Lukewarm Stove: Lower-Tier Pitching Possibilities – Pelfrey, Hernandez, Slowey

lukewarm stoveSunday afternoon Lukewarm Stove? It must be December …

  • With Phil Hughes going to the Twins, I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look a few other lower-tier, inexpensive, back-of-the-rotation value signings the Cubs could pursue instead. With both the posting system and the realism of the Cubs’ Masahiro Tanaka pursuit up in the air, and the possibility that the Cubs will spend big-ish dollars on an Ubaldo Jimenez type (or maybe even a Scott Kazmir type) looking slim, a lower-tier arm might be all that the Cubs bring in this offseason. If Jeff Samardzija isn’t traded, there’s really only one rotation spot available anyway (Samardzija/Wood/Jackson/Arrieta, with Chris Rusin and Carlos Villanueva among the in-house options for that 5th spot). Still, grabbing a guy like the three discussed here can be a cheap way to accumulate the depth necessary to make it through a 162-game season. And, who knows? Maybe you stumble into a flippable asset or a longer-term piece?
  • The first possibility is directly tied to the Hughes signing, since he was a Twins free agent. Does Hughes (and Ricky Nolasco) inking with the Twins mean that mean Mike Pelfrey will be turned loose to the open market? On a similar tier as Hughes – i.e., dreaming on some peripherals and youth – Pelfrey could be an intriguing buy-low, back-of-the-rotation option for the Cubs. While I don’t find him nearly as intriguing as Hughes, Pelfrey wouldn’t be nearly as expensive. His first year back from 2012 Tommy John surgery, Pelfrey put up a 5.19 ERA over 152.2 innings for the Twins. That ERA was undoubtedly inflated by a .337 BABIP and a 67.2% LOB percentage, both worse than his career marks. Pelfrey also didn’t get as many groundballs last year as he usually does (he’s not a strikeout guy, having K’d only 13.2% of the batters he’s faced in his career). His K rate was up slightly last year, and he continued doing the low-walk, low-homer thing he’s always done. That’s why his FIP was a more attractive 3.99. The biggest thing to like is that his velocity – sitting in the low-90s – was pretty much right where it’s always been. Pelfrey turns 30 in January, and, for you oh-God-no-not-another-Tommy-John-guy worriers out there, Pelfrey has already fully recovered from the surgery, and should stand to see an additional uptick next year (guys tend to be most successful two years post-surgery, rather than just one-year post-surgery).
  • The next possibility comes courtesy of a Dave Cameron chat suggestion: Roberto Hernandez (the Fausto Carmona one, not the old and retired one) as an under-the-radar move for the Cubs. I’ve got a pretty mixed, mostly weak, reaction here. There are some positive signals there, like his increased K rate (17.6%) and reduced BB rate (5.9%) last year. He got a ton of groundballs, and generally pitched well enough to be a satisfactory fifth starter in most rotations … except for the home runs. Almost 21%(!!!) of the flyballs he gave up last year left the ballpark. He gave up a ridiculous 1.43 HR/9, which was much higher than his career mark (which, at 0.94 per 9, is already fairly high). Some of that is due to his own mistakes, but usually you see positive regression in a situation like that. If he comes for a song, sure, sign him. He’s 33, and has the potential to develop some flip value by the deadline. But, make no mistake – that’s all he would be.
  • A final lower-tier, back-end option for the Cubs could be someone like Kevin Slowey. Not yet 30, Slowey has had a rough go of it the last few years, after a quality season in Minnesota back in 2010. In 2011, Slowey didn’t win a job in the Twins’ rotation, and bounced back and forth between the bullpen and AAA, before being traded to the Rockies in December. A month later, the Rockies flipped him to the Indians (for current Cubs minor league free agent reliever Zach Putnam). He didn’t pitch in the bigs for the Indians, and signed on with the Marlins for 2013. He actually pitched fairly well in his time in Miami, posting a 3.81 FIP and a 4.22 K/BB over 92 innings. The primary bugaboo with Slowey is the forearm flexor strain that ended his 2013 season (that’s why he got only 92 innings). While he was checked out at the time of the injury (mid-2013) and apparently didn’t need surgery, forearm issues are sometimes actually elbow issues (or lead to them), and an elbow issue that pops up in March could cost Slowey all of 2014. Slowey has always been a guy who works in the zone (career BB rate is just 3.8%), but gives up a lot of hits and a lot of homers. When healthy (and in the bigs), he’s been worth about 2.0 WAR per year, which you’d gladly take from a dirt cheap fifth starter. The question is whether he’s still that guy, having not had a full, healthy season in the big leagues since 2010. Slowey may wind up having to settle for a minor league deal, and, if he does, I hope it’s with the Cubs. If nothing else, he be great depth at AAA.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

147 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Lower-Tier Pitching Possibilities – Pelfrey, Hernandez, Slowey”

  1. Blackhawks1963

    We have a potential lineup card that is abysmal (again). We have a starting rotation that has the highly dubious Jackson, Arrieta and Rusin pencilled in as starters. And we have a bullpen situation that is flat out demoralizing.

