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Jed HoyerChicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer was on the radio with Jim Bowden today and shared a couple thoughts, which are paraphrased below:

  • A big focus of the offseason was getting pitching depth, because we felt like we didn’t have it last season, and it really showed later in the year. Locking down Scott Baker and Scott Feldman early was big.
  • When asked about Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse, specifically, Hoyer said: we’re still in touch on a number of free agents. I wouldn’t say we’re done, because you never want to turn your back on opportunities. Unlikely we do anything significant before we get to Spring Training, but never say never. (He really seemed to emphasize the “before we get to Spring Training” part. If you want to read too much into it, you could say he was leaving open the possibility/expectation that something could happen in Spring Training.)
  • When we came in, Starlin Castro was the one core piece. Jeff Samardzija forced his way into that group, and then there’s Darwin Barney. He’s got some things to work on, in terms of getting on base. Anthony Rizzo has become a part of that, too. We hope Almora/Soler/Baez can be a part of that. We just want to add a couple core pieces each year, and then eventually you look up, and there are eight to ten core young players.

Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s interesting to hear Hoyer once again mention Barney as part of the team’s core – something he suggested at the Convention last weekend.

It was also interesting to hear that the Cubs are still talking to some free agents, particularly when asked about the bigger names. Hoyer’s reaction had the feel of a guy who is conceding that the Cubs have talked to some of the bigger names, but doesn’t think there’s a very good chance the Cubs land any of them (mostly, at this point, I’d think the guy he’d have in mind would have to be Bourn). I’ve long thought the Cubs’ position on Bourn was probably something like, “if he ends up having to settle for a really team-favorable three or four-year deal, we’ll pull the trigger. Otherwise, it’s no big loss not to get him.” The way Hoyer responded to the question struck me as the same kind of thing. I’d assume Hoyer suspects Bourn will eventually get an acceptable offer elsewhere.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that, in the portion of the interview that was posted, Hoyer was speaking only about free agent deals. He didn’t really discuss much in the way of trades. Of course, it’s not like he’s going to say, “Yeah, we’re working on some huge trades, and something is going to happen in the next few weeks.”

  • Mike

    Brett:

    Thoughts on signing Borune to a one year deal with an understanding to non-tender him next year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think there’s not much upside for the Cubs – they give up a draft pick to sign a guy who isn’t going to make them competitive on the hope that they can trade him midseason for more than the value of the pick. They assume all the risk for very little reward.

      • Blublud

        I think Bourn would make the Cubs extremely competative and put them near the top of the Central. Maybe I’m giving the FO to much credit, but what they have done so far has already made us competative, so Bourn might be the last piece to contend for the division, but not on a one year deal. Cubs would be risking way to much.

        • Brian

          He doesn’t provide enough offensively to be what you suggest. If you look at his stats offensively he is a copy of a player the Cubs already have in Dejesus. So you have to decide is the upgrade in defense enough to give up a piece for the farm system? Personally I say not even close.

          • Marc N.

            Bourn is a better player than DeJesus, and a better offensive player. The only advantage DeJesus has that i can think of is OBP.

            • Brian

              If you put the stats side by side you will see that Dejesus is a poor man’s Bourn offensively based on last years stats. Defensively there is no question that Bourn is the better player. At best in CF Dejesus is going to mediocre at his point. But is upgrading defense enough of a difference to make the team competitive?

              The problem at this point with the Cubs isn’t going to be their defense but what looks to be a fairly putrid offense especially if they trade Soriano. At this point I would rather give BJax another shot to see if they fixed his swing enough to be a productive CF offensively with Dejesus there to back him up. To me its foolish to sign Bourn when if your realistic about the current team they just aren’t going to be competitive for a playoff spot with or without him.

              • Marc N.

                Bourn had more XBHs last year, he is a significantly better base runner who can give you 30+ steals at a high end rate, he’s way better offensively, doesn’t have the extreme splits of DeJesus…

                Not saying that I am all in on Bourn, but he’s a clear upgrade over what the Cubs have.

                • Brian

                  And I am not going to say any of that is not true. Just that the value he gives you above Dejesus is not enough to make the team competitive. Even if he gives a surplus value of 3 wins that still leaves the Cubs at best 3rd place in the division. With or without him they are not a better team than the Cards or Reds. Therefore whats the point? Your giving up more value in the draft pick than he is providing.

