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jeff samardzija gatorade showerIf you’ve got a valuable commodity, and there are any kind of signals that you might part with it – however faint those signals – you’re going to get calls.

So it is with Jeff Samardzija and the Chicago Cubs, who would like to lock him up long term, but haven’t had much outward success. If an extension is not possible, the Cubs will at least have to consider dealing Samardzija (if not now, then at some point in the next year). And if they consider it, there figure to be plenty of suitors.

We’ve already heard about the Diamondbacks’ and Nationals’ interest, and now there are two more teams rumored to be entering the picture.

John Perrotto reports that a source tells him the Pirates are considering making a run at Samardzija. There are no details offered beyond that, but the Pirates offer a system deep in impact talent. Finding a match in trade would not be difficult from the Cubs’ perspective, considering the presence of top arm Jameson Taillon, rising arms Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham, top outfielder Gregory Polanco, and on and on. There is the intradivisional trading concern, but, if the Cubs are punting on the next season or two anyway, then there’s little concern from the Cubs’ perspective.

And Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are “expected to make a push” for Samardzija.* Once again, there are no details, and once again there’s a plausible fit. While the Blue Jays’ system isn’t quite as attractive as the Pirates’, there are a number of intriguing arms (and, hey, lots of ‘em recovering from Tommy John surgery!). The Blue Jays’ top six prospects, according to MLB.com, are all pitchers.

*(It’s crazy that, in the span of a week, trade rumors about Samardzija went from highly speculative to “obviously this guy is available, and obviously our local team is going to be one of the teams involved in the Samardzija sweepstakes.” I still don’t think it’s that much of a lock that he’s dealt, but word is getting around.)

Apropos of these rumors, Gordon Wittenmyer writes that he’s spoken with GMs and other executives at the GM Meetings this week, and after hearing from “nearly half” of the teams in MLB, Wittenmyer came away with the expectation that Samardzija will be dealt this offseason. I’m not sure how the other teams would know that unless the Cubs were out there actively shopping Samardzija (which they aren’t, or we definitely would have heard about it). So this level of certainty about a trade is odd.

At bottom, we know only that the Cubs will consider dealing Samardzija for a serious haul if it appears likely that he will not sign an extension. And, since we all seem to know that, plenty of teams are going to come calling, as it appears that the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Pirates, and Blue Jays have.

  • Die hard

    No team will give nice haul as everyone hopes for cause he’s not worth it.. So realistically Cubs would be better off keeping him

  • timmy two shoes

    It will be great two years from now when we go to these meetings looking to add pieces

    • caryatid62

      Three.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Ignoring the 1 year restriction, it would be fun to somehow snag Reese McGuire.

    • On The Farm

      How do the PTBNL work with this? Colorado did this a few years back when they traded Ubaldo for Alex White and Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz was a PTBNL because he didn’t sign with the Indians until mid August so he couldn’t be dealt at the July deadline, and was sent a few weeks later.

  • MyBrettJacksonHat

    I live in Pittsburgh and get the sense that Shark would be a good fit for the Pirates in many ways – money, performance, timeline, etc. Folks here seem to like him as the fans I hang with always talk about how he dominates when he pitches against the Pirates. He would be a good sell to the fanbase and the media attention that would come from this type of deal would play well and fit into what they seem to be trying to do to promote the team. I also really like the young pitching here so the fit, as many have mentioned, works both ways. Makes sense from a variety of angles but would be a big loss at the same time. I was ok with the last team years, to a large extent, but boy do I want to see progress at the major league level.

  • Ken

    If Shark is traded it wont be till trade deadline. If they get Tanaka and sign Ellsbury they could compete and still have their Big 4. Until that does or does not happen it makes no sense to trade Shark. They could still trade him to desparate contender in July. Look what Garza brought with zero control!

    • Voice of Reason

      Ken,

      If the Cubs got Tanaka and Ellsbury they MIGHT lose 85 games instead of 90+. They certainly wouldn’t “compete”.

      This team is sooo much more away from winning than just a lead off hitter and a starting pitcher.

      That’s why we have to wait to see what minor league studs develop and where they play. Then add free agents to fill holes. That’s when we will be able to compete!!!!

      • On The Farm

        You have to acquire talent when it is available. If getting Tanaka and Ellsbury alone takes this team to .500 territory, I don’t know how you don’t pull the trigger. With Baez and Bryant projected to hit the bigs at least by the 2015 season, the 2015 team would probably be pretty good, especially if they pick up another middle level FA between 2014 and 2015.

        This is all assuming Ellsbury and Tanaka can make the Cubs almost a .500 team.

        • Voice of Reason

          On The Farm,

          “You have to acquire talent when it is available.”

          No you don’t. There will be talent available in a couple of years when we are ready to fill the holes where we don’t have minor leaguers. If not through free agency then through teams looking to move high salaries.

          And, adding just a lead off hitter and a starting pitcher does not make this a .500 team. No way! The team has no offense right now to go with Ellsbury. They don’t have a third baseman, a second baseman, a left fielder… who in the hell is going to hit the ball to drive in Ellsbury?

          You’re just going to have to be patient for another couple of years. The Cubs know that they don’t “have to aquire talent when it’s available”. They are in the middle of a rebuild. There is light at the end of the tunnel….

          • MightyBear

            I disagree. There won’t be a talent like Ellsbury in a couple of years. A gold glove centerfielder who can steal 50 bases and score 100 runs is very difficult to find. Hopefully, Almora can fill that position but he’s probably 3 years away before he even lands in Wrigley and 5 years before he’s playing at a level close to Ells.

