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lukewarm stoveThe quiet of the holidays is likely to end next week. Still, there’s plenty to discuss …

  • The Nelson Cruz market continues to be slow, to put it kindly. The outfield slugger appears to have scared suitors off earlier in the offseason with some hilariously lofty demands (complete with rumors that he turned down a five-year, $75 million offer from the Mariners), and now budgets are shrinking and cocked eyes are becoming even cockier about a 33-year-old coming off a PED suspension. FanGraphs reviews the possible landing places for Cruz, and comes up with just one fit – Baltimore – though the Cubs and a handful of other teams qualify as a “stretch.” In terms of outfield composition and the theoretical desire to add a couple wins in 2014, the Cubs could use Cruz. At the outset of the offseason, I targeted him as an intriguing buy-very-very-low candidate for the Cubs, given their needs and the subsequent possibility of flipping him (for greater value than the second round pick it would cost to sign him). I suppose I could still see some surplus value if he has to settle for a two-year, $20 million contract – but, at that point, would he consider just sitting out until after the draft to remove the noose of draft pick compensation?
  • Ken Rosenthal continues to believe the Diamondbacks, who are among the suitors for Masahiro Tanaka, are more likely to sign a free agent starter than trade for one (i.e., Jeff Samardzija).
  • Speaking of trading for starters, once the Tanaka market sorts itself out (and the subsequent Garza/Jimenez/Santana market), we’ll see an uptick in trade rumors once again. With the Red Sox having more veteran starters than they can use, and John Lackey presenting a clear “sell-high, nice contract” opportunity, will he be another presence on the market to compete with the Cubs’ efforts to shop Samardzija (should that occur)? Ian Browne says it would take a “stunning development” like signing Tanaka to get the Red Sox to trade Lackey. Instead, they seem more likely to deal one of Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster, should they feel a trade is necessary.
  • Kiley McDaniel got folks talking earlier in the week with a report that the Yankees are going to pull a Cubs and go nuts on the international free agent market this year, and he now offers a little more clarity on the “why Yankees, why now” questions that popped up in the aftermath. He works in an apt tragedy of the commons reference, which means it’s a good read.
  • In an untended consequence that was foreseen by anyone paying attention long before the 2012 season, the market for non-elite free agents who received qualifying offers has once again been jacked. Jeff Passan writes about it here. Buster Olney here. As we’ve discussed, the problem isn’t solely the attachment of draft pick compensation; nor is it solely the draft changes (effective hard slotting with a bonus pool). It’s the combination of the two. Draft picks – and the pool space associated with them – are more valuable than ever. That’s tough noogies for Cruz, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Drew, and Kendrys Morales. The current CBA doesn’t expire until after 2016, and you can bet these twin issues will be addressed. It’s possible they could be changed even sooner, but I wouldn’t count on it.
  • Any time there are problems like this, inefficiencies arise. The inefficiency I see here? Teams with a protected first round pick, and with the ability to sit around and wait on the tough noogies free agents until January/February, should go nuts and grab as many of those types as they can in a single year. Why? Well, they stand to benefit not only from the depressed prices on the free agents, but they lose only a second round pick (and pool money) for the first guy they sign, and then a third/fourth/etc. pick for the latter guys. In other words, the effective price goes down for each additional guy you sign. Very few teams are going to be in a position to execute this kind of strategy, but the Cubs certainly are. The problem this year? Morales and Drew are not fits, and Cruz (as discussed above) is barely a fit. One of Santana or Jimenez could make sense, but probably not both. And then you’ve got the issue of convincing guys like these to actually sign with a rebuilding club whom you know is probably just looking to sign you for surplus value (which can later be captured in the form of a trade). Maybe next year?
  • Spoda17

    I am a little surprised that Garza has not been picked up by a non-Tanaka club. Although “a lot” of clubs will bid on Tanaka, realistically not all teams will be able to sign him.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Garza seems to be in play for Arizona, LA Angels, San Diego, Minnesota and Baltimore. It’s actually in Garza’s best interest to wait for Tanaka to sign in order to drive up the pricetag for his services.

      • Spoda17

        If I’m Garza, I’m not sure I want to wait until late January to sign with a team. I think Tanaka’s price will have no impact on the other free agents as for the annual average salary.

  • mosconml

    Is there any good reason that draft picks can’t be traded? That would seem to solve so many issues — draft pick overvaluation, it could help small market teams, it could allow “sign and trade” scenarios for these comp. pick FAs… I’m sure there are more upsides that I’m forgetting here.

    • ssckelley

      Instead of trading draft picks I think it would be neat if a new CBA included trading draft pool money like they can with IFA pool money. This could free up some moves and allow more flexibility to sign over slot players. There are teams that do not use up their entire draft pool money while others struggle to stay under.

  • AdamAE24

    They have to reform the draft pick compensation system. I think it some how needs to be based on the contract a player receives relative to the contracts of players at the same position.

    A guy like Cano who signs a contract with another team and is paid at the top of his position, is worth of the top level of draft pick compensation.

    Others are not and the tag attached to them is ridiculous, i.e. Kyle Lohse.

    • JB88

      Agree. I think the compensation was too far. The cap I could get behind, but the competitive draft picks is a joke (particularly given the level of revenue sharing now in place) and taking picks away from teams is similarly silly.

