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javier baez aflJavier Baez is still a shortstop.

That may not sound like a piece worth noting, but with Baez tearing up High-A and AA last year, and on the doorstep of the big leagues within the next 12 months, Baez’s long-term position has become a salient and immediate question.

Baez clearly remains a shortstop in the Cubs’ eyes, as confirmed both by President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and Scouting and by Player Development Chief Jason McLeod within the last week. They now believe – I guess without any lingering reservations – that Baez can be a shortstop in the big leagues. That wasn’t something you could confidently say just one year ago.

If Baez is to remain at shortstop in the near-term, and if he could truly play adequate defense at the position in the big leagues, the upcoming decision on how to deal with incumbent shortstop Starlin Castro and Baez becomes much more difficult.

Baez unquestionably offers more value at shortstop than at any other position – at shortstop, it’s virtually impossible to find a bat like his (although a wave of fantastic shortstop prospects – Xander Bogaerts, Addison Russell, and Franscio Lidnor among them). And Baez’s bat, if it continues to develop, projects to be much more valuable than Castro’s. On the other hand, the Cubs have to decide which of the two can play a more effective defensive shortstop *and* a more effective defensive second base (which is where Baez is expected to get some work in Spring Training, and where McLeod hinted that Baez could go if Castro is still around when Baez is ready). It’s possible that one of the two might be only better at shortstop, but miles better at second base. In that situation, particularly if that guy is Castro, you’d really have to think putting Baez at shortstop (because of the bat), even if he’s technically the inferior defensive shortstop.

There’s still a lot that has to happen before this is a serious issue – Baez will have to adjust to AAA and play well there, and continue to improve defensively at shortstop, as the Cubs are projecting – but it makes you wonder if the front office is a little salty about Castro’s down 2013 season. If Castro had been effective, the Cubs would have the option of trading Castro for a haul, and opening up shortstop in the long-term for Baez. As it stands, Castro isn’t going to entice prospective buyers to the extent you’d want to see before shipping him off for other pieces. For now, particularly given his age and contract, it seems wiser to hang onto Castro for the time being, and work out any emerging positional issues as Baez forces them.

Hopefully Baez crushes it at AAA Iowa and improves even further defensively at shortstop, while Castro does the same at the big league level, and this tricky discussion becomes all the more tricky in June and July.

  • Wilbur

    ,,, these are the problems we want more of in the future.

  • Noah_I

    I think there’s also the distinct possibility that Castro stays at SS, Baez goes to 3B, Alcantara at 2B, and Bryant to an outfield corner. But yeah, the possibilities here are vast, and continue out into the future for at least 2 years.

    • BenRoethig

      I agree. Baez has a hell of an arm, but has limited range for a shortstop. That makes him potentially ideal for a 3B move. Bryant has corner OF experience in college. That is assuming all of them make it and Castro reverts to the .300 contact hitter he was. The road is littered with young can’t miss players who couldn’t adapt to the majors

  • DocPeterWimsey

    The Sox put Bogaerts at 3rd after playing all of 10 games there in miLB. The O’s put Machado at 3rd after a similar short stint there in miLB. If the Cubs had solid players at 3rd or 2nd right now, then this would be an issue: but between 3rd, SS & 2nd, SS is the strongest link right now.

  • Dylan Heuer

    This may sound crazy and out there but have they considered moving Castro to the outfield? It seems like he has a really good range. And this is just based on my eyeballs but Castro seems to be really well at running down fly balls when they’re hit to the outfield.

    I don’t know. Just thinking out loud and would like to hear what others have to comment about it. I don’t care if you guys shoot me down or whatever.

    • Randy

      I think Cf is not a bad option however not all the prospects that everyone talks about are going to make in in the bigs.

    • TWC

      “Castro to the outfield?”

      Suddenly Die hard is struck with an irrepressible urge to check Bleacher Nation…

      • CubFan Paul

        It’s not the worst idea. I’d put money on Castro being a plus outfielder (based on watching his range and agility and shortstop)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Castro is a plus-hitting SS or 2Bman. He would not be a plus-hitter (or be much less of one) anywhere else.

