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Kris BryantI can’t promise that I won’t nudge you about contributing – any amount helps – to the Make-A-Wish fundraiser every day, but I probably won’t. Today isn’t one of the days that I’m not going to nudge, though. So, NUDGE! We’re helping out a great cause, and you’re helping yourself to insane coverage at the Trade Deadline. See the details on the fundraiser here, and go ahead and donate a little something here. We need lots of support if we’re going to get to our goals (and if you’re going to get to see me manage 36 consecutive hours of coverage on July 30 and 31).

  • When all of the international signing madness eases in the coming days (peaking, perhaps, when the Cubs officially sign Eloy Jimenez), the collective amateur-based attention will return to 2013 Draft signings. Folks will go, “Oh, yeah, whatever happened with Kris Bryant?” Well, not much has happened with the Cubs’ top pick just yet, but that isn’t a surprise. We’ve been cautioned at every turn to expect a protracted negotiation, and that’s what we’ve seen. Bryant is playing his part in an interview with a San Diego paper, noting that he’d be perfectly willing to return to school and shoot for being the top pick next year. (h/t to BN’er Rooster for the article in the comments.) The Cubs have all of their other top 10 round picks signed, so they know pretty much exactly where they stand with respect to what they can afford to offer Bryant. There remains no worries here or elsewhere that Bryant will sign. Jim Callis says every first rounder will sign, and Keith Law told me and Sahadev on the podcast yesterday that Bryant would be crazy not to sign. The Cubs have until July 12 to lock him down.
  • (By the way, even if Bryant does manage to be selected first overall in a draft already believed to have a ton of great talent at the top, there’s no guarantee that, as a college senior, he’ll be able to wrangle a signing bonus higher than whatever the Cubs are offering him now. Mark Appel took way under slot for a reason, and, no, it wasn’t because he was giving a hometown discount.)
  • Jed Hoyer, on yesterday’s trades, and the theoretical opening of the trade floodgates, per CSN: “The 25 guys on the team should never like deals where you give up a guy in the rotation to get young players. For the guys on the field, you always want to be adding and become buyers. That’s the nature of it. Our job is to try to build a great organization. But for the players on the field, their job is to play hard every single night and look to win. Unfortunately, we’re 10 games under .500 at this stage of the season. We have three teams in our division that have [close to] the three best records in the National League. Realistically, our chance of playing in October is very small and we need to add a lot of talent to get better for the future. That’s the reality of the situation.” Yup. I have nothing to add.
  • The bullpen woes may have gotten to Dale Sveum a bit, who was disappointed to see James Russell – arguably his best non-closer reliever – blow another game last night. “He can’t get [anything] down in the strike zone,” Sveum said of Russell, per CSN. “His changeup’s either short or hung and he can’t spot a fastball down and away. It’s basically just no location. Obviously, the confidence probably isn’t too good right now. It’s almost comical to see this happen every single night. We have a lead and get beat sometimes by guys that are hardly even hitting home runs. [Derek Norris] has had one at-bat off a left-hander in 15 days and he beats us with a three-run homer.”
  • As I suspected, Dale Sveum confirmed that the plan is to stretch Carlos Villanueva back out to take Scott Feldman’s spot in the rotation. Because he’s under cheap control for 2014, the Cubs may not explicitly be looking to shop Villanueva, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind getting him a few starts before the Trade Deadline. He may need one more week of stretching out to be ready, however. Chris Rusin is the fill-in until further notice.
  • Oswego chris

    I was hoping to land Arrieta in a Garza deal and we get him for Feldman…and another guy in Strop who has huge upside…and the international cap space to get numbers 1 and 2 prospects…

    Arrieta moving to NL will help…I just don’t see the down side of this…

    • JulioZuleta

      Yeah, I don’t really get the disappointment in the return. We’re talking about a 3 month rental of a decent #3 starter. Dempster was also a rental last year, and having a much better season. I’ll take this return over that one.

      • Patrick

        That being said we were getting Delgado from the Braves before he vetoed that.

        • Crockett

          This is very, very true.

