Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jeff samardzija sharknadoYou’ve probably noticed a hiatus in the BN Podcast, but I wanted to confirm that it’s just been a matter of scheduling and temporary computer death (my computer is currently in the shop, hopefully being fixed … ). We’re working on getting the next episode together as soon as possible.

  • Jeff Samardzija spoke with Dave Kaplan last night and, naturally, the subject of his future with the Cubs came up. You can read more of Samardzija’s thoughts here, but the gist is pretty much what he’s always said: he wants to stay in Chicago, he wants to prove himself as a big-time starter (which I have always read as: he’s betting on himself, and wants to earn a huge contract), and there’s not rush for an extension from his perspective. All fair, and I’ve never had a problem with Samardzija betting on himself. But the comments about there being two years of arbitration left and plenty of time in which to work something out … well, that’s not entirely true. Surely Samardzija knows that his trade value is impacted by the years he remains under control when traded, and if the Cubs are poised to head into this season believing (1) they can’t reasonably extend him beyond 2015, and (2) they won’t be competitive in 2014, then there is something of a timeline on coming to an extension. If it doesn’t happen early this offseason, the Cubs will simply have to explore what would be out there for him.
  • (Which is not to say the Cubs would have to trade Samardzija this offseason. For one thing, his trade value would be only marginally impacted between now and July, and could very well increase with good performance. For another thing, Samardzija being on the Cubs is valuable. The team may not project to be competitive in 2014, and may project to be only average in 2015 … but you never know. Every season is sacred and all that.)

  • The Mesa Solar Sox got stomped on MLBN last night thanks to three errors and seven unearned runs in the third inning (being pitched by Cubs pitching prospect Dallas Beeler). Jorge Soler was 0-3, and Albert Almora was 1-4.
  • Jeff Passan writes about the dwindling power in MLB and the relative expense thereof. Power is dropping rapidly as pitching continues to dominate the bigs, and teams are becoming increasingly desperate to add it. The Cubs come in for compliments for stocking up on power in the minor leagues, including Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Jorge Soler.
  • A prospect debate over at Baseball Prospectus involving Astros prospects Carlos Correa and George Springer (let’s see one of these on The Big Four), with a mention of Javier Baez by an unnamed staffer.

  • Arizona Phil at TCR updates his minor league free agent/Rule 5 Draft eligibility bits, and it’s dense stuff, not designed for the timid. One bit worth highlighting – Phil remains unsure whether 2012 international signee Juan Paniagua (whose 2013 season was basically lost to visa issues) will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft on the basis that he’d signed a couple contracts (which were nullified) before ultimately signing with the Cubs. It feels like he shouldn’t be eligible, but, if he is, you could easily see a team taking a chance on his live arm (the Cubs didn’t pay him $1.5 million for nothing). That would mean the Cubs would have to protect him on the 40-man roster if they wanted to keep him, but he’s so raw and far from the bigs that it would be hard to justify using a valuable 40-man spot on him. Long story short? Let’s hope he’s not eligible, and the Cubs are fully aware of how he’ll be treated either way.

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