    • Voice of Reason

      AdamAE24,

      So Cano shatters his knee in a freak accident in May of 2014 and never plays again. Are the Yankees still worthy of a bigger draft compensation pick? What if Cano goes in the tank and hits. .210 with 5 homeruns in 2014? Are the Yankees still worthy of a bigger draft compensation pick?

      The way the compensation pick is set up right now is just fine.

      • JB88

        But why is it necessary in the first place? You already had a system in place that rewarded the team losing the player, why penalize the team signing him? You can say til you are blue in the face that it is for competitive reasons, but that isn’t true either. It is to placate small market teams who are already plenty placated (revenue sharing, luxury tax, competitive picks).

        • Voice of Reason

          There are small market teams signing free agents. They lose picks just like the larger market teams who sign free agents? That area is an even playing field, though there is the small argument that the larger market teams generally sign more free agents that qualify for compensation.

  • Jim

    Something tells me this offseason is just waiting for that one “domino” (Tanaka?). Could be a last minute flurry..

  • Jon

    With Nelson Cruz being an idiot and rejecting that deal by Seattle, I wonder if he would bite on a 1 year deal from the Cubs? Obviously the Cubs would have to pay a premium for the 1 year, but if he rebounds he could test FA again. He could be a bridge to Soler/Bryant in the outfield.

    • Jon

      Also I realize Cruz has his warts and I have bashed him myself, but you could have a real kickass platoon with Cruz and Shierholtz in right.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        There is no way that Cruz would go for that, and he will get a contract in the end that’s a bit much for just a one third time player.

        • Jon

          Well, I believe Cruz turned down 75/5(idiot) from Seattle. SO maybe you have to offer him 20 million a year, or maybe you go 2/38, and he can test FA again.

          LIke I said, I’ve bashed him before but maybe at this point people are turned off so much he actually becomes undervalued. Like I said I think if you used him properly in a platoon with Shierholz and also be aware of his defensive shortcomings that you have a solid RF platoon there.

          • Isaac

            While there may be a level where I would support it, $20mil for any amount of time (even one year) would lose me. He’d have to be very good (better than I think he is) to justify that or make him an attractive flip candidate.

          • Scotti

            $38 million for a platoon player? That’s nuckin’ futs.

      • Isaac

        What would you be willing to pay on a one or two year deal?

      • JakeMac

        It’s a nice thought, but I doubt Cruz would sign on somewhere on a short term “prove it” deal where he would only be part of a platoon. Imagine he’d sign on somewhere we he would be guarenteed ABs or have the ability to DH for extra playing time.

    • Chad

      I doubt that the cubs would give up a 2nd round pick for 1 year of Cruz.

      • Jon

        I get the protected 1st..but why do people overrate the 2nd round pick?

        • Isaac

          Couldn’t the opposite be said…”why do people underrate the 2nd round pick”?

          • Jon

            Because if you were to aggregate a 2nd round pick list history, both for this regime and the entirety of baseball, it wouldn’t be that impressive. Sure there are some hits, but a ton of misses.

            • Isaac

              I think it’s safe to settle on “we need more hits”….in many different ways. :-)

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Well, baseball as a whole will have a hard time getting more hits: the total talent pool is limited. Moreover, 2nd round picks are intermediate in success rate between 1st round picks and 3rd round picks (although closer to the latter).

                That tells us that baseball talent evaluators are doing their job.

                • Isaac

                  I agree, but in the day and age of FA’s being paid as they are (at their relative age), those top picks (high success rate or not) are going to be valued radically higher in the coming years.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            The success rate of 2nd round picks is much lower than that of 1st round picks. Now, if you value a 2nd round pick as if it were a 3rd round pick, then you are undervaluing it: but the probability of Cruz providing X WAR for the Cubs is much higher than the probability of a 2nd round pick providing X WAR for them.

            (That written, Cruz will provide it for a couple of years, and he probably will become a real liability in the OF soon: he’s not exactly Paul Blair right now! Heck, he might not even be Tony Blair….)

            • frank

              As a defender? He may be closer to Linda Blair.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Hey, every OF in MLB would sell their soul for that 360˚ head-turn trick.

        • JB88

          I think it wholly depends on when you are giving up compensation. If you intend to compete for a division and the playoffs, giving up a 2nd rounder should absolutely be considered. When you are giving up a 2nd rounder in a season in which you already do not intend to compete, how does adding a win or two with Cruz help the longterm future of your team?

          I think it is the timing of giving up that pick that determines its value. Cruz signed in isolation makes zero sense to the longterm prospects of the Cubs. Cruz signed along with four or five other players where you are aiming for the wild card, at least, makes a ton more sense.

        • Chad

          I’m not overrating the value of a 2nd round pick. I’m comparing the value of a 2nd round pick to 1 single season of Nelson Cruz. What is the point of signing him for a single season and losing the draft pick, and as you say, over pay for that one season? It doesn’t make sense to me. If you can sign him for 3 years on a reasonable deal I say yeah, that pick is worth it, but for 1 year, I don’t see the point of doing it.