                • Can’t think of a cool name

                  Bourn is not way better offensively. He’s a way better base stealer. DeJesus and Bourn had the same number of xbh last year, 45, except it took Bourn 125 more plate appearances. DeJesus had a better OPS+ at 106 to 99, DeJesus a little better at OBP and slugging, Born a little better with average. Career wise, DeJesus better in average, OBP, slugging and signifantly better in OPS and OPS+. Bourn has one year with an OPS above league average.

                  Obviously Bourn is the better defender. Is it worth 12-15 million for 3-4 years and a high second round pick?

            • Tom A.

              DeJesus is a great team-player and overall person. He also is a good fit with the current team. Hope they stick with him over Bourn !

            • The Dude Abides

              DeJesus main advantage is how cheap he is compared to Bourn not including the draft pick. Fighting it out with the Pirates for 4th place is what we are looking at this year. Jackson will likely be back for another audition by mid summer and DeJesus if at all possible will be traded. If Jackson is ready great otherwise we see what’s out there for next season. Bourn would be a clumsy fit to the rebuidling plan if they have any plans to seriously consider Jackson.

        • http://Isa Voice of reason

          If the cubs sign bourn they might lose 90 games instead of 95 plus.

          You have got to get it out of your head that this team is a Michael bourn away from competing for the division.

          The front office is doing everything it can to trade soriano. They know they will lose 90 plus.

          Do you think they signed Hairston to platoon in right?

          They did it so they will have a somewhat decent bat in left when they trade soriano.

          You don’t know baseball if you think the cubs are a bourn away from competing for the central title.

          The starting pitching is average at best, the bullpen is questionable and there is no offense what so ever. And, when they trade soriano it will be worse.

          • Blublud

            Every major source has this team at close to .500. I have them slightly above .500. With Bourn, they go from maybe 81-83 to may 85-88. VOR, you must have pretty miserable life, because you are negative about everything. I have never once seen you make a positive comment. Your life must really suck dude. Either that or you must be John Mozeliak masquerading as a Cubs fan.

            • True(ly) Blue

              Blue Blood, Actually VOR is Tribune beat writer Paul Sullivan’s Bleacher Nation pseudonym.

            • http://Isa Voice of reason

              Ok blublud, if the front office thought this team could compete then why would they be looking to trade their biggest bat from last year.

              The front office knows it will be another 90 plus loss season.

              Explain why Boyer wants to trade soriano if they are so close to competing??

              It’s either u drink too much cub kool aid or u don’t understand baseball.

              • Blublud

                If what you say were true, they would put him on the Market and take the best offer. Instead, their position is if you make a deal worth our while, you can have him, if not, we’ll keep him. We are not just going to give Sori away. The Nationals are the Best team in the NL maybe, but if they were offer a good enough package for Strasburg, they would trade him. It wouldn’t mean they weren’t trying to win, it would mean they made a good baseball move.

                • http://Isa Voice of reason

                  And, the best offer will be a marginal position player for soriano or some minor leaguers with a solid upside.

                  Knowing that is what the front office is asking in return for soriano then, again, how do you justify saying that they can compete for the central?

                  They will lose 90 plus games and when they trade soriano they could easily lose 100 games again.

                  This team had no offense last year and the only addition they made to the line up was signing Nate schierholtz. Schierholtz has no bat at all. He is a fifth outfielder on a good team.

                  The cubs have a plan and it’s not to win this year!

                  Do you not see that or understand it?

                  • Blublud

                    Maybe you see or understand that this team is not close to 100 loses and would have to have some bad luck to lose 90. They may not win what I think, but they’ll be atleast right .500

                    • Tom A.

                      I really think the Cubs are preparing the franchise to be good on a consistent basis from 2015 to forever !

                      They need to be good enough in 2013 and 2014 to be somewhat competitive and keep fan interest. But, this really is about the future.

                      As a season ticket holder, I can live with that.

                      As far as wins in 2013, I say they with get 73. The team could win 76 or a few more, but they will again off-load some players at trade deadline leading to 3 to 5 less wins for the season. Again, I can live with that, as it likely means that they will be at .500 or better at home and more competitve on the road with a record of 32 and 49 or some close to that.

                    • http://Isa Voice of reason

                      Tom a, you’re exactly right!

                      You’re win total could happen.

