. If the offers aren’t there right now, then fine. But, if I’m the Cubs, I’m still working to find takers – particularly for Soriano, whose value will almost certainly never be higher.
  • Bruce thinks the Cubs actually should be in on Justin Upton, given the possibility that Soriano is gone, and Brett Jackson might not come around. He makes some sense for the Cubs, but I’m just not sure about the asking price. In no universe should the Cubs consider a deal for Upton that involves Starlin Castro, unless there’s a whoooole lot more involved than Upton (and that ain’t happenin’). Garza/Baez/Jackson would be overpaying for Upton in Bruce’s view. I’d say it’s in the ballpark, but, yeah, probably a touch too much. (Bruce also entertained a Szczur/Vogelbach/Lake for Upton and Parra, which he said might be fair if it had a catcher (Castillo?) in it. I’m thinking that’s not even remotely close to enough for Upton, let alone Upton AND Parra. He also mentioned a Baez/Jackson/Marmol/cash for Upton, which seems like a go if you’re the Cubs. Not sure about D-Backs. The trade offers went on from there – Bruce solicited them at the outset. But you’re getting the picture.)
  • A Spring Training trade of Matt Garza is very possible. And if it’s the Rangers, you can bet that the Cubs will insist on third baseman Mike Olt being included.
  • Bruce suggests the Cubs have been in on some bigger name 30-something free agents, but were shut down because they’re in a rebuild. I can think of some relievers and a couple third basemen, but no big timers.
  • Scott Boras’s initial asking price to teams on Michael Bourn was five years and $90 million.
  • When the Cubs started talking to the Angels about a Carlos Marmol deal, they asked for Peter Bourjos and an infielder. That was rejected.
  • David DeJesus probably doesn’t finish the 2013 season with the Cubs.

MLBTR also chatted (who, exactly, did the chatting is a touch unclear, but I think it was Mike Axisa) yesterday, and offered some interesting thoughts …

  • The Red Sox/Pirates deal involving Joel Hanrahan could be construed in favor of the Pirates, since they got a reliever – Mark Melancon – who could end up being better than Hanrahan in 2013, plus other pieces. The arrow for a Carlos Marmol trade points slightly northward.
  • The Mariners could be in on a Diamondbacks outfielder, Michael Morse if he’s made available, and Michael Bourn “if he’ll take their money.” Obviously the implication there is that the Mariners may have to outbid other suitors to land Bourn – and they might just do it, given their declining attendance and difficulty in luring top free agents.
  • The odds Alfonso Soriano is dealt remain small, even if the Cubs make him a $5 million player over the next two years, given his age and his 2011 season. If the Cubs do move him, the Yankees, Rays, Braves, Phillies, and Rangers could all be fits, which is pretty much what we’ve discussed here as well. I still think he’s mighty attractive to the right team at $5 million per year.
  • David Price is probably traded within the next 14 months (i.e., this year or next offseason), and the return is going to be massive.
  • The Phillies need to add an outfielder unless they’re crazy about Darin Ruf.
  • Matt Garza will be traded at some point. More smoke on the Garza-will-not-be-extended fire.
  • Ben

    Szczur/Vogelbach/Lake/Castillo for Upton and Parra?

    Where do I sign :)

    Clearly, that’s not even close for Upton, let alone both. There isn’t an A level guy in there (Vogelbach is close, but he’s too far off to call).

    • Marcel91

      I’m not giving up Castillo in any deal that doesn’t involve a good, young catcher coming back…..Catcher is too hard a position to find potential impact players and IMO he could be this years Wilin Risario. If Castillo is dealt who is your starter? Clevenger??? ew.

      If Vogelbach reaches his ceiling he could bring back a big package, I’d rather wait to see how that works. All the players in this deal have A-level tools but just underdeveloped so it’d be a high-risk, high-reward deal.

      • Alou Stew

        What’s the deal with Castillo? Is he supposed to be good? What are his strengths? What’s his ceiling? And why in the world do you think he’s going to be this year’s Willin Rosario?
        I was far from impressed with Castillo this past season.

        • JR

          Castillo looks like he can be a solid offensive catcher with some pop. But he needs to improve a ton behind the plate. He’s got a good arm, but sucks at everything else back there.

          • Alou Stew

            I miss Damian Miller.

          • hansman1982

            He just does not do a good job receiving the ball which can make a HUGE difference in getting borderline pitches for strikes.

