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stoveThe GM Meetings have wrapped, and groundwork has been laid … in theory …

  • Speaking of that groundwork, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jesse Rogers that the front office office has had some trade discussions and “flushed” ideas that they now know won’t work. Alternatively, they were approached with other ideas that they’ve now got to head back to Chicago and consider. The Cubs are in a unique position, possibly being sellers of a handful of pieces, but also possibly being buyers of young talent.
  • The same Rogers piece notes that the Cubs could have interest in outfielder Nate McClouth, who bounced back a bit last year with the Orioles (.258/.329/.399), and can play anywhere in the outfield. That said, he doesn’t strike me as much of a starter, and feel redundant with Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic already on the roster (not to mention Junior Lake, where there are also some similarities).
  • Rogers also mentions the possibility of a bounce-back arm like Josh Johnson or Phil Hughes. I’d be intrigued by either pitcher, though Johnson is probably going to be paid well despite arm injuries and Hughes is probably going to try and take a short-term deal in a pitcher-friendly park out west. He struggled as a flyball pitcher in Yankee Stadium, but he’s just 27, and could rebuild his value over the next year or two in order to try for a bigger free agent score. If the Cubs could entice him, though, there’s a lot to like (3.25 K/BB over the last two years jumps out at you) if Chris Bosio could work some groundball magic on him and cut down on the homers.
  • After signing Brayan Pena, the Reds have the ability to deal back-up catcher Ryan Hanigan, which they are expected to do (and might net a nice prospect in the process, according to that Olney tweet). Hanigan, 33, is coming off a brutally bad 2013 season (.198/.306/.261, but walk and strikeout rates were fine, and his BABIP was 60 points lower than his career average), but he was a quality backup for years before that. Indeed, his .370 career OBP heading into 2013 suggest he could have been a quality starter. He’s set to enter his final year of arbitration this year, and should get a slight raise from his $2.05 million salary in 2013. The Cubs are obviously in the market for a veteran backup, so I’m sure they’ll inquire.
  • In the John Perrotto piece yesterday about the Pirates having interest in Jeff Samardzija (discussed here), there is also a small blurb about the Pirates possibly considering a move for Starlin Castro. There are no details offered, and only a thin speculation that the Pirates could be interested given no obvious young shortstop ready and waiting.
  • Curtis Granderson was in Chicago this week for a fundraiser, and he essentially said that he would consider signing with either the Cubs or the White Sox. Nothing really earth-shattering there, though we previously have heard that the Cubs have checked in on Granderson.
  • Ricky Nolasco’s agent tells Yahoo that he’s holding multiple four-year offers for his client. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, given that he’s not tied to draft pick compensation, and his advanced stats have always suggested he’s as good a bet for near-term success as any mid-tier pitcher out there. He’ll probably get a deal that slightly exceeds the one Edwin Jackson got last year from the Cubs (four years, $52 million). The Cubs probably won’t be in on Nolasco, but if you could get him on that same deal … it’s worth considering.
  • Cheryl

    The cubs have one of the poorest records in baseball and at the most have three or maybe four players other teams might be interested in at the major league level. I wonder how many teams bypass the major league team and say if you want to talk with us you’ll have to give up some of your prospects? So it would seem that if there is any desire to be competitive next year they will have to pick up at least two or maybe three free agents. Will they do that? probably not. Will they be near the cellar in their division next year? Probably. 2015 seems a long way away.

    • Die hard

      Agree and moreover the culture of no urgency to win will be furthered by its newly hired nice guy laid back mgr. Imagine the culture if Ozzie was brought in. He would not settle for anything but a Championship and he would push each player to the limits and beyond of their ability

      • MightyBear

        Ozzie sucks. He got lucky one year when the Sox put it all together. Other than that he didn’t do shit.

        • Die hard

          What do you really think? Ozzie exemplifies Latino pride and he would instill that into all the Latino players especially you know who

          • SH

            Try hard? I thought it was Die hard!

          • Edwin

            Darwin Barney.

            • Sveum claim- no shame in game, he tame the flame

              Random I know but… I remember Matt Murton as a Cub in his best year, he was just such a boring player Imo (prob due to sub-par HR power). I didn’t realize the guy put up an ops of .809 while playing in 144 games w/ 455 ab’s in ’06 including a .365 obp. Looking at his splits he murdered LH pitching too..

