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Jed HoyerWhile attending to his official duties as General Manager with respect to the Edwin Jackson signing, Jed Hoyer made the media rounds yesterday and today, offering up some interesting tidbits about the Cubs’ near past, near future, and long-term future. Away we go …

  • Hoyer essentially adopts the point I’ve been making about the free agent market for a while now: you’ve got to get guys when they’re actually available. As Jed puts it: “You can’t really go out and just like snap your fingers: ‘OK, now we’re ready. Now we’re going to spend money. You have to look at it as a gradual process with each offseason. Looking at the free-agent markets going forward for starting pitching, it was really attractive. There [aren’t] many [proven] guys that come out [at] 29 years old.” Obviously Hoyer was referencing the Jackson signing there, and underscoring the point: regardless of how close you see yourself to competing, if there’s a certain player you want, you can only sign him when he’s actually available.
  • He confirmed, by the way, that the Cubs were pursuing both Jackson and Anibal Sanchez in tandem – and it actually played out that Hoyer and Dale Sveum were meeting with Jackson and his representatives the very same day that Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts were down in Miami making a pitch to Sanchez.
  • Hoyer commented on Matt Garza’s recovery (joking with folks that they need to be following Garza on Twitter), saying, “It’s all been good so far. [Garza] seems really happy. In some ways, I’m going to sort of rely on his moods and how he feels about it, and he’s been excited about his progress.” And, what do you know, last night Garza tweeted that he had another successful day of throwing (flat ground and long toss).
  • This morning, Hoyer was on MLBN Radio with Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth, discussing a range of topics nicely summarized by BN’er Jacob here. A fair bit of it is what you’d expect to hear – and things we’ve heard before – but my ears (well, eyes, as I’m going off of the recap for now) perked up when the Cubs’ center field situation came up. Although Hoyer wouldn’t comment on Michael Bourn, specifically, he did say that the Cubs were looking to improve in center field in both the short term and long term, and commented that the Cubs were considering a position player on a similar length deal as Edwin Jackson (four years). There’s a fair bit of play there, and it all depends on *exactly* how he said it, but, given the current free agent market, he’d pretty much have to be talking about Bourn. Either Hoyer is fine with admitting that (I doubt it), or there was a little more nuance in what he said (speaking generally about positional free agents, maybe?). I’d love to hear an audio replay on this, but I haven’t been able to find one.
  • Speaking of the outfield, Hoyer spoke about how Nate Schierholtz fits into the mix, confirming what we’ve all expected: as things are formulated “right now,” Schierholtz will be playing primarily in right field, probably as part of a platoon. From there, it’s obvious that David DeJesus plays in center, and Alfonso Soriano plays in left. But, if the Cubs were to add a center fielder – I mean, Hoyer confirmed that the Cubs would like to add a center fielder in both the short term and long term – Schierholtz takes on more of a 4th outfielder role.
  • *OR* more likely, as I’ve been saying all along, the Cubs’ tentative plan has been to (1) add an undervalued player like Schierholtz and take advantage of platoons, (2) trade either Soriano or DeJesus (more likely Soriano), and (3) add a center fielder. Then you’ve got an outfield of Soriano or DeJesus in left, new guy in center, and Schierholtz platoon in right. It’s as effective, if not more so, than last year, and it might not be any more expensive. Throw in the fact that you just got younger and picked up an asset or two in trade, and it’s the perfect series of moves.
  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    It’s so much fun being on the same page as the front office.

    All that stuff fits in with the other Bourn rumors. We’re serious about offering him a 3 or 4 year deal. But like all Epstein negotations, we’ve got a hard price ceiling and if it goes one dollar beyond that, it won’t happen.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It is starting to feel that way, as surprising as it is. I just hope their ceiling is four years and $50 to $60 million (and the top end of that range makes me a be squeamish).

      • Ben

        I think it has to be Bourne. There aren’t any other FA CF available (per MLBTRADERUMORS).

        60 would be pushing it over 4 years, but the Cubs have to listen. If they think he can be a defensive and offensive asset for 4 years, that amount seems reasonable.

        • Marcel91

          In what universe is Bourne ever an asset on offense? Statistics show he has been barely an average offensive player with most of his WAR coming off his defense. projections expect him to dip down to below average this season. He’s not worth 8mil a year let alone the 13-15mil he’s trying to get. And definitely not for 4yrs. We’d be regretting that deal by year 2.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            Let’s get something clear. MIchael Bourn is not an average offensive player. He is an average batsman.

            Baserunning still does matter a bit. So does position.

