Dontrelle Willis Returns and Other Bullets

dontrelle willisI’m feeling slightly better today (no comment on the ladies of the house, as I don’t want to jinx them this time around), so I’m hoping to throw up put up the Lukewarm Stove that I wasn’t able to write yesterday. Until then, Bullets …

  • The Chicago Cubs have reportedly signed lefty Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal. Remember him? Once upon a time, Willis was a lesser-known, 20-year-old pitching prospect in the Cubs’ system who was traded to the Marlins in a deal that netted the Cubs Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca (the deal was on March 27, by the way – a Spring Training trade). Willis tore it up in 2002 at A-ball and High-A for the Marlins, and rocketed to the bigs the very next year, winning the Rookie of the Year award at 21. From there he pitched three more quality seasons in Florida, fell off a bit in 2007, and then completely fell apart. The culprit? Control – he lost it. With a wonky delivery like his, he was probably always walking the tightrope between dominance and disaster. Maybe he can figure out how to be an effective reliever at this point (he pitched ineffectively in the Orioles’ system last year and announced his “retirement” in July) – he’s about to turn 31 – but he’s reportedly not even getting an invite to big league Spring Training. So, in some ways, this is a non-signing – a “what the hell” kind of thing, which gets over-reported because of his history with the Cubs and previous success. Presently, there is no reason to believe we’ll hear much about him again.
  • Bruce Miles with an excellent piece on the silence surrounding Sammy Sosa’s Hall of Fame candidacy.
  • Fred Mitchell reflects on a conversation he had with Sosa about Mark McGwire’s candidacy seven years ago, and says Sosa would be in a much better position right now if he would just come clean about what he did or didn’t use during his playing days.
  • Carrie Muskat does her inbox thing, and I have a bone to pick (and it isn’t just Carrie – it’s everyone writing on these two issues). Carrie notes that (1) Nate Schierholtz is the starting right fielder because Jed Hoyer said he was, and (2) the Cubs won’t go after someone like Michael Bourn because Theo Epstein said the second round pick it would cost is valuable. Each of those points is incomplete. While it may prove the case that Schierholtz starts in right field on Opening Day, and the Cubs probably won’t end up signing Michael Bourn, each point fails to fully explain what the respective Cubs executive was saying. With respect to Schierholtz, Hoyer said he was the starter in right field “right now,” and would probably be part of a platoon. That’s hardly the same thing as saying “Nate Schierholtz will definitely be our starting right fielder in 2013.” Given the current roster, of course he’s the right fielder – right now. As for Bourn and draft picks, I listened to and summarized that Epstein interview, and that’s simply not what Epstein was saying. He was saying, generally, and in response to a specific question about draft pick value, that the second round pick is valuable. And then he explicitly said that there are players who are worth sacrificing a first round pick – let alone a second round pick – to sign. In other words, he didn’t really say a whole lot of anything about whether the Cubs would sign someone like Bourn. Again: I don’t *expect* the Cubs to sign Bourn, but there was nothing in either executive’s comments that would preclude it in the least.
  • Cubs Spring Training tickets are on sale now.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

126 responses to “Dontrelle Willis Returns and Other Bullets”

  1. Colocubfan

    I have wondered for a long time as to how Carrie Muskat keeps her job with as many inaccurate things she has reported.

    1. ETS

      I used to wonder this until I kept reading Cafardo articles during the Epstein compensation mess. Now I think Carrie must be in the upper tier of beat writers.

      1. LWeb23

        Cafardo should be a fantasy baseball analyst. Every time I’ve ever seen him speculate a deal, it’s been one that would only happen in a fantasy league (I first noticed him during the Theo compensation talks, as you mentioned),

  2. Blublud

    I really dont understand the hate for Michael Bourn and Justin Upton. I wonder if their race has anything to do with it.There are 2 guys that are clearly not just good, but great baseball players that can’t seem to get the credit they are due. Michael Bourn is elite, and Upton is on the verge of being elite, and yet people are debating whether they are good for a baseball team. Then I come here I see people stating that Nate Shierholtz should be the starting OF. I mean Nate FREAKING Shierholtz. SERIOUSLY This guy is not better then Tony Campana, and couldn’t hold Michael Bourn’s or Justin Upton’s jock strap if they placed it his hand. I not calling anyone racist, but there has to be some serious issues with anybody who thinks a 2nd rd pk with a slight chance of landing a star, and just a slightly higher chance of landing a servicable, above average major leaguer is worth more then Bourn. I can understand not wanting to trade the prospects to land Upton, but for people to say they wouldn’t want him on their team it crazy. The same people who don’t want Upton would love to trade for Logan Morrison. Funny right.