    I am big Theo supporter. But if we need to have a short term product like this again? Wow.

    1. Jason P

      Why is the bullpen demoralizing?

      1. Bret Epic

        I don’t think the bullpen looks that bad. We cut off the excess fat already and I think we’re left with some decent guys.

      2. Professor Snarks

        How about calling it questionable instead? Better arms but less experience.

        1. Bret Epic

          That I can agree with. It could definitely go either way, but at least it’s a pretty young bullpen with a low innings count.

    2. Kyle

      I’m pretty intrigued by the bullpen.

      1. When the Music's Over

        If bullpen excitement headlines the Cubs heading into the 2014 season, the Cubs really might find a way to lose 100 games again.

        1. Professor Snarks

          If they trade Shark, it would be a possibility. The rotation would be significantly weaker than 2012. So would the offense.

          1. Bret Epic

            Even if they trade Shark, I don’t see another 100 loss season, unless Rizzo and Castro put up similar numbers to last year or further regress. The bullpen was one of the biggest problems last year, along with run support.

            1. When the Music's Over

              Even with Castro and Rizzo improvement, this offense, as it stands today, is in big trouble.

              Also, the pitching staff, even with F7, is weaker than last year. Wood is due for a regression, and currently Arrieta is in line to replace Garza’s innings and some other guy like Rusin, etc is in line to take Feldman’s innings. That’s a big IF.

            2. Professor Snarks

              I hope you are right and I am wrong, but as we stand right now, I see us going into the season worse than 2012 and 2013. That’s with Castro and Rizzo returning(?) to form.

              We can expect: (using reasonable projection numbers).
              Starting pitching to be worse.
              Bullpen to be net zero.
              SS and 1B to be better.
              2B to be better.
              3B will be worse.
              Catcher to be worse.
              All three outfield positions to be worse.

              Of course players can out perform projections, but my hope for 2014 is hoping a few prospects come up to provide excitement, if not wins.

            3. Kyle

              We had things go well last year, too. We’re not always going to get insanely good production from a half-dozen from scrap-heap infielders, either.

              1. Professor Snarks

                And we didn’t lose any Starters to injury*, either. That is very rare.

                (*not counting missed starts from Garza’s delayed start)

                1. TOOT

                  Not sure here. I think most pitching stafffs go without injuries the Cubs have seen in past years. Yes the FO has taken on many injury prone players, but not sure what that amounts to.

                  1. Professor Snarks

                    I’m not talking about the Tommy John type, lose the guy for a year, type of injuries. I’m talking about guys missing a few starts here and there. Maybe one or two guys with short DL stints. I don’t think the Cubs lost any starts they expected to be made. They may have skipped Wood one start, but that’s all I remember.

                    1. Eternal Pessimist

                      I would have to consider the loss of Baker for almost the entire season instead of just the start as a loss of a starter. Would have been nice to have him performing at a reasonable level and push out the number 5 starter.

          2. Jason P

            Another 100+ loss season would be hard to stomach. But it could happen. If Samardzija is traded, this will be the worst team they have had on paper since the rebuild began, assuming no major FA acquisitions. We could be looking at a rotation of all 4th or 5th starters with an offense that could compete for worst in the league.

        2. Kyle

          The Pirates’ bullpen more or less carried a bad team to 90+ wins this year.

          1. TOOT

            And I thought it was their starting pitching and their tenacity. Could be wrong.

          2. jayrig5

            Orioles bullpen did the same the year before.

    3. ClevelandCubsFan

      Man, I don’t know. Consider what our starting 5 was planned to be, what it actually was on April 1, and what it was at the end–in the last two seasons. I don’t know how you can be too bummed about the rotation, all things considered.