            • Jon

              I see Soriano part II with Elsbury, we sign him and then all of his base stealing ability “dissapears”

              • MightyBear

                Well one was a gold glove outfielder and the other was a poor defensive outfielder. One was 32 and the other just turned 30. One got on base and doesn’t strike out much and the other strikes out 150 times a year. I can see where you think they’re the same.

                People gotta stop thinking that because the Soriano signing wasn’t a complete home run for his whole contract, that we should never sign a player to a long term deal. Ellsbury is not Soriano.

          • On The Farm

            ““You have to acquire talent when it is available.”

            No you don’t. ”

            Um this is false, there is no other way to acquire talent other than when it is available. It’s the whole reason people say they should sign Tanaka. There aren’t a ton of TOR to begin with, you can only sign them when they are available and not expect another one to just appear magically in a few years. By the way there aren’t a ton of Ellsbury’s out there either. The old saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush can be applied here. Acquiring a gold glove CF with good on-base skills and a TOR arm are worth more today, then they are when you *hope* there will be two more like them in a few years.

            “And, adding just a lead off hitter and a starting pitcher does not make this a .500 team. No way!”

            As for this statement it was never my idea for this to be true. I was basing it off your statement that: “If the Cubs got Tanaka and Ellsbury they MIGHT lose 85 games instead of 90+. They certainly wouldn’t “compete”.” So when you said signing those two means we might lose 85 games (i.e we are winning 77) that is pretty close to the magic 81-81 .500 mark. If two guys can get your current club to .500 or real close (as you stated in your first comment) you do it. It puts you that much closer to winning. Also, based on our prospects adding Ellsbury and Tanaka will not block any of the big prospects that are projected to hit the MLB in the next two years anyway so why worry about what are minor leaguers who are three years out are doing?

            • willis

              If the cubs add a 1/2 type talent to this rotation, they are in almost every ballgame. That’s a start. And a good idea.

            • Voice of Reason

              On the farm

              It appears the front office doesn’t agree with you, either. They have no and of acquiring talent now!

              • On The Farm

                You are misreading my comment. I said if these two can get us close to .500 (which was the assumption you first purposed) this FO would jump after these two. I am fairly positive this team is more than a CF and SP away from being .500, all I was arguing is that if two players (as opposed to three, four, etc) was all it took to get within .500 they would do it.

                It also doesn’t change that they should acquire talent when it is available and not when they *think* it will be in the future.

      • Jon

        This line of thinking is so stupid, but I guess you are Theo/Jeds dream of a man. The ultimate pollyanna.

        • mjhurdle

          care to expand on that? or is it just stupid because you don’t agree with it?

          • Edwin

            That line of thinking isn’t stupid, but I think it might be short-sighted. It’s not just about what the free agent adds this year, it’s what they add over the next couple years.

            • mjhurdle

              Oh, im not saying I agree with Voice of Reason.
              I just wondered if Jon had the ability to explain his side without simply resorting to calling names.
              Your take on it was a much better explanation imo.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Exactly what in his statement makes you think he is an optimist?

      • Patrick W.

        It’s not like there’s going to be 5 straight seasons of losing 90+ games and then the next season a World Series championship. There will be a time when the Cubs lose 85 games instead of 90. There will be a time where they might end up drafting 15th when if they had really tried they could have been drafting 3rd. It’s kind of silly to think that The Plan involves always losing enough to get a high draft pick until you are ready to be a championship team.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          ^This.

        • willis

          Right, and you have to start somewhere. Adding two very good pieces may not turn this into a playoff contender, but it makes the team better. And at some point (I mean, is 5 years not enough?) this organization needs to make some moves towards being respectable instead of throwing horse crap out there every year winning 60ish games.

          You add pieces now if you can, then you add more later. My fear is that they have no money and won’t add a thing, then have another top 3 draft pick in 2015. That is getting very tired.

        • On The Farm

          Very well put and was where I was trying to go with the whole “if signing two guys can get you that close to .500 you do it.” Why the VOR is intent on thinking that we must constantly suck and keep drafting high until we are ready to win the WS and then we will magically morph from this 65 win team to a 95 win team is beyond me. Didn’t Theo even say something like this the other week. Its a linear progression (i.e we are acquiring the talent and as we go) as opposed to exponential progression where all the sudden we pull a 2013 Red Sox.

          • jt

            The 2013 Cubs replaced Marmol with Gregg
            Parker replaced Camp.
            Garza replaced Villanueva in the rotation in mid-May.
            Sweeney replaced Sappelt/Hairston.
            Barney replaced Gonzalez at 2B.
            Valbuena/Ransom replace Lillybridge at 3B
            With the exception of Garza none of the above replacement players were elite.
            The Cubs were 5W/13L before Gregg got his first save.
            From the game of Gregg’s first save through the trade deadline they were 48W/49L. Even with injuries to DDJ and Sweeney, the team, as comprised over that period, played as a 0.500 team for 107 continuous games.
            Were they good? No, not really! But they did have some good elements that needed a certain replacement level around them to be effective.
            Getting this team to win 81 games over a season would not be that difficult. Getting this team to win 90+ games over many seasons will be a much harder task.

            • On The Farm

              Getting from 81 to 90+ is what the MiLB talent is for. Being at 81 wins will increase revenues so its a good business decision. Also, it saves you from when your prospects come up you don’t have to go find the SP and CF to fill the holes (Alcantara, Baez, and Bryant won’t be blocked by signing a elite CF). Acquire talent when you can, not when you think you will be able to.

              Also, it doesn’t change that a majority of teams follow a linear progression of getting better. I think you would find a majority of the teams that have made the playoffs the last 5-10 years got progressively better, and the Rays are the exception to the rule.

