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javier baez aflNational writers, when pontificating, tend to focus on the biggest names out there. The reason should be obvious, given that the idea is to draw interest from the furthest corners, and the knowledge base is usually focused on the biggest names (since national guys, by definition, have to know all 30 teams well). You’re not going to see Ken Rosenthal dedicating an article to a possible Cubs minor league signing, and you probably won’t even see Jayson Stark tweet about a prospect deal.

So when Jon Heyman writes that the Cubs and Marlins could discuss a prospect swap, you listen. It’s just not the kind of thing you usually see written, and, given his presence at this week’s GM Meetings, you’ve gotta figure he’s not just pontificating.

Heyman discusses the possibility that the Cubs and Marlins could get together on a rare prospect-for-prospect swap involving one of the Cubs’ top four positional prospects – Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, and Jorge Soler – and a topline pitching prospect from the Marlins. Heyman says that “officials” from both teams agree that there could be something here.

It’s a very interesting report, and surprisingly specific. There’s obviously something to this, even if it’s just extremely exploratory.

That said, I see some significant hurdles. First of all, each of the Cubs’ Big Four is considered a top 20/30 prospect in baseball, and, generally speaking, elite positional prospects are guarded more jealously than pitching prospects, due to the additional risk associated with the latter. Second, I’m not so sure the Marlins’ ample stable of young arms – setting aside Jose Fernandez, who isn’t going anywhere – matches up very well with the Cubs’ big bats, especially on a one-to-one basis.

And then there are the specific problems with each of The Big Four. Bryant, a 2013 draftee, is not eligible to be traded until midseason. Soler is the holder of a $30 million contract, which would make him one of the better paid Marlins. Almora is reputed to be a front office darling, and one whom it’s very hard to see them trading for anything. And then there’s Baez, who has emerged as a top 10 prospect in the game.

Unless the Cubs were going to try and pick up multiple arms for one of these guys, I don’t see an equal value situation. And, even then, the Cubs have plenty of mid-rotation prospect depth. What they’re missing is an elite, high-level pitching prospect who is ready to step in within a year or two. You can read Heyman’s piece for some of the young pitching names, but I’d need a little more information on exactly what is being discussed – if anything – to make heads or tails of this.

Best guess? Someone mentioned the possibility to Heyman (on a hunch), and Heyman started asking hypotheticals. Each of the Cubs and Marlins said, sure, we’d consider discussing something (because you always consider things). And that’s about all there is. Prospect trades are extremely rare for a number of reasons, not the least of which is simple: you know your guys a whole lot better than the other team. And vice versa. It’s tough to find common ground.

Still, it’s interesting. This time of year always is.

  • itzscott

    If the Cubs trade Shark to AZ, which is infinitely more likely than what Heyman is suggesting, then there’s no need to even consider a prospect for prospect swap with Miami.

  • Aaron

    Left-hander Andrew Heaney would be a great addition to the Cubs future starting rotation.

    Heaney for Soler plus $2.6 million in cash, which will cover the Marlins signing bonus they gave Heaney when he signed as last year’s #9 overall pick.

    I think the Marlins do this deal.

    • SH

      Not expressing an opinion either way, but when did Soler become the least favored of the big 4? Seems to be a general consensus that he would be best traded in a deal like this.

      • ssckelley

        I am guessing because he was hurt this season and did not play very much this season. This stems from the belief that we can get something valuable in exchange for something not as valuable and nobody wants to give up the prospect that just hit 37 homers in the minor leagues.

      • Professor Snarks

        It’s been pretty much consensus, since the end of the MiLB season, that Soler is currently at #4 in the Cubs system. That narrative got stronger when Bryant and Almora had great starts in the Arizona Fall League, and Soler struggled. Nothing much has changed since then.

    • Josh

      The Marlins aren’t going to take on a prospect in the midst of a $30 million contract

  • On The Farm

    I was wondering if the Cubs would be exploring a few scenarios with the Padres in regards to Arrieta. Don’t they like Arrieta? I would think if the Cubs could swing a trade with the Dbacks maybe they should explore a deal with the Padres and try and get Kelly or Fried, or maybe even try and get Hedges.

    • cub2014

      Rockies were inquiring about Arrieta according to
      Denver Post thats when the whole CarGo thing
      errupted.

      • On The Farm

        Right, but I was thinking the Padres had interesting in acquiring Arrieta at the deadline and there was some discussion that maybe the Cubs were trying to build a really nice package for Padre’s prospects, but then they fell out of the playoff picture completely so that might have had something to do with it.

        • cub2014

          oh, could be

        • ssckelley

          It could get interesting if there is more than 1 team interested in Arrieta, but perhaps he is valuable enough for the Cubs to keep. It is hard to justify trading good, young, pitching when that is the Cubs biggest need.

          • On The Farm

            Sure, but then again Arrieta is already 27, so while he is still young in terms of MLB innings, he is already around the average peak age of players. I would think if you could move him for a top catching prospect, or Fried, it might be a good deal to get someone younger and even more control (in terms of team contract and pitches).

  • MichaelD

    In addition to all of the aforementioned reasons a trade of this type does not make sense, our starting pitching, while not great,was generally better than our lineup last year. I tend to be skeptical of any trade of the Big 4 for pitching because we need even more improvement in the lineup.

    However, I suppose it could be combined with a couple of position player free agent signings.

  • Carew

    I think this is just a rumor, and that’s it.

