lukewarm stoveLast night’s surprising Rangers/Tigers trade has had a little time to settle. The Rangers are getting Prince Fielder and $30 million, while the Tigers are getting Ian Kinsler. The Tigers save a bunch of cash on a guy that, perhaps, they project will rapidly decline (and get a nice player in Kinsler, albeit one on a bad contract), and the Rangers open up a spot for Jurickson Profar and add a big lefty bat. The Rangers, essentially, signed Fielder for seven years and $138 million, with the side benefit of tossing Kinsler, who may have had about $18 million or so in dead money at the end of his current contract. That nets out seven years and $110 million for Fielder. Down year in 2013 and all, that’s really not that bad a deal for a guy who isn’t even 30 yet.

  • So what happens now? Well, everyone is immediately pointing to the Rangers as a candidate to sign Robinson Cano now (example here, out of New York), which screams desperate leverage play by Cano’s agent. Until yesterday, it was looking like a market of one, with the Yankees refusing to be bid up by Cano’s demand for more than $300 million. Suddenly, in come the deep-pocketed Rangers! How perfectly magical!
  • Speaking of Cano, if the Rangers don’t get involved and the market remains thin, Dave Cameron speculated that “a smart team like the Cubs” will jump in at some point. Not so sure about the Cubs being that particular team, but Cameron is right: if the Yankees hold fast at seven years and $160 million, and maybe even move on to other options, some team could wind up with a relative bargain on Cano. How low would it have to sink for the Cubs to get involved? Well, the question is, at what point does he have clear surplus value? I think it’s safe to say that six years and $120 million is a no-brainer (and it would be for 20+ teams in baseball). How about six years and $150 million? Cano is likely to still be a productive player through his age 36 season, even if not quite $25 million. Still, that strikes me as about the ceiling for a team like the Cubs, who might not have the best use for Cano’s most productive years, which will come in the next two seasons. In other words … folks can keep dropping Cano’s name with the Cubs, and I just don’t see it happening at almost any realistic price. In the end, Cano is probably going to get seven or eight years, and close to $200 million.
  • In the same FanGraphs chat, Cameron says a reasonable extension for Jeff Samardzija is about five years and $60 million – that’s the range I’ve been saying for about a year now. Cameron knows what he’s talking about, and the Cubs would be wise to stick to that range. If Samardzija won’t come down, then you cross the uncomfortable bridge of shopping him more aggressively, either now or at the 2014 Trade Deadline.
  • Ned Colleti is pretty open about the fact that he’d move one of his surplus outfielders (presumably one of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier), and Matt Kemp’s agent says he’s resigned himself to the possibility of being dealt. We’ve discussed the Dodgers’ outfielders before, each of which could make some sense for the Cubs, depending on how much money the Dodgers are willing to eat. Kemp is the youngest of the three (just turned 29, versus 32 for Crawford and soon-to-be 32 for Ethier), and offers the most upside. He’s also recovering from shoulder and ankle surgeries, and has played just 179 games over the last two years. How much, per year, is a guy like that worth for the next six years? He’ll be making $21 million for the next two and $21.5 million for the following four. At $15 million per year, would you take the chance? Would you sign Kemp today for six years and $90 million? There’s a lot of risk there, but the answer is undoubtedly yes, right? The Cubs have outfield space for Kemp both in the near and long-term, and he’d be the kind of get-him-while-he’s-available type that could make sense, even if the Cubs aren’t going to be competitive in 2014. It all just depends on the medicals, the Dodgers’ demands, and the money.
  • Apropos of my thoughts earlier on a cheap lefty reliever pick-up, the prevailing rate for a top lefty specialist is three years and $13 million – that’s what 36-year-old Javier Lopez got to return to the Giants.
  • I want to give MLBTR a big smooch for the visual representation of the Tigers/Rangers trade with respect to future payroll commitments before and after the trade. Beautiful use of a graph.
  • Mr. Gonzo

    I’ve heard rumors of the Phillies willing to move Domonic Brown for the right deal. Could D. Brown + J. Biddle be a good swap for Shark + Prospect(s)? I’m not sure of the value-end of the Cubs’ prospect though.. just love to speculate.

