Still Stewing About the Doug Fister Trade and Other Bullets

network madI’m still stewing about that Tigers/Nationals trade. There has to be something “wrong” with Doug Fister, right? If there is, you aren’t getting any such signals from Tigers fans, who appear to be as pissed about the trade as our own rough analysis says they should be. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs gives you the analytical breakdown on the trade, and it’s as ugly for the Tigers as we all thought last night. I could go on with reactions from around the baseball world, but it would become instantly redundant. Everyone thinks this was a ridiculously bad trade for the Tigers (which is probably good news for the Cubs in their efforts to shop Jeff Samardzija for a better price). Even if the Tigers just wanted to dump salary, there should have been 28 other teams willing to offer a better price for such a good pitcher. So, again I say: there has to be something “wrong” with Doug Fister, right?

  • The 2013 Chicago Cubs had one of the best benches and best residual starting staffs (i.e., starting pitchers not in the top five among games started for the Cubs in 2013) in all of baseball last year! Well, kind of. Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times writes a fascinating piece on bench and pitcher value, and the Cubs come out golden. How? Well, likely mostly because the Cubs’ starting players were so bad to begin with. The Cubs also had some guys on the bench play way over their heads last year (Navarro, Sweeney, Lake, Murphy, etc.).
  • Michael Bowden is headed off to Japan next year to make some money. Good for him, and I hope he does well. With the Cubs, he had some modest success out of the pen, but was clearly not going to be a long-term piece. With that, the Cubs have nothing to show for trading Marlon Byrd. Which is mostly a joke, given how nightmarish Byrd’s 2012 season was. But then he rebounded in 2013, and now Byrd, who turns 37 next year, is set to make $8 million per year for the next two years from the Phillies. Baseball is funny.
  • Not that you couldn’t have anticipated it, but SportsNation voters are idiots. Just 70% of them believe Greg Maddux is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Totally makes sense. One of the five best pitchers in baseball history – a guy who did that during the most prolific offensive era in baseball history – isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. Smrt. If you are among the dunce-y 30% – or even if not – read David Schoenfield’s piece here to be reminded just how absurdly good Maddux was. (And to be reminded how angry you are at Larry Himes.)
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs’ scouting coordinator for the Pacific Rim and Mexico, Steve Wilson, has left the organization for a similar job with the Yankees. The Cubs were once pretty dominant, from a scouting perspective, in the Pacific Rim, but that was now several years ago (though they did just sign Taiwanese pitching prospect Jen-Ho Tseng – he was a big-timer, though, who was paid handsomely, and not a diamond in the rough).
  • Muskat also updates you on various winter ball performances for players in the Cubs’ system.
  • As of this morning, Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have agreed to sign A.J. Pierzynski. That’s a wonderful match right there. I couldn’t be happier for both sides.
  • If you’re just tuning in and missed out on the late-night fun, the Cubs announced their tender decisions at the zero hour, with one modest surprise.

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

103 responses to “Still Stewing About the Doug Fister Trade and Other Bullets”

  1. Abe Froman

    Brett, I’m sure you are planning a write-up on this separately today, but this could be huge:

    For the short term, aka Tanaka, this would be good for the Cubs (if none of the teams with worse records last year have the cash to reach the minimum bid), but likely bad long term.

    1. Cubfanbob

      Not sure how accurate that mlbtrade rumor link on bidding is accurate but it would be the best option for the Cubs which implies it won’t get accepted by all parties :)

      wonder if the Yankees are attempting to learn how much the Cubs are focused on Tanaka with that move of personnel.

    2. ssckelley

      I have mixed feelings about this. Short term a deal like this could help the Cubs get Tanaka but long term I think MLB does enough for the small market teams. Adding the posting fees to the luxury tax seemed to be the most fair way to approach this issue. But obviously both MLB and Japan are trying to stay away from it.