              I’m really becoming desperate for the Cubs to field some producers being that I’m clamoring over Matt Murton’s 06 season.. But would any Cubs fan not be happy with ’14’s LF batting 2nd w/ a .365 obp in 144gms. & 455 abs? Just think too, he was packaged w/ Josh Donaldson and a couple others for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin… That trade is still baffling to me, with how Harden was always hurt, altho I must admit when he was on and healthy he was dominant.

              To be able to slot the prev. mentioned #’s (365 obp! can’t remember the last full time cub w/ that type of obp) into the 2 hole next year AND have Josh Donaldson locked in at 3rd base in the middle of the order… It would be time to GO FOR IT! Sign Choo and Cano, and package Baez (only of the top 5 spects) w/ a cpl other from the top 20 for D. Price. Get Garza to come back and the sustained success could begin in ’14! All while still having the development and promotions of so many top prospects to look forward to, or used as chips to bring in more proven talent this side of age 30 as needed.

              Opening day 2014
              1. Choo CF (will shift to a corner once Almora’s up)
              2. Murton-esque LF (368 obp.)
              3. Cano 2B
              4. Donaldson 3B
              5. Rizzo 1b
              6. Castillo C
              7. Schierholtz RF
              8. Castro SS

              Sp’s-
              1. D. Price
              2. J. Samardzija
              3. T. Wood
              4. M. Garza
              5. E. Jax

              CL- battle between-
              Strop
              Grimm
              Vizcaino

              I know I’m dreaming but…

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Whence comes this Murtonesque guy? If there was one out there to be had, then we’d know his name, I should think!

                As for Donaldson, it was 5 years from the time he was traded to when he became a full time starter. Moreover, the numbers he put up last year were better than his minor league numbers. When a 27 year old does that, then the probability that he falls off hugely the next year is, well, huge. (We probably are looking at a Casey McGehee type of trajectory: who, after a very good 2010, is now out of baseball!)

                • college_of_coaches

                  More accurately, out of MLB (regarding your last sentence). McGehee is in the Nippon League. I believe he’s teammates with Tanaka. Also, I read the Murton renewed his Nippon League contract, where he’s been crushing the ball.

    • MightyBear

      The Cubs have a lot more than 3 or 4. Shark, Wood, Parker, Strop, Russell, Rizzo, Castro, Castillo and Schierholtz. That’s 9 and most teams would want Jackson and Villanueva.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Lake & Barney might have some value.

        • Voice of Reason

          What type of value does Barney have?

          Barney has won a gold glove, but still cannot find an everyday position with the Chicago Cubs — a team that has lost at least 91 games each of the last three years.

          Honestly, what would Barney bring you in return? Straight up in a trade, not packaged with someone else.

          • X The Cubs Fan

            More than Jeff Baker, who brought back a decent prospect even though he was a rental.

      • Cheryl

        Shark, Castro, Rizzo, and Schierholtz, were who I was thinking of. Don’t think they’ll trade Castillo or Wood. I’m not sure about Parker, Strop or Russell. But the first four I can see inquiries being made

  • http://BN Sacko

    Shark might stay given a Tanaka, They are definitely going to find a big bat behind thier baby Rizzo to protect him, and a big or at least a bigger RH bat in the OF. Side note dont platoon Schierhiltz for awhile to see how he does. He’s done everything else well given the chance. Trade Barney. Hello Baez in July or certain September. Only a few games away from playoffs. Holy…

    • Voice of Reason

      Sacko,

      So, who are these two “big bats” that the Cubs are going to sign?

      • http://BN Sacko

        Cruz could fill both possibilities

        • http://BN Sacko

          almost anybody replacing Barney is a bigger bat.

        • Edwin

          Terrible defense, old, bad baserunner, and would give similar offense to what Soriano has given the past couple years. Plus he’s coming of a PED suspension, so his number’s might not even be that trustworthy.

          • http://BN Sacko

            Sori’s offense was pretty good the last couple years and he will come cheap because of PED, Sweeny will have his best year ever, Lake can play second

        • Voice of Reason

          If Cruz is willing to take 2 years at $15 million each year I could see that as a possibility…

          Anything more and the Cubs pass.