    • Woody

      Why would we want Dominic Brown? What’s to say he doesn’t turn back into a rotten player after his one surprise year out of nowhere? Plus he is rotten defensively.

      • terencemann

        He was a top prospect and then the Phillies kept pushing him back-and-forth from the majors to AAA and then only playing him in limited time at the major league level. You have to give a player time to make adjustments.

        • Blachhawks1963

          Brown sucks. He’s Delmon Young 2.0. Do not want.

      • Mr. Gonzo

        I’m no expert on his defense, so if it is horrendous, I understand your usage of the word “rotten” twice. But he did had a great year, and if he finally “put it together” offensively – and is serviceable defensively – I think a 25-yo left-handed OF who can hit 30 hrs, OPS over .800, etc. should at least be discussed. Especially when a team like the Phillies – who seem to be in “win now while wearing awkward dad pants” mode – is dangling him.

        Defense can be taught – a la Soriano… and wasn’t there much of the same conversation about the Shark (regressing back into a AAAA pitcher) after his first year of success? But why are they shopping him? Is he an asshole? Did he already sleep with Ryno’s ex-wife?! Questions, man. Questions…

        • Mr. Gonzo

          But if he truly is a slacker in the field with an ego, count me out.

        • arta

          sorry, Soriano still is bad on D.

        • Voice of Reason

          Soriano taught defense?
          Somewhere I missed that.

      • CubsFaninMS

        If it were up to my, I would rather take my chances on Brown than Ethier. Acquiring a player in any sport under any circumstances is a risk. Although I’m sure the front office has a more formulaic way of assessing player worth and risk, Ethier’s price tag (monetary risk) and injury risk, compared to Brown’s risk as an unproven player, is no comparison in this fan’s eyes.

      • Rebuilding

        D Brown already turned back into a pumpkin after the first 2 months last year. League adjusted, he did not

    • ssckelley

      The question I have to ask is why are the Phillies so eager to trade Brown? The Cubs could have gotten him last off season for Soriano, in hindsight that deal looks pretty good now. Brown is only 25 and cannot be a free agent until 2018, there must be some underlying reason they want to trade him or are trying to sell high.

      • bbmoney

        “The Cubs could have gotten him last off season for Soriano”

        I don’t recall that being the case. I remember hearing a rumor. But I certainly don’t remember it being reported that the Phillies would have accepted that deal. I would be shocked if the Cubs would have passed on that even though he hadn’t done much in the MLB yet.

        • Edwin

          There was a rumor, but I think Soriano would have stopped the trade anyway, so there wasn’t much point in considering it. I don’t think the Phillies ever would have done that deal. At the time they needed OF help, and the Cubs had an OF to trade, but Philly probably would have pushed for less than Brown.

      • Norm

        Ha, and most of the reaction was “If the Cubs could only get Dom Brown for Soriano, they may as well keep Soriano”

      • Kyle

        Because he’s not nearly as talented as his numbers this year would suggest.

  • Woody

    Cano is something I’m keen to take a whack at…back load a monster contract for a gazillion years, and when the big salary payday becomes due, declare bankruptcy and walk away.

  • Chris

    Begs the question: Why would the Phillies want to get rid of a 26-year old that just hit .272/.324/.494 with 27 HR and 87 RBI in his first year over 500 ABs? Probably not a ton of value there for the Cubs; the Phillies will want a haul for him.

    Additionally, the Cubs are looking for impact talent on the mound, probably not looking for an OFer unless there’s surplus value there.

  • Woody

    Looks like Curtis Granderson and the Tigers are in advance talks on a reunion. Lineup that goes Jackson, Kinsler, Miggy, Granderson, Martinez, Hunter, Castellos, Aviles, Iglesias would be damn decent.