      1. Rebuilding

        I agree with this. Short term this could give us a chance with Tanaka, long term it would hurt a big market club like the Cubs. Although getting Tanaka now might be far more important than adding something later just to turn this thing around

    3. Blackhawks1963

      I still don’t see the Cubs getting Tanaka. I just don’t. And given the insanity of the posting fee plus the contract he will garner, I’m okay with that too. There’s better ways to spend $100 M plus.

      Plus, we have no idea really what Theo/Jed and the scouting department REALLY thinks of Tanaka. For all we know they could think he’s the next greatest pitcher in baseball, or on the flip side nothing all that special. We need to stop with the automatic presumption that Tanaka is going to be great and is worth any pricetag…we are baseball insiders and know diddly squat about full scouting assessment of Tanaka.

      1. Brains

        there’s no way that we get tanaka. the cubs aren’t even going to seriously try. they’ll give it a PR move, but not be in the top 3 bids when all is said and done. this is going to be another 90-110 loss season. they’ve decided better to stock up on minor league talent further since the owners aren’t going to release revenues back into the team.

        1. Kevin B

          110 loss season huh? Ok if you say so

      2. ssckelley

        “We need to stop with the automatic presumption that Tanaka is going to be great and is worth any pricetag”

        Where are you getting this?

        Oh, and I am still wondering what you mean by Schierholtz plays the game the correct way. Do you have examples of professional ballplayers playing it the wrong way?

        1. Blackhawks1963

          I could give a rat’s ass what you think about what I post. Ignore it if it so violently offends your good senses.

          1. ssckelley

            Wow, I asked you to explain a couple of comments you made and you go off the deep end. Nothing you have posted “offends my good senses”. All I am doing is asking you explain your statements as they make no sense.

            Back on topic, where are you hearing knowledgeable Cub fans state that the FO should sign Tanaka to whatever price tag? I have not seen this from any of the regular posters on this site, or from Brett.

            Also, what did you mean by playing baseball the right way in reference to Schierholtz?

          2. Funn Dave

            He didn’t pass any sort of judgement of your post. He was attempting to engage in a civilized, back-and-forth discussion, as is the norm on blogs such as this one. For most people, the norm isn’t to post arrogant, repetitive items and then either ignore or lash out at anyone who responds.

    4. Kyle

      If the maximum bid is low enough for us to reach it, I’m pretty sure Houston or the White Sox would as well.

      1. ssckelley

        I found the article to be very confusing. The article mentions multiple teams can submit a maximum bid on the player but the team with the lowest win percentage being able to negotiate with the player. So would they have to match the highest bid?

        1. Kyle

          In that scenario, they would be tied with other teams for the highest bid already.

          1. ssckelley

            But who sets the maximum bid? Is it going to be a predetermined number for all Japanese players?

            If they set it at say $50 million there are still going to be small market teams that will not go anywhere near that figure.

            1. Kyle

              Yes, MLB wants to set a single maximum for all future postings.

              They reportedly are proposing that limit be $20m, but we’ll see if that gets negotiated up.

              1. ssckelley

                You seeing this on twitter or is there another article on this topic?

  2. Lance Dickson

    As for Greggy (read old pieces on Desipio about him, they’re awesome), the real question should be: could he be unanimous? I’m sure some writer will vote no just to prevent it, but that would be a shame. It would be an appropriate recognition of his greatness and honesty in a tainted era. What do you all think? Will he get 100%?

  3. Eric

    Is Fister a bad teammate? Poor work ethic? Is Dombroski angling to make a play on Cano and Choo?

    1. Blackhawks1963

      People are too dismissive of what Detroit got in this deal. A lot of baseball people think Robbie Ray is going to be a very solid major league pitcher. Throws 97 MPH with control and has big upside. Meanwhile Krol and Lombardazzi are excellent role player additions for a team in full contention mode.

      Say what you want, but Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski has very rarely made a bad trade. Robbie Ray is the absolute key to that deal. Plus they get to slot Smyly into the rotation to go with Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez and Porcello.

