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stoveThe Trade Deadline is just about two days away, and the activity is picking up – see the Tigers and Braves each picking up a reliever today.

  • Nate Schierholtz continues to draw interest from a number of teams, including the Pirates (as we’ve heard before), according to Jon Morosi. Morosi writes separately that the Pirates should be as motivated as any team to improve at the Trade Deadline, given the opportunity for a great season that lies before them (and the wasteland of awfulness that lies behind them for the last two decades). Morosi suggests a blockbuster with the Giants, which has Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence, and Sergio Romo going to the Pirates. It sounds sexy on paper, but with some $8 million owed to Lincecum the rest of the way, $5ish million to Pence, and almost $7 million to Romo through 2014, it could be a very expensive trade for the Pirates, unless the Giants ate a ton of salary. By contrast, Schierholtz makes less than $1 million the rest of the way, and will get a slight bump on his $2.25 million salary next year in arbitration. To the extent there’s a bake-off in a situation like this, the Cubs may have one of the best outfield bats available because of Schierholtz’s fantastic contract and production. (Obligatory caveat that I see just as much value in the Cubs keeping Schierholtz for next year.)
  • Jesse Crain, despite being on the disabled list with a shoulder issue, is garnering a lot of trade interest, and Bruce Levine reports that Crain was seen handing out envelopes to the White Sox’s clubhouse staff after yesterday’s final game of a home stand. Those tips are a tip-off that Crain doesn’t expect to return to the White Sox. Jeff Passan says a deal is not close, though. The Rays could be involved, although it’s unclear how Crain’s injury will impact the trade. The 32-year-old free-agent-to-be is consistently good, and has been absurdly good this year. If his injury hasn’t derailed interest, then there’s yet another reliever on the market to step on the Cubs’ efforts to shop guys like Kevin Gregg and James Russell (or Matt Guerrier, if the Cubs are really trying).
  • One reliever who probably isn’t on the market anymore is Jonathan Papelbon, whose contract, strange team situation, and declining performance have potential buyers staying away. The Tigers have long made at least a little bit of sense, but they got their man (Jose Veras) earlier today.
  • The Phillies are also unlikely to move Chase Utley, as Jon Heyman reports that the team is working on an extension with him. To the Phillies: I know you want to preserve faces of the franchise and all that, but how are those Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard extensions working out? Utley, who is a free agent after the season, turns 35 in December.
  • Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles want to make a big move (but then he lists Jake Peavy, Justin Morneau, and Michael Young as their targets, so “big” might be a fluffy concept here), and they might even make Dylan Bundy available in the right deal. Bundy, you may recall, was the best pitching prospect since sliced bread before he underwent Tommy John surgery this year. His stock is still plenty high, and every organization – including the Cubs – would love to have him. I’m not sure that the Cubs have a “big” piece to offer, though. Sure, Jeff Samardzija would certainly be big enough to net Bundy (and more), but I’m not sure I see the teams lining up. Bundy and Kevin Gausman probably gets you thinking about moving Samardzija, but that’s a steep, steep price for the Orioles. Bundy, and two of Jonathan Schoop, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Josh Hader? I’m not actually proposing trades here or playing the let’s-make-up-a-trade thing. I’m just trying to gauge whether there’s a realistic package for each side available.
  • Jayson Stark says a Jake Peavy deal in the next two days is likely, and he breaks down the potential buyers. On Pence, by the way, Stark hears the Giants will only deal him if they’re “blown away,” given that they’d like to re-sign him.
  • On the Cubs-specific front, things are relatively quiet right now. Not that that means anything.
  • Jon

    1) Ruben Amaro is an idiot

    2) The Puig haters have backed off the past couple weeks. Dude has been on fire again. It really sucks the Cubs got beat out on him.

    • YourResidentJag

      Ruben Amaro comes from the school of Pat Gillick, who like Theo for his time, was a solid GM and was of the best in the game. It’s not so much that Amaro is an idiot. It’s that he stuck in the GM philosophies of the 1990s and earlier 2000s. Which, essentially means he’s stuck in a time warp. Also, remember Gillick was employed not so long along as a consultant to Amaro for the Phillies.

    • BT

      He’s had a good 6 days. before that he was having a rough month. He’s had 11 out of his 26 July hits in the those 6 games. No one is a Puig “hater”, people were simply saying that he had cooled considerably from his fast start. He’s going to have very good stretches, and probably bad stretches. It’s what baseball players do.

    • mjhurdle

      Puig is still striking out at a high clip.
      Personally, Puig (or any prospect) isn’t legit until they reproduce their production next year.
      I have seen too many players explode on the scene, for different lengths of time, only to fall off later.

      Puig’s Ks are a big warning flag to me, as is his unsustainable .465 BABIP (highest BABIP since 1945 is .408) .
      If he manages to come back and duplicate this effort next year, then i will be the first saying he is legit.
      But if his BABIP comes back down to average level and his Ks stay the same, then he looks like a completely different player.
      I guess i am saying that I am taking the wait and see approach.

      • Jon

        Even if his BABIP normalizes a bit, his numbers will still be pretty damn good. and he’s already put a 2.8 WAR so far this year. Dude is legit.

        • mjhurdle

          not really.
          From the start of July on, Puig is batting .299 while still having a high BABIP of .418.
          he has 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 7 BBs, and 30 Ks in 87 ABs.
          That is a SO rate that even Baez will laugh at.

          Again, i am not “hating”. I have nothing against Puig.
          I do not think he is as good as his first month suggested, and i also am not saying he will be as bad as his latest month suggests.
          Odds are that his end result will be closer to the second month than the first, but again, way too early for me to call him legit or a bust.
          Just my opinion though.

  • turn two

    We sweep a bad brewers team and we are just 3 under

    • On The Farm

      Lets hope Arrieta is ready to go, his game has me pretty nervous/excited.

      • turn two

        Yeah I’m excited about his start

        • Arrieta’sUncle

          Me too.

