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stoveThe offseason is actually here!

  • You’re going to hear a lot about Starlin Castro this offseason. That was likely to be true regardless of whether Javier Baez exploded up the ranks last year, or whether Castro crapped the offensive bed. But with those two things happening in tandem, Castro mentions project to go off the charts. According to Matt Cerone (who was a forerunner in proving that your site can have “Blog” in the title and still be considered a quality enterprise), the Cubs are making Castro available this offseason, and they’re looking for at least one top pitching prospect in the deal. And the reason putting such a deal together is going to be nearly impossible? Cerone concludes that, presently, Castro is not worth Zack Wheeler (“not even close”). And I can’t blame him, given Castro’s disastrous 2013 season. But from a Cubs evaluator’s perspective, one who knows the tinkering that went on with Castro this year, I’d say that Wheeler, alone, isn’t enough for Castro. Not even close. Castro turns 24 next year, and is under control through 2020 at a relative bargain price. Maybe he never bounces back, and that “bargain” becomes a noose. But if he returns to 2010-12 form (not even taking a step forward)? Getting a single Zack Wheeler for Castro could prove a horrible move.
  • That is all to say: unless the Cubs are so down on Castro that they’re willing to take a “buying low” price on him, or unless there’s at least one team out there willing to pay for his potential, making a trade will not be possible. But, hey, never rule out the possibility that the Cubs just want to dump him, or that there are teams out there who can see past 2013.
  • The Angels are desperate for pitching, but lavish spending over the past few years has them right up against the $189 million luxury tax cap (under which they’d like to stay). That means trades, and they are reportedly willing to shop guys like Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, or Peter Bourjos. I know it’s easy to start wondering whether Trumbo could passably handle left field or whether Bourjos could finally hit well enough to justify starting his superior outfield defense, but you’ve first got to wonder whether the Cubs have the right kind of pitching to deal with the Angels. The Cubs aren’t moving Jeff Samardzija in that kind of deal, and I can’t seem them dealing Travis Wood at all. Edwin Jackson probably isn’t moveable right now, and I think the Cubs probably still want to see what they have in Jake Arrieta. That could leave someone like Carlos Villanueva, who is priced right, but who is best utilized as a swing man. I don’t really see a great fit here.
  • You can expect the Dodgers to be in on Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka, because obviously. That’s actually not just whimsical blogspeak – part of the reason the Dodgers are rumored to be in on Tanaka is because them being in on a high-priced player is self-fulfillingly obvious at this point.
  • (Interesting aside on Tanaka: unlike with other big name free agents (Ellsbury, Cano, Choo), where reported Cubs interested is tending to come from non-Chicago sources, the national guys and other non-Chicago guys are not listing the Cubs as among the teams interested in Tanaka. That, despite the fact that a number of Chicago-based sources have said the Cubs will be pursuing him. I don’t yet have a working theory on that disconnect, but I need not develop one to know that this front office will want to at least make a bid on Tanaka, pending any impending posting system changes.)
  • A report out of Boston has the Cubs listed as one of a handful of teams possibly interested in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia should the Red Sox not make him a qualifying offer (and thus untethering him from free agent compensation). The Red Sox indeed might not make him that offer, which would make his price tag rise considerably on the free agent market. That’s the double-edged sword about qualifying offers that no one seems to articulate: the Cubs and other teams would be on him if he’s not tied to compensation? Sure, because they don’t lose a pick and pool money. But then he becomes much more expensive … so maybe it would have been a better deal if he were tied to compensation. That’s how markets work: eventually, they gravitate to the appropriate price as assets are better valued. In theory, the difference in Salty’s price tag if he is or isn’t tied to compensation is … you guessed it, the value of the lost pick and pool money. (In which case, if the Cubs did want Salty (or other comp-tied free agents), they better hope he does get a qualifying offer, because the value of the pick they’d lose (a second rounder) is much lower than the pick that would be lost by most other bidders.)
  • It sounds like Jacoby Ellsbury has quietly dealt with a relatively serious hand issue for the better of the second half of 2013, or maybe that’s what Scott Boras wants bidders to think. For now, Ellsbury will remain on the radar around these parts, as the Cubs are continuously tied to him in national rumors, even if I strongly doubt they will make a serious play for him.
  • While the Cubs might be the favorite to land Korean righty Suk-Min Yoon, it sounds like the Twins have been keeping close tabs on him for a while and are very serious about pursuing him. That article is a worthwhile read for additional information on Yoon’s repertoire and health. The 27-year-old dealt with a number of shoulder issues last year, which cost him dozens of innings, and may have drained a couple MPH off his already-not-super-fast fastball.
  • Norm

    You pretty much summed up my thoughts on Castro. Other teams will price him based on recency bias, Cubs (and Cub fans) will price him based on his first two years in the league and the dreams that he was the next Derek Jeter.