    1. JR

      I really don’t think race has anything to do with either. I think the draft compensation thing, and Figgins massive fall off is not helping Bourn. And I think the Dbacks Front office is just stupid. Why they want to move Upton so bad is a huge mystery to me. And why they want to continue to leak that they want to move a potential superstar, really makes me think Towers is stupid. And I don’t care what anyone says the return they got for Bauer is just stupid…

      1. Rizzofanclub

        I think Arizona’s front office is far from stupid. They see Justin Upton as a tradable piece that could net them a top of the line pitcher and a few top prospects (getting them closer to a world series now and later.) I hate it how ppl say Arizona is a dumb team, they are doing the exact thing Tampa Bay does every year and but Tampa is considered one of the smartest front offices in baseball. Notice how its always just rumors about him being traded and he’s not traded? If a team does not want to meet the demands then he won’t go.

        1. JR

          Whatever man. I happen to think the way the Dbacks have handled the Upton situation and the moves they have made lately are completely idiotic. If you think what they have done lately is awesome that’s cool.. I completely disagree, but that’s cool..

        2. Marc N.

          Kevin Towers traded an Internet sweetheart in Trevor Bauer for only a guy who might be a better Darwin Barney. That’s where the whole “Arizona is dumb” thing came from I think, and I find that to be too small a reason. Then again I’m not nearly the Bauer fanboy I’m told I should be.

          1. JR

            Nah man… I actually began thinking Towers was an idiot on my own. I had no idea there were all kinds of others on the internet that felt the same. Good to know I am not the only one I guess…

      2. Blublud

        Bauer is good example. He has a supposed attitude problem, yet people wanted to go after him because they felt the FO could fix it. Well if his “attitude” is can be “fixed”, can’t upton’s also be fixed.

        1. ssckelley

          Big difference between a 21 year old prospect that is not even arbitration eligible yet and a 5+ year MLB veteran that is still owed 38 million dollars over the next 3 years.

          1. Blublud

            Attitude is attitude, it really shouldnt matter.

            1. ferrets_bueller

              Not with that attitude it won’t!

    2. Ryan

      Hightly doubt it’s race pal! Since when did michael bourn become an elite baseball player?

      1. Blublud

        Michael is the 2nd or 3rd best CF in all of baseball. I would consider that elite.

        1. Blublud

          Oh, and the best defensive OF by far

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          Actually, Bourn might not be one of the Top 10 CFers in baseball: and if he is, then it’s at the bottom of the top 10. McCutchen, Trout, Kemp, Elsbury, Granderson, A. Jackson, A. Jones, Harper and Fowler are all superior overall players, and usually vastly superior. (Fowler might have a bit of a Coors Field boost, but the others are simply superior.) Heck, Crisp, de Aza and Brantley all had better OPS than Bourn did last year!

          Now, Bourn did have ridiculously good UZR’s the last two years: but really not enough to make up for the offensive advantage that the other OFers provide.

          1. Blublud

            The only person I’ll take on that list over Bourn is Trout and Kemp. And Kemp has to stop getting hurt so much.

            Fowler is severly overrated.

            I think Harper is a big name and not as much of a big time player.His rookie numbers dont look much better then Tyler Colvin. Tyler actually had similar OPS and better slugging and power numbers. Harper has slightly better speed and better SB number, which I actually value more then most people. I dont think his CF defense is up to par and I think he is more of a left fielder forced to play center. There is a reason the nationals were loking for a CF. I thinks he’s good, but not the next greatest ever like he was built up to be. Id take him over Bourn because of age and control, but right now, he is not a better baseball player.

            1. MichiganGoat

              I question what game you’ve been watching the last few years- Bourn over McCutchen? Are you looking at the same stats and watching the same game? Oh and Tyler Colvin=Bryce Harper sure. I’m starting to think you just enjoying saying that to start an arguement and then confusing that with a meaningful conversation.

            2. Patrick G

              You value Bourn better then McCutchen? Ellsbury? A. Jones?