      • ssckelley

        Centerfield is one outfield position where his bat could give enough value assuming he is a plus defender. I could see him taking base hits away from players that hit up the middle with his ability to play shallow and go back on a fly ball.

  • Diamond Don

    Great problem to have! I hope we have many more of these overstocked positions with great players. I think long term Castro remains at SS, as his defense has improved a lot in the last year, and hopefully his hitting returns back to levels we saw his first two years. Baez ends up at third base. Alcantara plays at second and Bryant moves to the outfield. If Alcantara doesn’t hit, then Baez goes to second and either Olt or Bryant play third base. The future is looking very bright for the Cubs!

  • Casty

    Am I the only person that feels like Baez is similar in body type to Miggy when he was Baez’s age and broke in as a shortstop? I think he’ll ultimately outgrow the SS position causing him to move over to a less demanding position much like Miggy did.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Tejada stuck at SS for a long time. Cabrera was moved off of SS in A-ball. So, whichevery Miggy you mean,that’s not what happened.

  • bob

    Baez should be learning third or second in triple a why would u trade Castro when you have other holes to fill this regime has me questioning their thinking process and development

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Again, guys routinely make the switch from SS -> 3B or SS -> 2B at MLB. We’ve seen two examples of that on playoff teams in the last 18 months.

  • CubFan Paul

    Baez isn’t a ML shortstop (according to scouts) and the Cubs know that. Leaving him there in the minors is just for value purposes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That was the thinking 12 months ago. This time last year there were serious questions about his ability to stay at short.

      Those questions have been answered. He can stay at short.

      • Myles

        What were the questions about his defense this time last year?

        • C. Steadman

          Baseball America listed Baez as the Cubs best defensive IF prospect heading into 2013…but I did hear questions about his range at SS and how his range would be best suited for 3B given his great arm

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Range and hands were the big two, I think. Both have looked just fine.

          He won’t get to as many balls as Castro, but he’ll still get to enough to hold down the job.

          • Myles

            I like it. Plus is seems that Castro can get to anything, the question of him completing the play is what’s frustrating.

            • Local BleacherBum

              castro naturally has a higher ceiling defensively at SS then Baez does. Its just that Baez will probably be more consistent with his hands in the field. But seriously that doesn’t say much. If castro would just focus and be more consistent he’d be a pretty darn good defensive SS.

    • SenorGato

      I think I agree with this. If Castro didn’t suck so bad last year this might not even be a discussion. Still think Baez ends up at second.

  • BWA

    Wow, I totally posted about this yesterday in the message board. Thanks Brett!

  • MNeuman

    Anyone else follow Baez on Instagram? If you do have you been noticing that he seems to be a little out of shape especially compared to a few months ago? I’m sure it’s nothing to get worried about but he looks to have out on some weight and not in a good way…. Not to mention a lot of the pictures he posts have him in situations I’m not sure you want to see your #1 prospect in especially at his age…

    • C. Steadman

      i dont have instagram…what are these “situations”? you have me curious and I dont want to just sign up for instagram to stalk Baez haha

      • MNeuman

        Ha, just a lot of bar/club scenes with some people that don’t look too interested in his success. That is a very judgemental statement and I don’t want to sound like I’m stereotyping looks…but I guess I am. I follow other prospects and they all show pictures of them training etc but not Baez. Again, probably nothing and I understand he is a kid and should be able to do things young people do but maybe don’t make it so public.

        • C. Steadman

          that is interesting, bc i follow alot of propects on twitter and they talk about training alot…i’ll wait to see what Baez does in ST, but if he looks sluggish and out of shape then I bet its partly attributed to these situations

        • Noah_I

          Baez is a just 21 year old kid who, by all accounts, is a hard worker on the baseball diamond. I couldn’t care less what he does with his spare time, as long as it is not illegal and doesn’t affect his work on the field. If I was being judged by photographs of me at age 21, even the ones I took, I would come off very, very poorly.

    • ari gold

      If these “situations” include Baez doing bong hits, then sure, I’m with you. If these situations include partying with girls, then he’s doing what every 20 year old does.

      • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

        20 year olds usually aren’t allowed in bars.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          …but I remember Kaner’s post Stanley Cup #1 year was followed by very public partying which was followed by a year of him having a serious decline of his performance. He later settled down in the next offseason and his performance improved a lot leading to Stanley Cup #2. I can understand worrying about his offseason behavior (commitment?)