    The gap between the two is enormous.

    • SH

      I think we underestimate other teams. Just as we think our FO is savvy enough to spot undervalued players — knowing when to pick up a player with a bad recent season — just about every other FO is equally capable. Other teams know his history and his upside as well as we do — they also know his downside as well as we do. (If they have to take our word for his training and tinkering andc.) He will likely be bargained for as what he is — a young player with a strong history and some warts. Some people will think they can convince us to trade him now while he’s worth *something* rather than take the risk he bottoms out. We’ll want to convince them that they should be dealing for upside.

      • Norm

        But WHY do the Cubs pick up those players with bad recent seasons?
        Because they are available at cheaper prices.

        Based on the comments here, no one wants to give up Castro at any reduced cost.

        • SH

          Well, sure. But it’s not a matter of recency bias, it’s a matter of who has the time and belief to buy into the upside. Everyone has the same stat sheets, scouts, film; I don’t think Sandy Alderson is saying “hmm Starlin Castro was bad this year I’ll give you Lucas Duda and nothing more.” Any GM will make the same calculated decision we make w/r/t likelihood of success based on a full career and comparisons to other knowledge they have about baseball players, not on one season’s worth of numbers in a vacuum.

          • Norm

            Yes, but that one season still counts and is still included in the assessment of Castro’s value.
            The Cubs will put less weight on 2013, while other teams will put more weight on 2013.
            Sandy Alderson will not value Castro as high today as he valued him 1 year ago.

            • SH

              Your last point is correct; but neither do the Cubs. If he had put up another top-5 positional OPS season we would not be talking about trading him.

              I don’t see why the Cubs would put less weight on 2013 than any other team, and the facts seem to prove that it is not the case.

              • Norm

                Why? Is because it’s a negotiation and each team is trying to get the best price. So naturally, the team selling will put more emphasis on the good and the buying team will put more emphasis on the bad.

                • SH

                  Right. But that has nothing to do with ‘recency bias’ or other teams being unable to make the smart baseball moves that our team is capable of making. It has to do with bargaining.

                  What kind of return can we get from a quantity equally known to both sides? It depends on the market and a given teams’ demand curve.

            • YourResidentJag

              Except that as Assman22 said about Shark..some teams still value him as an ace. This is regardless of the recency of his regression. I wish the Cubs had more funds because I wonder what the Rockies are going to do this offseason. With Cargo and Tulo and a what? (3rd place finish) who do they sign for SP? No sure about CarGo, but boy would Tulo look good in Cubs blue. I just wish they had more arms….they do however have a prospect named Eddie Butler who looks solid and Jhourys Chacin.

    • jay

      Baez is not getting here this year. So Castro, if left alone to swing the bat, has a year to show last year was a fluke and either 1) show he’s the real deal, in which case you keep him or you at least have restored trade value or 2) he tanks again and you get what you can for him. Either way, trading him THIS offseason makes absolutely no sense unless some team has a brain cramp and gives you value for him equal to what we saw out of him two years ago.

      • DarthHater

        This sounds about right to me.

      • YourResidentJag

        Unless of course you’re getting a TOR SP and a solid defensive SS to hold down the fort until Baez gets up to MLB…then it makes perfect sense.

      • Blackout

        Key point on Castro: “if left alone to swing the bat”.

        Let the kid play ball. The best hitting coaches work with each player’s strengths. Just because it works for player “A” doesn’t mean it will work for player “B”.

    • cubmig

      Cubs’ brass could simply say: “We tried to change his approach at the plate. We screwed him up, that’s it. BUT…..that’s not to say he can’t go back to being the hitter he was before we messed with his head.” The two sides see Castro’s value differently because of the “risk” perspective. If I were an interested team, I’d use that concern to get him as “cheap” as possible, but in the end……I’d trade for him. He’s fixable, and will with time do very well.

  • Oswego chris

    Here is my favorite info regarding the hot mess that has become the Angels…2016 salaries…Hamilton 32M, Pujols 26M, CJ Wilson 20.5M, and Jared Weaver 20.5…that’s after two more seasons of regression!