              1. Blublud

                As a former SS, 2B, CF who played great defense and who hit leadoff and stole a shitload of bases my whole youth playing baseball and still now playing modified at a pretty competative level, maybe I value defense up the middle and speed more then most. Bourn’s defense sets him appart. But then again, maybe that’s why I think Barney is the long term solution at 2B.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Well I guess you should join the FO then? I once took the Cubs to the WS on the Playstation in 2003 can I join you?

                  1. Blublud

                    The only CF that compare to bourn in dWAR is Denarn Span, Craig Gentry and Mikt Trout. The closet is -6(Span), -8(Trout) and -1.1(Gentry) Considering I think Defense is worth more then most people, and trout is the only person that trumps him on offense out of these three, I dont think its crazy to call Bourn a top 3 CF. Mike Trout is the clear best CF in baseball, without question.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Yes you value defense much higher than most of baseball. Defense doesn’t get you on base and doesn’t score runs. And if you regard defense so highly how can you be such a fan of Campana- he is HORRIBLE at defense.

                    2. Chase S.

                      You’re severely overvaluing defense. I’m a huge proponent of defense myself but there’s more worth in players offensively than defensively. Look at Darwin Barney as an example. Bourn’s speed is a major factor of why his defense is at that level. Once his speed starts to diminish then he really has little value at the price he’s asking.

                    3. dob2812

                      Oh display they announce the date his speed is going to disappear? I must have missed that, even though I was looking out for it. Is is far off?

                    4. hansman1982

                      What about Bourne negative run difference defensive year in 2011?

                      Sorry but defensive metrics are too variable for me to put much stock in them.

                  2. King Jeff

                    I honestly can not understand how anyone that would rather have Bourn than Bryce Harper or Adam Jones. .272/.339/.704 is a good slash line for a great defensive player, but it doesn’t make him an elite player. Valuing defense is one thing, but valuing it with complete disregard for offense seems foolish.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      It’s Bayless Logic, the same logic that says Tebow should be starting over Payton Manning.

                    2. Blublud

                      Michigan goat. Please buddy, don’t insult me. I may say some crazy things, but I will never in my life say that Tebow should start over Manning.

                2. Patrick G

                  As a former college baseball player, I strongly disagree with you. Yes defense is important, especially up the middle, but his type of skill set decreases quick. And yes he is a good player, but not worth what teams are going to give him.

            3. DocPeterWimsey

              Harper posted a UZR of 9.7 in CF last year. Granted, it was a small sample size: but that kid gets a good read and accelerates well. Add to that an OPS that was nearly 0.08 higher than Bourn’s (that is a *lot* of runs!), and the fact that at 19 he’s going to be better in upcoming seasons, and I’m scratching my head. Colvin could never post an OPS of 0.82 in full time play, and he’s many years older: and he’s never going to be a very good CFer.

              MG covered McCutchen. However, Granderson, Elsbury, Jackson and Jones all create more net runs for their team than Bourn does. Plain and simple: if you have a choice between any of those guys and Bourn to play CF, then you will win more games with one of those guys. If you have a choice between Bourn and Crisp/Brantley/de Aza, then maybe Bourn’s glove gives you a small advantage.

              Bourn simply is not the player that you think that he is. I think that in our Cub-fan desperation to fill holes, some of us are seeing Bourn through heavily rose-tinted glasses.

              1. Blublud

                The only CF that compare to bourn in dWAR is Denarn Span, Craig Gentry and Mikt Trout. The closet is -6(Span), -8(Trout) and -1.1(Gentry) Considering I think Defense is worth more then most people, and trout is the only person that trumps him on offense out of these three, I dont think its crazy to call Bourn a top 3 CF. Mike Trout is the clear best CF in baseball, without question.

                Only Trout and McCutchen had a higher total War last season, but considering that defense is hard to account for, and I don’t think fully accounted for, I would put Bourn over McCutchen.

                1. King Jeff

                  #2 defensive CF, plus not-even top 10 offensive CF, equals top 3 cf in baseball?

                  1. MichiganGoat

                    Good job King you starting to get the hang of Bayless Logic

                    1. King Jeff

                      Yeah, I just read the rest of the string of comments, so I’m excusing myself. Sorry for jumping into this.

                2. DocPeterWimsey

                  d’oh, I just realized that I left one other CFer off of the “better overall player than Bourn”: BJ Upton! The Braves realized that, of course!