    Baez- No, because he is a power bat at a premium position which is hard to come by, and he may wind up being our second baseman.
    Bryant- Perhaps the best power bat in the minors in a position of need, and can’t be traded anyway.
    Soler- No because they spent all that time and money to get him into the organization. Why would they do all that and then trade him even before he really shows what he has?
    Almora – No because he is the front office’s darling.

    Maybe it’s a “lesser” prospect then.

  • YourResidentJag

    Orioles Willing To Trade Matt Wieters http://dlvr.it/4JyNcX #mlb Should the Cubs be willing to do look into this? We need a C and he’s a LH bat.

    • Professor Snarks

      YES.

      • MightyBear

        Shark, Castillo and Vogelbach for Wieters and Bundy

        • Professor Snarks

          I would. (tough I am NOT a fan of Boras).

          • Cub Style

            Double the Boras, double the fun!

        • Mrs. Howell

          Sure. We owe Baltimore anyway for stealing Strop and Arrietta for Feldman.

  • SH

    Castillo put up a better OPS this year, and his bdWAR was higher than Wieters’ career best. For the price Baltimore will likely demand, I don’t know if I see a fit.

    • YourResidentJag

      Can he do that full time though? How much did he platoon with Navarro? I seem to recall Navarro having a resurgent yr under the Cubs enough so that I don’t think he’s coming back to the Cubs.

      • SH

        Fair point. I just feel as though Wieters has been VERY hyped for a while — and his numbers don’t *quite* reflect the hype imo — so he’ll likely cost a decent amount. Don’t know if I love the cost for that (only potential) upgrade. Even if Castillo’s OPS drops by .030 and his defense doesn’t last 150 games, he’s still as good as Wieters in 2013.

        • YourResidentJag

          Problem is LH power doesn’t grow on trees. Weiters has that. He bats S and what if the NL goes to the DH format. Otherwise, this offseason you’re looking at LH power coming from Granderson this offseason, and 4yrs for a potential $56 mil?

          So, I propose a trade Shark and Lake to the O’s for Weiters, RH SP Wright, and LH SP Rodriguez.

          And then, of course, I’ll wait to get pummeled here by further comments. :)

      • Cub Style

        He played in 113 games as a catcher. That seems sufficient.

    • SH

      Whoops, was to be a reply.

  • papabear

    I would think that the top 4 prospects do not match up – but Alcantara ?

    • Professor Snarks

      I know Alcantara isn’t in the ‘elite’ category, but he really fits a future need.
      His speed, high OBP and switch hitting ability would be a good fit at the top of the Cubs order.
      I see a top of order of:
      Almora (rh).
      Alcantara (switch)
      Bryant (rh)
      Baez (rh)
      Rizzo (lh).

      we could use the balance.

  • Aaron

    Time to acquire top of the rotation pitching prospects. I would like to see at least 2 high-ceiling pitchers added this off-season, one being a lefty. Trading partners include the Marlins and D-Backs. If they pan out, these prospects could reach the big club at the start of the 2016 season, just as the Cubs will start contending. I will willing to trade Shark or Soler to accomplish this goal.

    • Die hard

      Shark and Barney for Halliday Utley and Brown?

      • Carew

        Terrible. Just terrible.

  • Aaron

    Does anyone else not trust Jake Arrieta as one of our starting pitchers for the next several seasons? I’m leaning towards trading him this off-season to say the Marlins. I know we need starting pitching prospects, but Arrieta will be 28 years old before the 2014 season starts. Not exactly a fresh young young. He disappointed the Orioles for a number of years with this lack of results. He did well for the Cubs in a short stint. Perhaps time to sell while his value is high.

    • Professor Snarks

      Would he get us better than what he could become.? Guys with his stuff don’t grow on trees.
      Unless you get some sure thing, why not see what he can do.? We’re not competing this year anyway, so the reward is well worth the risk.

  • Aaron

    Professor Snarks…good point, but if he is a key component to a bigger trade getting done that could help us in a few years…then I would include him.

    • Professor Snarks

      Aaron, I don’t think anyone on the Cubs, or in their farm system, is untouchable. I doubt doubt that the FO looks for ways to upgrade every chance they get, but at some point, do’t we need to see what our younger assets can do?

      • Professor Snarks

        time to clean the key board. sorry

        *I don’t doubt*

        then

        *don’t* we need…..

  • Mick

    With all the DBacks rumblings possibly netting us an OF in return, this could be a move before a move. If that’s the case, Soler for Nicolino, and Shark and Shierholtz for Bradley and Eaton is a scenario.

  • Aaron

    In the mood to shake things up with the organization. Trading time. Let’s acquire some high ceiling, young starting pitching. Soler, Shark, Shierholtz, etc being traded to do that…I’m okay with this.

    Here are my targets:
    – Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks
    – Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole, Nationals
    – Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino, Marlins

    My goal is at least 2 from this group of top pitching prospects. ALL 5 would be even better.

  • rockin’ dawg

    Javier Baez for Jose Fernandez. Sign the papers.

  • Caryatid62

    I hope people realize that it is highly probable that at least one, if not two of the cubs “big four” never play a game with the cubs.

    • Blublud

      You are kidding. That will never happen……….

  • Die hard

    Would Marlins trade bundle of prospects for Rizzo? At least they would have long term contract locked in and the way Bryant is butchering 3B he may be better suited at 1B ?

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