        • J. Edwards

          Gah. I’d almost let myself forget about that trade.

          • Jon

            If that trade goes down, maybe Justin Upton is a Cub.

    • Mr. Gonzo

      If the new pitching dev coaches can help Arrieta figure it out – a la Wood/Shark – he could have a huge impact on the rotation next year. Cross everything you can.

      • dob2812

        Wood hasn’t figured things out. He’s been getting lucky. 218 BAbips don’t last. He’s still handy to have around, but he probably doesn’t belong in a contender’s rotation either.

        • Mr. Gonzo

          Whether it’s luck or not, I think a few teams would love to have those 15 quality starts to date at the back-end of their rotation this year. His peripherals are “sketchy” but he’s been one of the few pillars of consistency this year for the Cubs. It must be all those skittles he’s eating.

        • BT

          Kershaw’s BABIP is .234, 6th lowest in the majors. I guess he could hang out at the back end of a playoff rotation once his luck runs out.

      • Scotti

        What did they help Samardzija with other than having him throw a curve instead of slider for his disastrous June last year? He throws the same plus pitches he did with the prior regime.

        • bbmoney

          Yes but now he throws strikes.

          Can’t tell you all the reasons for that, but considering when the switch seemed to flip on that…..

          • Scotti

            Aside from the fact that the only known development approach these guys have had with Samardzija was a flop (the aforementioned insistence that he junk his slider–when he was among the hottest pitchers in MLB–because they wanted him throwing his crappy curve), there are two reasons to believe that the majority, if not all, of Samardzija’s development has been natural (and nothing to do with the current coaches).

            1) While other pitchers in high school and college were pitching in the summer and fall Samardzija had a major commitment to playing football so his development as a pitcher has always been behind his years–that’s why it’s taken his slider so long to come along as well as picking up a quality third pitch (the split was meant to be his change but it is, in reality, his second pitch now). It’s a simple matter of repetition creating stronger neural pathways with each success (and a major reason why the June curve fiasco was m o n u m e n t a l l y stupid).

            2) Add to that the fact that he was a starter in the minors and, without a wipeout pitch, his BB/9 was 3.9. At the lower levels his BB was lower (he was throwing mostly FB). Add a wipeout pitch (his split) and a decent change of pace (how he uses his slider) and those walks go down (more K’s). BUT, it takes time to develop the ability to throw those pitches for strikes (as well as to increase their bite) and/or get swung at. Thus the high BB/9 between 2008 and 2011 was just his development period

            Here’s some information about neural pathway development from a hitter’s perspective done by the good folks at MIT’s Sloan:

            http://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/A-System-for-Measuring-the-Neural-Correlates-of-Baseball-Pitch-Recognition-and-Its-Potential-Use-in-Scouting-and-Player-Development.pdf

            http://www.axonpotential.com/getting-inside-a-baseball-hitters-brain/

            Remember also that starters have advantages when it comes to BB/9 over relievers:

            Getting warmed up longer, pitching more innings once they are game ready, larger sample sizes (a reliever’s ERA fluctuates from year to year for this same reason) will tend to favor starter BB/9.

    • Rcleven

      It was a decent trade. If the Cubs hold on to Arrieta don’t see him as a starter. Looking at his numbers looks more like he will slot in at the back of the BP as set up closer.
      If that’s his floor at the MLB level the trade was well worth it.

      • YourResidentJag

        But that’s the problem here that I’ve been getting with the Malholm for Vizcaino trade. If you’re trading SP for RP, that’s not a very good move. Hopefully, not all these guys turn out to be RP.

  • Holden

    Brett you will have a little better than me at the trade deadline even if you are doing 36 hours of blogging. Mostly because I will be sitting for the bar.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Good luck with that. In the middle of the second day of the Bar, the guy sitting at my table (it was two to a table in this huge exhibition hall) reached into a bag next to him, pulled out pajama pants, took off his jeans, and changed into the pajama pants.

      • Hansman1982

        Only because you had taken Your jeans off and not changed into pajama pants…

        The one-upper…smh

      • BluBlud

        Now that what i call the Cats Pajamas.