      Wood – All Star, on the rise
      Shark – everyone in the league seems to believe he’s right on the verge
      Jackson – underrated and going to likely give us his 30 starts
      Arrieta – great stuff, Orioles #1 in 2012, lots of promise with Bosio

      I’ll grant that based on last year’s numbers, that looks like a #3, #3, #4, #4 rotation with a few guys trying to make it as #5. But the talent level strikes me as more like #2, #3, #3, #4. (really rough estimates on both sets).

      I think we run the danger of finding the familiar boring in these discussions.

      AND I presume, Jed’s going to hunt out a couple quality 3/4 types that are flippable. So who knows?

      1. Kyle

        I think it’s a bit cheating to use stuff/projection for guys like Samardzija and Arriett but ignore it for Wood, who clearly pitched beyond his stuff last year.

        1. ClevelandCubsFan

          I understand your point but I think it assumes I was striving for some level of technicality that I wasn’t. My only point was that this isn’t such a miserable and sorry rotation as some doomsayers suggest.

        2. josh ruiter

          True on holding the fort against Wood, stuff wise. However, Tom Glavine made a career out of out-producing his stuff. Wood, if he can hold his control and keep the fly balls number low and keep the fly balls in the yard can sustain that very easily IMO. Arrieta is the scarier “stuff” projection to me. A guy with electric stuff that is powerless scares me. He should strikeout a ton of guys on paper, but he doesn’t miss bats, my fear is he just doesn’t have “it”.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            That’s a popular myth, much like the “Greg Maddux never threw a ball faster than 90 MPH” myth. And it’s just as false. Glavine had outstanding stuff for most of his career. In large part, that was due to his incredible precision: as all of us old enough to remember 1990′s baseball recall, he didn’t set up batters so much as he set up umpires by finding the outermost corner of the strike zone early, and the centimetering the strike-zone away from the batters as the game wore on, with the umps falling for it hook, line & sinker.

            But the other part was his ability to induce grounders before people figured out that this was “stuff.” Glavine was part of the reason why people went from FIP to xFIP: because he had such low flyable rates, his HR:batted ball rates were quite low, and Glavine was a guy who helped them figure out that you needed to use FB x a Constant to estimate expected HR.

            The big kick is that Glavine had this going for him by the time he was 23.

            1. TOOT

              This, this, this, is a GRAVY point. Glavine “fine” tuned the outer plate. But Maddux did too, without the velocity, or so they say. I believe in th day, Maddox was clocked over 95 mph.

              1. DocPeterWimsey

                Yes, Glavine and Maddux both took full advantage of 150% of the strike zone by the 6th and 7th innings! However, it was precision that let them do that: they could put pitch after pitch in almost exactly the same spot, but just a hair further outside. By the end of the game, they were getting called strikes on pitches that batters could not have reached with hockey sticks. (I exaggerate, but they were getting calls on pitches halfway to the the opposite batters box late in games.)

                1. TOOT

                  Point well taken Doc.

        3. DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, the scary thing with Wood is that he had a ridiculously low HR:FB ratio last year. Much like a batter with a phenomenal BABiP or BAwRiSP for a year, we really cannot count on that happening again. (He has done it in the past, too, due to high popup rates, as popups are considered flyballs [infield flyballs]; the problem is that it’s not clear that IFB rates really are a trait of a pitcher, as they vary quite a bit from season to season.)

      2. Bret Epic

        I definitely see potential in the starting four, but I do not think that Jackson is underrated. To me, he’s the one I worry about the most. Innings eater with a career ERA around 4.47 and he’s extremely inconsistent, not to mention all the wild pitches and errors he made during the season. With the blowout he had during the season with the coaching staff, I’m also concerned with how receptive he is to the advice and feedback from the coaching staff.

  2. woody

    Arieta has stuff comparable to Shark. I think most of his problems in the past may have been mental. Seeing that this team is not expected to do much I think that takes a lot of pressure off of Arieta. I would rather see a pitch get clubbed than to see a walk. And this was a problem with Samardzija too. He would cruise until he had to pitch from the stretch and with runners on base he tried to nibble the strike zone too much, rather that challenging the hitter. Arieta has a hell of an upside and could have a breakout year. He has four pitches in his tool bag. His emergence along with a good recovery from Jackson could surprise all the haters and doomsayers.

    1. Bret Epic

      I think the change of scenery is going to serve him well. I’m looking for him and Castillo to have breakout seasons.

  3. Luke

    Slowey would be a nice signing. Even with the durability concerns, I can’t argue with his career K/BB rate. Worth the risk, I think.