          I think they’re feeling some pressure to add something and Cruz could actually be flipped at that price and the number of years, that is if he’s producing.

          There’s no way the Cubs go, say, four or five years with Cruz past PED crap. If he can’t hit the ball out of the ballpark anymore, two years isn’t a long time to have to pay him!

          • http://BN Sacko

            Cruz Sweeney Schierholtz
            LF CF RF
            Olt Castro Lake Rizzo

            Tanaka or Johnson or Kazmir
            Shark
            Wood
            Jackson
            Arrieta or Grimm or Baker

  • Die hard

    Wieters would look good in Cub uniform

    • Professor Snarks

      yep

      • Die hard

        Sweeney for Weiters even up

        • When the Music’s Over

          DB Sweeney?

        • CubsFaninMS

          That deal would be sweiter for us.

  • Josh

    This may be a dumb question, but what happens if a team were to sign 3 players with draft pick compensation tied to them? Would they just be without a first round pick the next 3 years, is their a limit, or how does that work? Just giving a hypothetical situation here but say the Cubs signed Granderson,Ellsbury, and Cano, how would the draft picks play out?

    • SH

      Pretty sure it just goes back a round in this year’s draft. If we signed all three we would not draft in rounds 2, 3, or 4.

      (The Indians signed Swisher and Bourne last year, and theory was that Bourne was more appealing to them as he only demanded a later-round pick after signing Swisher.)

      • SH

        lol

        [img]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ae/BourneIdentityfilm.jpg[/img]

  • danimal8

    I realize the Oxford Comma is dead. That does not mean all commas are dead!

    • dumbledoresacubsfan

      THE OXFORD COMMA IS NOT DEAD. IT SHALL LIVE FOREVER IN THE HEARTS OF ALL TRUE BELIEVERS.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        With Oxford comma:

        We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin.

        Without:

        We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.

        Let that image sink in all nice and deep-like.

        • jt

          but the mind generally makes the choice the writer intends
          how does it do that?
          how does a batter hit a curve?
          is it the same mechanism?

          • Fishin Phil

            How does a thermos know to keep hot things hot, and cold things cold? It is just one of life’s many mysteries.

      • Kyle

        Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?

        • Fishin Phil

          I am a big fan of punctuation in general.

          • Kyle

            I’ve seen those English dramas too

            • ETS

              Lil Jon, he always tell the truth.

          • Stevie B

            With punctuation :

            It’s time to eat, Grandma.

            Without :

            It’s time to eat Grandma.

            • josh ruiter

              not gonna lie to ya stevie b, my literary expertise and eye for grammatical errors allowed me to read both of those the same way the first time. Then I realized the point you were making!

        • SH

          When it comes to indie rock and punctuation, I’ve always been a big fan of !!!.

  • Aaron

    Nolasco “is Edwin Jackson money” (four years, $52 million) and “may end up at Derek Lowe” (four years, $60 million). He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 4th round of the 2001 amateur draft and traded to the Marlins in the Juan Pierre deal nearly 8 years ago.

    Should we sign him to a four year deal?

    • SH

      I think we should sign Juan Pierre. Maybe could win the bunt tournament…

      • Fishin Phil

        I wasn’t that crazy about him the last time we did that.

      • TheRiot2

        My grandma could throw better than Juan Peeair,gosh what an awful suggestion that we sign him,that and we’d have to hear about the racial slurs real or imagined.

        • Voice of Reason

          Your grandma could throw better than Pierre?

          Are they going to sign Pierre to be the fifth starter in the rotation? Or, are you thinking middle relief?

          • Fishin Phil

            Occasionally batted balls go into the outfield. It is nice to have an outfielder that can throw it all the way to the cutoff man on no more than one bounce.

            • Cubbie Blues

              Might as well shoot for the moon when you are dreaming about who to sign.

            • Voice of Reason

              Not being able to hit the cut off man is like a prerequisite to becoming a cub.

  • http://BleacherNation Dean

    Last off season the market for third basemen was strong. I don’t see that as having changed a whole lot. The Cubs are overstocked really with ml ready talent, especially if Olt proves his eye problem has cleared up. Would like to see one of that group of Valbuena, Vitters, Murphy, Villanueva, (not Baez or Bryant) get moved as part of a package for an outfielder that can rake against lefties. None of that group are going to be all-stars but should have some package value.