        I finally used that phrase ;)

      • Rich H

        Hey Ace Why do you have to mention my pajama pants? LOL j/k. ( It was really Die Hard and they had I love Steve Stone logo on the Butt).

    • Spencer

      me too!!! What state?

  • Turn Two

    I have been hoping we got in on arrieta as well. A half a year of feldman for a former 25 year old ace with some past arm issues that derailed him, plus bonus prospects.

    • Edwin

      I’m just not that optimistic about Arrieta. He’s got great stuff, but he’s never really performed that well. The best he’s done is 2012, but that was only over 114 innings, and even then he was only slightly above average. The rest of his career he’s been pretty bad.

      Even his minor league resutls aren’t too special. He gets some K’s, but not as many as you’d expect considering his great stuff. He walks too many batters at this point to be effective.

      I still like the deal, and it’s a nice return on investment from Feldman, but I’m just not expecting much from Arrieta.

  • steve123

    To go with what you said about our bullpen blowing leads, I am a big fan of the cubs spending decent money next year on the bullpen. Although I hope Strop can provide some of that, I would not mind the cubs signing Jesse Crain or J.P. Howell this offseason.

    • Rich H

      They might sign a couple guys but I do not see them spending huge money on the bullpen. They have said over and over that the waves of pitching for the pen needs to be organic.

      • Spriggs

        Right, no way they spend a lot on the next year’s bullpen… even if they completely empty it out (Gregg and Russell). Maybe add a solid arm. I still think Mateo and Dolis are very capable of filling a couple of the spots. They do need to step up big though. Cannot figure out why Dolis hasn’t done better in his chances.

  • curt

    Brett were they cats pajamas lol

  • Rich H

    Hey I just thought of something. Where was Assman yesterday? He normally is very good at letting us know what was going on before it happens. But that Feldman trade yesterday came without him even saying a peep.

    • BluBlud

      He was in the room with Hoyer getting the deals done. Theo……..I mean Assman doesn’t have time comb the blogs on the days he’s busy.

      • Drew7

        Ha. That reminds me of “21 Jump Street”:

        Ice Cube: “Hey! Quit F*cking with Korean Jesus! He ain’t got time for your problems – he busy!”

        • hansman1982

          So is Assman, Korean Jesus, or is it Korean Assman?

  • Spencer

    “It’s almost comical to see this happen every single night.”

    Golly!!

  • TonyP

    I would offer him 5 million. Don’t like it go back to school….

    • Dynastyin2017

      I’m with you. If he doesn’t want to be a pro…fine…

  • Jared

    Brett, Luke, or anybody that knows,

    Who are the guys that are included in the ton of great talent at the top of next year’s draft? I have seen Carlos Rondon’s name, but who are the other guys that are so highly valued?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      It is really too early to look at next year’s draft. Consensus seems to be that the total depth will be deeper, but the talent at the top is not likely to be hugely different from one year to the next.

      Odds are the names we are talking about next May are not the names we would mention now. For example, 12 months ago nearly everyone on these articles was convinced the Cubs should take Austin Meadows in 2013. Kris Bryant really didn’t appear on the radar until March, and Jonathan Gray not until late April. And by that point we had essentially stopped talking about Meadows.

      • SenorGato

        Bryant was on almost every preseason top prospect list going back to last year, but agreed with the overall point.

        • SenorGato

          Actually take the almost out…he had more competition then but he was considered the top college bat a long time ago.

      • Jared

        Thanks Luke. Maybe I should rephrase my question. I’m not looking for you to rank who the top 5 picks for next year’s draft will be. Rather, I am looking for a few guys who, at this time, would headline this much deeper draft. Some guys to keep an eye out for when next season begins.

    • SenorGato

      Tyler Beede. He needs to get under control, but I submit he might have the best stuff in the draft. Classic power pitcher build and mechanics.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      also Tyler Beede

    • X the Cubs Fan
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    And there’s the patented Boras client “happy to go to college” article, right on schedule.