      1. Rebuilding

        Nothing about Lombardozzi is “excellent”. He can really only play 2b and he does so poorly. He’s a worse hitter than Darwin Barney. Last year he had negative value -0.7 WAR in a platoon/utility role. There are 25 middle infielders in AAA that would add more value to a team just by playing defense. Krol was mediocre at best last year. Ray is a decent prospect who at best sneaks into the back end of the Top 100. The Cubs could put together a superior package that wouldn’t even make is blink

        1. On The Farm

          His best offensive year he posted a .6 WAR in 126 games. His walk rate is under 4%. Why would you want this guy apart of any package in a trade other than to get him off your roster. Like is Lombardozzi Dave’s nephew or something? I really just can’t believe this trade.

      2. hansman

        “A lot of baseball people think Robbie Ray is going to be a very solid major league pitcher.”

        So many folks that he was drafted in the 12th round and isn’t a top-100 prospect.

        “with control”
        So he decided to throw enough balls to walk 4 batters per 9?

        “Robbie Ray is the absolute key to that deal.”

        I guess, but only because the rest of the deal looks so bad.

        “Say what you want, but Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski has very rarely made a bad trade. ”

        Assuming this is true, there is a first time for everything.

      3. TulaneCubs

        Robbie Ray is a non-top 100 prospect that’s barely pitched in AA and is likely to be a back of the rotation starter and has a #3 ceiling.

        Krol and Lombardozzi are role players, which is to say they provide very little value.

        This was a brutal trade for the Tigers, no matter what the next move they make is.

        The Cubs got more for Matt Garza (a worse pitcher that was only under contract for half a season) than the Tigers got for 2 years of Doug Fister.

      4. Kevin B

        Ray is not the key to the deal. They did not even WANT Ray, they wanted Jordan, so how is Ray (who they settled for) the key?

        Also what is your point about Smiley be slotted in? That is a reason they could trade Fister but they did not get Smiley back, they had him. So when trading Fister they still should trade him for VALUE, his worth. The fact they could slot someone in is irrelevant to the fact that they got reamed in the trade.

        They could have traded Fister for a lot more and still had Smiley to slot in. Smiley is irrelvant to his trade value. Heck they could have just cut Fister and still slotted Smiley in, would that have been a good deal since they still have Smiley? Heck no.

        They got robbed.

  4. ssckelley

    So did the Yankees hire Steve Wilson away from the Cubs or did the FO tell him to find a new job? Do these type of personnel moves follow the same rules as the manager meaning they had to ask for permission from the Cubs to interview him?

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Steve Wilson was a Jim Hendry guy. I’m assuming that Theo, Jed and Jason weren’t terribly choked up on his wanting to leave for the Yankees (where Hendry is now an employee). Really, if you look at what the Cubs have done in the Asian Pacific countries its not very much. Wilson seems very replaceable. Or it could be the case that Theo, Jed and Jason want to reallocate his position to some other geography, etc.

  5. MichiganGoat


    Thanks Bert you just had to piss me off

    1. MichaelD

      Anytime someone wants to complain about Theo or the Hendry years, they should first think back to the Larry Himes years and realize it could be worse. Though, in fairness, he did trade George Bell for Sammy Sosa.

      1. MichiganGoat

        It’s amazing how quickly Himes destroyed everything Dallas Green built and all we can hope and believe is that Ricketts won’t frustrate Theo like the Tribune Co frustrating and ultimately pushed out Green. I know right now it’s tough to be excited about the Cubs but they are building something sustainable but it takes hope/belief/patience to allow it to happen. I trust that Theo and Ricketts are on the same page and won’t do what the Tribune Co did to Green.

      2. Eternal Pessimist

        …and fortunately Sosa started juicing at the right time to maximize his value with the Cubs.

      3. Doug Dascenzo

        Larry Himes, the Terry Bevington of GMs.

    2. ssckelley

      How could you be mad at Larry Himes? Had he matched the Braves offer for Maddux the Cubs would have never gotten Jose Guzman and I doubt we would have ever seen Dan Plesac on the Cubs pre and post game shows.