                      Nice to see someone keep it real on this site

                  • Jeff1969

                    The reason the Cubs went out & signed the load of pitchers they did this offseason was because of the bad luck of injuries. They had to make the expected trades of Dempster & Maholm, they couldn’t not trade those guys because they had injuries to other guys in the rotation. They had to get what they could while they could. So we wound up seeing guys like Jason Berken, Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, Justin Germano, Chris Volstad (for 21 freaking starts) in our rotation. The FO knew that was a nightmare & is ensuring it can’t happen again. Saying they might win 80+ games with Bourn is just silly. It’s 13 year kid sitting in the basement predicting how many homers Rizzo will have next year & then arguing that your prediction is the best logic. The 2013 Cubs are being built to protect the future core & be at least somewhat respectable so the young guys learn the right things.

                    • http://Isa Voice of reason

                      Keep talking Jeff… I couldn’t have said it any better.

                      Another man who understands what the cubs organization is doing and that they don’t expect to win this year.

                      They are building this years team to protect then future core!!

                      This team will lose slot this year.

                      They will not be .500.

                      They will not compete for the division! Lmao

                    • David

                      This post is nonsense. The Cubs currently, without Bourn, project to win somewhere in the high 70’s.

                      They would absolutely be in the 80+ range with Bourn.

                    • Jeff1969

                      This is for David & anyone else who think & appear to be excited that if the Cubs sign Bourn they might win 80+ games. Who the heck cares? Third place at best, whoopee. It show you to be a traditional backwards thinking Cubs fan who is thrilled to think that somehow, Michael Freaking Bourn is going to provide this incredible value that will catapault us all the way up to the middle of the Central. Who is going to drive him in if he indeed gets on base? Shierholtz? DeJesus? These are placetaker players, semi valuable space eaters who won’t get embarassed. Nothing more. Dreaming about that Bourne led lineup is just foolish. The signing of Hairston should also signal to those watching that making a play for Bourn is even less likely. Try to figure it sensibly: DeJesus will play mostly everyday wherever they decide to play him. Sheirholtz will play a little more than half time, same with Hairston. Sappelt probably a little less than those two unless he ignites. That’s 4 guys already. Soriano, if he’s is not moved is nearly everyday in LF. He can’t play anywhere else. So imagine, Cubs sign Bourn, can’t trade Soriano, then we have 4 guys for 1 spot? Even with a trade of Sorano or DeJesus (unlikely, imo, he’s their type of veteran player btw, does his job, good with community, leader on bench, they signed him for a purpose, not his huge numbers), they have a load of OF’s now. And then there’s this site’s favorite little person, Campana. Geez. Get over it. Bourn isn’t coming. If he is then you can all call me a know nothing jerk.

                    • Jeff1969

                      Sorry for my lack of editing there.

                    • Blublud

                      Jeff, I don’t think we sign Bourn either. It doesn’t mean if we did, he wouldn’t provide value. I don’t think the FO has shut the door on Bourn completely, however. If Boras was to call and say 3 years 39 million, Hoyer would sign him so fast, he would probably get Carpal Tunnel from typing the contract. He would figure out what to do with Campana, Sappelt and Shierholtz at some point after that. Bourn would provide additional value. Whether its from .500 to contender or 70 wins to 75 wins is debatable, But to say he provides no upgraded value over our current roster is just Crazy.

                    • http://Isa Voice of reason

                      Blublud there is absolutely no way that the cubs commit 39 million over 3 years for a one dimensional player when they are no where close to competing.

                      Remember, this team is shopping soriano like a cheap whore. Once soriano is dealt they could easily lose 100 again.

                      Don’t think in terms of the cubs committing big bucks to one guy, looking at them trimming payrollmfor minormleaguersminstead.

                    • David

                      Jeff, you just did all that typing and did nothing to counter what I said. Congrats.

                      You were wrong, and now your response is, “Who cares!!??”

                      Top notch.

                    • Blublud

                      VoR, Oh, so now Bourn is a one dimensional player. Ok dude. First, the FO is losing on purpose. Then the team will lose 100 . Now 39 million is to much to spend on a 1 dimensional player like bourn. You mean Bourn is not worth the same exact contract Shane Victorino signed. Yeah right. Ignorance is bliss. The reason we won’t sign bourn for 13 mil for 3 years is like Jed said, because he’ll get more. Do you read the articles first, or do you come straight to the comments to spew your hatred and negativity.

                      Please bypass my comments from here on out.

                    • http://Isa Voice of reason

                      Blubud, to some other team bourn might be worth that money.

                      He isn’t worth that money to the cubs that’s why they will pass.

                      They are not going to win this year or next so why lay out that kind of bread for a one dimensional player?

