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stoveTons of bits to discuss in the first Lukewarm Stove in a little while …

  • If the Cubs hope to go big after Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka – the 24-year-old righty who could be posted this offseason, and who makes a lot of sense for the Cubs – they’re going to have serious competition. George King says the Yankees will be big players for Tanaka, and executives expect the posting fee on Tanaka to reach $60 million, with a contract to match. One talent evaluator told King that the other teams involved will include the Red Sox, Rangers, and Dodgers (duh). Although Yu Darvish is believed by most to be the superior talent to Tanaka, his posting fee was just $51.7 million. The economics of the game keep changing, though, and it’s not inconceivable to see the price on Tanaka surpass Darvish, even among teams that view the latter as better than the former.
  • USA Today mentions the Cubs as a possibility for Jacoby Ellsbury, but, as I’ve written before, I’m not sure I see him as the best use of the Cubs’ resources this offseason. To that point, Ken Rosenthal recently speculated that a team like the Mariners could go hard after Ellsbury to the tune of six or seven years and more than $20 million per year. I think spending solidly in the outfield over the next two or three years makes a lot of sense for the Cubs. Locking into a commitment of that length, though? For a “speed” guy in his 30s? I just don’t think I’m on board.
  • Another mention of a possibility for the Cubs, Nick Cafardo connects free agent pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Cubs (along with a huge number of other teams). Arroyo, who doesn’t expect to receive a qualifying offer from the Reds, falls right into the Cubs’ wheelhouse of the last couple years. Although he’ll be 37 next year, Arroyo isn’t expected to receive a particularly long contract, and could present flip value should 2014 mirror the previous two seasons. Arroyo never misses a start, but he’s a clear back-end starter at this point in his career, averaging a sub-2.0 WAR the past five years with the Reds. His ERA always betters his FIP, and he’s heavily dependent on the defense behind him (which is to say he doesn’t get many strikeouts). Cheap, back-end, innings eater? On the right deal, why not?
  • The Tigers may shop stud Max Scherzer this offseason, per Danny Knobler, largely because they have the depth to absorb it and he’ll be just a year away from free agency (an experience agent Scott Boras is likely to want to see Scherzer reach). It would take a ton to land him, and it’s a strict one-year rental unless you can get him to ink a very expensive extension. Given the Cubs’ projected level of competitiveness in 2014 – “meh” – I can’t see them pursuing Scherzer.
  • Speaking of tradable pitchers, David Price – who is connected to the Cubs with questionable frequency – is preparing himself to be traded this Winter, per MLBTR. It’ll be a story to watch, if nothing else. I’d think the Cubs would kick some tires, given that Price is under control for two more years, and could be a pre-free-agency extension candidate to whichever team acquires him.
  • Looks like Patrick Mooney has also heard whispers of the Cubs looking to upgrade with a left-handed bat at catcher this offseason. We heard that a little earlier this month from Tim Dierkes, and it seems no less strange now (absent a trade). Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be getting huge paydays this offseason, and I’d think the Cubs could allocate their limited resources a little better than “upgrading” from a top defensive catcher with a decent bat like Welington Castillo (getting a solid back-up catcher? Absolutely. Spending big on a new starter? Uh … ). But, hey, who knows? Perhaps the Cubs get Salty on a reasonable deal and work out a 50/50 platoon behind the plate with Castillo (the Cubs sure could use the depth). Or perhaps they work out that reasonable deal, and then make a trade involving Castillo. Hard to know what the plans are when the rumors don’t fit into a preconceived box. That said, the front office is crafty.
  • Andrew Marchand lists the Cubs 5th among possible non-Yankee destinations for Robinson Cano. You can dream on it all you want, but I just don’t see it. The money for a Cano isn’t going to be there right now, and, even if it were, I’m not sure his contract demands/length would make sense given the Cubs’ time line (and abundance of near-ready infield talent).
  • Jose Abreu – the slugging first baseman from Cuba – is now officially a free agent, and can sign with any team. Once again, the Cubs are not expected to be involved, but Abreu is a huge name on the market.
  • Speaking of first basemen on the market to whom there is no direct Cubs connection, Kendrys Morales expects to receive a qualifying offer from the Mariners, which he will then reject, according to Jon Heyman. A qualifying offer (worth almost $14 million) would really drag down the market for Morales, given that he’s a 1B/DH-only who hit just .277/.336/.449 this year (with similar numbers last year). To be clear, those aren’t bad numbers – it’s a 123 OPS+, believe it or not – but it’s hard to see him receiving a contract FAR beyond a one-year, $14 million deal when you factor in the loss of a draft pick/pool money. If he really does reject a qualifying offer, I could see his free agency lasting deep into the offseason, and culminating in one of those two or three-year, $10/$11 million AAV deals that you wonder if it’s all that much better than one-year, $14 million.
  • Leroy Kleimola

    30 free agents and we get nobody…come on i can dream big!!! Let’s get em all!!!