            It’s very hard to find an average batsman who can play CF at all, so that actually makes him a more valuable batsman than mere average.

            Throw in the fact that his baserunning has been estimated to be worth a full win a year on its own the last five years, and it’s silly to call him an “average offensive player.”

            He’s not. He’s a very good offensive player.

            • Marcel91

              All I can say is look at the stats. I have. When all things are taken into account he is average overall on offense. His OBP is respectable but he strikes out way too much for a lead-off hitter with 0 power. All of his offensive value comes from his speed and walk rate. One of which is due for a decline soon. Not one person here can give me a valid argument that Bourn is a 13mil a year player.

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                Oh, you’ve looked at the stats. Well, that’s helpful, but maybe you should take the time to cite them here.

                Baseball-Reference estimates that the sum total of his offense was worth +10 runs more than the average offensive player last year. That’s not average. That’s better than average.

                And that’s before defense or the positional adjustment.

                He was worth roughly 5 wins per year over the last four years. In order to justify $13 million a year, he barely needs to be worth 2 or 3. I don’t like a generic “$/WAR” analysis, but it’s generally estimated to be $5-6 million per win.

                He has plenty of room for a decline and still being a valuable player at $13 million/year.

                • Marcel91

                  So you’d sign him for 4yrs 60mil?

                  That a ludicrous deal for a player of his type at his age.

                  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                    That’s an interesting question. Depends on a lot of things.

                    Well, first, let’s give up the idea that the Magic Kneecap fairies come by and kneecap every player who has 20+ stolen bases on his 30th birthday, rendering him hobbled and unable to play baseball. He was fast at 29, he’ll probably pretty close to as fast at 30 and 31, and pretty close to that at 32 and 33. His defense is just as much based on his reaction and routes as it is on his speed, and he can take a walk, so he’ll still be a valuable player when the speed starts to fade.

                    But more directly to the 4/$60 question, it depends first on how much money I have. The Pittsburgh Pirates cannot afford to drop $15 million on a centerfielder. The Los Angeles Dodgers can.

                    But let’s assume for a minute I’m the Cubs.

                    My hard commits (in millions) for the four years we are talking about are roughly $48, 24, 25, 27.

                    My only significant soft commits for that timeframe are Garza and Samardzija and maybe the first arbitration year of a guy like Rizzo.

                    So I’ve got a ton of money to spend. The infield is pretty steady with the exception of the ongoing hole at 3b. The starting pitching has been helped significantly by the addition of Jackson and is suddenly looking fairly steady.

                    The outfield remains a gaping hole for the 2013-2016 timeframe. Schierholtz is a part-time player, DeJesus or Soriano are about to be traded, and the other isn’t likely to be a factor for much longer (either for DeJesus’s contact expiring or Soriano’s aging). I’m praying Brett Jackson can become the first player in history with his level of AAA strikeout problems to become a useful MLB hitter, but I’m not counting on it.

                    So all told, I’m definitely in the market for an outfielder and I definitely have the money to pay for one.

                    Because I’m the Chicago Cubs, I have access to my own proprietary evaluation and projection systems, but for the case of the illusion we’ll pretend that good ol’ fashioned WAR is what I’m using.

                    For some reason, I passed on some of the other outfielders that were available this offseason. Bourn is all that’s left. I know he’s been worth an average of 5-wins over the last four years, give or take.

                    Accounting for inflation, if I’m paying $60 million, I don’t need a ton over four years. 3 wins/year, maybe even less.

                    So as long as my projection systems don’t project him to completely cliffdive rather than a more traditional 0.5-0.8 WAR/year decline, then I’d say yes, I’m happy to sign him for 4/$60m.

                    Of course, I’m going to work the phones on Upton and Stanton too, but no, 4/$60 does not terrify me for Bourn.

                    • Tommy

                      I gotta say – that was an extremely well stated argument from you, Kyle. I think you’ve actually convinced me totally on Bourn, and I’m not even kidding!

                      Nice breakdown and explanation!

                    • baldtaxguy

                      I agree, well done, very thoughtful.

                    • Jh

                      Damn.

                      I wish I had $60 mil to sign him myself after that. Well done sir.

                    • jt

                      I’m not a big fan of the Bourn 4yr/$60M but you make a pretty good argument.
                      Still, I wonder how much of that a player such as Crisp could render for much less both in time and money?