      • Nate

        Its going to be really exciting to see what we got in him. I can’t wait for that game

  • tbone

    Steep price for the Orioles, but if they were to offer Bundy and Kevin Gausman , I’d jump on it if I’m the Cubs. I don’t see any signs that the Cubs are serious about contending next year so you are essentially giving up one year of Shark (2015) for control of two young arms. That seems right in line with the FO philosophy. You are always taking a gamble with prospects (and an injured one at that), but the risk would probably be warranted given the timeline for contention.

    • On The Farm

      Why do you think that? The Cubs are only 7 games under .500 and are over .500 since the 5-13 start. If they go out and sign the best FA pitcher Garza (I know it probably won’t happen), or even make a trade for a TOR with a trade headlined by Baez, this could be a pretty good ball club. TOR (Price/Garza), Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Villanueva/Rusin/Arrieta/Grimm. That is not a bad rotation. If someone beats out Villanueva you could have him, Arrieta, Russell, Strop, Parker in the bullpen. I know people hate signing FA bullpen arms, but Crain could be a very good guy for next season. DeJesus, Scheirholtz, and Lake in the OF. Rizzo, Barney/Alacantra, Castro, Valbuena across the diamond, it really doesn’t look like that bad of a team.

      • tbone

        I don’t disagree with you, and I hope they surprise next year, but I don’t see them trading any top prospects for veterans until 2015 unless a long term piece becomes available. I think the approach is to incrementally improve the team and stockpile young position players and quality arms for depth (more than as tradable assets) until they are a strong contender. I see them only pulling a trade if they are in a very strong position to contend, not if they have a surprising season. I also have no problem extending Shark at all, I am just not sure they value him the same way they would two young, cost controlled arms. I guess it really depends on where they want to invest their $$$ over the next few years. Shark is going to be very expensive to sign long term and if the FO thinks they can strenghten the team by signing more bullpen arms, etc., while adding quality young cost controlled arms they will do so. Again, only my opinion and they could very well look at things completely differently than I am interpreting.

        • On The Farm

          Sure, I just think it seems more likely that the Rays won’t want to pay Price’s salary, so if he becomes available you can only obtain guys when they become available. On the flip side of that coin, I had a good discussion with Rebuilding the other day and I think its very feasible Price doesn’t get traded (to prospect expensive) and makes it to FA.

      • Noah

        I think next year the Cubs still have to keep their eye on 2015 more than 2014. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t make moves to try to compete in 2014, but just that they shouldn’t be moves with a decent likelihood of turning around and biting them in the butt in 2014. So trading for Price, for example, would be a long term move that would both help 2014 and 2015, barring injury. But relievers are so volatile, I’d be hesitant to sign Crain to the type of deal that he will likely garner (I’d bet he’ll get 3 years at very good money for a setup man.)

        A big part of this to me is where the NL Central is right now. The Cardinals, Bucs and Reds are likely to be quite good in 2014 yet, but the Reds are not far from coming up against the nasty combo of players aging and their payroll limitations. Eventually the Bucs will have to deal with their payroll limitations as their supporting players (Walker, Sanchez, etc.) climb up the arbitration ladder and towards free agency. And it will likely be more difficult for the Cardinals to restock their farm system as they have in the past with the current CBA limitations.

        I just think the NL Central is going to be very hard to win in 2014.

        • On The Farm

          I realize Crain is an unpopular option, I just threw his name out there purely because bullpen is probably where we are weakest, so the thought of signing one RP isn’t too crazy. As for winning the NL central, I don’t think the Cubs will win the Central next year, but getting that second WC spot should be something the FO should want to get to. Playoff expierence has it’s value too.

      • miggy80

        I’m hoping that Valbuena is nothing more than a bench player next year.

        • On The Farm

          I would be lying if I said I disagree. That being said, I believe his production has been pretty much the average 3B this season.

          • miggy80

            I’m hoping Vitters or Olt get a chance next year. And what about Lake at 3rd? I saw him play some third down at Iowa and he looked pretty good over there.

            • On The Farm

              That would be awesome if Olt can get his vision problem corrected, or Vitters can get over his injury bouts. I like both players, but at least I feel confident Valbuena can give me average production until Baez comes up and absolutley mashes.

              I’m a dreamer.

      • JayPaul

        I was even thinking Pence to the Cubs on a reasonable contract would make sense. As long as the Giants keep the qualifying offer off him or the Cubs end up with a protected first round pick. Seems like an Edwin Jackson type signing, which is the price point I believe they’ll look for an upgrade, paired with another slew of value signings.

  • AD

    That means something bigs is in the works… maybe.

    • gocatsgo2003

      What does?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Not much chatter about the Cubes.

  • YourResidentJag

    Bundy, and two of Jonathan Schoop, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Josh Hader?

    Could you propose that for Shark to Theo, Brett? I do that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not sure I’d do it. Bundy’s upside is absolutely ridiculous, but, even if TJS is a high probability recovery, I’d want a slightly more certain pitching piece in a Samardzija deal. He offers so much value to the Cubs the next two years – he’s so, so important.

      • YourResidentJag

        Boy, it’s sure is tempting though, and Eduardo Rodriguez certainly is a solid secondary compliment.

      • RizzoCastro

        I agree with Brett. You have to get both Bundy and Gausman. I also think you have to try and get Josh Hader in the deal as well. The O’s want to win now and in the future, but the Red Sox and the Rays are in control so the O’s need to do something to change that ASAP. I don’t think a trade will happen, but Shark would be huge for the O’s and could give them a 2+ on wins over the next two months.

        • YourResidentJag

          Eduardo Rodriguez still a solid pick up, and one that’s more realistic so if it’s Bundy, Rodriguez, and Hader….as much as it pains me to say this….I do the deal. (Not without much internal discussions mind you, which I wouldn’t expect anything else from the baseball ops ppl of the Cubs.)

          • Stevie B

            Gausman and Bundy for Samardzija?