    • Voice of Reason

      Please don’t use talent in the same sentence with valbuena, Murphy, vitters and valbuena.

  • Diamond Don

    I would not trade Castro. Just let him go back to hitting like he did in 2010 and 2011 without taking so many pitches. Let him swing at the first pitch if it is a strike and you will have the “old” Castro back. He is a natural hitter and taking strikes down the middle hurts his hitting.

    • Diamond Don

      I mean 2011 and 2012.

  • Aaron

    Isn’t it nice to not have our hope for the future based on what Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson do? Those were some terrible years there of disappointment. Thanks Theo and FO for giving us some better prospects to watch and that will eventually make the Cubs a very competitive team for years to come!

    • Diamond Don

      Where is Brett Jackson now? I thought he had all the tools, what happened?

    • cub2014

      Lets not give up on vitters just yet. Except for
      those horrible 100AB in chicago, he since and
      after has hit very well. That being said if he
      doesnt continue to develop power he is at best
      a 4th outfielder.

      • cub2014

        oops meant “since and before”

        I think Choo or Ellsbury would be the only two
        they would give up a second round pick for.

  • Dustin S

    Granderson would be happy to play for anyone that pays him $15M+ a year.

    All signs are still pointing to the Cubs leaning more towards the Hughes/Kazmir category of guys than the big dollar FAs. If they were car shopping, they would be more in the used area and maybe even the backlot than the front row or the showroom.

  • Tim

    For some reason I have a feeling vitters is going to have a big year.

    • cub2014

      Ya, I dont think the Cubs are going to bring
      in any mediocre outfielders. If they can get
      a stud or 2 then yes. If they cant then they
      will go with Lake,Vitters,Sweeney,Bogusevic
      Schierholtz. I mean why would you sign some
      one like Murphy when Lake and Vitters havent
      had a chance to prove themselves yet.

      • ssckelley

        But that is a lot to ask out of someone who only had 100 PA last season and has not done much at the MLB level.

        Vitters is pretty much running out of chances, next year is a make or break year for him.

    • Stevie B

      Tim, that feeling is just gas. It’ll pass soon.

  • YourResidentJag

    Matt Garza Open To Returning To Twins http://dlvr.it/4Kg6Q1 #mlb

    I retweet not because of need to re-sign Matt Garza necessarily but because–aren’t the Twins supposed to in same place with their farm system. Thoughts?

    • King Jeff

      They are rumored to be in on Nolasco too, so who knows?

    • mjhurdle

      Without knowing what the Twins are offering, it is hard to really have any reaction to that.
      Also, not sure what their farm system has to do with signing Garza or not, unless they had a slew of Mmajor league ready pitching prospects that might be being blocked if they signed Garza long term. But even then, with 5 spots in a rotation, it is much easier to manage then if Garza was a positional player.

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

    A breakdown of a few Starting Pitching options in FA. Not all of them! ;)

    http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com/2013/11/2013-14-hot-stove-starting-pitcher.html

    Download the PPT to get the info right. DOCSTOC Preview hides the written analysis.

  • Die hard

    Maybe new mgr can talk some of former players to ask for trade to Cubs

    • ssckelley

      Can we have Cashner back?

  • Brains

    OK I got one – Rizzo and Shark for Joe Mauer

    • mjhurdle

      Still ridiculous, but at least it is better than your idea of Texas trading for another SS (castro).
      baby steps Brains, baby steps. You will get there one day, i am sure of it!

      • Brains

        me get there someday! B)

  • mjhurdle

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 47m
    Source: INF Jeudy Valdez, formerly of #Padres, is signing with #Cubs on a minor league deal. #RedSox were also interested.

    SIGN ALL THE FORMER PADRES!!!!!

    • ssckelley

      Interesting signing, he looked real good until he got to AA. I would assume Baez and Alcantara will be in AAA next year so a filler for AA Tennessee?

  • Bill

    I have a feeling Vitters is really going to break out this year.we should make him are starting lf next year and put Lake in cf and Sweeney in rf.