                    • Tom

                      Bourn would be a very bad decision at this time for the amount that he desires. Using the idea put forth by “jt” the signing of Coco Crisp for less years and many less millions per year is a much better spend — unless you think those 10 extra hits, 10 extra times on base and 10 extra stolen bases provided by Bourn are worth those 3 or 4 additional years and many more millions per year. For example, if you count hits/time on base and stolen bases as equivalent units (so thus 20 total extras per year provided by Bourn), then it likely would cost us about $500,000 for each extra hit/time on base and stolen base provided by Bourn.

                      I say save that money and use it when it actually would make a difference worth the additional spend.

                    • Muck

                      Are we willing to give up a 2nd round pick for him though? If the answer is yes then what the hell we better be in on him

                    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                      Well, first, Coco Crisp is not a free agent and thus the Cubs can’t sign him. He’s under contract for 2013 with the Oakland A’s. Might they be willing to trade him, and for what? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions.

                      Second, besides all the things on offense that were mentioned, Bourn is a significantly better defensive outfielder than Crisp. Roughly 10 runs a year better, or around 20-25 hits taken away.

                      Add up all the things Bourn does better than Crisp, and he’s been worth about 2 wins more per year than Crisp over the last four years. Bourn is also three years younger, and thus his projection for 2013 is probably a bit more stable (though that factor can be overstated).

                      Am I willing to pay $8 million more for Bourn next year and then tack on three more years to get an extra two wins out of a single position? Heck yes, ainec.

                      But would I complain bitterly if they traded for Crisp for a reasonable package? Not really.

          • Xavier

            40 steals.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        It’s really starting to sink in with me how candid that response is, even if it didn’t mention Bourn by name.

        Either they think it’s getting done or Hoyer is a *really* straight shooter. I’m debating which one it is.

        • Ben

          Yep, it’s certainly interesting. When adding all the pieces up, it seems like they think a deal is getting done. Given how this offseason has gone, I won’t hold my breath.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’ll reserve my full thoughts on that until/unless I can hear it for myself. Not that I’m questioning Jacob – I just want to hear it. Anyone know how I can? Do they record those programs or rebroadcast them?

          • Jacob

            I just tweeted at them requesting that they put in on demand.. I don’t know if you can do that, but I figured it was worth a try! lol

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              You, sir, are killing it today.

              • Jacob

                haha thanks. I’m just trying to help out.

                I did look at their schedule and they don’t replay First Pitch, so the only real hope is that they do put it on demand.

        • Rcleven

          If you start to put the puzzle pieces together with the on the table deal w/Philly for Sorri contingent on where Bourn lands. Leads me to believe there is a offer on the table for Bourn from the Cubs.

          • Timmy

            Bourn would be a nice step forward, and signing him until age 34 is completely doable due to his durability. We can’t just wait 2-5 years for the perfect candidate to take the lowest possible offer with the Cubs. We need to keep signing guys like Bourn to fair deals while cultivating the farm system and hoping for some long-term youth contributions.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Improve CF in the long term? That doesn’t bode well for Jackson.

    • Andrew

      Maybe, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If Jackson figures out how to hit, he can

      A. Move to left or right where we don’t have anyone penciled in long term
      B. Wait for the long term CF we sign to get traded because Hoyer and Epstein won’t give out any NTC

    • Rcleven

      Why? Jackson will likely spend the first half the season at AAA. Gives plenty of time to evaluate his new approach. If it works out fine. Move DD at the trade deadline. Move Jackson to a corner.
      If it doesn’t work out ? DD stays finishes out the year and your in the FA market next year.

      • Cubbie Blues

        It just seems to me the statement was a bit of a indictment of the hopes Hoyer has for Jackson to be able to turn it around.

        • Rcleven

          Being only January the outfield can change completely.
          Who knows? Jackson may be gone by spring.

          • EQ76

            Yeah, I don’t worry too much about Jackson. DeJesus is in his last year and Sori could be traded any time now. Theoretically, we could need 2 OF’s before too long.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Hoyer and Sveum go to see Edwin and Epstein and Ricketts go to see Sanchez. Not hard to see who they wanted more.

    • hansman1982

      I was thinking the same thing…Jackson knows where he fits in there.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It’s not necessarily that. Think back to your youth. Remember what you would do when you were trying to steal a woman away from a boyfriend. Compare that to what you did when you were trying to hook up with someone who was single. It’s the same principle here.

      • hansman1982

        Speak inaudibly, look at your shoes and end up getting laughed at?

        Seems no way to land a free agent, regardless of their Facebook relationship status.

        • J. Edwards

          Ha. Well-played, sir.

          Speak English Doc, we ain’t no scientists!