        • hansman

          Javier Baez does what he wants.

        • Ken

          That’s cute.

          When I was 19 and looked like I was 16 I was getting into bars…in Chicago, not some podunk college town. I knew several bouncers. You don’t think some of these guys know who Baez is and try to get on his good side?

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          only in America. most latin countries the age is 18.

      • Danny Ballgame

        Don’t a lot of 20 year olds take bong rips?

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Talk of moving Baez from short is nuts. An average glove SS who can bat in the middle of the order, with 30 home run potential, is the Hope Diamond of baseball. The value of such a player is off the charts.
    Hopefully Castro returns to his hitting ways and keeps improving his defense(I think Renteria is a god send for the young man), Baez keeps hitting in AAA, and the Cubs have a wonderful situation on their hands.

    • hansman

      If Castro goes back to what he did before, then you have two guys on your team who provide above-positional average offense for the next 5-6 years (assuming Baez sticks). At that point, it’s about maximinzing defensive production.

  • Ivy Walls

    Castro will determine his near term future with the Cubs at SS the next three months thru September. They will ask him to do much more than be about himself and be both the on field infield leader or captain and the performer. That means he will have to be in practice diamond and clubhouse more or having more of an impact. He will have to return to offensive productivities that made him a star when he came up and defensively he will have to continue refine his overall game.

    If not the Cubs will explore their options. I think Baez goes where ever Castro is not if Castro is still on the team. At 3B I think Cubs are trying make a trade value in Olt as they make a decision with Bryant as to where he is best suited on the field. On paper I bet they would love to see Bryant stick at 3B, Olt traded in a package that swaps my overage for your overage and in the OF see Soler and Almora fill in spots. But that is a perfect abstract world. Bryant might be a liability at 3B and better suited for RF, meaning that Olt or Villaneuva or Alcantara or Baez or Castro goes to 3B.

    On paper I would like to see Alcantara push himself to start at 2B, a Switch hitter who can bat lead off or #2, while Baez could field 3B as a gold glove with power to be an impact. That pushes Bryant to the OF and sets up Soler or Almora or Lake as a trade piece. All good if/when the trade piece fits the puzzle/

  • Spoda17

    This could get pretty interesting. I have a feeling Olt is going to be at third out of spring training, and Bryant will be with the Cubs in 2015. I feel Baez will get a mid season promotion, but where will he go. Jed said the other day they will not bring someone up unless they are going to be the starter and get plenty of at bats. Also, (and I would be interested to see how Luke feels about this) but through it all, Alcantara (I’m sure I spelled that wrong), is probably our best second baseman and projects to be an above average MLB second baseman; power, avg, OBP, and defensively.

    Of course all projections, but Olt at 3B, Castro SS, Alcantara 2B, Bryant and Baez corner outfielders… Or, none of this works out…

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Plus hitting 3Bmen also are a real commodity right now. That’s why so many people think that the ChiSox jobbed the DBacks. (Of course, the first assumption in any DBacks trade right now is that the DBacks got jobbed….)

  • Nick

    How comparable are their MiLB fielding numbers? I think to this point, they’ve played in similar numbers of games, Baez maybe a few short. And Castro didn’t play AAA at all. I don’t remember how well regarded Starlin’s defense was in the minors, but do remember it being an area he’s needed to work on the majors (mostly concentration issues).

    • FarmerTanColin

      Castro hardly played AA either. I’m guessing very similar amount of games. Still I think spring training will tella lot more than looking at error numbers.

  • Jon

    Last offseason we probably could have traded Castro to the DBacks for an Upton/Bradley combo.

    • Isaac

      No way. Not close. MAYBE one or the other.

  • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

    For the same reason that Baez needs to stay at shortstop in the minors, Castro should stay at SS in the majors. Unless they player shows that they absolutely need to be moved off the most valuable defensive position, they should remain there.

    Expecting Alcantara to be an everyday MLB 2B is hopeful (I’m hopeful for it). There should be plenty of playing time to go around with these offensive prospects, post-attrition.