                  As for the importance of fielding, well, the Mariners experimented with that. They basically fielded a team of Darwin Barneys for a couple of years: and they were easily the worst team in the AL. Meanwhile, the Yankees annually run the opposite experiment: and every Yankee season ticket holder knows that he/she is going to at least one playoff game every year.

                  1. Marc N.

                    I wish the Cubs had been able to land BJ Upton. That was a burn.

                    1. Marc N.

                      OTOH Bourn is better than Fowler and has had more strong seasons than the majority of guys on that ten list.

        3. Patrick G

          No chance is Bourn “elite” nor is he top 2-3 CF in baseball. He is a good player, but nowhere near worth the money he will get. He will get a lot of money because of the market and someone will overpay, but you don’t want to be the team that overpays because we can dish out the money and need an upgrade, because once we get him and he turns into Chone Figgins, you’ll be upset like everyone is with Soriano’s contract. Yet it will be worse cause Soriano at least produces still.

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      In Upton’s case, yes, I strongly suspect that race has a lot to do with it. We keep hearing fairy tales about his supposed bad-attitude, laziness, etc.: and people pretend that they can see these things in black and Hispanic athletes far more readily than they do for white players.

      In Bourn’s case, no, I don’t think that race is the factor. In fact, his proponents heap “scrappy love” on him, which is quite the opposite of negative racial stereotypes. The criticisms of him have been more statistical: he doesn’t have spectacular OBP, his power is not great, and although his speed is good (now), that doesn’t have anywhere near the impact of slugging and OBP.

    4. ssckelley

      Race has nothing to do with it, his age and the amount of money he wants are the biggest issue the draft compensation piece is the icing on the cake. Bourns 2 assets are his speed and defensive abilities, his production is worth 20 million per year right now but how about year 3, 4, or 5? His base stealing abilities are already declining and once that is gone then you are paying 20 million per year for someone that might only be a decent defensive replacement.

      Go check out his stats, he is not a high OBP guy, has never scored 100 runs, does not hit for high average, does not hit for power, and strikes out over 120 times per season. Yet you suggest that a team has not signed him for 100 million yet because of race???

      1. Blublud

        See, that where you are wrong. I questioning mostly the people who say he not an upgrade over what we have, or that he is not a good player. The money part is the only argueing I understand, thought I don’t think it really becomes a issue unless it get over 16 million a year. But then again, I dont think the Sori signing has been a bad deal either. To argue that Bourn doesnt provide an upgrade ove Sappelt, Shierholtz and my favorite, Campana, is crazy. Also, Im stating that it is race, Im just wondering.

        1. ssckelley

          Of course he is an upgrade over what they have right now, but not for 5 years and 100 million dollars which is his asking price. IMO he is worth around 60 million over 5 years and I would still look to trade him if the right offer was presented.

        2. ScottK

          Who has said that he’s not an upgrade over what we have in CF? You keep posting that but I’ve never actually seen anyone say it…

          1. Blublud

            I seen one guy go through a arguement that Dejesus was a better ball player. I kean I know his wife is banging, but he is not a better ball player then Bourn.

        3. louis

          I wouldn’t sign the “3rd best center fielder in baseball” because he’s black – said no one, ever.

    5. MichiganGoat

      BluBlud: Wow race is the issue- really? Nate Spellcheck is a cheap zero-risk signing vs signing Bourn ($$, years, draft pick) or Upton (cost a large prospect haul). Race has nothing to do with equation- dropping ridiculous comments like that just diminishes the quality of the site. Please think before you post, really seriously think. I’m not sure if trying out to be the next Skip Bayless or Jim Rome but saying something controversial and than continue to argue is not informative or helpful. SERIOUSLY THINK BEFORE YOU POST!

      1. Blublud

        Im able to post whatever please. Once again, in not really argueing the cost of each. I stated numerous times that the jaul for upton is to much. I dont think Bourn is asking for to much. 5 yrs and 80 million is the limit unless we need to outbid certain teams. I questioning the people who state they arent good ball players. And once again, Im not saying it’s race, Im asking.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Really “just asking” are you inflicting your voice with each of your comments? You are playing the ESPN version of sports media quite effectively then. Arguing is not the same as quality conversation and asking questions that aren’t really questions is quite Bayless of you. Keep up the Great Work? (see what I did there)

    6. tom

      STOP STOP the Race Card, why does it always come down to that !!!! give it up allready,

    7. Ivy Walls

      Michael Bourn only makes sense if/when or can the Cubs trade Soriano before ST, and that is a triple financial consideration; A) the cost of eating Sori’s remaining $36M, I think it has to be about $25M (+/-) depending on what could begot in return (100-200 level prospect???) PLUS the cost of Bourn’s contract, $60M +/- four years, ($15M) so the net cost is $27M, plus the loss of 40 something prospect pick whom I am sure the Cubs have on the board.

