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stoveAs expected GM Meetings week has provided a fruitful bounty of material, so much so that the only way to get to it all (well, a lot of it) is a quick and dirty, bullet-style-Lukewarm-Stove-style bonanza …

  • We heard yesterday about the Diamondbacks possibly having interest in Nate Schierholtz via an Arizona source, who seemed to be doing some speculating, but now Jon Morosi says he’s got a source saying that, yeah, they do have interest in Schierholtz. Further, Jed Hoyer told Morosi that there’s been interest in Schierholtz since mid-season. Something to watch.
  • Jed Hoyer expects that there will be plenty of Jeff Samardzija rumors this offseason, given that the Cubs are in a big market, and Samardzija is a notable player (Carrie Muskat and ESPN). Hoyer believes Samardzija is the perfect guy to handle the rumors the only way you can: by ignoring them.
  • Although he obviously couldn’t say anything one way or the other about a possible pursuit, Hoyer had very kind things to say about Curtis Granderson this week (Tribune). Earlier, we heard that the Cubs were one of the teams who had inquired about him so far this offseason.
  • If Rangers GM Jon Daniels is to be taken at his word, Texas won’t be in on any of the big-time starting pitchers this offseason, which includes Masahiro Tanaka. If true, that’s a big fish out of the pond of suitors for Tanaka.
  • The Dodgers have been asked about their four starting outfielders this week – Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford – and they’re listening. Although dealing Puig makes no sense, the latter three are all aging, expensive, and potentially superfluous. Ethier, who’ll start next season at age 32, is under contract for five more years and $89 million, but he hasn’t posted an OPS+ under 120 since he was 25. Crawford, also 32, bounced back a little next year (108 OPS+), but is owed $82.5 million over the next four years. And then there’s the oft-injured Kemp, currently recovering from ankle and shoulder surgeries, who is just 29. But he’s played just 179 games over the last two years, and is owed $128 million over the next six years. None of the three is a guy you’d gladly take on his current contract. If the Dodgers are willing to eat some money, though? It’s at least an interested discussion for the Cubs, who could use an outfielder. (Before you go noting that this conflicts with the notion of trading Schierholtz, remember: Schierholtz is a short-term asset, to use the popular parlance. He’s a free agent after 2014, and cashing in on his value right now makes some sense, particularly where his position/production could be replaced by an intriguing buy-low opportunity.)
  • Multiple reports have the current Shin-Soo Choo asking price as above the seven-year, $126 million deal Jayson Werth got from the Nationals a few years ago. The player values are similar, but folks have to stop holding up the Werth deal like it wasn’t a ridiculous overpay. If Choo winds up being even a $100 million player, though, it’s not hard to see the Cubs shying away.
  • Similarly, the benchmark for Jacoby Ellsbury figures to be an enormous prior contract. In his case, per Jon Heyman, it’s the seven-year, $142 million deal for Carl Crawford. Unlike with Choo and the Werth contract, I actually could see Ellsbury getting 7/$142M. And, if so, I don’t think the Cubs should be involved.
  • Speaking of pricey outfielders, Nelson Cruz has, at intermittent times, struck me as an intriguing option for the Cubs, given the possibility of PED-suspension-induced value pricing. But, as Jeff Passan reports, Cruz certainly doesn’t see it that way. His initial ask to teams? Five years and $75 million. Mrs. Krabappel voice: HA. He has since had to drop his asking price. Nelson voice: Ha Ha.
  • Buster Olney reports that some teams that are interested in trading for David Price want to first know that he’s open to signing an extension. No surprise there, and it remains to be seen if the Cubs – who were for months rumored as a top suitor for Price – will be seriously involved. Theo Epstein recently suggested that trading top prospects for the privilege of signing a guy to a nine-figure extension might not be a good idea. It seems pretty clear that he was talking about Price, and, after the development of the Cubs’ top prospects over the past year, I’m not so sure I disagree.
  • Dozens of reports out there have the Cardinals willing to trade young pitching to pick up a young shortstop (with Troy Tulowitzki being their preference), though there hasn’t been a credible Cubs/Starlin Castro connection just yet. I still think the disconnect between how the market would value Castro, given his down year, and how the Cubs would value him is going to be sufficiently strong to preclude any kind of trade this offseason.
  • Rick Porcello is available once again this offseason, per Jon Heyman. Porcello has a couple more years of arbitration left, and he won’t be dirt cheap in them, given that he was a Super Two. But his peripherals keep getting better and better, and all indications are that he could be much more productive with a good infield defense behind him. You could make an argument that he was excellent last year, and, at age 24 (he’ll be 25 in December), he’s exactly the kind of guy the Cubs should be targeting. One problem? Although I tend to think scouts would say Jeff Samardzija is the superior and more valuable pitcher, they are similar in a number of ways, and trading for Porcello – which would not be cheap – could be a form of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Still, the Cubs have been connected to Porcello by rumors in the past, so it’s worth monitoring.
  • Ervin Santana has never been a rumored Cubs target, and he certainly won’t be if his asking price holds up: five years, $112 million. He’s not going to get that much, of course, but the fact that he can even ask for it with a straight face once again underscores that this is a brave new world. Get on board, or get left behind.
  • cub2014

    Again Theo said, (he is not going to trade
    top prospects for large contracts) I.E. Price.
    But I think other smart signings for big contracts
    are certainly a possibility.

    • Professor Snarks

      Other than a possible Tanaka signing, I bet we end up with nothing more than more prospects (if the Shark goes) or replacement level FA’s. I obviously don’t know everyone who’s available, but of the names being bandied about, I don’t see a lot of good fits. I think this could be a quiet off season. Well, boring may be a better word.

    • BobbyK

      Would a trade for Trumbo involving Samarzija be a possibility? Angels want affordable starting pitching and Cubs could pursue other pitching options.
      He would rake at Wrigley 30-40hr. Could protect Rizzo in the lineup. If cubs grabbed an Ellsbury or Shoo the top of the lineup would look nice. (Ellsbury/shoo, Castro, Rizzo, Trumbo)I like Samarzija but dude wants to be paid as a #1 when he’s a 2-3 ish guy.