    1. YourResidentJag

      I’d think so as a 4th or 5th starter.

  4. Stevie B

    Not buying the ” pitching beyond stuff” stuff
    Wood is a talented young man, and reached what I believe is his potential. Lets not be Debbie Downers with Travis…

    1. caryatid62

      If people are going to cite Samardzija, Jackson, et. al.’s peripherals as reason why they’re better than their on-field performance, they must also look at Wood’s peripherals as evidence that he might be overperforming.

      1. hansman

        Nah, theyd rather say that Bosio ruined him when he doesnt perform as well

        Its possible that he really is the pitcher we saw last year but he really needs to post a repeat season.

        1. caryatid62

          It’s possible, but its equally possible that Samardzija and Jackson aren’t the guys their peripherals hint at. We can blame Bosio for “not getting the best out of the pitchers” then, too. Win-win!

      2. ClevelandCubsFan

        Well

        1.145 WHIP
        127 ERA+
        4.4 WAR BR
        2.8 WAR FG
        3.89 FIP

        Wood is no superstar, but those are some decent peripherals.

        1. caryatid62

          Those aren’t really the peripherals people are talking about. It’s more like:

          xFIP: 4.50
          BABIP: .248
          Strand Rate: 77.4%

          These are some of the peripherals that point to a regression to the mean for next year.

  5. Andrew

    Oh boy I’m excited about these possibilities If another signs one of these studs I’m gonna write up a story saying…aww hamburgers

    1. Professional High A

      I almost never comment here and when I do it’s usually just a “+1″ for someone who has a great comeback. This comment just feels rude. Brett runs arguably the best website for cubs-centric new. It’s informative, timely, and also entertaining. I really hope that these kind of comments don’t make Brett think that people don’t like his style. I could get all of my cubs news by reading the transaction log for MLB everyday, but it would be a lot more boring than coming here. I don’t understand the grief towards the writing, content, or writer the last few days.

  6. Ballgame

    +1

    1. Abe Froman

      Times a bagillion. Rarely do I feel the personal connection to a writer slash online source, in fact, for me no one comes close to his sonbitch right here. Brett is an incredibly talented thinker, writer, and all around human being. Keep it up, and for any of the haters out there, keep shaking your fists at the moon and see how productive that becomes. Try positivity and thoughtfulness for a change instead of trying to tell everyone why they suck and poking holes in every idea. Creating is much harder.

      1. woody

        I think you should add hardest working to those accolades. On an average day at least two topics. I won’t mention the other blogs by name, but Brett is by far the King!

  7. Nostradamus

    I know the goal is to be optimistic as we can as Cubbie fans, but sometimes we need a dose of realism. When comparing relievers, step out of the Cubbie bubble and instead of rating the individuals through our own chatter, compare the bullpen to the top teams that we aspire to be.

    Recently read a publication that graded bullpens around the league, Atlanta A, Cardinals B+, Cubs D+ that’s all you need to know about non-biased opinions about our bullpen. Probably every starter on our club this year would not make the Cardinals rotation.

    How are we even expecting to compete in 2016? Where are we going to get out TOR starters from? If we are depending on minor leaguers from trades, it’s going to get really ugly for a long, long time. We desperately need Tanaka and one of the top free agent pitchers next year, plus sign Samardzia to an extension in order to stabilize our rotation. Then our top pitching prospects should be filling holes in the rotation or powering an elite bullpen.

    The same should be done with our position players. We should grab a few veterans (Ellsbury, usual suspects, this year or up to 2016), and then bring up the prospects to fill holes gradually and without the added pressure of carrying the team. If we are expecting our prospects to come up and all perform in the first two years, we are setting ourselves up to be extremely disappointed.

    My prediction… by the end of the 2014 season, we will have nearly 100 losses. Baez and Bryant will struggle in their initial cup of coffee. Media outlets will be less forgiving and there will be increased scrutiny into Ricketts financials. If you think fans are upset and disappointed now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    1. Professor Snarks

      YEP

    2. Andrew

      100 percent agree. You can build a farm system and win at the same time. What the cubs are doing is a joke. The cubs are in the 3rd largest market in the country and they are acting like a small market club. This is what happens when you have a investment banker owning the club. Ricketts has been awful for this organization and it’s fans

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        You can build a farm system AND win at the same time if you start with a good team. If you have a bad team (and the Cubs were a bad team 2 years ago), then you can do that only if the appropriate free agents drop into your laps (they didn’t) or if the perfect trades can be made (in part due to a lousy farm system, and in part due to chance, they couldn’t).