          • JB88

            Agree. 1 year of Cruz makes little sense. I don’t know that Cruz makes a ton of sense for the Cubs period, particularly at a corner outfield spot. If Cruz were a CF’er, I’d be much more likely to support signing him for a short or longer term (i.e., 3-year) deal.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Cruz makes no sense for the cubs at what ever price he signs for. Draft pick comp, wrong side of 30, and PED links. No thanks.

      Let Cruz be some else’s bad FA signing

  • Isaac

    I love the idea of going hog-wild in a year with a protected pick. The only issue is, it’s obviously not this year, and will next year’s class have any talent left when we actually get there?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Probably not: one of the side-effects of the new CBA is to seriously reduce the amount of late 20’s talent that will be available as FAs. The early 30’s talent pool also has been hit: and they wind up taking “we’ll DH you the last 2 years” deals from AL teams.

  • Voice of Reason

    People have mentioned that signing Tanaka would help attendance in 2014.

    I’d much rather sign Nelson Cruz for one year to help put butts in the seats than to sign Tanaka for a number of years for big bucks. It hampers our flexibility if Tanaka doesn’t develop into that #1 or #2 starter.

    I agree with signing Cruz for one year if you can get him at a decent price. If he doesn’t work out then you’re done after a year and not committed to the money and the years that you would be if Tanaka should tank it. If Cruz is clubbing the ball at the trade deadline maybe he is tradeable?

    • Isaac

      I think I agree with this. I’ve become less and less inclined to make a huge splash the higher and higher the dollars get.

    • Blackhawks1963

      What makes you think Nelson Cruz will settle for a 1 year contract when his original goal was a 4 year deal? His leverage has clearly taken a hit, but he still is likely to get a better deal than a 1 year flyer. Baltimore, Seattle, LA Angels, Milwaukee, Cincinnati are just a handful of the teams I can think of who would have conceivable interest in Cruz right now.

      • Voice of Reason

        Who said he would settle for a one year deal?

      • Isaac

        I do not think he will settle for a one year deal. My statement was in regards to committing a huge amount to Tanaka.

        • Blackhawks1963

          Fine. I’m not a fan of Cruz, even on an interim basis. PED user, getting up there in age where regression is to be expected even if he was a clean player historically, lousy defensively in the outfield.

  • Jr 25

    Going back a couples articles in regards to Castro, everyone just needs to lay off the kid. He’s not even 24 and all you hear is now is the time to trade him cause he stinks or Baez isn’t to far away. But what people don’t realize is again he’s not even 24. Batted .300 plus the 2yrs before this last yr and was a 2 time All-Star. Baez will be good but his 44errors in the minors scare me, I see a move to 2nd or 3rd for Baez (unless Olt can see again and with Bryants limited range at 3rd I see Baez at 3rd). I blame ownership and Sveum for Castro’s struggles. Ownership shouldn’t of made a 21yr old kid the face of the Franchise and Sveum batting him all over the place and messing with his head. Castro will be fine its Rizzo I’m worried about!

    • Blackhawks1963

      The “he’s only 24″ argument rings very hollow with me. I’ve heard this tired rationalization for failure many, many times in my 40 plus years of being a Cub fan. Of most recent vintage with Corey Patterson and Felix Pie.

      There has been enough red flags and disturbing trends with Castro over the last two seasons to severely test my patience with him. He comes across as a player who got paid and no longer gives a rip. Unless Rick Renteria has Dr. Phil like powers and is willing to constantly shove a shoe up Castro’s keester, then I’m not optimistic on a magical transformation.

      • Voice of Reason

        Who said Starlin needs to transform?

        All he has to do is perform as he has in the past. Hell, even if he performs to the 2013 level he is worth what we are paying him. He’s a starting shortstop, playing every day and being paid $5 million dollars next year. Teams pay utility infielders that much money.

      • JB88

        Neither Pie nor Patterson ever were two-time All Stars. Neither Pie nor Patterson ever collected 170 hits in a season, let alone 200+ hits.

        You don’t have to like Castro as a player, but at least try a little harder than comparing him to Patterson or Pie.

        • Blackhawks1963

          I didn’t compare him to Patterson or Pie. I merely used the example for the “age” argument. Look, if every ballplayer in the big leagues was able to replicate their best season of performance the rest of their career then we would live in a league overwhelmed with players posting gaudy numbers and the like.

          Castro burst onto the scene in 2010 and 2011. But the league has adjusted and to date I have seen nothing out of Castro to suggest that he has the brains, work ethic or commitment to the game to recapture his early glory. And I’m sorry of this offends this majority of you, but it gnaws at me to witness time and time again his lackadaisical play. I find this sort of player to be a toxin…especially a player who is viewed as a major cornerstone piece and especially in light of the building strategy underway.

          I’m done commenting on this. My points have been made. Those of you who disagree are entitled to disagree.

          • JB88

            You might get a different reaction from people if you stopped saying things like Castro lacks “the brains, work ethic or commitment to recapture his early glory” or call his play “lackadaisical” or call him a “toxin.”

            Whether you believe/understand this or not, that is the main reason that people are and have been responding to you; not because you aren’t as high on Castro as some others may be.

            • Blackhawks1963

              Sigh. I provided my reasons for being very sour on Castro. You don’t like my reasons. But they are my reasons. Just like you have your reasons for being positive on Castro. By definition being negative on a ballplayer will conjure up non-positive reasons for why ! See how that works?