                      And, yes bourn is one dimensional. He steals bases. If we were a lead off man away from winning it all then I would say, yes, sign bourn.

                      But we ain’t the front office isn’t thinking about winning this year for sure and almost certainly next year too.

                    • Jeff1969

                      I’m guessing that David is talking to me. I don’t know where I said “who cares” but if you think I did ok, if that makes you feel better about your indefensible positions. Sorry if I made you tired reading all my writing. Next time just skip reading my responses. You are still in a fantasy land. Good luck waiting for Bourn & waiting on those 82 victories next year dude. There, somewhat shorter.

                    • Tom A.

                      Responding to Voice of reason’s comment to Blublud related to signing Michael Bourn.

                      “Ditto”

                    • David

                      Jeff1969,

                      I simply stated that you are wrong in saying that the Cubs wouldn’t project to win over 80 games if they signed Bourn.

                      I did not advocate signing him nor did I say I would be excited about being in the 80 win range. Go ahead and point out where I did. I’m simply pointing out that you are wrong, and am not in any way expressing excitement over a team that *might* win 80 games.

                      They project to win somewhere in the high 70’s as is. The team has gained a lot of wins in the bullpen and back end of the rotation. More than you clearly realize.

                      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/cubs-sign-scott-hairston/

                      “But as it stands now, the Cubs appear to be around 77 to 79 wins (depending how we treat that pesky league wOBA issue). That certainly puts them in the crazy luck range.”

                      But hey, what does Fangraphs know?

          • Timmy

            This is basically correct. Y’all are playing fantasy baseball with a real team. Like the Republicans playing fantasy polls with the election. The Cubs are going to lose just as badly and deservedly this year. I say deservedly not because I want them to lose–I’ve been waiting my whole life for them to win–but because the team is investing in an irreality in which the Cubs could never win. The team is too hyper invested in being a business and not in winning. The major difference between Cubs new ownership and other teams is the over the question of honor. Business has no honor, just profits.

      • Brian

        This is my thoughts on Bourn entirely. There is just not enough upside to him to make it worth the risk for the Cubs to be willing to sign him. You give up a top 50 draft pick and more importantly the slot money to go along with it in hopes that you can trade him for more value. I would much rather put my faith in the top notch scouting department to make that pick valuable. Than hope and pray that Bourn has a good season and doesn’t get injured to bring back a solid return. Especially for a player who lives and dies by his speed and defense. With the draft you aren’t negotiating with another team in what the return is going to be making it just to much risk for very little upside reward.

      • Rich H

        The only way that there would be any upside to adding Bourne on a one year deal would be to flip him at the trade deadline whether we are in it or not. Guys like Bourne you have to get 3 years of a discount out of right now or move on because he is needed today but maybe not in 2 years. That of course is an if in two years one of our lead off types can actually develop enough to be on a major league roster. In other words don’t hold your breath.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      It’s against the rules to have an agreement with a free agent not to offer them a qualifying offer. Who knows how zealously it will be enforced, but it is illegal.

  • Hansman1982

    Wow, Brett three articles on a Sunday.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And three yesterday, too. Six on an offseason weekend might be a record.

      • Kurt

        You ain’t fooling anyone. Trying to get your work done now so you don’t miss one exciting second of the upcoming Pro Bowl

      • Adarecub

        Hi Brett, Congrats on the impending arrival. Just wondering if someone was gonna be taking over when the missus delivers. I’m getting the cold sweats with the thought of being without my BN fix every day!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Ha. Nah, it’ll still be me – there will probably be a few days that are hit and miss, obviously, and the coverage might be thinner than usual for a month or two. Hopefully you won’t notice any difference (and I’ll keep my sanity).

  • HR Trucker

    With this crud weather Brett could do one an hour.

  • ActionJackson

    for what its worth, I heard the Cubs and Indians are in deep in talks involving Soriano and Soriano has agreed that the Indians would be acceptable. FYI……this was from a guy on the Prosports daily forum who supposedly has a very good source in the cubs organization. He is very well respected on the forum over there and has mentioned signings and trades long before anyone has mentioned them or they have been completed. Some over there think he is an insider because how accurate he is. Who knows………( the ironic thing is his avatar is a guy holding his finger up to his mouth like “Shhhhhhh” don’t tell)…….kind of like its someone with the “know”

    • Chaz

      Marlin Bystro or Abty?