            I’d rip someones hand off grabbing the pen to sign…

            • YourResidentJag

              ? Never said Gausman and Bundy. That’d be great. Unrealistic, mind you, but great.

              • Stevie B

                I must have misread a quote above…

                Kinda like Andy Pettite “misremembering”….

      • caryatid62

        The question, however, is whether or not that value over the next two years is worth it. As someone who believes the Cubs are at least 2 years from contending, Samardzija’s value to the team during that time period is marginal (in relation to a championship)-he may take this team from an 82 to an 85 win team, which isn’t all that significant in terms of winning a championship. However, as a trade piece, he is more valuable to the future championship of the team if he can provide the talent in return that will result in the team winning a world series.

        A lot of this depends on how close you feel the Cubs are to being a real, honest contender.

  • Jon

    And Rays? Interesting. I think Friedman is going to pants Hahn on a deal.

    • YourResidentJag

      It’s for a reliever, though.

  • Eric

    I definitely don’t see the point of moving Schierholtz. His contract is gold and his play has been stellar. I imagine we’ll want to shoot for at least 10-15 games over .500 next year. He’ll be a bit part of that.

    • Danny Ballgame

      I would deal him now, if we get a good return. He is having a career year and we could get some solid players for him. He could also be a nice player to have cheap next year and revisit trade options a year from now.

      • Jono

        yea, sell high

      • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

        No sense trading just to make a trade. Shierholtz won’t bring a comparable return. The reason he is having a career year is because he is finally get some real playing time. He’s cheap, and he is producing. They need somebody to replace Soriano’s bat.

    • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

      I agree. He’s an ideal 5-hole hitter who’s cheap and not blocking anyone.

      • RizzoCastro

        Ideal 5-hole hitter? Really?

        • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

          Yes. 22 home runs (on-pace for) and an .869 OPS is more than enough production from that spot in the order.

          • Jono

            If you feel comfortable relying on that production on a consistent basis, more power to you. I,however, do not

    • wkranz54

      We need Schierholtz after dealing Hairston and Soriano. We already have called up Lake, who is left? Borbon? Sappelt? Jackson? Just not much to turn to this year and next. Realistically, none of these stud prospects (with exception of Baez) are showing up until 2015.

      • Jono

        need him for what? To win 73 games instead of 70?

        • On The Farm

          He is under control for next season, so I guess you could say the FO sees that value too..

          • Jono

            Not all free agents are willing to sign for one year, especially when they have other offers for more than one year. It’s a market place. There’s a competitiion to sign these guys, and when they’re multiple bids, the price gets driven up. That doesn’t just come in the form of more money, but also more years. The one year guys tend to be players coming off injuries or terrible years where they feel their value is depressed

            • On The Farm

              I am confused at what you are saying? Scheirholtz has an arbitration year left after this year, so as long as the Cubs tender a contract, he will be a Cub and he will get his arbitration raise. What is the point in trading him if you can still have him on your team next year?

              From your standpoint I would say we should keep Schierholtz because as you said FA is all about bidding so if you have an option in house why would you get rid of it?

              • Jono

                That’s one year. Short term. Rebuild is for long term.

                • bbmoney

                  So you’re writing off 2014 already? If they aren’t competitive next year you could still trade him.

                  I’m not ready to bail on 2014 yet and unless you get a ton of value, I don’t see the point in trading a productive player who will be very cheap next year.

                  • Jono

                    uh, yea. I wrote off 2014 at the begining of last year. I’m not saying trading him next year is a TERRIBLE idea. I’d just rather trade him now when he’s at his peak value (more control, career production)

                • On The Farm

                  So deal all MLB assets until the team is ready to make the playoffs. That sounds all well and good in theory. But how do you know when your team is going to make the playoffs. Right now this team is 7 games under .500. What is stopping them from catching a few lucky breaks that they missed at the beginning of this season, and some injuries to the Cardinals or Reds to let them sneak in the playoffs?

                  • Jono

                    “So deal all MLB assets”

                    Huh? I was just talking about one player. How do you go from a conversation about one player to “all MLB assets”?

                    • On The Farm

                      Apparently you are only looking at guys who are long term so guys like DeJesus, Scheirholtz, and Villanueva should all be traded because they won’t be around for 2015. That’s what I have gotten out of your posts. I just don’t see how you can just know there is no chance they can make the playoffs next season. Without knowing what is going to happen this offseason, what injuries could happen next season.

                      But if you can see into the future I have a few more questions regarding the stock market I need you to answer.

                    • Jono

                      Yea, that’s actually pretty accurate. I don’t “know” anything. I’ve tried to be pretty clear that I’m simply expressing my novice opinions.

                    • Jono

                      oh, and if you have stock market questions, feel free to ask me. That’s the one subject that I am not a novice. The markets are my job (I’m not an individual stock guy, so I couldn’t tell you which stocks are good. I’m a macro market guy)

                    • Jono

                      On The Farm- Please don’t encourage Kyle to join in. Please no.

                    • Jono

                      Miggy- I’m guessing you’re patronizing me, but free advice is free advice. If it costs nothing, why not hear it out? Lots of value in free, as long as you take it for what it’s worth and don’t only rely on one stranger from the internet

                  • Jono

                    I guess I’m a pessimistic fan. I don’t see them having a chance to compete (that word “compete” is pretty subjective) for a while. I have no thoughts about a winning team in 2014. At all. But I’m fine with that. i believe in their plan and am enjoying the ride. I love the moves they’ve been making and am not complaining about a thing.

                    • On The Farm

                      I am not complaining if they make the move or keep him. I think everyone is of the opinion if you get blown away trade, if not keep him. Where I differ with people is when they say that they have written off 2014. The offseason can be full of moves and you never know what can happen with luck or other team injuries to at least put a team out there that has a chance. I believe that is what happened this year, but luck wasn’t with us (bad bullpen performances) and no other teams lost major contributors.

