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jacoby ellsburySo much of the Chicago Cubs’ immediate future is tied up in the Wrigley Field renovation project and the upcoming renegotiation of the team’s TV rights on the WGN portion of games (about half the games), a deal that expires after the 2014 season. That’s because so much of the team’s future is tied to how much money they can spend to assist in the rebuilding process, and accelerate/prolong their window of competitiveness.

Good news on that front from Dave Kaplan, who reports that he hears the Cubs do plan to be in on big name free agents this offseason, thanks in large part to the expected revenues that will soon be coming in. Without drilling down into the specifics of who is available in free agency this year, it is good to hear that the Cubs expect to spend. (And it’s good to hear it from Kaplan, who is well-sourced with respect to the Cubs’ front office, though on this one, he cites “several Major League sources, including an American League front office executive.” Perhaps Kaplan simply wanted to emphasize that he isn’t just sending out what the Cubs are telling him to send out. It’s largely academic, however: the Cubs know they probably shouldn’t be sending out the “we’re going to spend big money” message to fans at this point unless they intend to back it up.)

So, at a general level, I love what I’m hearing. Even without massively expanded revenues in 2014, the Cubs will have tremendous flexibility to spend, based simply on expiring contracts and payroll space. Good.

Once you drill down into the free agent class, however, it remains difficult to see how the Cubs will judiciously spend a whole lot of money. Robinson Cano is the big ticket item, but, even if he doesn’t re-sign with the Yankees, he’s going to be offered the moon and the stars by the Dodgers. It’ll be a deal that pays him huge money from ages 31 to 39, most likely – not the ideal window for a player. Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson are also intriguing positional options, but the guy Kaplan focuses his report on is center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Kaplan’s sources tell him the Cubs could have Ellsbury at the top of their wish list.

What kind of money can Ellsbury expect? It’s really going to depend on how the market develops for him. As one of the few premium position players on the market, it’s easy to expect that he’ll land a big deal. Then again, folks were talking about $100 million deals for Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn last year, too, and they settled for 4/$56M and 4/$48M, respectively. Draft pick compensation played a big role in those deals, and it could for Ellsbury, too, if he’s made a qualifying offer by the Red Sox after the season. If the Cubs have a protected first round pick (top ten), I could see them willing to part with their second round pick for the right free agent, especially if it was someone like Ellsbury on a deal like the Bourn/Swisher deals.

But would Ellsbury even receive a qualifying offer or a four-year deal?

It wasn’t too long ago that Ellsbury looked like a lock for a $100 million free agent deal (or extension). In 2011, at age 27, Ellsbury put up an MVP-caliber season, pairing huge offensive value with some of the best outfield defense in baseball. And then he fell back a bit in 2012 both in performance and health (a shoulder injury kept him out for more than half of the season), and the early returns in 2013 – .257/.311/.365 – haven’t been encouraging. Indeed, if his season continues as it has started, then the 2011 season starts to look like an extreme outlier, and Ellsbury looks like little more than a serviceable starter in center field, assuming his defense stays above average.

How much is that guy worth? How many years do you dedicate to him in center field, even if you are willing to spend? With no one immediately nipping at his heels, and the Cubs possibly replacing all three outfield positions in 2014, a three-year deal for Ellsbury would be no problem at all. Even four years could be solid, depending on the money. Longer than that and you risk Ellsbury becoming a drain financially, and a very expensive fourth outfielder by the time he’s in his mid-30s.

It will be interesting to see how Ellsbury’s season unfolds. I like the idea of the Cubs stepping up their spending in the offseason on reasonable, productive deals, but if Ellsbury is the biggest fish they target, it could be disappointing on a variety of levels.

  • DrReiCow

    I’d love to see us get Choo, he is a great player.

    Moo

    • bbmoney

      He’d be a great player if he only faced righties. He’s still a good player when he has to face lefties a couple times a week. He also cant’ really play centerfield.