      1. Big Daddy

        Thanks for continuing to bring up the terrible memories. I guess the Lee Smith for Calvin Schiraldi trade will be next.

        1. cms0101

          Lee Smith was traded by Jim Frey. Rafael Palmeiro for Mitch Williams was another genius move by Frey. Moyer was a part of that deal too… Frey certainly played his part in dismantling Green’s work too.

          1. Big Daddy

            I wasn’t referring to Himes. I was just bringing up the many, many terrible moves made over the years and how bad I hate to relive them.

  6. Kramden

    The Nats probably had photos of Dombrowski getting a lap dance and threatened to send it to his wife.

  7. On The Farm

    I am assuming you will at some point, but are you planning on going through the non-tendered guys at some point today to point out the interesting names the Cubs could pick up?

  8. macpete22

    AJ to Boston was one of the few free agent predictions I made

  9. MichaelD

    One thing to consider if this was simply a salary dump, is that the Tigers may just have a different estimation on the quality of Ray or Lombardozi. Maybe a team like the Cubs heard what the deal was going to be and offered Darwin Barney, Pierce Johnson and James Russell, which would seem like a superior package to pretty much everyone. The Tigers could hear that and say that the Nats package was superior. In order to bear the Nats package maybe the Cubs or someone else would have to put up what amounted to a ridiculously superior package and it was not worth it.

    1. Rebuilding

      Obviously they must think Ray is severely underrated. And maybe he is. For a Top 10 pitcher in baseball though you could have likely gotten a Top 50 prospect and something similar to Ray. So say Joc Pederson and Zach Lee from the Dodgers. You can pick up Lombardozzi and Krol clones off the scrap heap on minor league deals (for instance Donnie Murphy is better hitter and more versatile than Lombardozzi)

      1. wvcubsfan

        Fister is good but I’d have a real hard time calling him a top 10 pitcher. I’d say at best he was the third best pitcher on his own team.

        1. Rebuilding

          Not sure why having Scherzer and Verlander on his team should penalize him. Over the last 3 years he is 9th in pitcher WAR. We can quibble about whether he is Top 10 or Top 15, but I think for this discussion there is very little distinction

          1. On The Farm

            Dang we are on the same page here. Fister has been real good since coming to Detroit and this trade still isn’t adding up, even as a salary dump.

            1. Eric

              The only thing I can figure is that this was part of an overall salary dumb in order to position the Tigers to be able to land Cano. Maybe they think they can land Ellsbury and Choo as well. Otherwise, I’m stumped.

              1. Eric


                1. DarthHater

                  Nah, you were right the first time. :-P

          2. wvcubsfan

            I know WAR is everyone’s favorite stat nowdays, but last year he was 12th less than (1) ahead of names like Bumgarner, Price, Lester, Latos, Shields, and Hamel. All of which were better is other “old school stats” like not allowing earned runs or striking batters out which I’m sure are more flawed than WAR in many peoples opinion.

            Also, I think there is quite a distinction between top 10 and top 15.

            1. Rebuilding

              Oh boy. How about I say he is one of the best pitchers in baseball based on production and just leave it there. I gave you a reason I said Top 10. If you don’t like it that’s fine, not sure how it changes the evaluation of the trade

            2. On The Farm

              “Also, I think there is quite a distinction between top 10 and top 15.”

              When you are talking about 5 SPs x 30 teams (150) being in the 90th percentile is pretty damn good..

              I really don’t see how you can say there is a large gap between the 10th best and 15th best when you are accounting for every SP in the MLB.

        2. On The Farm

          On a team with Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer he was #3. Yeah that’s pretty damn good. He ranked #13 in SP WAR in all of the MLB so he might not be top ten, but top 15 (he ranks #14 over the last two years). He is actually the 4th best pitcher over the last two years on his team, but that’s just because the other three in front of him are Top 6 in WAR.

