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stoveThe PED news yesterday sparked in me some unscrupulous thoughts, particularly as the news related to Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz. If it’s true that he’s been receiving PEDs from that Miami clinic, and if there’s enough evidence of it, he can be suspended by MLB without a positive drug test. That is all to say that, it’s possible the Rangers could, as a product of that news, be without Cruz for 50 games next year. Does that make them even more desperate to make a move in this offseason of despair?

My mind immediately went to Alfonso Soriano, who couldn’t replace Cruz directly in right field, but could replace Cruz’s right-handed power bat (and they’ve got the outfielders available to shuffle things around and make it work). It’s conceivable, though local speculation has the Rangers filling the possible void internally, probably by putting Mike Olt out there. It doesn’t sound like a re-invigorated pursuit of Michael Bourn is in the cards, but you can bet Scott Boras is calling (and you can bet the Rangers are going to want to know what’s to come with respect to Cruz as soon as possible).

As with all of these stories that touch only on the periphery of things that could impact the Cubs, it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Now with a more typical Lukewarm Stove entry …

Bruce Levine chatted yesterday, and shared his usual mix of thoughts:

  • When asked about the likelihood of a Carlos Marmol trade, a Matt Garza trade, and an Alfonso Soriano trade, Bruce said, “Marmol should be gone before opening day. He’s been a tremendously durable reliever and someone will give the Cubs what they want in return. Garza would have to pitch probably into May or June before the Cubs would consider trading him, in order to get optimum value back. With Garza it could still go either way. They could trade him by the deadline or sign him to an extension. At this point, some team will have to lose one of their RBI producers before the Cubs are able to deal Soriano in a mutually satisfying trade. As far as the trades go, Marmol has 5 teams he can veto and Soriano can veto any deal because of his 10 & 5 rights.” That’s basically what Bruce has always said about Marmol, but it’s a bit of a change of course on Garza. Previously, Bruce seemed to be of the mind that a Spring trade involving Garza was possible. I still think the outfield/DH market, as it stands today, would support an attractive Soriano trade. It might not happen, but the conditions are there.
  • On Marmol, the Cubs are likely to be looking for young pitching or a third baseman.
  • The Cubs missed out on Justin Upton because they didn’t have enough young talent, according to Bruce. Given the deal the Diamondbacks ended up accepting, I have a hard time accepting that – if the Cubs were absolutely determined to get Upton, and the no-trade clause wasn’t an issue – the Cubs couldn’t have put together an acceptable package. Ultimately, they didn’t have a Prado, and they didn’t have a Delgado. To me, it’s more a matter of the Diamondbacks preferring those guys than it is a matter of the Cubs not having enough talent.
  • “Ideally,” the Cubs would like to deal Alfonso Soriano, but replacing his offense is difficult. Scott Hairston doesn’t do it, and is better used in a mix-and-match role.
  • Bruce guesses that one of Dave Sappelt or Tony Campana will ultimately be DFA’d to make room for Scott Hairston (if no trade is available, I agree). Levine guesses it’ll be Sappelt, because of Campana’s game-changing speed. I lean the other way, because Sappelt can help you in other ways (totaling more than one way). That said, the Cubs will have been observing Campana’s development this offseason (including physical development), so they’ll have a better eye to this right now in the offseason than we will.
  • The breakout player in 2013 might be Brett Jackson, says Bruce, but probably not until the second half of the year.
  • The rebuild will take five to eight years. Um … nah. I mean, it depends on what you mean by “rebuild,” but anyone suggesting that the Cubs don’t expect to be a playoff contender until 2016/2017 is mistaken. It may (unfortunately) play out that way, but that is by no means the considered goal. I’m now firmly locked on the idea that we’re going to see a 2014 team that, on paper in Spring Training, looks like it could be a playoff team.
  • Bruce thought Starlin Castro looked a bit taller and stronger at the Cubs Convention (hopefully eschewing any concerns that he was going to get complacent now that he’s received his big contract).
  • David Price won’t be a trade target next offseason, because the Cubs aren’t going to want to gut the system for him.
  • Bruce offers a TV contract tidbit of huge importance that I’ve never heard before, and will have to flesh out in a dedicated post at some point in the future. Here’s the quote: “Until 2019 the Cubs cannot put any of their games on any other cable outlet. That means that if they opt out of their WGN deal either Comcast Sports Net picks up the remainder of those games, or the Cubs take those games to another non-cable station.” I can tell you that, if true, this is a big issue, because the Cubs’ ability to negotiate with CSN for those newly-available games after 2014 (when the WGN deal expires) will be fairly hampered. Another non-cable channel is simply not going to bid huge dollars. I think this whole thing is going to get resolved some other way, but I’ll get into that another time. This is the Lukewarm Stove.
  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Anyone remember they Cruz homer from his knees? When I saw that it all I could think was yeaaaa rightttt wtf is this guy on?!??