        Two years ago, I was somebody who looked at the Cubs and thought that this team was five years away from winning. They were not good, and due to aging, a lousy farm system, and uninspiring FA classes on the horizon, they were only going to get worse. The 2011 Cubs were absolutely nothing like the 2002 Sox; the ’02 Sox were a sound ship with a couple of holes and in need of fine tuning; the ’11 Cubs were rudderless, mast less and with more holes than planks.

        1. Brawn

          this is all fine as long as no one actually believes that the cubs are trying to get better through minor leaguers. this is just a PR stunt to buy time.

    3. Voice of Reason

      Dude, take a Valium.

      When this team is ready to compete there will be a leadoff man comparable to or better than ellsbury. Either though free agencynir a trade. Or, we might not need one because we could develop a leadoff hitter on our own.

      Well probably needs a #1 starter. That, too, can come through a trade or free agency. There will be teams in two years who will be looking to cut salary and.move a high priced top of the rotation guy.

      Be patient. Were rebuilding. We don’t need to sign any free agents as none are that good. Let’s see what Holes we have to fill once some of the kids develop and we know where they will play in the field.

      Relax.

      1. Nostradamus

        Valium? Ricketts and Theo are selling us “Cubs Crack and we are all Crackers.” They are not even selling Kool-Aid anymore. Theo has invented a new and improved, “Cubs Crack.” We must all be high.

        You see everything through narrow rose-colored drug induced vision. In your scenario, everything has to go perfectly for the Cubs to be compete by 2016-17. I see dead people. I’m just stating the obvious to everyone living outside the Cubbie bubble. The Ricketts marketing machine has been feeding us a lot of Cubs Crack lately and it is obvious a large majority of Cub fans are hooked.

        All you have to do Is look at Castro and Rizzo recent struggles. Most players don’t live up to their potential and certainly not until their “prime years” unless you are Trout. There is a reason baseball players have “prime years” when they mature physically and mentally and able to max out their potential. To expect these kids to perform like stars and make us World Series contenders when they still have pimples on their face and ass is ridiculous.

        1. Brawn

          no one expects the Cubs to compete any time soon, especially not the front office. only blog posters could be so wildly optimistic. might as well enjoy our imagination and then make adjustments accordingly when we fail later right? “i never thought or said we had a chance.”

        2. Voice of Reason

          If Theo and the Ricketts wanted to sell us crack, they would have stuck with the formula that filled the seats for years at Wrigley Field. Buy one big free agent every year and finish no where near the top and the fans will come in droves (i.e. Sosa and Soriano and the others).

          Instead, the Ricketts decided to invest in the minor league system and improve the facilities and add over seas scouts, etc. They have started this rebuild which is actually going to cost them money at the gate and in concessions and merchandise sales.

          I guess what you would like is business the old way? Invest in a couple of free agents and fill the ball park? I want to win a World Series. The Cubs are going about it the right way. They will fill the holes where needed in a couple of years through free agency and trades.

          Now, go take that valium!

  8. Serious Cubs Fan

    I hope the cubs aren’t going after Ubaldo Jimenez. He had a good bounce back year but the stuff has diminished and he will to pricy. Save our dollars and invest them somewhere else. Scott Kazmir would be interesting if we could get him on 2yr deal at cheap price but I think he priced himself out of our range with the solid year he had last year

    1. Jason Powers

      Jimenez has some repeatability issues with his release. The graphic below shows how far off the last 10 pitches were compared to a starters overall release. The higher the score the worse it gets. Jimenez has lost velocity in some cases right after difficult endings to outings (scores in the 80s).

      And his IP are down. And his price is up….but will see. If Nolasco can get 4 years…you gotta wonder. Jimenez is 3+MPH on him. Thrown similar IP; durable – 32-33 GS. Someone will bite..I think big enough.

      Edwin Jackson is very comparable too.

      mir3c6il423rtu30bcohkd4gp7injuryindex.png

  9. Serious Cubs Fan

    I’m completely ok with trading Samardzija if he the cubs can’t sign him to a deal that makes sense for the cubs and as long as we get an elite pitching prospect back (Top 25-30 prospects in baseball) and then some. I personally don’t think we will get that but maybe a team like Toronto might bite on throwing Sanchez in a Shark deal.

