Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler are AFL All-Stars

Kris BryantThe Chicago Cubs sent three of The Big Four to the Arizona Fall League this year, and each ultimately has shown why he is a part of that group. To the extent you can do so in like 10 or 11 games, anyway.

Which is to say that each of Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler were named AFL All-Stars, in a game that will played on Saturday (called the Fall Stars Game). Bryant’s AFL performance has been the stuff of legends, as he leads the league in a number of offensive categories, and is hitting .422/.471/.933. Almora has cooled a bit since a blazing hot start, and is hitting .297/.333/.541 overall. Soler started out slowly, but has been scoring hot of late, bringing his line up to .300/.327/.440.

The best news of all? The Fall Stars game is televised! You can watch at 7pm CT on MLB Network, Saturday, November 2.

For more AFL-related prospect enjoyment, check out this piece from Jim Callis (focused mostly on Kris Bryant), and this video from Callis and Jonathan Mayo.

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

131 responses to “Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler are AFL All-Stars”

  1. notcubbiewubbie

    read online that the angels r loking for pitching. anybody like the idea of trading the shark to anaheim for some combination of mark trumbo and peter bourjos??? trumbo 27 bourjos 26.

    1. itzscott

      I’m for trading Shark to any team….

      I just have a feeling his value will continue to go down. Seems he’s undoubtedly heading to signing elsewhere and I just don’t think he’s as good as many others think.

    2. Chad

      I don’t care who they trade him for but at some point they need to get pitching depth in return, whether that is a trade of Shark, or if they were to get some position players, using some prospects to get it, but it would be much easier to just trade shark for pitching prospects.

      I would like to see a trade with:

      They have young pitching in the minors and Shark could help them all immediately.

    3. Professor Snarks

      n.c.w. Count me in. Trumbo isn’t a ‘saber darling’, but his power is undeniable, and we could use that. He also isn’t the greatest fielder, but neither was Soriano. The nice part, he probably would maintain his value fairly well, so if our stud prospects force things, he can be traded for someone who needs a DH. Or he could become our DH.

      I love the prospect thing, but it’s getting close to time to get major league players.

      (Caveat: trading for Trumbo, and adding him to a lineup with Baez and Bryant, means you need to be prepared for a LOT of strikeouts).

      1. On The Farm

        He isn’t a saber darling? If anything he isn’t an old school darling, he has a .250 career batting average and has only had one season with 100 RBIs. Saber speaking, he has a .330 wOBA, 111 wRC+, and a .219 ISO. His career averages would have been league average numbers (wOBA would have been a little low, but ISO would have had him near the top).

        1. Professor Snarks

          I was looking at his k and walk rates, his OBP and OPS, and WAR. All of those are too low for a guy with that much power (well not the k rate).

    4. Jono

      A left handed hitter would be nice. Well, a pitching prospect would be even better, I guess. But if they’re looking to add another bat, i hope it would be a lefty

    5. hansman

      Does “read online” mean Bleacher Report?

      I understand that Cubs fans are down on Samardzija right now but comeon, Shark is worth more than two guys you hope can produce.

    6. Assman22

      No…if/when Shark’s dealt, it will be for younger near MLB-ready pitching…

      1. Kyle

        We can put it next to that younger, near-MLB ready pitching that we were definitely going to get for Garza.

        1. King Jeff

          Yeah, like Justin Grimm who will challenge for a spot on the pitching staff in the spring and Neil Ramirez who has been at AA/AAA for the last two years and could be up sometime next year. If that’s not near-MLB ready pitching, you are going to have to set the parameters for that one.

      2. Edwin

        Why would a team trade “younger near MLB-ready pitching” for Jeff Samardzjia?

        1. someday...2015?

          Because Shark is a young power pitcher who can touch 95+ late into games. That’s rare.

          1. On The Farm

            OH YEAH!!

            1. someday...2015?


          2. Edwin

            Jeff will be 29 next season. I’d think if a team had a near-MLB pitching prospect they’d be better off just going with their pitching prospect, instead of trading for Jeff.