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      Are you thinking of Adrian Beltre?

      • Ryan

        Beltre has the signature knee-run swing. Cruz has a very open and up-right approach.

      • MichiganGoat

        That was Beltre

  • DarthHater

    Well, it’s certainly good to hear that signing a long-term deal didn’t cause Castro to lose his will to continue growing taller. :-P

    • Boogens

      Nice!!! Very funny!

  • Rizzo 44

    Soriano back to the Rangers for Olt.

    • DarthHater

      That is an unrealistic return to expect for Soriano.

      • Rizzo 44

        Really? How so?

        • DarthHater

          For starters, because only an idiot would trade Olt for a declining 38-year-old with bad knees.

          • ETS

            I don’t see a fit here, really. If the Rangers need a player for 50 days, getting sori for 2 years seems like an odd solution.

            • T C

              Well, its not like they couldn’t use him for two years. Their outfield was lacking, even before Cruz became likely to lose 50 games of his 2013. If they don’t think Leonys Martin is ready to help them yet (or ever will be), they could really use a bat like Soriano to help cover the loss of Cruz, after which an outfield of Soriano, Murphy, Cruz left->right is pretty solid, and Soriano could always get 50-100 PAs at DH to take some pressure off of his legs

          • DarthHater

            Also, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that the team that has been in the last three ALCSs and two of the last three world series is not run by complete mental defectives.

            • Spriggs

              they did not make the playoffs last year.

              • DarthHater

                Okay, okay. I misread a web page. I never said that I myself wasn’t a complete mental defective! ;-)

                • Spriggs

                  You didn’t have to :)

                  • DarthHater

                    Hey, Bert! I think I’m being insulted again!

              • hansman1982

                Depends on what the definition of the word “playoffs” is.

                • Mirky Waters

                  Yea, technically they did make the playoffs last year

          • JR

            Soriano is dropping another ounce off his bat Darth. Haven’t you heard? It’s going to help his knees, his bat speed, and improve his outfield play even more this year.

            • DarthHater

              Maybe he could try using a cricket bat! ;-)

    • SouthernCub

      I wish……but there’s no way that happens

    • Rian

      (A little bit) more seriously, does anyone think the Rangers might go for Soriano + Salary Relief + Vogelbach for Olt? Or the same for Olt + Buckel?

    • CubFan Paul

      Soriano for Olt isn’t out of the question, nor a dumb proposal. Just like the $30M going along with Soriano, other pieces would be involved

  • Ryan

    I know many respect and like Bruce a lot, but I would do a thorough check on anything he says. He has said some odd things the last few years, and I wouldn’t give a ton of credence to his speculative, and at times very non-baseball logical approach. That TV deal seems very suspicious to me. Re-build in 5-8 years, I highly doubt the Rickets would ever let that happen.

    • Rcleven

      Brett is right and Levine is right. 5 to 8 years is not unrealistic to build a minor league system where the Cubs will build a system much like the St. Louis system where a very good asset system can be built. That does not stop the Cubs from being competitive much sooner.
      The TV deal can be built and probably will be built with Comstast-Chicago. Twenty-five per cent ownership is already a lot to work with.

      • Wilbur

        Agree totally.

        Building the minor league system and being competitive do not have to be done sequentially, they can be done at the same time.

        As for a cable deal, if the revenue potential is as great as projected all parties will do whatever is needed to make it happen. The losers, in terms of games to broadcast and related revenue, will be compensated somehow.

  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    We need Olt…Soriano for Olt would be perfect

    • ETS

      CAn we trade vitters for giancarlos stanton while we are out? How about bret jackson for trout?