          And I don’t think it was a strategy to emphasize Anibal’s priority, by the way, I think it was the logistics of trying to court two parties and it just worked out they had to use split squads.
          The Cubs actually emphasized value per dollar the most. And while Sanchez was worth more in total contract terms, he was only worth so much. Because above $77.5mil, Edwin Jackson at $52mil is the more “valuable” pitcher of the two. I think that’s the primary calculation that came into play.

    • Andrew

      considering Jackson already knows the cubs offered sanchez 77.5 million as opposed to the 52 million he was offered, I think he knows where he stands

      • baldtaxguy

        Yes, that.

  • ActionJackson

    Maybe he is being sneaky and means possible trades for a positional player that has (3-4 years left on his contract or 3-4 years control). Doubt it is Bourn……just doesn’t seem like the direction they are trying to move. Maybe Parra or Upton? Maybe another young outfielder we haven’t thought of? Who knows as they seem to keep things tight lipped…….which I like.

  • Jacob

    Brett,

    If I would have known 30 minutes ago that you couldn’t find it I could have helped you out. The online player for SiriusXm lets you go back awhile, but I can only go back to 9:06 now and the interview started at about 8:40. I’ll let you know if it ever goes to their “On Demand” feature.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Damn. Thanks, Jacob. Appreciate it – and definitely not questioning you, by the way. It’s just in my nature – I want to hear it.

      • Jacob

        Oh I totally get it. I wouldn’t take my word for it if I were you either haha. I was trying to listen and type and “work” all at the same time, so some words may be off. But I promise the jist of it is the same. The quote on the center field, short and long term, was exact, I believe. I replayed that part to make sure I didn’t mishear.

  • Garrett

    I’m thinking Alfonso to the phillies could happen still and maybe that’s where we get that CF

    • http://www.thesportsfeast.com/category/ncaa-bb/mvc BAIRSDEN

      If Hoyer did say this then I immediately think that Soriano is close to being traded. Brett, who are the names your hearing in return from Philly?

  • afinch

    I just don’t get the Bourn love. 29 year old who has wheels and is an ok hitter and an ok OBP guy for 50-60 mil? I get short-term but in 2 years is he really worth this much money? I’m worried we’ll be saying 2 years from now “I can’t believe we still have 2 years of Bourn for 25-30 mil”. If he was 25-26 I’d be more excited but not sure now.

    Am I alone on this?

    • Marcel91

      No, youre nor alone. In fact, majority of Cubs fans and even ML teams have realized Bourn is overrated, he’s overrated himself on the market, and is a bad investment. Signing him would be going against everything we’ve tried to undo. Signing players past their prime, maxed out with no remaining upside to long term deals. The same kind of signings that got us into this mess.

      Think about it…..If Bourn was so good he’d be gone by now….Teams have shown that they will give up their draft pick only if the player is worth it. Teams clearly do not think Bourn is worth it. The only teams dumb enough to sign Bourn for 3+ years(like the Yankees, Red soxs, Dodgers, etc) already have CFs. Washington, Atlanta, Philly could have easily signed Bourn to fill their CF needs but instead chose to trade top prospects to get a CF when Bourn would have only costed money and a pick……

      RED FLAGS PEOPLE! nobody wants him, he’s already just average on offense and maxed out as a player, it’s only down here from here so why should we be the team dumb enough to ignore the warning signs and sign him? ala Soriano 6yrs ago where we outbid ourselves for no reason.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        If you don’t like Bourn, you don’t like Bourn. There’s some valid basis in that.

        But “if he was any good, he’d be signed by now” is absurd and you should feel bad for putting it forward.

        • Marcel91

          You took my comment without face value without even thinking about it, Kyle. I didn’t think i’d have to spell it out but I guess I do.

          The comment in question has plenty of basis. It has nothing to do with how I feel about Bourn. I based that comment on how the market has been for Bourn this offseason.

          #1. It’s been said repeatedly that teams value their picks more than ever this year and that has effected things. But that clearly won’t stop them for signing a player that they believe is worth it. That is factor #1

          #2. Based on Bourn’s contract demands he has CLEARLY overrated himself….he is not as good as he thinks he is and teams know this. Hence why teams chose to trade top prospects for a CF when Bourn would have only costed money. They clearly weighed one against the other and Bourn lost. Texas would LOVE a CF yet they have seemingly no interest in signing Bourn. Maybe as a last resort but nothing more. No team has made him a target whatsoever which brings me to my next point.

          Bourn think’s he is a 5yr 80mil type player. If teams thought he was good enough to warrant that type of deal and loss of a pick he’d have been gone by now because alot of teams had a need for a CF. The fact that he isn’t means teams don’t feel he’s as good as he thinks he is.