  • Michael

    Castro has a low obp, low sluggling %, average defensive skills, not exactly a building block.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Castro’s numbers are above average for a SS. Remember, what counts is (more or less) how much better your guy does than their guy at the same position, summed over all 9 spots in the order.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      He had back to back 3 plus WAR seasons, at age 21 and 22, playing a premium position. That sure seems like building block potential to me.

      • Michael

        he had a negative WAR last year though lol

        • Michael

          and a war of 3 is ok but not building block material

          • Lukas

            Well thats not true

            • Jason P

              Yes it is. 3 WAR makes a guy a solid starter, but in no way shape or form a star. It was always assumed Castro would improve off his age 21 and 22 seasons, in turn making him a building block for the future, but that now appears questionable.

    • C. Steadman

      i would say Castro 2010-2012 was a building block SS…not this year, but I bet he can turn it around..he was actually above average league average defense in 2012

    • Baseball Writes

      .347/.341/.323 OBP his first three years. Also WRC+ of 99/109/98 for those three years. Looks to be about league average offensively to me. Last year was bad … let’s hope it was a fluke.

      • bbmoney

        And to add….league average offense from a SS is really valuable and if it’s being done by a 21/22 YO absolutely looks like a piece to build around.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Last year was an experiment on whether a guy can develop a batting eye. It looks like the answer is “no,” or at least not this way.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    There is a reason in baseball that guys who bat 3rd, 4th or 5th and can hit 30 homeruns, don’t play second base.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Yes: but not a *good* reason!

      • cubfanincardinalland

        Doc, would you be saying that when goons like Matt Holliday are going 10 feet out of the baseline trying to plant your cleanup hitter out in left field?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Indeed I would. How many MI end up on the DL every year because of that? And we’ve had some very strong offensive SS in MLB over the last 15 years.

  • willis

    Hearing foot steps can have a positive or negative effect on a player, let’s hope for Castro it’s positive. Last year for him was .245/.284/.347/.631…way down from his previous three years. How much damaged was caused by last season? It all depends on where his bat goes. I think defensively he is better and has the tools to be better than Baez, but if his bat continues to struggle he will get bumped to 2nd. But, if he can somewhat bounce back from the crap storm that was last year, I bet he sticks at SS and Baez is your 2B, and that’s the best case scenario for us fans because that means Castro is back to kicking ass at the plate. Let’s hope the management/staff changes help.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Or it has no effect at all, and guys perform better or worse for the same reasons that players improve or decline.

      • bbmoney

        Come on Doc. It’s fund to build in narratives. Don’t take that away from us.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, I’m a scientis: my life is committed to taking that away from the world!

          (Unless the narrative begins with “Harry Potter and the….”)

          • hansman

            So as long as we say:

            Harry Potter and the SS Who Was Hearing Footsteps

            you’re cool with it?

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Just as long as “SS” stands for “Star Seeker.”

              • hansman

                Well now you’re just getting silly with all of your restrictions.

                Harry Potter and the 20-Win Pitcher

    • http://thenewenthusiast.com dw8

      Castro is projected to be around a 2 WAR player next year at SS. If he never gets better offensively, even a league average SS with his contract is worth a surplus of about 4 WAR the rest of his contract.

      Castro may not carry the next winning Cubs team, but he’ll be far from a millstone, if he stays at SS.

  • Fastball

    I think you have Baez playing SS in the MiLB because he is going to see more balls in play at SS. He still makes a ton of errors at SS. So do you take Castro off the spot when you have lived through his development and he is pretty reliable there now. I really hope Alcantara keeps pushing the envelope at 2B. Another reason Baez is at SS at AAA this season. Bryant will be at 3B at AAA pretty early in this season. In the end it doesn’t matter whether Castro plays SS or Baez plays SS and or either one plays 2B. We have two pretty good 3B’s in Olt and Bryant. If Olt returns to form then he isn’t moving of 3B. The best solution is you have to move Bryant to RF and you keep Olt at 3B. You leave Castro at SS and have Alacantara at 2B and you put Baez in CF and have Lake in LF. As young as they are and as lucky as the Cubs would be if all of them show up in the Majors without any kind of career set backs. That would be an exciting group to watch play. At the infield positions with Olt, Castro, Alcantara, Rizzo you will probably have your best defense. Baez, Bryant carry big lumber in the OF and they can learn to play those positions without any issues. Lastly you have a bunch of interchangable parts if and when one of these guys ends up on the DL. I believe it would be a critical mistake to trade any of them unless another prospect comes along like Almora and pushes one of them out. That is when I see Lake moving to super utility role player and Baez moving to LF with Amora in CF. Then you are just playing a home grown all star team everyday which is what we are all waiting for anyways.
    If somebody wants to get stupid and trade guys then you use the MiLB back log for those deals. There will be real good prospects continuing to come along. As much as I hate waiting. I am waiting and I don’t want the FO screwing up what I am waiting for. :)