      • Marc N.

        Stanton >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Olt

        • ETS

          stanton > anyone not named trout. (you may have misread my sarcasm)

    • DarthHater

      Why not trade Soriano for Mike Trout? Wouldn’t that be even more perfect?

    • DarthHater

      I need to spend a night with Sophia Vergara. Dinner in exchange for a night with Sophia would be perfect. :-P

      • ETS

        My curiosity wants to google who that is, but I’m afraid it’s probably not safe to google at work…

        • hansman1982

          Thank goodness for working from home:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sof%C3%ADa_Vergara

          It’s safe, she’s an actress and maybe top-20 on the hotness prospect list of latin actresses. We will give her a 50.

          • ETS

            Oh the modern family actor! Okay.

    • Toby

      Olt for Campana would be an even better deal for the Cubs.

      • ETS

        clearly you missed the cubs’ convention. this team is nothing without campana!

        • Toby

          You’re right We’d get Olt plus another prospect for Campana.

          • ETS

            Olt+profar = starting offer

  • Die hard

    MLB taking wrong approach- need to lift ban on all substances with proviso that player must disclose so all will know and judge accordingly

    • TWC

      Isn’t this the time when I usually post the link to the video about Dock Ellis’ no-hitter?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vUhSYLRw14

      • DarthHater

        I would answer this question, if acid use hadn’t destroyed my memory.

      • JoeyCollins

        Still the best video ever

        • TWC

          inDEED

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Always loved that baseball tale….

      • Miggy80

        Whoa! that was the first time I saw that video
        Thanks, T-Dub

        • TWC

          Don’t just watch the video, Migs. *Live* the video.

          • Miggy80

            I had flash backs of Wide Spread Panic and chocolate.

      • 1ski

        first time… thank you that was great.

    • Toby

      Judge accordingly how? Who does that affect the outcome of games unless you use someone like figure skating judges’ opinions as part of the score?

      • JoeyCollins

        I think he means more in the overall opinion of a player, HOF votes and the such, not game day performance. I think.

        • TWC

          When you assume you know what Die hard means, you make an … well, let’s just say it’s a fool’s errand to even try.

  • baseballet

    A question for those who attended the Cubs Convention: Did Starlin appear mightier? Did he lift something heavy over his head or break a chair with his hands?

    • ETS

      I believe I read somewhere that he slayed Cerberus…

      • MichiganGoat

        A true LOL there

      • frank

        And the Cyclops . . . at the same time.

  • @cubsfantroy

    Dear Theo and Jed,

    Please, for the love of all that is holy, DFA, Tony Campana.

    Thank you.

  • Toby

    When Levine spoke about the Cubs CSN contract he mentioned that the Cubs and Sox were somehow linked together. How can that have happened? That doesn’t sound right to me.

    • Rcleven

      Ownership relations of Comcast Chicago. Cubs own 25% Sox own 25% maybe more with Bulls. NBC has their mitts in there too.

      • JoeyCollins

        I just read something that said it was NBC, Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Sox all having 20% which i guess makes sense, but i had always thought the Cubs had 25% so not sure where i got that. This may be the reason behind some people seeing Comcast split into two channels with Reinsdorf having one for the Bulls and Sox, and the Cubs and Blackhawks sharing one. I imagine that restructure could happen anytime once the cubs are free of their WGN contract (not to mention any other non-comcast deals the other teams involved have).

  • Bilbo161

    Did the news on the clinic give any timetable for Cruz’s contacts with the clinic? Was last contact after his previous punishment? That would be meaningful. Otherwise the speculation is rather idle.

    • CubFan Paul

      The Doctor’s notes were very detailed BUT all the information/patient files was given to a newspaper by an unpaid disgruntled employee. I can’t see that “evidence” holding up in a court.

      http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2013-01-31/news/a-rod-and-doping-a-miami-clinic-supplies-drugs-to-sports-biggest-names/

      • MichiganGoat

        Yup no way any of this holds up and becomes a suspension the players union has mighty legal representation.