          Make sense now? If he was 5/80 good he’d be off the market by now. Yet teams wont sign him unless he comes way down on that.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            “#1. It’s been said repeatedly that teams value their picks more than ever this year and that has effected things. But that clearly won’t stop them for signing a player that they believe is worth it. That is factor #1″

            Been said by whom?

            “#2. Based on Bourn’s contract demands he has CLEARLY overrated himself…

            Are you intimately familiar with Bourn’s contract demands? What are they?

            “Bourn think’s he is a 5yr 80mil type player.”

            Oh, there we are. Well, that’s a pretty number. When did Bourn give that to you? Or maybe it was his agent?

            “Make sense now? If he was 5/80 good he’d be off the market by now. Yet teams wont sign him unless he comes way down on that.”

            It doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. The fact that you think so is a wicked case of confirmation bias fallacy.

            • Marcel91

              Kyle, do you pay attention to any ML media coverage whatsoever?

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                Sure. And I give it its due weight on a case-by-case basis, which is frequently very little.

                Baseball media are not particularly well-trained in understanding baseball, and baseball fans aren’t very good at understanding what the media actually say.

                • Andrew

                  I remember the ML media coverage that was saying Fielder might sign a pillow contract or a 5 yr contract and that he was losing value on the market. Then I saw the media coverage that he signed for 10/200

              • Ben (BG2383)

                The perceived lack of interest probably has a lot to do with losing the draft pick and the portion of the bonus pool more than Bourn

            • Andrew

              Thank you! People have to stop pretending there is all this evidence which they base on pure speculation. Also for the record even if his demands were 5/80, that doesn’t means that’s what he’s expecting. when bargaining, you start out at your ceiling and go down from there ie he could really think he’s worth 4/65 but you have to start somewhere.

              In the end all that matters is that Bourn is a very good player and will get paid like a very good player gets paid. I’ve gone back and forth on it but I think the Cubs should be the team that does it. He’s not Soriano where he will be 38 at the end of the contract, he’ll be 34.

          • hansman1982

            So noone wants him just like Fielder last year when (at this point) he still hadn’t signed?

      • mul21

        The draft pick and loss of draft signing dollars is the biggest reason he’s still out there. It has little to do with the quality of player he is.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          That is completely unfounded.

          He is still out there because he has not agreed to a deal with any team. He could be asking for $50 million a year and teams are offering $40 for all we know. He could still be out there because he wanted to go on vacation with his family and sign when he gets back. He could still be out there because every team in baseball spontaneously decided to blackball him because he told an off-color joke in the clubhouse that somehow managed to offend everybody.

          • Marcel91

            It’s unfounded to say it could be because of any of those reasons. I’m going off trends with ML teams so far in terms of the CF market this offseason. When multiple teams would rather trade their top prospects for a CF when they could easily keep them and just sign Bourn things like that hold weight.

            But let me put an end to all this. Do you or anyone here truly believe Bourn is a 13-15mil a year player?

            If not then the discussion is over because he WILL hold out until some team is desperate enough to give him that….Hell if Angel Pagan of all people can get 4/40 then Bourn will definitely get his long term deal. At his age he has no incentive to sign a pillow contract.

            If you do believe he’s worth 13-15mil then you are lost and there’s no coming back. Either way it’ll be done. I’m tired of providing countless statistics and evidence why Micheal Bourn is a bad investment.

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

              I’m still waiting for all those statistics you’ve read.

            • JB88

              I’ve read everything you’ve posted about Bourn in this thread. Either we disagree on the meaning of “statistic” or you are trying to convince people of something that isn’t true. Either way, I don’t see statistics. I see hyperbole and in spades.

              • cRAaZYHORSE

                Bourn is unique – He is a piece that every contender has . A gold glove that will captain the outfield. he will prevent runs by keeping singles to singles and rob a few doubles . He will keep slow trotting limp wrist Stewart types from prancing toward home plate on a lazy fly ball. He makes all the outfield better – he will demand and expect fielders to hit his cuttoff men . Bourne is not a power hitter and he will bat first so people like Barney,Castro and or dejesus dont have to be embarrassed. And the Braves let Bourn go to upgrade with power and speed- they have a SS that will be good enough to lead-off his name is Andrelton Simmons. If the Cubs Sign Bourn it will only help them short and long run -

                • baldtaxguy

                  “He will keep slow trotting limp wrist Stewart types from prancing toward home plate on a lazy fly ball.”

                  Why this…..?