  • Tony

    Mesa, Daytona, Kane County, Tenn, Iowa…other than those teams why should I care about the big league ball club until 2015 at the earliest. OUT!

    • bbmoney

      Because you’re a Cubs fan?

    • Chef Brian

      Guess you haven’t been a Cubs Fan all that long?

    • miggy80

      Because you won’t want to miss the band wagon.

  • JoyceDaddy

    I find “Back to the Future 2″ to be correct when it predicted that the Cubs would win it all in 2015. Really banking on that these days.

    • Funn Dave

      That’s awesome. I still needa see those movies.

      • wilbur

        you should watch the sequels first

  • Larry Adams

    tanaka doesn’t seem to be the best idea as you have to pay 60M+ posting fee then negotiate a lucrative player contract and then find out if he can be a force in the MLB. Aren’t there free agents of known significance or trade possibilities that would be far less expensive for the Cubs.

  • TheRiot2

    Time to stock up on Maalox if no significant upgrades are made going into 2014. Tanaka and Hart as FA’s would get my attention.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    We need catching depth and since we’re not trading for it at the moment, I assume we’ll target Salty (29), McCann (30), Brayan Pena (32), and Nieves (36, lefty-masher). If we pick up 2/3, we can trade Welington Castillo to the Rays and fill some more holes.

    Rajai Davis (33), is a lefty-masher that can steal bases. He’d be productive at the corner OF spots and provide above average defense for ~$2.5M AAV. He’s been consistent over the past 5 years regarding his splits vs LHP. Assume he’ll perform, unlike Hairston’s stay with the club.

    We have an opportunity to re-sign SP Scott Baker (32) and offer smaller AAV over two years (max), while also giving our younger arms more time to refine in Iowa.

    • Noah_I

      MLBTR predicts McCann will get an $80 million deal. No. And the Cubs should not trade Castillo, considering his price and how utterly fantastic his defense was last season.

      I’d only give Baker a minor league invite. The ERA was pretty good, but he struck no one out and the FIP and xFIP were terrible. I’m far more concerned by the diminished stuff than I was heartened by the ok results.

      Davis is fine as a Scott Hairston type. I’d be perfectly happy if the Cubs brought him in, but wouldn’t care if they didn’t.

    • John (the other one)

      Rajai Davis as a masher of anything makes me giggle. Maybe his thumb.

  • Jim

    2014 will be an interesting season. I think we all expect to see Baez and Bryant at some point in 2014 and maybe even Olt. By the end of 2014 we should really have a feel for what we can expect in 2015. That being said, I think Arroyo makes sense for the Cubs, but Scherzer and Price do not … now. Believe it or not, I think Marlon Byrd might make some sense back with the Cubs. Right handed outfielder that had a nice season this year. Again, a guy you could flip at the deadline. An outfield of Lake, Byrd, Sweeney, and Schierholtz has a nice L/R balance to it. Maybe you then flip the Byrd at the deadline and bring up Bryant?

  • Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

    If the posting fee for Tanaka alone is $60M, no thanks. He’s not Yu Darvish, he’s ulyoung and talented but still I don’t think he offers value if it’s going to cost cubs $100M+ to sign him. He’s good but not great and he’s not even MLB tested. Too much risk in an unproven commodity even though he may have a clear mlb skill set

    • THEOlogical

      So you know he’s good but not great how? Have you seen some footage on him? Are you a scout for MLB pitchers? Your right in that, he’s no proven MLB pitcher amd that 100+ million for such is a talk order. But if you get D Price or Scherzer, your going to pay that price for someone 4+ yrs older. I believe the FO will do what they’ve been doing for the past 2 seasons, and that’s put up an offer they’re most comfortable with and be content with the outcome either way. Also, they have limited funds, so I’m sure they’ll use them wisely and make the bset decision for the org. I, for one, would love to have McCann, but I’m partial, living here in the south.