      • Brian

        He was talking about a post by ABTY. He is well on record of stating that he is not an insider. He works for an online media outlet who covers the Royals. Therefore has been able to meet and develop relationships with scouts and what not from other organizations. He simply passes along the information he receives from said people. Marlin on the other hand does seem to have some input from someone within the front office. Said the Cubs where looking at Hayden Simpson well before he was even thought of by anyone else at all.

  • Marc N.

    It really did sound like ST is wide open for a move the way he said it. I don’t think they’re completely finished, but that just might be wishful thinking. I would really like a starting caliber OF (CF).

  • Marc N.

    And the inclusion of Barney to me says something that I have suspected for a while…That 2012 was a one shot thing and these guys don’t plan on tanking seasons any more. Barney is a solid starter who only hits his first arb after this upcoming season. Im optimistic enough about him, a competent all around player, that I could see him putting up a league average OBP and a ~.715 OPS with double digit (see: 10) HRs at some point from 27-29.

  • Brian cubs fan

    i think if bourn signs the cubs have a trade in place for Soriano

    • Blublud

      That would be a net negative. If the Cubs sign Bourn, chances are they have a trade in place for Dejesus.

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    the Cubs have a lot of trade able players. Who will be the first player traded?

  • mudge

    marmol

  • cubsklm

    Of course Barney is a valuable piece of the core. I expect him to bump his stat line up a bit to hit .265 10 homers, 50 RBIs and steal 10 bases while playing excellent defense. No one works harder than, Barney.

    Marmol will be the first to be traded in Spring Training.

  • Rafael

    Bourn is a good player but for me i wouldnt pay All that money to get him
    And loose a 2nd round draft pick .He’s got great defense and speed but he strikes out a lot for a lead off hitter !!!this Guy has strike put 140 times 3 of the last 4 seasons !!!thats 2 much for a guy with no power!!!

  • Morken

    Everytime Barney is mentioned as being a part of the Cubs’ core, I get sick.

    • Mr. Coffee

      Why? A guy who played defense like he does is a guy who makes you sick? I’m not saying he’s THE guy to build this team around, and he definitely can (and will, I think) improve offensively, but he’s not a guy you would consider as being a part of the team’s future? He’s definitely better with the glove than the bat, but I would still label him as an above average hitter who still has a lot of potential upside offensively. Besides, with some of the guys already on the roster, and some more that could be on the way in a year or two, they don’t need him to be the offensive star. If he can continue to play defense like he does, and hit .275 or .280 instead of .260, I would be thrilled with that. He can be a really good complimentary player, but not the guy you build an offense around.

    • Jeff1969

      Right, the FO should call Barney crappy. Good idea, enhances his value right?

    • Tom A.

      Is that good sick or bad sick ? Based on the significant lack of any intelligent support from you in your post, I will assume that you are a positive person and your intention is to state that Barney makes you good sick ! Then, I will state that I too agree and support that by stating I appreciate his strong defense and average batting skills.

    • Blublud

      Barney is good player. This is why I was sayi g he should be the starter before the start of last year. However, how does a guy who has a lower BA then Campana, Lower OBP then Campana and is older then Campana have offesive upside, but Campana has none. Hmmm.

      • Tom A.

        Do you understand that Campana plays in the outfield and Barney at 2nd base ? You keep comparing Campana to players like Valbeuna and Barney who are infielders.

        • Blublud

          Not talking defense. Or roster spots. If I had to choose between Barney and Campana for a roster spot, I would take Barney and DFA Campana all day, different position or same position. However, to say Barney, who is a worse hitter, has a worse OBP and is older by 6 month has offensive upside, but then say Campana is to old to have offensive upside is just stupid. I actually like Barney a lot. I got into similar debates defending him last year that I get into now defending Campana. I think they both have offensive upside, but even more important, they both play the game the right way which is what I really love about both of them. I guess I like guys who do whatever they have to do to maximize their abilities.

          • Tom A.

            OK, I understand. Let’s just say the discussion is who is your least favorite Cubs on the active roster ?

            I would say either Valbeuna or Marmol for me.

            • Blublud

              Valbeuna or Shierholtz for me. I think they are both useless. Valbeuna is just bad and Shierholtz provides no upgrade to this team whatsoever.

          • DarthHater

            If you have a Campana hardon for more than four months, call your doctor immediately. This could be a sign of a serious psychiatric condition.

            • calicubsfan007

              @DH: Hahahaha, I hate when that happens. (=

            • MichiganGoat

              Nicely done Darth but the four months will quickly become 4 years and just imagine if he goes to another team and steals a base….The Scrapyrection will last forever!