              • jt

                Ricketts knows of the loss of attendance because of lack of winning.
                He has to have that factored in. They are investing in long term value and eschewing (is that a Brett word?) that which only brings short term fixes.
                Cleveland was 68W/94L last year
                The Buc’s were under 0.500 last year
                The Red Sox has a 90L season in 2012
                Didn’t look up the 2011 O’s but I bet it was not pretty
                Washington jumped from one of the worst to one of the best in a couple of seasons.
                The A’s were pretty bad from 2007-2011
                The Giants were not good from 2005-2008
                Then you mentioned The Rays

                • On The Farm

                  “Cleveland was 68W/94L last year”
                  Yeah, but they won 80 games the year before that…
                  “The Buc’s were under 0.500 last year”
                  Right they went from 57-> 72-> 79(.500 territory)-> 94.
                  “The Red Sox has a 90L season in 2012″
                  And probably the most important change from the 2012 roster to 2013 was their SP (Lackey, Buchholtz, and Lester) were healthy
                  “Washington jumped from one of the worst to one of the best in a couple of seasons”
                  Again as you mention they went from worst to best in a couple of seasons, i.e. it didn’t happen overnight.
                  “The A’s were pretty bad from 2007-2011″
                  Actually they in the mid 70s from 2007-2011, about ten wins better than our current club
                  “The Giants were not good from 2005-2008″
                  Again they went from 72 to 88 to 92 a linear progression.

                  So of all the teams you mentioned the O’s and Rays were the only teams that went from consistently bad to a good playoff team. The Red Sox came back from an injury plagued season. Almost every team you mentioned went from high 60s/low 70s, to high 70s/80s, to a playoff team. This is the progression I was speaking of.

                  • SH

                    And it’s worth noting that the Orioles performed *11* games above their Pythagorean. i.e. they should have been an 82-win team, and their performance this year showed it. (And the fact that they were then competitors demonstrates why we should at least try to be competitive! There’s always a chance you do better than you “should.”)

                    The Rays are the only ones to turn on the magic switch that many around here think we will be flipping in an ever-postponed year. That so few teams have accomplished it should maybe make us take pause.

                    • On The Farm

                      And the fact that it took ten years to acquire the talent to pull it off shows that it is not necessarily the most ideal route to traverse.

                    • jt

                      “And it’s worth noting that the Orioles performed *11* games above their Pythagorean. i.e. they should have been an 82-win team”
                      –SH
                      The O’s got 92 starts from guys who had a 4.02 or less (Chen) or less in ’12. Using Chen as the standard (4.07 ERA) that figure dropped to 85 in 2013.
                      The 2012 pen tossed 545 IP with an ERA of 3.00
                      The 2013 pen tossed 514 IP with an ERA of 3.45
                      *
                      The 2013 O’s
                      61W/15L in games they allowed 3 or fewer runs
                      The 2012 O’s
                      71W/10L in games they allowed 3 or fewer runs
                      *
                      2012 had 5 more games in which they allowed 3 or fewer runs and they were more efficient in winning those games than in 2013.
                      *
                      The 2012 O’s got more quality starts from their rotation and more productive IP from their pen.

                  • jt

                    “Yeah, but they won 80 games the year before that”
                    –OnTheFarm
                    Red Sox combo of Lester/Buchholtz/Lackey had 114 more IP than they pitched in 2012. 189 of those were from Lackey. As much as the Sox dropped RA they added RS.
                    Point in fact, they got rid of the big contracts and replaced them with value.
                    *
                    In the last 8 sequential years Washington win totals have been: 71,73, 59, 59, 69, 80, 98, 86.
                    In what universe is that linear?
                    *
                    Giants going from 72W to 88W the next year is linear?
                    *
                    Cleveland’s win totals in the last 5 sequential years has been: 65, 69, 80, 68, 92.
                    If you want to go back further then you will see shifts equally dramatic.
                    *
                    The A’s? “There is no glory in 74 wins.” I forget who said that. The A’s got out of their hole by adding value, not big contracts.

        • noisesquared

          I sort of like this comparison using a team losing 197 games in a 2 year span :)

          2008 Tampa Bay Rays AL East 97 65
          2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays AL East 66 96
          2006 Tampa Bay Devil Rays AL East 61 101

          Quick turnarounds are do-able – especially when special young talent is involved.

          I do see a team here that will lose 90+ until they are a playoff caliber team. The front office will not let them only lose 80-something games – if they’re out of the playoff race in July, moves will be made to insure this team loses 90+ and finishes with a top 10 pick. So the turnaround will appear quick in any case.

          • Kyle

            Unfortunately, the Rays had to finish last for a decade to get to that point. We’re halfway there, folks!

            • Edwin

              Long Live The Plan!

            • On The Farm

              Actually if we are following the Rays plan lets finish near the bottom for 15 years. The Rays did it for 10 years and still couldn’t win a World Series, clearly we need to suck much longer to get to the end goal.

            • noisesquared

              Actually that 08 Rays team really began to take shape after Friedman took over after the 05 season. It took him 3 years at the helm to get that team in the playoffs. The only significant players there before Friedman’s run as GM were Crawford and Upton positionally, and Shields/Kazmir/Sonnanstine in the rotation. He rebuilt the team on the field – signing Pena and Iwamura, drafting Longoria, trading for Navarro and Bartlett, completely overhauled the bullpen, and added Garza and Jackson to the rotation. He made all the right decisions to turn his team around in less than 3 years, and on a shoestring budget. It can be done.

              • jt

                Kyle has tired of logic and has now turned to the 2 fist and a toe of obfuscation.