      • JoeyCollins

        Was it in the movie “rainmaker” where they had an issue with stolen company files being admitted as evidence. If i remember right they ruled that since the files were not stolen by the attorneys or anyone associated with the case directly they were admissable. Not saying thats acctually the law (i have no clue either way), just kinda reminded me of being the same idea. Maybe the yankees can site the Matt Damon clause in court.

        On a side note i doubt anything comes from this story except a lot of angry New Yorkers.

  • Section 31…….. SHHH

    Sometimes, I feel this front office engages in doublespeak to many times. Nothing wrong with that unless its some thing one needs a reason to admire .

    I was against the rebuild but since its in that direction , IT is What it is.

    My personal opinion The Cubs had a hard time convincing certain Free Agents to sign contracts with the Cubs, and they did a poor job in manning the 25 man roster last year. They did two trades that had bad returns , but they did secure Rizzo and his future looks promising. Last years record was a deserved record. The current coaching staff was/is horrible -and it showed. manufacturing runs has got to be the worst the Cubs had in along time.

    well anyway The front office is improving and getting results done . and that is encouraging.

    What else can the Front Office do at this point – a rebuild offers less Criticism and an excuse to be positive.

    But this off season – its been better,.

    • Bilbo161

      Hmmm… opinions differ but I thought Svuem did a fine job managing the talent he was given. Even with all the losing he kept a happy clubhouse. While that’s not the real end goal, it is important to the players. The staff also did a remarkable job remaking Soriano’s D and the situational defensive positioning seemed very good to me. Castro also made huge strides defensively. This staff is good at installing better fundamentals in the players approach to the game. Something we are going to need considering we are going to be relying on young talent fresh up from the minors

    • MichiganGoat

      Um the two bad trades you mentioned aren’t that bad they just didn’t result in a huge return:

      1-the Stewart trade was a gamble but we didn’t give up anything of value ***cue Colvin’s scrappy fan club***
      2-the Marshall trade is still too early to call, yes we could have used him in the pen last year but by the time we are really competing he want have the same value, middle RP are fickle from year to year and TWood might turn out to be a solid 4/5 starter.

      It’s not like either of these are the Lou Brock trade, why people are still complaining about them is petty. Plus hitting the jackpot (Rizzo) 33% of the time are great odds with trades.

      • JoeyCollins

        I agree. The Stewart trade might have been a loss, but not as bad as some people would make it seem, and i thnk the Marshall/Wood deal has turned out to be pretty even, if not better. Considering the players we lost were not gonna be a part of this teams future come 2013 and 14 i can’t fault them for trying.

        • Kygavin

          I think the Cubs won the Marshall deal. Relievers have little value to rebuilding teams. Yes they didnt get the greatest package but Wood is a solid 4/5, Sappelt is a decent 4th OF and Torreyes has some potential all more valuable than a RP

      • Section 31…….. SHHH

        Its kinda hard to defend a team that just had a 101 loss season. Every year,Every team make good and bad roster moves. They make good and bad trades , Every year ,Every team has injuries. When i look at a team i look at the good and bad, Last years, the front office put together was horrible and the coaching staff did a poor job on advancing runners The defense improved but with different players with better defense capabilities in my humble opinion that not improvement That was the norm

        Anybody who claims that defense wins games is daydreaming. Defense in baseball just helps in not losing games, one still needs an offense that can score runs . Hit Sac flies ,Sac hits – extend the base paths . The Cubs were very poor in execution .

        Nobody in baseball earns a record of 101 loses because it was glitch.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Goat! The man was fearless. Bat shard to the heart and still scored.

      • @cubsfantroy

        Why do you bring up such painful memories of the Marshall trade.

        And Colvin was scrappy before Campana even knew what scrappy was.

  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    Steroids are starting to become a giant problem in the bigs.

    • TWC

      “Starting to”, kid?

    • MichiganGoat

      Um so is this satire? Or did you miss the last 10+ years of baseball?

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        He’s just trying to get the URL put there. Commented like three times simply about A-Rod being the scourge of baseball in the past few days

        • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

          Out* there

        • TWC

          His persistence is … persistent. Here, and on the message board.

          • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

            Get him to join the tweet club!

            • TWC

              Yay! More FourSquare check-ins…

              • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

                I’m at my dorm room right now, fyi. Thankfully for you AT&T figured out I was using their unlimited data for dumbphones on a smartphone for the past few months … don’t worry, I’ll have the problem squared away in a week or two.