            If the Cubs trade Jeff for a pitching prospect, the closer the pitching prospect is to the Majors, the less good of a prospect it will be.

        2. Assman22

          There are scouts from other clubs whom believe Shark has ace potential…all are AL clubs…Cubs do not share the same belief…

          1. FullCountTommy

            Then why are 3 of the main 4 teams being mentioned in a trade (Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Nationals) all NL clubs??

            1. Assman22

              Bucs and Nats have merely inquired about Shark…neither believe he’s an ace…Dbacks love Shark but have scoffed at the Cubs’ trade demands for Shark repeatedly…best return will come from a club who sees him as an ace…Towers still infatuated with Lake btw…

          2. Voice of Reason

            Then hurry it up and let’s trade him to one of those A.L. teams.

          3. Jason Powers

            The bigger and better question: Do any of those AL teams have the assets the Cubs will be interested in?

          4. Edwin

            What kind of talent are these teams willing to give up?

        3. Stevie B

          Why would anyone talk about anything other than “WE GET TO SEE KRIS BRYANT ON TV SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ”

          Just sayin…..

          1. Soda Popinski

            This is my stance on matters at this point in the year. I like to play hypotheticals, too, but all the action is at least a month or two away. Well, Kris Bryant and any managerial news.

    7. terencemann

      I think they can do better than Trumbo or Bourjos. Trumbo is really a first baseman and he’s a hacker with a sub-.300 OBP in 3 major league seasons (and he’ll be 28). Bourjos is an all-glove center fielder. They should be able to get a player with a higher ceiling than either for Samardzija plus extra players.

      1. Rebuilding

        I would rather have Cole Kalhoun than both of of those guys together. Plus he’s a lefthanded stick

        1. Rebuilding

          *Kole Calhoun*

  2. another JP

    Can’t wait to see the Fall Star game- that might be worth taping just to look back at what these prospects were like after they’ve been on the Cubs for a while. Nice to see Soler is back on track too.

  3. MightyBear

    All this talk of Baez and Bryant starting out the year on the big club is crazy. First of all everyone including the FO knows they can hit. But hitting is only part of the game. You want complete players who can play defense as well as offense (this isn’t the AL yet). Bryant let a ball go through his legs in the AFL and Baez had about as many errors as he did home runs this year. Theo/Jed aren’t going to bring these guys up and let them kick the ball around the field. Also, they’re both probably going to hit when they come up. Baseball is about adjustments. The league will adjust to them and if they don’t adjust, they’ll both be Jason Heyward.

    Also, people kicking Soler are out of their minds. Soler might be the best prospect of the big four. How can you say that you ask? Because he’s the only one that has no weaknesses in his game. Almora is solid all around but he isn’t that fast and he may not have as much power. Bryant and Baez are hitting machines but both could end up being defensive liabilities. Soler hits well, is patient, hits for power, runs like a deer (when he’s healthy), plays solid outfield defense and has a cannon for an arm. He may be the best of the bunch.

    1. Kyle

      There’s like two really silly things there. Maybe three.

      First, the weakness in Soler’s game is that he might not hit enough to be a major leaguer. That’s a huge weakness.

      Second, not every category has to be weighted equally. Being kinda good at a lot of things isn’t better than being amazing at the most important thing and having holes in less important things.

      Third, Soler being a good defensive corner outfielder isn’t nearly as impressive or valuable as Baez being a mediocre defensive non-1b infielder.

      1. Edwin

        Ahh, the rule of 3. Nice writing.

      2. MightyBear

        Why do you say Soler might not hit at the ML level? That’s silly. They all might not hit at the major league level.

        2nd – You want to have complete players. Part of the Cubs problem for ever is they would get guys great at one thing and suck at the rest of they’re and it would cost them many ball games. Think Dave Kingman.

        3rd – You still need speed and defense in the outfield as well as the infield. You need 8 guys who can hit and play defense. I’m sick of every other team running down line drives in the gap and making great throws to home when the Cubs OF’ers do neither.