                      I am fine with the rebuild, but I don’t think that means you have to have a top three pick every year, you can still obtain assests while putting a competitive team on the field to start every season (where is Kyle when you need him). I think dealing Russell or Schierholtz would have to cost good talent and I know no one will argue me there, but I don’t agree with sell high, just because, or he doesn’t fit long term.

                    • miggy80

                      Oh if you have any HVAC questions direct them to me. That’s one subject that I’m not a novice. HVAC is my job (I’m not a service tech so I couldn’t tell you what’s wrong with your equipment, I’m sales man for the HVAC warehouse).

                  • Jono

                    On The Farm- Please don’t encourage Kyle. (I thought I already posted this response, but I didn’t see it. So I apologize if this is a repeat)

                    • On The Farm

                      HA I was just knew if anyone could come on and back me up about putting a winning team on the field while still acquiring talent, Kyle would be my biggest supporter.

              • Jono

                I don’t believe they’re going to compete for anything worthwhile in 2014. They MIGHT be around .500. MAYBE. But playoffs? Playoff run? No way. 0% chance.

                • On The Farm

                  How can you possibly say that there is 0% chance?

                  • bbmoney

                    0 does seem outlandish. Clearly the chances aren’t good.

                    But its tough to make an argument for 0% chance when 2013 hasn’t ended yet and we don’t know what will happen this offseason.

                    • Jono

                      i think the idea of the Cubs getting into the 2014 playoffs is outlandish, so I guess it’s an appropriate guess for how I feel.

                    • Jono

                      I guess I don’t mind going out on a limb and risk being wrong

                    • bbmoney

                      This doesn’t make sense to me. Saying there is a zero percent chance, but then saying you could be wrong……

                      That just doesn’t sound like a zero percent chance. But I guess that’s just my opinion.

                    • Jono

                      My opinion is that there’s no chance. But my opinion could be wrong…..ok, I see what you mean. If I thought there was a zero percent chance, I wouldn’t think that it would be possible for me to be wrong? Well, ok, I’ll correct myself: My opinion is so awesome that it’s universal truth and cannot be wrong….shit….

                    • Jono

                      I just guaranteed a 2014 playoff appearance, right?

                    • DarthHater

                      God will make it happen, just to prove you wrong.

                  • Jono

                    Just my opinion. I don’t think there’s any chance. None. At all. I’ve been wrong before, could be again.

              • http://bleachernation Ferris

                Yes move him only if you get a big return this yr,because you can use him as bait nxt yr,same w dejesus,only guys for sure you trade is gregg, ransom,and valbuena.

        • willis

          I’d rather keep him unless they get blown away with a package. I just wish he could hit LHP a little better, but what he brings only helps this team continue ot grow and get better.

          • Jono

            I come from the mindset of Epstein and Hoyer. There’s no real value in winning 75 games and missing the playoffs. If you’re not making the playoffs (and of course only in year 2 of the rebuild), you might as well improve your future as much as possible.

            • On The Farm

              How do you know that this team isn’t an Ellsbury signing and David Price trade away from the playoffs?

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                Pirates going off market for Brian Wilson – not unexpected.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                If the Cubs did that, wouldn’t you have to consider Theo/Jed the second coming of Jim Hendry?

                • Danny Ballgame

                  Exactly

                  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                    Teams are built through all aspects: draft, FAs, trades, waiver wire, internationally.

                    You got 25 slots to fill – I bet, just ballparking it – you are lucky to get 8 by draft, 8 by FAs, 6-7 by trades, and 2-3 by the waiver wire and international. Nothing hard fast there, just a mix.

                    So if they finish in the top 10 for the draft, we best hit the FA/trade market and get the team ‘prepared’ to win it all. 2014 could be 82-80, 2015: 92 wins – here’s hoping!

                    And Ellsbury is not a horrible sign, if done. He won’t get 8 years, or beyond 5, so that’s not a bad deal. (Of course, some hate the dude’s ability, IDK.)

                • On The Farm

                  Well considering they drafted Ellsbury I would they know exactly what they are getting. So if they signed him they would feel very confident that they value of his deal is right (Theo has been burned by signing Crawford, and I can’t think of a signing he has made in Chicago that I haven’t agreed with yet). Also trading for Price is different then getting Garza because Price is a Cy Young contender.

                  Second coming of Hendry, hardly.

                • hansman1982

                  No, acquiring a potentially undervalued CF in Ellsbury and trading prospects for Price is exactly what you do.

                  Not sure where the thought came about that the Garza trade was so horrible. We got a good pitcher for 2 years and some damn good value back.

                  • On The Farm

                    Exactly, our FO should have the second best idea on Ellsbury’s value (maybe 1.5 is more accurate) only to Boston. If you can sign Ellsbury and get a great veteran SP its a win-win offseason.

                    I also agree on Garza, I would still trade Archer for him back then.

                  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                    Some people are myopic thinkers: focusing on one perceived BAD deal, or two in the present, then extrapolating it to all those YET to be done.

                    If a GM never signed a FA, say can’t miss guy, 26-27, great statistics, etc. etc., to a 5-6 year deal that goes bad, then the GM is not doing his job. TAKE RISKS!

                    The difference is when to know the team is ready to go quote, “all in” for a title run. If we truly have all these great guys knocking on the MLB door in 2014-15, we’d be the fool not to go shopping for that missing piece.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    Not if Ellsbury wants a 7-10 yr deal with previous injury issues, you don’t. God, I hope not.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      I stated 5 year deal at most, 4 year, team opt 5.

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Not responding to you, Jason, responding to Hansman.

                    • On The Farm

                      People also tend to forget the National signed Werth way too early, but the thing is with Ellsbury is you can only sign guys when they are available. We can’t wait until the 2014 offseason if the best option is in the 2013 FA class. (I am not saying there isn’t someone better to sign in 2014 because I don’t know, I am saying if Ellsbury type guy is what we need, we need to sign him now when he’s available.)