      Is Carlos Ruiz on the radar at all for catcher? He had down year last year but still not bad. He could be a mentor and possibly flipped for prospects to a contender if he has solid year.

      Brian Wilson a closer option? I think cubs fans would dig the beard. The man is a marketing machine and I’m kinda feeling that’s whtat Cubs need most ATM. I also think Joba Chamberlain could have a better year with change of scenery.

      I’m all on board with stacking up the prospects. The rebuild blah blah blah. I still feel like there needs some cost effective MLB moves for some excitement. A solid closer early in the season last year would have bought us like 5-10 games. Not that it woul have mattered but I guess the point is there are some major league moves to be made. Last place for year three of the rebuild is not acceptable. It will assist in developing the talent. Rizzo won’t hit for anything if there is no one to protect him in the line up. Castro had a down year but jumping all over the line-up I’m sure didn’t help. We should get what we can for Barney now since dude can’t hit but he would be a solid pick up for a team with more offense needing a defensive minded infielder. We want our prospects to enter the league while we are on an upswing so the pressure isn’t overwhelming. They should feel like they have to save the team. Instead we want them to enter feeling they can contribute without the weight of the team on their soldiers. Plus I’m just sick of watching this puke we’ve put out on the field. I’m currently living in St. Louis. At least I have the Blackhawks

      • BobbyK

        Shouldn’t and shoulders stupid autocorrect

  • Blackhawks1963

    Probability of the Cubs acquiring David Price? I put it at 0.0%. Seriously.

  • Eric

    While Price is an attractive acquisition to those who miss the Hendry way, I’d much rather keep on the path of rebuilding.

    • dumbledoresacubsfan

      I agree. I honestly don’t even understand why we’d really want to add Price at this point.

      • CubFan Paul

        “honestly don’t even understand why we’d really want to add Price at this point”

        I agree. Winning is stupid.

        • DarthHater

          Not wanting to pay what it would take to acquire and retain Price is not remotely equivalent to not being interested in winning. Comment is stupid.

          • Funn Dave

            The “at this point” clause implies that signing Price is not worthwhile right now, when we’re not competetive; but that if we were further along in the rebuild, it might be a more valid option. So, by extension, the logic would be that the Cubs are not as interested in winning right now as they would be a few years down the line.

            • Neil

              Actually, “right now” refers to him being close to 30, injury prone, lacking his normal velocity, and needing a 9 figure contract. A couple years ago we would’ve been all over it… “Right now”, not so much

        • Professor Snarks

          As things stand now, Price would move us from the 1st or 2nd overall pick in 2015, to maybe the 4th or 5th. Since he would cost two of our top prospects, that means 2015′s lineup will still be bad. Then Price will cost us a top 10 pick for the 2016 draft. Then Price will walking away in free agency, as Baez and Almora, and Vogelbach lead Tampa to 6 straight World Series. (okay, the last part was an exaggeration).

        • Eric

          That makes zero sense to me. The lack of Price in our lineup isn’t stopping us from winning.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            It does keep us from winning somewhat more…but I would also be disappointed at making that particular high risk investment; and about 1 year too early as well.

    • ssckelley

      If the Cubs were a Price away from competing next season I think trading for him would be reasonable.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        Exactly. Though it would completely depend on what we were having to give up (obviously).

  • Werner

    Who wouldn’t love to be a GM but I do not envy them in the slightest in having to play poker in this market.

  • Blublud

    No offense Brett, but I sure am glad you are not the GM. In this new enviroment, why would you not wanna pay Choo 7/126. Seems like a bargain to me. If he was willing to come to the Cubs at that price, and the Cubs declined, then we might as well get ready to lose for a long time.

    We don’t have to worry about this, however, because for that price, the Cubs would jump.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      With all due respect, I think I’ve been a relative leader in explaining, adopting, and accepting that contracts are changing.

      That doesn’t mean seven years at $18 million per year is a good idea for Choo.

      • Blublud

        20HR, 20SB, .290BA, .390 OBP, .450 SLG, 134 OPS+ doesn’t rely solely on any one aspect of his game to be successful and may be the most consistent player in all of baseball. If there is one free agent this year that is worth 20mil a year, its Choo. So for 7/126, any GM should break their neck to sign that deal.

        • cub2014

          I am ok with 18m per year for Choo but please hold it to 5 years

        • Patrick W.

          I don’t think it’s the /126 or the $18M AAV that’s the problem. It’s the 7/ part.

          I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if Choo gets a $18-$20M AAV contract. I will be flabbergasted if it’s for more than 5 guaranteed years.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            This is what I’m saying. Thank you, Patrick.

            • MichiganGoat

              I think that obvious to the majority of us.

              • Blublud

                I get that part, but the 7 is the cost of doing business. If it took 7 to get Choo at that price, I call it a good deal.

                • Patrick W.

                  What if it were 5/120?

                  • Blublud

                    Why would you rather do 5/120 over 7/126. That makes no sense.

                    If you are implying he only going to be good for 5 years, or if you would actually rather pay him his money over 5, it makes zero sense. 5/120 is much worse then 7/126.

                    • bbmoney

                      It’d make sense if you’re pretty sure Choo is going to be a replacement level player, or worse, the last couple years of the deal.

                      I suppose it’s hard to be sure of that, but more realistically perhaps; I’d definitely rather go 5/100 or probably even 5/105 than 7/126.

                    • Patrick W.

                      I was just asking. I wouldn’t give him 5/120. I was just curious.

                    • Nate Dawg

                      Choo is 32. He will be on the decline for the entirety of his next contract. So no thank you.

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          Oh, I’d love those numbers for sure. What are the chances he stays close to those numbers in years 4-7? I’d go 4 yrs with a higher AAV…but that’s it.

        • Tony_S

          How old us he?
          How long is he going to put up that consistent line you speak of?
          Maybe he doesn’t rely on one aspect, but I believe his legs are a big part of his game.

