Lukewarm Stove: International Options, Trading Garza and Pursuing Tanaka

stoveIt’s been a little while since we checked in …

  • Jose Abreu, the 26-year-old Cuban defector with one of the biggest bats out there, is moving along in the process to becoming a free agent this offseason. He has established residency in Haiti, according to Jesse Sanchez, and has been unblocked by the U.S. Government (allowing him to negotiate with U.S. businesses (i.e., baseball teams)). All that remains is official free agency from MLB, which will come at some point in the next few weeks/months. He’ll do a showcase later this month, though most teams have already seen him many times before. When Abreu is officially on the market, his impact will be very interesting to follow. Although we’ve discussed the merits of the Cubs pursuing him (potentially incredible bat from a player in his prime; but he’s thought to be first base only, which is presently locked up on the Cubs by Anthony Rizzo), I still think the impact here to the Cubs will be of the trickle-down variety. Team X goes full bore on Abreu, and thus doesn’t pursue Player Y, which (possibly after further trickles), in turn, impacts the Cubs.
  • An international player whom the Cubs actually could pursue, on the other hand, is Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka. He’s 22-0 with a 1.23 ERA on the season (though his peripherals aren’t quite as impressive, they’re still quite good), which could spur his team to decide that this offseason is the perfect time to post him (Tanaka is still under contract, but his team can sell his rights to an MLB team through the posting process, which you might remember from the Yu Darvish bidding a couple years ago, or the Hyun-Jin Ryu bidding last year). If he’s posted, Bruce Levine says you can expect the Cubs to aggressively pursue him. In a recent chat, Levine said, “From all indications from my baseball contacts, Tanaka is the Cubs’ No. 1 offseason priority.” That’s a bold declaration of interest for a guy whom many other sources have suggested the 2014 Chicago Cubs cannot afford. I would have always expected the Cubs to be involved in Tanaka’s posting process, but I am uncertain as to their level of commitment when it comes to making the kind of investment necessary to land him. Tanaka is not thought to be the same caliber of talent as Yu Darvish, but you can still expect the total investment – between posting and contract – to be well over $50 million.
  • One more international note: Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, who was on the verge of a deal with the Dodgers worth about $32 million over five or six years, has switched agents to Scott Boras, and is now apparently re-opening his bidding, per Jesse Sanchez. Guerrero, expected to be a third baseman or second baseman with a good bat, is apparently looking for a better deal, and his free agency is back to being wide open. See? Deals fall through with other teams, too. That said, this could just be an effort to squeeze a few more dollars out of the Dodgers, who could otherwise look to plug infield holes with the likes of Robinson Cano.
  • Bob Nightengale at USA Today is reporting that, at the Trade Deadline, the Rangers sought to deal Matt Garza, Joe Nathan, and David Murphy to the Braves for Justin Upton. Given the Rangers’ long-time interest in Upton and need for a bat, I can understand that exploration. Given the perversely lopsided nature of that proposed swap, I can also see why no deal was consummated. I’ve got to believe there were prospects involved, as well, if there were serious discussions (and there’s no need to dig too deeply on the identities, given that nothing happened). In any event, the report makes you wonder how much the Rangers wanted Garza in the first place – as opposed to just picking up something to help them win – and suggests they won’t be in the market to re-sign him after the season. Garza, given the weak market and the lack of being attached to draft pick compensation, figures to make out handsomely in free agency, even if his stint with the Rangers has been slightly disappointing.

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

161 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: International Options, Trading Garza and Pursuing Tanaka”

  1. tbone

    I think this could be one of those very rare scenarios where the Cubs strongly entertaining bringing a player back in Garza. I’d be thrilled with that!

    1. Lyle Ernst

      I must disagree with Mr. tbone. Garza is not worth bringing back & I don’t think he will be brought back. He is too inconsistent, cannot beat good teams & who wants a pitcher who cannot throw the ball to first base.
      Come to think of it, Edwin Jackson is another Garza;

      1. cub2014

        wainwright-darvish and yes samardizja
        200 innings 200 strikeouts

        shark has the stuff to be #1 will he figure
        it out?

    2. ssckelley

      Yeah, let’s resign Garza and trade him to the Rangers again.

    3. Stevie B

      I see what you did with the Robinson Cano thing, Brett.

      Very clever….

  2. Brains

    Any of those options would help! For god’s sake, let’s start trying to play like professionals next year.

    1. When the Music's Over

      Be careful. I’ve seen pre-emptive strikes against potential negative comments/commentators today.

      1. DarthHater

        Be careful, I’ve seen justified, after-the-fact criticism of meta-pre-emptive whining today.

  3. Adventurecizin' Justin

    I could be totally wrong, but I don’t think Garza is a Theo/Jed kind of guy. I like Garza alot…I just don’t think his volatility fits us going forward. Personally, I think we have some arms who are closer than we realize. I would, however, be interested in Tanaka given his age & such.

    1. Adventurecizin' Justin

      This was supposed to be a reply to Mr. tbone…ooops

    2. wilbur

      It took them two seasons to try and trade Garza, don’t think they’ll hurry much to try and resign him. Feldman on the other hand would be a good addition to the team, not cost a comp pick, and probably could be signed to a two year deal. I’d think they’d welcome him back to the team.

      1. willis

        They were falling all over themselves to rid the organization of Garza. Someone with that talent…that’s funny to see. And not haha funny. There is no way they go after him in FA.

        1. mjhurdle

          I don’t agree with the idea that they were “falling all over themselves”.
          If anything, i think the process indicated that they were holding out trading him unless they got exactly what they wanted in return.
          It seems the “they wanted him gone’ narrative only started after the reports that he was a bad teammate started (coincidentally after he was gone and wouldn’t be able to respond to the allegations.)
          maybe he wasn’t a ‘core’ guy, but i don’t think he was viewed as a problem or someone that had to go.
          Not saying it isn’t true, just that i have seen anything that would suggest it, and i would have thought i would have, though maybe i just missed it.

          1. Eternal Pessimist

            Let’s see…they traded him for better talent than they gave up and still have the same opportunity to sign him in the offseason as when he was their player (and didn’t want to extend)…yeah, the FO really blew that one (sigh).