    • ssckelley

      Did I miss something? Did Schierholtz get traded today?

  • Bill

    Yea I understand that I would just like to see what Vitters would do over a full season before we give up on him.

    • Cub Lifer

      Vitters is an afterthought at this point. He’s a career minor league type that is also poor defensively.

      • mjhurdle

        I personally think it takes more than 109 ABs to determine if someone is a “career minor league type”.
        I don’t see anyone arguing that he is the next Cabrera, but i do think there is still a decent chance that he becomes a good MLB player.

      • ssckelley

        I am not expecting much out of Vitters either but at 24 he is just entering his prime. It does not hurt to give him next year to see if he can show he can make it.

  • mjhurdle

    absolutely love this quote
    David Kaplan
    ‏@thekapman
    Hoyer: “We will not hit the fast forward button on our plan simply because people are impatient. It will make it worth it in the end.”

    • Professor Snarks

      Agreed. Don’t change directions now.

      • mjhurdle

        and that is exactly why i love the quote.
        We can all disect and judge the performance based on our limited knowledge, but I would be more worried if the front office started changing everything now. that would tell me that they now think their first plan is not realistic, and are now going on some backup plan. the fact that they still feel that strongly that what they are doing is right is encouraging to me. Doesn’t mean they are right, but i like the confidence.

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

      How bout just hitting ‘play’…

      • mjhurdle

        well, if your assumption is that they are not doing anything in regards to the team, then i guess this quote could be taken that way.
        I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are least doing their job, regardless of whether they are doing it well or not.

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

          It was a jibe at the phrasing, “fast forward button”. I don’t think anyone has misunderstood their plan’s pacing by their “with all deliberate speed” actions.

          I hope for surprises this offseason. Not expecting it, but one can never know.

    • YourResidentJag

      If you buy that, you should probably read quotes by him in 2007. I’m sure it was all sunshiny, supportive comments from him then too. In fact, I know this because Bruce Myles called him out for this action on Twitter.

      • mjhurdle

        i would hope it was happy tweets in 2007. I mean, the team that he worked for won the World Series. What would he have to be negative about?

        • YourResidentJag

          He’s always going to buy into anything the Cubs say without doing any critical thinking about what they’re doing or what he’s saying in support. That’s why Myles called him out for it. You would never expect him to be negative about this or what went on in 2007.

          • mjhurdle

            Um, Hoyer worked for the Red Sox in 2007, not sure why you think he would blindly support the Cubs even though he worked for a different team.

            • YourResidentJag

              Sorry, my bad I should have read closer and saw the quote was from Hoyer, not Kaplan. My mistake.

              • mjhurdle

                no worries, you had me confused for a second :)
                like i posted above, i like the quote not in a blind ‘if Hoyer said it it must be true!!! we are going to win 40 World Series in a row with this plan!!!” way, but more in the confidence that it shows.
                I have no clue what the front office is really thinking, but i do know that if they felt their plan was no longer sustainable, they could shift into the ‘buy FAs and try a short term fix to get the pressure off’ mode very fast.
                And it might work.
                But the fact that they are still so publicly committed to their process, even while acknowledging that it is not the most popular right now, gives me hope.
                they could be lying their a** off, but to me it says they have seen enough signs (signs that we as the general public may not see) that tell them the plan is proceeding at least somewhat closely to what they expected.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy 16

    I am Kind of happy about the Juedy Valdez..great minor league short shop. .strong arm… better than Vitters

    • mjhurdle

      i think the phrase “great minor league SS” might be a bit too generous

  • anonymous-ly

    If two or three if the big four ends up being a bust, Theo and Co. will end up being the poster child for exactly what not to do with a large market team. Putting all your eggs in the prospect basket, all at the same time sacrificing 5-6 years of winning baseball for a large market team might end up being one of the worst executive decisions of the decade. They are just plain gambling that the prospects will turn into stars. Risky.

    As much as you want to believe that we will be competitive for the next decade, that’s just hogwash and PR talk. Nobody can guarantee anything in baseball. The only thing the Ricketts guaranteed was 5-6 years of losing on the POSSIBILTY that we may be good for a few years. Doesn’t make a lot of sense for a large market team, unless you are trying to make maximum profits under the guise of a small market rebuild.