                    • YourResidentJag

                      Don’t want him (Ellsbury) for anything more than 5 yrs, which means some team (hopefully not the Cubs) will exceed that and pay a crazy price.

                  • CubsFaninMS

                    Look again. Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .302, .365 OBP with 38 stolen bases this season. He’s certainly not producing like he did a few years ago and is more of an injury risk now, but I’m not sure if he will be a buy-low. Let’s hope he is. I predict the front office makes a major splash in the off season and I can see it being Ellsbury.

                    • On The Farm

                      I just think if they sign him they have to be fairly confident in their gamble because there is the added pressure that they should know what they are getting more than anyone else. If they sign him, I will take it is as a very positive sign.

              • Jono

                I don’t know. No one knows. It’s just my opinion. I’ve never claimed to be an expert in these subjects. I’m just going by what Epstein and Hoyer have said. I believe in their plan, they’re smart guys. They know much more than me. I’m not going to go back and find quotes from months ago, but I’m just basically repeating what the FO has said.

                • On The Farm

                  You say that you are going by what they say, but they have never said they are writing off 2014. (In fact the last two season their plan has been to win a world series. Those are their actual words to start a season). So I am not sure where our FO has said they don’t see us making the playoffs next year, but if they have said that, it will mark the first time I will be unhappy with something they have done. You can’t write something off before its happened.

                  • Jono

                    I meant that about the value in winning 65 games instead of 75. Right, they never claimed to write off 2014. I didn’t mean to make that implication, just about the value in winning records

                  • Jono

                    If they really thought that the team could win 90 in 2014, for sure, they wouldn’t be selling off players that could help them next year. But there is a huge difference between 90 games (or even 85) and 75. They DID say that there’s more value in winning 65 instead of 75. I may not have those exact numbers right, but you know what I mean. I’m sure you read that quote

                    • On The Farm

                      I am with you on them saying 65 opposed to 75 games, I see what you mean.

                      I think if they can make some trades coupled with the right signings, the second WC spot should be a (realistic) goal, as compared to the WS win.

                    • Jono

                      I REALLY hope that you’re right and I’m wrong, OnTheFarm.

                    • On The Farm

                      Me too, and while I may joke the Cubs be winning anytime soon, it would be hard for me to watch a club that I know the FO is just going to boot next season too. If you don’t have hope for interesting offseason moves, you have nothing to look forward until 2015.

                      Unless you are going to watch our minor league team playoffs, which I dont plan on doing.

                    • Jono

                      “until 2015″ implies only one more year of losing. If that’s the case, I’d be ecsatic!

            • dhard84

              There is indeed value in improving. With such a young team it would be good for them to gain confidence (as this weekend in SF) in close games, and build off a base of improving from .500 (which I actually think is a stretch, but could be accomplished this year if they keep playing at July’s level).

              Put another way, getting to the playoffs would be more likely from a team that improves their record in consecutive years with a young core vs just assuming they’ll magically flip it one year after finishing at .350 or whatever

              • Jono

                That’s a pretty good argument. I also find value in those things.

              • Jp3

                This can’t be the same Die Hard, is probably pick a better handle name

      • Danny Ballgame

        I don’t think that we need him by any means. All of the guys that you listed wont save the day, but neither will Nate the decent. If the price is right, pull the trigger. If not, no big whoop.

        • wkranz54

          I’m just saying, everyone moans about not having a watchable team. No Nate isn’t going to lead us to the playoffs, but he helps us be a watchable, bearable brand. Plus this FO wants us over .500 next year; that just can’t happen without a few guys like Schierholtz to go with a Rizzo and Castro.

          • Danny Ballgame

            I just don’t care about the record at all. Make the playoffs. Winning 76 or 79 doesn’t change my view of the team.

            • wkranz54

              Sure, but it’s not like that is going to happen in one offseason. No one goes from a 70 win team to a 90 win team in one off-season.

              • On The Farm

                I wouldn’t say no one, because people will take you too literal, but I agree not many teams can just have a 180 turn around.

              • Danny Ballgame

                Agreed. But i don’t think that Nate can do more good in a Cubs uniform than he can in a trade. If he plays well next year he will be traded at the deadline. If he plays bad he provides nothing at all next year.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                Cubs Circa 1983 to 1984.

                Cubs Circa 2006 to 2007.

                It can be done, but doing it that way seems to not be sustainable.
                That’s what I hear most when Theo talks. Sustainable.

  • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

    Looks like we’re going to miss Clayton Kershaw when we play the Dodgers in a 4-game series starting in a few days. To which I say thank God, because that would have been ugly. The Cubs make even average lefties look like Cy Young candidates, and Kershaw actually is a lefty Cy Young candidate.

  • http://cubsdailyrecaps.blogspot.com Jason P

    Does anyone know when Jimenez, Torrez, and all our other IFA signings are eligible to start playing?

    In other words, can they make their debut in the DSL/VSL this year, or do they have to sit out and wait until next year?

    • bleeds cubbie blue

      I want to say it’s if theyre only 16 they cant play till next summer

      • Cedlandrum

        Yep.

    • cubsin

      The 16-year-olds have to wait until 2014. Mejia and Tseng are eligible to play this year.

  • Jp3

    Brett speaking of Ruben Amaro Jr.MLBTR is saying he’s now asking for teams 3-4 best prospects…. The had one of the more accurate sayings to some up the Cliff Lee saga a few days ago referring to it as “constant hemming and hawing” spelling not withstanding. That was hilarious and the hemming and hawing from him continues I guess

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      They also wanted 1st, 2nd and 3rd born child.

      I argued that with a Boston fan – that Philly wants the house, car, and the dog too in the Lee divorce. I was told where to go..

  • JulioZuleta

    Brett, how’s this for a hypothetical worst-case scenario for you: At 9:30 pm tonight various Twitter reports simultaneously indicate that a Samardzija trade is “imminent.” Do you (A) stay up and crank out updates, which could possibly keep you up until 2 or 3 am or (B) Try to pretend you didn’t see the tweets and get a decent night’s sleep? Tough call.