            1. YourResidentJag

              I’m still in the “wait and see” category with respect to your talent statement.

              1. C. Steadman

                as we still have to be in the “wait and see” category with your statement…Lee and Archer are the only two guys of value we gave up for Garza and so far Archer is the only one in the Bigs, whos to say he keeps this success up?(although he is lookin like a stud and I do wish he wasnt included in that deal)…we wont know the winner/losers of this trade for a long time because we have to wait until each prospect has had a few seasons in the MLB to judge success(if they even make it)…

                1. Eternal Pessimist

                  I was referring to the Garza to Texas trade, and it is always a wait and see approach. I will be surprised if Texas gets more out of Garza in his couple of months, than we will get long term out of the trade, but you are right that we just don’t know yet.

                  1. C. Steadman

                    i was refering to the Cubs/Rays trade…thats still to early to determine a winner as well

                2. YourResidentJag

                  So basically, you’re reiterating what I just said? Thanks. ;)

    3. Senor Cub

      This makes absolutely no sense. You would rather pursue a Japanese player who no-one really knows how he will do in the MLB over a proven veteran like Garza who has played in one of the strongest division’s in the AL East. That makes zero sense. Garza has injury history but when healthy has been wonderful, the Japanese player, well, we know he plays in Japan.

      1. Norm

        Garza has had 1 “wonderful” season.

  4. Adventurecizin' Justin

    If we had a DH, I’d consider Abreu. As for Guerrero, I wouldn’t be mad if we were overloaded with middle infielders who have pop. With depth comes the ability to build nice packages!

    1. hansman1982

      “If we had a DH, I’d consider Abreu.”

      If Abreu’s bat is as good as advertised, I’d consider replacing Castro with him. In reality, sign him and stick him in LF.

      1. Blublud

        Damn Hansman, we agree. Hell, if his bat is as good as advertised, I would consider playing defense with 8 players.

      2. Cub Lew

        Co-sign!! If he is anywhere near as advertised, I’d be salty watching him mash for another team.

    2. King Jeff

      If he wants much more than 30 million for 5 or 6 years, I think he’s pricing himself out of the Cubs range for a guy that they aren’t completely sold on. Maybe this will bite him in the rear, and he’ll end up having to take a worse deal in the long run.

      1. Mike F

        I would do that package in a minute substituting Castro for Baez and throw in Ramirez if necessary. Castro doesn’t fit and Baez has too much talent to give up now.

  5. Jon

    This is just PR and the Levine nugget was planted. It’s just to give the impression that they are trying to win at the big league level.

    1. King Jeff

      Take from it what you will. This isn’t the first time that the Cubs have been connected, and I do trust Tom Loxas when he writes something. To me, it carries more weight than what Levine said in a chat this week.

      1. Funn Dave

        “When the Cubs previously kicked the tires on Stanton the initial asking price was Javy Baez, Dan Vogelbach, and Jorge Soler.”

        Hahaha F that.

        1. Blublud

          Yeah. The Marlins have lost their mind. I wouldn’t want to trade Baez for Stanton, but if we did, the other prospects would be minimal. Stanton is worth a decent package, not not a package that big.

        2. turn two

          Not saying i predict this will happen. But this is one of those posts that you look back on in teen years and you’ve got Stanton leading the league in every major category, while one of those minor leaguers you don’t even remember the name of, one was a complete flop and one just got picked up by the astros on waivers after a ho hum career as primarily a bench guy that never figured out how to make consistent contact.

        3. Stevie B

          I do that trade

          Stanton hasn’t become the player he will eventually be…and he’s a stallion now.

          With Bryant looking like a winner… Do this deal^^^^^^^

    2. Patrick W.

      Which is harsher for the F.O.?

      1) We are not in a position to bid for Tanaka: Boooo the Cubs are CHEAP!

      2) We were in on Tanaka but missed out: Boooo the Cubs are cheap and INCOMPETENT!

      1. Funn Dave

        The latter option may sound more damning of the FO, but really, it would have the better fan reaction of the two–most fans would rather have the FO trying and failing to sign big names than not trying at all.

        1. hansman1982

          Like Darvish?

      2. Cubbie Blues

        Well, the second one had more caps, so I’m going with that one.

        1. mjhurdle


    3. hansman1982

      Geez, no wonder the Cubs can’t put together a competant team or get the renovations done. They are too busy just pretending to work!

  6. Jon

    In fact I would feel better(more likely for it to happen) if Levine reported that it was unlikely for the Cubs to pursue Tanaka.

  7. Gutshot5820

    The Cubs owners are too cheap to land Tanaka. I don’t know why you guys keep talking about Tanaka as if the Cubs are actually going to be serious bidders. There have been no reported sightings of any Cub scouts for any of Tanaka’s recent games. If the Cubs were at all even remotely serious about making a legit bid wouldn’t it make sense to have some scouts at Tanaka’s last games before free agency? The Yankees, Boston, Angels and Dodgers have all been reported at Tanaka’s recent games. If anything, this will be another cheap plpy by management to make a middling bid to appease Cub fans and come in at second or third and then say to Cub fans, we tried but was outbid.

    1. Funn Dave

      Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I would hazard a guess that the preponderance of articles declaring that the Cubs look to be serious bidders for Tanaka probably has something to do with why fans might view the Cubs as serious bidders for Tanaka.

      1. Funn Dave

        And I’m not arguing with your point that the Cubs’ interest in Tanaka might be mostly for show; just pointing out that there are pretty obvious reasons all over sports journalism for Cub fans to have tentative hopes about Tanaka.

  8. Gutshot5820

    I’d definitely like to have a do-over on that Jackson signing,On hindsight, that signing was probably dumber than Hendry trading for Garza. Why sign a middle of the rotation pitcher for big money at a time when the Cubs are not going to compete? My understanding, at the time of the Jackson signing, was that we would have the payroll to keep continually adding free agents to compliment or growing young core. But as it turns out, the cheap Ricketts will continue to cut payroll until all his revenue streams are in place and he is extremely profitable. In that case, why sign Jackson or any middle tier pitcher for that kind of money? Makes no sense at all.