              • JB88

                Actually, I’ve not said a single thing on whether I am positive or negative on Castro. What I’ve said is that your analogy was misplaced and that you aren’t being attacked because you don’t like Castro, the player, but are being attacked because you are commenting on Castro, the person.

                I don’t think it is really a subtle difference, either. This isn’t some nuanced game where you could be right and I could be right at the same time. If this is a board that doesn’t permit name calling (and you repeatedly are calling Castro names), then only one of is right.

                • Blackhawks1963

                  Hmmm. So if you call Castro “awesome” and I call Castro “a toxin”, don’t both fall under your simplistic definition of name calling?

                  • JB88

                    Once again the strawmen arguments. First, not once in this back-and-forth have I called Castro “awesome.” In fact, I’m not sure a single person has called Castro “awesome”. But that is besides the point. This forum doesn’t have a rule against complementing someone. It does have a rule against calling someone names.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Except that there really were no trends with Castro: his performance over his first three years was so ridiculously consistent that it looked contrived. For example, prior to this season, Castro’s distribution of monthly BAs and OBPs perfectly fit the expected distributions given his career BA and OBP. You would expect more variation than that simply because of variation in opposing pitching (you get harder months and easier months) and things like the weather (hitting in the early spring is harder for a lot of batters than it is in mid-summer).

        Last year was an experiment, plain and simple: if we have an MLB player deliberately take a lot more pitches, will he improve his pitch recognition? The answer is: no, at least not in only 3 or 4 months. (Also, it appears that it takes MLB pitchers a LOT less time than that to realize that a guy isn’t going to swing at the first couple of pitches.)

        As for comparisons with Patterson, those are pointless. Patterson had a huge flaw in his game: he had no pitch recognition. Moreover, Patterson did not have the contact skills that Castro has: yes, Corey would annually hit a shoulder high or ankle high pitch for a homer, but he swung and missed hundreds of time for every time he did that. Now, Castro’s pitch recognition is not great: but he usually restricts his swings to pitches on which he can make contact (his K rate never was anything like Patterson’s), and he has a much bigger red zone than Patterson ever had.

        Other failed Cubs prospects have failed for the same reason: they had one major flaw in their game that got completely exploited in MLB. Attitude, etc., had nothing to do with it: asking a player to improve on a tool that he lacks is like trying to teach a fish to fly.

        • YourResidentJag

          Unfortunately, I see the same demise for one Junior Lake.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Yeah, I do, too.

            That written, I suspect that Castro will go back to being Castro. His style of hitting is very simple, and there do not seem to be particular types of pitches that fool him per se. I think that a lot of people were hoping for Derek Jeter, but we probably are looking at Edgar Renteria instead: and that’s not a bad thing. The difference is that a the best lineups can put a Jeter at the top of the order: but a good lineup has a Renteria batting 6th or 7th.

            • YourResidentJag

              Yep. That’s the problem I have with him in the batting order too. God, I wish Almora was up this coming season. Ugh. Oh well, hopefully he still supplies 1-2 WAR. All teams need those kinds of players.

  • TWC

    “Morales and Drew are not fits, and Cruz (as discussed above) is barely a fit. One of Santana or Jimenez could make sense, but probably not both. … Maybe next year?”

    Did you just say “Wait ’til next year”?!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Long time no see, in many senses.

      • TWC

        My ears were burning.

        • Fishin Phil

          I think that is your curling iron.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Question: has a Scott Boras client ever signed a Rizzo or Castro like contract? Bc Bryant and Almora are Boras clients and I’d hope if they both meet their ceilings that they’d sign a long -term team friendly deal to lock them up through their prime at a lower annual rate as if they were to get in arbitration and in their first couple years of FA.

    I know it’s way to early to start discussing that but still something to think about if they even ever pan out. Which I have high hopes they will. I don’t see boras settling for a Rizzo or Castro type of contract

  • Blackhawks1963

    Brett,

    Is it possible for you to periodically add “poll questions” under this new format? For example, over/under on signing Tanaka or over/under on the 2014 Cubs winning x ballgames, which prospect has the biggest impact in 2014, etc.? Would be fun if doable.

    Peace out.

    • miggy80

      Pretty good Idea coming from someone who talks a lot about garbage.

      [img]data:image/jpeg;base64,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  • NorthSideIrish

    I think the use of the QO needs to be more restricted, similar to the Franchise Tag in the NFL. It’s ridiculous to me that teams are able to offer multiple players the QO in a given off-season and just makes it easier for big market teams to accumulate extra comp picks.

    In the NFL, only one player can designated as the Franchise Player at a time and it restricts the player from leaving but pays them the average of the Top 5 salaries at their position. However, the team can only use it on one player so as to allow more player movement.

    I’d make it so teams can only make one QO per off-season or maybe a rule that they can’t use it in consecutive off-seasons. That would lead to fewer offers being made and compensation would be reserved for more elite level talent.