          Choo at 7/126, the only question is if it takes all the way until the start of year 3 for everyone to scream that he’s overpaid, a la Crawford or Sori of a few years back (and Soriano could at least, on a hot streak, carry the team, something I don’t know that Choo’s capable of).

          Fear not, I think the actual GMs of the world (and Brett) are safe from neck breaking. That’s not to say someone may not pay Choo that much; it’s to say that unless Choo is your one missing piece for a pennant over the next 1-2 yrs (not true for the Cubs) then that’s an overpay and a terrible idea.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Agree with this…Choo’s decline will match up nicely with the Cubs “peak”. Doesn’t look ilke the right investment for me.

            If their is a similar Choo-like guy available prior to the 2015 or 2016 season, maybe we sign him up. Chances are one of our outfield spots would still be underperforming )if we are relying on our prospects to be successful filling the OF).

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I do not understand how 7 years/$120M can ever be coined a bargain?! Unless, that is, he is turning down 15 years/$300M offers.

      Does anyone know what Phil Hughes is seeking? He seems like a buy-lowish, highish-upside guy to consider if we are looking for FA pitching. Also, I don’t want Granderson since he’ll cost more than money,

    • mdavis

      you want to be paying Choo, who has a major platoon split, $18 mil a year when hes 38, 39, and 40 years old? yeah, I’m with Brett. big pass.

      • cub2014

        Choo had a .350 OBP against lefties be one of the tops
        On the Cubs

      • Blublud

        .372OBP .746OPS VS LH pitchers. Yeah, that guy is garbage.

        By the time he is 39, 18 mil per will be damn near replacement level. :-D

        • mdavis

          where are you getting this from? Last year he was .215/.347/.265 with a .612 OPS against lefties. 0 HR. According to Baseball Reference.

          • Blublud

            Right. Because one year tells the whole story. Look up his career splits.

            • bbmoney

              I did they are .243/.340/.341 good for a wrc+ of 92. I’m not sure where your numbers are coming from.

              The disturbing thing is he hasn’t OPS’d above .700 against lefties since 2009.

              I think he’s worth 18M a year, but not for 7 years, for the Cubs at least. I’d be very intrigued at 5/90.

            • mdavis

              2012: .199/.318/.286 ops: .605
              2011: .269/.336/.352 ops: .688

              yeah, I’d say he’s on the decline. pass.

            • Patrick W.

              You are wrong, but I understand why. From BR:

              vs Starter batting splits are for the entire game when the starter was LH or RH. These splits include any subsequent plate appearances against a reliever regardless of their throwing hand. These splits are a proxy for platoon splits for seasons we lack play-by-play data. from GL team pitching splits indicate how batters did against the team and use the batter’s overall batting handedness for this split.

          • Patrick W.

            I think that’s his career splits in games started by a LHP, but those splits include subsequent at bats against RHP in those games vs. LHP.

            His career against just LHP: .340OBP, .680OPS.

            Each of the last few years he has regressed a little against LHP, which players with a weakness like his tend to do, a trend not expected to reverse. Not that OBP and OPS are the absolute best measures, but the trend is pretty typical.

          • Blublud

            These are his numbers against LH starters. Total against LH is .340 OBP AND .680 OPS. Still not horrible for the wrong side of a split.

            • Patrick W.

              That is not right. See above.

              • Blublud

                Patrick, how do you say these numbers are wrong when they are the same exact numbers you posted above.

                • Patrick W.

                  Those aren’t his numbers against Left Handed Starters. They are his numbers in games he’s played when a leftie has started the game. They include all of his at bats in that game, regardless of the pitcher and what hand he uses. So if in a game a leftie started and last 2 innings and Choo got 2 at bats, and then the last 7 innings Choo got 3 more at bats against righties, those numbers are all counted in your number.

                • Patrick W.

                  Those numbers we quoted are the ones against all LHP. You said they were agains Left Handed Starters.

            • mdavis

              I’m pulling those from the “vs LHP as LHB” row. I think the vs. Starters is the one below. either way, I’m not saying he’s a terrible player. He’s not. and if it was 4-5 years, sure I’m in. 7? no thanks.

              • Patrick W.

                Yes, you have it right, Blu doesn’t, but it’s an easy thing to assume if you don’t read the explanation directly below.

                The key is, as he has aged, his batting against LHP has gotten worse, and that’s normal, and that’s not likely to change. So knowing that, you have to judge at what point in the next 7 years (if that’s what the proposition is) does it become such an issue that he’s no longer valuable in relation to his contract. There’s a lot of data to suggest that that is likely to happen sometime before the 6th year when he turns 36.

                • mdavis

                  right right, i gotcha. hard to follow all the replies sometimes. basically what i was saying, was with that trend in splits, 7 years is too rich. 4/5, and I’m ok with $18 mil a year. nothing more.

        • Patrick W.

          Nobody is arguing he’s garbage, are they? Isn’t there something between “He’s Garbage” and “He’s Great!” and isn’t that something “He has splits that suggest he’s better as a player that hits against Lefties and average to poor righties, and he’ll be 37 years old when he gets to the end of a 7 year contract and while $18M might be cheap in 2020 for a guy who performs like Choo does now, it might also be expensive for a guy who has splits that generally don’t get better with age and generally tend to become more pronounced”?

          • Tony_S

            Maybe, but “He’s garbage” and “He’s great” are WAY easier to type…

            :-P

            • Patrick W.

              Great comment :)

          • frank

            He’ll be 32 in July, I think–that would make him 39 during the last year of a 7 year deal.

            • Patrick W.

              If he was born in 1982 how can he turn 39 in 2020m

              We generally list players the age they are at the start of a season.

              Yr 1 2014 he starts at 31 ends 32
              Yr 2 2015 32/33
              Yr 3 2016 33/34
              Yr 4 2017 34/35
              Yr 5 2018 35/36
              Yr 6 2019 36/37
              Yr 7 2020 37/38

              • Kyle

                Your baseball season age is your age on July 1, not that it changes the answer.