    • Coldneck

      Yea, that’s freaking ugly. LAA is going nowhere fast. At least Weaver is actually good.

    • On The Farm

      Makes me glad the FO didn’t get caught up in the FA hype…

    • waittilthisyear

      your avatar always reminds me of conan the barbarian, chris.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Shows how writers take a narrative and run with it. The Mets blogger saying Castro struggled in the field last season. Reality is last year was his best in the field, he went almost two months without an error with many spectacular plays.

    • Pat

      Yes, last year was his best year, and he still lead his position in errors. Not that errors are the best metric, but when you have the most at your position every year it’s becomes difficult to argue the player not being a poor defender.

  • Kyle

    I’d think pretty hard about Wheeler for Castro. That’s pretty comparable value, at first glance.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      TINSTAAPP.

      • roz

        So now that I understand the acronym, why do pitching prospects not exist?

      • Kyle

        He’s about to enter his age 24 season. He’s outside the injury nexus, although all pitchers are risks.

        But what tips it for me is that I like his contract status better than Castro’s. I’m not as in love with Castro’s contract status as many people. These long-term pre-FA extensions don’t gain you *that* much if they go right. You save a few million in the best-case, but you lose what are essentially six free team opt-outs, once each offseason. That’s pretty #rig, to borrow a hipsterism.

        • King Jeff

          Yeah, it seems these contracts rarely work out for the team unless it’s a true superstar signing long-term, like Longo or Goldschmidt, and even then, they have to worry about injuries.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I’m not so sure a rigorous analysis would bear you out on that one (but, since I’m not in a position to take on the task, we’ll just each go with our gut and disagree – to me, the aggregate pool of pre-arb extensions have been an overwhelming success for teams).

            • King Jeff

              Yeah, my analysis was anything but rigorous, and after a bit of research, probably as wrong as I’ve ever been about anything.

        • YourResidentJag

          That’s a good analysis.

      • MightyBear

        Stupidest acronym ever. Every pitcher in baseball at one time was a prospect as much as any position player.

        • Edwin

          True. But they’re much harder to predict, and have a higher bust rate. Just look at Trevor Bauer compared to a pitcher like Lance Lynn.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          (Just throwing it at Kyle.)

          • MightyBear

            I got no problems with that.

        • ETS

          That’s not the point of the acronym.

    • Jon

      What does TINSTAAPP mean?

      • King Jeff

        There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect

        • Kyle

          Jinx.

          • Chad

            King Jeff for the win.

      • Kyle

        There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect

      • Professor Snarks

        T here
        I s
        N o
        S uch
        T hing
        A s
        A
        P itching
        P rospect.

  • josh ruiter

    They should hold him regardless until at least mid-season. His buy-low standing right now can’t go much lower, but could dramatically increase with a good first half. Also, come midseason there will be an influx of teams desperate for offense out of a premium defensive position and WE can naturally net more for him. Being that he really isn’t an injury concern all of the pluses set in a midseason trade if trading him at all. Plus then we can see if Bryant, Olt, Baez, Alcantara are going to force their way into the lineup and make Castro expendable or not. I tend to think with Baez breathing down his neck, Castro will explode this year on both sides, and Baez will move to 3b with Bryant going to RF. Then we could see Soler in LF and Almora in CF in the not too distant future. And alcantara could man 2b. If one of them doesn’t work out, maybe we are already thriving with Olt and move Baez to 2b. lots of options, but we need to get a better glimpse at these guys in the upper minors before we start unloading any young talent. I would do Castro for Bradley or Walker +1 and that’s about it…unless you start with ridiculous trade proposals.

    • Jono

      I agree 100%

  • Starwin Bastro

    Just throwing this out there, but if you took out the fact that they are our biggest rival and it would be interdivision, the Cardinals would be a perfect trading partner for Starlin. Descalso and Kozma offensively won’t get it done and they have a multitude of high level pitching prospects. Obviously Wacha and probably Miller are off the table, but would a package of Martinez and Marco Gonzalez (would have to wait a few months) intrigue anyone or do you aim higher because they are the Cardinals?

    • On The Farm

      Theo has no problem trading in division (see the Travis Wood-Sean Marshall deal). It’s just not something that is done very often.