    We should be putting all our limited chip into pitchers that are young with potential TOR talent, such as Darvish (too late) or Tanaka. Either that or reclamation projects such as Scott Kazmir or Ubaldo Jiminez type for short term committments, Why would you sign Jackson for that kind of money knowing you are not going to have any payroll to build a contender? Stupidity.

    1. Ivy Eater

      The Jackson signing in all honesty was not that awful. At least… It is too early to say that. Worst case scenario, he eats up a whole lot of mediocre innings. By forcing players into the majors that aren’t ready, you are ensuring more blowouts. He is a pretty consistent guy that is sure to get you plenty of innings year after year.

      Otherwise, if he starts performing shockingly well, maybe we can get something of value for him.

      1. Rizzovoir Dog

        13 mill for a starter isn’t big money in 2014.

        1. Senor Cub

          Rizzovoir – you beat me to it. In today’s market that’s not big money at all. It actually says that you were not really looking to land a top pitcher if that’s all the money you had to spend.

        2. Gutshot5820

          When did 13M for a mediocre mid-tier pitcher become NOT bog money. That’s half of the Astros and Marlins payroll and so far one quarter of the Cubs committed payroll for next year. Beat me with a stupid stick, but to me that’s a LOT of money for a mid to bottom of the rotation pitcher on a team that’s in last place. I can see it being a semi-worthwhile investment on a large market team that is in contention with a need for an innings eater. But on the Cubs, with a declining payroll and one of the worst rosters in the league? That was a total strategic bonehead mistake by the FO.

        3. Josh

          I agree with the premis of your comment, but that’s like giving Jason Marquis 13 million and saying that you didn’t overpay for him.

      2. willis

        I don’t hate the signing. It was a disappointing year for him at times, but overall like Ivy said you get a durable innings eater that can stableize the back end of the rotation for three more years. He’s not the worst piece to build from in a rotation. They lock up Wood this offseason and then you have two solid arms, one very solid the other one ok. EJax is what he is, but I expect a better season from him next year after a full year in the organization.

        1. cubs2003

          I agree with this. The FO had to know there was a good chance Garza and Feldman would be traded in-season. EJax serves a big purpose, even though I hoped the results would be a bit better. Some stability is helpful, especially for a rebuilding team with a young core. FA starting pitching is expensive no matter how you look at it.

    2. EQ76

      “On hindsight, that signing was probably dumber than Hendry trading for Garza.”

      Think about it though.. We were fairly competitive the first part of the year. Had our bullpen not sucked so incredibly bad and Castro/Rizzo didn’t regress like they had, we could have been competitive this year, which would have justified the EJax siging.. I’m not sure at the beginning of the year anyone thought that STL/CIN/PIT would all be as good as they’ve been. Well, at least not Pittsburgh.

      1. Voice of Reason

        “We could have been competitive this year”???? Oh brother!

        You are right in saying that we were bad at short and first, but you fail to mention that we were bad at every other infield position. Also, center field and right field (Schierholtz started out nicely, but that was it for that bum).

        The ONLY thing that stopped us from losing 100+ games was our starting pitching.

        Everything else was God awful (less Soriano who was doing ok)!!!!!!

        That said, how in the world can you say that we could have been competitive this year? Where would the runs have come from? There was no bullpen, the defense was bad…………… put down the kool aid for goodness sake! This team is the fourth worst in baseball!!!!!!!!

        1. Voice of Reason

          I guess our catchers weren’t awful this year… I missed that one!

        2. ClevelandCubsFan

          Voice, depends on your definition of competitive. But we played like a .500 team through most of the first half. Maybe even through to the trade deadline. The record dind’t quite show it because we had some hard luck losses (*cough* Marmol *cough*), but we played respectable baseball, and there’s been a lot of years in in the NL Central when hovering around .500 could keep you in the race until September.

      2. Dave

        And if my aunt had you know what she’d be my uncle .
        This team would need numerous upgrades to be competitive.

  9. #23

    I didn’t like the Jackson signing, but I understand the thinking. The rotation was such a mess at the end of the previous season, they were trying to get a durable arm to bring some stability. Plus, Jackson had a pretty good year last year. Having said that, I would have still rather passed on him.

    1. YourResidentJag

      Yes, but if Santana doesn’t resign with KC (which is a likely possibility) I’d rather they’d have waited to sign him than Jackson.

      1. Noah

        Edwin Jackson and Ervin Santana have near identical FIPs and xFIPs. The difference between Jackson and Santana this year are left on base rate and BABIP, which are horrible predictors of future success. It’s essentially a push on which of Jackson or Santana will be better in 2014. Jackson could have a “lucky” year and Santana could have an “unlucky” year and essentially switch ERAs next year. Or they could both pitch to what the advanced metrics say their talent is, which would be guys who are in the mid to high 3′s.

        I have a feeling Santana is going to be the overpay of the offseason, though.

        1. YourResidentJag

          I get it then if it’s a push, then the Cubs still overpaid for Jackson. Ok, it’s all making sense now.

          1. YourResidentJag

            Really, left on base rate is a terrible predictor of success? You also forgot to mention how Santana’s WHIP this year was 1.1 while Jackson’s was 1.4. Maybe that’s why Jackson innings per start were some of the lowest of any Cubs SP this season. Thanks, I’d rather have Santana.

            1. Noah

              WHIP is a mediocre at best indicator of future success. WHIP is strongly influenced by the defense behind a player.

              Santana had Alcides Escobar as his shortstop. Escobar has been worth nearly 2 wins on defense alone according to FanGraphs, and 1.6 wins on defense alone according to B-R.

              Castro has been worth 1.8 less wins on defense than Escobar according to B-R, and 1.5 less wins according to FG.

              1. YourResidentJag

                Walk rate is a factor of defense?

              2. Noah

                No, hit rate is a factor of defense. The walk rates between the two (Jackson throws about .9 walks more per nine innings), doesn’t account for a .3 difference in WHIP. Indeed, the fact that it’s .9 makes it really easy: it accounts for a .1 difference in WHIP. The other .2 is accounted for by hits. But how many of those hits are purely Jackson’s fault? How many of those hits would have been outs if Alcides Escobar was behind him instead of Starlin Castro? That’s why WHIP is a mediocre at best stat.