        3. Kevin B

          Who said he was a top 10 Pitcher? So he is not a top 10 Pitcher therefore the trade is good?? I am confused?

          3rd best pitcher on his team? Ok but have you seen who the other Pitchers are?

  10. Spriggs

    I hope Bowden does well in Japan, but mostly I’m just glad I won’t have to watch him pitch anymore.

  11. Kyle

    Putting aside the “Tigers are criminally negligent” theory, I worry this is a sign that prospects are still being extremely overvalued on the trade market and MLB players undervalued.

    This is problematic for two reasons:

    a) I do believe reports that acquiring some potentially impact pitching prospects is our top offseason priority, and now we’re going to have to either pay through the nose or give up on that

    b) Our awfulness and brokeness leaves us poorly poised to exploit this market inefficiency the way a smart team like Oakland is.

    1. On The Farm

      “I worry this is a sign that prospects are still being extremely overvalued on the trade market and MLB players undervalued.”

      If this is true doesn’t it make sense to try and trade for pitchers now? If their is a premium on pitching prospects, why not trade CJ Edwards for a SP with two years control and hope to resign him, resign Shark, go in on Tanaka. Not sure how they would find the bats, but if this package can net a guy who posted the #13 WAR among SPs, why not go out and make some trades? I am just spit ballin’ here.

      1. Kyle

        Do I think it makes sense? Yes.

        Do I think this front office is going to pivot and start trading prospects for MLB players? Not particularly.

        1. On The Farm

          I assume the front office still knows what they could get today if they wanted to trade Samardjiza. The only way I could see them changing their approach is that the Fister trade effected the market in such away they can’t afford not to resign Samardjiza. I really don’t see how one trade can tank the market, so I am skeptical of the approach being “pivoted” as well.

          1. Eternal Pessimist

            The Cubs trading for pitchers with two years of control gives them very little advantage over other teams for getting a good long term contract (see Shark), so why give away long term talent for short term talent in our situation? I would definitely vote no.

      2. ssckelley

        I have been thinking the exact same thing. The “money ball” move seems to be acquiring pitching for prospects right now. Which means you hang on to Samardjiza and see what other good pitchers you can acquire. If you can take a Black, Johnson, or an Edwards and turn them into a pitcher like Fister then the FO should be all over it. They need to take advantage of the market while it is hot.

        1. wilbur

          don’t assume the market is the same as the tigers.
          Or the nats. there still may also be parts ofthis deal that aren’t public. and even if it is just the tigers making a move now to reconnfigure their pitching staff by moving their third or 4′th most valued starter sooner rather than later, doesn’t mean much to the cubs or the market. do the cubs have three other in their prime pitchers to anchor their rotation better than samardjia? did other teams have a chance to beat the nats offer? no and apparently not. so, more of a salary and structural smoothing for the tigers than a dump, ever see a mba go through the salary structure of a take over target? just business.

      3. When the Music's Over

        But, but, but….why would the Cubs trade for a pitcher/player that doesn’t have near max control years remaining, isn’t cheap and gasp, could quite possibly not be younger than or right in his peak years.

        I joke, but sorta not really either.

    2. Isaac

      I think we have to absolutely view this deal as nothing but an outlier. There are many, many examples of talented, controlled starting pitchers fetching excellent returns (and even non-controlled ones). It took me a night of sleeping to stop fuming and realize Detroit just made their second stupid trade, and everyone will see it that way. What I don’t understand is why Detroit didn’t shop more and have someone trump the offer (someone would have). It’s like the classic fantasy trade where one side pressures the other into quickly making a stupid deal without shopping, on the grounds that it’s a “take it or leave it offer”.

    3. Norm

      I think everyone is overreacting to one trade that seems to under-value a good pitcher with 2 years of control.

    4. hansman

      Prospects may be over-valued right now but not to the extent that you trade Doug Fister for a package that should get you Edwin Jackson.

      But hey, never miss a chance to say that the front office is wrong or subpar.

