Lukewarm Stove: Another Big-Time Cuban Defector, Ransom, Pedroia, Rios

stoveThis has been the most “July day” ever. Ongoing analysis of a big-time trade just completed, a hot rumor that peaks and is quickly dismissed (but only partially), an international free agent narrowing his list of teams, and a recently-signed draftee getting a promotion. And now there’s a Lukewarm Stove, to boot!

  • There’s a big-time Cuban defector in the news today, and no, it isn’t Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (well, he’s in the news, too). It’s 26-year-old infielder Alexander Guerrero, who received only a tiny bit of attention when he defected back in January. Usually we hear updates on these guys along the way – after defection, getting into the big leagues is a long process with many steps – so there wasn’t much to say on Guerrero back then. But today, reports started swirling that he’s already agreed to a deal with the Dodgers for $32 million. Those reports seem premature, as Guerrero’s agent tells Jesse Sanchez that his client hasn’t agreed to any deals, and there are three teams in the mix. Sanchez says one of those teams is the Dodgers, and the other two include an unnamed AL team and an unnamed NL team. Importantly, Guerrero has not yet been unblocked by the U.S. Government, so he is not yet free to sign with any team. He’s going to work out for teams on Wednesday in the Dominican Republic, and then play in a game on Thursday. The Cubs have not been connected to Guerrero to date, so we’ll see what happens in this process, now that we’ve been turned on to just how close he is to reaching free agency (and the kind of beefy contract he’s going to get). That said, this has a Jorge Soler feeling to it – i.e., early reports that a deal with Team X is done, those reports are “debunked,” the process goes forward, and then the player signs with Team X on a deal that pretty much matches the early reports. In other words, I’d be shocked if Guerrero didn’t end up with the Dodgers (who just happen to have a serious need at second base).
  • Joel Sherman, in discussing the ongoing Alfonso Soriano rumors, notes that the Cubs have Cody Ransom, who plays many positions and kills left-handed pitching. There was no direct reference of Ransom being in these or other discussions between the Yankees and Cubs, but it’s nice to see that Ransom is appropriately valued. I still believe he’s a nice complementary piece.
  • Dustin Pedroia has reportedly agreed to terms with the Red Sox on a seven-year extension (kicking in after next year) worth $100 million-ish. The deal, which runs through Pedroia’s age 37 season, appears on first glance to be quite under-market for one of the truly elite second basemen in the game. Pedroia was under control through 2015, however, at just $10 million (2014) and $11 million (2015), so it was going to be a little while before he was able to bank huge money (and he would be 31 at that point). Seems like a good deal for both sides, and it will be interesting to see how it affects fellow elite second baseman Robinson Cano’s free agent expectations.
  • Jayson Stark points out that, since Memorial Day, Alex Rios’s production at the plate has taken a huge hit: just .253/.296/.347 since then. So, to the extent that there is overlap between the markets for Rios and Soriano (or maybe Nate Schierholtz, if handedness doesn’t matter), Rios’ performance is going in the wrong direction.

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

48 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Another Big-Time Cuban Defector, Ransom, Pedroia, Rios”

  1. Die hard

    They are not defectors…. Cuban govt paid to let them play here

    1. mak

      huh? Did they allow him to renounce his citizenship and seek citizenship in the US? I’d call that defecting.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Mak just ignore these baiting comments he’s been banging this drum for month so just move along nothing to see

        1. mak

          im just too damn gullible. damn you internet.

          1. JulioZuleta

            If I still responded to die hard’s posts I would point out that a guy is doing 12 years in jail for attempting to smuggle Yasiel Puig out of the country…

            1. fromthemitten

              If that happened between MLB and Cuba there would be so many governmental agencies up their ass you would think that they were growing dope in the bullpen

    2. BT

      Die Hard, how can you even talk about Cuba with what’s happening in Egypt still going on?

  2. JulioZuleta

    No doubt the Pedroia contract is a good one, but I don’t think it’s quite the steal some of the national guys make it out to be. He’s going to be a 38 year old second baseman making over $14M. Also, it doesn’t even start for 21 months. Just a lot of uncertainty in that deal for the Sox. It definitely was a solid deal for both sides, though.