    • cms0101

      The franchise tag in the NFL is flawed too. Nobody ever gives up 2 1st round picks in the NFL, and there’s no signing bonus for the player, so they’re salary is essentially not guaranteed at all. Teams have been known to franchise a guy, wait for other teams to spend their cap money, then rescind the tag, leaving the player without a contract or team. Baseball’s QO is flawed, but I don’t know that they’ll try to mirror the NFL. I think teams should be allowed to offer as many as they want, but then the player should be allowed to accept it whenever he wants. If a team no longer wants that player, they’re able to rescind the QO and then there are no draft picks tied to that player go-forward. The QO should be used to keep a player you don’t want to lose, not prevent them from getting a contract and sneaking an extra pick in the draft. If you really want to keep the player, give him a QO and try to sign him. If not, let him go. if you’re just dumping a guy anyway, you shouldn’t be compensated with a draft pick. Unless you’re the Cubs and are trying to dump Carlos Pena…

      • NorthSideIrish

        I agree that MLB should not copy the NFL’s plan exactly, but I think limiting the number of QOs would solve some of the problems with the current system. It’s ridiculous that big money teams like the Red Sox and Yankees can stockpile extra picks while simultaneously hampering the player’s ability to get a new contract. If teams have to be more selective with their QOs, then you won’t see players like Lohse, Morales, and Santana having their markets limited.

        And the two first rounders thing in the NFL is only used with one of the lower level franchise tags. The Exclusive Franchise tag doesn’t have that attached to it.

        • JB88

          I agree with this sort of approach. It is clean; it provides teams an opportunity to protect certain of its assets, but it also gives players more freedom of movement. And it prevents the nonsence of a guy like Drew receiving a QO.

  • http://cubhouseblog.com CubHouseBlog

    I dont see the Cubs pursuing Cruz or him taking 2/20, I do think they need to lock up another outfielder though. Wouldnt mind seeing them give Chris Coghlan a camp invite. See if he can regain his ROY form.

    • Blackhawks1963

      The Cubs definitely need to add another outfielder. Right now the outfield mix is painfully weak. Nobody knows what to expect out of Junior Lake. He could be okay or he could be back at Triple A Iowa by June 1st for all we know. Sweeney is a journeyman who is being handed the starting keys to centerfield. I like Schierholtz, but honestly he should be platooned, which I presume Ruggiero is here to do.

      Absolutely need to add another outfielder to go with Lake, Sweeney, Schierholtz and Ruggiero. If / when Baez or Bryant factor into the outfield picture, then they can readily take over because each of our existing outfielders is of the replaceable variety.

      • jh03

        I’m just letting you know for future use, it’s Ruggiano. Not Ruggiero. Not being a dick.

    • ssckelley

      Since the Cubs have added Ruggiano I do not see them aggressively pursuing another outfielder. I think the Cubs are going to give Vitters a shot along with Ruggiano to provide platoon for Sweeney and Schierholtz plus they want to see what they have in Lake. They have multiple nonroster invitees if something falls apart. If the prices on some of these free agents drop then we might see the Cubs make a move, otherwise I think the Cubs will open with an outfield of Lake, Schierholtz, and Sweeney.

      • Voice of Reason

        Lake Schierholtz and Sweeney…. it makes me cringe!

        I’m not doubting that those three could be the starting outfielders. It just smells so strongly of another 95+ losses in 2014. Not to mention we don’t have a 3B or a 2B. Then add that Castro is coming off a down year offensively and Rizzo didn’t exactly light them up.

        But, I’m excited about the future and what the Cubs are doing!

        • JB88

          It is hard not to be extremely depressed about the 1-8 players the Cubs will field next year. But I try to keep the faith with the hope that Bryant and Baez are in Chicago mid-season and you are sporting an infield of Castillo, Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, and Castro.

          Land an OF or two in FA in 2014-15 and the 2015 team suddenly looks an awful lot better. Even better, Olt emerges and lands the 3B job and Bryant comes up in RF. That would require lots of prospects to emerge, but, if that happened, that is an awfully young and cheap team for the foreseeable future.

        • ssckelley

          I agree but the Cubs do not seem to be in any hurry to make any other moves other than Tanaka. I think the Cubs are going to give Olt every opportunity to win the 3rd base job, if he doesn’t then we may see another combination of Valbuena, Murphy, and possibly even Vitters comes into play here.

          2014 seems to be the year of the fringe prospects to either put up or get out. I think the Cubs will even give Jackson another shot. The Cubs need to find out if these players are worth keeping on the 40 man roster as there are prospects coming up that will be needing spots soon.

          • JB88

            Given the number of OFers the Cubs already seem likely to carry, I can’t see any world in which Jackson is on the opening day roster of the Cubs.

            If Olt wins the 3rd base job out of camp, I wouldn’t mind seeing Valbuena starting at 2nd over Barney. Or platooning with Barney.

            • ssckelley

              I can’t either but I see the Cubs giving him a shot this spring. Who knows perhaps all that talent will finally show through. After all he is good at everything except putting the bat on the ball.

          • Voice of Reason

            2014 is about the Cubs buying time until the minor league players are ready to come up to the bigs.

            All the off season signings are marginal players at best. It’s all part of the plan. They were never going to add Ellsbury or Choo or Cano and you can forget about Tanaka. The Cubs General Management team even came out and said they were not going to sign any big name free agents or add any major contracts this off season.