            Fangraphs did a story recently that looked at video of catchers and the good ones will consistently get ones that are halfway close to the zone as long as they sell the pitch. They even had one video clip where the catcher went into full block mode on one that was well within the strike zone but the ump called it a ball.

  • Spencer

    5/90 is a touch over what I’d like for Bourn, but not too extreme. If that was the initial asking price, seems like 5/80 might be the landing price – that’s not too much above BJ Upton, and EVERYONE thought Bourn was going to get waaaay more than Upton.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I prefer Upton though for potential upside. No way a team should give a 30 year old speed guy that cash. By the 3rd year, that deal would be hurting.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Speed guys, on average, age slightly better than non-speed guys.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          They may remain healthier longer, but the production influenced by their speed drops quickly – speed is one of the earliest skills to peak. Gotta have other skills to compensate. I’m not sure Bourn does.

          (For posterity, slobber-knocker big dudes also tend to fall off pretty hard and pretty early. Good athletes who have a rounded skill set – those are the guys with staying power well into their 30s.)

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Tango did a study…the average player loses about .5 WAR per year…”speed guys” .4 per year.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Got a link? There could be a whole lot there, or very little, depending on definitions and ranges of age.

              • dob2812

                http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/does_speed_age_better/

                To be fair to Bourn, he’s an excellent defender and has good plate discipline. He’s not just a speed guy. Cubs fans are overly influenced by the disappearance of Soriano’s wheels.

                Bourn should continue to be a good player for the next 5 years or so. The Cubs need better players and he’s better than most of the guys on the Cubs now. Maybe all of them. But I don’t think I’d give him 90 million either. 5/70 I’d like but I don’t know if he drops that low.

    • CubFan Paul

      Yeah, you’re right. Boras ain’t excepting less than more than what Upton got. 5/$80M might already be on the table from Seattle. I could see Theo&Co matching that to land him (on their terms).

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I would be stunned if the M’s made such an offer to this sort of player again so soon after the Figgins’ debacle.

        • Marcel91

          They won’t hell nobody in their right mind gives that much to Bourn and if someone does, Kudos to Boras.

        • Ben

          Especially with the way the M’s are stocking up on other bats. They have added Bay, Morales, and Ibanez. That’s not a great set of bats, but I would imagine they expected playing time if they signed there. I know none of them are CF, but they would have to make some moves if they did sign Bourne.

          It appears that he might fall into the Cubs lap, per se. Nothing over 4 years, and nothing over 55-60 million. If that’s the case, I think the Cubs should be interested.

          • Marcel91

            I think even 4 years is too much…..maybe 2-3…..Don’t want another Juan Pierre Chone Figgins type-player getting those kind of deals.

    • Marcel91

      Upton actually has upside and projection left. Bourn has none and is on the road to a steep decline real soon, he’s kind of already in one since ’09. In a stacked lineup you can hide him in he can be productive but any team that signs him long-term will be hating that deal real soon.

  • bails17

    Hey Brett…Just a reminder to everyone….David Price is a Vanderbilt guy. And where did our new Minor League Pitching Coordinator come from? You guessed it, Vandy! DJ was Price’s pitching coach and the two remain very close. Just sayin!!

  • MightyBear

    5/90 way too much for Bourn. If he gets it somewhere else, congrats to him and Boras the spider. 4/50-55 and the cubs should be in.

  • Ron Wolkoff

    I really think that the Cubs should keep Garza. He fits the mold of the so called rebuilding and if he regains his health he could really help the Cubs for several years.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    It’s kind of fun seeing all these reports about what the front office is thinking and being completely on board. About time they saw things my way.

    This team has a chance to be decent and on the fringes of playoff contention if more things go right than wrong. And as burned as Cubs fans have been by the last two seasons, I promise you all that sometimes that does happen for teams (more things go right than wrong).

    Given that, I just don’t see the point of scrubbing the roster of Marmol and Soriano just for the sake of doing it and adding another name or two to the blessed Top 30 Prospects List. You can always trade them in July if you’re on pace for 70 wins, and if they pull a Garza, you haven’t lost anything all that important in the long run.

    I have trouble believing Garza will get traded in the spring. If I’m Texas and I’m being asked to pay full price for a guy like Garza, I’m going to want more than a few Cactus League innings to prove that he’s healthy.

    The DeJesus situation makes me think they want to wait and see what Brett Jackson does with his revamped swing. I’m not a big Brett Jackson hope-er, but I can understand wanting to wait to commit to anything in CF until you see if the New Swing ™ can get him down to the low 20s in K% at Iowa.