      • Noah_I

        Here’s the other thing with Tanaka and Darvish. Darvish’s price was lower than it should have been because the Dice-K deal ended up being a bad one for the Red Sox. But Tanaka’s price is going to go up not just because of Darvish’s success, but also because of Puig’s in 2013 and Cespedes’s in 2012.

        • wilbur

          Might be overdue for a bust then. Seems like a lot to spend on a splitter pitcher, that brings to mind other gimmick pitchers that don’t fare well in MLB. Can be effective for awhile but the bottom can drop out just as easliy. Samardzdge is a spiltter pitcher, he has consistency questions with it at times. How many do you need on one pitching staff.?

  • YourResidentJag

    Marmol on ALCS roster…well…that’s it….Cards win. :)

  • Bill

    I will pass on the free agents this year they all seem kind of blah the cubs are better off saving theyre money for 2015.

    • YourResidentJag

      Except for Corey Hart if can play LF.

      • ssckelley

        I would love to see the Cubs roll the dice on him.

  • Brian Peters

    This post has nothing to do with what’s being discussed, but why is Rick Renteria the high man on the totem pole regarding the Cubs’ managerial search? Sure, he works well with young players, but his experience in The Show is lacking. Is he a sabermetrics guy like Acta….?

    • Cyranojoe

      Looks like it’s mostly about the developmental experience. The fact that he speaks Spanish doesn’t hurt, no doubt.

      • Blackout

        I hear what you are saying, but why not hiring him as a coach? Sveum wasn’t the person out there working with Soriano, it was Dave McKay.

        IMO, a coach has a greater opportunity to develop players one on one as opposed to a manager who is 25 players, coaches, media and FO to focus on.

        Hire the guy if he is right for the staff, but more importantly hire him for the right job position.

  • Bill

    Yea Corey Hart is good but he won’t get us any closer to the world series i just assume play Jr.Lake or Vitters in lf and see if they could be a part of our future.

    • Funn Dave

      But then I won’t be able to harass him about his flowing locks of hair when the Cubs play the Brewers! I can’t harass a Cubbie!

  • marc

    I am kinda thinking Franklin Gutierrez would be an intriguing option. He hits pretty well against left handers, bats right handed, and can play all three of positions. There is a 7.5 team option with a 500k buyout so I am guessing he hits the market. He brings some pop but there are injury concerns. He has been fairly productive when healthy. An outfield of sweeney, lake, shierholtz, gutierrez, and bogesevuic could be somewhat productive without breaking the bank. Allow us to make a play for both ubaldo and tanaka plus still upgrade at 2nd with a johnson, infante, etc type.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    4 hours before game time, and you can buy field box tickets for the Cardinals game tonight for face value, and standing room tickets at a discount on stub hub. First playoff game this year didn’t sell out until the day of the game. But the Cardinals fans are the best in baseball, right?
    How much would tickets be at Wrigley tonight for a league championship game against the Dodgers? How many could the Cubs sell if they had unlimited seating?

    • DarthDiehard

      They are such great fans that they courteously wait until game day to buy their tickets, so that others will have a better opportunity to get tickets. ;-)

    • cubs2003

      I looked up ticket prices just out of curiosity and was really shocked it hadn’t sold out. On a Friday night to boot. I hate the Cardinals as much as the next Cubs fan, but I do respect their organization and fans. If it was Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley and there were still tickets available I’d be driving from Iowa to Chicago right now. This NLCS kind of sucks because I hate both teams. I really wish the Pirates had made it.

      • Funn Dave

        Yup. Time to switch to AL for the WS.

      • Awakeape

        As much as we do not like the nl teams they are the two best and I bet one of them goes on to win it all.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The Cards will have a good shot, but the Dodgers probably won’t: LA has been playing mediocre baseball for a while now. One of the amusing side-notes of the Braves-Dodgers NLDS is that no matter who won, the LCS would get a team that has basically been playing 0.500 ball for the last month.

          The Cards are the one NL Team that I see holding their own against the Sox. Even if the series is a sweep as in ’04, then it could easily be one where every game was close. If the Tigers get lucky against the Sox (and to put it into context, their winning is as “improbable” as a 0.400 hitter not making an out!), then the Cards probably match well against them, particularly because Miggy is hurt.

          And then I party like it’s 2007 again! :-)

          • YourResidentJag

            I think you’re giving the Tigers a lot less credit here.

            • Funn Dave

              Less than what? Finish your sentence, bud!