            • Pat

              The only thing you have provided is your opinion. Not even the stats you used to arrive at that opinion. Saying something is a fact, does not necessarily make it one.

              • cRAaZYHORSE

                I would think 101 loss season would be fact enough to improve.

      • Rcleven

        There is no reason to sign Bourn to five years. That I will agree.
        To sign him to a 3 year deal falls right into plan. D up the middle will sure help the pitching out.
        Allows Cubs to trade Sorri. Improves D in left and adds more speed. Money is shifted from Sorri to pay for Bourn.
        I may be wrong but it makes too much sense.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      You definitely aren’t the only one who thinks Bourn is risky.

      But you can’t play scared. There are 30 teams trying to win the World Series, and you can’t be the one that does by not taking risks.

      • Marcel91

        Then why havn’t one of those 30 teams, who are way closer to contending than we are, taken this risk then? Texas has a gaping hole in CF and easily have the money to get Bourn. Why havn’t they signed him if it’s such a crucial risk?

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          How do you know none of the teams have taken the risk?

          It’s just as possible that multiple teams are trying to take the risk and Bourn is deciding between them or using that to negotiate for more money. In fact, that’s what the insidery report at PSD was at last report, and that the Cubs are one of those teams. And that was darn near explicitly confirmed by general manager Jed Hoyer today.

          • Marcel91

            We can play the “what if” game all day. The point is this FO has made a priority to only sign players to long term deals who still present upside and are still in or entering their prime years. They have said repeatedly they won’t make Soriano-type signings anymore. Bourn is maxed out as a player. He has reached his peak as a player and will only decline from here. No upside or projection left whatsoever…You’d be paying him purely on past performance. When he inevitably begins losing speed and range in the outfield you will have a useless player making 15mil to sit on the bench as your 4th outfielder.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I’m far from a Bourn-pusher, but he’s all of about nine months older than Jackson. Not really a huge difference.

              • Marcel91

                The thing is it’s not strictly about age when talking about upside and projection. For a pitcher with Jackson’s stuff, size, etc at 29 he still has room to get better. Yes Bourn is a good athlete but his only contributions on offense come from his legs.. That is very often the first thing to go when a player ages so if your entire game revolves around that then it’s much more than a risk, its pretty probable. He has no upside or projection left because he’s not going to magically get faster or add more power.

                • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                  The whole “speed players age badly” is sort of an urban legend, anyway.

                  It varies wildly from player to player, but there’s some evidence that *very good* speed players (such as Bourn) actually age slightly better than their very good, non-speed counterparts:

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

                  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                    I wonder why the Braves went with Upton so quickly. I would think that Bourn would have fit their lineup better than Upton will as the Braves now lack a leadoff hitter by making this decision. Maybe Bourn didn’t want to go back to Atlanta…but, maybe Atlanta didn’t see him as good value for the long term. Total speculation…but you have to wonder why they went the opposite direction so early in the offseason.

                    I won’t be PO’ed if we sign Bourn, but I’m not yearning for him, either. If he was better at getting on base and didn’t whiff so much, that would be a different story. Too many flaws for a leadoff guy, in my opinion.

                  • MightyBear

                    Hey your stealing my thunder. Couldn’t agree more. See below.

                • Andrew

                  You could make the same regression arguments for Jackson though. A lot of his value comes from his good fastball which has already had a velocity drop and hes got almost 1300 innings on his arm already. I’m not saying its a bad investment but I don’t think he’s going to get better, rather will likely stay the same level and possibly decline a bit at the end of his contract which is exactly what I think of Bourn.

            • JB88

              ” Bourn is maxed out as a player. He has reached his peak as a player and will only decline from here. No upside or projection left whatsoever…You’d be paying him purely on past performance. When he inevitably begins losing speed and range in the outfield you will have a useless player making 15mil to sit on the bench as your 4th outfielder”

              Wow, talk about playing the “what if” game …

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

              If I were paying him for his past five years of performance, we’d be talking 5/$100 and not 4/60.

              • Adventurecizin’ Justin

                You really think his past performance was worth $20MM/year?

                • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                  He’s been a 5-WAR player for the last five years. You wouldn’t pay $20 million for that?

    • NLIADad

      I think it’s a matter of opportunity cost. Borne only costs $$$ without giving up prospects that you would need to get someone who would a better CF for the next couple of years.

      It doesn’t matter if he’s getting paid more than what earns on the field in year 3 or 4. With this FO, they’ve already shown that salaries won’t keep prospects from getting playing time.