                • Patrick W.

                  Hey, you don’t know who I consider “we”!

                  Actually I did not know that, so thanks. :)

    • caryatid62

      While I think that number for Choo is still a little high, people need to understand that the financial realities of baseball are changing. There’s a LOT more money than you think there is. People need to get over the sticker shock.

    • ssckelley

      Blub, that is way to much money and term for a 31 year old. Hasn’t the Soriano contract taught us anything? At the end of that contract the Cubs would be paying him to play for another team.

      • caryatid62

        (NOT THAT I’M ADVOCATING FOR CHOO)

        Soriano not only earned his contract, but there was little reason (other than cost savings) to trade him last year. They’re not paying him to play for the Yankees because they were up against some salary limit that was impeding them from seeking out other players–they just wanted to save some money overall.

        The Soriano contract really doesn’t prove much of anything, to be honest. He played at a level that earned his contract for pretty much the entirety of it, and had they done a better job of drafting and developing in the years 2005-2010, he’d be a pretty valuable piece of the team this year at what looks to be a fairly reasonable 1 year left on the contract.

        • Tony_S

          (NOT THAT I DISAGREE WITH YOU)

          A very large contingent of Cubs fans and blog posters would call this serious rose colored glasses

          • caryatid62

            Feel free to calculate it using WAR (at $5 mil per win):

            2007: 6.6 WAR (~32.2 million)
            2008: 3.9 WAR ($20 million)
            2009: 0 WAR ($0)
            2010: 2.8 WAR ($~15 million)
            2011: 1.1 WAR (~$5 million)
            2012: 3.6 WAR (~$17 million)
            2013: 2.9 WAR (~15 million)

            Looks to me that, aside from 2009 and 2011, Soriano performed pretty much at or near his contract every year, and was a darn good value in 2007.

            • ssckelley

              Is that just offensive WAR? Those numbers do not look anything like what I am seeing on BR.

              • caryatid62

                These are fangraphs WAR, which has him as a negative WAR defender in most years.

                • ssckelley

                  He was worth the contract in 2007, no question about it. But your values are skewed as you are using today’s values for WAR, in 2007 1 WAR was not worth 5 million.

                  I agree with 2012, he had a good season but last year he produced that WAR for another team. Throw in the fact that he had a couple of seasons where he was down right awful and I cannot see how anyone believes he deserved to be paid as one of the top players in baseball.

                  • SH
                  • MichaelD

                    As the link that SH shows, $/WAR was pretty constant from about 2007-2012 and around $4.5 mil to $5 mil. I think one of the understated elements about the Soriano signing was that he was signed at the tail end of a salary boom, and so Hendry might have expected the price to keep rising. Instead we had the recession and a pretty flat period for salaries.

                    • SH

                      Actually, 4.4-5.6! Presumably the more fair estimate these days is $6M/win on the FA market, projecting upwards still.

                    • SH

                      (Either way, the argument that his early value was less than our back of the envelope math is off base — we are probably undervaluing him slightly in those calculations.)

            • MightyBear

              What you’re failing to mention is that most of the 2.9 WAR in 2013 was for the Yankees even though the Cubs paid most of his salary and you’re leaving out the 18 million for 2014 and his WAR for the Cubs will be 0.

              • SH

                ssckelly mentioned the same above. I can’t figure out in what way it could possible be seen as relevant to the discussion of whether or not he’s worth the cost sunk into him. We decided in 2013 that the value he could provide for the rest of that season and in 2014 was less than a middling prospect and some cash. It’s not worth that in pure $/WAR as of 11/13/2013, but it may be worth that to us in our situation on this date. (Indeed, our FO thinks it is so.)

          • SH

            Back of the envelope math, assuming a 2.0 fWAR season next year (a 1.0 fWAR regression from this year), he’ll have put up a tick shy of 23 fWAR over the life of our contract with him. He was paid 136M, at a price of $5.9M/win.

            $5M/win has been floating around for a while as the market rate (so we can assume some inflation), and there’s a general consensus that top-end players come at a premium. So, despite all the rhetoric, it’s hard to call it “rose colored glasses” when he actually provided fair value. But, you’re probably right that “a very large contingent” would still view it as such.

            • SH

              heh, c beat me to it

        • Kyle

          Soriano’s contract probably was a little too long and a little too much money. He didn’t quite earn it by most measures, although if he hadn’t had the one year where he was injured it would have been really close.

          But that said, I’d do it again because you have to take risks like that to have seasons like 2007 and 2008.

        • ssckelley

          The Cubs are paying Soriano 13 million to play for the Yankees in 2014. I completely disagree that he was worth 8/136 million contract they gave him, with the exception of 2007 he barely played over replacement level.

          • caryatid62

            That’s patently false. See above.

            He was at least 2 wins above replacement level every year but two.

            • ssckelley

              That is not worth being one of the top paid players during that time period.

              • caryatid62

                It doesn’t matter what he was paid relative to anyone else. It matters what he was paid relative to his performance. He performed at a level that earned the dollars he was paid, and was an integral part of two teams’ run to the playoffs. Using WAR (once again), they wouldn’t have made the playoffs in 2007 and would have had to fight much harder to make it in 2008. The value in ticket sales, merchandise, etc. for those playoff runs (short as they were) further mitigates the cost.

                The top player in baseball right now is Mike Trout, and if you’re comparing your player’s value to him, no matter who your player is, it’s going to look bad. Each player is valued on his own merits.

                There isn’t a single free agent of quality who is going to likely outplay the value of his contract. It’s just reality. You want to get value close to their cost, while simultaneously filling a need for your team. And Soriano did that. It’s not his fault the organization fell apart around him.

                • Blublud

                  This may be the best explanation I have ever read on this site.

                  • Brains

                    I agree – good analysis that’s realistic and not mean spirited or fantasy-based.