              –BN Grammar Douche

    • Bwa

      I had two tickets to the game last Friday that I sold on stubhub for well below face value. Wish I had gone, I woulda been the only person cheering when the pirates won.

    • cubzforlife

      In 2008 i sold 2 of my seats sect 208 row 15 for 450 ea. to game one v. Dodgers. Some one bought my seats and paid 3500.00 EACH if the Cubs made the World Series. Still on my stub hub account.

      • Pat

        Sure, but that was for a franchise that hadn’t won it all in a hundred years, and had only made the playoffs something like five times in the previous forty years.

        If the Cubs win two world series in a decade and make the playoffs six other times, you would see considerably less demand for early round playoff tickets.

  • cubes

    boy a lot of people want the Cubs to operate at a Astros payroll… prospect swooning is getting to puke levels.

    all that matters at the end of the day is wins… you don’t get extra wins for having a low $per win ratio. 2014 being another deadline selloff year and 90+ loss is the way to not be good come 2015. we will infect our “uber” prospects with the cubs losing ways.

    really sick of the “fans” cheering losing… pathetic

    • mjhurdle

      “boy a lot of people want the Cubs to operate at a Astros payroll”

      – weird, i haven’t seen anyone saying the Cubs need an Astros payroll team

      “you don’t get extra wins for having a low $per win ratio”

      – you dont get extra wins just for having a high $ per win ratio either.

      • cubes

        see next post

        • mjhurdle

          in regards to what? i didn’t see any Astro references in that post

      • cubes

        actually there is a direct correlation to payroll and wins so…

        • mjhurdle

          oh, so the MLB gives you extra wins because you have a higher payroll?
          i must have missed when they changed that. I always thought they gave the wins to the team that scores the most runs.

          and if there was a “direct correlation” between payroll and wins….then what happened to the Angels this year?

          • Pat

            A correlation, unless it is a correlation of 1, does not mean that a certain input guarantees a certain output. It only means that a relationship exists between the two entities. What happened to the Angels this year is that they underperformed projections and became an outlier. But they had a significantly better chance of making the playoffs than the Cubs did. And they are likely to have that same significantly better chance next year as well.

            • jt

              “A correlation, unless it is a correlation of 1, does not mean that a certain input guarantees a certain output”
              –Pat
              so a correlation label is an inexact expression meant to convey a quantitatively defined relationship.
              wouldn’t it be better just to use the computed quantity as in: a correlation between money spent and wins of 0.xxx? Is a 0.71 enough to designated the events tied to each other whereas a 0.69 is not?

            • mjhurdle

              i remember enough of my college statistics to understand what a correlation is.
              However, when someone uses the term “direct correlation”, to me that implies the correlation of 1.
              Otherwise, why use the adjective? most any move in baseball, spending related or not, has a correlation with winning.
              My point was not that you cant spend and increase your chances of winning. It was that simply spending to spend is not a great predictor of future success.
              i am a programmer, not a statistician, so if i have misunderstood any terms, than show mercy :)

              • Pat

                I would take “direct correlation” to mean between the two tems directly (payroll and wins), whereas indirect would introduce a third variable such as payroll effects quality of player, which is corellated with wins.

            • Jason P

              Even the Angels had a pretty good homegrown core in place when they started spending (Weaver, Trout, Trumbo, Kendrick).

              If the Cubs spend no, they significantly improve there chances of being an 80-win team next year while simultaneously drastically decreasing their chances of being a 95-win team down the road.

    • Awakeape

      Foundation cubes, must be strong before we erect our mansion of World Series trophies!

  • Joe Aguilar

    No need for the Cubs to spend any significant money on any free agent this winter. What’s the point? So they can lose only 90 games instead of 95-100? If you’re going stink – and they’re going to stink again in 2014 – then STINK. They had another brutal season this year and they’re picking 4th in the draft. That’s disappointing that 3 teams were worse. As a Cubs fan, I want the FIRST pick in the 2015 draft. Not the 2nd. Not the 3rd. The FIRST. Fix Castro and Rizzo in 2014 (if they’re fixable), hope the Big Four keep developing and keep stocking the system. That should be the focus for the next year. Theo and Jed, quit insulting Cubs fans with these innings-eaters and David DeJesus-types. Don’t need ‘em. Don’t want ‘em. Save the cash.

    • cubes

      this is exactly what im talking about… does anyone understand attrition rates? does anyone realize that just getting to 80 wins breads a better culture for our youngsters, increases revenues, and sets 2015 up to be a reasonable year to be competitive?