  • Bigg J

    So the Cub’s wont gut their farm system for Price, but they would for Upton if they had the pieces?

    • CubFan Paul

      Who said anything about gutting the Farm for Upton? The Braves didn’t give up a lot was the point.

    • Bigg J

      It says that the Cubs missed out on Upton due to not enough young talent. Not saying th Cubs would pull the trigger, but kind of sounds like if they had the talent they would have done it, but they didn’t have “a Prado, and they didn’t have a Delgado”

      • TWC

        If you preface all that with “In Bruce Levine’s opinion…”, you’re completely correct.

        • Bigg J

          Okay well I was just asking a question and obviously the Cubs were looking into Upton and I was just curious if they were to look into a trade, why would they offer a lot for him, but not Price?

    • Section 31…….. SHHH

      Its to soon to gut the farm system for players , The Cubs front office made a claim that we are in rebuild mode and to sell off assets when no establish core is in place is foolish. and goes against the reason / or excuse that Cubs claim to to be doing rebuild.

  • kgd

    DarthHater -
    I gotta ask if you’re the associated with the TOR fansite of the same name.

  • medler

    “On Marmol, the Cubs are likely to be looking for young pitching or a third baseman.”

    It feels like the late 90s Cubs all over again!

  • itzscott

    Agree with Bruce about the Cubs being a playoff contender no sooner than 2016/2017 if they continue with the current rebuilding strategy.

    As these prospects hopefully start filtering in it’ll likely take at least a year for them to settle in and when the team is finally set, they’ll need some time to learn to play together and gel as a team.

    I don’t recall seeing a team of virtual rookies immediately hit the ground running and making the playoffs.

    • Noah

      But there’s absolutely no evidence that the Cubs are just going to sit around and wait for all the prospects to be. The Cubs are waiting until they can convert a solid farm system into MLB assets without destroying said farm system. There are a couple of ways they can do that: (1) you wait for all your prospects to come up and be ready to play. Yes, this one takes awhile. (2) You trade prospects for proven MLB assets, preferably young ones who you can either extend at some sort of discount or have a significant amount of team control relating.

      I think you’ll see a Cubs doing a mix of 1 and 2. For example, I sincerely doubt that all 3 of Baez, Almora and Soler will reach the MLB with the Cubs. At least one, and potentially all three of them, could be traded for players comparable to David Price and Giancarlo Stanton, both of whom are likely to be on the trade market sometime in the next 12 months.

      • Rcleven

        Very well said.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett,

    I don’t know how you can say our cubs will be playoff contenders by 2014. Have you seen our outfield (comprised of platoon guys and a 37 yr old power hitter looking to be traded), the hole at 3rd base (I’m optimistic about stewart but not so much to say he’ll be a great heart of the order slugger), 2nd base (let’s be honest Barney is scrappy, plays hard, and is GG 2nd baseman but he’s a slap hitter, not much of a bat, and I’m not drinking the Jed Hoyer koolaid about how he’s a core player. SS Castro, 1st base Rizzo are great core pieces but still need to improve and take the next level. Rizzo just needs to prove it over the course of a whole season, but he looks to be a stud. Catcher Castillo is completely unproven, I don’t care what Sveum says about he’s improved, that doesn’t mean anything till he proves it in the field, but possibly a future core piece. And the rotation, has depth but not very core pieces besides Samardzija and Jackson. No difference making pitching prospects will be ready by 2014 season.

    Now on the brighter side. I do think we’ll be contending once Soler, Almora, Baez are up in the majors and some of the very very young pitching prospects (underwood, Pierce Johnson, Maples) with upside develop and are major league ready maybe we’ll compete by 2015/2016. But not all these guys will pan out. Some will be busts. Not to mention, we’ll need to buy an elite FA or 2, or trade the farm for an elite player.