    • mak

      A, or I quit this site.

      • gocatsgo2003

        YOU MUST WORK YOURSELF INTO A COMPLETELY CATATONIC, ZOMBIE-LIKE STATE WHILE PRODUCING CONTENT FOR A FREE WEBSITE OR I WILL TAKE MY FREE BUSINESS TO SOME OTHER FREE WEBSITE!!!! THAT’S AN ORDER!!!!!

    • Bilbo161

      Yea we might get some bonus hours added to the blogathon.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Good Lord, that’s the kind of tough hypothetical that could only come from a law student.

      I’d probably do A for a little while, but try to call it a night by midnight. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen. Well, or it happens tomorrow night.

  • Jay

    Unless someone really rocks our world for him, we need to keep Schierholz—I just can’t see him having more value to any other team than ours.

    • JulioZuleta

      He would have more value to a team that has a shot at the playoffs this year AND next year. Absolute best case scenario we are fringe-wild card contenders next year, but it’s highly unlikely. He has more value to a lot of teams.

    • Jed Jam Band

      I like Nate a lot and obviously see the value in keeping him. But his value seems to be skyrocketing right now, and if we pair him with Russell, I feel we can bring in a return that will really knock all our socks off. That being said, I trust Theo and Jed, as their strategy for this trade season has been solid and has worked splendidly.

  • James

    Wow Joh Morosi saying the Pirates should make a huge trade with Giants is insane. The Pirates are not going to trade away the farm system for a one year chance for players that will become free agents after the year. The Pirates will look at players like Nate Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg first. The Pirates will make a trade before the deadline but they won’t make the same mistake the Royals did by tradeing away Wil Myers. Now for Jeff Samardziga I would trade him away for the right package. Jeff already said he will wait before he signs a extension. That has to be something that Jeb and Theo didn’t want to hear. Trading Jeff Samardzija for a package of Dlyn Bundy and others isn’t a bad idea. The Cubs want to bring up waves of young talenet in the next year or two. Bundy’s age would fit in with the other young players coming up. Tommy John surgery shouldn’t worry a team like it use to.

    • Jon

      ” Tommy John surgery shouldn’t worry a team like it use to.”

      That’s nonsense.

      • DocShock8

        124 of the 360 pitchers who started the season on an MLB roster this year have had at least 1 TJS. This is according to research by Will Carroll. I highly recommend the series he did over at Bleacher Nation about TJS. Consulted the top guys in the field about the surgery and results.

        Here is a link about the 124 players: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1699659-the-alarming-increase-in-mlb-pitchers-whove-had-tommy-john-surgery

        • hansman1982

          “Bleacher Nation”

          Brett is rolling over in his chair right now.

          • Jp3

            Ouch Bert, you should check that sight over there at Bleacher Nation… Sounds like a goodun

          • Tom A.

            Agree, Doc is either not all that thorough/observant or is quite an insulter.

            • DocShock8

              No insult intended, wrote too fast. He is the only person I read on that site and it has nothing to do with site, that is just where his information on player injuries is (mostly for fantasy baseball purposes).

        • DocShock8

          *Sorry for misidentification

          Not sorry for for following respected injury info individual who has many contacts in baseball and medical field. Followed Carroll from his days at Baseball Prospectus. Good read on injuries to MLB players.

        • DocShock8

          I apologize Brett if I insulted you or broke a posting rule for your site, it was not intended.

          • Hansman1982

            It’s all good. Ye shall be spared thy BanHammering for today.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            No worries in the least. Those guys are just razzing you. I also enjoy reading Will Carroll.

          • DarthHater

            For starters, a good rule of thumb is to just completely disregard everything hansman says.

            • Hansman1982

              Darth is a smart man.

              There disregard that and think the opposite.

              • DarthHater

                Norman, coordinate!

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Pirates will contently make a move that will involve someone like Josh Bell, Barrett Barnes, Victor Black (who was called up) or maybe Tony Sanchez. Anyone but their prizes at the top. They’ve worked too hard just to get this far.

  • North Side Irish

    John Arguello ‏@CubsDen 5m
    Just heard that *if* the Cubs were to consider trading Samardzija, *both* Tallion & Glasnow need to be involved.

    I’d want Polanco…another TJS guy…

    • Jed Jam Band

      The Cubs are right on this one. Although I might want to see if we could wrangle Kingham out of them as well.

    • JulioZuleta

      I could be wrong but I don’t remember Polanco having Tommy John. Also, he’s an OF so it wouldn’t really have the same type value-implications.

      • North Side Irish

        you’re right…I was thinking of Rymer Liriano. Polanco is healthy and just played in the Futures Game. A healthy Polanco may be too good to be added to a deal like this.

  • Dustin S

    It’s been touched on a bit too, but wondering if the latest hot streak inadvertently will end up leading to more trades. I don’t think it would be publically admitted to, but Theo was clear about not wanting to end up .500 this year (either playoffs or tank, essentially). Since we’re nearing that middle-ground with some recent wins, it makes you wonder which will win out – keeping guys for 2014 with a hope of a wild-card try, or push the accelerator on the sell button to ensure the team doesn’t end up in that ugly middling area.

  • Tim

    Has anyone been over at Cubs Den recently. John over there has posted for the last two days that he hears the Pirates are pushing to acquire Samardjza, and that the asking price starts with Tallion and Glasnow. Any thoughts on this? Assman? Brett, what do you think. Can anyone confirm if there is any validity to this rumor

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think what I think about all insider reports (from whatever the source): it’s a data point. On it’s face, it’s plausible, because it isn’t really a stretch to surmise that the Cubs would trade Samardzija if they were blown away (every team would). The Pirates are known to be looking for a pitcher, so there’s your two and two. I have no reason to doubt John and Tom, just as I have no reason to doubt, for example, Ken Rosenthal. But every rumor comes with a big grain of salt. That’s just the way it is.