      I so sick of these losers who want to lose just so we can get a high pick… screw that. its time to start breading a winning culture.

      • Jason P

        No, you’re right. No one else has a clue or understands anything.

        • cubes

          if you advocate a losing 2014 season then yes you don’t understand… the pipeline is in place, we have a top 3 farm system. we have another #4 pick to add to that, we don’t need to keep losing for high picks. we spend enough on FO that we should be able to draft successfully if our pick was 20+.
          I have every right to be upset with the losing for picks 2014 mindset, perhaps overly yesterday in my comments but its all about the “Bread”.

          • Jason P

            I doubt anyone on these boards is actively rooting for the Cubs to lose. If you need proof, look back at the comments on the “Pregamin” posts back when the Cubs had a hot streak in late July and got their record within 7 games of .500. The comments then were a hell of a lot happier and more optimistic than when the Cubs were losing. However, looking back on the season in retrospect, it’s now reasonable to say it’s probably a good thing we lost and got the higher pick. The benefit of getting 80 wins instead of 66 is marginal if it exists at all.

            Honestly, I don’t think going 80-82 win is going to help you “breed a winning culture”, and if you have a good manager, 60-something win seasons while you’re rebuilding shouldn’t build a losing culture either.

            Another thing, .500 seasons don’t necessarily increase revenue. Perhaps if you’re in first place early before fading late some fans might come back but otherwise, hovering within a couple game of .500 would probably only be enough to keep attendance where it’s at.

  • jaslhill

    I’m sorry … can you clarify what you mean by “bread”?

    • cubes

      pft… internet spelling has nothing to do with shit. breed happy now? jaslhill is hardly a word so theres that if you want to nitpick also I didn’t use an ‘ in theres just so you don’t feel the urge to post about that.

      • jaslhill

        Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

    • mjhurdle

      you “bread” the winning culture so that is is crispy when it comes out of the fryer…i think.

      • wilbur

        Doesn’t it cost extra for the crispy free agents with the ranch dressing?

  • Bill

    We should be following the Dodger model: sign ALL the players. Ok, since we have an owner who isn’t going to spend money like a large market team, let’s focus all our resources on Tanaka. Forget the rest of the FA’s, who are going to be old and costly. Forget trading for Price who’s an injury concern, and will be costly in salary and prospects. Tanaka will cost a lot of money, but nothing in prospects and young enough where he will help us for the next several years.

    Quit getting the sign and flip guys. The farm system is built up, it’s time to start focusing on improving the big league club. Tanaka is a core piece, and said to have the potential to be a good number 2 starter.

    Sign Tanaka, a backup catcher, a FA outfielder (Choo would be my pick if the years aren’t too great). Hopefully Olt gets his act together, the bullpen improved and maybe you can field a competitive team next year.

    • cubs2003

      I disagree with most of this. The farm system has improved a bunch, but it’s still a long way from built up. Once prospects start contributing at the MLB level and there are usable players at AAA and AA to play in case of injury and waiting for their opportunity to show what they can do, I’ll start to believe it. There has to be a solid pipeline like all good organizations. The reality to me is that this team has “cornerstone” players that still have a lot to prove and there’s still a wait for the higher points of the farm system to come up with no guarantee of success. I’m not against signing reasonably priced free agents, but to throw all your money at Cano or Ellsbury would be a mistake. There are too many holes to fill and too many creative possibilities you’d have to pass up to go all in on one or two players. Let’s face it, the only way this team would look good next year is to hamper the club long term financially or sell the farm. It’s frustrating, but a measured approach seems best to me. The Cubs simply aren’t ready, but I think they’re getting closer every day.

      • Bill

        The farm system is one of the best in MLB. I’m not saying you don’t continue to try and improve, but they’ll have that opportunity with the number 4 pick and lots of IFA money available. Stop signing and flipping players, we need players who will stick with the Cubs.

        I never mentioned signing Ellsbury or Cano. I want neither unless they can get them for a short term deal (4 years or less), which isn’t going to happen. They should go after Tanaka because he’s young and can be good for many more years. At some point Theo needs to start acquiring some major league talent. We’ve been hearing the “this team has too many holes to fill…”, for the past 3-4 years. The Cubs are not the Pirates. They can afford to spend money on a guy like Tanaka and they still haven’t hurt their financial flexibility for the future and you have drained the farm system. They have Garza and Marmol’s contract off the book and only one more year of Sosa (which they save $4M for next season). Tanaka and be one of those “core” pieces that fans keep talking about.