      It only makes sense if then Jackson actually does a Rizzo and remakes his swing into a MLB caliber which allows the Cubs to trade DeJesus in June-July and recover a few $ and possibly recover that 2nd round prospect pick, while then playing Schierholtz and Sappelt in RF. Bourn would defensively stabilize CF and be the lead off hitter the team would need. It all works if IF IF Castro actually improves to be a genuine #3 hitter and Rizzo grows into a genuine #4 hitter backed up with Stewart being what he was always supposed to be at 3B.

      Finally with Valbuenna’s Venezuela winter and Wadkins AZ I could see the Cubs making a move when Barney’s stock is the highest and trying to gain future talent from a contender who needs a genuine glove in the middle IF.

    8. Xavier

      I’m black, its not a race thing at all, Bourn is 30 and a speed guy if he’s signed by any team there’s a big chance his legs slowdown. Upton on the other hand is a very talented player but he’s coming off a season where he fell off and looked like the other Upton it scares people off other teams still want to trade for him but they don’t want to pay a superstar price for a good player.

  3. skidrow

    Your the only person that i have heard say anything about race. Tells me alot about you.

    1. Blublud

      Dude, you dont know me, and I vary rarely mention race in anything. As black guy from the inner city, I used to get picked on cause I was the only black kid that played baseball. Everybody else played football and basketball. But there has to be some reason why Bourn is not getting the credit he is due.

  4. Brian cubs fan

    guess cubs signing d train as a extra arm in the minors.

  5. ssckelley

    I found the last question in Carries inbox funny. Heck if Soriano cannot play third base perhaps they should try him at catcher.

  6. Pat

    I’m all for signing some reclamation projects / lottery tickets, but at some point aren’t you starting to take innings, resources, etc. away from actual prospects?

  7. Chad

    Calm down about race. I’m not saying it’s never an issue, but usually too quick to jump to that conclusion. Let’s lay off Carrie Muskat. I think she’s a pretty good source but jumped the gun on schierholtz and bourn. Mistakes were made people lived. I like the D-Train signing in the sense that there is no risk at all.

  8. Mike F

    I have zero problem trading for Upton, just I wouldn’t trade Shark or Castro for him and likely wouldn’t deal the boatload of prospects they would want. And I don’t worship Castro, but I don’t think you take a guy like Shark who is about to explode into a tremendous pitcher for a guy who the Diamondbacks may be overvaluing. We have these scenarios, but without seeing the packages involved, they get pretty ridiculous.

    I think we have to see what they intend to do. Clearly they worked very hard to add a lot of depth in pitching. They are really light on LHP relief pitching so that remains. And yeah they are hitting light too. I just don’t see Bourn as a big bat that changes the fundamental picture for the cubs enough to pay him what he’ll get Yeah, if they could and felt it balances trade say Baez, Maples and Jackson for Upton and suddenly Bourn becomes the piece that gets them over the top, sure. But I don’t see them there and if that was all it would take to get Upton the Rangers or Braves would have dealt for him already.

    1. Marc N.

      I would do Samardzija and non-top four prospects for Upton and one of their young arms (Hudson, Corbin, Skaggs, Miley, Kennedy).

      I’m not sold on Samardzija, now a fan favorite, taking this leap Cubs fans seem to think he will. He’s got the tools but like Upton it’s all potential and tools. OTOH Upton can impact everyday rather than every 5, he’s posted that 5 and 6 WAR kinda season he’s been hyped to be able to do, he’s actually finished the seasons where he built his hype…

      1. hansman1982

        Starting pitchers impact FAR more plate appearances than position players.

      2. ScottK

        I feel silly to repeatedly post this, but do some research before you jump to trading away all our prospects for Upton.

        Home: .307/.389/.548
        Away: .250/.325/.406
        Wrigley: .121/.227/.190

        Unfortunately for Towers, he’s going to have a tough time selling those away splits to other GMs. The Cubs have enough mediocre hitters. Trading away some of our best pitching to get another one doesn’t make any sense.