      None of which is to say he couldn’t be a nice piece.

    • Featherstone

      Choo’s extreme splits scare me. His career numbers vs RHP .311/.406/.523/.930 over 2180 PA’s His numbers vs LHP .245/.337/.350/.687 over 961 PA’s.

      That’s a ridiculous split for someone whose going to get a hefty contract.

  • Deez

    I’d love for us to develop our own players because we always have buyer’s remorse.

    • hansman1982

      Free agent buyers usually do have buyers remorse, if only because FA has been seen as the cure-all for getting to the playoffs.

      I’d love to see going gonzo on Choo, but that is only because he has a good batting eye and if the bidding doesn’t truly get crazy and we have a top-10 pick.

    • Featherstone

      If you want to talk about Buyer’s remorse look up Angels, L.A. see Pujols, Albert.

  • Atl Cubbie

    Ellsbury, Cano and Price. Which one do you think the Cubs will get? I feel that Theo will pay a ton of money to get his boy from Boston, Ellsbury. So we will have Ellsbury in center. Who will be in Right and Left?

    • Featherstone

      Price isnt a FA.

  • Cubsfanforlife

    Brett,

    Random question, maybe you addressed it earlier, but what is the news in regards to Geraldo Concepcion? Is he even with the organization anymore? I know they removed him from the 40 man roster, but what happened to him? It says was taken off the 40 man roster and sent to Kane County but his name is nowhere to be found on their web page. Is he in extended spring training? The Cubs gave him 21 mil or something like that over 3 years…….. are we giving up after one year?

    • Melrosepad

      Contract was 5 years for $6M covering 2012 to 2016

  • http://Www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Ellsbury is perfect in the sense that he had one monster year and he could be yet another lottery ticket but with a popular name that most fans would approve of.

  • dying cubs fan’s last request

    To think Brett Jackson used to be one of our top prospects. Is he really going to bust ?

    • willis

      Most likely, yes. I’m a huge fan of his so that kind of sucks to say, but he just doesn’t show the offensive abilities to be a starter full time in this league. He’s great with the leather, poor at the plate.

      I surely wouldn’t mind Ellsbury manning CF for a few years, but only if the money and years are right. Throwing a ridiculous contract at a plus CF but not a star would be silly.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I don’t see spending MVP dollars on Ellsbury, but I could get behind a more moderate deal, I suppose.

  • Tobias

    I’m not too sure about Ellsbury, but if he is completely back from the shoulder issues from the last couple years then why not. Brett Jackson is young enough to be included in a trade package for pitching. I’d love to see a Cano/Ellsbury signing. Could Barney/BJax/Vogelbach/Pierce Johnson plus a B-prospect enough to pry Price away from Tampa?
    Potential Lineup:
    1. Castro-SS
    2. Baez-3B
    3. Ellsbury-RF
    4. Rizzo-1B
    5. Cano-2B
    6. Castillo-C
    7. Soler-LF
    8. Almora-CF
    9. SP
    Rotation:
    1. Price
    2. Shark
    3. EJax
    4. Wood
    5. Whoever is not traded
    Relief
    TBD

    • Tobias

      Now that I think about it, Soler should be RF, Ellsbury should be CF, and Almora should be LF.

      • Kubphan82

        I know it’s early in the season, but we have Shierholtz for next year. He’s not an AS but he’s more than serviceable with his first “full time” shot.

        .291 4hr/4sb/15r/17rbi.. And .858 OPS good for 130 ops+…
        I think the Cubs start with him as the Starter next season, bump him to 4th or traded at midseason next year. I doubt he’s traded this season, but if the price is right I would, just don’t count on it. They’ll have Shierholtz to remain respectable and cover the time until a package appears, time runs out on his contract, or a prospect is ready. I’m good with that.

      • Ryno G

        Almora would definitely be in CF in this scenario.