                1. YourResidentJag

                  So, Jackson still gives up an additional walk per game, and you’re failing to see that he still has defensive shifts behind him that include superior defenders like Barney, Rizzo, and Valbuena. It still doesn’t account for the fact that he allows too many runners on base per inning. That can be all Castro’s fault, even though I know you’re using Castro as an example to indicate to me how little you think of WHIP.

            2. Noah

              Also, I said left on base rate is a terrible predictor of FUTURE success.

              1. YourResidentJag

                Yes but at what point does left on base factor into avg innings per start. I guess that what I’m getting at here.

          2. C. Steadman

            if its a push then its still a push because they are both making $13,000,000 this year…I also bet Santana will get a raise in free agency this offseason so Jackson will be cheaper

            1. YourResidentJag

              Except for the fact that’s it’s really not. When you break it down, Jackson gave up more hits per innings pitched and more walks per game this season than Santana. Given that Jackson and Santana are both flyball pitchers, that has a big influence on how long per start both of the guys go into the game. Jackson has gone the fewest innings of any of the Cubs SPs this season per start because he’s susceptible to that one big inning.

              If Santana can maintain his walk rate from this season, I’d rather have him. Unfortunately, the market does make him overvalued but that’s FA from season to season and really beyond the Cubs control. That same FA market will most likely cause someone to overspend for Tanaka hoping for greatness. It’s pretty much the same argument as saying Scott Baker would be a good resigning for the Cubs. He gives up HR but limits the damage because of his WHIP.

              1. Noah

                Edwin Jackson hasn’t been a fly ball pitcher since 2009. His 51.5% groundball rate is well above league average. Santana has also eschewed his previous fly ball way, being essentially average on the ground ball %, maybe a bit above average at 46.7%.

                You’d also expect the pitcher who induces more fly balls to have a lower WHIP, but a higher home run rate, which, wow, is exactly true here!

                And another problem with WHIP: it grades home runs and singles equally.

                1. YourResidentJag

                  And being true makes Baker already a better value than Jackson for the reasons I’ve just stated. :) Also, you make it seem like he consistently shifted to being a ground ball pitcher since 2009, which isn’t true. He actually regressed to being a fly ball pitcher in 2011. You also make it seem by your Castro example that that becomes a major influence on the luck of his peripherals. I suppose I could equally, and stupidly argue that Santana should have worse peripherals because he doesn’t have Barney playing behind him, either. Instead, having Getz or Bonofacio.

              2. C. Steadman

                thats why i included IF…I agree Santana had a better year this year, but there was no way that in the offseason the Cubs were going to stand pat on their 2012 rotation(used 12 different starters) and not add pieces, especially consistent longterm pieces for 2013 to add some stability..which is why they added Jackson..also no MLB team will say..hey, we shouldnt sign Player X to fill a need this year, because Player Y will be avaible next year unless Player Y is a stud and way better than X…which Santana isnt way better than Jackson and will be more expensive than Jackson too

                1. YourResidentJag

                  Or maybe why just filling a need Edwin Jackson using your philosophy was too expensive in the first place.

  10. #23

    At any rate, I think he will have a much better year next year. He is not a bad option to have until Edwards or someone else is ready to add to the rotation in 2015 or 2016.

  11. Jono

    As a fan of the game, I’m really excited to see Abreu in playing in MLB

  12. #23

    I am all in favor of signing Jiminez by the way. (or Tanaka). If they can’t get one of those two, I don’t have a problem with giving Cabrera a shot or signing Feldman to a 2 year contract with an option.

  13. willis

    I would love a hard run at Tanaka but I can’t see it happening with the money issues. I think they maybe go after a middle of the road safe bet like a Feldman type who will sign for a year or two at 5-6 mil per and then flip him at the deadline.

    1. BWA

      Feldman was not a sure bet. He was pretty bad last year. The Cubs got lucky and had some good scouting on that one. Solid return in the trade too.

    2. brickhouse

      Cubs have plenty of money to sign Tanaka

  14. Aaron

    Edwin Jackson’s salary in 2013 is $13,000,000.

    He has appeared in 30 games this season. That breaks down to:
    - $433,333 per start this season
    - $75,494 per innings pitched

    Once you look at these numbers, does it feel like a good signing so far?

    1. Cerambam

      That is simply not how things work

    2. mjhurdle

      His salary breakdown per start doesn’t have a ton of relevance to whether his signing is good or not.
      That is the current market value for starters. If you want to argue that they are overpaid as a whole, then this would be applicable.

      As far as whether the Jackson signing was good or not, if he pitches his contract like his total numbers this year, then it wasn’t a great signing.
      If he pitches his contract like he has since the AS break, then it will be a steal. just gotta wait and see what happens.

      1. Voice of Reason

        mjhurdle wrote:

        “if he pitches his contract like his total numbers this year, then it wasn’t a great signing.
        If he pitches his contract like he has since the AS break, then it will be a steal.”

        Thank you, Captain Obvious.

        1. mjhurdle

          you’re welcome.
          I wasn’t sure you would get there on your own, so i decided to spend some time to help.
          I like to give back to the community.

          1. wilbur

            Stating the obvious in a meaningful way is one form of brilliance. Jacksons signing gets hammered without due consideration of how it may, or may not play out in years 2 and 3. I think given the free agent pitching market the cubs were faced with last season when they signed him it was a good deal. And if the money that is pouring in to baseball from media deals continues to tie up and inflate free agent pitching prices then in year 3, even with current levels of performance, this will have been a bargain signing. But I guess that is obvious too.

    3. Noah

      All that would be is a statement against signing anyone to a big time deal.