    • Ben

      Exactly. If the O’s can compete out of nowhere, the Cubs could get enough breaks to do the same. If Stewart can be a better version of what he was last year, I actually think this team is already mildly interesting.

      I still don’t get the lack of interest in Soriano. That being said, there is no reason to dump him, while eating money, unless you get a real impact player.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Again, no. Yes, the O’s were very lucky in 2012: but their luck took them from playing 0.500 caliber baseball to winning 93 games. We expect to see that once every 20 years or so. In a sense, they were doubly lucky: they had to get good years from a lot of people (and bad years from very few people) to play 0.500 caliber ball. Many of us here will not see the likes of the ’12 O’s again in our lifetimes.

        The O’s were basically break-even: they scored 8 fewer runs than league average and gave up 8 more runs than league average. (The plus run-differential overall reflects the AL teams beating up NL teams again this year.) The Cubs both scored 70 runs fewer than league average and allowed 70 runs more than league average. A healthy Stewart does not create 70 more runs! Putting in Bourn and having a healthy Stewart does not get us 70 more runs. If the improved starting makes up the 70 runs (and I think that it could), then we still are facing an improbability of the Cubs scoring as many as they allow next year.

        So, in truth, the Cubs are still a long ways from being a candidate for a 1 in 20 year team: well, at least in the sense that we’d like!

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          Are you really going to keep quoting those RAA numbers without putting them in proper context, and force me to keep going back and showing *where* those 140 runs of awful came from and why that’s not very relevant to the 2013 Cubs?

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            Steve Clevenger, Joe Mather, Josh Vitters, Joe Mather, Marlon Byrd, Koyie Hill, Geovany Soto.

            Those players were worth a combined -54 batting runs against average (using B-R’s rBat) and all (with the exception of Mather, whose replacement is hopefully still to come) have already been replaced on the roster by people who are reasonably projected to do much better than their performances.

            Now, I know 54 is not 90, and I agree that the offense will not likely be good this year.

            But on pitching, the problem is even clearer:

            Chris Volstad, Brooks Raley, Casey Coleman, Justin Germano, Lendy Castillo, Chris Rusin, Manny Corpas, Randy Wells, Alex Hinshaw, Jason Berken, Blake Parker, Scott Maine, Rodrigo Lopez.

            That’s a whole pile of players who had no business being on a MLB roster (and one very bad buy low attempt). *Maybe* one of them projects to see time with the Cubs this year, and he is young enough that last year’s performances may have just been a first-exposure-to-MLB blip.

            That pile of putrid pitching combined for -110 runs against average last season.

            Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, Jeff Russell, Carlos Marmol, Travis Wood, Shawn Camp. Those are the primary pitchers we are bringing back from last year (add in Fujikawa, Rondon, Jackson, Villanueva, Feldman, Baker and you’ve got a 12-man staff).

            Those six returning pitchers combined to be +10 runs against average last season.

            Again, it all comes back to the same question: Why were the Cubs so bad in 2012?

            The answer is not “because they didn’t have very many good players.”

            An honest assessment must yield the answer “Between lack of resource commitment, trades and injuries, they fielded a nearly unprecedented level of truly awful players that more than outweighed the good ones, especially on the pitching staff.”

            We’ve taken broad steps to fix that problem. Even the most pessimistic person should be expecting a roughly average pitching staff this season. Honestly, I think it should be even a bit better.

            Of course, we could trade them all again in July, but until that happens, I don’t think simply quoting the 2012 Cubs’ stats is a useful projection tool.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Right, we all (or at least most of us) know why they scored 70 fewer runs than league average last year. However, deleting those guys does not solve the problem: it’s not like there were league-average guys in the Cubs system riding the bench so that the 2012 cast could play. The Cubs have to replace them with guys who will (between them) create 70 more runs than they did. The Cubs have not done that.

              And that’s why 2012 is meaningful. This is a time series: 2013 is (for baseball and most other things) 2012 modified. A little will be the players that the Cubs retain (particularly Castro and Rizzo, although Sori is equally apt to regress): but the biggest part of the change will come from new players.

              • Ben

                Well, I’d argue that the pitching staff in general (compared to where 2012 ended) is going to be worth that 70 runs.

                On offense, the only positions I see as being worse than last year are LF (Soriano is due to regress, we both agree) and 1b (Lahair was so good for 2 months, and Rizzo was very solid when he came up).