    • Andy

      This excites me. The likelihood that it all happens is pretty low, but that is a team to be excited about , and one that I would love to watch.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      I haven’t head ANYTHING about Baez playing center field… got any source or evidence he can handle that? Because I have some general doubts…. I think it’s much more likely in your general scenario that Baez goes to 3rd and Olt gets traded for a nice haul.

      • CubFan Paul

        “got any source or evidence he can handle that?”

        Baseball Prospectus.

  • Mike W

    I personally think Baez should be flip flopping between SS and 2nd during his AAA season. If Castro is sucking it up then plug Baez in at SS in June or July. If 2nd base is struggling and Castro is excelling then plug Baez at 2nd. I dont like the thought of losing Castro for Baez or Losing Baez because Castro. Find a way to put both players in the lineup. They are both extremely young and should be valuable in the near future. Trading either one just sounds stupid.

    2014 season after All Star break.
    3rd – Olt
    2nd – Baez
    SS – Castro
    1st – Rizzo

    AAA – Bryant

  • Fastball

    Guys who 3,4,5 and hit 30 HR’s don’t play SS either. Actually you find more players at 2B that can hit in those spots than you do SS. I personally will be quite happy with Alcantara and Castro up the middle. If they both hit .280 with a good OBP we would be flush there for a long time. We have plenty of guys right now who can be interchangable parts between 2B, SS, 3B and 2 of the OF positions. You put a kid where there is a place for him when he comes up. You don’t pull Castro just because Baez is ready. Maybe Baez is ready before Alcantara and he plays 2B for a few months this year. Maybe a lot of different scenarios come to fruitiion. I have my fingers and toes crossed hoping that all these guys are healthy all season and I really hope Olt is healthy and returns to form. The Cubs will be good fast if all that happens. I say 6 months and 2 weeks from now we have a significantly different 25 man roster than we do April 1.

  • Fastball

    Mike we are aligned on this.

  • Darth Ivy

    Maybe Baez can play short center

  • Coldneck

    Is Castro playing winter ball anywhere?

  • Mike S

    Cubs sign Wada according to MLBtraderumors.com

  • Ballgame

    I know this long wait has been painful on all of us, but the exciting times seem like it’s just around the corner. Obviously, this year isn’t looking very intriguing record-wise but these prospects will be up by mid-end of this season or in 2015. Even to see Baez and Bryant this season with the big league club, that’d really give people a reason to continue watching. Me at least. I feel like if you get a good look at Baez/Bryant this year, you’ll have a better feel of what our plan (position-wise) for 2015 would be. All of these prospects won’t pan out, but it’s hard not to have confidence in Baez, Bryant, Almora. Soler, I’m still up in the air…I like Olt and really hope that he can come around. I’m not putting too much faith in him, but I feel he breaks camp with big league team and we’ll find out quick one way or another how much impact he can have..

  • Cubman

    To me Olt is the key to everything. If he makes it or doesn’t make it, it will have a ripple effect on where others play.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Not necessarily. Yes, if Olt shows that he’s recovered from his vision problems, then he will start at 3rd this year for the Cubs. If Baez and Bryant still are progressing well, however, then you still have the possibility of putting Baez at 2nd and Bryant at 3rd, and trading Olt. A smart GM can get a lot more than a good reliever for a good young 3Bman, after all.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Not necessarily”

        Huh? Olt is 100% the key.

        “then you still have the possibility of putting Baez at 2nd and Bryant at 3rd, and trading Olt”

        Why not put Bryant in RF?