                    • ssckelley

                      Your response comes as no surprise, sign Cano! :D

                    • Brains

                      Yep – sign an experienced veteran who will help the team with his bat and the intangibles that go with experience winning. I stand by this position until we have at least two of those kinds of guys!

                    • Blublud

                      I’m not for signing Cano, but can’t say I would be mad either.

                    • Brains

                      that’s actually basically my position. i just think cano is the best hitting free agent that we’ll see in the next 3 years. if we don’t sign him we’re talking about a longer and more excruciating rebuild with a lower expectancy of success.

                • ssckelley

                  Soriano was part of why they fell apart, he was horrible 2 of the 3 years (adequate in the 3rd) between 2009 and 2011. He bounced back respectfully in 2012 but then was god awful this season. I do not blame Soriano for the amount of money he was paid, but his performance the past 5 years is not worth the amount of money he has been paid.

                  • caryatid62

                    I’m fairly certain you’re looking at this from a very non-objective standpoint, letting your own biases about your perception of the amount of money cloud your judgment.

                    • ssckelley

                      Not really, it was not my money they were spending. But that contract has been tied (among others) as to why the Cubs have not pursued big money FA.

                      Honestly I like Soriano, he worked hard to make himself a respectable outfielder and a good clubhouse guy. But there is nothing you can show me to convince me that he was worth that contract. In the playoff years, heck yes, and he was a part of why the Cubs made the playoffs. But over the past 5, 4, 3, whatever years you cannot tell me there are not better players the Cubs could have gotten for 18 million.

                • Patrick W.

                  It absolutely matters what he was paid relative to the other available players in each year he was under contract. It doesn’t matter what he was paid relative to players who did not fit his profile (that is, players who were free agents vs. players who are controllable [i.e. Mike Trout] through the CBA).

                  Players’ contract values are dictated by what the market is willing to pay. The market sets what players with similar skills get relative to players with better or worse skills get, that’s how it works. I’m willing to play this guy X because he’s better than my alternative, so he gets more money than my alternative. Each player is valued by the team that signs him (in almost all cases) as more valuable to the team than the alternatives, be they more expensive (because more teams value him as such) or less expensive (because less teams value him as such).

                  Couple that in with what other teams are willing to pay your target to play with them. Team X thinks player X is worth X dollars to play for them, and I value him as important to my organization as Team X values him to Team X’s organization, so I have to pay more than Team X.

                  • caryatid62

                    There are two competing categories of analysis here:
                    (a.) Objective, quantifiable on-field performance, and (b.) value on the market. I agree with you that a player has value versus others in the market (I probably didn’t phrase that well enough), but to value him relative to “the best players in the league,” lumps him in with players that should not be categorized against him.

                    It’s not as if all players are available as free agents every year, and their values (in dollars) can be measured versus one another on a yearly basis. That was my main point.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Fair enough.

      • SenorGato

        I was hoping the Soriano contract taught people that players don’t just drop dead at 32 because that’s ~ the end of the prime years, but alas….

        • Patrick W.

          If you’re going to look through the lens of the Soriano contract, it’s only fair to look at players who were roughly equivalent to Soriano in production prior to the contract. Is that Shin Soo Choo?

      • Blublud

        Soriano has never been overpaid. He has earned his entire contract. That contract was only “bad” because the Cubs were losing the last 5 years. Even through the end of it he performed at a high level. If anything, Sori’s contract shows why its ok to sign Choo.

        • Patrick W.

          8/136 is AAV $17MM

          How much will the next 7 years of Choo outperform Soriano’s first 7 years of that contract?

          • Blublud

            Considering we are not talking about the same economical climate, that’s a horrible comparison. This is not 2007 anymore. The price of doing business up and it will not be dropping any time soon.

            • MichiganGoat

              Perhaps and most likely you are correct but perhaps something like 5/100 or 4/90 would be a better fit than tying him up for 7 years if the AAV is not a concern. He wouldn’t have 10/5 rights and still be at a productive age by the end if the contract. If salaries are going to sky rocket wouldn’t shorter more AAV deals be a better fit right now?

              • Blublud

                MG, I would accept either of those deals. I would also accept 7/126 if that’s what it took.

                To me, Choo is a much better player then Ellsbury.

                • ssckelley

                  Not much better, it appears Ellsbury produced a higher WAR this past season. Ellsbury is a much better outfielder.

                  Stop looking at those power numbers Blu! :D

                  • Blublud

                    Yeah. But defensive WAR is pretty dumb. Defense matters of course, but not enough to make Ellsbury better then Choo.

                    • Blublud

                      Maybe inaccurate is a better word then dumb.

  • Kyle

    If there’s so much interest in trading for Schierholtz, I’m really not sure why we didn’t trade him at the deadline when the price was presumably higher and we didn’t have to pay him for the rest of 2013.

    • CubFan Paul

      Jed Hoyer said something about the price being crazy high for Schierholtz in July. I forget whose value he was comparing him to.

    • Funn Dave

      To be fair, we didn’t know that his value was higher then than it would be after the season.

      • Kyle

        We can presume it about as well as we can ever presume anything about player performance.

        There’s more supply of players like Schierholtz, he’s been worse, and he has less cheap service time left than he did at the deadline. There’s every reason for his value to be lower and none for it to be higher.

        • Tony_S

          This is all true. I remember the feeling however, maybe a stray quote here or there, that the thought was Nate either would stay long term, or at a minimum be extended for say 3 yrs or so to kinda bridge the gap to the youth movement.

          I think the reality, however, is that he’s going to be worth more to other teams than us, which makes him an easy trade chip.

          I think the other question is what he truly is as a player, especially looking at last season: did he really break out, as in he’s now at least a serviceable starter, or is he still just a REALLY good 4th OF/platoon guy? I believe he’s more toward the latter, I think he’s just a decent all around player, definitely the type you want on the roster and in the clubhouse… a) When you’re ready to make a serious push, and b) UNLESS another team values him more highly and is willing to give you something legit for him.

          If the interest in Schierholtz is legit, I would almost guarantee he’s wearing another uni on opening day. It makes sense.