            This is all part of the master plan. I’m excited about the future.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    For the money we would be spending on Tanaka I would rather that we come to terms with Shark and sign Jimenez. It seems like I remember hearing that in the cubs case we would be losing our second round pick. Correct me if I am wrong. Jimenez is about the same age as Shark and that would really make for a solid rotation. This Tanaka thing scares me. I like his age etc., but the way he has been used is of concern. Talking about spending a 150 million on a guy when we can’t even pony up the cash to sign Samardzija makes no sense. We always have the off season next year to spend money and will be free of the Soriano contract.

    • jeff1969

      I’m not a huge fan of Shark, but signing him to an extension & signing Jimenez to a 3 or 4 year deal would be preferable to signing Tanaka imo. It’s not like if the Cubs extend & sign these two guys that they couldn’t trade them, even at the deadline in 2014. I know that’s kind of shady to do in 2014, but it is a business. Those two with Wood would give the Cubs a decent 1-3 to compete with, while the prospects filter in & out over the next 3 years maybe.

      • cubbiekoolaid2015

        I’m guessing he’s referring to Ubaldo Jimenez?

  • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com Tommy (TC)

    RE: the inefficiency you mentioned at the end. Not to toot my own horn, but I pointed that out last offseason after seeing the Indians do it. I’ve got a full read about it on the message board (and on my blog) from sometime around last season

    /shameless self promotion

  • itzscott

    What nobody seems to be considering is that Chicago has two major league teams, unlike Philadelphia, where the Phillies can be considered a monopoly.

    The Cubs will never get a deal like the Phillies or Dodgers as long as they share the city with the White Sox.

    • itzscott

      Oops… Wrong story

    • JB88

      Do you really think that is true? Sure the Cubs share the city with the Sox, but is there really any question that the Cubs are the dominant team in Chicago? Nothing stopped the Yankees or Dodgers from getting lucrative TV contracts despite the Mets and Angels sharing the same market.

      I guess I’m not that convinced that the Sox being in Chicago will impact the Cubs’ next TV contract one way or another.

      • itzscott

        I know it’s hard to believe, but NY and LA are vaster in area and population than Chicago.

        The Cubs are dominant on the northside, the Sox on the southside.

        • JB88

          Thank you for the geography lesson. Having lived in Chicago all my life (despite my significant business travel to NY and LA), I never realized that New York and Los Angeles had larger populations. That’s amazing.

          What is further amazing is that Chicago is third largest TV media market after LA and NY. It is certainly hard to fathom how the No. 3 TV media market might not be able to support a substantially larger contract where the fan base is deemed to be substantially larger than its counterpart and also boasts one of the most marketable parks in the game.

          • Cizzle

            But they already have a TV contract…2 of them! Would they prefer to scrap both deals and start over? Of course! But that’s not realistic to assume they can magically do that and thus have an additional $50M in revenue for 2014.

            Also having a “marketable” park is good and all…unless you can’t market it because of another 10 year old agreement (with the rooftops) that limits their promotions. They can’t magically get out of that too (as far as we know) and thus have an additional $20M in revenue for 2014.

            What people forget about our “Big Market” team, is that their revenues are SEVERELY hamstrung by contracts for the two easiest sources of revenues (ads/promotions & TV rights) signed pre-Ricketts.

            • Wilburthefirst

              At the moment the Cubs appear to be in baseball hell … A bad big market team with a small market financial profile.

              Can’t prove it as no one can see the financials and accurately assess current revenue, costs and debt. However, we do know “new” revenues are somewhere in the future and not readily accessible to owner.

              While I understand and support FOs not sharing details of their long range plans, it will make a good read in ten years when someone writes the book. About then we’ll know if it was a comedy, tragedy, or epic thriller.

        • Voice of Reason

          itzscott,

          You get an “A” in Geography and an “F” in Business.

    • Voice of Reason

      itzscott,

      You would be totally incorrect in saying that the Cubs will never get a deal like the Phillies or Dodgers as long as they share the city with the White Sox.

  • CubFan Paul

    “Maybe next year?”

    I pounded the table for them to do it last offseason…

    • BT

      Who did we miss out on?

    • JB88

      He is talking about Jimenez. And I will confirm that I remember him (and Kyle, I believe) pounding the Jimenez drum over Jackson.

      • CubFan Paul

        “He is talking about Jimenez”

        Who the hell is Jimenez?

        • YourResidentJag

          Ubaldo Jimenez.

          • CubFan Paul

            He’s a free agent now, alongside Garza & E.Santana.

  • Jon

    Oliver has Ruggiano for 4.5WAR in 2014, is that a typo?

    • Jason P

      That’s odd.

  • Jon

    I disagree that Stephen Drew is not a fit. His bat plays at 2nd..assuming he would be open to playing there, I wouldn’t mind him on a 2 year deal as well.

    • Cizzle

      Ew, Stephen Drew? Would you really give him a 2 year deal and lose out on a 2nd round pick? I was amazed the Red Sox gave him a QO and even more surprised he turned it down!

  • Voice of Reason

    Stephen Drew? I’d rather let Barney play there so we can be sure he really does stink.

    Why in the WORLD would you want Stephen Drew?

    • Jon

      Because Stephen Drew is much better at baseball than Darwin Barney?