    • X The Cubs Fan

      If 3 or 4 of them turn in to the superstars they should be then they will be the poster of how to build a dynasty from within.

      • anonymous-ly

        “If” you are proving my point. There is no certainty they will be stars or busts. Meanwhile we guaranteed 5-6 losing seasons on the “hope” they will turn into something good. History shows baseball is littered with good farm systems that have failed to produce winning teams. Theo is smart. but he cannot guarantee anything except best effort.

        Small market philosophy is done only by teams with small budgets out of “necessity.” No large market team has ever attempted to “fail” multiple consecutive seasons as the means to achieve success. This process is only done by teams such as the A’s, Tampa Bay. etc… out of lack of funds. The fact that the Cubs have chosen this course is curiously damning and can only be explained by greed.

        • Lukas

          Who guaranteed 5-6 losing seasons? link?

      • Professor Snarks

        You are both right. It could go either way.

        • mjhurdle

          No, there can only be one!

          HIGHLANDER!!

  • YourResidentJag

    For all the Star Wars fans, new episode/flim poster looks awesome: https://twitter.com/DepressedDarth/status/401566346330517504/photo/1/large

  • Ballgame

    The difference now is the FO isn’t solely relying on the “Big 4″. Previously it’s always been 2 or 3 prospects that were being talked about at once. Even if 2 of the Big 4 pan out, there’ll be another few players that’ll come thru to make an impact. Obviously, there’s no guarantees but I’d rather have 20 raffle tickets than 2…the transparency in which the FO talks, they understand that if this doesn’t work out that’s it for them and they’ll be chased out of town. That gives me confidence in the direction this has been and is going…..

    • AdamAE24

      Trying to build a strong farm system and hoping it pans out with controllable players who have a high level of success at the MLB level isn’t a groundbreaking strategy. To me what is impressive at the moment is the restraint shown in the other areas to try and avoid horrible contracts when it is time to add players to the stars you develop. That being said the Jackson contract was terrible.

      Cubs are going to turn out solid major leaguers from their farm system. They’re not going to fail “just because its the Cubs.” These guys, Bryant, Baez, Soler and Almora are talented guys. I’m tired of folks saying that they’re bound to flame out because top prospects do. Well Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Carlos Martinez all looked pretty good this year.

      • TOOT

        “That being said the Jackson contract was terrible”.

        There is no doubt the Jackson contract draws an “F” grade. And Rizzo remains a huge question mark as does Castro(Will he be traded). 2014 is not going to be fun, once again.

  • arta

    there is NO guarantee of 5-6 losing seasons. History shows what has happened, not what will happen.

  • Steve R

    I think we can make a few trades to help us net some young talent, throw in a signing or two and we could not only be in good shape to maybe contend for a wild card this year but do so without hurting us in our rebuild going forward, in fact I think it would help move it along. I will list my ideas for trades and then toss in a free agent signing or two and see what some think. I’m not foolish enough to think it’ll be praised by all, but I think it would be some good moves, moves that go right along with the rebuild anyway.

    1- trade shark to the Pirates for Tallion, Heredia, and Tabata. They get a proven starter with few miles on his arm, which could ease the possible loss of Burnett to retirement. We get 2 real promising young arms, one of which could be ready to begin next season in our rotation in Tallion. Heredia would be added to the likes of CJ Edwards to develop towards the not too distant future. Tabata isn’t a world beater but he should be a pretty decent platoon bat in the OF. I believe that Tallion would be pretty good next year, with a few ups and downs, mostly promising ups.

    2- trade Castro and Russell to the cardinals for Miller, Rosenthal, Wong and a prospect out of the lower minors. They get a SS that they sorely need, and a young one that’s already proven in the majors. They also get a solid lefty for their pen. We get more young pitching, which we sorely need. Miller would team w/Tallion to give us another promising top of the rotation type arm. Rosenthal could either be in the rotation, or be a part of a possibly dominate trio of young, power arms the close games out. Rosenthal, Strop, & Vizciano could all three develop into dominate closers or setup guys, w/Rosenthal & Vizciano also having a possibility of becoming good starting pitchers. Wong would step in at 2B & be a offensive upgrade over Barney immediately, plus he should be solid w/the glove as well. The prospect from the lower minors should also be a promising one, but one with time to develop.