      • Starwin Bastro

        Right and there should be no problem trading in the division. I would do Martinez and Gonzalez in a heart beat for Castro

        • Starwin Bastro

          And thats coming from a guy who’s name is Starwin Bastro

        • Rich H

          Remember the Cards were turned down flat on a Carlos Gonzalez/ Alexi Ramerez trade offer in July. If Alexi is worth more so should Castro be just on upside.

    • North Side Irish

      FWIW, St. Louis writers are saying Shelby Miller is available which is why he didn’t pitch in the World Series. They’re speculating the Cards may have a deal in place for Miller and didn’t want to risk injury in the post season.

      http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/more-light-on-the-shelby-miller-situation

      • On The Farm

        I thought they just wanted to make sure he was well rested for next season.

        • Chad

          If I was Texas I would do that deal now.

          Also, like how the FO basically guaranteed them to lose by holding back 2 players. Just gave them 0- chance. Card fans geesh.

          • hansman

            Exactly, this way the Red Sox didn’t beat them, the gods conspired against them.

            • DarthHater

              It was fixed. Just like when the Yankees won the WS in 2001…

              • hansman

                That’s right. Although, wouldn’t that question their 2011 WS title? Seeing as it was Albert and LaRussa’s last year in St Louis?

                • Patrick W.

                  Yeah… that 2001 Yankees WS Win was absolutely bogus. No other word for it.

      • hansman

        If that is the case, unless they are getting Mike Trout and a free Albert Pujols for him, it’s the stupidest damn reason ever for not pitching him in the WS.

        • DarthHater

          I don’t want to risk injury to my guys by playing them in the World Series, because an injury could hurt our chances to get to the World Series.

      • King Jeff

        If that was the case, why was he on the roster at all? They also carried Mujica who did nothing all postseason. Strange choices by a team that can supposedly do no wrong.

      • King Jeff

        Reading the comments on that article warms my heart.

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

      A better trade partner would be the Marlins (Green, Valaika, and Hechevarria are not good) or Indians (both Aviles and Cabrera become free agents in 2015). The limited payroll of the Marlins would help make a contract like Castro’s more attractive and they would have a name to go along with Stanton and Fernandez. They’re looking for a cheap, one-year stop-gap at 3B for Colin Moran, so Muprhy or Valbuena would be cheap, attractive options.

  • dying cubs fan’s last request

    Wow, look at all those Mets fans saying Castro is completely garbage.

  • jt

    I agree with what Assman said the other day as to trading for young good pitching.

  • Kevin

    The Mets are a garbage organization/team, nothing from them or their fans should bother anyone.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I would be ecstatic to see Starlin Castro become an ex-Cub this offseason. And I agree with the thoughts that trading him would not necessarily be a case of “selling low.” I’ve never liked Castro, even when he was going gangbusters. I hate the laziness of his approach. He just strikes me as an idiot who really doesn’t give a rip about giving a 100%. We each have our opinions, that is mine. I don’t deny who good of a hitter Castro can be, its just that I’m sick of him being on the team I root for.

    • On The Farm

      Proof that you can’t make a Cubs fan happy. Give them a 200 hit All Star SS and he is still despised by some of them.

      Just find it funny is all.

      • Blackhawks1963

        I don’t question his latent talent at all. But like a lot of Cub fans I know I don’t like Castro. He’s a punk, and I believe a punk who needs to be removed from this club. I’m much more intrigued about Javy Baez at shortstop.

        Again, I’m not suggesting Castro isn’t very talented. But regardless, I don’t want him.

        • bbmoney

          ?

          You’re a punk.

          • max

            And he’s a dumdass

        • Voice of Reason

          You’re obviously not in a management position.

          You just can’t broad brush a person and say you don’t like him as a person so get rid of him. That’s not good business sense! Castro is talented. If he is “a punk” then you just have to deal with it. Be creative in ways to get him involved with the team, etc. That’s the manager’s job… manage all the egos and personalities on a team.

          Michael Jordan, the person, is not like able and most who know him do not like him. Under your thought process I guess Jordan wouldn’t have been with the Bulls too long?

          • MightyBear

            ?

        • ETS

          You do know that Baez told the Angels’ coach that he “does whatever the !@#$ he wants.”?

          I could see why you may have concern with Castro’s mental parts of the game, but if you think Baez comes without ego, think again.

          • Funn Dave

            Oh man, I never heard that story; that’s hilarious. After reading an article about it, I’m just glad to see the kid’s got some cojones.

        • Joe

          I have a feeling you’ll be saying the same about Baez soon.