    Although I think Almora’s was a little earlier than that last year.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Bryant has very little to gain by going back to school, and almost everything to lose. The Cubs have little to lose by allowing him to go back to school instead of signing him.

      Seems like he was just answering the question “would you consider going back to school” to which he said the required “yes” to make sure the cubs don’t completely screw him on the deal. When you think about it, how bad would the offer need to be to go back to school. 5 Million? 4.5 Milion? Would you go back to school because you are offended, even though the risks are so great?

  • Cubbiecop

    I feel the same way, when the #1 draft pick signs under slot then what makes Bryant think that he deserves more just because he is a Junior in college? And what’s to say that he won’t regress and actually drop out of the first couple of picks next year. Take the money that is offered and run with it. He is young and if he is everything that the scouts say then he will have plenty of opportunity to get a large contract when he has PROVEN that he is an elite MLB player. That’s like me walking into Trump towers (MLB) after working at Mcdonlads (college) as a manager and demanding they make me VP because I did well there. With that being said i believe that Boras is behind most of this. Boras… Quit trying to squeeze every last dime out of the teams and let the kid play!

    • SenorGato

      The #1 pick was the no leveragez senior remember, why should his price determine Bryant’s? Its not as if it hasn’t done its part in its own way, we know Bryant wont get 7.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        Bryant has virtually no leverage, unless he is willing to shoot himself in the foot and risk losing it all.

  • josh ruiter

    Offer 5.6 and let him choose. Unless we are already in the red zone for losing next years pick. I would prefer honestly to have the 3rd and 4th pics next year or 3rd and 5th pics next year. Heck we can prolly get him 5th next year at a discounted rate, or take a better player, since next year’s draft is seen as WAAAAYYY better.

    • Edwin

      I think Luke is right, I don’t think the talent at the top will change much. I’m sure the Cubs would rather sign Bryant and not lose a year of development of a top talent.

      Both sides have more to lose and not much to gain by not getting a deal done, so I think Bryant signs for about 6 mil.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        I’m not really worried about loosing a year of development. Overall, we would have two very high picks next year instead of one and the net gain to the Cubs system would be about the same overall (though one player delayed slightly).

        It would be a shame if we couldn’t pick up the other player or two we were hoping for, with the extra cash savings expected from Bryant, but he can go back to college if that’s what he wants. And we can wait patiently to pick up a similar piece next year with the pick.

    • Pat

      The problem with letting Bryant walk and counting on the #3 pick next year instead is that next year the team loses all leverage. Sign at the player’s demand or lose the pick completely.

      • SenorGato

        This and while I often see parroting of how the 2014 draft is so much better, the only specific name usually mentioned (if any) is the pitcher who started this year off with injury worries (Rodon). Bryant would be in the conversation for 1:1, much like Appel, deeper draft or Jo deeper draft.

        I really don’t think many people realize how good Bryant was in all three years old college…This year was a hell of a cap, but he hit close to ~.360 in his first two seasons with numbers across the board.

        • SenorGato

          No, not jo

          Of, not old

  • Internet Random
  • cubchymyst

    I’m thinking Bryant gets a bonus some where between 6M-6.4M. If they give Bryant 6.4M and make him the highest player drafted this year the Cubs still have 648K left (that includes the 5% overage) to sign Clifton. The negotiation on the Cubs sign boil down to do the get Bryant and Clifton or Bryant, Clifton, and Alamo. Has anyone seen a report on how much it might take to get Alamo?

    • SenorGato

      Pretty much what I expect. I would love to bring in Alamo, but no clue on price.

  • Dustin S

    Glad this article came out today because after the flurry of activity yesterday, Bryant is the one thing that remains outstanding that would be nice to close on. It’s a bit frustrating for Bryant to not be playing. Hanneman is tearing it up in AZ. Appel is making his first start in A-ball Friday. So while it’s only been a couple weeks lost it would sure by nice to have Bryant playing ball.

  • North Side Irish

    Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo 5m
    Turns out the Dodgers only wanted the Int’l cap $, as they designated Marmol for assignment.

    Wow…I think if someone else picks him up, the Cubs have to send the Dodgers more money.