    2. Blublud

      I would trade Shark or Castro for him either, but for someone to say that they don’t want him cause his attitude is crazy.

      1. Blublud

        *Wouldn’t

      2. Mike F

        But I’ve never said that. I think the issue for me is one of cost, again Baez and the right couple prospects maybe, but not Shark or Castro and I believe those are probably the names that come up more frequently than people think.

        His attitude etc aren’t concerns for me, its one of cost vs what he brings to the table.

  9. Rcleven

    @D_Train35 Thanks For Cubs Givin Me Another Opportunity To Keep Playin Ball..I’m Gonna Give It My All Hopefully Have Another Blessed Year

  10. Internet Random

    You heard it from Brett Taylor at BleacherNation.com first: The Cubs are signing Michael Bourn.

  11. 2much2say

    Let’s put the Bourn thing to rest. The Cubs need CF/Lead off man. Bourn is a CF/LO man. Point, Match, Game. Next…

    1. Rcleven

      Pretty much up to Bourn where he will play next season.

    2. walterj

      I would rather the Cubs trade for Fowler or Eric Young Jr . The idea of paying Bourn more than 14 million for more than 3 years scares me .

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Fowler gets a huge boost from Coors Field that wouldn’t carry over in Wrigely. That said, he still would probably post a higher OPS than Bourn probably would! Young Jr. is a 4th OFer type: he’s simply not good enough to start, and at 27 (he’ll be 28 in May) it is not like he’s going to get much better.

  12. Rcleven

    Dontrelle Willis ‏@D_Train35

    Ive Been Workin Hard All Offseason Gettin My Spirit Back After A Couple Tough Years but Im Ready To Compete 100% In ’13 N Be A Bulldog Again

    Cough Cough.

  13. Rcleven

    Dontrelle I wish you luck.

  14. Patrick G

    I say put Dontrelle on the big league roster. Throw him in the outfield and he’d probably hit better than half our line-up

  15. mudge

    It’d sure be fun if Willis could come back.

  16. Big Joe

    After all of the chumps, both pitchers and position players, that have been signed, and invited to the major league spring training camp, I have a hard time accepting the fact that Willis wasn’t invited. Sure, he’s nowhere near what he used to be…or else, he’d be playing somewhere else. But, hell. Really? Nate’s going to start in right field? And Willis can’t come to big league spring training? Half of the bullpen candidates are recovering from Tommy John. No invite for Willis? That’s just dumb.

  17. Fastball

    You can’t knock Willis for wanting to re-dedicate himself to baseball if that’s what he is doing. He didn’t get a ST invite so he will have to work with the new pitching guru in the minors and see where he stacks up. It’s a non losing proposition for the Cubbies. He might just be willing to re-make his mechanics for the 1st time in his career. That is what it will take.

    On the Bourn front. I still think Theo is sitting back and waiting out the market on this guy. No sense bidding him when nobody else appears to be bidding. If the bidding starts and he gets to be too expensive we just don’t participate. I like that approach personally. The fan base and media can’t clamor about how Theo and Jed missed on another guy if he waits in the weeds. If he sweeps in at the last minute and steals him he looks like a genius. Especially if he gets him for 3 years and $40-$45M. I don’t believe the rest of baseball is going to work themselves into a frenzy over Bourn in the next 3 or 4 weeks.

    On the Upton front. I really don’t think we are in the market for Upton. I’m not so sure we really need to trade any of our top talent right now. I believe that we sit back this year and let our talent develop for another year. Then we are able to dangle less carrots to win a bigger prize. The closer our prospects are to ML ready (within a year or two) the more they will be worth. Then we can make a move having to give up less in quantity of prospects for a better player. (I have to believe that our new FO/Coaching throughout the organization) can detail these players strengths and make them look more attractive. That has to be part of the plan. Many of these kids in our system probably don’t fit the mold of Theo, Jed, McCloud and staff, but it would be quite smart of them to focus on develop whatever strengths these kids do have and get them ready and promoted so they can trade them. I think Vogelbach would be a great prospect to move up quick and marquee so he can be moved in a deal for a player of need. Just using him as an example. There are several others in the organization that they can do this with. In the meantime get the Soler’s, Amora’s and Baez’s advanced in our system by end of 2013. I would get McNutt all the attention he needs, have him ready to be marketed during 2013 as a can’t miss type. This new pitching coach needs to work some miracles down in the minors this spring and all season for us to really get better fast.