    4. C. Steadman

      Jackson(all 2012 numbers) (ERA:4.03/FIP:3.85)….compared to other SP with $13million salary or close(+/-$1millon)….Ervin Santana(5.16/5.63), Wandy Rodriguez(3.76/3.93), Dan Haren (4.33/4.24), Andy Pettitte (2.87/3.48), Ryan Dempster (3.38/3.69), Josh Johnson (3.81/3.40), Adam Wainwright (3.94/3.10), Ted Lilly (3.14/3.92)…yes based on these numbers Edwin Jackson was overpriced, but also you got to factor in he was the best available, relatively young/healthy(Dempster:old, Haren:health??) SP on the market..he wasnt the Cubs first pick obviously(Anibal) but I think he was a nice consolation…based on the 2012 offseason market $13 million a year seems about right, he underperformed this season, but has solid lately and hopefully picks it up in 2014..too early to call bad contract

  15. Aaron

    Edwin Jackson’s salary in 2013 is $13,000,000.

    PART TWO: That breaks down to:
    - $1,625,000 per win
    - $97,014 per strikeout

    Once again, look at these numbers, does it feel like a good signing so far?

    1. BWA

      Its a bad idea to use wins as an indicator when his team is 4th worst in baseball.

      1. hansman1982

        Next time, just say this:

        Its a bad idea to use wins as an indicator

        1. DarthHater

          Next time, just say this:


          1. mjhurdle

            Next time, just s

        2. BWA

          Haha ya I agree, IDK it just seems worse to accuse a guy of being bad when their team is horrible than to say somebody is good when they are a product of a good offense.

    2. On The Farm

      OMG, thank you for saying this! Could you imagine if we would have gotten a player like Verlander? He cost the Tigers $1,978,021.98/Win. That’s almost $2 million dollars a win! Not to mention he cost the Tigers $131,868.13/K. Comparing Jackson’s value to Verlander this way makes Theo look like a genius! He is saving the Cubs almost $35K per strikeout and $350K+ per win compared to one of the best pitchers in baseball. Well done Theo and Hoyer. I tip my hat to you for finding better value on the Free Agent market than a former Cy Young winner.

  16. Oliver

    Jackson, bad idea only toeat innings.
    To much money for an average pitcher.
    We have a poor selection at the very top.
    Remember, success starts at the top.

  17. Aaron

    SP Signed By Other Teams This Off-Season:

    Francisco Liriano: 2 years for $13 million
    Jorge De La Rosa: 1 year for 11 million

    vs Edwin Jackson’s salary in 2013 is $13,000,000…PLUS 3 MORE YEARS!
    Question: Is Jackson a “flippable asset” in any of the next year or two without the Cubs eating a portion of his contract? If the answer is no…then it may not have been a good signing.

    1. C. Steadman

      Jorge De La Rosa was signed prior to the 2011 season for 43 million over 3 years…yes hindsight is 20/20 and every single cubs fan wished the FO had signed Liriano, but he was coming off a bad year(ERA:5.34, FIP:4.34) and had only one good full season in 2010, 2006 was a good one too..the Pirates won that lottery ticket

    2. C. Steadman

      also Liriano signed for $1,000,000 for 2013 with a $6,000,000 option for 2014…if other teams wanted him then these would be higher, cubs arent the only teams that missed on Liriano

    3. hansman1982


      1. ClevelandCubsFan


        There’s other considerations people forget too. Jackson is average. Very average. But he’s PREDICTABLY average. You know exactly what you’re going to get with Jackson. There’s a lot of other guys out there who were average and cost less because you couldn’t rely on them (up and down, injury prone, whatever) and that cost more because they’ve done great things in the past but stumbled this season (or people paid too much attention to a great ERA and not enough attention to a horrible WHIP).

        Jackson is consistent. And consistency has a value that’s hard to quantify. (Something tells me Theo has a metric for it, though.)

        1. wilbur

          Part of the equation is also that it is getting increasingly more expensive to be wrong about free agent starting pitching. So just getting what you expected, however humble that may appear, is good value these days. Also makes big bets on Japanese players performance transitioning to mlb more risky than ever. You tend to remember the recent hits like darvish and try and forget less positive outcomes like Fujikawa. Who is the top american hitter in the japan league? A mistake on the Tanaka signing will make Jackson signing look like a slam dunk.

      2. mjhurdle

        this is quickly becoming one of my favorite pictures…..ever

      3. When the Music's Over

        What I don’t like about ragging hard on people about hindsight are the other scenarios that get no/little attention.

        If someone points out that a wrong decision was made, or a signing didn’t happen, etc, they get shit for pointing it out.

        On the other hand, if the Cubs made a great signing (Feldman) or didn’t sign a guy (B.J. Upton), no one cares when people are applauding the move, which in itself is also hindsight. Just of the positive variety.

        By only ripping into people when they look at the negative hindsight scenarios, one is saying that the people making those decisions are beyond reproach. And that I have a problem with because no one is perfect, and everyone should have the capacity to be critiqued on their actions, whether good or bad.

        1. C. Steadman

          good point but thats just the evil of a message board…bc its alot easier to argue the use of hindsight in “people cubs missed on(Liriano)” than it is to argue “people the cubs succeed with(Feldman)”..because what do you say to someone who says “Man, I’m glad the Cubs signed Feldman cheaply because he had a good season and we flipped him for Strop and Arrieta”

        2. DarthHater

          It’s not just the hindsight that annoys people, it’s the way the hindsight is expressed.

          Suppose that, based on Edwin Jackson’s performance this season, someone says: “With the benefit of hindsight, the Jackson signing does not look very good.” Personally, I have no problem with that. It’s just stating a fact based on the data available at the present time. If Jackson were to turn it around and pitch great for the next two seasons, one could/would change the assessment and say: “With the benefit of hindsight, the Jackson signing has turned out well.”

          But suppose that, based on 2013 performance, the person instead says: “Signing Jackson was an idiotic move.” That’s a foolish statement because it claims to judge the intelligence or stupidity of the move at the time it was made based on information that did not exist at that time. What happens in this scenario, if Jackson turns around and pitches great for the next two years? Does the signing then cease to be idiotic and become smart? No. Whether the signing was smart or dumb has to be based on what was known and/or knowable at the time. Whether the signing ultimately turns out great or badly is a separate question.

          1. When the Music's Over

            It’s a lot to ask people to hold judgement until everything has always run it’s course. Blogs literally wouldn’t exist. Sports media, both written and verbal (tv and radio) gone. Political coverage, mostly gone.