        • Voice of Reason

          Patrick W typed:

          “It’s not like there’s going to be 5 straight seasons of losing 90+ games and then the next season a World Series championship. There will be a time when the Cubs lose 85 games instead of 90. There will be a time where they might end up drafting 15th when if they had really tried they could have been drafting 3rd. It’s kind of silly to think that The Plan involves always losing enough to get a high draft pick until you are ready to be a championship team.”

          You’re exactly right, but 2014 will be another year where they will lose 90 games again. 2015 is where you’ll start seeing that move forward that you explained.

          • Patrick W.

            I don’t disagree with that, and I don’t think it makes sense to make decisions you risk regretting in 6 or 7 years in order to be average next year. But not competing for a 2014 championship doesn’t mean you don’t sign players for 2016 or 2017 today, if they are available. Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury might be a guy you would really wish you had in 2017. I wouldn’t want them if getting them meant I had to pay for them in 2019 or 2020, but if I could get them from 2014-2018, I think it would be worth it.

      • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

        Why can’t you add the minor league talent to the FA talent acquired, instead of the FA talent to the minor league guys (that are 1 year away at minimum)?

        Seems the “wait and see” mentality forgoes talent when present. What happens if say the piece you need is unavailable, or the asking price is to gut the very thing you spent 4-5 years selling as the key to sustained success, the minor leagues?

        And it is possible to get above.500 with the right amount of free agent adds. Let say, for example, you can add:
        ***Ellsbury for 6 years at 125/130M. (Let’s just say that – not the argument to have.)

        And you add:
        ***Scott Kazmir 3/32 (incentives of about 10-15M total on the IP for each of those 3 years)
        ***David Murphy 3/16 (since Marlon Byrd just got 2/16…)
        ***Kurt Suzuki 2/4M (Soto got 1 for 3M)
        ***Erik Bedard 2/4.5M (IP could incentive that slightly more)

        Promote 3B Olt to MLB, Donnie Murphy splits time;
        Valbuena is 2B possibility in April.
        Sweeney and Lake split in RF. (Lake is an emergency Infielder.)
        Schierholtz and Murphy in LF.

        ***June – Alcantara, Baez, Hendricks all can come. Bryant by late July if 3B platoon is not cutting it. Waiver as needed Murphy or Bogie or a MR. Injuries too….

        Trade Barney, Samardzija for top pitching prospects and a catcher to develop, so the guys you promote are filled behind by more prospects.

        You added 40M in payroll, but lost about 7M back or the ARB salaries of Shark and Barney.

        If the Cubs can add 450,000 souls to the park (about 3.1 million, which they have done before) x $52 per soul, that 23.4M. Or about $10M more out than in, a conservative estimate on the revenue added. (Which does not add costs….as you have operations covered by being open at all.)

        BUT: you have $25M in additional TV revenues brought in by the TV deals.

        SO: 15M to the GOOD!

        (Say Ellsbury is at 6/135-140. Backloaded, still can afford in 2014-2015.

        So, you CAN afford to add Jacoby, Kazmir, Murphy, Suzuki to go with the Baez, Alcantara, Hendrick, Olt talent coming by June.

        I’d project Ellsbury is 5.0 WAR. Kazmir in the National League is a better pitcher for about 2WAR. Murphy: 2WAR. Baez, Olt, Alcantara, Hendricks might add 4.0WAR together or more – Puig did 5.0WAR by himself in 2013. Suzuki: 1 WAR. 14WAR from the FA and rookies.

        Bullpen does it job, with all the new talent (Grimm, Strop, Vizcaino): 3-4 WAR.

        Nice Rebounds from Rizzo and Castro of 3-5 WAR total and WOW we are at 85-89WINS at least.

        And we can afford that in 2014.

        No need to wait and see…

        NONE of that is extremely implausible. I didn’t expect Baez and the rookies to add 10WAR or some improbable amount. I only expected 1 ALL STAR – Jacoby – and Rizzo and Castro to play up to their potential…

        But nothing ventured, is the CUBS WAY.

        • jt

          OK, you mention Lake as emergency 3B.
          How about Lake and Vitters emergency 3B’s.
          That cuts the need for dedicated IF’ers to 5 since Vitters can also play 1st.
          So they get by with Rizzo, Barney, Valbuena, Castro, Olt and Murphy.
          That allows any one of a Valbuena/Olt or Valbuena/Barney or Valbuena/Murphy platoon.
          Now the have 6 OF’ers, 3LHH and 3RHH. That makes for 3 platoons.
          Vitters/Bogusevic, Sweeney/Franklin Gutierrez , Schierholtz/Lake.

          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            We have a round robin at 3B. Pretty much try anyone that is a 3B there. I don’t care about who does what. I’ll try anything that can plausibly work to WIN.

            If a guy has a great bat, but mediocre glove at 3B, and can’t hurt me that much in the OF, BOOM, I’ll find out what he is there.

            I don’t mind platoons. But I’d like to dream we can cost justify a big add.

            Cubs shouldn’t be so cautious, as if they have something to lose…what, saving face?

            The “sustained success route” from a franchise that hasn’t sustained above a .500 record for more than 4 consecutive seasons since the late 1960s, really needs to be more aware of things. I GET they renovated the Spring training, built DR Academy, and Wrigley…they might be altering those plans if the Rooftop guys do their legal worst.

            So, what happens there? They get to alter revenue streams and then…say it ain’t in the budget to add any FAs. And the BIG 4 become the BIG 2 because 2 are flawed in some way.

            More waiting….Ownership bought in 2009. Its going to be 2014. And so far, we have prospects. So we might as well look at reasonable ways to make a team better. (I’ve given my cheap FA adds. But I am open to all of it.)