        • On The Farm

          I never said you questioned whether he was talented or not. I just said it was typical. Typical that we had one of the best shortstops in the league the last few years and yet you can still find someone who is not satisfied. Like Javy Baez telling off all the coaches that he doesn’t want to play anywhere, but shortstop doesn’t sound like the beginning of a attitude problem. Castro was phenomal the previous 2-2.5 years and people still want to say “I am much more excited about so-and-so who has yet to hit a MLB pitch”.

          Just seems bizarre to me that the Cubs had a premier SS and yet you claim to not like him because how he goes about the game. Its just very typical that some fans are never satisfied when they have something good, they always want more.

          • Chad

            When was the Baez telling coaches that. I must have missed it.

          • Edwin

            I agree with you for the most part, although I wouldn’t call Castro a “phenomenal” player his first couple years. Over 2011-2012 he ranks 9th in MLB SS WAR.

      • terenceman

        Fans will almost always blame their most talented players for the team’s failures.

        • Blackhawks1963

          I’m not blaming Castro for a damned thing. I flat out don’t like Castro and think he’s a dog. Albeit a talented dog. But with Baez waiting in the wings then I absolutely am keen to trade Castro if the timing can be right. Castro might net us a great building block. Or blocks.

          • Cubbie Blues

            I disagree, I think he is 100% human. I highly doubt he has any canine DNA whatsoever.

            • CubsFaninMS

              Maybe he’s a hybird. A Castroodle.

          • Joe

            He’s such a lazy latin ballplayer right?! I bet you’re glad we got rid of Ramirez too. His lazy, selfish play would really suck at 3rd right now huh?

            • Chad

              Since the cub’s 3B platoon faired better than Ramirez who only played in 92 games I would say I’m ok with it.

              Ramirez: .283/.370/.461 with 12 HRs and 46 RBIS and 0.5 WAR
              Cubs: Valbuena/Ransom/Murphy 32 HRs and 80 Rbis

              Now, some were pinch hits but those are the 3 guys that played 3B the most. Ramirez was injured a lot. How good would that have done the cubs.

              • Joe

                I think my point stands. When Ramirez is healthy he is a very very consistent hitter. I’d gladly take my chances of him being healthy over hoping Valbuena keeps up his mediocre numbers.

                I can barely even address Murphy or Ransom, those two will likely be non factors going forward.

                • Chad

                  1. Murphy played in exactly half as many games as Ramirez and had the same number of HRs as Ramirez.
                  2. You’re right, when he’s healthy he’s good, but he’s old and I doubt he’s the Ramirez that can put up 150 games/ year anymore.
                  3. He is not good at defense
                  4. If the cubs got similar, maybe better, production out of scrubs than Ramirez for probably 25% the cost, what’s wrong with that.
                  5. Everyone knows that trio is not the long term answer, but neither is Ramirez so why is it better, and why would we prefer to have Ramirez on the cubs team?

                • Chad

                  I should say not once in the last 2 seasons have I ever thought, man, I wish we had Aramis back, then this team would be so much better. No, he wouldn’t have improved this team much at all.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  No, your point does not stand. You were the only one that brought up race. Plus, Ramirez is going into his year 36 season. He only had 351 PA last year and 1.4 WAR and his defense absolutely sucks.

                • King Jeff

                  Ramirez was a very good hitter and did many great things for the Cubs, but I would not choose “consistent” to describe his hitting. He was almost as streaky as Soriano.

                • hansman

                  Last year we got 3 WAR out of the 3B position (if not for Lillibridge, it would have been 3.6 and I didn’t want to count him because I am guessing he only saw a few games there but lacking any sort of deep research, I left him in).

                  Ramirez gave the Brewers all of .5

                  They should have picked up his option for last year and THEN let him walk.

              • Professor Snarks

                Chad,
                Do you know what the Cubs players triple slash was? Was their OPS over .830? If you want to make comparisons, you shouldn’t cherry pick stats to make your point.

                • Chad

                  I picked the stat line because that is the general 3 numbers that get thrown up. Yes Ramirez was better in all of those that the 3 combined for the cubs, but you forget the fact that it was still only for 92 games, he’s still old, and he still is horrible at defense.
                  Those 3’s OPS was .708, .753, and 0.849 so one was better than Ramirez if that helps.

                  If you want the best statistical comparison, the cubs trio had a WAR of 3.5 while in 2013 Ramirez was 0.5 (his owar was 1.9 and his dwar was -1.3),FYI he still sucks at defense.