            People make assumptions on decisions where the outcome is not final constantly. Politicians, CEOs, parents, etc. You name it. If you waited out everything in your life until fruition, you’d miss out on the positive impact of making adjustments far more often than you would experience the negative impact from making those same adjustments before completion.

            Additionally, it’s really tough to use not knowing how a scenario would turn out as a reason to not question the validity of the decision making process used to make that decision. This front office collectively makes a shitload to make the right decisions. Whether Jackson will or won’t turn out to be a good decision or not, doesn’t mean the front office is immune to criticism in the interim if the decision wasn’t right. Does it mean people could be acting shortsighted, sure, but again, that’s just one side of this hindsight issue

            Either way, when people applaud Theo and Jed on drafting Almora or signing Soler or signing Schierholtz, etc, the traditional group think nod of agreeance doesn’t seem to give a shit that we haven’t seen those situations come to a conclusion. However, someone rips on changing Castro’s approach at the plate or that Edwin Jackon wasn’t a great signing, and the claws come out pretty fast, and typically en force.

            Your line about people saying “with the benefit of hindsight…” goes both ways. Same can be said for all the positive decisions made.

            Either way, what I do agree with you on is overreacting or extreme negativity on a subject, especially when empirical evidence is ignored. There is a lot of that as well.

            1. DarthHater

              I don’t think it’s necessary to reserve judgment until all the facts are in. But I do think it’s foolish to claim to be holding someone “accountable” for a decision based on information that was not available to the person at the time the decision was made. If Theo makes a decision that turns out badly and you can point to some facts that he could have and should have known at the time that would have prevented that decision from being made, then by all means hold him accountable for his error. But if he makes a decision that is completely defensible based on all available information at the time, that decision does not become less defensible just because of some future unforeseeable change of circumstance.

              Schierholtz is a good example from the positive side. Given the Cubs’s circumstances at the time he was signed and what was known/knowable about Schierholtz, it was a pretty good (not great) signing. Halfway through the season, when Schierholtz was hitting better than ever before in his career, Theo did not suddenly become smarter. I still think it was a pretty good signing. If Schierholtz were to continue outperforming all expectations (which does not seem to be actually happening) it wouldn’t change my opinion of Theo’s performance in making the signing. It would just be a nice bonus.

              1. When the Music's Over

                From the look of things, we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree here.

                You’re going to continue to believe that negative trending decisions can’t truly be judged until conclusion or close to it, and positive trending decisions can be judged at almost any given point and without hindsight.

                I, as originally stated, believe that hindsight bias, while clearly present on both sides of the equation, is treated very harshly when used to point out negative outcomes, whether fully completed or in the interim, and largely ignored while applauding positive outcomes, also whether fully completed or in the interim.

                1. DarthHater

                  “You’re going to continue to believe that negative trending decisions can’t truly be judged until conclusion or close to it, and positive trending decisions can be judged at almost any given point and without hindsight.”

                  I said no such thing. We’re going to have to agree that you can’t read anything without thinking it says what you want it to say and that any further attempts to discuss the subject with you would be a complete waste of time.

                  1. When the Music's Over

                    Yep, you’re right. I’m near illiterate.

          2. Hansman1982

            The issue I take with hindsight reviews is when garbage players are held up as someone that the cubs missed the boat on.

            Really, You would have had the Cubs sign someone that hadn’t been god since 2009 over Edwin Jackson? Mmmm, sounds like something that is onl possible to say with the benefit of hindsight.

            (Can I just say now I absolutely despise iOS 7, gimmicky look to it, a coupleof my apps are now garbage, it screws up auto-correcting words worse than eve, randomly jumps around the screen and god help you if you want to try and do something faster than this piece of crap can process. The ONLY good things I’ve found a far is the flashlight that’s now easily accessible and the usable compass (not that I’m likely to need a compass any time soon but hey, it’s at least not complete crap)).

            1. When the Music's Over

              Yes, there are certainly some bad examples used for people to make their points. I didn’t mean to single you out either. I’ve seen a lot of hindsight related banter on this website as of late, and feel that the side that rips on anyone commenting using negative hindsight has largely overindulged itself in ripping on those people.

  18. Aaron

    C. Steadman… Jorge De La Rosa was re-signed by Rockies; 1 year, $11M on 10/31/12.

    1. C. Steadman

      it was a player option from the contract I mentioned before in which he excercised in October which is before MLB free agency opens…so even if he was a free agent, the Cubs wouldve had to pay more than $11 million for De La Rosa for someone who made a combined 33 starts thru 2010-2012…fans like you and me wouldve been mad at that deal

      1. bbmoney

        I kind of doubt the Cubs would have had to pay more than $11M.

        If they would have, DeLaRosa made a bad decision by taking the player option (I’m assuming you’re right about the “Player” portion of the option).

        1. bbmoney

          But your point about it not being comparable as it wasn’t a FA contract stands.

          Also proper use of the reply button would make this whole conversation easier to follow, so I’m sorry if I’m misinterpreting something.

        2. C. Steadman

          well the $11 million was the value of the player option for 2013, which also has another $11 million option which this time is a team option…theres no way the cubs would have offered a contract to make De La Rosa not take that player option

  19. Aaron

    C. Steadman…good points and yes hansman1982…there was a touch hindsight there with bringing up De La Rosa and Francisco Liriano.

    The point in my review of the Jackson deal wasn’t just the amount per season and the number of years (4)…is that the Cubs’ ownership and FO mention frequently the “lack of funds” for free agents in 2014. Some of that could be the result of the $13 million that Jackson will be receiving next season, so it is relevant to review this signing.

    Many of us also thought the approval of the renovation of Wrigley field would start this off-season, so the Cubs can start increasing revenue which they “promised” to put back into the ball club. Now that may not happen either. I’m certain that Jackson feels the “pressure” of his contract. If the Cubs and Jackson have another tough season in 2014, he’s probably going to snap at just more than Dale.