    • Jon

      Baez is not even close to being ready by next year.

      • Tobias

        I said “potential” lineup, I wasn’t necessarily meaning 2014 morelike 2015.

    • Jimbo

      Think of the best guys in the Cubs minor leagues and you have an idea of who the Rays will want for Price. In other words, think of the guys you want to keep and that is who they will want.

    • Anonnifan

      This lineup makes no sense. Ellsbury 2nd just because he is fast, and you are O.k. with that meaning Cano and his .300 avg and 30+ homers should be batting fifth? Come on man, even if its a pipe dream, build your lineup correctly.

      • Anonnifan

        Also, if Castillo is actually in that lineup, he’ll be batting 8th.

    • Saving Grace

      Elsbury has a weak arm,think Johnny Damon,but worse with age coming on
      So he wouldn’t fit well in rf

  • Oswego Chris

    I just perused the list of FA’s for next winter and it is very uninspiring…lots of guys on the wrong side of 30…

    Choo, maybe a pitcher or two, but not much there…

    We need some arms in that June draft…

  • terencemann

    I’ll just say I’ll believe it when I see it and leave the speculation as to should they and will they to everybody else.

  • Oswego Chris

    Baez may not even be ready in two or three years…I say Cano stays with NY…and this may be a knee jerk reaction, but the drop in Price’s velocity scares me…no thanks

  • Jon

    I can see Theo selling high on Baez considering his poor plate disclipline

    • Spriggs

      I hope we haven’t already seen his high. I mean, I reeeeeeally hope we haven’t.

      • Jon

        I was talking in more of a value perspective. Baez was 16th in the BA top 100 in Feb. He may never be ranked that high again.

    • JoeyCollins

      Agreed. To me he is the most likely of our top three to be included in a big trade. Hendry drafted him, has no plate discipline, still has tons of value on the trade market.

    • Anonnifan

      I’ve been thinking the same thing Jon.

    • http://Noclue SenorGato

      Its not really selling high right now. If dummies like us fans notice it (even predict it), what FO in the league would miss it?

  • 5412

    Hi Brett,

    I think you may have overlooked something. Spending big is not only free agents like Ellsbury; but also trade deadline deals on younger guys like ARam who was moving into arbitration years.

    Once the city deal falls into place, I look for them to go find two more Rizzo’s that Tampa and the other small market teams can’t afford. Would you trade Baez if a Longoria type who is already a good major leaguer became available?

    Regards,
    5412

    • Justin

      Hell yeah, I would pack Baez’s bags for Longoria. Baez strikes out like a mad man and that ain’t going away.

      • Dynastyin2017

        How often is Longoria healthy? When a young guy has this many health problems, it does not bode well for his future. Same with Stanton. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make these trades, but they are NOT no-brainers.

        • Justin

          Yeah Longoria isn’t the most durable dude, but he’s a stud. And I don’t believe in Baez at all. So that’s why it’s a no brainer for me. I think Baez is moved by the end of this offseason. I don’t see Baez and Castro in the same lineup, and at least Castro doesn’t K as much.

          • Dynastyin2017

            I’m not saying I wouldn’t make that trade. I would. But we all need to remember, if we are concerned with Baez’s K rate, what makes us think other teams would trade top talent for him? Baez is no longer a sell high candidate.

            • Justin

              Oh Yeah. I don’t know how much the Rays would even want Baez. They are clearly smart and know what there doing, so his K’s may scare them off completely. But like you mentioned Longoria, gets hurt a lot and get paid (not insane money). So he might be obtainable in a package built around a guy like Baez. Maybe..

            • Kyle

              It’s tricky. Teams do their own prospect evaluations, and Baez is going to be a prospect with a wide spread between the highest evaluations and the lowest.

              Hopefully, there’s some team out there that absolutely loves him and also has something we really need.

              • Justin

                I hear ya. Lets just hope Baez finally settles into High A and starts raking and fielding better asap. His struggles there aren’t that small of a sample size anymore.