                  No matter what stats you look at, I wouldn’t want Ramirez over those 3 on the last 2 cubs teams. If the cubs were contending I would say yes, but for the money differential and lack of improvement in production and where the current cubs team sits I do not prefer Ramirez. period.

                  • Professor Snarks

                    Sorry Chad.

                    I am not disagreeing with you on Ramirez. He had a great Cub career, but it is over. If I were a proponent of Ramirez, though, I would point out the odds of getting the same HR production out of a Valbuena/Murphy/? platoon would be doubtful. At best.

                    I was only pointing out that in your comparison, you mentioned Ramirez;s triple slash, but didn’t mention that of the Cubs.

          • CubsFaninMS

            “There’s this guy. He works in another department at my workplace. He dropped the ball recently but he’s been one of the best workers for that job the past few years. I hope management fires him. He’s a punk.”

            See the flaw in your logic? No, the example is not a perfect parallelism to a player/fan scenario, but close. As a fan (and American), you have a right to like, dlslike, love, and hate anyone you’d like. Anyone who believes you’re unfair for disliking that person has a right to their opinion as well. Castro, like many Latin players, has a “playing it cool” approach to the game. It’s partly a cultural difference. If you observe Castro’s behavior, he gives a reasonable effort (certainly not a Dustin Pedroia or Bryce Harper). His problem is his focus. If he can improve that, he’ll be successful again this year. He’s a Cub. We’re Cub fans. Let’s hope he makes a comeback.

            • Funn Dave

              I don’t even think focus is really an issue for Castro these days. Again, there were some plays (few and far between, and getting fewer) where Castro was unfocused and that lack of focus showed both in his demeanor at the moment and in his fielding, but I think those isolated incidents were blown way out of proportion by Cubs fandom and the media.

              • Funn Dave

                I should add that it showed up in his hitting some, too.

          • Funn Dave

            Any time you find yourself calling a person a dog, you need to look inside yourself and think about what you’re saying.

            • DarthHater

              I’m pretty sure my dog thinks I’m a dog. And I think he’s a person. So we’re even.

              • Funn Dave

                If I were more tech savvy I’d post an image of Darth Vader cradling a poodle.

      • Pat

        To be fair, the two years Castro made the All-Star Team he was 5th, and not even in the top 8 in voting for his position. He made the team because the Cubs were terrible and they had to select someone.

    • Funn Dave

      Ugh. So sick of Cubs fans calling him lazy or a “punk” or whatever the word of the week may be. There is absolutley no evidence that Castro holds any such attributes whatsoever. He made some mental errors, especially early on–as with any young player–and a few people started calling him lazy or an airhead. Then they cling to these notions because he starts underperforming and people want an excuse not to like him.

  • Justin

    I would do Wheeler for Castro in a heartbeat. I think that’s actually a very fair deal on both sides. Helps the Cubs in an area of need and the same for the Mets. Although, Castro’s contract isn’t terrible he’s not cheap anymore either. And Wheeler will be much less expensive at least for the next several years than Castro.

  • #23

    I think Ubaldo Jiminez would be a great signing. Lovullo or maybe Ausmus would be my two picks right now for manager.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Jimeniz is going to be a hot name in free agency. I could see the bidding for his services get real crazy real quick. With inevitable deep regret by the team who signs him.

      • King Jeff

        He’s probably going to be tied to draft pick compensation too. He’s a waking, future albatross contract waiting to happen.

        • Blackhawks1963

          Yep. If Theo is bent on signing a pitcher then I’d seriously consider bringing Scott Baker back. Probably takes a two year contract, but I’m up for that so long as the arm health has progressed to the point where the Cubs are happy.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I doubt seriously the Cubs trade Samardzija. The fact is while he is not really top of rotation material and prone to being a head case, there’s no denying the attractiveness of his current contract and that he is a low mileage pitcher with great stuff.

    I suppose if the Cubs somehow acquired Tanaka (which I think is a huge, huge longshot) then trading Samardzija might be entertained. But I’d want a blue chip prospect and another key player in return. Mike Trumbo? Ah, NO ! Trumbo is a younger and whiter version of Alfonso Soriano. We don’t need to add an all or nothing run producer who is liability defensively anywhere you put on field. Certainly not for the pricetag of Samardzija.

    Rotation??? Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta, Rusin, Grimm as the current options. With Hendricks probably knocking on the door to compete for a spot sometime in 2014. And with Johnson and Edwards percolating up through the system, with Blackburn, Underwood, Maples, Zastranzy, Pineyro also in the longer-term mix.