    1. On The Farm

      Here is way to look at the Jackson signing using advanced metrics (its not Wins, but for some reason these guys just like this stat a little better). Edwin Jackson’s WAR so far this season is 2.3. Now when you take into account the generally accepted going rate for FA $/WAR is $5.5 M = 1 WAR. Using this if we take Jackson’s contract ($13M) divided by 5.5 we get Jackson needed a 2.363 WAR this season in order for him to be worth his contract. Now I pulled Jackson’s WAR from Fangraphs which rounds (so Jackson could be as high as 2.34 or as low as 2.26 depending on how the site rounds). I am not an expert in sabermetrics, but I believe what I have done is correct so at $5.5M/WAR it looks like the Cubs have gotten their value out of Jackson. Obviously you would love for it to be above 2.3, but roughly Jackson has pitched to his contract.

      **note to all of the Saber-junkies. Please correct me if I am wrong. If I need instruction on this matter I welcome it.

      1. mjhurdle

        ya, but how many millions is 1 TWTW worth?

        bet you didn’t take that into consideration….

        1. C. Steadman


      2. Eternal Pessimist

        One thing that this doesn’t take into account is the opportunity cost. If another pitcher gives you 2.3 WAR over 1/2 a season and is injured, and replaced with another cheaper pitcher who gives you some additional WAR, you could argue the injured pitcher offered more (concentrated) quality/value than the pitcher who made it through the year, but only provided slow, gradual WAR.

        Not saying I want Jackson to give 1/2 of a season and then get injured, but he is taking up a spot on every 5th day for the entire season, and if you calculated the WAR expected per day out of the pitching rotation, x 162 games and divide by 5, I would expect more than 2.3…though I’m way too lazy to do the investigative work to prove this.

        1. ClevelandCubsFan

          I’m not an expert on WAR by any stretch. But I do know that’s not how WAR works. WAR in’t like batting average, so you can get 2.3 for half the season or the whole season like you can get a .230 hitter for half the season or all the season. It’s more like this: A team of AAAA guys would give you, on average, so many wins in a given year (somewhere around 50). What WAR tries to answer, is how much did this player improve your club over that AAAA guy. Each guy on the team adds a little WAR. So a team of all AAAA guys except one Edwin Jackson would have hypothetically be expected to have won about 52-53 games this year. Add Anthony Rizzo to that team, and we’re up to 54-55 wins.

          Another way to look at it is, if we onl had Jackson for half a year, we wouldn’t get 2.3 WAR; we’d get about 1.2 WAR.

          As far as your WAR expected per day out of the pitching rotation, you’re way off… I think you’re thinking how much the pitchers contribute to a win. But that’s not it. It’s how much MORE they contribute to a win than a AAAA guy called up for a spot start. And so daily WAR is pretty small, fractional.

          1. ClevelandCubsFan

            The Tigers have the best pitching WAR according to fangraphs. They have gotten roughly 0.17 WAR per game out of their pitching staff–that’s starters plus relief corps. (27.1 WAR divided by 156 games)

            1. Eternal Pessimist

              I really think you are confirming my thinking on this. if you divide Jackson’s 2.3 war between the 30 or so games he started, he adds about .077 war per start, but would you rather have that, or two damaged pitchers who each could give you 15 games averaging .100 war per start (without salary considerations).

              The opportunity cost of Jackson in this scenario is .100 – .077 = .023 WAR per start.

              By just staying healthy throughout the year Jackson has padded his WAR numbers, while the team has possibly lost the opportunity for better WAR output in that pitching spot. This is all just theoretical (not sure who else they could have plugged in from this team that would have provided more than .077 WAR per start), but I think looking at WAR without looking at how many opportunities they pitcher had to build that WAR is a failure to recognize the opportunity cost.

      3. Brains

        A perfectly reasoned argument that proves just how useless WAR is. Cause I’ve seen Jackson pitch twice this year and he stinks. WAR is subjective and arbitrary and comparative to the position, players, and year. It’s not a good gauge of most intangibles, and it’s not a good gauge of success. It just vaguely compares from a series of factors. Jackson is a -WAR at best. Mathlete the rest of it as you may.

        1. bbmoney

          No it’s not and I’m glad the two games you watched have told you everything about Jackson. But, I will say I think WAR is a little weird to look at for pitchers and catchers.

          For pitchers because its an all or nothing thing as far as what’s in their control. Fangraphs uses FIP which gives the pitcher 0 credit for anything besides K’s, Walks, and HRs allowed. Baseball reference uses runs allowed, which gives pitchers 100% credit or penalty for all runs scored whether or not it’s bad defense or anything else. Reality is probably somewhere in between, although I tend to think it’s closer to Fangraphs and FIP than BR and runs allowed.

          For catchers I just think it’s hard (or perhaps: even harder than for other positions) for them to determine the defensive part of the metric well. Pitch framing, controlling the run game, and general game calling (how much is the catcher probably varies from team to team so how do you quantify?).

          WAR isn’t perfect, but then again, no one is claiming it is if you actually read what the sites that calculate WAR say about it. However, it is a pretty good starting point for a single stat.

          1. Brains

            The important thing is that we all get behind Edwin for his hard work this year. He’s been huge for the team.

  20. Sean

    What would be a reasonable deal for Garza this offseason? 5yrs-$60M? 5yrs-$65M? 5yrs-$70M

    1. C. Steadman

      i bet he gets around $16 million per year…he doesnt come with draft compensation issues so he’ll be a tad overvalued

      1. bbmoney

        Yeah 16M a year seems about right. But I’m not sure he’ll be able to get a 5 year deal given his recent health issues. So maybe something like 4yrs 60-65M

        1. willis

          4/65ish is what I expect. He’s proven healthy most of this year other than the rehab in the beginning, there’s someone out there that will pay him that. But I don’t see more than 4 years with maybe a couple options thrown into the end of it.

    2. Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

      $16M per for Garza no thanks. I don’t think he’ll reach what A. Sanchez got from the Tigers at $75M but he won’t get $16M either. He’ll probably get $13.5-14M per year between a 4-5yr contract. It definitely helps that he won’t get the franchise tag placed on him but I think $16M is a tad higher than what he’ll actually get. $16M is definitely on the high side and that’s if the market/demand is perfectly set up for him to capitalize.