      • Tim

        Thanks for the response Brett. If it’s me, and Samardjza refuses to sign an extension and I can get a couple of near ready rotation pieces I am all in.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Can always shop him in the offseason to a much broader market if that’s the case.

          • Hansman1982

            We also have a few teams that could use a solid pitcher this year who also happen to have some tip-top prospect arms.

    • Tim

      The rumor was based on the fact that Samardjza has been hesitant to agree to a long term deal, so why not deal him when his value is at it’s all time highest. I kind of feel like this is a deal that has a higher probability of happening than most people think

      • mdavis

        If they are willing to part with Taillon and Glasnow + I’d say you have to. but that seems like a stretch. that’s a huge leap of faith for division rivals.

    • CubsFaninMS

      The fact that we’re .500 right now, honestly, is not likely to set well with our front office. You won’t be in “protected draft pick” status and you’re nowhere close to the post season. Just a hunch, but I predict alot of action the next couple of days (complete and utter prediction). I would not be surprised if Samardzija is sent away for the right price. At this point, I believe their goal is to tank the season enough to get in protected draft pick status, make a major splash or two in the off season, and hit the ground running with Phase 2 of the rebuild in 2014. If Samardzija is traded, that will most certainly be a mixed blessing. He’s a team leader, has alot of promise, and has turned into one of the faces of the franchises. Mixed blessing indeed.

      • CubsFaninMS

        ** close to .500

      • TOOT

        I don’t see Samardzija being traded. He is a center piece as the FO has said. Not happy with his recent performance, but I would not trade him.

        • CubsFaninMS

          He has been lights out since the all star break. I’m indifferent on whether they trade him, all factors being considered. As someone indicated above, it would have to be a very strong return so, if he is traded, I think we’ll all be happy with the pieces we get. He’s one of the faces of the franchise so I can see them locking him up long term, though.

          • TOOT

            Which is it? Keep him or trade him? At some point the FO has to start building the dream team.

            • CubsFaninMS

              I’m not the decision-maker. As previously mentioned, I’m indifferent. I just hope they get a serious haul for him if they DO trade him.

  • Travis

    I say we keep Nate because no one will give us what we want. But on a side note, you guys need to go to youtube and check out Kent Murphy. He has like 15 videos about baseball from a fundamental standpoint. Check out pitching first.

  • MichaelD

    Of course Utley was always the best of the Rollins-Howard-Utley trio, so if you were not going to sign one of them to an extension, he is probably not the one to choose.

    Having said that, the Phillies were able to extract a lot of value from him for low cost. He got a late start to his career, so he was not going to be a free agent until past his peak seasons. With a couple of added years due to a contract negotiated before he was a free agent, he is now well past his peak years.

  • Cedlandrum

    I was wondering about Dallas Beeler as I hadn’t heard anything about his injury for a while and so I did so looking and found this report. http://smokiesonradio.com/tag/dallas-beeler/

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Cubs can also buy for the future…jessie crain from minn would be a nice closer for our team moving frwrd….brett jackson,josh vitters…would get it done the twins traded away two cf for pitching before the season,we are deep with position players,i do this sign and trade…. m2c

    • On The Farm

      Crain plays for CWS, might get traded this season, and is a good setup man, not closer. If you are referring to the actual closer in Minnesota Perkins, that would be a player expensive trade (and not sure why you would do it either). Also if you are talking about Perkins, no way they want Vitters and Jackson for Perkins

      • http://bleachernation Ferris

        That was my mistake, i meant crain frm w.s…and a ptbnl to cubs for vitters jackson, crain would be our closer until fugi…is 100% ready….i was looking at all teams in the A.L Central when i posted this.

  • Jon

    I think if you are going to get 3-4 of the Pirates top 10, you have to make that move.

    Consider this, (worst case scenario) if the Cubs move Shark and the cumulative value of those pieces does not make up for Shark himself, the Cubs do have the financial ability to make it up (“buy there way out of it.”..”replace Shark”) via FA

    The Pirates don’t have that same ability so weaking their top strengths(farm system) would go along way as division rivals.

  • North Side Irish

    Barry Rozner ‏@BarryRozner 2m
    Former Cub Frank Castillo dead at age 44. Drowned in Bartlett Lake in Arizona near his home. One of the really good guys. RIP.

    • Tobias

      I really liked Castillo when he pitched for the Cubs. Sad day for the Cubs and Cub fans.

      • Jon

        Is Frank any relation to Lendy?

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Wow…44. You never know.

    • ssckelley

      This stinks, he was one of the pitching coaches in Mesa.

    • TonyP

      RIP

  • Brent

    Every single Cubs fan should be hoping and praying that we trade Shark. The reason I say that is bc if we do trade him, that means Theo & Jed were absolutely blown away by the return. Otherwise they won’t deal him. It’s a win/win for the Cubs. We keep him unless the value being offered by, say the Pirates, is such an overpay that we must accept. It’s a good spot to be in. Last night I thought there was a 10% someone meets the asking price. I’ll move it to 15% today…

    • Corey

      you could say that about literally every player on the Cubs team that’s worth keeping. Again, oddsd arent good.

  • mudge

    Sometimes it takes a blind acorn to find a mule.

  • Corey

    Cubs have so many infielders and outfielders that are also good prospects. There’s gotta be a team out there with a good mlb catcher, who have a solid catching prospect and need either infielder prospects or outfielders. 1 for 1 or 2, depending on the prospects.

  • Crockett

    So, if we’re throwing out crazy deals…lets throw out crazy deals:

    Samardijizia, Russell, and Olt for Gausman, Bundy, Rodriguez, and Schoop.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      Were is Welington? They need a catcher too! ;)

  • 5412

    HI Guys,

    OK, after reading every post so far in this thread, I have come to a realization.

    Schierholz is an asset to the Cubs. He is a solid player, young, not too expensive and will help us win games. He is a good reliable player. So why would they trade him?