    • On The Farm

      With a rotation of Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, and Porcello. Now if they could just get that bullpen figured out.

      • TK

        I heard theyre also quietly looking at Shark for that rotation.

  • Hutch

    To even get close to getting kemp your giving up 2 of the top 10 prospects. Dodgers aren’t just giving him away unless the cubs are gonna pay the whole contract. In which they won’t. Anyone that thinks we’d be getting zach lee back too is a moron

    • TK

      Dude, dont you know?!?!? The Trib bought back the Cubs. We’re reverting to the old knucklehead ways. We WILL get Kemp. Then Cano. And we’re gonna trade Almora, Bryant and Vogelback for Price and Dejesus. Were going for gold in 2014! C’mon man . . . Get with it!

      • MichiganGoat

        You realize that if we did that hundreds of posters would be ecstatic until we did win the WS then they’d complain how the FO squandered the future… because haters hate.

        • Die hard

          You should spend less time watching Fox News

          • MichiganGoat

            What a bizarre reply… wait this is die hard… a perfect reply indeed.

          • EQ76

            Die Hard – you should spend less time watching MSNBC.

            • MichiganGoat

              I think he has a special channel that only he sees… its a magical place inside that channel.

  • Griff

    I’m a 100% for getting Kemp if he shows he is healthy. To me it’s a no brainer. Find a way to send Jackson in the deal with a prospect. He provides a power right handed bat that we lack and can protect Rizzo. Also, I’m for trading Nate S. for Eaton. Love the way that guy plays. An outfield of Kemp, Eaton, and Lake sounds good going into next year.

    • Hutch

      Yeah that makes a lot of sense for the dodgers. Jackson and a prospect for kemp. Get real. That prospect would have to be Baez or Bryant then

      • Chef Brian

        No way the Cubs would surrender that type of talent for a broke down Kemp and doubtful that the Dodgers would expect(realistically) or receive that kind of talent from any team. The Dodgers are not dealing from a position of strength on this one. They need to get rid of an over paid outfielder and they will need to eat lots of cash to make it happen. They won’t be pulling any top 10 maybe not even top 20 prospects in mlb for Kemp.

  • YourResidentJag

    Speaking of Cano, if the Rangers don’t get involved and the market remains thin, Dave Cameron speculated that “a smart team like the Cubs” will jump in at some point. Not so sure about the Cubs being that particular team.

    In other words … folks can keep dropping Cano’s name with the Cubs, and I just don’t see it happening at almost any realistic price.

    In the same FanGraphs chat, Cameron says a reasonable extension for Jeff Samardzija is about five years and $60 million – that’s the range I’ve been saying for about a year now. Cameron knows what he’s talking about, and the Cubs would be wise to stick to that range.

    You think Brett doesn’t want the Cubs not to sign a big FA but resign Shark. Boy, I sure DO!

    • YourResidentJag

      *to sign

  • Voice of Reason

    There is no need to speculate on what price can would have to be at for the cubs to be interested.

    Because the price would have to be so low that canos agent would get a better offer when they found out how low the cub bid was.

    Forget about cano already. Its not happening.

  • YourResidentJag

    Jason Vargas to Royals on 4 yr deal. Yuck.

  • Jason Powers

    Jason Vargas gets 4/32…Cameron predicts he’ll get about 5 WAR. Going rate of 6M for 1 WAR? (Figure 1,000 WAR just got much pricier by 750K/WAR due to the 25M per team in MLB TV revenues…750M in added revenues total from those TV contracts ALONE)

    Tim Hudson & Lincecum were roughly 2WAR, and got 11M and 17.5M per season. And Lincecum could easily bounce back to 3 WAR. So the open market rate seems to drift to 6M/WAR. That which you can acquire in FA.