      • Isaac

        Drew’s 2011 and 2012 seasons beg to differ.

        • Jon

          Why are you ignoring 2013? And 2014 projections?

          • Isaac

            I am not ignoring it. I am saying that if you look at the last three years, he has not been good. He isn’t getting any younger, either. He is also going to make at least 10x what Barney is. Value has to be considered…he has not provided value.

        • bbmoney

          Drew was hurt those seasons (one terrible injury). His 2011 was actually going quite well. 1.7 fWAR in 354 PAs is pretty good. i’ll cut him some slack for 2012 given the nature of the injury.

          He’s a better, more complete player than Darwin Barney.

          I could get behind a 2 year deal for something like 25M total. He’d have some trade value if prospects push him out of a job, otherwise I bet he’d earn that deal pretty easily. Not a star, but at least an average regular when healthy. I doubt 2 and 25 would get it done though.

          • Cizzle

            Why would Stephen Drew accept a 2 year $25M contract when he turned down a 1 year $14M QO?

            • JeffR

              It is 11 million more guaranteed. Not saying he would accept it just stating facts.

      • Voice of Reason

        Just the fact that you mentioned signing Stephen Drew and debating that they should sign him because he is better than Barney makes me not want to respond at all to your comment because your baseball knowledge is more than in question.

        I hope you have a Happy New Year!

        • Jon

          You are the biggest kool aid drinking lemming on this site, so coming from you, that’ means nothing.

      • Chad

        Lots of people are better at baseball than Barney. Doesn’t mean they make sense for the cubs to sign.

        • JB88

          I like Drew. And if he wasn’t looking for more than $13MM per year and didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him, I’d be more enthusiastic about signing him. But given those two items—and the fact that the Cubs will eventually have a glut of middle infielders who look infinitely better than Drew—I wouldn’t pursue him and am glad the Cubs haven’t.

        • Jon

          And yet here we stand, going into 2014, with a black hole at 2nd base w/Barney.

          • Chad

            Is Stephen Drew going to make the cubs a contender? No, no he’s not. He would help with multiple other moves that we know the cubs can’t make right now. People are waiting for Baez to come up and see what he can do. Why put an expensive multiyear player in his way when i won’t make the difference? It doesn’t make sense.

            • Jon

              Why put an expensive multiyear player in his way when i won’t make the difference?

              For the exact points highlighted in the last point blog.

              Because if you have a protected first, you have a advantage when it comes to singing guys like this.

              • JB88

                Brett’s point was that you need to sign a lot of them at the same time because the relative costs go down. He wasn’t advocating signing only one (Drew).

                Maybe I’m missing it, but were you suggesting that Cubs sign Drew along with a host of other players out there tied to draft pick compensation?

          • JB88

            But why would you sign Drew—for any length of time—if you expect that one of Castro or Baez will be manning that position at some point in the sesaon?

            That’s what I don’t understand when people advocate signing Drew. Drew makes sense as a stopgap or a final piece, but when you expect Baez to be up at some point in 2014 (or at the latest 2015), why would you give up draft pick compensation for a player who (a) isn’t going to help you contend; (b) is going to cost draft pick consideration; and (c) will either effectively block a player the organization expects will be superior or will become superfluous once that player comes up?

            • Jon

              Last I checked the organization has no plans moving Baez off short, and we don’t know how Castro’s bat would play at 2nd.

              • JB88

                I don’t think the organization has said that about moving Baez or not. I think Theo and Hoyer have said they have no immediate plans to move Baez, which, while he is still in the minors, makes sense.

                And it is crazy to me to think that someone would argue that a bat that plays at SS (Castro’s, here) would potentially not play at 2nd.

              • Chad

                So instead of a potential internal option, which costs us the minimal contract that would be Baez. You suggest the cubs give up a 2nd round pick, which I grant you is not a big deal for the right player, and pay a lot to a guy that you don’t know who would be willing to move to 2nd base either? If Baez comes up either he or Castro will have to move. Why not Castro moving to second, not that big of a stretch. But does Stephen Drew’s bat profile any better at 2B than Castros? I’m not sure that it does assuming Castro doesn’t have another catastrophic season (but if he does where does his bat profile at?). My point is that yes, it would make sense for the cubs to take advantage of the current CBA, but only for the right player, and I don’t think Drew is the right player to do that with.

              • CubFan Paul

                “the organization has no plans moving Baez off short”

                False. They’ve said, this offseason that baez would play other positions in Spring to prepare him for his eventual call-up

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    ll the speculation about where Baez plays is making me dizzy. Personally I like the idea of Baez playing second base and staying there. Of course if Castro should continue to self destruct then of course Baez could play short. That would be a sticky situation for the FO seeing that they have locked him up as a core piece. To be able to get premium production from a spot that is normally reserved for light hitting defensive type guys would be a win, win. I think that Bryant should at least get a chance to play third base before he is relegated to the outfield. Alcantara could be our utility man while things were being sorted out. Keeping Barney around to play that role would be a much more expensive option.