  • cubzforlife

    I’m eating lunch, Popeyes wrap spicy with mash potatoes, reading the posts and imagining how things must be for T.R. now compared to seasons one and two with Hendry. Old dumpy offices in the ballpark with a handfull of oldtimers compared to Theo and his band of rockstars in the new digs down the street. He must giggle with delight everytime they fill him in on whats happening. Its got to be too cool to be a young owner of a MLB team.

  • afinch

    Actually I’m wrong, he just turned 30.

  • Matty V

    While the bigger guns went to meet with Sanchez (and I realize that they didn’t land him), I’m glad to see that the makeup of the front office makes it possible to pursue two targets at the same time. Think about it, Jackson met with the lesser of the two pairs and still had a face to face with the team’s GM and manager. There are a lot of front offices (including ours pre-Theo/Jed) that could only have only met with free agents like that one at a time.

    • baldtaxguy

      Thought similar. Had a plan and committed to it, went out and made something happen.

  • Stevie B

    I think Jacob and Brett are developing an affinity for each other right in front of our eyes…

  • JR

    I guess I am ok with signing Bourn if the deal is right, but it would suck if in 2015 the Cubs were one player away and they couldn’t sign them because they were paying Bourn $16 million a year. And Bourn had turned ino Chone Figgins by that point.

    • brickhouse

      The Cubs are a big market team and could afford a few expensive contracts and still get the right player you need down the road.

  • Spoda17

    I just don’t have a feeling it is Bourn… I would pass on him anyway. I think after the draft and a Sori/DD trade, we will have the chips to trade for a true CF for the future…

  • MightyBear

    Regarding Bourn, I think the diminishing speed theory is over rated. It depends on the individual. Lofton was 36 when the Cubs got him and he was key to that run in 2003. He hit 327 with an OBP of 381 and stole 12 bases in 56 games. He played for 4 more years at a high level and still had great wheels when he retired. On a 4 year deal, Bourn will only be 34. Even if his speed diminishes some, he will be a solid outfielder defensively.

    • Chad

      I agree 100% on the so called “diminishing speed” factor. There’s really no evidence to suggest a player’s speed will diminish after a certain age. Every player is different, and as was mentioned, Kenny Lofton still had speed in his 30′s. Heck, look at Ichiro. Aside from that, I’m definitely a fan of Bourn as long as Theo shuts the door like he did with Anibal if the money and the years on the deal start going through the roof. A big reason I would love the addition of Bourn is because it gives the Cubs a much better chance of producing runs, which is of course the name of the game. The Cubs need a table setter at the top of the lineup who can also swipe a few bags. A guy like Bourn who can more easily get himself into scoring position would do wonders for a lineup like the Cubs, who do not possess a true lead-off kind of guy. Imagine Bourn getting on ahead of Castro and Rizzo. There would no doubt be more RBI opportunities. Not to mention the skills that Bourn brings to the defensive side of things.

      • Tom

        Michael Bourn (career .272 and .339 OBP that steals about 50 bases a year and plays good defense) and Darwin Barney (career .263 and .305 OBP that stole 15 last year and plays good defense).

        One guy(Barney) we pay $417,000 and for those extra 5 hits a year, 18 times on base a year and 35 stolen bases a year you want to pay Michael Bourn how much ? Why ?? Would he not become just another far too overpaid Cubs player in 1 or 2 years ???

        I say stay with Campana (career .262 and .308 OBP that easily would steal about 50 bases a year and plays good defense). I don’t see Campana as under contract, but paying Michael Bourn $12.0 or more million a year than Campana for about 5 hits and 20 times on base seems completely wrong ! What am I missing here ???

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “There’s really no evidence to suggest a player’s speed will diminish after a certain age.”

        Well that’s just not true. While players definitely age differently, and you can never say something is true for ALL players, you can definitely say that, for MOST players, speed peaks in their 20s – usually early 20s.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Do players with “speed skills” age better?
    http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/does_speed_age_better/

    Answer: a little better

    • Joker

      Interesting…until the end when he says the Carl Crawford signing was a good one.

      Actually, it’s fascinating since it proves a simple point: regardless of what instinct and statistical analysis tell us, injuries happen. Bad luck happens. It all comes down to trusting that your numbers and instincts matter and then hoping against hope that something catastrophic doesn’t occur. It’s what we all do, regardless of the decisions we are trying to make.

  • Joker

    Well, I am all in for Bourn. I’ve managed to talk myself into it, mainly based on reoccuring visions of Kenny Lofton in 2003. We haven’t had a true CF worth a darn in a while so let’s roll the dice, especially if the cost is less than $16 mil per year. (I know that figure sounds ludicrous, but it’s become the cost of doing business).