            • jt

              I like CarGo what he would bring to The Cubs both on “O” and “D” and would be willing to give up a package including Almora to to get him.
              I like James Shields and Kyle Zimmer. I’d be willing to give up a substantial package starting with Shark and ending with Vogelbomb with a lot of meat in between to get them. Once gotten, I’d be willing to extend Shields with a very large extension. That is what I consider value. I’m sure many disagree with my evaluation. But the point is that I’d spend on that which I believe in.
              I also know that Theo/Jed/Ricketts have their own ideas as to that which will bring a winner and that cost it will take to attain those pieces. I have to believe their process of evaluation is much better than either yours or mine. And I believe they will trade or spend to get the club to the proper state.

        • SH

          This is a nice read, thanks :)

        • Voice of Reason

          Jason Powers,

          You can’t add minor leaguers to free agents because you don’t know where the minor league players will end up.

          In other words, if Baez ends up at 2B then we don’t need to sign Cano. What if Soler and Bryant and Almora all end up with the big league team in 2014? We certainly won’t need to add an outfielder. Of, what if Lake develops then we can trade Almora, etc.

          This is what a rebuild is, guys. We just don’t know what hole we will need to fill. That’s why you need to be patient.

          The Cubs are doing the right thing. It’s just going to take another year before they have a better idea of what free agents they will need!!

          • On The Farm

            “What if Soler and Bryant and Almora all end up with the big league team in 2014?”

            Here is one, what if they don’t make the team until 2015 like the are projected to? Or another good one, what if Almora never makes it past AA and now we have no CF on the MLB roster or in the minors? You shouldn’t base all MLB decisions off a few of A ball players. Baez performed well at AA and will start in AAA so he has earned the “what if” status and now is the time you start figuring out how to fit him in. A ball players are another story. And the good news is if they are hitting well enough you should be able to find a spot for them somewhere on the MLB roster. It’s not like Schierholtz, Valbuena, or even Lake are going to block Bryant if/when he is ready. There is enough interest in those players they would be able to deal the MLB player they want in order to fit their prospect in.

            • Voice of Reason

              On the farm:

              “what if they don’t make the team until 2015 like the are projected to?”

              Wow, it would be great if all three made it in 2015!! We could only hope!

              If Almora never makes it past double a then we need to sign a center fielder or trade for one.

              Of course if one of them starts to perform then they replace Schierholtz, Valbuena or even Lake. That’s why those three are on the roster! They are stop gaps until one of our young studs is ready to come up!

              On The Farm, you seem to grasp what a rebuild is! It’s just that you have to accept it….

              • On The Farm

                “Wow, it would be great if all three made it in 2015!! We could only hope!”

                So you are saying that we are hoping all three will be on the roster for 2015, meaning its probably not going to happen. Yet signing a FA CF is a bad idea because it could somehow end up blocking Almora? You are right I do understand a rebuild and I also understand most teams take a linear progression to making the playoffs. Yeah there are the 2012 O’s, the Tampa Rays that don’t, but they are the statistical outliers. I would rather take the more statistically proven way to work. Getting better in steps. We already have a top 3 farm system. We have depth for days, and to top it off we have the #4 pick in the 2014 draft (more depth!). We need to build to the playoffs and if a majority of our prospects are hitting by end of 2015, why not have them surrounded by talent when they arrive, rather than try and solve that problem as they arrive? Especailly as FA contracts continue to increase in value year-to-year. It makes more sense to lock up a good player now, than it does three years from now.

                • Voice of Reason

                  I’m not saying all three will make it. I’m saying give it time to see who will make it and then add free agents based on need. Maybe Almora makes it in center, but Bryant and Soler don’t. Then we need outfielders. Maybe Baez moves to left field and we need a second baseman? Maybe Castro moves to second and we need a shortstop.

                  It’s going to take another year of a rebuild before we start seeing major developments with the kids. To see where they will end up and who will make it, who might make it, etc.

                  It won’t last 10 years. It won’t happen in 2014. But at the end of 2014 you could start seeing some big names added! They will have to add some names to get people into the seats AND to help fill holes where there aren’t any kids that can fill that particular spot.

                  It won’t last 10 years. You just have to be patient because it won’t be next year!! It’s a rebuild!!

                  • Voice of Reason

                    And, on the farm, this isn’t just my way of thinking.

                    This is the thinking of the front office!!!!!

                    • SH

                      [img]https://lh3.ggpht.com/-tqDn4SeHDKo/UTGHbkiggqI/AAAAAAAAAYo/KEsDKqk8Z4o/s1600/exclamation+points.jpg[/img]

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      So you must KNOW the FO personally. Because, I don’t know exactly what their thinking is. I have suspicions, hunches, educated guesses, rumors, and the Carnac the Magnificent route.

                      Frankly, I don’t see them adding much, BTW.

                      Easier to float to 2015/16 and the Baez arrival or the Almora Dawning or the Bryant 2nd coming of Christ, than to actually attempt an acceleration of THE PLAN by normal FA acquisition supplemented by the natural moves to bring up guys when the challenges of the minors are over.

                      Remember the 1984 Cubs? What did Dallas Green do? He hired Jim Frey. Snatched up some vets – Gary Matthews et. al. – and put an entire plan together in the hopes to put more meat in the seats. Ryne Sandberg could not have been PROJECTED to do what he did in 1984 from his 1983 season. Yet, we took that gamble, that year.

                      It’s been 30 years since I felt the Cubs had all the ingredients to win…even more than the 2003 and 2008 Cubs.