    Toronto: Stroman has a great arm but reminds me a lot of Arodys Vizcaino. Small frame with a lot of velocity and good stuff. The cubs would have to be sold that he’s a long term starter.

    Dbacks: If they aren’t giving up Bradley I don’t want a trade with them. I’m not a fan of Skaggs because he’s not a frontline type. He’s more of a good #3 or maybe a low #2 lefty

    Orioles: If they are willing to give up Bundy or Gausman I’m all ears, but I want no part of an expensive 2yr deal with Weiters who really isn’t all world at catcher. He’s definitely good but give me the cheap cost controlled top arms over a Boras Client who see’s $$$signs in the next years

    1. Eternal Pessimist

      If Shark can’t command a top 25-30 prospect in baseball I would be shocked. It is still a big jump from AA or AAA to the big leagues and Shark has been at least a #3 w/ upside still possible and two important years of control And that top 30 prospect still probably has around a 50% chance of some big-league success.

  10. Serious Cubs Fan

    Last I heard Mike Pelfry got a 2yr $10mil offer from Twins earlier this season. Not sure if the offer still stands after the Hughes deal bc they’ve spent some money this offseason. But I think I remember reading that. I’m not sure I’d give him that much after the TJ Surgery and a bad yr. If he could go back to old form that actually a pretty darn good deal, but there is some definite risk

  11. Edwin

    I mentioned Slowey a couple days ago as a player I hope the Cubs take a look at. If they can pick him up for peanuts, he seems like a decent pitcher to take a risk on.

  12. YourResidentJag

    A good article which breaks down Rockies finances for those wondering how the Cubs may equally spend funds: http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_24630592/rockies-owner-dick-monfort-provides-detailed-look-at-teams-budget-financial-structure

  13. steve r.

    I want no part of Slowey. I’m hoping we manage to land Masahiro, and Kazmir. But I don’t believe we will land Tanaka. Kazmir is a possibility, Ubaldo is a bad idea I believe. Shark’s likely to be traded, I wish it was to the pirates for Taillon, or the orioles for Bundy, but I don’t know. If it was me I’d trade him to Baltimore along with Castillo, Barney,& BJackson and maybe another prospect for Bundy and Wieters. Sign Kazmir as well. Our bullpen should be improved, with younger pitchers with good stuff, we certainly have a number of young intriguing arms out there. I know Bundy is very highly thought of, but he is coming off injury, and relatively unproven, if healthy he would give us a young, high quality arm, a top of the rotation guy to build the rotation around. Bundy, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta and Kazmir would be a strong rotation, IMO. The bullpen would be improved as well, IMO.

    The offense of course will be a question mark, but we should be better. Not vastly improved but better overall.Castro and Rizzo I expect to have much better seasons, Wieters would add power and offense as well. Lake will be around for a full season. I don’t think Olt will be a star, but he could shore up 3b until Bryant is ready. If Olt hits well enough, and gives us power, Bryant when he comes up will be in the OF. Baez will come up, and likely won’t be as dominate as he has been this past year right off, his bat at 2B should easily be a lot better than anything else we have there in the early going. i think duriing the second half of the season, we will be much much improved.

  14. Jason P

    ESPN writer David Schoenfield was speculating on 3-team trades that make sense, and he suggested this for the Cubs, Sox, and Yankees.

    Cubs: Trade Mike Olt, CJ Edwards, Jorge Soler, and Dan Vogelbach. Acquire Chris Sale, David Phelps

    Sox: Trade Chris Sale, Addison Reed. Acquire CJ Edwards, Jorge Soler, Gary Sanchez, Zoilo Almonte, and Vidal Nuno.

    Yankees: Trade Zoilo Almonte, Vidal Nuno, David Phelps, Gary Sanchez. Acquire Mike Olt, Dan Vogelbach, Addison Reed.

    I think it fills needs nicely for all 3 teams. It accelerates the Cubs rebuild and gives us the ace we don’t have in our system, it infuses talent — both quality and quantity — into a Sox farm system that desperately needs it, and the Yankees get a great reliever, a potential replacement for Arod, and a power hitting first base prospect.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Except that the White Sox are trading away a top tier pitcher for a handful of prospects. If the White Sox can’t afford Sale and are willing to trade him for prospects should they be getting a top 10 prospect?

      1. Jason P

        Fair point, but given how completely devoid their system is of impact players and where they are as an organization (band-aid mode, a la 2011 Cubs), they might relish the opportunity to add 3 top-50ish guys in 1 deal.