    If a team has a greater need for that asset NOW and is willing to give us better assets for the future in return we should look at it for sure.

    That is why the Yankees took Soriano, they had a greater need for him NOW than we do. He was turning into a liability because he was taking at bats away from other, younger players we need to learn about and give them MLB experience. I see no liability in DeJesus or Shierholz for that matter.

    So far, this is pretty much boiler plate common sense. While Schierholz may not be our next Rizzo or solid building block, he is much better for status quo, as is DeJesus than Soriano because of his contract. You have to have some veteran leadership on the team.

    To me, unlike Hairston, there should be no sense of urgency to trade Shierholz unless you see a really good deal on the table. His trade value at the end of the year or trade deadline next year should not diminish that much to a team that needs a solid outfileder in order to win.

    If either DeJesus or Shierholz gets traded, it should fall in the no brainer category or we should not do it.

    regards,
    5412

    • daveyrosello

      Cubs should be shopping DDJ and keeping Shierholz. Former will make 6.5MM next year if the Cubs pick up their option, that’s much more than the lattter for less production. Add in that DeJesus is older and somewhat injury-prone, and I’d eagerly trade him this week if I get an acceptable offer. A mid-teens organizational prospect from some team, said prospect with solid projectionable upside. I’ll take it.

      Ryan Sweeney can take DDJs place for next season. Again, at much less cost. I can live with a Lake/Sweeney/Shierholz OF for 2014.

      • mudge

        I agree. Trade DDJ & keep Sweeney.

      • On The Farm

        How do you know some other team wont come along and offer Sweeney more money? DDJ and Schierholtz are the only two that are gaurenteed to come back next season if the Cubs want them to.

        • Danny Ballgame

          We can replace Sweeney

  • JulioZuleta

    This is pretty mind-blowing. Mike Trout is on pace for a 9.8 WAR (after a 10.0 last year). So, to sum it up, TWO 9.8 WAR season by the age of 22. To put that in perspective, in the 100 something years of Cubs baseball, only twice has a Chicago Cub put up a 9.8+ WAR season: Sammy Sosa in 2001 (9.9 WAR) and Rogers Hornsby in 1929 (11.1). He is absolutely unbelievable.

    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

      He has to put up 10s to make up for Hey Hey Hey Pujols. But Pujols will be there longer than Trout, I suspect.

      • On The Farm

        Especially if they aren’t going to give him anything except the minimum during his contract renewable days.

      • JulioZuleta

        No way, you cannot not Trout leave. I bet he’ll get a monster extension within 2 years. He really might be the best player any of us ever see in our lifetimes. Other than 80 years ago, or roided up guys from the 90s, you just don’t really see 10WAR seasons very often. I mean, Miguel Cabrera won the TRIPLE CROWN last year, but only had a 6.4 WAR. To have two of those seasons by the time your 22? Absolutely unheard of. I tweeted in to Brett before, as amazing as Ken Griffey JR was, he NEVER had a 9.8 WAR season. If Trout does in fact hit the 9.8 make, he’ll gave as many as Griffey, Sosa, Cabrera, A-Rod and Frank Thomas had in their careers (and Sosa’s and A-Rod’s were both artificially enhanced).

        • JulioZuleta

          cannot let*

        • JulioZuleta

          One last example of his awesomeness: in the last 45 years there have only been nine 10-WAR seasons. Five of those belong to Barry Bonds (hah), the others are Joe Morgan (1975), Cal Ripken (1991), Rickey Henderson (1990), and Mike Trout (2012).

          Yes, I have a man-crush on him. Yes, it’s weird that the only 3 games I’ve gone to this year were the three that the Angels were at Wrigley and yes, I was cheering loudly when he came to bat. Yes, I am trending towards creepy stalked status with him.

          • CubsFaninMS

            That you are.

            As long as you “cleanse the palate” by oogling over David Dejesus’ wife you’re good.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            So Trout will want 35 million over 7-9 years is what you are saying, someday?

            Boy, I wish I had an awesome genetically superior female to reproduce the ideal ballplayer. (She could even go off market, just don’t tell me about it. I’ll love my future Mike Trout just as much.)

          • Featherstone

            A-Rod’s 9.8 WAR season in 2002 with the Rangers came close
            Robin Yount’s 9.8 WAR season in 1982
            Ken Griffey Jr’s 9.7 WAR season in 1996
            Adrian Beltre 9.7 WAR season in 2004

            Also forgetting a slew of pitchers.

  • rockin’ dawg

    I don’t disagree that the Cubs could contend in 2014, but the team On the Farm laid out above is not going to get it. It would take at least a couple more FA acquisitions.

    I would probably trade Samarzjida for Taillon and Polanco. Would be a good deal for both teams, IMO.

    • On The Farm

      I was pointing out the depth our team currently stands with, I agree there will probably be 2-3 more guys that will need to be acquired to make us truly competitive. But, I feel like the base I mentioned is a pretty good starting point.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        I think our BP has been made through trade this year. If you look at your thinking. Gotta be better – and we might get back Vizcaino too. So, that’s a BP closer.

        Pitchers: Phil Hughes, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson (realizing the latter two/three will have to prove health and velocity – but they know how to pitch)

        Hitters: Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin Soo Choo, and of course, Robinson Cano

        We definitely need OBP – and Ellsbury can run enough STILL (he’s not in a wheelchair, and I know about parabolic decline of players – Dr. Ray C. Fair, economics, Yale University if you want to learn about it in regards to all sports.)

        Depending on draft pick, at/under 10, we are golden on that, I think. (CBA expert, not.)

      • rockin’ dawg

        In that case, I agree with you. But not having Garza and Soriano on next year’s roster will make it that much more difficult. There are some key pieces missing (3B, OF, SP, RP, maybe even 2B and C).

  • Mike

    Former Cubs pitcher Frank Castillo passed away in Arizona. RIP.

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