        One of the things not touched on this site is part of the reason the Cubs pitching has their defense has improved dramatically. They go hand in hand.

        1. Edwin

          If a player can crush MLB pitching, like Matt Holliday, it doesn’t matter if his defense isn’t as good. He’s still a more valuable LF than a player like Denard Span or Gregor Blanco.

          It doesn’t mean that good defense can’t make up for average hitting, but the most valuable thing a position player can do is hit. It’s much easier for a player to offset his bad fielding with good hitting than bad hitting with good fielding.

          1. MightyBear

            Why are you arguing either or? First Holliday isn’t too bad a left fielder. Second rather than Span or some other defensive only OF, why don’t you cite Mays or Clemente?

            1. Kyle

              It’s not either or, but players don’t get special bonuses to their contribution for being balanced.

              A player’s value is in the sum of his contributions, whether it be 10 runs of offense and none on defense, five of each, or 0 and 10.

              1. MightyBear

                What about 10 and 10?

                1. Kyle

                  Sure. But that player isn’t better than 20 and 0.

                  Soler doesn’t get bonus points for being balanced or having “no holes” or whatever. He’s clearly an inferior hitter to Bryant and Baez right now, and he’s an inferior defender to Almora.

              2. DocPeterWimsey

                The other aspect is that the contribution to run-differential that the best hitters make is much, much greater than the contribution to run-differential that the best fielders make. That is why guys like Manny and Jeter (who routinely were among league leaders in extra runs given to the opposition from fielding) were still so valuable: despite being poor fielders, they still contributed more to run-differential than other guys playing their positions.

                1. cubfanincardinalland

                  Come on Doc, Jeter was a 5 time gold glove player.

                  1. TWC

                    That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that he was a good fielder.

                  2. DocPeterWimsey

                    Yes, Jeter won gold gloves for turning grounders hit 5 feet to his left into spectacular looking plays, when the other 29 guys playing SS that day would have set up lawn chairs in front of the ball.

                    Seriously, Jeter is the whipping boy for people who recognize that fielding is about range more than anything else, and that how pretty you look on a play does not make an out count for more than one out.

                    1. hansman

                      “how pretty you look on a play ”

                      Hey now, many consider him to be pretty even outside of the field.

                    2. DocPeterWimsey

                      And legend has it that there are many, many autographed baseballs out there to prove it!

                      (Someday we will get the Mantle vs. Jeter tally!)

                    3. Cubbie Blues

                      But, with each signed ball that goes out on the market, doesn’t the value of the “gift” (I’ll call it payment) go down?

                    4. DocPeterWimsey

                      Not to the publishers of the “Mantle vs Jeter: stories of extra-inning WAR where the ‘W’ doesn’t stand for Wins”

                2. jt

                  “Manny and Jeter (who routinely were among league leaders in extra runs given to the opposition from fielding)”
                  I’d like to see the figures on Manny’s runs given.
                  Fenway allowed him to play a very shallow LF and he played the Wall balls over his head well. He dogged the throws to the IF on most but had a much better arm than he let on. I’d guess his away stats were not as good?

                  1. DocPeterWimsey

                    That is actually a good point on Manny: range statistics were still fairly new when he was playing LF, and things like ballpark effects might not have been taken into account yet. I know that the initial analyses pointing these out were based on the distribution of balls hit near the fielders and the ones that they fielded for outs. The “radius” of outs was lower for both players to the point of about 50 short of the expected outs.

                    Yankee fans, of course, insisted that the balls that Jeter missed were clean singles that nobody would have fielded, despite the fact that 29 other SS were doing just that!

                    1. jt

                      I wonder how this concept plays at Wrigley with the arc flattening in CF leaving a proportionally larger area both in LF and RF than in many parks?

                    2. DocPeterWimsey

                      Those, and the damned brick walls: the “against the wall” catches in other parks are doubles off of the bricks in Wrigley.