    3- trade Castillo, Schierholz, Alcantara, & Villanueva to the orioles for Wieters, and Matusz. They get the young promising catcher to replace Weiters, an OF which they are looking for right now, a prospect nearly ready to step in at 3B when they decide to finally move Machado to SS, and a nearly ready 2B in Alcantara to compete with their top prospect Schoop at that position. They also get to save some money to make other moves, like they was trying to figure out how to do. We get a good young catcher in his prime who would benefit from a change in scenery, he would be a big part of the rebuild as well, and he is still young enough to be part of the core when we are competing for the division, wild card and so on. In Matusz we get a lefty to replace Russell. Matusz has had his struggles as a starter, but I believe he was pretty effective in relief, getting out of the AL east should only help him be even more effective.

    In three trades we add 2 very young, but top of the rotation arms which will be cost controlled for some years, we add 2 nice bullpen arms, one dominate, the other showing a lot of promise as a reliever in the tough AL east. We get a young 2B, ready to produce for the big club, a catcher who has already been a good producer in the major leagues, an OF that is a decent option as a platoon type, with some speed. And 2 more young prospects the will be ready in a few years, as well. The pitching just off the trades is exactly what we need and are looking for, which could constitute that 1st “wave” of pitching, giving kids like Heredia, Edwards, Johnson, Blackburn, Underwood, Skulina, Zastrynsky time to develop as another wave coming a few seasons later. We would be vastly improved in both the rotation and the pen, while not deviating from the plan to add young cost controlled talent.

    I would also sign Granderson, a backup type catcher, and maybe another platoon type OF. The offense/defense would look like this:
    1B- Rizzo
    2B- Wong
    3B- Olt(if Olt produces jobs his, if not Bryant can come up after a few months to play here)
    SS- Barney(for the 1st month or so of season till Baez is brought up)
    C- Wieters
    RF- Tabata(if Olt secures 3B, Bryant steps into here, pushing Tabata to platoon in LF)
    CF- Granderson
    LF- Sweeney/ Lake

    It’s not a murders row, but these additions, plus two of the big four we have arriving& the offense should be vastly improved. I seriously believe that once ready, Bryant takes 3B from Olt and never looks back. Olt could become a solid back up at third and first, or if he produces well enough, trade bait to get us a better option for a lead off hitter. Wieters, &Wong become part of our offensive core w/Rizzo, Baez,& Bryant. Granderson could add some veteran leadership & power, albeit w/strikeouts. Lake should also develop nicely. He & Tabata aren’t typical lead off types, but them and Wong could eventually settle into the top 2 spots in the order. Wieters would give Rizzo some protection in the lineup and Olt, Baez, & Bryant should add even more power to the lineup. Our OBP should improve a lot. I expect Baez to have an up and down type first year, but I don’t think Bryant is gonna be an issue in that regard, that kid is the real deal, and ready now IMO. Barney can’t hit, but his defense is extremely good, and he will be ok at SS until Baez comes up. Barney doesn’t have to hit, just give us quality defense until the kid comes up.

    I think these trades would fit right in with the plan on the rebuild, & while I don’t think the offense will be the best, it will be a big improvement. The starting rotation will have 2 top of the rotation arms, in two talented kids, Miller/Taillon, Wood should once again be effective, Arrieta should continue his development, & Jackson should have a better yr next season. The pen could be dominate, young, and very nasty.

    Like I said these trades was thought up with the rebuild in mind, and I sincerely believe these 3 moves would kick start the rebuild into the finally stages. A lot of very talented youth, with more coming in the coming years. Sorry about the long read, but I really wanted to explain my thought process on all of these. I don’t expect people to agree w/ everything I put here, but hopefully my thought process comes out clearly. Please go easy on me, but I’d love to hear what my fellow cubs family members think of these ideas.

    • Dumpgobbler

      I like what you did until trade 3. Wieters isn’t a sure bet to be any better then Castillo in my mind. Matusz has struggled badly. In that deal we give up 2 decent prospects, a young controllable catcher, and a valuable CoF for a declining catcher and low performing pitcher. Wieters could explode and show his potential hes always had, and same with Matusz; but I wouldn’t bet on it.