        I totally disagree that the team needs to sacrifice the long term financially or sell the farm. Neither is true. The team can be competitive with the changes I suggested. Will that guarantee them a WC spot? No, but it gives them a chance if they get some luck going there way (they can’t be any worse hitting with RISP than they did this year).

        It doesn’t have to be roll out a lineup that can win 95 games or they might as well suck and win 65 games and get a high draft pick. If they have enough talent to win 80 games then they could make a couple moves at the trade deadline and who knows what happens.

        • cubs2003

          I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth and apologize if I did. I think a player like Choo would be fine. I’m not sold on Tanaka with the posting fee. My main point, which I failed to explain, is that I think prospects are a more valuable commodity than money with the current landscape. You can use them to get younger, better players in their arbitration years through trades and then have the ability to extend them with exclusive bargaining rights. My take is try to build up the farm as much as possible and go that route. Free agents will always be a part of it, but top tier free agents are always very risky and expensive in years and money.

        • Awakeape

          I agree with you bill, tanaka is a potential front line starter that we wouldn’t have to give up prospects for. Also even if you trade for a price who is proven doesn’t guarantee he will be good or break down. Signing any starter for a long term contract is a risk. Yes again price has a higher percentage of being successful but we would have to trade top prospects for him. For me I would rather roll the dice on tanaka and keep our prospects.

      • http://It'searly Mike F

        Yeah if they signed Tanaka, Cano, Ellsburry and traded for Price, that would compromise the future, Trading and overdoing that will definitely do that. You would he adding about 80 to 90 Million a year and dumping some real prospects. But who is advocating that.

        I think what most people are suggesting is a reasonable 35 to 40 M in a couple of winners is necessary. I don’t know what the is right at this time, no one does, but I don’t think the market will set still for another 3 years and over say 285 losses. You have to try to take your swings at every avenue to better yourself you can. Most importantly I think we have to be honest with ourselves, we all approved of the Castro and Rizzo deals last year, but they may have well been premature and neither look like core successes now. In fact the team at the ML level looks dismal and saying you can’t do anything to get better is somewhat akin to rearranging the deck furniture on….

        I certainly for one would be pleased with adding a core piece that is really a core piece, a winner and makes those around him better. Just me, but one guy like that and a demonstrable winner as manager would please me.

        • mjhurdle

          i think you are selling the MLB team short. That team was probably one decent bullpen away from a good season. Maybe not enough to top the Pirates and Cards in the division, but .500 for sure.
          Just because the trades and testing out players resulted in a bad record does not mean the team was not competitive before July.
          A good bullpen and a couple small moves gets us to .500 next year. if they make any moves bigger than small, and we might be a darkhorse for a wildcard.

        • cubs2003

          I didn’t agree with the Rizzo deal. Too early in my opinion. The Castro one I did at the time. What core piece would you like to add? I totally agree in theory, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a name.

      • jt

        “Once prospects start contributing at the MLB level ”
        –cubs2003
        Castro, Castillo, Shark, Barney, Russell, Parker, Rusin, Lake.
        Rizzo (by way of Cashner), Wood (by way of Marshall).
        Valbuena (retooled), Sweeney (retooled), Bogusevic (retooled).
        All contributed in 2013. All are expected to contribute in 2014 or be traded for other useful resources.
        Add those young useful players obtained via the flip such as Strop, Arrieta and Grimm.
        Who is to say that Baez, Bryant and Hendricks will not contribute in 2014?
        *
        Now look at the state of affairs in the Spring of 2012.

        • cubs2003

          Don’t get me wrong, this team and organization are in way better shape than they were in the Spring of 2012. The question to me is whether or not it’s time to start pulling the trigger on free agents that are going to be impact players or wait another year and see where some of the top prospects are at. Right now I’d only sign players that are a perfect fit at a position of need now and over the next few years. If guys like Baez and Bryant come up in 2014 and have success the Cubs are looking pretty good. I just don’t want to rush it or force it if that means spending money that could be spent better down the line.