  • Ballgame17

    Castro has to eliminate the mental lapses when in the field. He’s manned up everytime he’s had one which is encouraging, but he needs to go stop allowing it to happen. I truly believe confidence in the field is correlated with confidence at the plate. His hitting should come back around this year. Towards the end of the season (last 6 wks or so), Castro seemed to go back to his original mindset at the plate and he started hitting the ball a lot better and more consistently…I’m confident that Rizzo/Castro will turn it around this year!

    This Tanaka situation is such an interesting and intriguing one. If and when should the Cubs go all in or back out? Scary proposition, but the FO has go after it at some point.

  • Cubsin

    Even if Olt’s vision fails him again, the Cubs still have Castro, Barney, Vizcaino, Murphy, Baez, Bryant, Alcantara and Villanueva who could possibly hold down 2B, SS or 3B at some point during the 2014 season. I see no reason to spend money or lose a second-round pick for Drew.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Viscaino is a pitcher, not an infielder.

      • DarthHater

        It is my understanding that he also is not a belly itcher.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          I am informed that the area that itches is below the belly. LOL

      • JeffR

        He must mean valbuena

      • Voice of Reason

        I’d still rather have vizcaino at 2b over drew

        • DarthHater

          heh

          • CubFan Paul

            Hilarious.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Bill Madlock made All Star team as contact hitter – if Cubs let Castro be himself he can be more successful than MadDog

    • DarthHater

      Madlock’s career OBP and career SLG are both higher than Castro has achieved in even a single season. Castro has a long way to go to be a better hitter than Madlock.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Can’t slug if cant connect and Castro was connecting before setback as was Sandberg before he learned how to slug- Castro could win comeback of year now that have new mgr and his personal problems of love and money now settled

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Not sure that the money problems are solved yet.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Sandberg didn’t “learn” how to slug. His first couple of years in MLB, he was told to just put his bat on the ball because that is what middle infielders were supposed to do. Jim Frey followed Earl Weaver model and simply told Ryno to take full cuts.

          Ryno had a much better pitch recognition than Castro, or at least Ryno’s much higher miLB and MLB walk rates would suggest so.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Madlock is more of a warning than a model here. Madlock was good at contact: at Castro’s age, he was K’ing about 55% of league average. Castro K’s about 70% of league average. However, Madlock had some pluses, too: he walked at near league average whereas Castro walks about 65% of league average, and Madlock got 10% more XBH than league average whereas Castro basically does league average for XBH.

      The real warning is that Madlock was perceived as one of those guys who “failed” in his potential in the 1970’s. However, that was an illusion created by a couple of years in which he had great BABiP. (It was 0.370 in 1975!) In years where Madlock’s BABiP was below league average, his average suffered, and supposedly he was “slumping”: even though his K, BB & XHB rates were remarkably constant.

      Again, this is why we really should be looking for an Edgar Renteria type career out of Castro.

      • DarthHater

        I could live with Edgar Renteria.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Renteria did walk a bit more than Castro does (or ever will), but the K & power numbers were very similar at the same ages. However, Renteria came with the same warnings: his “good” years were driven by high BABiP. 2003 was his one exceptional year: not only did he have high BABiP, but his XBH & BB rates also were high, and his K rate was low (for his standards). Of course, his best BABIP year (2007 with Atl) was offset by somewhat *bad* numbers in all three categories, again by his standards!

          Ah, Eris is a fickle goddess….

  • Diehardthefirst

    FO MO is to dumpster dive- Marmol available and making a comeback

  • DarthHater

    If there was any lingering shadow of a doubt whether this is our own true Die hard, it ha snow been dispelled. :-D

  • Diehardthefirst

    If registering wasn’t so confusing I would’ve been on sooner– I feel like I just went thru a fraternity initiation sans the suds

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Someone squatted on your name, which was part of the problem. Let me know if you want me to fix it so you can have “Die hard” back.

      • DarthHater

        That would get my vote.

        • Abe Froman

          Yea what the fudge, squatting on taken names should not be abided, good on you Brett for offering to set it straight.

      • LJ

        I as well went through hell trying to login and had to use a new user name,arrrrgh.

  • Diehardthefirst

    With Loney signing Rays one starter away from WS — Shark would do well in those waters

    • DarthHater

      Not sure if sharks and rays get along…

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, neither has an ossified bone to pick with the other…

        As for Loney, well, the Rays are welcome to him. I’ve never had any use for Loney.

  • Justin

    The compensation thing for the signing team is so ridiculous. Basically teams that are picking between 10 and 20 are out on most guys, and unless it’s a stud like Cano most teams wouldn’t consider giving up a first round pick at all for a guy. Is it that hard to have a scale for free agents and the amount the signing team has to give up?? It just seems so dumb that Kendry Morales and Cano would have the same compensation price to the signing team. And I would love to see who actually gives Morales a deal anyway…

  • LJ

    One thing that amazes me on whoever signs Tanaka is that he’s likely to get more on a contract than Yu Darvish got, a paltry 6 yrs.@ 56 million. The posting system supposedly gives the team posting a player a maximum of 20 million and the player gets likely the money the team would have gotten added to the player bid. Tanaka could be getting upwards of 7 years at 175 million. I’m betting Tanaka signs with Seattle at less than the other strong bidders like the Cubs or Yankees make. The Dodgers or Mariners being west coast teams have the upper hand. Theo’s proclamation of we won’t be outbid doesn’t hold water with me IMO.

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