    I don’t want to be hating on theo or jed and everyones optimism but you have to be realistic. Not everyone will pan out. I think we could be a .500 team in 2014 but thats dependent on us resigning Garza, and Rizzo, and Castro taking the next level, with the farm producing productive players who will contribute right away. Possible but I am going to take a wait and see approach. I seriously hope you are right with us being a playoff contender in 2014. I want to win

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m quite realistic. I think you underestimate the Cubs’ ability (and incentive) to spend next year, and ability to trade from prospect depth to upgrade the Major League roster. If I’m wrong come Spring Training 2014, then you can slap me.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        Brett,

        Do you think by next season they’ll sign a top FA next season and trade for a top talent? Because I completely agree with you then if they sign some difference making FA’s or trade for a difference making player.

        Also I don’t mean to be rude or disrespectful by saying your not realistic. I really truly respect your work and get most of my cubs knowledge from you and BN.

        But we could make a slap bet if you would like lol? (I think it be tough for me to make a slap bet, that would be going against the cubs success)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Haha. The upside for me in a slap bet is probably too low, as I am not a large man …

          Yeah, that’s what I think. I just have a feeling that a number of moves this year were geared toward a couple of more significant moves next offseason (assuming at least some significant moves are available to be had, which one can never guarantee).

          • Noah

            I agree Brett, I think you see the Cubs make at least two big moves next offseason, including the first cash in of the farm system in a trade for established MLB talent. In other words, I think one of David Price or Giancarlo Stanton (much more likely Price to me) will be a Cub in 2014.

            • Serious Cubs Fan

              If they could get Price that would be huge, but would it be worth it? You’d have to give up at least Baez (for sure), either Almora or Soler, and another low level high upside arm like P. Johnson, Underwood, or Maples, and maybe another fringe prospect. I think that is just too much. Not to mention you’ll have to resign him and give him a mega contract up too 5-6 yrs. worth at least $125-$155 million. Thats quite the investment and budge eater. But Giancarlo, I would be more willing to trade that package for because he’s younger and the guy can flat out rake. Idk we will see, if they did manage to get one of the 2, I would be on major squeal alert

          • N8 the Gr8

            I am not a large man either, but I’d gladly take a slap to defend Brett’s honor…

  • http://www.authorlyleernst.webs.com Lyle Ernst

    I’m not a bit upset because the Cubs did not get Upton. From what I’ve read, neither of the Upton brothers are team players & most certainly not good for young players to be around.

  • mudge

    I wonder if people remember what “drinking the kool-aid” refers to. Kinda tired of the phrase, it’s like saying, “Well, you can go to the gas chambers if you want to, but I don’t think Castillo will hit over .230.”

    • hansman1982

      I like it…it’s like the phrase “Un-American”. Let’s me know when to stop reading.

      • DarthHater

        Yea, kinda like the phrase “hansman1982″ . . .

        • hansman1982

          Can someone please tell Darth I’m not talking to him anymore.

          • King Jeff

            You two need to get a room. These public displays of affection are gag-inducing to the rest of us.

    • Tremendous Slouch

      I like Kool-aid… Maybe we can get that giant pitcher that breaks through walls to play RF?

      OH YEAH!

      • Mick

        Vogelbach?

    • TonyP

      Mass suicide at Jonestown….

  • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

    I know it won’t happen, but is it within MLB rules to “loan” a player like they do in soccer? Essentially we loan Soriano to the Rangers for the first half of the season, receive a 15-20 organizational prospect, then they ship Sori back before the deadline?
    I’m fairly certain there’s a rule about not being able to trade a player within X days of trading for him, but what if it’s built into the deal? We got Loux from the Rangers after determining that Brigham was injured at the time of the trade…so we essentially had a loan of Brigham.

  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    Most of the Cubs next trades will come close to the trade deadline…expect guys like Baker, Feldman, Garza and so on to be traded if they play to their potential.

  • Timmy

    “I’m now firmly locked on the idea that we’re going to see a 2014 team that, on paper in Spring Training, looks like it could be a playoff team.”

    No possible way, though I enjoy the optimism. Let’s say all of our prospects become stars — they won’t be mature hitters/players for at least another 3-4 years after that. Take a medium-level pitching staff, the ‘chance’ that our minor leaguers become good, and potential off-season signings, which they’ve been resistent to do, and we’re talking 4-6 years until we contend. And then in that case, barring injuries, assuming everyone turns out in the best case scenario, and with some luck, there’s no guarantee we’ll win anything, just contend.