          • Kyle

            I totally agree it makes sense to move Schierholtz this offseason from the POV of where we seem to be heading. But it just made more sense to move him last deadline

            • MightyBear

              I agree but the problem is that you don’t know if they tried or not and what was offered for him.

            • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

              On the flip side, at the deadline there were only a handful of teams that *might* have been interested in the elevated asking price that comes with an extra half season of production. The number of interested teams should be higher in the offseason, though we are essentially competing against the available free agents now too.

            • ssckelley

              I think they tried to trade him, the Pirates kept popping up as potential trade partners but nothing came of it.

              I agree with you, you would think the Cubs would have gotten more out of him at the trade deadline. Do you think his performance the last 2 months has changed their thinking? Or perhaps they have liked what they seen from Bogs and Sweeney to make him expendable.

        • Funn Dave

          Yes good point about the service time. I guess I’m just looking at the other variable, his quality on the field and behind the plate, and positing that there was a chance (albeit I never though a very good one) that he would continue to be a pleasant surprise or perhaps even improve. Not very likely, but it could have been in the back of the FO’s heads.

  • Cubswin2015

    The market seems to get more expensive by the minute. Count me out for any top guys except for a run at Tanaka. Good to hear the Rangers are (possibly) out for his sweepstakes. I like Schierholtz and the way he plays, but it does seem that he probably outperformed himself last year especially with the spike in power. Trading him now seems like the best time to get a good return. I would want some sort of outfielder brought in though, a Lake Sweeney Bogey outfield wouldn’t cut it

    • mdavis

      if the D’backs really want him, I’d take Pollack for him. Plays CF, decent pop

  • YourResidentJag

    Dombroski apparently wants Smyly in the starting rotation, and that’s why most likely Porcello on the trade block. Possibly, Scherzer…but with this owner, don’t see it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The owner has nothing to do with Scherzer not being an attractive trade candidate for the Cubs. The one year of control and virtual certainty to reach free agency after a non-competitive 2014 season is the reason.

      • YourResidentJag

        Never said he should be a trade candidate for the Cubs either way.

      • YourResidentJag

        So you see a major drop off in his performance, then?

        • Funn Dave

          Not sure how you inferred that Brett sees a dropoff in his performance. It seems to me like he’s just pointing out that his contract will be up by then and, as players seem increasingly prone to doing, will likely want to see what free agency has to offer.

          • YourResidentJag

            That explains the one year of control in his statement. It doesn’t explain what he means by non-competitive season. He’s also assuming the owner will not extend Scherzer. That’s certainly possible that he won’t…but it doesn’t preclude Porcello from being on the trade block, nor am I suggesting the Cubs should go after Scherzer should HE be on the trade block for the reasons he has stated.

            • frank

              I think he means that it’ll likely be a non-competitive season for the Cubs (at least from what we see right now) with or without Scherzer. So why pay as high a price as it’s going to take when he’ll most likely walk after the season. If the Cubs were one pitcher away from a WS, it’d make more sense than it does now.

              • YourResidentJag

                I suppose that could be an interpretation. It’s just that some analysts believe Scherzer’s metrics to be indicative of a drop-off and so with one year left, it would be wise for Detroit to market him as an attractive trade candidate. My problem is that owner pays stupid $$$ for these guys, so is an extension forthcoming??? So, I suppose I was looking the Tigers side of things and not necessarily in trade relations with the Cubs.

  • YourResidentJag

    Also, I think Seattle would be a better spot for Cruz and his adequate defensive skills because he could DH.

    • Patrick W.

      Seattle has about 20 DH’s on the roster.

      • YourResidentJag

        So, you’re saying he’s a superior defender, then?

        • Patrick W.

          I’m saying he doesn’t seem to be a good fit for Seattle. That’s never stopped them before, Jack Z. seems to love those types of players, but I don’t think he should, that’s all.

          • YourResidentJag

            Well, that could be very true. I just don’t think he’s a good fit for the Cubs either.

            • Patrick W.

              Agreed!

  • CubFan Paul

    Either is outstanding versus RHP, but the Dodgers would have to chip in *at least* $30M

  • MichaelD

    Dave Cameron of Fangraphs described Nelson Cruz as land mine #1 of the free agent market:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-land-mines-of-the-2014-free-agent-class/#more-140239

    • ssckelley

      Kinda stating the obvious isn’t he?

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Porcello has been dangled forever and, much like Shark, is probably one of those guys betting on himself, making him better for trading than signing. I really don’t want the Cubs to overpay (unless they are really going to boost spending, which I fully support), and we don’t need to trade for a guy that we will need to overspend for to keep him.

    Would rather trade (shark or others) for high potential prospects of equal net worth (2-3 excellent pitching prospects), and hope 1-2 make it for us.

  • North Side Irish

    Mark Feinsand ‏@FeinsandNYDN 8m
    Source says Mariners have “no interest” in Ellsbury. Market looks thin, but source adds that Cubs are stealthily waiting in the wings.

    • CubFan Paul

      The cubs have about $40M in payroll space so Ellsbury is possible on the right contract

      • Kyle

        Only if you assume payroll is staying static.

        • mdavis

          I could see the Cubs trying to wait out Ellsbury market like the Indians waited out Bourn. Remember he was asking for $100 mil and he got what, 4/$48 mil? Now, I think Ellsbury will get a lot more, but if his price drops down to say the 5/$75 range, then yeah I see the Cubs pouncing.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I personally feel that the Cubs won’t show much interest in any FA who received a QO. But, I do believe they will stealthily wait in the wings and possibly surprise me.

      • Funn Dave

        I would think not having them tied to a first-round draft pick would be more incentive to go after them.

        • ssckelley

          I agree, this is the ideal off season to go after a player that has draft compensation tied to him. Hopefully next offseason this will matter more to the Cubs. It is to bad the FA market was not a little better this off season.

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            It is still a significant chunk out of the draft pool…which helps go overslot later in the draft.

            I wish they’d change the rule for signing players with a QO. Give up the pick, but keep the slot $. Receiving team would also get that amount. What’s the downside?