              • Pat

                Tony Campana, the Matt Murton of his generation.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Matt could actually hit a baseball out of the infield and hold on to his bat when a fastball hit the bat, plus he could throw the ball form deep LF to the cutoff man, plus he’s had a great career in Japan… So Matt > Campy and a great blog in his honor – Thunder Matt’s Saloon

                  • Pat

                    Meh. He was a one tool player as well. I his case it was making contact while hitting as opposed to speed, but he was the epitome of irrational love and we’re still hearing about him like ten years later. I think it’s a valid comparison. While Murton’s arm was better, his range and fielding ability were probably worse.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      I’m joking here because Murton is on The All Scrappy Team but I believe he was/is better than Campana but that’s not saying much ;)

                    • Pat

                      You’re right. Mostly because his one skill was more valuable then speed.

                    • Blublud

                      If Matt Murton is better then Tony Campana then I’m richer then Carlos Slim.

  • Jeff1969

    Signing Bourn just doesn’t make sense for the Cubs. He’d make sense for a team like the White Sox, even though their OF would be over crowded by signing him, because they have to win in the next season or two. Maybe as a flippable piece the Cubs could sign him, but then we lose a pretty high pick. Too much to gamble for his supposed return. What if he’s injured? Yes the FO has kinda disappointed the hot stove fans a little, but the Cubs are on the right track as an organization, finally, hopefully.

  • Rich

    Love all the comments and this site of course..
    I just dont see the Cubs that strong….500 would be a miracle for this team.
    75 wins assuming we do not dump at the deadline, would be realistic.

    You trade Soriano, you lose his production. Can he repeat his numbers this year?

    The offense is just not that good at all. Pitching is average at best. I think we are looking at a team that is + 10 wins from last season..

  • Mac

    I like Barney but, don’t see him as a full core player. He is great defensively (obviously). He just seems to be a utility guy like a Theriot to me. Every championship team needs a guy like that, as Theriot has won back to back World Series. That is just my opinion and I hope Barney proves me wrong

    • cubsklm

      Of all the positions of need on this team, second base is not one of them. Castro and Barney provide very good defense up the middle.

      The entire OF ranks at the very bottom for offensive production and all they’ve added is 2 career 4th outfielders to platoon.At third base, we’re counting on a rehab project who hasn’t played full time in 2 years. No one knows what to expect offensively from the catching position.

      So as we’re rebuilding the focus should be on every OF position and 3B. Just pencil in Barney at 2B and the 8 hole.

  • Kygavin

    Barney is the definition of average. Not sure how that makes him part of the core. He doesnt get on base, has average speed at best, below average power and he benefited from the shifting the Cubs used this year to make him a better fielder.

    • mudge

      He’s playing second base this year. If they find a better second baseman, he’ll be replaced. Not sure what value if any the discussion of who is “core” has.

    • Jeff1969

      Another Barney hater. Get over it. So you think the only reason Barney really won the GG is cause of shifting? Dale Sveum & his magical shiting recipe has turned previously average fielder at best, Darwin Barney, into a gold glove winner. Silly talk. He’s core because of his ridiculously great WAR, mostly aided by his fielding but over 4 wins above replacement. That’s what smart baseball people look at, what our FO looks at, not his below average power, or his average baserunning skills, but how his presence wins games for the team, saves runs for the team. I wish Barney could hit at least .270 & gets on base above .340 too, but his value with the glove makes me content until we obviously have a better replacement. Get used to it, he’s gonna be out there.

      • Jeff1969

        Shifting, maybe the other things I said is magical though! Dang! My bad.

    • Blublud

      And Micheal Jordan benefitted from the triangle offense. He would have suck if it was for that.

      • Twinkletoez

        Michael Jordon’s 2 best scoring seasons were 86-87 and 87-88 this was before Phil Jackson became coach and implemented the triangle offense.

        Just saying

        • Blublud

          You totally missed my point. In fact, that was my point. That Jordan was good with or without the triangle offense.

          • Pat

            I had a hard time telling of that was serious or not. In general, I would say that one should never make any sort of Michael Jordan analogy when speaking of Darwin Barney – Judd Bueschler maybe.

    • baldtaxguy

      “and he benefited from the shifting the Cubs used this year to make him a better fielder.”

      Ha. 3 errors in 158 games due to shifting? Incredible the depths made to support a point. Yes, he is average offensively, just stop there.