              • Justin

                Kyle, can you see a scenario where this front office allows Baez and Castro to be in the lineup together at 3rd and shortstop? They are both so against the grain of players they like. I can’t picture it at all…

                • Kyle

                  I absolutely can think that.

                  OBP is important. But I think the fundamental importance of OBP has actually swung to the point where it’s being overstated.

                  Epstein made his name in the center of the Ultimate OBP Storm:

                  1) There were still a lot of GMs who hadn’t caught on to the fundamentals of statistical analysis, so OBP was undervalued on the market.
                  2) The overall offensive environment skyrocketed to unheard of heights. OBP becomes more valuable in high-offense environments and less valuable (relative to itself, it’s still really important) in low-offense environments.)

                  Neither of those factors is the case any longer. OBP is not at all undervalued and there are very few ignorant GMs still out there. Offense is going down considerably, which means technically SLG is more important and OBP is less important than it was in the 1990s/2000s.

                  And going with that theme, I can’t help but notice that a lot of our offensive signings this offseason were cheap power guys: Navarro and Hairston are both guys who probably scored pretty high on the HR/$ ratio, and even Lillibridge is a guy whose only redeeming trait was some power.

                  So yeah, if Castro can keep hitting .300 and Baez can hit 30 HRs, I think they’d find a way to fit them both in the infield regardless of whether they seem to be OBP monsters.

                  • Dynastyin2017

                    Well said, sir. OBP, by itself, has been slightly overrated. Also, if he makes it to the majors, Baez will be an outfielder.

                    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

                      If by overrated you mean, there is no other indicator more strongly correlated to run production, then yes ,OBP is slightly overrated.

                      It is no longer the market inefficiency it once was, but its still the most important single statistical indicator of offensive value.

                    • Kyle

                      “If by overrated you mean, there is no other indicator more strongly correlated to run production, then yes ,OBP is slightly overrated.

                      It is no longer the market inefficiency it once was, but its still the most important single statistical indicator of offensive value.”

                      The single most important simple indicator, overrated, and less important than it was 10 years ago. All of these are true.

                  • Marc N.

                    Another thing about OBP is that the league OBP has hovered around .320 the past few years when just 15 years ago it was as high as .350. IIRC it sat in the .340’s and high .330s during the 2000’s.

              • Kubphan82

                Adam Dunn still ends up in a roster….

                • Featherstone

                  Adam Dunn has a career .368 along with good power. His OBP was never his issue.

                  • Kubphan82

                    When I said still I was referring to his White Sox deal where he’s now been: .292, .333, and now .235… OBP’s… I’m just saying there’s a place for most players, as long as they can fill a need…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I didn’t miss it – it simply wasn’t the focus of this piece. I’ve discussed trading for long-term pieces many times. Not every post is about every possible path. :)

      To the substance, of course. Longoria, in particular, would be an excellent get.

      • Kyle

        Weren’t we going to make a bunch of these trades this offseason, too?

        You can’t count on trades. If one happens to come up that makes sense, awesome. But you can’t just assume that some team out there will have an awesome early prime player they are itching to get rid of, even for a pile of prospects.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          ??? As any Yankee fan could tell you, the other 28 teams in MLB exist only to trade their good players to the Yankees so that the Yanks can defeat the Sawx a little more handily next season. Of course, they wouldn’t fathom why Cubs fans would be discussing this…..

    • http://Noclue SenorGato

      Great point. The Cubs aren’t a billion prospects deep to sit around waiting for each one to flame out or bust out inside the organization.