          • jt

            “whether or not it’s time to start pulling the trigger on free agents ”
            –cubs2003
            I’ve found it an interesting conundrum as to consider which way the FO will turn.
            I look at the thing and consider the options and I’ve finally realized that that is what they have…options. I believe that they believe that they can now take several paths to success. If Bryant and Almora continue their strong showing this fall that just adds to their favorable considerations.
            I’m kind’a in sit back and watch it unfold mode. But I am in the camp that is looking for a competitive team in ’14

            • cubs2003

              I agree with this. I’m more in the the compete in 2015 camp, but I’d hope to see marked improvement at the MLB level in 2014. I think the Cubs are about ready to get past the sign and flip phase and move more focus to MLB wins. With any luck, we’ll see the plan working in 2014 and the start of a perennial contender in 2015. That’s my hope, anyway.

  • Leo

    Why don’t the Cubs intvite McGuire for an interview for the head coaching job? This guy has had success in St Louis and now in L.A. he also was under Tony Larussa for years so you know he had to pick something up from him. Just wondering what you guys think?

    • Jimmy james

      McGwire and canseco….bash bro coaches…..sign me up….where’s bob welch

      • Brains

        Rob effin Dibble, bro

  • cavemencubbie

    It’s been many years since I was Joe College, but seem to remember a statistics axiom; correlation, even a perfect 1:1 does not prove causation. GO TURD BIRDS!!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      High correlation falsifies the hypothesis that two variables are independent. That means either Variable A affects Variable B, or that both A and B are affected by some other Variable C. (“Causation” is a bit strict: very few things in the universe are deterministic, after all, and almost all things are affected by multliple factors.)

      Occam’s Razor prefers the first explanation: it is more parsimonious to work with just the two variables at hand. However, that just means “causation” is a null hypothesis. When it comes to something like OPS and runs scored, then this really is the case: as more guys get on base and as slugging increases, both runs-scored and OPS increase. However, in the case of salaries and winning percentages, it’s difficult to find that “linking” variable that causes teams to spend AND to win.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I think fhe Cubs go very hard after McCann. Other than that I don’t see them in the extreme bidding war for Tanaka. Cano isn’t happening as hs will get $200 M plus. Ellsbury is going to receive a huge payday. I can’t see the Cubs seriously in in the hunt for Ellsbury and Choo.

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      I agree on Tanaka. While his fastball sits low 90’s to occasionally mid, he has no movement according to most scouts. Posting fee plus signing make him very questionable. There are 2 catchers they may run after, but that has to mean they will trade Castillo.

      I do though see the fit with Ellsbury. He fills the CF spot and the speed and OBP are necessary at the top. Again, if they are going to make a deal of major size, one of the names most likely to be in demand is Almora. If they trade Almora, Ellsbury would make even more sense.

      • cubs2003

        I agree on Tanaka. The posting fee for young Japanese players is just too much for me with such little information on how their skills will translate. I guess that’s what scouts and FO’s are paid for, though. What do I know? I’m not into Ellsbury either. Good player, but the money he’s looking for is just too much for this team. Not that they can’t afford him(at least I hope they can), but I don’t see him as a difference maker on a bad team trying to transition to mediocre then good. His skill set doesn’t scream longevity to me either. It would be a move to make a move. Sorianoesque. Maybe that’s a bit much, he can play defense.

      • Bill

        I’d much rather spend the money on Tanaka. His slider and splitter grade as plus pitches. He’s young enough where he helps you even if the Cubs are terrible next year.

        I want no part of Ellsbury unless it’s a short term deal. The guy is always hurt. His career OBP is .350. If the Cubs are going to sign an expensive FA I’d rather sign Choo who has a career OBP of .389, and it’s improved the past 2 seasons, so it’s not like he’s getting worse with age. He even has more power than Ellsbury. Much of Ellsbury’s value comes from his legs and defense, which will start to decline as he hits 30.

        • cubs2003

          I don’t want to spend too much on Tanaka, but I agree on Choo. I have no interest in Ellsbury at the price he’ll command.

          • cubs2003

            I have to correct my own post here. Is Choo really looking at 100M? I figured it was more like or 4/60.

            • Cyranojoe

              I think Choo’s agent is Boras, and Boras said he thought Choo was a $100 million man. *Googles*… yes, Boras said it. Brett reported that and mused, if I recall rightly, that it seemed wayyy over the top.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      There will not be a bidding war on Tanaka. Teams get to make only one offer: with no counter-offers, no bidding war can happen. (If there was actual bidding, then Darvish probably would have cost the Rangers much, much less money than he did!)