      • Pat

        The point was that the shifting made it appear he had far more range than he does. That made it appear that he was worth three additional wins just for his glove. Barney is good, but he’s not that good. Right now he is a very useful player because he is inexpensive.

        When they talk about him being part of the “core” it indicates a thought of keeping him up to and beyond his free agent years. He value starts to decrease as his cost increases.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      One of the statheads provided an estimate of the runs saved by shifts last year for different teams. The Cubs didn’t even make the top 5. Now, that was for an entire team: but if Barney’s range expansion was due solely to shifts, then it’s hard to imagine how the Cubs would have missed the list. (The leaders were in the low 10’s of runs, by the way: i.e., a few teams AL East teams got an extra victory by shifting so much.)

  • Kygavin

    He went from being 8th in UZR in 2011 to 1st in 2012. What changed? The shifting the Cubs starting using. Yes Barney made the plays but he also was able to get to more balls, he has average range (which didnt improve from 2011 to 2012) but he made 30 more plays… due to shifting

    Yep Michael Jordan went from being an average player in college, which is why he was the 3rd pick and won 2 POY awards, but the only reason he is good is because of an offense. Perfect comparison

  • Kygavin

    Which I agree with but how does he make 30 more plays even tho his RZR went down? Worse range but makes more plays? Sounds like shifting to me

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think anyone can argue the shifts didn’t help. But I also think it’s pretty inarguable that he looked better, too.

    • Blublud

      Maybe his RZR went down because of his shifting, but he still had to make the plays with out fumbling the ball or throwing it into the stands.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      Correlation does not equal causation. You’re trying very hard to twist the numbers to get to the conclusion you want, but they don’t support it.

      How did Barney get from 8th to 1st?

      Overall, he improved by 8 runs defensively relative to average, going from +5.1 to +13.1

      According to fangraphs, in 2012 he was:

      +1.2 runs better at turning double plays than in 2011
      +6.8 runs better at not making errors

      That covers your entire difference. Neither has much to do with the extreme shifts.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      Did you happen to notice that he played 160 more defensive innings in 2012 than in 2011? That accounts for your the 30 extra plays quite nicely.

  • Kygavin

    He did look better and he did have to make the plays but people here act like he is the Jesus of fielding. id say average to above average but nothing more than that

    • Blublud

      Nobody says he is the jesus of fielding. However, he is as sure handed of a fielder as there is in all of baseball, at any position. He lacks a little offense, but he makes up for it with runs saved. As for Michael Jordan, the point is the coach can call all the plays and create all the schemes thay want, but the player still has to pull it off. In Other words, Phil Jackson is an all time great coach, but take away Jordan, Pippen, Shaq and Kobe and I doubt he wins any rings. Take Barneh from 2B and replace with anybody on our team, they don’t win a gold glove.

      • Pat

        Sure, but it’s all about getting outs, not percentage of outs converted. It’s why Castro is a good defender despite the high error totals. Yes, he makes more errors, but he also gets to more chances. Barney is kind of the opposite, he handles everything hit his way, but his range is only decent. Don’t get me wrong, he is a good defensive player over there, but he’s hardly Roberto Alomar in his prime.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          Castro is a pretty average-ish defender, probably a little below average. His range helps, but the errors do start to pile up.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            He has a chance to get better, of course, as he matures.

            Come to think of it, right now, our up-the-middle defense is pretty problematic. Barney is of course a stud, but DeJesus/Sappelt as CFers, Castro and Castillo are all pretty iffy and probably project to be at least a little below average.

          • Scotti

            Castro is well above average defensively. Well above average. He was 1st of all MLB SS in Put Outs and 2nd in both Assists and Total Chances. He was 5th in RF so so he doesn’t rank so highly in range just because he plays a lot of games. Does he make some errors? Yes, but he also led MLB in Games at SS, Games Started and was 3rd in Innings so that mitigates the errors to a degree.

            To sum up, he has excellent range, a very strong arm, is quick and natural at SS and is young/still learning. He makes spectacular plays and makes some bone-headed plays because of youth (he’s STILL only 22 y/o). His range factor and fielding percentage have both improved each of his three years in MLB. Saying that he is anything but a good defender with promise for more is just silly.

            • ETS

              I would love to see the fieldFX #’s but I suspect his range is well above average as well. His footwork has always been sloppy but is improving. I don’t think his initial reactions are as bad. In my mind there’s no reason to think he won’t be a great def shortstop. Larry Bowa praised him alot on clubhouse confidential this time last year. I’d be interested to see what he is saying this year (alas I am currently without cable).