            • Kyle

              (whispers like a dirty secret no one wants to say too loud)

              Overslots late in this CBA don’t really matter, either.

              • YourResidentJag

                This.

            • ssckelley

              But if they are drafting out of the top 10 that pool money does not mean much anyway since the draft is a crapshoot. Even with a limited pool budget a good scouting department can find good upside players to draft that do not require a big signing bonus.

              • DarthHater

                Just so you know, I chug a fifth of scotch every time somebody here uses the word “crapshoot”…

                • Patrick W.

                  Jeez dude, want me to make you an app?

                  • TWC

                    Does it give you a buzz? Otherwise, I’m sticking w/ Darth’s method.

                  • DarthHater

                    Not for “crapshoot,” but if you can, please make me an app that drowns a puppy whenever somebody says “BABIP.”

                    • ssckelley

                      This sounds fun. Are there any words that involve chugging a beer? I am not into scotch.

                      How about WAR?

                • ssckelley

                  Damn, a 5th? That seems excessive just for saying crapshoot.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Crapshoot crapshoot crapshoot

                  • DarthHater

                    You’re mean.

    • Professor Snarks

      If things didn’t work out well for Ellsbury, would Boras consider a 2 year pillow contract for him? It would be a huge coup if the Cubs could get him for a reasonable 4/5 year deal. I don’t care about the money, I’m just leery of years 6, 7, and 8.

  • caryatid62

    I have to wonder: during the GM meetings/winter meetings/offseason in general, what is the percentage of reporter leaks meant to be negotiating ploys to real, honest transaction leaks? I’m guessing at least 10:1 in favor of the negotiating ploys.

    • Funn Dave

      I very much doubt that it’s skewed that much in that direction. If anything, I think it’s more like 2:1 in favor of real rumors. Remember, if there’s a leak that X team is interested in signing Y player and they don’t end up signing him, that doesn’t mean there was never any real interest.

  • Blackhawks1963

    If the question is do I want Ellsbury? Then answer is an easy yes. But if the question is do I advocate dishing out the $125 million plus contract he will absolutely command? Well tha answer is an easy and loud NO.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I’m with ya! I’d also hate to lose a nice 2nd round pick to the Bosox!!

      • SenorGato

        2nd round picks aren’t anything to lose sleep over, even with the money tied…This organization needs an Ellsbury or Cano or any high quality MLer far more than it needs another Paul Blackburn.

        • On The Farm

          Blackburn was a 1st round comp pick.

          • SenorGato

            Fine, Rob Zastrzny…The point is that impact ML talent >>> 2nd round draft talent.

            • Kyle

              If anyone is worried about the pick, just sign the player, wait a year, eat some contract and trade him for a prospect that is almost certainly much better than your 2nd-round pick.

              • On The Farm

                Because almost every team is lining up to trade a prospect for a guy with 6 years left on their contract. I am not worried about the pick, but I can’t think of many teams that are lining up to trade for last year’s FA crop.

                • SH

                  We got Pinyero and Black for Hairston and Soriano, respectively. It is likely that your average second round pick is not as good as these two, and we would likely see a better return on Ellsbury with three years left and covering some of his salary than we would with one year of Soriano and some salary.

                  Of course, trading recently-signed FAs of quality (i.e. not obviously signed to flip) maybe isn’t the best approach, but it’s more of the principle that an established major leaguer is not worth a mediocre 19-year old.

                  • On The Farm

                    I could care less about losing a second round pick for a Free agent unless it looks like a stupid signing from the get-go. For instance, I don’t want to give a player a contract into their real late 30s or their 40s. I mean the point in time you would be trading these guys is either because your team is awful and you are trying to cut as much from the budget you can or because he hasn’t lived up to the contract. Look at people arguing how much Soriano has actually lived up to his contract. Is paying all that money for Soriano to play for the Yankees worth a guy who projects as a RP? Because the value we get for a 34/35 year old Ellsbury will be similar.

                    Trading a FA later into his contract for someone who would be better than the second round pick you lost is hardly the answer is all I was arguing.

                    • ssckelley

                      For the right player even losing a 1st round pick is not much of a loss.

                • Kyle

                  They’ll line up if you are eating some of the contract.

                  If a player is worth signing to any sort of real MLB-quality deal, he’s worth giving up the pick for.

      • ssckelley

        The Red Sox are going to get a number 1 compensation pick no matter who signs him. Unless of course they resign him.

  • preacherman86

    Hey they PAY ALL the players do maybe they could also pay all our players to keep our costs down?

  • When the Music’s Over

    All these trade rumors are funny. Supposedly most of them have at least some grain of truth to them, but I often wonder how or why. Here’s how I picture it:

    Jon Heyman: Hey XYZ GM, you interested in Samardizjia?
    XYZ GM: Sure, I’m interested
    Jon Heyman (to himself): Perfect, I’m going to write up a rumor now that XYZ GM of ABC team is interested in trading for this player.

    You know what the sounds eerily similar to, me drunk with my buddies hatching plans of awesomeness that never come to fruition:

    Me: I’m trashed, I need to smoke a heater
    Buddy: In
    (now outside)
    Buddy: We need to get the f*ck outta here and go somewhere cool
    Me: Yes, let’s go to Oktoberfest in Munich. I’ve wanted to go for years.
    Buddy: That sound’s awesome

    More chitter chatter about our plans in Oktoberfest occurs for the rest of the evening, but as usual, the next day rolls around and virtually almost every time, nothing happens. Much of the time, it never even get’s brought up again. That’s what these trade rumors are.

    • SenorGato

      A heater?

      • When the Music’s Over

        Cigarette

        • SenorGato

          What brand? Cigarettes are fun.

          • Tony_S

            Only ever Marlboro Reds. Only possible acceptable substitution is Lucky Strike straights (aka non-filtered).