                      That written, my understanding of the UZR tallies is that people actually watch them and make note of how often particular types of batted balls are caught. I’ve never read that they make ballpark adjustments, but they must have the data that can show if “against the wall” catches are less common in Wrigley than in other parks, and that balls hit into the well (especially where they just flare out) are caught less often than balls hit the same distance in normal parks.

                      (The analyses that I mentioned for Manny & Jeter above were based on “bombing accuracy” models, where the position of the player was equivalent to the target and the outs were equivalent to where bombs fell; the difference, of course, was that you want the opposite results!)

                    3. jt

                      again, thanks
                      interesting stuff!

              3. jayrig5

                Kyle, despite disagreeing with you a bit more often than I agree with you, you might just be my favorite poster on this board. Your devotion to the use of logic and reason in message board debate is quixotic, for sure, but I never get tired of reading it.

        2. Kyle

          “Why do you say Soler might not hit at the ML level? That’s silly. They all might not hit at the major league level.”

          Because to date, his minor league numbers have been the third-most impressive out of our four, and the fourth is an elite defensive CFer.

          “You want to have complete players. Part of the Cubs problem for ever is they would get guys great at one thing and suck at the rest of they’re and it would cost them many ball games. Think Dave Kingman.”

          I’m thinking David Ortiz.

          “3rd – You still need speed and defense in the outfield as well as the infield. You need 8 guys who can hit and play defense. I’m sick of every other team running down line drives in the gap and making great throws to home when the Cubs OF’ers do neither.”

          That’s fine, but up the middle defense and infield defense is still more important.

          1. MightyBear

            What position does David Ortiz play?

            1. Kyle

              Hitter. He’s only good at that one thing, but it’s the most important thing, so that’s all that matters.

              1. MightyBear

                There is no hitter in the NL.

                1. hansman

                  You could start Ortiz at pretty much any position and his defense wouldn’t matter.

                  The reason the Cubs have sucked for so long isn’t that they got guys who could hit and do nothing else, it was they got guys who couldn’t hit and do nothing else.

                  1. JM

                    Are you serious about this? Of course it would matter. Stick Ortiz at short and see if his offensive production would make up for all the runs he would allow.

                    Am I missing a bigger point or misunderstanding what you’re saying?

                2. King Jeff

                  There was last night when Ortiz played first and dominated the game, again.

              2. Kyle

                There’s hitters everywhere.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              One, Papi could be a perfectly serviceable 1Bman. Two, Dave Kingman was used as a defensive replacement early in his career!

              1. MightyBear

                Yeah and he wasn’t hitting 40 bombs a year and he sure wasn’t used as a defensive replacement later in his career.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Actually, he was hitting close to 30 (or a pace for 30) in his first few seasons, which given his home park (Candlestick) was pretty good.

                  Kingman’s OF defense was estimated to be near average over most of his career, with the fall-off in his early 30′s. The list of players for whom this statement is true is very, very long.

                  What is interesting is that Kong was a lousy 1Bman: and that is where he spent his final years.

                  1. Pete LaCock

                    No one could throw a bat after a strike out better than Kingman. Ah, good times.

          2. MightyBear

            I agree up the middle infield defense is more importan than outfield defense but you’re thinking generalities instead of the player. Would you rather have Roberto Clemente or Derek Jeter?

            1. Kyle

              That’s actually probably a lot closer than you think. Pretty close to a wash.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                Baseball reference gives Clemente a career WAR of 94, and Jeter a career WAR of 72. However, because variance in baseball performance has been decreasing over the years, Jeter’s numbers might be equally good.

                At any rate, it’s a choice that would be both wonderful to have and excruciating at the same time!

                1. MightyBear

                  Does that include defensive metrics? Because Clemente was not only a better hitter than Jeter, he was a superb outfielder that saved a lot of runs. Oh and he ran better. But you gents stick with Jeter. Of the two, I’ll take Clemente on my team any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

                  1. jayrig5

                    We’re not debating finished product, Hall of Fame players. We’re talking about using positional value to project prospects. And when a lot of other metrics are equal then the CF is a better prospect, because that skillset is harder to find. Rare=valuable. Kyle isn’t telling you that every potential CF or SS prospect is a better prospect than Soler, he’s just making the reasonable point that good CF defense is harder to find than good RF or LF defense, so in the context of building a winning team it’s a more valuable commodity because it’s harder to replace.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Also, that depends on whether the sentence ends in “… playing on your team?” or “… meeting your girlfriend?”