                      So the FO has sold you well. You don’t want to win or even make the attempt.

                      That to me is such a terrible way to run an operation or be a fan. Give up and wait for 4-5 20 somethings to all hit and succeed. Wait until next year…or the next year…or maybe 2016.

                      [img]http://scrabblesense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Carnac.jpg[/img]

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Jason Powers,

                      I can’t keep explaining what a rebuild is every time!

                    • SH

                      Then do us all a favor and, as we lawyers say, cease and desist.

            • jt

              “A ball players are another story. ”
              Any player can get hurt at any time.
              Barring injury, IMO, the FO should soon make plans for Bryant to occupy a position at Wrigley on or before the start of 2015.
              I also believe they will get indications early in 2014 as to if and when Alcantara and Villanueva will arrive.
              Add Baez, Rizzo and Castro and they could have players occupying as many as 6 positions full time who are 25 y/o or younger by 2014.
              That would make Castillo the old man at age 29.
              The pipeline is already here.

              • On The Farm

                “Add Baez, Rizzo and Castro and they could have players occupying as many as 6 positions full time who are 25 y/o or younger by 2014…The pipeline is already here.”

                To me those two points sound like we should be signing FA now. We have players that could be ready by the start of 2015, and a pipeline laid for more. Why is it we are not signing players that can make our team better now for when those guys get to the majors?

                • Voice of Reason

                  Dude, you were told why they are not going to sign any big name free agents this off season!!

                  • SH

                    Need more exclamation points imo

                  • On The Farm

                    Yup, budget constraints is the party motto I believe. Because they sure as heck weren’t dumb enough to come out and say we are going to continue to suck and not sign anyone because we won’t make the playoffs anyway this year.

                    Its nice that you jumped in with both feet to Theo’s plan, but that doesn’t mean that its the only way. It certainly doesn’t mean that there is only one way to build a team and he is doing it. Are their other factors involved other than the obvious lack of MLB talent? I think so. But enough with all the exclamation points and harping that we need to understand what a total rebuild is. Most of the poster here are competent enough to understand what’s going on. Just because we think there is a better way to go about it doesn’t make us wrong. In fact I was quoting Theo about the linear progression approach, so this is coming from the “horse’s mouth”.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      Totally agree.

                      I wasn’t even necessarily saying we add an Ellsbury, Tanaka, Cano, or Choo.

                      We can add plenty of dudes that won’t be 10M+ guys/ year. Might find our Scott Hatteberg/David Justice pair that can get on OBP and didn’t cost us that much. (Not positionally, but in the spirit of Moneyball….I’m buying WINS, not players.)

                      I need to buy 25 WINS (91)….but

                      1) Rizzo and Castro. They could rebound by 2-4 WAR alone, maybe even APIECE. (4-8)
                      2) Bullpen. 2013 sucked the big one. 2-4 WAR gain if we don’t stink it up again…new crew down there.
                      3) 1 SP at 2-3 WAR.
                      4) 1 OF at 2-3 WAR.
                      5) 1 2B for 1 WAR. (Minors anyone?)
                      6) Just need 5 WAR more to be competitive and luck at 3B, 2B…CF.

                      Seems to me, that’s plausible to try to identify guys that might rebound enough on a 2-3 year deals.

                      AND IT DOESN’T WRECK THE PLAN! (You still have all your precious nuts down there to squirrel until your ready to share them.)

                      But this plan must suck….I came up with it. ;)

                • jt

                  It is my belief that if a durable vet were on the market that offered substantial value over the long term they would be competitive for it.
                  Who on in the FA offers substantial value? Canu? OK, but at what cost.
                  Neither Choo, nor Ellsbury are going to carry a team like Posey carried the Giants. They are nice pieces to the puzzle. But there is a big diff between them and Big Papi. They are not once in a lifetime type players. There will be such players around the next corner.

          • SH

            Question re: this line of logic — when does it stop? We’ll have new A ball prospects after next year’s draft…do we wait on them to make any moves? Concerns for “blocking” are among the most absurd batted around here. I chortle at the thought that we could face a problem of “too many good players.” Even AAA players don’t turn into regulars at the pro level overnight — Bogaerts and Profar come to mind as very top-tier prospects who are coming up to crowded infields. They can play their way into the lineup and create a situation where we have to trade someone (for more prospects, the approach that has truly given the Rays sustained success). But to sit on our hands until a 19-yo becomes a professional because we’re concerned he’ll be “blocked” is so strange.

            • SH

              (And plus, having a very good backup is great! If your backup infielder is a 22-yo top prospect instead of Darwin Barney you have a lot more flexibility and a better contributor on the whole. It’s not like we need to solve the “blocking” problem immediately even if there is one!)

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                Amen. ;) I agree.

                God, if teams have excess talent, someone is ALWAYS out there readily available to offer prospects for something they feel is known. It’s gambling, and time value of money then.

                If the Cubs have 3 legit 3rd basemen, they will gladly find a home for 1 somewhere in the AL one can bet on it.

          • Bwa

            If you add cano then baez moves to third. Bryant moves to the outfield. If olt hits 25 homers then we look to deal Castro or Baez. We don’t need to wait for these prospects to see where they are. We put them where we need them. Why do you think machado and boegarts are playing third?

        • YourResidentJag

          You should try explaining that to the people over at CubsDen. Good luck! :)

      • TK

        Yeah, Im not so sure of that. Castro showed significant improvement when he was let loose last year. It’s reasonable to expect him to hit like 2012 again this year. Lake injected a spark the team was missing. With Ellsbury and improved production at 2B, even of the Valbuena sort, and Tanaka added to our current rotation, I don’t think the 2014 outlook would not be quite as bleak as you portray.