                3b should be better with a healthier Stewart/Valbuena(not much, but better), SS will improve (Castro has his growing pains), 2B (Barney has gotten better every year..not much, but better), a full year of Castillo should help. CF is still open in my book, but we didn’t get much last year either.

                I’m not saying we can compete. But using the ending numbers from a 2012 season that utilized the guys Kyle listed isn’t very accurate either.

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                They’ve come a lot closer than your posts are implying (or at least I’m inferring from them).

                Nate Schierholtz was a +1 in about 300 PAs last season. With DeJesus sliding to center, Schierholtz will be replacing about half of Joe Mather’s playing time and all of Marlon Byrd’s. That trio was roughly -15 in the outfield for that playing time last season. So that’s a +16 right there.

                Steve Clevenger, Koyie Hill and Geovany Soto combined for an epic -25 in 420 PAs of catching last season.

                Those PAs should be replaced roughly 50/50 by Castillo (+2 in 190 PAs) and Navarro (-1 in 70 PAs). So That 400 PAs projects to roughly -1 instead of -25, that’s another +24.

                We’re already at +40 over last year, more than halfway there.

                Josh Vitters was -10 in his 109 PAs last season. Ian Stewart was -7 in his 202. So replace Vitters with Stewart at that rate (or Valbuena, -8 in 308) and you’ve got roughly a 7 run improvement over 2012. We’re up to +47.

                I expect some regression from LF and 2b, some improvement from 1b and SS, and so I’ll just lazily call those four a wash.

                That leaves us looking at an offense -25 runs against average. Now obviously, a lot can go wrong and a lot can go right. If Ian Stewart finally repays the front office’s faith, Dave Sappelt excels in a platoon role and Soriano doesn’t regress much, maybe you’ve got a league average offense. If Soriano collapses, Castillo can’t really hit and Starlin Castro tears out his knee in May, then it could easily be worse.

                • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                  This would be a good point to note that I plugged Jackson and Villanueva into my ongoing projection system and got 80-82.

                  I think that’s the Cubs fan in me talking a little bit, but I tried to be really pessimistic where possible (a lot of guys I projected for worse seasons than last year, and didn’t really include any improvement for guys like Samardzija or Valbuena despite the peripherals pointing to it.)

                  I think if you take out the “Oh man, we’re the Cubs” and just look at the players involved, you start to see a surprisingly decent team.

                  Garza, Samardzija, Jackson, Baker, Feldman

                  Marmol, Fujikawa, Russell, Camp, Villanueva, Wood

                  You can’t tell me that pitching staff doesn’t project to be above-average in run prevention.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    We definitely agree that the Cubs starting rotation will be above average in run-prevention, and starting pitching is the bulk of run-prevention. I might be being overly pessimistic by projecting a 70 run improvement: but keep in mind that a 70 run improvement is huge, too!

                    As for the offense, I might be making the “4th OFer” mistake: that is, we use “4th OFer” for both Schierholtz and Campana, but really, Campana (and Mather and 2012’s Byrd) really were 5th or 6th OFers. There is replacement, then there is simply bad: and we’ve probably gone up to replacement.

                    What I might try to do (in couple of months: I’ve got two big projects to wrap up before then!) is take the ZIPs projections and see how the total bases + walks gained and allowed look. It might very well be better than I’m thinking.

                    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                      It’s just so hard to remember after 2011 and 2012 that not every team is going to their 9th starting pitcher, 7th outfielder and fifth catcher by the middle of the season.

                      If we can mostly just field the players we want to field to start the year, and maybe get a few fluke-nice performances from emergency fill-ins instead of fluke-terrible, then the improvement could be staggering.

                      Just doing this *really* lazily, I’d say that our starting 1b, SS, LF and CF all project to above-average offense relative to their positions. 3b, 2b and C are below average (though Castillo could beat that). RF is kind of a wild card, because on paper the platoon should be at least average, but platoons are kind of unpredictable.

                      We have good players. Enough to field a decent team. We just need to consistently fill in around them. And find a 3b. Man, I want a real 3b so bad.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Indeed, one interesting thing about the 2013 Cubs is that they are as well buffered as any team I’ve ever seen. The #1 thing that stops teams from reaching their projections is injuries to starting pitching: after all, if you’ve got 6 guys who can start, then 9 times in 9.1 you trade one or two of them to fill some other hole.

                      But I see the Cubs as like an old battleship that went heavy on armor and light on guns: it will be tough to damage or sink the ship, but it’s not going to hammer the opposition, either.