              (Or course, the sentence could end just there women!) :-)

      3. jt

        “Third, Soler being a good defensive corner outfielder isn’t nearly as impressive or valuable as Baez being a mediocre defensive non-1b infielder.”
        I’d like to see this proved

        1. Kyle

          Well, you’re not going to, because it’s a pain in the butt and would require looking up and/or duplicating thirty years of statistical research into the defensive spectrum.

          1. jt

            So you can not defend the statement that it easier to replace a mediocre fielding mIF’er than a great fielding RF’er? That is to say value is a function of supply and demand.

            1. Kyle

              Sure, I can. But not with the type of “proof” you are going to want.

              The defensive spectrum exists for a reason.

          2. jt

            It seems “the spectrum” defines difficulty in playing a position, which is not the same as difficulty in finding players efficient in playing the position.
            It also does not define the effect of playing a position well. What was the effect of the threat of Clemente or Evens throws in preventing runners from taking extra bases on long hit balls relative to a SS or 2B preventing a single? Perhaps the defense of Gregg Nettles was more important than that of Clemente? I just don’t know. However, I don’t think the same can be said for Donnie Murphy.
            Soler had a higher BB rate and lower K rate and higher OBP in his 237 PA’s at Daytona than Baez had in his 337 PA’s on the same team. Adjust Soler’s 210 AB’s to the 299 of Baez and they’d be about even in doubles, Baez would have about 2 more triples and about 6 more HR’s than Soler. But remember, Soler was competing on a fractured leg.
            I’ll give you that the Soler’s shortened season prevented him from the extended proof of ability that Baez showed. However, there was nothing Soler’s 2013 stats to indicate any him to be any less of a prospect than Baez.

            1. Kyle

              The spectrum defines all those things inherently. The marketplace of baseball works efficiently to put the defenders at the most important spot they can play credibly, which has the side effect of making it easier to find good hitters at less important positions.

              1. jt

                inherent: “Existing as an essential constituent or characteristic; intrinsic.
                That is to say 5’8″ (on tip toes) Pedroia would be a better 1B than Keith Hernandez; be rugged enough to best Carlton Fisk catching or have the arm and speed to replace Clemente in RF?
                The marketplace of baseball works to efficiently put defenders at the positions they can play most effectively relative to the options available. There is nothing inherent in Sandoval’s ability to play RF. I’m sure there are many 2B’s without the arm to play 3B.

            2. Kyle

              Although I’m not going to look it up right now, Baseball-Reference does have baserunner advancing info for fielders so that you can check the effect if you want.

              1. another JP

                Please don’t. You’re liable to get an aneurysm if you keep this up.

              2. jt

                You presented findings as to Soler/Baez without basis.
                Either provide the basis or lose creditably.

                1. TOOT

                  “You presented findings as to Soler/Baez without basis.
                  Either provide the basis or lose creditably.”

                  I think you mean “credibility”. I vouch for Kyle.

                  1. jt

                    ” I vouch for Kyle.”
                    Del Crandell catching BP for the Braves in ’54 tells rookie Hank Aaron: “Hey, your supposed to have the label up so you can read it”.
                    Aaron thought for a moment and retorted: “I didn’t come here to read, I came to hit.”
                    That is to say you blindly accept that which Kyle says?
                    That is not logical.

                2. Jason Powers


                  ” Those comparisons end up doing things like underrating shortstops in comparison to second basemen – an average shortstop is a better baseball player than an average second baseman. An average shortstop is a better second baseman than the average second baseman.