    2. Eternal Pessimist

      I would like this trade for the Cubs…and we still have Bryant/Baez to bring up as early as late 2014 if we are competitive in 2014…which I think is not out of the question with a pitcher like sale giving you nearly guaranteed solid performance and the back end of your rotation being a probably solid enough Arieta.

    3. Luke

      I’m not sure why the Yankees are in that trade.

      If Sale were on the market (he isn’t, so far as I know), Edwards, Soler, and change would pretty much be what it would take to net him.

      I can pass on Phelps.

      That said, I don’t think I would make that trade right now. I suspect the Cubs would be paying more due to concerns over Olt’s eyes and Soler’s injury-restrained progress in 2013. Wait six months for those guys to show what they are capable of (or not) if healthy and I’m not sure both of them need to be in the deal. The Cubs might be able to hang onto Soler or Olt and replace him with a lesser guy (Geiger? Golden? Villanueva?).

      If the Cubs are going to sell prospects this offseason, I’m not sure I’d be in favor of selling low on multiple names in the same deal.

      1. Jason P

        Well I guess the Sox do need a catcher and the Cubs don’t really have a surplus one to offer. Otherwise, I could see the deal working without the Yankees.

        Sale’s under control through 2019, and he fills a need that, quite frankly, the Cubs may not be able to fill any other way. Aces under contract for 6 more reasonably-priced years don’t come on the market all too often.

        Obviously this is a huge reach, but for the sake of daydreaming, a rotation of Sale, Tanaka, Shark, Wood, and Jackson would make us competitive next year. The rotation part of the rebuild would be over and done with.

        1. Luke

          “Aces under contract for 6 more reasonably-priced years don’t come on the market all too often.”

          And, again, I don’t think Sale is on the market now. That article was pure “wouldn’t be great if this happened,” not “here are things that could realistically happen tomorrow.”

          I’m not aware of any evidence that Sale is on the market at all, to anyone, at any price.

          1. Jason P

            I completely get that. I was just responding to the point you made in your last comment when you said “That said, I don’t think I would make that trade right now.” Im arguing that from the Cubs perspective, if they were presented with that trade today, they should take it.

            1. Luke

              Fair enough.

              I just don’t want to see the comments awash with angry commenters ripping the front office for not making that Sale trade that everyone was talking about them offering the Cubs, and how dare that terrible front office not deal for Sale when they had chance, and rabble rabble rabble, a few days from now.

              We’ve seen too many times already this offseason speculation get turned into “this is something that could have happened if only the Cubs were run by people who think more like I do” type events.

              1. Crazyhorse

                People Usually rip the front office when a trade or precieved weak signing happens.(and or both) that is reality. To gripe about a speculative trade that an espn writer made would be laughable.

                I like the trade – would the trade happen No. The White Sox wont give up Sale as tempting as it may sound and the Cubs are not ready for a pitcher like Sale (an Ace) by giving up a slew of blue chip prospects that might be productive in the near future. (within 1-2 years)

                The best thing Cub fans can wish for in my opinion is a domino affect of signings

                If the Cubs can sign Masahiro Tanaka that might open the floodgates for other players to chance a short team lucrative friendly contract to field a competative team to capture a World Series Title( when that team is assembled everyone wants to be a Cub) while letting younger blue chip prospect progress naturally into the show.

                IF the Cubs sign Tanaka ( The front office feels he is an ace if they sign him)) players like Ellsbury and Choo might take a 4 year contract to be a part of history. I would slot Lake into the 3b and make a run at it.

                If failure is in the Mix by these signing The Cubs can trade away the Elisbury and Choo and reload on the rebuild once again . and when the first group of yougsters are ready for the show . The Cubs can trade the veterans and restock again inthree years.

                Like i said Cub fan are beginning to question the 25 man roster and weak signings and or weak trades by the front office.

                Will this happen maybe – dont think its a bad idea but is it plausible?

              2. TOOT

                I agree. And would like to add ‘The terrible three” are about to put out the MONSTERS OF NORTH SIDE!

        2. Nostradamus

          “Obviously this is a huge reach, but for the sake of daydreaming, a rotation of Sale, Tanaka, Shark, Wood, and Jackson would make us competitive next year. The rotation part of the rebuild would be over and done with.”

          **LIKE** Pure fantasy of course, but a creative scenario on the commitment it would take to improve the Cubs in the next year and not some fantastical future. There must be moves out there to be made, through a combination of free agents and trades to improve the team, instead of taking a small payroll, small market team approach and hoping and praying that our prospects turn into immediate stars.