    Another great case to just go for it as soon as possible with such a high payroll ceiling. Unwillingness to contend for 3-5 years with a much-lower-than-possible team salary cap speaks to an ulterior motive.

    • TWC

      “No possible way…”

      Really, Timmy? There’s *no* *possible* *way* that the Cubs can look like playoff contenders in 13 months? You cannot think of any *possible* scenario in which the roster can change over a year?

      “… potential off-season signings, which they’ve been resistent to do…”

      Right. They’ve exhibited resistance to signing anyone this offseason. Except for the guys they *have* signed, you’re totally correct.

      • Timmy

        That’s right, no possible way. They’ll be 500 in 3 years, slightly better in 4, and *potentially* viable in 5-6 years under their current approach. Get used to it fellow Cubs fans, the team is invested in maximizing business, not winning.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Whew. Until that last sentence, I thought you were just talking crazy. Now I see where you’re coming from.

          • Timmy

            My comments are qualified on ownership willingness to pay what it takes to compete. They’re willing to get out of last place, but they seem to be more interested in skimming off of the top of the team’s profits for the foreseeable future.

            • Lou

              Like the realistic attitude. Though I’ve said this same thing before on this website, but then *ahem* my opinion was shot down. Maybe because it was 2012 and people’s ideas of the team have changed in 2013?

              • CubFan Paul

                yep. Bandwagoners.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I completely and totally disagree, but at least you’ve got a harmonized position.

              I’d offer only this: if ownership is interested only in winning just enough to get out of last place, and then make as much money as possible … why did they spend so much money on bringing in the kind of front office talent they did? Why bother hiring someone like Tom Tango? Why build a state-of-the-art facility in the Dominican Republic? Why spend like crazy in the 2011 Draft? Why spend $30 million on Jorge Soler? Why spend an unknown huge amount on new statistical software from Bloomberg?

              Those all strike me as pretty stupid things to do if you’re just trying to climb out of last place and make tons of money.

              And if the owners are that stupid … how did they lure so many front office rockstars to sign on to an organization that only cares about making money?

              Here’s where I’m driving: if you set aside blind anger, and look at the facts, it’s exceedingly difficult to argue that the Ricketts Family is in this thing just to make money. None of it makes sense if they are.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                (Not to mention the fact that, long-term, winning means more money. Short-term profits at the expense of winning is a stupid strategy (outside of Miami), even from a purely profit-motivated perspective.)

                • Timmy

                  I agree with everything you say here Brett, in terms of a long-term view. If in 6 years the Cubs are winning, they’ll invest in further winning because it’ll bring strong profits. For now, though, they see how sub-mediocre the team is, and they’ve said to Theo that he can build how he likes but that they’re going to pocket proceeds until it makes business sense for them to invest. So I wouldn’t be surprised in 5 years if we’re investing in players. But the team will likely produce extra ownership profits until then. Good business, bad sportsmanship, bad baseball.

                  • DarthHater

                    …bad mindreading…

    • hansman1982

      Um, I bet you could make a believable argument that the Cubs could be in contention this year.

      “…they won’t be mature hitters/players for at least another 3-4 years after that.”

      What does this mean? Do you work for Cheez-It?

      • DarthHater

        I’m pretty sure Mickey Mantle was never a mature player…

  • http://www.Chicagocubstalk.blogspot.com ChicagoCubsTalk

    Steroids…..smh

    • TWC

      Yo. Kid. You’re new here. So, like, welcome.

      But repeatedly posting meaningless comments *solely* in order to get the link to your new neat-o Cubs blog out there is getting a little annoying. This is, what, the fifth? sixth? context-less “Steroids — jeesh!”-type comment you’ve made in the last 24 hours. Give it a rest, mkay?