  3. JB88

    It’s funny, but on another non-Cubs board, in discussing the cross-town series back in May I said that there wasn’t a single Sox player that I would take over a current Cubs starter. I ended up in a heated debate about Schierholtz and Rios and how I’d take Schierholtz over Rios given their (at the time) relatively similar numbers and Schierholtz’s far superior contract.

    I like when future performance bears out a past argument I’ve made :)

    1. mister_rob

      Nate hasnt exactly been tearing it up as of late either

      1. JB88

        Well, that said, he’s still acquired a 1.4 WAR on the current season and has a 119 wRC+. Now the WAR is less than Rios, but the wRC+ is 11 points higher. Given their contract situations, that Rios is full time and Schierholtz is not, and that Rios has accumulated that 2.0 in 113 more plate appearances, I guess I still feel comfortable giving the nod to Schierholtz.

  4. James

    It has been nice to see the Cubs being active at the trade deadline. I wonder if Luis Valbuena has been mentioned in the possible Soriano deal. It would seem that adding a player here or there might help the Cubs bring back a better prospect. Also seeing what the Cubs got in the Garza deal I wonder if they would think about tradeing Jeff Samardzija.

    1. Smackafilieyo

      I hope not!!! I’m a ND and Cub fan for life….I need him as my link to both and I already have his jersey.

  5. Ivy Walls

    If the Cubs indeed sign one of the new Cubans, though they are 26, the pitcher is obviously the primary but another IF’er adds to an inventory. It is what a big market team does.

    1. EQ76

      Assuming the dude’s really 26 and not a 29-30 year old with a fake birth certificate.

      1. On The Farm

        The process for Cubans is a lot more strict than other Latin American countries.

  6. North Side Irish

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 3m
    You can make a case for number two in baseball. RT @craigy_bear9: @ProfessorParks Where would you rank the Cubs overall system now?

    Behind the Twins…

    1. Mick

      Buxton has been murdering A+ since his promotion and now the Twins are even thinking about getting him a cup of coffee in AA before the season’s through. The kid is only 19 in his first full professional season!

      1. JB88

        For the Astros’ sake, I hope McCullers and Ruiz were worth taking Correa over Buxton. Because right now that seems awfully questionable to me.

        1. On The Farm

          I know its early, but Buxton looks like the next Trout. Which means the value that those three guys may have it even harder to match Buxton’s career numbers. It will be very interesting indeed.

          1. JB88

            I’ll state it another way: Given that Buxton will be cost controlled for 5 years (certainly a Super 2 candidate), if he turns out to be the next Trout, under basically no set of circumstances can the Astros draft equal drafting Buxton, because the Twins will have the ultimate star in the game, at a premium position, and in a cost-controlled environment.

            No amount of return for Correa, McCullers, and Ruiz (short of each of them becoming perenniel all-stars) will make up for losing out on the best player in the game.

            1. Norm

              Correa could be a perennial all star and was a legitimate choice at 1st overall.
              9 months younger, .400 wOBA, 12% walk rate, 16% K rate, .400 OBP as an 18 year old shortstop….I think they’ll be happy.

              1. JB88

                A legitimate choice for No. 1, yes, but my recollection is that Buxton was pretty much universally thought of as the better prospect of the two. Unless McCullers and/or Ruiz end up as substantial big league pieces, having the best player in the game is still substantially more attractive than having merely a perennial all star. Particularly when the cost difference was a mere $1.4M.

  7. cub2014

    Only other player to collect 9 hits in 4 games as a cub rookie
    Besides andy pafko in 1943? Yep its JUNIOR!!!

    1. Mr. B. Patient

      Brings back memories. Andy was the starter at the golf course I used to play as a youth. We’d always get to the course early just to hear him tell stories. He always told us he would have paid the Cubs to let him play. Really good guy.

  8. cerambam

    Signing both (though unlikely) would free up some of our top prospects to be traded in bigger deals.

    For example, if we sign the second basemen and he ends up being good, then you have Guerrero, Castro, Valbuena, Barney, Olt, Bryant, Alcantara and Baez all vying (some a ways off obviously) for 3 infield spots.