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

              Playing for the pitching staff with the second-fewest strikeouts in the league has a lot more to do with his gaudy chance totals and the poorly named “range factor.”

              He’s not a terrible defensive SS, but the advanced metrics all agree that he’s not a very good one either.

              • Rich H

                With most fielding stats there is also an eye test involved. Watch Castro play when he is on and you can see how many times you go he covered that well. Even on TV you go wow at times. Now if we can get rid of the times that Castro doesn’t look interested in being in the game and we will have a great short stop. Right now we have a kid that kind of reminds me of Jose Offerman at the same age. Not a bad defensive guy with flashes of excellence. I just hope he ages better than Offerman did.

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    Barney will be part of the ‘core’ until he does not produce or another team offers more than he is worth to the Cubs. The Cubs will need to make room for Baez and Lake soon.

  • MichiganGoat

    WHEN WIL WE STOP SAYING THE WORD CAMPANA! The second he is no longer a Cub I’m calling for a moratorium on ever saying his name on here again. I’ve never seen so much bitching and false justifing a fringe 25th spot player yet here it is again another day of overly discussing a minor player and yet Rizzo, Castro, Soriano, Garza, Samardzja are barely me mentioned. STOP SAY CAMPANA!

    • Other Kyle

      Can we talk about the campaign to conquer the Campania in which General Kampmann defeated Campaña to seize Camp Anna near Campagna?

  • North Side Irish

    Interesting stuff here about how the front office is pushing the use of statistics throughout the whole organization. Even the minor league guys are getting advanced stats on the hitters they are facing. The FO is really putting their stamp on the whole org.

    http://www.csnchicago.com/baseball-chicago-cubs/cubs-talk/Influx-of-information-a-boon-for-Cubs-pr?blockID=827371&feedID=10336&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

  • Barroof

    The Cubs should not even think about Bourn. 68 wins and tons of empty seats. Just ride it out this year and crank it up a notch next year. I have a feeling the lack of attendence will start earlier in the season this year but they shouldn’t be signing stop gap players but giving some of the kidstime to sink or swim.

  • Blublud

    Campana Campana Campana Campana Campana Campana Campana Campana Campana The biggest injustice in the major leagues.

  • mudge

    Little guy – big injustice.

  • cheryl

    The FO may push the use of stats and I agree there’s merit to their use but isn’t there still an intangible called the feel for the game?

    • mudge

      That’s where Tony Campana comes in, I think.

    • David

      LOL

    • MichiganGoat

      That is the definition of scrappy, intangible fluff stats to justify a players worth.

      • cheryl

        No no, no.Campana has to be judged like anybody else. I’m not talking about scrappy fluff stuff MG. I’m talking about situations where a manager or player goes beyond the shifts for defense or the matchups that stats dictate which make a decision almost mechanical = say a player is on the bench and Sveum (something he’d never do) has a feeling that Joe Blow would be a better match against a pitcher than what the stats say and goes with that feeling and in this situation Joe Blow gets a hit that leads to a win,

  • arta

    IMO Barney is a good base runner, unlike most of the Cub players. at least he scores from 2B on singles most of the time where as most Cubs just make it to 3B. as for his D/shift. he got to balls and made plays other guys couldn’t make shift or not. who in the system is better right now/2013? give the kid credit, the GG kid.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I saw somewhere that signing a free agent like Bourn or Lohse, those who you would lose a pick for, sign them to a *minor* league deal. That circumvents the loss of a pick.

    I’m sure there would be some kind of fight over that…but is interesting loophole.

    • CubFan Paul

      Very interesting. I wonder if the Players Union would allow it. Boras probably has a room full of agents working on loopholes/ideas, especially to prevent Bourn from excepting a one year deal as a last resort.

      If Bourn & Boras get desperate enough to accept 3-4yrs at $40M-$60M, then I’d sign Lohse to a 1yr market value deal also (and lose the 3rd round money & pick too).

      Lohse to a contender in June/July (plus cash) could definitely (maybe) net Theo&Co. 2-3 Top 15 blue chippers out of someone’s farm (to make up for the loss of signing Bourn & Lohse).

      Trading Lohse, Garza, Feldman, Baker, DeJesus, and Soriano before the deadline will definitely vault the Cubs farm into the Top 5 for 2014, which coicidentally lines up with Theo&Co.’s window of contention

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