    • daveyrosello

      Agree. Lofton was such a huge add for the 2003 team. And as a fan, it was such a shock to see the Cubs have a genuine, traditional leadoff guy. I’ve been following the Cubs since 72, over those 40 years, when have the Cubs had a real leadoff guy? Two months of Lofton. One good and one so-so year from Bobby Dernier. An underappreciated effort from Eric Young for two years. That’s pretty much it. Brian McCrae and Rick Monday played CF and often hit leadoff, but they were non-traditional in that role. OBP and power, but not the baserunning or defense.

      Also, Lofton is probably a bad comp for Bourn because Kenny was a special player and a terrific athlete. But that said, Lofton’s speed remained an asset and the central part of his game into his late 30s. I don’t know what type of conditioning regimen Bourn uses, but it’s not a given his skills would deteriorate at the end of a 4-year contract. 4/48 and I’d say hell yeah.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    The reason opinions vary so wildly on Bourn is that no one can agree on the value of baserunning and defense. That’s not going to change any time soon.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      We’ve got baserunning nailed down. There really shouldn’t be much, if any, disagreeement there.

      Defense, sure. But I’d pay $13 million for even the most pessimistic assessments of Bourn’s defense.

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    I wonder ….. the Cubs Convention,,,, a signing ……. a time to rejoice….. two years in row?

    Maybe, maybe not. The Cubs Front office is striving to put a better team on the field in 2013

    all is good.

  • 2much2say

    Bret Jackson to fix his swing. So, his swing was broken? or he can’t play at the major league level. either sway time to move on from him. Next….

  • #1lahairfan

    Hey Brett do you think that if Bourn and Rafael Soriano cannot get a good contract in a couple weeks the cubs could sign either or both to a 1 year 25 million dollar deal and flip them at the deadline?

    That’s what I would do.

  • savant

    The one year deal is pretty risky with the loss of draft picks.

    I have no problem with Bourn at 4/60

    I start getting a bit nervous at 5/75

    If we were to get Bourn I would really hope that we got in on Soriano. We could make up for the loss of the third and second round picks with a commodity like Soriano at the trade deadline.

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      Those one year deals the Cubs gave certain pitchers will be gone by the trade deadline if they can pitch. all is good.

  • Roy Hobbs

    Dang.

    Kyle just made me laugh out loud for 20 minutes. Somebody needs to give this guy some recognition.

    Kyle is a real deal legitimate badass. The way he just spanked marcels butt was such an exquisitely crafted and beautifully conducted verbal beat down, I’m going to read it and re read it a few more times.

    I mean whoa.

    We should all just bow down to our rightful master. Kyle is Jedi Kyle Skywalker, and he will light saber you.

    You just never ever mess with Kyle.

    Or you get slapped up.

    I’m ordering my team Kyle footie pj’s right now.

    • Drew7

      It may not have been for 20 min, but this post gave me a good laugh.

  • Ryan Daniels

    Fangraphs says Bourn was worth $88M over the last 4 years, so expecting him to be worth $60M over the next 4 years is not a stretch. His 2012 year was worth $28.9M according to Fangraphs, so I can see why he wouldn’t want to sign for $15M/year. He’s got huge fielding and baserunning scores on Fangraphs. Because those stats aren’t what we normally think of when we think of value, and because the assessment of those is soft, there is a lot of disagreement about his true value.

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  • preacherman86

    Here is food for thought. What if Jed was not talking at all of Michael Bourn? super letdown? sigh of relief? And instead shedding some light into the rumored deal for Dom Brown. Maybe the FO is higher on this guy than the numbers or the Phillies suggest. And there is a guy who could play center now and slide to right or left as the young guys emerge. Also, If Jackson’s retooled swing plays at the MLB level then we could two young guys in the corners when/if almora makes it up, or keep BJax in center when Soler gets there to man right field. It would be a short term and long term solution in the outfield, if indeed the Cubs brass likes Dom Brown in a Soriano deal. Or maybe they unload whatever it takes for Stanton or Upton, I’m not sure I see this FO giving up a 40 overall pick and 15-19 mil a year for a guy like bourn. But with how the CBA forces moves now, you saw two guys better than that projectable 40 overall pick be traded for a bourne esque guy by the name of Revere. All things considered that seems to be the trend of the market in today’s world, but at this stage of the rebuild I just don’t see Bourne for that money and a second rounder being that attractive to the Cubs when they can unload Soriano and that money for a player with a longer career in front of him.

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