  18. Blublud

    I will appologize about the race comment. I wasn’t stating that it was racism, I was asking the question. I actually never thought about it until I went to a meeting in my home town about black inner city youths playing baseball in greensboro, N.C. in advance of the fall season, yesterday. I coach and referee a lot of youth sports in greensboro and I’m very involved in mentoring youths. The post was meant as a discussion starter, not as me playing the race card. I never play the race card, as I have stated numerous time that I am someone who believes in making it in life on your own merits. Maybe I should have been more clear from the start. Please except my apology if I came across wrong.

    I will however, continues to argue my belief that Bourn defensive value makes him an elite OF.

    1. Sandberg

      No need to apologize. It’s a worthy discussion to have.

      1. hansman1982

        Not when it’s brought up that way. Making broad accusations about people who don’t wan the cubs to sign Bourn because their racist is just dumb. When you have concrete evidence their reasoning is racism then it’s time to have that discussion.

        How is this discussion any different than “wondering” if people who don’t like Elton Johns music are homophobes?

        Discussions like this turn people off when there is a real need to discuss racism.

        I used to be agains the Bourn signing because I thought he was an overrated player. Does that make me racist?

        1. MichiganGoat

          That is the crux of my passive aggressive comments about Bayless Logic, the idea that just because you ask question removes all guilt was wonderfully laid out in a South Park episode concerning Smurfs. I am quite happy to discuss racism when it is actually need in response to a story but to just throw out a question and not expect a backlash and silliness is what I’m struggling to understand. This is what Bayless, Rome, Smith do all day long and it is tiresome to see it here. But then again I’m just a sheep with a cognitive disability.

  19. Fastball

    Willis has pitched himself out of any kind of invite to ST. He has had some personal / mental health problems along the way as well as not be willing to make any changes to his WHOLE pitching make up. I never say never. But if he just stripped himself back to a bare bones approach, strictly fundamentals, mechanics etc. He may find control. He hasn’t really pitched that many innings over the past 4 years because he basically sucked so bad he wasn’t given any. Therefore he may have life left in his arm. He’s left handed so he is going to have a longer life in professional baseball. What he needs to do is make himself a situational lefty. If he can rein in his motion to traditional out of the stretch mechanics and still have a fastball and curveball that’s all he needs. Then he needs to have some success at whatever level he pitches at so he develops confidence. His problem is two fold. Mental and Physical. I wouldn’t bet on him in an Exacta. But I might put a bet on him to come in 3rd as a high odds long shot. That’s what Theo just did.

  20. cRAaZYHORSE

    WOW

  21. Roy Hobbs

    Good for you Blublud.

    I’m pretty sure that as a black man, you probably understand the issue of racism better than the white guys on this site.

    Certainly better than morongoat.

    You didn’t make any wild accusations, you simply raised the question.

    It’s funny to see how sensitive all the white people get when race is brought up.

    I respect your thoughts and comments, and found them to be good and thought provoking.

    White people can cry and act like racism isn’t real, but it is. And morons like goat, who act like it doesn’t exist and throw their hands up in the air anytime race is mentioned, really are the most insensitive and ignorant of all.

    Not being comfortable talking about racism, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Honestly I think it’s a subject we should all feel more comfortable talking about.

    And I don’t think race is the reason bourn hasn’t signed either. I just don’t think it’s my place to tell a black man he has no business mentioning racism. I think he has every right.

    And I think at the very least, it was a valid question he asked.

    But I guess goat probably knows how blublud should live his life, and at the very least he’s comfortable telling him how to. How dare you tell him to think before he posts, when you post the dumbest comments of anyone on this site.

    Morongoat=BOO!!!!!!!!!

    1. MoronSheep (aka MichiganGoat)

      Alright Roy, I’m going to bite hereand let you continue with the insults as you see fit. The arguement wasn’t about the existence of racism (it is very real and I deal with it everyday) but instead how it made no sense in the Bourn/Upton vs Nate Spellcheck arguement that was originally mentioned. But I now understand your purpose- the site needs more irrational humor. But then again I’m just a MoronSheep

    2. Blublud

      It is funny how people get sensative to the subject. It not just white people, it’s black people also. I work with a guy from Iraq who will not call me black because he doesn’t “want to be racist.” Instead, he call me African American. Which I hate, considering I’ve never been to Africa and both my white great grandmother, and my black family (McAdoo’s) are all Ireland descendant. My other grandfather is Cherokee, so technically I’m not African anything.