  • Anonnifan

    I have to believe that the Cubs chances of landing big name free agents is going to be tied to their ability to show at least a spark of competitiveness this year. Remember how much Washington had to give Jayson Werth to tempt him away from a competitive Phillies team? The way I see it, there are two ways they can avoid having to pay premium prices for free agents, win, or strengthen the minor league system with ML ready, or nearly ML ready prospects. Choo is a player who has something to prove, and he probably feels like he was stuck with a dog team in Cleveland long enough that a taste of the playoffs could end up tempting him to a team that is ready to compete now. Ellsbury and Cano on the other hand have nothing to prove. They both have WS rings. I’m not sure we can back off on Cano just because the Dodgers are going to make a run at him. The Dodgers are going to drive up the market by offering buttloads of money to any top tier free agent and trying to sign all the players. That is just the new reality of the free agent market as it stands today. To me the question really comes down to examining Cano as a player and deciding if he is someone worth offering a mega-deal, and despite his age I am tempted to answer yes with him. It may be a pipe dream, but I keep thinking that any free agent who has already won a World Series would be intrigued by the prospect of trying to bring one to a town with a rich baseball history, and the longest drought in professional sports. If you go to Dodgers, you get fans who leave the game when its tied 3-3 in the 7th. With the Cubs you get fans who sing and dance and fly flags every time they win.

  • Kyle

    They were involved in big-name free agents last year, too. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. I’m guessing they’ll replace Garza, add some mid-level pitching and add an outfielder.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I say no to Ellsbury. To much of a risk with his injury issues to spend to much money on and give to many years to. More than 2 is to much if you’re wondering.

    • JoeyCollins

      I can see 3 or 4 years but it will all come down to how much a year, and how he performs the rest of this year. It’s too early to get an accurate feel for his value.

  • Justin

    I don’t think Ellsbury makes much sense at all. I have heard the Front Office say many times, health/durability play a big role in the deals they give out. You can say what you want about Edwin Jackson, but that dude is durable and makes his starts. Ellsbury, is a gimp who I would not trust giving major money too regardless of how he finishes the yr especially with compensation tied to him, which the Red Sox will offer.

  • Jim

    The fact that many teams will be wondering which Ellsbury is the real Ellsbury, could work to the Cubs advantage. Maybe Ellsbury would take a one or two year contract hoping to establish his worth? If their is a bidding war on him, I’d walk away. I have liked what Schierholtz has brought this year and I am interested to see exactly what there is in Sweeney and Borbon. Maybe our Outfield will already be crowded next year?

    • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

      I agree, Jim. If the Ellsbury we get is the Ellsbury that’s there now, he is another fourth outfielder, and we have about a half-dozen of those. Worth a deal? Depends on the deal. But I think anything more than 3 years on Ellsbury would be a mistake, and not in line with what Epstein/Hoyer are trying to do.

  • Dustin S

    This is very very good news. I have to admit I was starting to get a little disheartened looking forward to another rough year in 2014 before they would consider spending some real money for help. And with the top prospects still looking a year or two away I was afraid 2014 is going to be déjà vu. But if they’re willing to spend this offseason based on the following year’s increased revenues, there’s some hope for a significantly better 2014. This is going to be a relatively weak free agent class though this offseason to be sure.

    As far as Elsbury, I’m all for any help. But holy smokes he has an odd career stat line that makes you worry a little. Outside of 2011, he hasn’t had double-digit home runs at any level of the majors or minors. His high in RBI in the majors or minors outside of 2011 was 60. But in 2011 he had an almost mvp year. Since then he’s been pretty underwhelming for average and the power has vanished. Maybe it’s just been the shoulder injury, and he should steal close to 40 this year. But considering he hasn’t shown much power before or after that one 2011 season at any level, I’d look at him more as a decent average/speed guy and hesitate to factor his 2011 power into expectations. I’m sure Boras will though, so if we go after him I just hope the Cubs don’t overpay.