                  If we know that the average shortstop is more valuable than the average second baseman, then I don’t see where the problem is. We know that shortstop gets more defensive opportunities on balls in play than any other position. Naturally, your best infielder (with some caveats) will play this position.” JC Bradbury, Sabernomics

                  The Spectrum looks like:
                  1B – LF – RF – 3B – CF – 2B – SS – C

                  Find me 4 good/great players on the right that can hit plus and field adequately, I can always find someone to hit at the 4 on the left good, field ok, and not be at disadvantage.

                  1. jt

                    A SS needs an arm that is strong for 140′ or more. A 2B can get away with an arm strong for 100′ or less. The 2B could have a better glove and a bigger cover range than the average SS and still not be able to play the left side of the IF.
                    I like the concept of the Spectrum. It is a great guide. It gives perspective. But the devil is in the detail.
                    I watched Jed Lowrie when he was with Boston. I know he is a pretty good hitter but perhaps an average fielder. Do you make the trade for Clemente in his prime for Lowrie?

    2. Professor Snarks

      I agree with you on the defense thing. I know I’m in the minority, but if you kind of know Bryant and Baez are going to change position, let them get as much practice as possible in whatever spot on the field they play.

      As for Soler, your projection is the most optimistic I’ve seen in over a year. I hope you are right. I think Baez and Bryant are going to be superstars, so if Soler is better, well….WOW…we’re in business. I guess I’d like to see him play a full minor league season before I’m sold on him.

      1. Cubbie in NC

        I would like to start seeing Bryant and Baez play where they are going to end up. I feel like with Baez the Cubs should know now if he is going to stick at short, or be moved to 2nd or 3rd. I feel like him playing short now if he is not going to end up there is a waste of time.

        I feel the same way with Bryant at third. When he starts AA in 14 I hope they play him where they plan on playing him when he comes up.

        1. ssckelley

          Part of me wonders if Baez needed a rest from the AFL because of his reluctance to playing a different position. I only say that because I have not run into to many 20 year olds that need a rest from anything. Baez has been very reluctant to play a different position than shortstop and if he proves he can handle the position then his value is sky high with his hitting abilities, same can be said for Bryant. What the Cubs do with the existing players at those position is a nice problem to have.

          1. Cubbie Blues

            Where have you seen that he is reluctant to move? I remember one interview where he said he was willing to play “wherever needed”. True, that may just be fluff, but where did you hear the contrary?

            1. Joe

              Baez likely never said he didn’t want to move. This is how rumors about a players selfishness get started. Lets stop it here.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                Too late! Besides, Javier plays with a bit of, shall we say, bravado. That always gets translated into “selfish.”

                1. Joe

                  Thats unfortunate. It means when he does get called up he’ll need to produce and keep producing at an elite level or a good part of the fanbase will turn on him pretty quickly. (see: Ramirez or Castro)

              2. ssckelley

                No, I never meant that. His natural position is shortstop. Somewhere I read that he preferred playing shortstop, which is natural, and I cannot find it.

                I blame my fingers for getting out of control, and my keyboard. :D

                1. Joe

                  Understandable, I didn’t mean to suggest you meant it that way. Just that some people will pick up on those comments and run with them.

                2. King Jeff

                  Yeah, I took it as that being how you meant it.

                  1. ssckelley

                    Yep, and this is where I wish there was a edit button.

          2. King Jeff

            “I’m just trying to help the team and the Cubs and whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’ll do,” Baez said

            When Cubs director of player development Brandon Hyde heard prospect Javier Baez say he is willing to move from shortstop and play any position, Hyde believed him.

            This is straight from Baez and straight form the director of player development who is giving a first-hand account of Baez saying he was willing to switch.
            I really would like to see your source on Baez saying he isn’t willing to switch, otherwise this is just your own perceived slight, and becomes libelous.

        2. terencemann

          I would like to see the Cubs play they’re younger players in a variety of positions they can handle so that they have the sort of versatility in their defensive positioning that teams like the Rays have. Give Bryant time at 3rd and left so they could add a player who could platoon in left or at third. Give Soler time at left and right. Give Baez time at third, short, and 2nd so he has a feel for each position.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        That is a bad idea if only because it greatly decreases their trade values. At any rate, guys move from 3B -> OF or SS -> anywhere over the course of a spring-training. It is much more rare that the move to those position on short-notice.