            LSMFT

          • When the Music’s Over

            Camels

        • Tony_S

          Interesting, I’ve only heard “heater” used to reference a gun (not this time) or a cigar (not a cigarette). For cigarettes, square or loosey come to mind, but I didn’t think heater.

          • ssckelley

            I have and my kids call me old!

            • Tony_S

              LOL

    • Tony_S

      Awesome anecdote, and 100% agree.

      Although sometimes you actually follow through.

      A buddy and I waited over an hour for a cab once, after closing time, just outside Little Rock, AR. We had been talking off and on for weeks about making a random weekend trip to Memphis, to see Graceland and Beale St. He finally started his truck (he had sobered up much more than me).

      Buddy: Get in.
      Me: Dude, there’s one of those checkpoints on the way home, you’re still not “legal.”
      Buddy: We’re not going home, we’re going to Memphis.

      And it was glorious. And that’s why the Cubs will get something serviceable for Schierholtz before next year. ;-)

  • Jono

    Granderson

  • North Side Irish

    Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi 2m
    Shin-Soo Choo is “along the lines of Michael Jordan in Korea,” said Choo’s agent, Scott Boras.

    I’m assuming he means in terms of baseball ability. I read somewhere that Jordan’s baseball career was better than most people remember.

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      Stop sucking up to Brett. He already got his Grantland shout out.

    • ssckelley

      Boras talking up his clients, imagine that!

      • hansman

        I am surprised that he has never come out and actively said that competing players suck for reasons XYZ and that he hears noone wants to sign them.

        Now THAT would be a very Boras thing to do.

  • SenorGato

    BTW: ESPECIALLY if the Dodgers are throwing in some money I am not completely uninterested in Carl Crawford. He’s one of the guys who may just be a victim of the internet age analysis as he very quietly had a solid first year back from injury with the Dodgers.

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      I’ll bet Theo is very uninterested in Carl Crawford.

  • North Side Irish

    Braves Nation ‏@atlbravesnation 21m
    @ajcbraves @jblairsanders Wrigely is in the suburban part of the city. Similar to highlands. Citi Field and Yankee Stadium are in Burroughs

    I’m a suburbanite?

    • Tony_S

      Ahahahahah! Now that’s funny

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Use Castro Barney Schierholtz and Samardja as trade bait.
    Replace with Choo McCann and Cano
    Baez
    Choo
    Cano
    Bryant
    Rizzo
    McCann
    Olt
    Soler
    Soler

    • Tony_S

      I don’t think they’ll change the rules to let Soler bat twice.

      Also, while I do like where your head is, not yet.

  • North Side Irish

    Jim Callis ‏@jimcallisMLB 1m
    #Cubs OFAlbert Almora just made terrific running, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Eddie Rosario in deep RC. Future Gold Glover.

    If only he could hit…

  • Brains

    I know this will be an unpopular position, but depending how much the Dodgers are willing to pay – I would take Kemp or Crawford in a second. Anything to change the momentum toward hopelessness that is actually our future. No team has ever had a group of lone rookies come up without proper mentorship and succeed.

    • Professor Snarks

      If medicals check out, and the cost is cheap, why not take a gamble? Depending on finances, they both could be flip candidates in a few years.

      • Tony_S

        Kemp, maybe restructured and front-loaded I could see. I absolutely do not believe Crawford has much left in the tank.

      • Tony_S

        Also, as an aside, the last time Theo tried gambling, he ended up leaving town on a sour note… I don’t think he’s the gambling type, at least not high stakes.

        • Brains

          Kemp is especially expensive, when it comes down to it. But he’s be a superstar here, even if he doesn’t put up previous numbers, he’s a great clubhouse guy, and if the Dodgers are willing to eat some salary for a prospect I think this is a great fit. Even better than Cano. :)

          • Tony_S

            Ooooo, now that’s an interesting rabbit hole to explore: Today, would you rather

            Trade for Kemp
            Sign Cano

            • Brains

              Cano or Kemp, brains is a happy brains.

            • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

              I’d rather pay Cano $30M next year than lose a prospect and pay Kemp $20M. But it depends how many years we’re paying Cano $30M and if that extra $10M/yr would cause us to lose out on signing other impact players.

        • Dave

          If Theo is no longer willing to gamble then he needs to find a different job
          To reach the mountain top you need to take chances.

    • ssckelley

      Wow Brains, we are on the same side on Kemp. If Kemp is healthy I would rather see the Cubs acquire him than sign Ellsbury or Choo. Kemp is still in his prime.

  • Sean

    7 years$126million for Sin-Soo Choo? What a waste of money. I don’t care if the FA market has many escalating contracts. Overpaying! Plus you’d lose a draft pick to sign a +30year old in my opinion not a lock to ever be an allstar ever again.

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  • waittilthisyear

    anyone see Boras’s comments at the GM meetings? Jeeeeeeez, what a blowhard! I couldn’t believe it.

  • YourResidentJag

    Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst 7m
    You can find the ballots of all 30 NL Cy Young voters here http://bbwaa.com/13-nl-cy/ – & AL ballots here http://bbwaa.com/13-al-cy/

  • Moises Canchola

    I think Choo would be an amazing pick up but not for 120 million plus(or 7yrs) thats pretty insane considering he is a lead off guy, hell he is basically Fukudome (remember that guy yikes). I remember when Choo type of players used to get 3 years at about 50mil but i guess that was during the steriod era when 20hrs used to be hit in a month. I think if we can get Ellsbury he would be a better fit but only for a five year deal at most and same goes for choo. Id rather spend my big bucks on Tanaka who is 25.
    That should be cubs priority. Ellsbury 2 and some budget pitchers that were known winners looking to bounce back (johnson and santana) and trade Jackson for bats and balls or make him work selling Hot Dogs cuz that guy stinks

    • Blublud

      Comparing Choo to Fukudome simply because they are both Asian (one is actually Japanese and one is Korean) is borderline discriminatory. They only share 2 similarities, they are Asian and play OF. Please stop with the Fukudome comparison.

      I guess Jorge Soler will be a Jose Contreras type of player, huh.

  • YourResidentJag

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