                  • MightyBear

                    I agree with Kyle.

        • Randy

          I guess with your thinking its over before it starts… I will keep my optimism

    • JR

      I agree about Texas not wanting to pay for full price for Garza after watching him in spring training, seems way to risky for them. I really would like it if the Rangers and Cubs could work in some protection if Garza has a serious injury during the year. For example if Garza has to have TJS they get a couple minor leaguers (not studs), but something to help the lessen the blow for them.

    • hansman1982

      If their swing tinkering is half as effective as it was with Rizzo, I like Jackson’s chances. Odds are we will never see low 20’s but if he can keep it on the right side of 30 in the bigs, he should be serviceable for 3-4 years.

  • Matt

    Bruce Levine is probably the worst sports writer. Nobody should be listening to him. Same goes with Kaplan and Carrie Muskat. The three stooges.

    • mudge

      Well they can’t all be the worst, can they?

  • Mike

    Brett Jackson sucks!!! They are a long way from any contention!!! Prospects are just that, prospects!! I can’t get excited about a bunch of minor league guys until they start doing something!! I’m far from being excited about this team.

  • Mike

    They need a LOT to go right to have any chance!!! I’m all for keeping soriano, he had a good year last year, I don’t understand wanting to get rid of him just to get rid of him and nothing else. Why pay him a load of money to play for someone else? Keep him and ride him out 2 more years unless somebody is willing to give something useful in return!!

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Gee, I wish you were our GM.

      • TonyP

        No need to be a pompous dick about it

  • JR

    Szczur/Vogelbach/Lake for Upton and Parra. Where does Levine come up with this b.s.? Does he make that crap up off the top of his head? That’s just embarrassing..

  • Patrick G

    Had a dream a night or two ago that we got Olt. Totally forgot until I read that bullet and he looked good in cubbie pinstripes

  • Felix

    “Szczur/Vogelbach/Lake for Upton and Parra. Where does Levine come up with this b.s.? Does he make that crap up off the top of his head? That’s just embarrassing..”

    It was submitted by a reader.

  • ruby2626

    I was looking over Michael Bourn’s career stats and other than he turned 30 today his HR’s are very interesting. Going into last season he had 13 career homers and then proceeded to hit 9. Also had 10 triples the 2nd most he’s ever had. The .348 OBP isn’t bad, actually had a career high 70 walks. 42 steals but thrown out 13 times, I think Sabermetrics would show that he’s better off not stealing anything if he’s going to get thrown out that many times. Almora is probably 3 years away so guess what, I’d go a max of 3 years, maybe push the per year average up a bit to $16M or $17M. I like the walks and the added power, in some respects he really improved as a hitter last season.

  • Kenster

    You said “the Diamondbacks Michael Morse” whoopsieee

    • Kenster

      Never mind i skipped the comma lol misread it

  • Popeye

    Does anybody know what kind of club house guys Bourne and Upton are? This could change what they are worth, or if they would be a help or a hinderance.

  • RoughRiider

    The talk in Phoenix is that Upton is an underperformer and although a good player doesn’t have it in him to push himself to be better. That’s why they are listening to offers.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Justin Upton has not been producing like the contract he signed. That’s why Arizona has signed a ton of outfielders. They’re trying to trade him out for the best package offered for him. I’d rather target A.J. Pollock and platoon him with DeJesus in CF, Schierholtz / Sappelt in RF. Diamondbacks are high on Eaton, so I bet they’d move Pollock for pitching. Marmol + cash anyone?

  • DB

    The Cubs pursued Sanchez and signed Jackson so fans wouldn’t jump ship? That’s all Levine can come up with? They were desperate for pitching. That’s all there is to it. Cubs fans aren’t going to be filling Wrigley because Edwin Jackson is now on the team. If the Cubs had signed Hamilton or Greinke, I’d buy that argument more.

  • Rizzo44

    Lake, Castillo, Jackson, and Vogelbach for Upton and cash. If you ask me, its good trade for both teams. But I’d rather have Price over Upton…

    • Marcel91

      Agreed, if im going to gut the farm for anybody it’ll be for a true #1 pitcher. Good right fielders are extremely hard to find like #1 starters are.

      • Rizzo44

        Yupp. I really wouldn’t want to do that for Upton, because I feel that Lake and Jackson are going to be really good one day, would want pitching..