    3. ssckelley

      MightyBear, I think service time will keep both Baez and Bryant down in the minors for at least a month. Seeing how conservative the FO has gotten with payroll lately it would not even surprise me if they were kept down to avoid Super Two status. But I honestly do not think their defense will keep either of them from the majors. If teams did this players like Mark Reynolds would never reach the majors in the NL. But the reports I have read on both Baez and Bryant defensively have been positive. Scouts have been surprised at how well Bryant plays 3rd given his size and I have seen positive reports on Baez’s skills at shortstop. Bottom line is if you can show that you can handle big league pitching they will find a place for you to play.

      1. King Jeff

        I forgot about the new Super Two cutoff rules. If that’s the timeline, then neither will be seeing Wrigley until July sometime.

      2. MightyBear

        Your right. Super two will definitely keep them out of Wrigley at the beginning of the year. My point was, you have to play the field too. If they hit well, they will find a place for them BUT, they’re not just going to bring them up and stick them at a new position. Jeeze louise, even Lake played the outfield before they brought him up and that was in a lost season where it really didn’t matter.

  4. Bill

    How about a Samardzija and Castro for Trumbo and Bourjes and a prospect.

    1. On The Farm

      Not an expert on trades, or haven’t looked to deeply into the Angels farm, but it appears they lack elite pitching talent so the prospect would have to be Taylor Lindsey for me.

    2. Professor Snarks

      Too much. We don’t have anyone to replace Castro yet, either.

      (the Angels farm system is lower third, at best.)

    3. mjhurdle

      why do we want Trumbo and Bourjos?
      Am I missing something about them? Our OF may not be stacked now, but trading Castro and Shark for two sub 2 WAR players seems a lot like selling very low to me.
      If they were the level of talent we could get for those 2, then i would rather hang onto them and hope they start producing, Castro to the level he has demonstrated before, and Shark to his fabled ‘potential’.

    4. Craig

      Samardzja and Castro to the Pirates for Polanco and Tallon is the trade they need to explore

    5. terencemann

      The Pirates aren’t going to trade Taillon. The chance for a small market team to have a top of the rotation pitcher under team control for 5-6 seasons is something they’re not going to pass up for one season of Samardzija.

      1. YourResidentJag

        Is it one season, though, if the trade were to occur before the start of 2014? BTW, I don’t think the Pirates and Cubs would be involved in any Shark trade.

  5. Blackhawks1963

    I’m not a big fan of Samardzija, but that said I doubt he is traded. He’s a low mileage pitcher who can been counted on to take the ball every 5th day and deliver innings. Also, he is cost advantageous to the Cubs. I don’t see TheoJed moving Spellcheck. And I think if you DID move Spellcheck, then you’d have to get top pitching prospect in return. Now if you can convince Arizona to give us Archie Bradley? Then I’m all ears !

    1. MightyBear

      The issue isn’t the Shark’s talent. If he was a first year pitcher and you had him for 5 years it would be ludicrous to trade him. The problem is right around the time the Cubs will be good again is when he’ll be an FA. Then you lose him and get nothing for him. Right now he is healthy and has two years of control. IF he doesn’t sign an extension, trade him.

      1. MightyBear

        Buy low, sell high.

  6. Aaron

    The big question is, does picking up Tanaka allow us the room to deal Shark? If Arrieta can locate the ball better next season, he alone is your replacement for Shark. Adding Tanaka as a front of the rotation starter only bolsters that decision. You would have Tanaka, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta, (Fill in any minor leaguer or FA you wish). There are a lot of huge “ifs” in this statement, but the risk of picking up at least one major pitching prospect close to MLB ready would be worth the risk. Furthermore, next year we will hopefully have some prospects to move for another upper level arm.

    1. MightyBear

      We’re not getting Tanaka and even if we don’t, we should trade the Shark if he doesn’t sign an extension. The Cubs have pitching coming and they can get a good starter cheaply. Think Scott Baker.