      1. Isaac

        But wait a minute, isn’t Edwin Jackson worth *at least* 4 Pierce Johnson’s?:-)

  12. South&Wave

    Maddux had an ERA+ of 271 and 260 in ’94 and ’95 respectively. Jeepers.

  13. Kyle

    2013 was so weird for the Cubs in that it was such the opposite of 2012, other than the common thread of truly awful bullpens.

    In 2012, the Cubs had some pretty decent contributions from their good players, but everywhere they tried to fill in cheap turned to dust and they managed to field a truly impressively awful crop of sub-replacement players.

    In 2013, they did a fantastic job of getting value out of cheap fill-ins but their theoretically good players ranged from mediocre to awful.

    1. Isaac

      Right? I’ve thought about this conundrum a few times. It’s like if we could have just stunk in 2012, landed Bryant, and then had both sides (good players, replacements) play well in 2013, we could have maybe done some damage. On the other hand, it’s still probably at best a .500 team, so I’ll take the higher draft pick.

    2. Rebuilding

      Yes, we got some truly epic contributions from the bench and fill-in players last year (as the article pointed out) which won’t be repeated. If Rizzo, Castro and Shark (if here) don’t take big leaps this year I’m not sure people are prepared for just how bad we could be. Like 105 losses bad

      1. Isaac

        I agree. It could get very ugly, very fast.

    3. ssckelley

      I still think if you could have started the season with the bullpen they ended up with that the results would have been completely different. Replace guys like Loe, Bowden, Marmol, and Camp with Strop, Grimm, and Guerrier the bullpen looks a lot better. Heck just trading Marmol in the off season and not re-signing Camp would have netted the Cubs more wins.

  14. Spoda17

    AJ to Boston… a beautiful marriage made on the main street in a trailer park during a tornado…. I am so happy for the new couple…

    1. terencemann

      From Brett’s post: “As of this morning, Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have agreed to sign A.J. Pierzynski. That’s a wonderful match right there. I couldn’t be happier for both sides.”

      Going to just re-read that when I need a laugh today.

  15. JulioZuleta

    I can’t get behind the “there’s something wrong with Fister” theory. If there was something wrong with him, the Tigers would probably have been the only ones to know and still should have gotten way more. I also don’t think this will effect a potential Samardzija deal either. I’m sure the Cubs will shut down any comps to the Fister deal and frame the discussion around the Shields deal (not that Samardzija would fetch a Myers type prospect).

    1. MichaelD

      One additional possibility is that there is something wrong with Fister and the Tigers told the Nats about it. If he had some undisclosed health problem that the Tigers know about then he is traded there is some possibility that the trade could be voided. Maybe the Tigers told the Nats about it so that there was no reason to complain afterward.

      1. JulioZuleta

        Could be, but that seems like the type of thing that would get leaked. You would think someone from the Tigers would say “He was hurt, that’s why we got back such a bad return…”

  16. Jon

    My guess is this was a combination of the Tigers REALLY, REALLY, liking Robbie Ray and possibly having a much higher evaluation of him than that of Baseball America, etc. and also the relationship between the GMs.

    Maybe Rizzo and Dombrowski are close & worked on this deal and DD didn’t really broadcast that Fister was avail to the rest of baseball, as I’m sure if it was a public bid, there could have been much higher offers.

    All that said, if Ray turns out to be a dud, you can certainly criticize Dombrowski for not getting more for Fister.

  17. Garrett Curless

    I do not know if it has been discussed, but do you think the Cubs go after Arencibia now that he wasn’t tendered with Tor?

    1. Norm

      No. He blows.

    2. On The Farm

      Negative, they already agreed to terms with Kotteras as back up and have Castillo as the starter.

      And Norm’s right he blows.

  18. Zach

    Detroit’s going for cano, just wait for it.

    1. On The Farm

      Didn’t they just trade for a second baseman? Seems counter productive to have Cano and Kinsler on the same roster.

      1. Rebuilding

        In that scenario Kinsler would likely move to 1b

        1. When the Music's Over

          Cabrera cannot be allowed to continue to play 3B.