      Anyway, the subject is hard for a lot of people. It doesn’t bother me, since I’m not a racist person and I also don’t sense racism very well. It is a legitmate question, and it’s a shame some people cant have a legit discussing about it without calling it race baiting or playing the race card. It was a question. Also, if you look at most of my responses, I actually tried to defend my belief in Bourn by not mentioning race, except when needed. Maybe I’ll keep the discussion from here on out at the meetings, since the most of the adults here are mature enough in the subject to discuss.

    3. Patrick G

      “It’s funny to see how sensitive all the white people get when race is brought up.”

      How do you know who’s white or not?

  22. savant

    Just wanted to add to the top ten center fielders discussion.

    WAR for the last three years.
    Elsbury ( 0.8, 8.0, -0.2), Granderson (2.7, 5.3, 4.1), Jackson (5.2, 4.8, 4.8), Jones (3.4, 2.8, 2.1), Fowler(2.5, 2.5, 1.6), Span (4.8, 2.3, 1.5), Bourn (6.0, 3.0, 5.3).

    Harper is not a centerfielder. Trout and Kemp are on a different planet. Elsbury is taking his Grady Sizemore act a bit to far, one out of three aint good.

    But, where he ranks really does not matter. He is available, and I am having a hard time understanding how he can get a contract that does not provide value to the team that is signing him.

  23. savant

    Ace, hook a brother up with an edit. That was obviously supposed to be WAR not OPS.

  24. Rcleven

    Marc Topkin ‏@TBTimes_Rays

    J.P. Howell signs with the Dodgers: Long-time Rays lefthander J.P. Howell has signed a one-year deal with the Do… http://bit.ly/Z7FOZC
    Expand

    And the Dodgers strike again.

  25. Rcleven

    Anybody picking up the Dodger scraps?

  26. Frank

    Black, white, who cares. As I recall, Dontrelle’s issues stemmed from an anxiety disorder simlalar to that of Zach Greinke and Ian Snell.

    As for The Cubs signing him, its just a Spring Training invite. If it works out, that will be awesome. However, with these minor league signings, there’s usually a clause stating that if they don’t make the big league club by a certain time, they can walk away. By this time next year, this experiment will likely be long forgotten.

  27. Richard Nose

    hahahahahahah “wonky”.

  28. afinch

    I want very little part of Bourn on the Cubs. IMO he’s not worth 4 years/60 million or 5 years/75 million, not for a guy who’s one major skill (speed) will only diminish in the middle to end of this contract; this will also directly affect his range in the outfield therefore diminish his defensive abilities.

    If we had a power hitting 3rd baseman and a few high OBP and/or .300 hitters I could see throwing money at Bourn – maybe 4 years/52 mil (13 per year) to have him hopefully be a nice catalyst with all those hitters behind him for the next few seasons, but not when they have so many other holes to fill. By the time this team hopefully starts competing Bourn will be 32/33 years old. You have think his speed is starting to wean by that point.

    If that happens, those last 2 years become another albatross – 2 years and nearly 30 mil of a CF who cannot steal 30 bases anymore, hits maybe .270 and is just an average defender doesn’t thrill me in the least.

    1. afinch

      Then again Berkman is about to get 10-11 mil for this year. And why not? he’s only 37 and hit a whopping 2 homers last year. yeesh.

      1. caryatid62

        I think it’s more about years than dollars at this point. There’s no such thing as a bad one-year contract. If the Cubs could populate their roster this year with free agents from this year like Bourn, Grienke, Hamilton, etc. on ridiculously overpays for one or even two years, I’d have no problem with it.

      2. caryatid62

        I think it’s more about years than dollars at this point. There’s no such thing as a bad one-year contract. If the Cubs could populate their roster this year with free agents from this year like Bourn, Grienke, Hamilton, etc. on ridiculously overpays for one or even two years, I’d have no problem with it. But no player is going to go for a one or two year deal when he can get the security of 5 years.

  29. Marc N.

    Btw major props on the Muskat stuff. Like you said, it’s hardly just Muskat but a whole lot of people.

  30. Ramy16

    Once again the best part of Campana ran down his moms leg…he’s a waste of a roster spot!! Why do people keep talking about Campana.. Uhh so tired of hearing about Tony Campana like he’s Willie Mays Hayes off of Major LeagueII