    • cubchymyst

      Still don’t understand that deal. I know the Cubs were looking to save some money on his contract but I’d rather them just keep the International money.

    • Dustin S

      Hmm, that could get interesting. Still very early in the info, but on the surface it seems highly weasel-ish by LA if there was a money stipulation on them keeping him and it turns out they had no intention to. It’s a bad situation for Carlos too.

      • Crockett

        Absolutely weasel-ish. I have to think that the Cubs will file a complaint with the Commissioner’s office about operating in good faith if the Dodgers actually request their money.

        • RizzoCastro

          The Cubs got $500,000 from the Dodgers. They won’t get that money back. The Cubs have to pay the rest of what is owed to Carlos unless he signs with another team. That team will have to pay him a prorated amount on the MLB min. for a player so that will also be taken of the Cubs total. The Cubs got Matt Guerrier out of the deal hopefully he pitches well for the Cubs and they can get something in a trade for him to make that deal even better for the Cubs. I’m sure the Cubs knew all along what the Dodgers would do.

          • Crockett

            This is wrong. But Marmol is going to AAA anyway, so it’s a moot point.

    • hansman1982

      “Wow…I think if someone else picks him up, the Cubs have to send the Dodgers more money.”

      Wait, what? How?

  • pfk

    I absolutely love that the Cubs management and ownership are committed to building a first class organization from the ground up. Its the only way to go and they’ve been doing a great job on the facilities, draft picks and international signings. Here’s my concern, every time they trade for picks or kids it pushes the desired end result down the road. I used to think they would bee mildly competitive in 2014 and then go up from there to be going for it in 2015. Now, there is no reason to believe that 2014 will be any better than this year. None of the kids will be ready next year. It may not be until mid 2015. However, by that time, they will lose Samardzija and, given that solid free agents want to go to a winner, the starting rotation could be awful unless some young arms develop. I don’t think we will get to .500 until 2016 and be really in the hunt until 2017. I had hoped that it would be 2015.

  • Die hard

    Told you yesterday that Bryant balking .. It’s not the money.. He wants guarantees to play in Wrigley next yr…. Getting rid of Stewart not enuf… May take ridding club of all possible competition in majors and minors… This kid is a head case

    • Carew

      Are you kidding me?

      Your comments are so frustrating, and yet kind of funny. It’s an odd feeling…

      • mjhurdle

        [img]tumblr_m9fiy8nMUR1r8f82jo1_500[/img]

      • mjhurdle

        image fail…take 2
        [img]tumblr_m9fiy8nMUR1r8f82jo1_500[/img]

      • mjhurdle

        crap, i give up. i feel like i am Soriano, and images are the low and away slider in the dirt.
        just ring me up and send me back to the dugout.

        • Carew

          Haha I appreciate the effort

    • Scott

      Did Bryant actually say that he “wants guarantees to play in Wrigley next yr”?

      • JulioZuleta

        No. Not sure if you’re new around here (if you are, welcome), but die hard rarely (never) says anything that is actually true. He sits in a fallout shelter with a tin foil cap on thinking up crazy conspiracy theories.

        • Bric

          Yes, these things are all true. But he also serves as self appointed spiritual leader and moral compass for all of the bleacher nation. I rank him somewhere above the Secretary General of the U.N. and just slightly below the Dali Lama.

    • DarthHater

      God, when Bryant signs shortly before the deadline, it’s going to be so f-ing gratifying to ridicule you to the end of the galaxy and back again. Not that I really need an excuse to do that…

      • BT

        No, you just have to wait for the next post.

  • JulioZuleta

    Interesting tidbit in all this. If Bryant were to NOT sign (he will), the Cubs would get the third pick and also, likely the second or 4th. If he were to go back, he better pray he goes number 1. Otherwise the Cubs would likely pass him with consecutive picks, and he’d be left at #4 or #5 best case scenario.

    • Crockett

      Actually…wouldn’t the Cubs be over the 5% right now? Or are they under?

      • JulioZuleta

        They would not be. Reading between the lines somewhat it seems like the deal they had in place with Clifton is contingent on Bryant signing. If Bryant were to not sign as of right now the Cubs would not lose a pick.