        But, I don’t think getting Ellsbury is the right move.

  • papabear

    The Cubs fans on here seam to not think much of Samardzja – On the other hand some in the national media believe he might be the best pitcher to be had this winter. Better than Price. Might bring 3 or 4 top prospects from some team that thinks they can win now.

  • Jon

    If you keep making up bullshit excuses to not acquire talented players, then you will never be in a “position” to win. A free agent acquisition costs you “nothing” in prospects and keeps your farm system strong.

    “Dual Fronts”… you know all that shit blown up our asses two years ago?

    • willis

      Yeah that “dual fronts” claim was complete horse shit by the FO. It’s been one tanking front to this point.

  • papabear

    Jon – The fact of the matter is one thing – From what I have read the Rickets family does not have a lot of money to spend – Lots of different reasons for this – bad TV deals – over spent for the team – bad team so attendance has gone down. Brett could probably add more reasons but the bottom line is this – The Yankees and Dodgers flush 200mil down the toilet and not miss it. The Cubs can’t.

    This is going to be a 150 – 200 mil player by the time the posting and signing is done. Most of the money is going to be in the posting. In my opinion

    • Jon

      You read propaganda if you believe that.

    • FullCountTommy

      The main reason that they don’t have a lot of money to spend is because they were forced to buy the team with a ton of debt. This has caused them to have to pour a lot of money into interest payments than they would have liked and gives them a lot less available money to put back into the team

  • waffle

    I think the thought that theo/jed etc. are just sitting on their hands, either tied financially or just too gripped by fear to act are absolutely INSANE. And both of those get thrown around (or implied) again and again and again.

    I see no evidence of either at this point. Lots of baseless whining around here.

  • waffle

    On the other hand, I don’t see them throwing around Dodger type of cash either, and put me in the minority who thinks that is not a good idea for THIS team at THIS time in THIS FA market.

  • Mike

    I am more interested in the Toronto rumors. I can more likely see them overpaying for Samardzija than the Pirates. The Pirates seem more protective of their good young talent than the Blue Jays are.

  • papabear

    When Rickets took this team over three years ago it had about 160mil of mostly bad contracts for a losing team. One of the worst minor leagues in all of baseball. Hendry just tanked the draft. Hendry picked a pitcher in round one he could have gotten in round 6. One of the worst TV deals for in all of baseball.

    Now they are into the 3rd year of a rebuild with very few prospects major league ready. The Cubs had the 4th worst record in baseball. They need help at 3rd, Lf, rf, cf, 2b, 3 pitchers in the bp and probably 2 starting pitchers. They already have about 80mil spent.

    Rickets said 3 years ago it’s going to take time to right the ship – We are going to use our resources and try to compete during the rebuild. But we are going to do this right so we can give the cubs a chance to win for years to come – Cubs fans will have to be patient. That’s what i heard.

    what about that is propaganda

    • caryatid62

      “One of the worst minor leagues in all of baseball. ”

      This is patently false. The Cubs were ranked 16th in baseball when Epstein took over.

      • MightyBear

        Depends on the ranking system. Some had them as high as 16, 17 and some as low as 22 but keep in mind that was after the overslot year when they finally spent some money on minor leaguers and got Baez, Maples, Vogelbach, etc. Before that year they were 25 to 28.

        • Kyle

          And a year or two before that, it was top 10. These things are always cyclical.

          If the Pirates, Cubs and Twins all make it as expected, then the 2011-2014 BA farm system rankings will have 14 different teams in the top 5 at some point.

      • Mike F

        You don;t understand. The Judy Garland Society believes if they say it enough and tap the ruby heels 3 times the flying monkeys will go away. You’re right, but they’ll continue gross and repulsive exaggeration like this. Don’t waste your time with this deviant mentality that thinks somehow the sins of the past must be atoned for by constant losing.

        And of course the 2011 ml wasn’t that bad, it featured the 33rd best prospect in all of baseball and a top 6 pitcher. And indeed that’s not to mention a hell of arm in Cashner that we traded to San Diego.

    • Kyle

      “When Rickets took this team over three years ago”

      He took over the team four years ago

      ” it had about 160mil of mostly bad contracts for a losing team.”

      $144m isn’t really “about $160m”

      ” One of the worst minor leagues in all of baseball.”

      Not true.

      ” Hendry just tanked the draft. Hendry picked a pitcher in round one he could have gotten in round 6. One of the worst TV deals for in all of baseball.”

      Well that’s just not true. There are many TV deals worse. And this was before a few megadeals were signed, so the Cubs’ didn’t even look that bad.

      “Now they are into the 3rd year of a rebuild with very few prospects major league ready. The Cubs had the 4th worst record in baseball. They need help at 3rd, Lf, rf, cf, 2b, 3 pitchers in the bp and probably 2 starting pitchers”

      Well, that’s pretty much all true, except I don’t really think they need bullpen help.

      ” They already have about 80mil spent.”

      $70 million

      “Rickets said 3 years ago it’s going to take time to right the ship ”

      Four years ago he was absolutely adamant that the team did *not* need a rebuild and never would. He didn’t start saying different things until things started to go badly and he hired Epstein.

      “what about that is propaganda”

      All of it.

      • Mike F

        You’re wasting your time with hard heads like this. You’re confusing them with facts. Further, you’re right so you won’t win. The one place you and I aren’t on the same page is you thing they won’t do anything. I think they will be in on Cano, I don’t think it’s a stretch at all, but we’ll see.

  • Jay

    I haven’t read all the comments so this might have already been said. Samardzija would be a #3 on a good pitching staff. He will not be an ace. If we can get a nice package for him please show us where to sign.