    Of course, then if you sign a potential 5WAR+ player, that means he’ll want to say “30M per season.” (Robinson Cano – Ellsbury)

    If you figure Jeff Samardzija is a 3WAR+ pitcher for 5 years (28-33) that’s 15WAR x 6M = 90M of which he’s getting underpaid coming up.

    He can easily land a 4 year deal for 72M+ upcoming, if his stuff stays up around 94-95MPH, he’ll get 100M for 5 years more than likely. He books a 4WAR plus campaign in 2014, then the number shoots up.

    So the 60M barrier I think is a bit undercooked.

    He knows his value..not going to leave money on the table if Jason Vargas is getting a 4 year deal.


    • MightyBear

      Yea that Vargas deal probably didn’t help Theo/Jed re Shark. It may also make them want to deal him now rather than wait until the trade deadline.

      • Rebuilding

        I know what you are saying, but Vargas has been better than Shark the last 2 years

        • joey jo jo junior

          You’re not serious, I hope. Check out Vargas numbers on the road and then come back and compare him to Shark.

    • YourResidentJag

      Problem is should he have even got that deal? Should the Royals have just resigned Chen since they need more offense?

      • Jason Powers

        They did what they did….Not all 30 GMs/FOs think see things the same. I wouldn’t give Jason Vargas beyond a 1 year deal for under 5M. That’s what I think of his stuff and talent. (He does have a plus change up (movement wise) but his fastball is so pedestrian….)

        Not hating him for getting a good deal, but I see better options purely on stuff alone. But that’s why KC’s GM gets paid the big bucks and we are here are just writing about it…

        Shark’s agent just got more data points to show the FO that the price to extend him ain’t in the Edwin Jackson range of contract. More like the Lincecum per year deal…5M/yr to get with this baseball hero…;)

        Agent: “Add a zero to get with this hero.”

      • jt

        Vargas, like Edwin Jackson, seems to be consistently inconsistent. As a back of the rotation innings eater he has pitched well in a pretty high % of his starts and really sucked in more than a few. I like this contract better than that they gave Guthrie.
        I wonder if they now look for a way to unload Guthrie. The only way I can see them doing that is to package him with somebody that is really good.

  • Die hard

    Memo to Theo: don’t make any moves until All-Star game so can give new mgr oppty to show what can do with hand Sveum was dealt so as to compare apples to apples

    • mjhurdle

      sweet, they are bringing back Feldman, Soriano, and Garza so that Sveum and Renteria can be compared apples to apples!

      • Die hard

        Not fair to Sveum

        • DarthHater

          Why not have Sveum manage the team on even-numbered days and Renteria on odd-numbered days, then directly compare their records?!

    • Voice of Reason

      What do we care what type of manager sveum was?

      That’s the silliest post.

  • JulioZuleta

    Jay Z’s got 99 problems and being a really bad agent is one.

  • Cheryl

    How long can the cubs wait on the Shark or negotiate with the Shark?

  • Eric

    I predict the Cubs pick up George Kattaras to back up Castillo…

  • Cubswin

    does anyone know a good sports betting website that doesn’t take 2 months per each withdrawal? Struggling to find a good one. No sportsbook for me.

  • Brains

    Brett, dare I, for the first time, say that this post sounds like something I would write? Actually, I have been bullish on Cano and Kemp and Shark for exactly the reasons written here for weeks. Good baseball players make for good baseball, and everything you wrote here is sound, when it comes to the question of winning.

    • DarthHater

      Careful, Brains. Brett doesn’t like to be insulted. 😛

      • Brains

        funny how packaging dictates most of reception, regardless of content

    • Luke

      For the first time?

      This is the same line Brett has always taken.

      • Brains

        first time we’ve agreed about anything

      • MichiganGoat

        Well what do you expect?

        • Brains

          i expect you to think whatever you’re told to think by whoever works in PR

          • Chef Brian

            Luckily you are here as the only free thinker to keep us honest. Otherwise we would unquestioningly follow everything the Cubs PR Dept. churns out. It’s good to know that your endless stream of mindless minutiae has a purpose.