        Why trade a young core piece in Olt instead of plugging another hole with a youngster?

        • cms0101

          While I’m not shutting the door on him, I don’t think we can call Olt a “young core piece” just yet. Outside of Edwards, the Rangers essentially dumped guys on us that were highly rated prospects but have since fallen off from their initial hype, either because of injury or because their performance stepped back a bit. Olt is the poster boy for that category, but Grimm and Ramirez are also on the list. I consider Olt to be in the same grouping as Brett Jackson and Vitters. Fallen-off former prospects that are trying to turn things around. They still love Alcantara too, and he might be the first guy to the majors this year, ahead of the others. In that scenario, Bryant goes to RF and Baez goes to 3rd. I really don’t see Olt in the long-term plans. Heck, Villanueva could pass him up if he hits well in Iowa this season. It’s a great problem to have all this young depth, that is for sure. It would be even better if Olt could turn things around and make the decisions that much more difficult.

          • CubFan Paul

            “I don’t think we can call Olt a “young core piece” just yet”

            We? Speak for yourself. Olt isn’t the chop liver you make him out to be.

            “Heck, Villanueva could pass him up if he hits well in Iowa this season”

            Not happening. Olt is a blue chipper, Villanueva is a tier or two down (2B/Ultilty)

            • ClevelandCubsFan

              He’s not core until he can prove he can make it at the big league level. There are no can’t miss prospects.

              • CubFan Paul

                “There are no can’t miss prospects”

                False. Some prospects are just better/more polished than others.

                Harper, Strasburg, & probably Bryant too.

                • C. Steadman

                  Todd Van Poppel, Brien Taylor, Clint Hartung say hello…there isnt a thing as a “can’t miss prospect”

                  • C. Steadman

                    heck some Cubs “can’t missers that missed”…Mark Prior and Kerry Wood

                    • John (the other one)

                      yeah, but prior and wood didn’t really “miss.” they were as good as promised, if not better. They just couldn’t stay healthy. To me, “miss” for a prospect means they couldn’t hack it in the majors, which isn’t definitely not the case for those two.

                    • Mrs. Howell

                      John-the other one-I agree 110%. To call Wood and Prior a “miss” is way off base. Pie-miss. Choi-miss. Various 3B-miss miss miss.

            • cms0101

              I have to disagree with you. I would love it to be wrong on this one, but I just don’t see it. Olt was overrated in 2012 to begin with, and then he had the down year attributed to the vision problems in 2013. Villanueva’s bat started to come alive last season, and couple that with Olt’s decline, they aren’t as far away from one another as you are portraying them. Brett Jackson was on the “can’t miss” tier once too, and guess what… he missed. In 2012, before his physical problems, the Rangers didn’t want to include him in any deal. They moved off of that thought quickly in 2013 and he was rumored to be part of every package they put out there for pitching help. Edwards was clearly the Cubs focus of this trade, and the other pitchers were also key. Olt was the next best “prospect” that the Rangers were willing to include in the deal, so it was a no-brainer to take a flyer on him. But he definitely wasn’t the key piece as you’re suggesting with your assessment of his talent.

              • FarmerTanColin

                Jackson was never in the “cant miss” tier. He had contact problems throughout his career.

                • cms0101

                  Within the last 3 years Jackson was considered their best prospect and on the fast track to the majors. When I tried to make the argument that he had contact problems, half the internet seemed to attack me that I was wrong and he was just a more selective hitter. Regardless, if you remove the sentence about Jackson from my previous comments, everything else still applies regarding Olt. Now neither Jackson nor Olt are in the BA Cub’s top 10 prospects list. Seems like if he was clearly a core piece that he’d still show up on that list. Maybe he can climb up again. But he’s just not viewed the same way now as Paul is arguing.

                  • FarmerTanColin

                    I’m with ya with the rest, Jackson was the top prospect almost by default. Villanueva I agree is right with Olt, his bat has been consistent throughout the minors. wOBA around 350 consistently. Only thing that vanished has been his speed he stole 32 bases in 2011. If he’s a top glove guy then he’s looking at a very solid major league career. Kyle Seager like. He’s also just 22, the production has been impressive. Power is often the last tool to come so maybe he taps in a little more.