          1. Nostradamus

            I would go further and trade Edwards, Wellington Castillo, Vogelbach, Underwood. Then again, maybe this is why I will never get a job as a GM.

      2. Serious Cubs Fan

        I’d rather trade for Chris Sale then for David Price, just purely based on Sales team friendly deal

    4. Serious Cubs Fan

      very interesting trade. In reality the white sox would never trade their best player to the cubs because if those prospects they receive don’t pan out then that is one of the worst trades in chicago history just because it is between crosstown rivals.

      1. Serious Cubs Fan

        Their is a reason why the sox and cubs never make trade with each other bc which ever team gets the raw end will cause their fans to run their GM out of town.

        I think the last trade between the cubs and sox was in basically a “non-trade”

        November 16, 2006: David Aardsma Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Carlos Vasquez (minors) to the Chicago White Sox for Neal Cotts.

  15. Mike F

    Yeah and if he were, there would likely be an arm issue or question involved. He has had some velocity questions and his mechanics are pretty violent.

    I guess in some sense, something like this is possible, but would definitely point to Jeff being traded to replenish pitching prospects. I also question why so many preach the Cub’s are broke and then immediately gravitate to Tanaka. To me it seems clear, even though he isn’t likely the same caliber as Darvish the price to play and deal ultimately will far exceed Darvish. I wouldn’t be stunned in the least to see the Dodgers both bid on the posting over 60M and assuming the Cubs play and it goes to a 3 team system, depending on where Texas and Boston bid, the Cubs might not even be able to sniff at last than mid 50′s and given what some of the mediocrity has brought in FA pitching, I wouldn’t be stunned to see he and his agents get 6 plus years at over 90 M. I think it’s a big stretch, very big to see the Cubs in on Tanaka…..

  16. Mattm

    Am I missing somethng? What about Scott Feldman? Why isnt Theo looking at him? Oh yeah that’s right he actually had a good season last year and didn’t require Tommy John surgery. That puts him out of our range.

    1. Chad

      I doubt that Feldman wants to come back to the cubs for a 2 year deal and not be on a competitive team and possibly get flipped again. The only reason he came to the cubs last year was to prove he could be an effective starter and get flipped to a winning team. Both happened and now he has more suitors than just the cubs. Why would he choose the cubs when he could play for a contender on a similar contract?

      1. MattM

        Actually, money is the reason! If we offered it to him and it was more than anyone else then we would get him! Simple as that! The going rate for a pitcher of his ilk is what 4-6 million per year? Offer him 7 million per year and boom! You have him.

        He would be MUCH better than anyone else we have talked about. Not only that but you could probably sign him to a contract that would keep him here when we are actually good. Although, there is no reason to think we will be good any time soon….

  17. Brains

    I really hope we get Tanaka. Otherwise there are two words that have defined the Cubs’ woes to this point: Jed Hoyer

    1. Kyle

      I frequently wonder if Jed Hoyer isn’t the weak link in all this. It’s not always easy to separate what to credit/debit the various front offices guys with, but McLeod seems unimpeachable and Epstein has his GM titles to fall back on.

      1. Brains

        he always seems to be a step behind the players and three steps behind the next GM. i like him as a guy though.

      2. Voice of Reason

        Jed Hoyer? He has a very small say in everything and is not the final decision maker. He is a small link so he cannot even be considered the weak link.

        If you want to point the finger, it’s at Ricketts. That is, if you believe they need to be spending money.

        Otherwise, the organization is in the middle of a rebuild. Any sort of signings must be approved by Ricketts and Hoyer and Epstein aren’t walking down the hallway and asking for big bucks for free agents right now. They understand the plan. They don’t like it and want to add a big name or two if appropriate, but they know what the plan is.

  18. MattM

    I’m HOPING against hope that what is going on here isn’t what happened in Pittsburgh! Remember how they cried and cried because the ballpark was the reason they were terrible, and then they get a brand new ballpark which was payed for by the state and they still are terrible for years and years! Incredible!

    I will say the big difference here is that the Ricketts want to spend their own money, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because they will make a darn site more in revenue than what they are paying for it! I just really hope they arent’ doing this to get the approval and then they are going to make the Cubs suck even after they get all of the changes done!

    If that happens I look for Chicago to be the Illinois version of Pittsburgh! Only they will have even less fans in the stands!

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