  • another JP

    Pedroia would make more sense than Ellsbury. Given the weak FA class, he’ll prolly get paid too, so I can’t justify giving him $100M or even $50M. If the Cubs really want to make a bold move, draft Bryant. We really need impact bats more than starting pitching right now and even if he doesn’t stay at third- which I still believe he can- he can play left field when Sori is done. Resign Garza & Shark and draft Bryant… with Soler, Baez, Almora, Vogelbach ready in the next several years we would have a 4-6 year window to compete.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Peddy isn’t going to be a free agent until after the 2015 season. (Well, there is a team option for 2015, but the Sox will almost certainly it.)

    • Bilbo161

      I like the idea of taking Bryant. Not really a reach and less injury risk than a pitcher. Fills a big need too. After all we could be contending this year with a couple more good bats and RPs on the squad. Not as far away as it seems.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Bilbo: I’m tempted to think along those same lines, but drafting based on your MLB club’s weaknesses is I believe a dangerous move. From all indicators, unless Bryant or Frazier really steps it up, the two coveted draft picks this go around are Appel or Gray. Most analysts are saying they’re a clear cut above the rest of them. That coupled with the fact that premium starting pitching is highly coveted, it would seem that Appel or Gray would be their ideal choice. Even if our starting pitching is strong in the Majors once they are drafted, we’d be able to trade them away for some stud prospects if we have a greater positional need. I believe we’ll acquire a power bat or two during the year and/or off season and draft Gray or Appel. I wouldn’t be disappointed if they chose Bryant, though.

    • Dave

      If this total rebuild only gives the Cubs a four year window to win then it has not been executed correctly. Even Jim Hendry under direct orders to win now had two division titles and a over .5oo season in a three year window.
      The whole idea behind the fans having to endure these losing seasons is the promise of long sustained competitiveness.

  • Patrick G

    I can see the Cubs making alot of moves this Offseason. I find it funny the Cubs ML offense is pretty rough, but the minors offense is pretty good, and vice versa when it comes to pitching. I can see the Cubs trading Baez this offseason for a legit bat, extend Garza to a team friendly extension(feel he won’t get traded with the amount of time he returns) and go pitcher HEAVY in the draft. Find a FA 3rd baseman, and think Barney is a part of Theo’s plan, obviously defense wise.

  • ssckelley

    Ellsbury looks like a big gamble as he has had some injury issues. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how Ellsbury came into all that power in 2011 where he hit 46 doubles, 5 triples, and 32 home runs when he has never hit like that before (even in the minors) and has not hit like that since.

    • Justin

      Do you remember Brady Anderson?

      • ssckelley

        I do, but even Brady Anderson had 9 seasons where he hit double digits in home runs. Who knows what he was taking to help him hit 50 home runs in 1996. Hard telling who was all juiced up during those years.

        • Justin

          HGH wasn’t being tested in baseball until after the 2011 season. Brady was for sure juicing, but Ellsbury could have been too.

  • STH Section 514 Row 3

    I’m all about not spending money just to spend it, but our books are completely clean when Soriano is off after next year. We currently only have $55M committed for next year before Arb. If you sign Garza and make some Arb assumptions you are only at ~$80-$85. Wouldn’t mind Ellsbury for 3/45 or 4/60 hoping to bridge with the hopes of Almora developing into the player we hope he can be. Sign Ellsbury and trading for Price (Baez, and anyone not named Soler and Almora if possible) would be a solid offseason as well as adding some smaller pieces. That would bump payroll up to around $120M for 2014 with Sori coming off the books at the end of the year. In the 2015 offseason you could sign Headley or Sandoval (If either hit FA) or hope at that point your farm is strong enough and you can fill but you won’t have a 3B option if you deal Baez for Price.

    2014 Lineup-

    Ellsbury
    Castro
    Rizzo
    Soriano
    Schierholtz/Hairston
    Castillo
    Valbuena/Vitters/Michael Young (1yr deal)
    Barney/Watkins

    Rotation

    Price
    Garza
    Samardzija
    Wood
    Jackson

    Pen

    Fujikawa (CL)
    Villanueva
    Russell
    Filler (Vizcaino, Bowden, Coleman, etc.