          • itzscott

            Olt…. Wow, one bad year and you guys are pretty much writing him off!

            I remember the 2012 trading deadline and how people on this board were salivating at the prospect of trading Garza straight up for Olt and how many of you wrote that Garza alone wasn’t enough to entice the Rangers to do that deal.

            • cms0101

              I wasn’t one of those. Even then I thought Olt was overrated. I was hoping the Cubs would go after the kid the Tigers have at 3rd now, moving Garza to Detroit. The Rangers themselves switched pretty quickly on Olt. In 2012 they wouldn’t move him in a deal for Garza, with an extra year of control. By 2013, they move him in a deal with their best pitching prospect and a few other pitching prospects for 3 months of Garza. If they were that down on him from one year to the next, why can’t I be too? I was never that high on him to begin with. But I recognize that he was considered a top prospect recently, and I appreciate that he could maybe find his way again. I just won’t count on it.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Because the biggest hole that the Cubs have is good starting pitching. If Olt plays well, then he is worth that, or at least a big part of that. *IF* Bryant handles 3rd and is hitting well, then the Cubs can do more to advance the entire team by turning Olt into a pitcher and putting Bryant at 3rd: they might easily improve output from both 3rd and the starting rotation.

          • CubFan Paul

            The Cubs need impact OFs just as much as they need impact pitching too.

            • DocPeter Wimsey

              Even if that were true (and I do not accept that it is), the bar is much lower for being an impact 3Bman than for being an impact corner OFer right now. Bryant has a much better chance at being the former than he has at being the latter.

          • cms0101

            The depth in the infield can be really beneficial as these guys all start to rise to the upper levels. And taking a fallen off guy like Olt and hoping he rebounds wasn’t a bad idea. If he does rebound, there will always be teams in need of a young power hitting 3rd baseman. I’d love to see Bryant at 3rd, but given the depth they have and his height, I suspect he will end up in the OF. Baez, Castro, Alcantara across the infield is what I’m betting on. Olt and Villanueva get moved for pitching. So many possibilities, it’s hard to predict anything. I know 2014 doesn’t look promising for the major league club, but it will be exciting to see which of these kids comes up first and how they perform during their first taste of the bigs.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            Turning Olt into a pitcher? Are you kidding me?

            • Fishin Phil

              I’m pretty sure he means trading him for a pitcher as opposed to waving a magic wand over him and saying “You are now a pitcher! *poof*”

              • DarthHater

                Unless the comment had been made by Die hard, of course…

                • jh03

                  Maybe Doc actually runs the Diehard account, just for fun, and he got confused which one he was posting from for a little bit.

                  • DarthHater

                    heh

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      I think the only thing Olt might do is afford the Cubs more time to let Baez and Bryant develop and not feel rushed to bring them up.

  • commander bob

    how come nobody is commenting on castro’s bank accounts being frozen in the dr? downside here is that countries like the dr don’t let people with situations like this exit the country and countries like the US don’t let guys like this in that have proceedings such a this open.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Source? Link?

    • C. Steadman

      they werent frozen…he had to pay $3.6m in settlements to the baseball academy he attended in the DR, bc his father signed a contract when Starlin was 15…

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-cubs-starlin-castro-legal-dispute-20131219,0,1717542.story

      • C. Steadman

        Castro will be allowed to leave DR and enter the US just fine…havent heard anything to the contrary…his pockets are just a little lighter

        • DarthHater

          “Castro will be allowed to leave DR and enter the US just fine…havent heard anything to the contrary”

          But, if you haven’t heard anything to the contrary, then why aren’t you assuming that he won’t be allowed to leave the DR and or enter the US? Wait, I know. Perhaps it’s because you have common sense!

          • C. Steadman

            haha yeah I guess i don’t know but I am strongly guessing he’ll be allowed to leave…that’s if he truly is in the DR right now and not somewhere else in the world…”Where in the world is Starlin Castro??”

            • cubfanincardinalland

              Leave the Castro, take the cannolies.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Its more a question on what position Baez plays. Baez comes up this year Castro’s position will be protected. Next year could be a way different story.

    • cms0101

      He’s going to play 2nd or 3rd, most likely 3rd.

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