      He really hasn’t been that impressive pitching in the AL (this season) which will hurt his negotiating a tad. He’ll probably be hoping some is desperate enough to give him that much though

  21. Aaron

    On The Farm…thanks for some stats. The key for Jackson with the Cubs is for him to remain healthy. The Cubs paid a premium for his services, which they may have do do again in the near future to attract some of the “better” available free agents. I’m also curious to know if the Jackson contract did not include a “no-trade” clause. If it didn’t, then that may have set the price of the deal a bit higher as well.

    1. mjhurdle

      per, Jackson’s deal did not include a NTC.

  22. Gutshot5820

    The question if Jackson was or was not a good signing is debatable (so far not looking good) but what I was questioning was the FO decision to pay a mediocre pitcher 13M a year for fours years when you know that our payroll will be declining and we will not be seriously be competing for another 3-4 yrs from the signing.

    JMHO, but that’s just stupid. At the time of the signing, I was somewhat encouraged by the signings because I thought it was a sign of things to come…compete on parallel fronts, that sort of thing with a decent future payroll. But we now find out that the Jackson signing was probably near the limit of what our finances allowed, If you are not legitimately going to add free agents to compete, then why add a mid-tier innings eater pitcher for 13M? That’s a luxury for big market teams (insert joke) or teams in contention. We absolutely had no need for Jackson considering our future payroll and plans. Why not save that money for someone younger and with more potential is all I’m saying. Especially when you are on a small market budget,

    1. Gutshot5820

      If Hendry made the Jackson signing for four yrs,13M per during a time when we were not going to compete anyways, all at the same time using up our payroll and hindering our ability to acquire younger TOR potential pitchers such as Tanaka.. You all would be crucifying Hendry. Why does Theo get a pass on this signing? Seems to me that although it was not a terrible signing based on advanced stats, but most definitely a horribly strategic one.

      1. BWA

        Stop assuming we don’t have the money to sign Tanaka.

        1. ClevelandCubsFan

          Agreed. Personally, I think we have as much money as we want for the right free agent at the right price.

          Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think they’re going to spend stupid money; not going to give anyone $30 million/year. But I do think if there’s someone out there that fits the plan and we can get them for a good value (even if that’s a ridiculously expensive price tag), I have a feeling Theo can walk up to Tom and say, “Hey we have to do this” and it gets done.

          What I mean is if there’s a guy out there that Theo would be willing to pay 20 for–budget not being tight, he’s WORTH 20 to Theo–and Theo believes he can sign that guy for 18, I think he can get the money.

          1. ClevelandCubsFan

            The flip side of that is, I think Theo’s constraint is more the sort of constraint where… This guy is worth 20. He isn’t going to sign for less than 21. Someone is going to overpay him for 21. Because he’s a perfect fit, though, Theo would be willing to overpay him because getting back to the World Series is worth the extra million to him and he can afford to blow it.

            I don’t think Theo has money from Tom for those purchases.

  23. Aaron

    If you’re Theo and Jed…what do you do about the Cubs dreadful win-loss record of .386 at Wrigley Field this season, in spite of having a .450 record on the road? What are the reasons for this? Any good stats on the subject? This has to be one of the FO’s biggest concerns to address this off-season.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      How about, in a small sample size, crazy weird stuff can happen.

      Also, how about, lots of empty seats make playing in front of “your” crowd slightly more depressing. :)

  24. Bea Arthur

    As to Tanaka…never buy anything Bruce reports as real. I’m more convinced than ever that he simply makes up stuff. They might be pursuing him seriously–hope they do–but a ESPNBRuce report ain’t proof.

  25. Aaron

    “It’s a problem (W-L record at Wrigley this season) that hasn’t been solved by many different teams. We have to figure it out. We have to make this place a homefield advantage for us. We’re not going to get where we want to go if we do struggle at home.” Jed Hoyer, Cubs’ Executive VP and GM.

  26. Mike F

    Yeah it is an ongoing process. A lot has really happened right in the minors. Equally a lot has happened wrong in the majors. I don’t think anyone other than the hitting instructors should be fired. I do think there a couple of things they need to be corrected quickly in the next year. First, winning matters at the major league level and the saturday golf mulligan attitude should be ended here on on out. Second, the little sisters of the poor ownership stuff should end. Every media piece seems to start with woe are the Cubs and the poor owner. I don’t buy it and never have, he is a big boy and comes from a big boy family. They have seen an unquestionable gain in equity and have done nothing to lower prices. If Tom can’t afford to both invest in the major league roster and minors, he should flip it and make millions. Either put a premium on winning or let someone who will buy it.

    I don’t want the Cubs to be the Dodgers, but the constant crap about money makes me want to vomit.

  27. Buster

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I understand what’s going on with the renovation & TV deal,etc but they give the impression that a 100mil payroll is out of bounds.

    It appears that they’ll only be able to spend $ on one item this season. This BS is all the more frustrating when you consider the cost control they have with Rizzo & Castro.

  28. Die hard

    Lake and Jackson for Upton

    1. DarthHater

      I assume you mean Upton Sinclair.

  29. FastBall

    I would rather the Cubs not bid on any player if they can’t stay in it too win. We don’t need our own Episode of Storage Wars. Where we get beat out by YUUPPP. Bid often but pull out in the end so YUUPPP get’s the guy. I would rather they strike a deal with this Abreu guy. They can move Rizzo to LF or RF. Sorry but that’s how the Cubbies do their firstbaseman. We need somebody who can hit. Actually I don’t care if we sport a beer league team next year. Just score some runs. Actually get somebody who can hit with runners on base. A concept forgotten at Wrigley.

    1. DarthHater

      Now this gives rise to a great concept for a new reality show. Six average baseball blog enthusiasts – say, Kyle, Scotti, hansman, Jon, gutshot, and Die hard – are put in charge of the Cubs FO for a season, with the cameras rolling at every meeting to the entertainment delight of TV-viewing America. It could be called: “Big Douchebag.” :-D

      1. wilbur

        already on fox…

      2. Hansman1982



        Only question, will there be hamburgers?

  30. Brains

    Am I the only one who thinks we should trade Rizzo for Pujols? I bet we could do it.

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