    • RY

      hope to christ hairston is nowhere near wrigley in 2014 and love the “Dexter” avatar!

  • DocPeterWimsey

    I love Els, but I don’t think that the Cubs are a good match for him. It would take (at most) 2 weeks for him to run headlong into the bricks and break himself. Seriously, he would need to seriously temper the way that he plays to survive in Wrigley. As it is, Els needs to temper the way that he plays to survive in the parks with padded walls: and he’s showing no signs of doing it in his late 20’s. The “belly fire” crowd might love that, but it’s as tactically sensible as charging a machine gun nest.

    And, of course, I’d like to see him stay in Boston.

    • Bilbo161

      Sometime, tactics require you to charge that pill-box. Yea, I like the belly fire, just have to apply it situationally. Not always possible for some folks. Would he do it in a Spring training game? Hope not.

  • Timmy

    If we can get Ellsbury for like 8m a year for 3 years I’d do it. Otherwise he’s a soon-to-be-disaster-contract.

  • Noah

    I’d go 5/$75 million or so with Ellsbury, but not any further. Ellsbury has absolutely been nothing special so far this year and is fragile. On top of that, he’ll be 30 on opening day 2014. Honestly, if his numbers don’t pick up significantly he might be able to be had on a bargain make good type of contract.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      And that might be all he’s worth. Take away that one huge season and he’s really nothing special.

  • RY

    stay away from Ellsbury, throw the bank at Cano!

    • Timmy

      yeah much better to spend 150m on a winner than 75m on an inconsistent performer. cano is getting older too though.

    • ssckelley

      You would have to throw the bank at Cano to get him away from the Yankees. I do not see that happening.

      I would like to remind everyone of the last time the Cubs threw the bank at a 30 year old free agent, he starts in left field.

    • deej34

      Remember how great Soriano was when we “threw the bank” at him? I’d be cautious about taking that approach in FA.

  • Rizzofanclub

    I love how everyone has now jumped on the ship of not spending money, look at the Indians they have a worst pitching rotation then the cubs and they are currently in 1st of the AL Central and how did they get there? By spending money. I would be very happy if the cubs got Jacoby on a 4 yr 64 million deal. He would have just turned 30 on the deal and would provide a solid lead off hitter that the cubs have wanted for a long time. I would like the cubs to extend Samardzija and Garza(5 yr 85 mil.) Cubs lineup in 2014:
    Ellsbury
    Castro
    Rizzo
    Soriano(1st half)/Soler(2nd half)
    Schierholtz/Hairston
    Valbuena/Baez (2nd half. I have faith he figures it out)
    Castillo
    Valbuena/Barney split

    Pitching rotation: Samarz, Garza, E Jackson, Wood, Villanueva. Sign another 1 year Feldman/Baker type for 1 year insurance type deal. The cubs would have Gray/Appel and Almora in the minors. I would be very very excited if this happens and it should put the payroll around 115 million.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    I would hope the Cubs give Navarro an extension he’s been great for us this year! I think he’s proved him self so far and besides we really don’t have any depth behind the plate, I am not really sold on anybody in the minors! Still hurts that Theo Aramis walk, I still think that’s the boner move that the front office missed out on! He signed for 10 mil a year on a 3 yr deal.. Do the math, very friendly deal!

    • ssckelley

      I think this is the 3rd comment I’ve seen about Ramirez today. So with Ramirez the Cubs win how many games last season, 70? He has been hurt for much of this year so he would not have contributed to many wins this season. Plus you give up Pierce Johnson, one of our top pitching prospects, since it was the compensation pick the Cubs got for losing Ramirez and the Cubs probably miss out on drafting either Gray or Appel since the extra wins would have cost them a top 5 draft pick.

      I think letting Ramirez walk was the right thing to do.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Also any news on Valbuena??

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