    So, a blockbuster trade is easier to swallow.

  9. Bilbo161

    Ahhh, Not sure why we are not supposed to think Pedroia is already making huge money. 10/11 mill is huge.

    1. Justin

      Obviously, $10 MIll is huge money for pretty much anyone. Relevant to other MLB all star players it’s pretty low though. That’s all this is about. Although, I am not a huge fan of this Pedroia extension. Seems pretty unnecessary considering they had him locked up the next 2 yrs.

      1. Bilbo161

        Yea, I know. Just think more than huge is better defined a obscene. Just the wrong perspective for me. It would be nice to see players put something else before money for once. After all, they can certainly afford it. :)

  10. RyanWEit

    Got in trouble at work today reading on my phone about the Sori trade rumors on this website…my boss is a damn soxs fan

    1. Bilbo161

      You need that boss buster rear view mirror ;-). I always could tell when my boss was coming down the hall because he had a little clear-your- throat cough that was distinctive. Feel your pain.

      1. RyanWEit

        I could definitely find a use for that rear view mirror…he doesn’t understand how important the trade deadline is haha

  11. Dustin S

    What does Tunney have against pedestrian walkways? I don’t quite get that. If it’s done in an architecturally seamless way which the drawings looked, I would think less people in the streets would be a plus. I wonder how many people a year are hit crossing the street to and from Wrigley?

    1. itzscott

      Because it funnels people where they would tend to spend their money with the Cubs as opposed to the independent, surrounding businesses that make the neighborhood vibrant.

      In other words, once a fan finds themselves at a Cub owned location, the goal is to “capture” them to try to discourage them from spending their money elsewhere. The pedestrian flow of traffic is one way that encourages that.

  12. Rebuilding

    Brett, the mayor’s office issued a statement today saying that the Cubs have dropped the ask for the bridge and agreed that there will be no additional signage, other than that already approved, for the next 10 years

    1. Rebuilding
      1. aCubsFan

        Yep this sucks.

  13. Cubsfan2436

    Do you guys think Bud Selig will ever put in place a salary cap? It’s ridiculous that the dodgers can buy whoever they want.

    1. mush

      You won’t be saying that in about 2017 when the Cubs start doing the same thing. Be careful what you wish for.

      1. Cubsfan2436

        Mush: true but if the TV rights contracts market bubble bursts then we are screwed. Many think there is bubble right now and it might not be there in 2017

        1. mush

          By then the Cubs will have their own network, unlimited revenue stream.

    2. Neil

      its better than dodgers ownership pocketing all the money

    3. Tommy

      I think it’s MLBPA that wouldn’t allow a salary cap, not the league. With the luxury tax thing, the overspending will eventually catch up to the Dodgers. Brett just posted about them dropping out on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez because of all the money tied up in their pitching staff right now.

      It does get frustrating getting outbid all the time, but as the Angels and Dodgers have shown this year – spending money doesn’t always equal wins. In fairness, the Dodgers have been playing much better as of late.

      1. Cubsfan2436

        It may take a lock out to have a salary cap put in place (still doubtful to ever happen). The MLB is a gold mine and there is too much for he mlbpa and owners to lose by locking out. But I think the gap between small market teams and big market teams is going to be huge in the next 10 years. It already is huge, but I have no clue how small market teams can compete. Good scouting and drafts are the only way they’ll be able to compete and when those great players reach FA they’ll never be able to resign them.

        1. Blublud

          I don’t think it will take a lock out. The team can internally agree to spend what they want. It doesn’t have to be an official thing. I doubt it happens without the players agreement, but it is possible.

          I don’t like the idea of one. There is no salary cap in the real world and the Rays have been a very successful small market. There are others also. The Orioles, the A’s, the Rockies, the Diamondbacks, the Giants over the last few years. Good teams with good management will be fine.

  14. Paul

    Is “Defector” appropriate to say? I think the PC term should be something like “Persons Opting to Transfer Work to Another Country” or POTWACs. We wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, is there any chance we get this POTWAC?

    1. Corey

      Fuck PC.

      1. DarthHater

        9301687183_c57b85e1f0_o.png

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