    • Professor Snarks

      The Cubs are not in a position to let assets just walk away, so if they can’t re-up Shark, they have to trade him.
      Yes, a top prospect would be our top choice, but if they can’t get that, I would have no problem with Trumbo, or a CarGo. Both those guys would fill a short term need, power in left field, You also have to look at the trade value these players will have. In two years, Trumbo could have great trade value to a team that needs a DH.
      I’m not saying we should trade for Trumbo, I’m just saying he’s better than getting nothing.

      • YourResidentJag

        or Tulo?

      • Kevin

        We wouldn’t be letting Shark walk for nothing…we would give him a qualifying offer which he would obviously decline and we would get a draft pick out of it.

        • YourResidentJag

          Oooh….a draft pick!

    • Funn Dave

      His current contract is not really relevant, though, unless you think we’ll be competing next year.

  • Jim

    I am on the boat that we keep Castro for the first half and if he has upped his trade value and Baez is tearing up AAA, then we shop him in July. If Baez is knocking and there is no market for Castro then maybe we move him to 2B and hope his offense gets on track.

    I should preface this by saying that if someone comes and wants to overpay for Castro this Winter, then by all means do it.

  • Professor Snarks

    When we talk about trading Castro, are we SURE the front office believes Baez can handle short?
    I still think Castro is our best defensive shortstop.

  • Voice of Reason

    I agree that Castro is our best shortstop.
    Baez’ destiny is not shortstop.

  • North Side Irish

    Matt Eddy ‏@MattEddyBA 47m
    Latest 50-game suspensions for minor leaguers: #WhiteSox RHP Nick Blount (amphetamine) & #Cubs SS Elliot Soto (drug of abuse).

  • Blackhawks1963

    There is reporter (Loax … sp???) who claims the Cardinals are interested in Castro. Article out there today that is referenced on another Cub fan website.

    Anyway, if the Cardinals offered up Shelby Miller then I personally volunteer to drive Castro to the airport. I’m just sayin’.

  • Jono

    Im guessing theyre just testing the market and maybe setting up next year so that teams seek out them out for castro instead of the other way around. But it does suggest that baez might come next year (would they trade castro mid year if they expected baez in 2015?)

    • Jono

      It’s kind of surprising that they’d trade castro at all. I figured baez would move positions. But they could use a front rotation guy, and they have lots of bats. I assumed they trade one I’d their prospects for an ace, but maybe it’ll be castro, instead

    • Edwin

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they shop Castro this offseason, but I’d be surprised if the right deal comes along where they actually move him.

      • Jono

        exactly. That’s what I mean by testing the market. You shop him but only agree to a deal that is “full asking price”, even though you know it’s unlikely to happen.

  • MightyBear

    Ellsbury ends up with the Cubs. I can feel it.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I hope you’re feeling in the wrong spot then …

  • itzscott

    The thing with Castro is that he fits the “old” Cub mold, but not the “new” Cub mold. I think Epstein/Hoyer recognize Castro as not their type of player and would eagerly trade him for equal value.

    • Edwin

      Baez and Almora don’t really fit the “new” Cub mold either, at least if you’re refering to BB%.

      • Cubbie Blues

        A better stat to look at would be OBP.
        Almora .376 OBP
        Baez .346 OBP to go along with a .344 ISO

  • ETS

    I’m not a scout but the couple times I have seen him, I can say Wheeler is a stud

    • Patrick W.

      Good enough for me.

      • ETS

        Lol sweet.

  • Fastball

    I doubt Castro is traded. The brain trust screwed him all up. Ya let him be who he is and he goes right back to being a 200+ hit SS who makes the allstar team. You try fit a round peg in a square whole and the results in this case are obvious. Having coached for many years it is obvious what went wrong. It happens all to often. You have to enhance a kids strengths and use his god given ability to its fullist. I always laughed at coaches who thought they could force their whole approach to hitting on a kid. Yes somethings can be corrected and others enhanced. Its not a cookie cutter one thought process fits all. The best coaches can help a kid based on an individual plan that gets the best out of them. Castro was damned near euined by these guys. I said it all season. Jaramillo the former hitting coach was way better for Castro. These clownsbthey had this year were terrible. Very bad communicators because was completely lost in the batters box. It took these guys damned near an entire season to figure out they were ruining there best best athlete. So now in some people’s mind Castro isnt worth much. Wrong! I guarantee with this coachs out of the picture he comes back hitting close to .300. Dont try tell him he needs to walk a bunch. He will figure that out. He is young. Let him play and if anybody tries screwing with him fire their ass.