  • Jon

    This Kris Byrant is sounding like a little prick already. He’ll be a great replacement for Ian Stewart.

    • Carew

      If I were him, I would want as much money as possible. I think Bryant said he wanted to take a couple weeks to himself too.

      • Jon

        I’d be happy to be an instant millionare and be ready to get my pro career started, vs nickel and diming over a few bucks, but hey thats me.

        • bbmoney

          Breaking News: A few bucks now equals several hundred thousand dollars.

          Nothing is guaranteed for any of these guys after this first contract. They absolutely should be trying to get every dollar they can.

    • mjhurdle

      how does him trying to make the best business decision for himself equate to him being a prick?
      Im sure most people in their job interview don’t settle for the least amount offered by their job simply because they don’t want fans of the business they are going to work for to be upset.
      Why hold him to a vastly different standard?

      • SenorGato

        It’s part of the new draft delusion…players and agents have no leverage at any point and should be ready and willing to bend over for a nice little session with a ML FO.

        • SenorGato

          If you don’t comply, you are a trouble making rabble rouser.

        • bbmoney

          its asinine isn’t it?

          Bryant’s doing exactly what he should be doing. And before the deadline passes he’ll do what’s best for him and sign the deal after getting himself as much as he can. That’s not being a prick, that’s living in America and doing what’s best for yourself.

          The worst part of these draft slot values is owners try to sell it as making sure rich teams don’t just buy the best talent. But in actuality it’s just giving the owners more leverage to keep prices down and keep more money in their pockets. Not that I have anything against owners making money….I just like free markets.

          • ssckelley

            I get that, and if I was in his shoes I would probably squeeze every dime I could as well. But I am not, and the fan in me hopes they have money left over to be able to sign Clifton and Alamo. So every dollar he takes trickles down to the less chance the Cubs can sign these other players.

            At 5.6 million Bryant will be a millionaire and it still leaves enough to bring in a couple other potential prospects. IMO that is to much money to risk going back to college where next year you have even less leverage. Appel made millions more by going back to Stanford and got himself a very good degree, but Bryant has very little to gain by going back to San Diego and a lot to lose.

  • Rebuilding

    The only leverage Bryant has is the signing deadline. He’s not going back to school. Unlike Appel who slid quite a bit last year there is absolutely no upside of going back for Bryant. He’s just using time to squeeze a few extra bucks and hang out on the beach in San Diego

  • ssckelley

    I am liking Bryant less and less with each passing day he remains unsigned and ties the Cubs hands from signing the rest of their picks.

    • Jon

      agreed, whats with people from San Diego? Kris Bryant…Ron Burgandy….

    • Spriggs

      For some Cubbish reason I don’t know, I fear this will not end well. You know it’s going down to the wire. The Cubs absolutely need this signing to happen (this year).

  • cubzforlife

    Theo commented that Wood changed his position in the realtion to the mound and that’s the reason for his newfound success. So it was coaching and more than just luck. I think This was on the Kaplan interview monday night.

    • Mr. Gonzo

      This insightful comment may not go over well with the argument-mongering wolves roaming here that refuse to give any credit to coaching.

      • DarthHater

        [img]http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/23756924.jpg[/img]

      • BT

        They give plenty of credit to the coaches. When something goes wrong, it’s the coaches fault.

  • Carne Harris

    Right handers are hitting .327/.413/.545 against Russell this year, Dale. .292/.352/.498 career. He’s basically a LOOGY in the making. If I’m throwing my shoe at the TV telling you that before the homerun, you probably need to take some of the credit for that loss.

  • Die hard

    You know—–Valbuena is showing just enough to be leverage against signing Bryant– often best deal is one not made– cut bait time

    • waittilthisyear

      this one HAS to be a joke. right?

      • Die hard

        No– serious inquiries only like the ad says…use the 7 million elsewhere .. Valbuena plays D and this kid is a DH

  • Darrell b

    Since Rusin was send back down and can’t be recalled for the next turn. Who will start?

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