        2. hansman

          Or Cano to the OF.

          To Music, the value that Cabrera provides at 3B greatly outweighs the negative impact his defense has. By sliding him to 1B his value, compared to what the Tigers could get at 1B, is diminished.

          1. When the Music's Over

            Beyond WAR and positional value, the physical demands at 3B have begun to take their toll. Really he should be splitting time at 1B and DH (he is a bad 1B as well), but with Martinez around for one more year, he should just be sticking it out at 1B all year.

          2. When the Music's Over

            Cano or Kinsler to the OF could certainly work though. Egos would have to be put aside though, which is not a slam dunk by any means.

            1. John (the other one)

              I would assume that both Kinsler or especially Cano could handle third capably. Then just move Cabrera to first.

              1. John (the other one)

                Sorry for the horrible sentence.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Remember, both players (especially Kinsler) are much less valuable in the OF than at 2nd. Kinsler in particular probably will be hard-pressed to produce average OPS for LFer. (Cano would, but it would still be much less net OPS than keeping him at 2nd.)

              At any rate, the Tigers probably intend to put Castellanos back at 3rd and move Miggy to 1st.

              As for the Tigers going for Cano, that might be: but, remember, they really want to keep Scherzer, and that’s going to cost a pretty penny or two.

  19. JB88

    That’s an interesting FanGraphs’ piece. I’m not sure what you can extrapolate from that. Looking deeper at the pitching numbers, though, it is amazing how much the Cubs’ bullpen dragged down its overall staff numbers. The Cubs’ bullpen from a FIP, xFIP, and WAR perspective were the second worse in baseball. Their starters, through the entire season, including after the Feldman and Garza trades were 20th in WAR, 19th in FIP, and 18th in xFIP. [By comparison, their starters were 9th in WAR, 8th in FIP, and 13th in xFIP through the first half of the season.]

    So it certainly seems as though the pitching staff might not be that far away. Especially if they can improve the bullpen some. Of course, some of those numbers are from Garza and Feldman—and it certainly doesn’t seem as though the inhouse replacements will put up those same numbers—but between the studies, it certainly appears that the FO is adept at finding solid bench players. Now, if only we had the starters to match …

    1. When the Music's Over

      The starting staff got a lot worse after those trades, suggesting that there’s a decent change it could perform that way again early this entire year if no moves are made, and especially if Shark is moved.

  20. cubfanincardinalland

    Severe case of prospectitis in major league baseball right now. All the teams think their prospects are Faberge eggs. Everybody thinks that every young pitcher in the BA top 100 is going to be the next Harvey, Cole, Wacha, etc. And they all are afraid of being the next Royals, who will regret that trade last year for a long time. Two years of Shields and Wade Davis, for a guy who will be putting up big numbers for years.
    Reality is two thirds of these top 100 pitchers will never be 1 WAR players.

    1. BenRoethig

      The thing about prospects, they’re cheap. You’re seeing big market, giant salary clubs struggle with $150m payrolls and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lowest payrolls in the league get the post season. You’ve seen Tampa build a monster club that can compete every year and Pittsburgh is on their way to doing the same. Owners want their slice of that pie.

  21. North Side Irish

    John Arguello ‏@CubsDen 3m
    Have been told the #Cubs plan to contact RHP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Kalish and, in fact, may have already done so.

    Both would be useful guys for the Cubs…is Bailey still rehabbing from surgery or will he be ready to go in ST?

    1. Jon


  22. The Jeff Samardzija Stove: Fister Fallout, Extension Talks, Possible Price Tags, More | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] have a lot more to say that I didn’t already say when the trade happened last night, or in the Bullets this morning, but I’m now hoping the Tigers do what many are expecting they’ll do, which is spend […]

  23. The Desire for Hearty Spending and the Reality of Crummy Contracts | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] That damn Doug Fister trade, which is such an outlier and not a signing, so I’ll not discuss it […]

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