  • Popeye

    If Almora is 3 years away, I say let the kids play. Let’s face it, we are rebuilding. There is a good chance that we aren’t going to the world series in the next 2 years. Why spend that much money on a stop gap player. The cool thing about Sweet Lou is that he would revolve players between AAA and the Bigs, according on who was playing good, or busting their butt. Give them a chance to show what they have got. We may have a diamond that we have haven’t noticed. That’s what rebuilding is about. We have been signing prospects like crazy, let’s give them a look, this year, and see what we have got. Then we can start signing money players when we are ready to win. And don’t give Sori away. We need a left fielder anyway, who can hit.

  • WNebCub

    haven’t posted in a while…just had a second to chime in Soriano. I think the dis-interest in him is simple. Teams simply think last year was an abberation…who all the sudden gets better at age, what was he last year 35?

    I think front offices look at each other and agree that he could simply suck this year. period.

  • Popeye

    Sori very well may suck this year, but everybody wants us to pay practically all of his contract to get rid of him. He isn’t going to bring in a haul of major prospects, or a MLB ready player, so keep him. I may be wrong, but there is a chance that if he has an average year, he will fit in on the ’13 team. Why give him away?

  • Popeye

    OR, pay him to play for someone else!

  • ruby2626

    Don’t buy the only one good year thing. In 2011 he went 26 and 88 in only 130 somethng games. Pro rate that over the number of games he played this year and his stats aren’t all that far apart.

  • James

    I don’t believe the Cubs should be in on any trade with there prospects at the moment. Vogelbach and Jackson have upside. If your rebuilding why would the Cubs want to take a step back. Edwin Jacksons value comes as a replacement for Matt Garza or Jeff Samardzija. Matt Garza or Jeff Samardzija should bring the Cubs back good prospects. Now for competing the Cubs had no plans in 2012 because they started the season with the worse bullpen ever. It did get the the Cubs the second pick in this years draft. 2013 really looks like it’s going to be the same for the Cubs. Weak bullpen pitching and a terrible outfield should give the Cubs another high draft pick in 2014. If I had to take a guess the Cubs try to get another prospect with high upside like they did last year. I also think they will try to get this done before spring trainning starts. The prospect will probley be ready and won’t play for the Cubs until half way through the season. So in the future they will be able to get a extra year out of him like they did with Anthony Rizzo.

  • Popeye

    Could someone please tell me what everyone sees in Matt Garza? There has to be something that I have been missing in him all along. When has he ever been a dominate pitcher?

    • BC Shults

      An above average K-rate with an acceptable walk-rate and until last season about 200 innings pitched. That’s not that common. What’s not to like?

  • BC Shults

    Thank you, Brett, for reading through this I had to quit–couldn’t take the questions.

  • Popeye

    Ever notice how when some pitchers pitch, everybody hits, and when another pitcher pitches everybody on his team hits way below their average. That is Garza to me. Is it bad luck?

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Some simple facts. We grossly overvalue Soriano. Pigs aren’t flying except in commercials. He’s an underachiever with a host of issues which is why we are finding a lack of takers. The Cubs are in desperate need of a big bat, that doesn’t strike out 4 times for every time he walks. They need a clutch thinking player with some power. Which explains exactly why they are trying to move Soriano, that’s something he clearly he isn’t. More prospects are suspects than not. We grossly overvalue many of our suspects. Farm systems are important not only for your mlb roster, but leverage for adding real pieces. Finally Garza is a big time arm. Big time major league arms compared to say a guy like Wood don’t grow on trees. We tend to undervalue Garza.

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      Sounds like you just hate Soriano which is your right. Soriano had a bounce back year. All i care about is his production The Front Office want talent back for his production . I doubt the Cubs will just give him away for nothing and eat his contract that would be dumb baseball. Undervalue Garza? at the moment he has no value- not saying he has no value. If a pitcher cant pitch then he is useless.

    • JR

      I think most Cubs fans don’t over value Soriano at all. Overall he has been a disappointment for me, but last year he was pretty good. I still don’t understand why it took him so long to change for the better in a lot of ways. I think the main reason other teams don’t want to give up much for him is that he is old, he has gimp knees, and there is a good chance he will regress this year. But if Soriano is close to what he was last yr he absolutely has value, but that’s a big if.

  • Popeye

    57-61 career record doesn’t light my eyes up. I just don’t see where he is considered elite.

    • Cubsleeram

      W-L is a terrible way to measure the success of a pitcher. Last year with the Cubs, Dempster was 5-5, yet he had a 2.25 ERA.

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