      Getting folks to visit your new blog is hard. I have no doubt about that. But rather than posting your link over and over again on someone else’s blog, try working a bit more on *yours*. Poor grammar, poor punctuation, spelling errors, and syntactical errors in your blog posts do not help to draw readers. In fact, it may make someone’s first visit their last.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Well put Tom. A few additional non-spammy tips, Mr. “ChicagoCubsTalk” –

        - Check out and utilize this player linker from Baseball-Reference. It gives you a seamless plugin to search your blog post for player names and then turn them into Baseball-Reference links automatically. Which is cool for them and your content because BR is a good website. It also will send a link of your post to that player’s stats page, which users browsing about the player can click on. It actually generates a decent amount of traffic for smaller, non-Bleacher Nation huge blogs.
        Link: http://www.baseball-reference.com/linker/

        - Get a Twitter account if you don’t have one already, post these opinions about Alex Rodriguez there. Interact with BN’ers and Cubs fans you meet on there. Check in on Foursquare. Whatever. But when you make a new post, throw it up there, utilize #hashtags, and people who follow you may take a glance at your post if it interests them. Your audience – your following – is all people that have expressed an interest in you already.

        - Like TWC said, the best way to get readers is to post quality thoughts in correct English. Eliminating that poor grammar, poor punctuation, spelling errors, and syntactical errors will help that out. Brett’s blog is huge because of the insightful work he put in and the quality of writing.

      • scorecardpaul

        TWC I agree. I usually try not to bash people, but today is my birthday, so here goes.
        To the child with the new blog thingy…. I went to your site the first time you rudely posted it on Brett’s ( or should I say Bert’s) site. I found it to be so poorly constructed and lacking in substance that I had to ask myself if this was just some spoiled litle rich kid with way to much free time?? All of your talk about being a life long Cub fan, and all of that other crap was almost painful for me to read. Speaking of crap, there is probably dog crap in my back yard that is older than you. some advice… don’t spend your life in front of a computer talking about baseball when you are still young enough to be outside playing baseball. Leave this crap for us crappy old guys.

        • TWC

          Happy Birthday, Paul!

          BTW, there’s dog crap in your backyard. You might wanna clean that up before spring…

          • fromthemitten

            yeah “dog crap” hahaha suuuure yeah… I’ve been eating a lot of corn recently enjoy it :D

            • MichiganGoat

              Everywhere is a Goats toliet… Get use to it.

  • Brittney

    I say marmol, sori, and a prospect (not a baez type prospect) for olt and a fringe type pitching prospect

  • ReiCow

    Anyone else terrified that if we release Campana, the Cards will grab him.. work their voodoo magic and teach him how to hit & get on base, and he Lou Brocks us to death?

    Moo.

    • Craig

      Ha ha

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      No. I can honestly say I will never have that particular nightmare.

      Even the Cards don’t have the voodoo to turn a .300ish OBP guy into Lou Brock.

      If they still had Dave Duncan I’d give them an even chance to turn him into a No 2 starter, but fortunately for the rest of the division, Duncan is no longer spinning aces out of moonbeams and Mississippi river mud.

      • hankp101

        Lou Brock’s career OBP was .306 in 1300 PAs with the Cubs. Tony Campana’s OBP in 350 PAs is .306. He might as well start writing his speech for Cooperstown if the Cubs DFA him and the Cards get him.

        • ReiCow

          Beat me to the punch. Kinda scary parallel, ne? Heck, Brock left the Cubs at age 25, and Campana is just one year older than that now…

          Moo.

          • frank

            Before we go too crazy here, Brock was 24 when he was traded, Campana will be 27 this May, and Brock did bat .361 his one year in the minors. I doubt Campana has batted anywhere near .361 since high school. But voodoo is voodoo . . .

      • ReiCow

        As hankp101 noted, the Cards did turn a .300ish OBP guy into Lou Brock.. his name was Lou Brock!

        I’m telling ya.. voodoo magic could come to bite us in the ass here…

        Moo.

  • Casey Stengel

    While everyone is arguing of imagined trades–fun for sure–the bomb Bruce levine dropped is scary. First of all, approximately 84% of what Bruce says seems to come from Bruce’s slowly working mind says. This is a fellow who reports rumors and then denies them.

    That said, if true, finances could be an issue as the Cubs built out Wrigely. They need that cash from TV. They won’t get Dodger cash, but they will get more.

    And, hopefully, everything I’ve read or heard–including talking with people who work for the Cubs, Bruce is wrong.

    So, debate all you want but if that extra money isn’t coming in, no championship is coming no matter how genius the farm system is.

    • BWA

      teams have won championships with much less money then the cubs

      • Casey Stengel

        BWA valid point. I think it’s a new era and its the Cubs. Take any advantage you can.

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