    • YourResidentJag

      So, where does he bat in the lineup when it’s all said and done….because right there I see a 7th place hitter.

    • Professor Snarks

      Well said, Fastball. Well said.

      Expecting Castro to take 100 walks a year would be like Phil Jackson expecting Dennis Rodman to score 30 points a night. Not likely.

      Successful managers/coaches put their players in a position to succeed.

  • ColoCubFan

    I would vote no to:
    1. Dealing Castro. Not enough projected return at this time.
    2. Not pursuing Saltalamacchia. If McCarver has his stats right, he was the worst catcher in the AL last year for throwing out runners. I realize it was a small sample, but he didn’t impress me during the World Series.
    3. No to Ellsbury. The amount of money required will be high based on his healthy ability. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been all that healthy the last few years.

    If we’re going to rebuild from the bottom up, let’s do it right. These proposed rumors remind me of the Hendry era.

    • Edwin

      Oh no, not the Jim Hendry Era!

      • YourResidentJag

        Oh no, not the most successful GM in Cubs history up to this point. The one that raised expectations and desire to get Theo and Co. Not him!

        • hansman

          Right now, whoever was the GM from 1906-1908 is pretty pissed.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Probably because he is dead.

          • YourResidentJag

            So he didn’t raise your expectations? I find that REALLY hard to believe, Hansman.

          • Professor Snarks

            The Cubs first ‘General Manager’ was Charles Weber, in 1934. In 1905, Frank Chance was their manager. I wonder of he was the guy to entice ‘free agents’ to sign with the Cubs?

      • SH

        Think of how *expensive* those playoff seasons were!

        • YourResidentJag

          It’s amazing how he continues to be the singular person to blame for that…even to this day.

          • SH

            It’s amazing that we as fans care. The Dodgers are expensive…and fun to watch and successful andc. It’s not like we have cheap tickets without the expense, heh.

            • YourResidentJag

              So, we shouldn’t care? That’s what waiting around on the 5…no 6….no 7 yr rebuild is all about, right? Look I’m advocating sign all the FAs. Like you, I want some second-tier FA moves or acquisitions via trades. Thing about Hendry is that he singularly gets the blame for raising the bar…regardless of what the current crop of Cubs fans wish to believe otherwise.

              • YourResidentJag

                *not advocating

    • Kyle

      It’s time for Imaginary Hendry again, I see.

      Wasn’t Hendry criticized for *not* trading young but disappointing players before their value fell to nil?

      • Professor Snarks

        Hendry was criticized for EVERYTHING. Didn’t he put the gatorade next to Leon’s glove in 1984?

        Anyway, I find it quite ironic that there is a non-zero chance that the guy to lead us to our next playoff victory will be Hendry’s last first round draft choice.

      • YourResidentJag

        Imaginary Hendry…the Hansman version. :)

  • Bob Johnson

    Two things the World Series pointed out is that our pitching is not even close to what it takes to be a World Series & that Ben Cherington was the real Red Sox MVP.

    • Ken

      How does this World Series prove that Cherington was the Red Sox MVP?

  • Barry

    From Cubs Den:
    “Meanwhile, Julie DiCaro of Aerys Sports cites a source that says that darker horse candidate Brad Ausmus is in Wrigley Field today.” Works for me…

    • YourResidentJag

      OHHH….sneaky!

  • Chris

    Brett,

    “because them being in on a high-priced player is self-fulfillingly obvious at this point” –

    Laughed my butt off at that. Like yourself, I hate the Dodgers (I daresay they’re my second most despised team behind the White Sux), and I very much enjoy your ongiong commentary of their SIGN ALL THE PLAYERS ways.

  • DarthHater

    Daytona SS Elliot Soto suspended 50 games for minor league drug violation.

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/9912237/nick-blount-elliot-soto-suspended-50-games-drug-violations

    • Edwin

      No way he’s making my HOF ballot now.

    • Professor Snarks

      Soto? Isn’t he the guy we signed to get the inside track on Geraldo Conception?

      • DarthHater

        I don’t think so. According to Baseball Reference, Soto is from Illinois.

  • YourResidentJag
  • Funn Dave

    Don’t trade Castro kthxbye.

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