      It probably is premature to guess what the bidding will be like on Tanaka simply becuase there are 4 teams still playing. If one of these teams loses the LCS or WS by a very narrow margin (a la the 2011 Rangers), then that team might suddenly see another good starter as worth just a bit more than they do right now. After all, that piece that “would have” won one more game suddenly becomes almost priceless.

      • turn two

        Thus would make sense if they missed the playoffs by one game and the got that”one win”more. However in a playoff series you can’t make the argument that one pitcher would translate to one win.

  • nkiacc13

    Be very interesting to see with 14.1 the qualifying offer how many get that offer.

  • mjhurdle

    i went back and looked at old scouting reports of Dice K and Darvish before they were signed by mlb teams.
    It is shocking how similar they were. Their pitches were different, but all their pitches graded 60 or higher, both having a 75 grade pitch. Both were predicted to be low #1, or high #2s in whatever rotation they joined.
    i think that is what scares me about Tanaka. I would LOVE for the Cubs to get him. But will he be a Dice K? or a Darvish?
    that is what scares me when people talk about Tanaka getting 60+ million posting bid.
    thats a lot of money on a 50/50

  • mjhurdle

    god i hate the cardinals

    • cubs2003

      +1

    • Brains

      it sucks to watch them win and do it well, especially when the cubs are so set on losing, and doing it badly. totally different baseball culture down there, and for now, it’s a better one because they actually follow sportsmanship

      • Cyranojoe

        Sportsmanship? Did you not see all the nasty slides they took against opposing infielders lately?

        • Brains

          sportsmanship = putting the team and winning first. the end. 2 years for rebuilding is a lot of time, it will amount to 3 off seasons, 2 trade deadlines, and 2 years of waiver lines. we should be primed to grow next year when we’ve actually regressed quite a bit without any hope of signing a major impact player this offseason.

          • Cyranojoe

            Your definition of sportsmanship is leagues apart from the actual meaning, and the rest of your post is more of your trolling. I’m done responding to it.

            Merriam-Webster = “sportsmanship: fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition.”

            • Brains

              return of the basement dweller insult that regular humans don’t even understanding… “trolling”. it’s called an opinion. and you answered my comment with support, if you realize it or nit. “someone who is competing in a sport or other competition”. when the overt goal is to lose to get higher draft picks, or not use revenues toward the actual team, they are not competing. the basic laws of sportsmanship are violated. “being polite” is a weak man’s definition coming from complacency.

  • DocShock88

    IIRC the posting fee will go to the team in Japan that is losing Tanaka, not to Tanaka himself. It is a way to help that team deal with losing a major player off of their roster.

    I thought I had read somewhere that hey had changed out the baseballs that were using in Japan for a different ball that was helping the offenses? Does anyone know if this is true? If so does it make Tanaka’s numbers more impressive?

  • macpete22

    I wouldn’t mind picking up Omar Infante via free agency

  • Brains

    I love how every blurb on this post ends with….”the player is great, so the Cubs definitely will not sign them”. Brett’s got the Cubbie blue(s).

  • YourResidentJag

    Since we’re going to see a lot of them in the coming future, an interesting take on the Latino player in baseball: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/62352290/

    • King Jeff

      I think that article is ridiculous and looking to incite something that isn’t there, and anyone who is saying that Latinos are just now finding their place in baseball is a fool who hasn’t been watching for the last 20 years.

      • MichiganGoat

        ^^^THIS^^^

  • YourResidentJag

    I’d like to see Omar Vizquel as a bench or 3rd base coach brought into the fold to work with Castro.

  • N.J. Riv

    I know the Cubs are not looking to compete next year, but with them not being players in free agency, let alone big players, it’s hard to see them progressing from last year. To me the team has only gotten worse due to the all the trades. Sure you have Baez coming up, and maybe Bryant and Olt too, but it’s nice to see a team who’s rebuilding to be steadily progressing every year, and who says these guys are going to have an impact right away? But I guess as long as they develop and get better at the major league level over the next year or so that’s all that matters. I just hope the Cubs have some trades up their sleeves to make things somewhat more interesting next season.

    • Brains

      This gets it exactly right. Development isn’t magic, the team needs to place building blocks one at a time. Instead Theo has traded every building block away and is putting all of his hope on some 20 year olds who might or might not pan out. It’s like playing Russian roulette and leaving your chips on green.

      • Cyranojoe

        Sorry, “Brains”, could you name, I don’t know, *two* building blocks that Theo (you mean the GM Jed, right?) has traded away?

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