      Like the other two trades. Pirates might be giving up a touch too much, but thats really small discussion.

      • X The Cubs Fan

        Pretty fair trades, imo. But at Dumpgobbler are you seriously stating that Castillos better than Wieters? He’s what, 27? Castillo may be a year younger with no power.

        • Dumpgobbler

          I think Wieters has been in decline here. I think Castillo is solid defensively and can hit a bit. I think Wieters will probably have a better career then Castillo. But Castillo outperformed Wieters by a good bit last season. He gave us a 4.4 WAR, while Wieters put up a .4 WAR.

          What I’m saying is we have a lot of holes. I don’t want to use our young assets (Alcantara and Villanueva) to trade for a catcher who is about to lose control, and is a Scott Boras guy. And in the scenario we also lose Schierholtz, which weakens the ML roster even more. We lose that trade today and tomorrow.

        • ssckelley

          No power? Barney has no power, Castillo has hit .407 slugging with 14 home runs so far in 583 career at bats. I like Wieters as well but not enough to give up Castillo and a top 100 prospect in return to get him. Plus you are paying Wieters an extra 5 million and you lose 2 years of control.

    • Turn Two

      Not bad, i too don’t think wieters over Castillo is worth losing alcantara, take him out for someone else or just keep castillo. I really like castllo s defense, arm and ability to get on base. Trade 3 is probably a no go for me. Throwing in Villanueva to trade one may help though.
      Obviously none of this will happen, but the thought process is good for similar moves, i just don’t see the cubs being this aggressive. They seem to want to just watch the flowers grow until ricketts makess some more dough and theo has his kids up. I think the next few years will be like the last few, wasted on the major league level while we wait.

  • steve

    Ri appreciate the feed back on my post. The third trade was just a thought that we could get a catcher who is still young and while he’s been trending a bit downward, I was thinking a change of scenery would be exactly what would turn him around. I’ve read a lot that we are considering Saltalamachia who would be much more expensive as far as contract. I feel like ifwe got Wieters and turned him around he would give us similar production for less cost money wise. I like Castillo a lot don’t get me wrong, I just feel like Wieters would give us more production.

    As for Matusz I know he is a failed starter but he seemed more productive in relief. My thinking there was getting him out of the AL east would help him immensely. All in all I could take or leave that 3rd trade. But I really like the first two trades, and I think that they’re deals we could make that wouldn’t cost us much money, in fact I think they would possibly save us some money. If some feel Pittsburgh would be giving too much, take Her media out of the deal and swap him for another player.

    • rockin’ dawg

      The Pirates and Cardinals would both be giving up too much in those trades. No way the Cards give up both Miller and Rosenthal for Castro, let alone throw in Wong. I like where you guys are going here, though. Trading for young TOR-types like Taillon, Bradley, Wacha, and Miller would absolutely be the way to go and would make Shark, Schierholtz, & Castro expendable (I like the Oxford Comma).

  • JL

    1st trade Castro for Shelby Miller or Michael Wacha. 2nd trade Shark and Schierholtz for Archie Bradley and a minor leaguer of some sort. Yep that just happened folks!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Only in Aerosmith songs…..

  • Die hard

    If the Castro and Rizzo contracts prove to be Ryan Howard boondoggles will Theo take the blame and resign , say 2015? Stay tuned

    • Brains

      they’ll only bad contracts if he refuses to hire them lineup help, and he wont resign unless the owners significantly curtail his capabilities to improve the team. this offseason will set the tone for the next 3 years. there aren’t any free agents in 2014, so if they don’t come away with anyone this season it’ll be like saying we aren’t going to improve to 2018. what a waste of Theo’s time!

      • Die hard

        Or he thought he needed to prove to the Ricketts that he knew best by locking them up so he could have carte Blanche on other decisions? If his gamble with Ricketts money proves a loser they won’t be pleased being hoodwinked

    • mjhurdle

      *changes channel*

  • Brains

    OK I got another one: Sign Vlad Guerrero to a contract as a bench player/hitting coach. can’t miss!

    • Brains

      he’s only 38, has injury history but no roid history, and is a baseball genius.

      • Brains

        no one commented on my brilliant idea!

  • MichiganGoat

    Why is there a giant white empty box right above my post?

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