      1. Aaron

        Who do you place as the #1 starter then?

      2. Edwin

        Scott Baker did nothing for the Cubs last season. And what pitching do the Cubs have coming, and how far away is it?

        1. MightyBear

          Henricks, Edwards and Johnson. Not far.

          1. Edwin

            Hendricks is probably a 4th starter at best. Edwards and Johnson haven’t even made it to AA yet, and there is a decent reason to doubt whether Edwards can handle the load of being a full time starter.

            I think the Cubs are getting better pitching depth, but I’d rather see how Edwards and Johnson handle AA before I’d start seriously counting on the Farm System for anything more than back end pitching depth.

            1. MightyBear

              It is my personal opinion that Hendricks will be more than a 4-5 starter. A lot of that is based on his fastball and the pitches he had before he came to the Cubs. There was an article on Hendricks earlier this year that said he had an average slider and an average curve and was having trouble executing both. A minor league pitching coach with the Cubs (who should be promoted) suggested he combine the pitches. He now throws a slurve and he’s been getting everybody out since and he doesn’t walk batters. He’s done it at AA and AAA. The majors are next and he’s not only going to be 1-2 or 3, he’s going to be a star.

              1. another JP

                I like your take on Hendricks, MB. The only hiccup the kid had all year was a brief spell of issuing some walks when he reached AAA, but otherwise his control is definitely right there with Maddux. Like Uehara is showing in the WS, pitching is more about location than throwing 100 MPH.

        2. ssckelley

          Hendricks has already been mentioned but Barret Loux could get a look, obviously Rusin should be in the mix next spring along with Arrieta. But none of them are TOR pitching candidates, they would make for an interesting competition for the 5th spot. The Cubs need to add a starter through free agency and, hopefully, Scott Baker is nothing more than a fall back option.

  7. JM

    Funny how we’re all looking for consistancy, while in the same breath screamimg for change…

    1. Cubbie Blues


      1. JM

        I simply mean that Cub fans want to begin winning consistently, with a steady flow of quality minor leaguers that become stars/contributors, and yet all I continually read is how we need to trade player x for player y, package these prospects for that star, and so on.

        I simply don’t see how the Cubs can build a winning tradition where everyone is getting traded, as many on this site suggest.

        Certainly moves will be made to better the club, but not at the rate and extreme that people discuss on these threads. I think only Rizzo and Bryant are the only two that are exempt from being traded by the Cubs nation. Perhaps more recently Baez as well.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          If there is a trade that makes the organization better, why should they make it? I don’t see a problem here. Now, do some go overboard on hypothesized trades? Of course, but those individuals are in the extreme minority.

          1. JM

            Well stated. I guess my position was that proposed trades were more common than you apparently think they are.

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          That is a very specific definition of “consistency” that excludes most teams that make the playoffs frequently. After all, winning teams often are run by people smart enough to realize that the best teams always have holes, and they work to fill them that off-season. Thus, winning teams have a pretty consistent turnover rate.

          At any rate, how often do we see the scenario where a GM “trades the farm” for an established player, and come back 5 years later to find that established player is still productive whereas “the future” never arrived?

          1. JM

            If you keep making sense, I might have to agree. Yet the Cubs find themselves in a very rare place having such good players so close to the major leagues. This is not a case where “trading the farm” seems more advantageous than trading for a proven player.

            To your point, I suppose KC is an example of what you are talking about.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      I don’t think that is what people mean by consistency, although that also reflects the fact that most people don’t know exactly what they mean when they say “consistent”!

      1. JM

        Perhaps I could be one of those as well. I do know I want to see the Cubs in post season year after year with multiple championships to show for it. That would be my definition of consistency.

    3. jt

      you can’t put the same foot in the same river twice
      the more things change, the more they stay the same
      wet birds don’t fly at night.

  8. Soda Popinski

    Kris Bryant with another homerun! Holy schnikeys…

    1. TOOT

      Holy Popolsku! (Did I spell that right?)

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