  • jt

    I don’t get this talk that The Cubs wont be competitive for 3 or more years.
    Who does not believe that in 2015 Baez, Bryant and Alcantara will in The Cubs lineup?
    Who does not believe that will make a huge improvement in the offense?
    C’mon!

    • Patrick W.

      I doubt all three of them will be in the Cubs lineup in 2015. Unbelievable if they are, awesome if two of them are, great if one of them is.

      • jt

        “I doubt all three of them will be in the Cubs lineup in 2015.”
        Again, any player can get hurt, but barring that….
        I have no doubt that Baez, Bryant and Alcantara will either be in The Cubs starting lineup in April of 2014 or trade for some else who is.

        • Patrick W.

          April 2015, right? Because I’ll bet you a lot of money on April 2014 :)

          • jt

            Yeah, feeble fingers (ok, it is actually the mind that deserves the blame).
            But I honestly wonder if Olt fails, and I think that is a decent bet that he will, they give C. Villanueva a shot at 3rd. He is probable not in their long term plans. If he were to succeed at all his trade value would sky rocket. If he fails then they move Valbuena back to 3rd and get rotten offensive production from Barney at 2B. not a lot of harm done in trying.

    • Professor Snarks

      jt, Yes, it is possible for Bryant, Baez, Soler and Alcantara to be on the 2015 Cubs. It is possible for those players to perform to their ceilings the minute they hit the majors/ I hope they do. Then the 2015 Cubs will be entertaining. Possible contenders. The problem is, in the long history of Baseball, having 4 guys do that, at the same time, for the same team is very rare. (my wish is they start out good, then work their way to great, quickly).

      That means best case scenario, 2016 or 2017 will be when these guys start to become consistently productive, then you have to figure out the pitching.

      Somber note: If the FO’s argument that players don’t reach their primes until they are 27 is correct, that puts us into the 2019/2020 range. Ouch…

      • Patrick W.

        There’s a difference between being in their prime and being good/great at a young age. If you start at point of above average, your prime years will likely well above average/great, but that doesn’t mean your above average years aren’t enough to contribute greatly to a competitive team.

        • Professor Snarks

          I did put in the caveat that they could be good right off the bat. As a matter of fact, prospects of their ilk should perform better earlier than average prospects. I just don’t think you can bet the farm that these guys will LEAD the Cubs as soon as 2015/2016. We are talking about leading the team, not being complimentary pieces.we are taking about 2 middle of the order bats, and one of our best top of the order catalyst.

          • Patrick W.

            I guess I was just assuming you meant 2019/2020 was when the Cubs would be consistently good. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will both be 27 in 2017.

            • Professor Snarks

              I hope it doesn’t take that long. i doubt I live that long. I have high hopes for Baez and Bryant. I think they will have an impact after their ‘breaking in’ period. I’m praying on Alcantara. He brings something this team projects to need. (lefthander with speed, with good OBP skills, at the top of the order).

        • jt
          • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/bat.shtml It goes in cycles, so that graphic is hardly groundbreaking once you go back 30-40-50 years the average age moves 1-2 years, go back to 1974! or 1966! or 1913!

            ….But yes, with year round athletics, traveling teams, better facilities, minor development, it should not surprise guys are making it up quickly. But there is always a prodigies coming up. Thus, the cyclic nature.

      • jt

        I didn’t say Soler nor did I say Almora.
        Alcantara has to beat out Barney and perhaps Valbuena.
        The standard is to play good “D” and attain a 0.715 OPS to be an above avg 2B. That would be a huge improvement over Barney.
        They either know they can live with the Baez K or they trade him. I think they already have a pretty good idea about that now.
        Bryant is facing some AA pitching in the AFL. It ain’t slowing him down.

        • Professor Snarks

          I didn’t say Almora either. All I’m saying is it would be very rare for for a few 23 year olds to lead their team to the playoffs in their first or second years. I hope they do.

  • md8232

    Could a possible side benefit to all the losing be the bankrupting of the Rooftops?
    If one goes under, how likely are the others to be very receptive to offers from the Ricketts family?

  • Senor Cub

    6 broken arms from the Jays is not enough…now 7, that would be interesting…;)

    “the Blue Jays’ system isn’t quite as attractive as the Pirates’, there are a number of intriguing arms (and, hey, lots of ‘em recovering from Tommy John surgery!). The Blue Jays’ top six prospects, according to MLB.com, are all pitchers.”

  • Jason P

    The return better be good if we trade him. At the very least, one prospect in the big-4 range, 1 in the Pierce Johnson/Arismendy Alcantara range, and another in the Christian Villanueva range.

  • rockin’ dawg

    The only way I would trade Samardzjida is if we can get a legit TOR-type prospect (i.e. Jameson Taillon).

  • Matt Zeeman

    Samardzija, Schierholtz, and Villanueva for Tailon please.

  • Pingback: Lukewarm Stove: Trades, Castro, McClouth, Hughes, Hanigan, More | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • JEFF

    Personally I just don’t see us getting all that much for shark, at least not the big haul one expects at this time. I suspect if he is pitching well in 14 and there is a team out there that thinks shark will put them over the top, then perhaps we could raid a teams farm system.

  • JEFF

    Senor Cub makes an interesting point. The Blue jays have talent, but many have had TJ surgery or some other type of work done. Knowing the Cubs they will trade our best suspects (Until they have proven it on the major league level they are suspects) for worn out and broken down suspects from another team.

  • Pingback: Rumor: Blue Jays Stepping Up Pursuit of Jeff Samardzija? | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

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