Quantcast

welington castilloThanks so much to those of you who’ve done some Amazon shopping since I mentioned BN’s new relationship with Amazon on Monday. I added a link up there to the left (“Support BN at Amazon”), which will take you straight to Amazon. The Wife told me that I should also let folks know that the easiest way to help out is to just change your Amazon bookmark to http://www.bleachernation.com/amazon – that link takes you directly to Amazon, but it tells Amazon that you came by way of BN. For those of you who regularly use Amazon anyway, it’s an easy way to support BN in the process while doing nothing differently whatsoever.

OK, on to Bullets …

  • Tony Andracki writes about Welington Castillo’s fantastic 2013 season, and his future as “the” Cubs catcher. Castillo is due for some regression with the bat, but if his defensive strides last year were legit (and especially if they continue), he’ll still be an above-average starter. I’m sure the Cubs are thrilled to have Castillo in place, but, man, any time I think about the catching situation going forward, I get itchy. I like George Kottaras as the back-up, but that’s truly it. The Cubs have scratched and clawed to pick up some depth pieces, and maybe Rafael Lopez emerges as a legit future back-up option. But … if Castillo gets serious hurt, or if his future is derailed for any reason, it’s a grim, grim situation long-term. The Cubs have Will Remillard (a well-liked college catcher drafted in 2013) and Mark Malave (a kid who just turned 19 and was moved (back) to catcher this year) to dream on, but there’s no obvious future starting-caliber catcher making his way up the ranks. Castillo is plenty young enough (26) to carry the Cubs through the wave of talent that could make them competitive as soon as 2015, but you’ve got to have more than one guy.
  • (The Cubs, by the way, are not alone in this struggle for quality catching depth – increasingly, the best hitting catching prospects are moving off of the position at younger ages to preserve their health and focus development attention on their bats. I wonder if banning home plate collisions will have a long-term impact on kids’ willingness to stay (and organizations’ willingness to keep them) at catcher.)
  • Jim Callis notes some interesting financial bits when it comes to the top 100 prospects in baseball – the Cubs have the two most expensive guys on the list (Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant), as well as two of the least expensive (Arismendy Alcantara and C.J. Edwards). Diamonds in the rough are great, and it still happens, but teams are clearly getting better and better at identifying top talent – the vast majority of the top 100 were big-ish money signings.
  • A number of former Cubs reflect on their time at, and memories of, Wrigley Field.
  • The Cubs are getting at least one ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Game. It’s against the Cardinals on May 4. ESPN loves the Cubs! Except then I see that the Cardinals have four ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Games through July 20, so clearly ESPN just wanted to get another Cardinals game on the schedule. Yet another reminder: when you’re good, people pay attention and give you opportunities to make more money.
  • Garrett Schlecht didn’t work out as an outfield prospect with the Cubs, so he’s been released, and now he’s a pitching prospect with the Rockies. Best of luck to him.
  • Everyone knows that free agent prices are going up, but as Dave Cameron notes as FanGraphs, the ascent in the last five years in particular has been unbelievable. It happened so fast.
  • Perhaps ZiPS really was high (relatively speaking) on the Cubs for 2014, and not just generous to everyone: if you want to see what hilariously bad projections look like, check out the Astros. Their rotation projects to be worth 1 WAR. One. Uno. A singular win above replacement level for the entire rotation. The bullpen is worth 0, and no position is worth more than 2 WAR (i.e., an average big league starter) except catcher (Jason Castro). Maybe that number one pick in 2015 isn’t a holy lock for the Cubs. The question here: I know the Astros are sticking to their plan (and, given the current CBA, I won’t criticize them for it), but at what point is MLB a little annoyed about Houston running away with the worst record in baseball for a fourth consecutive year? They lost 106 games in 2011, 107 in 2012, and 111 last year. That’s exceptional.
  • Beyond the Boxscore on K% and BB% – which is more important when it comes to pitcher success? No surprise, super low BB% and super high K% each make for a good pitcher. It appears that the high K% guys tend to be more valuable, overall, than the low BB% guys, but it’s pretty darn close.
  • Diamondrock

    I believe Koyie Hill is available.

    • jp3

      Damn, you beat me to it. He does “call a good game” though.

      • Diamondrock

        I knew somebody was going to say it. I figured it might as well be me.

        I was hoping that someone would toss in the “calls a good game,” so thanks for that!

        • md8232

          Girardi could have been player / coach.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    That surprises me a bit on high K% guys being (slightly) more valuable. They tend to throw a lot more pitches, leave games earlier, and tax the bullpen more…right? Shark, I’m looking at you.

    • Edwin

      Not neccessarily. Walks drive pitch counts more than K’s.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/walks-strikeouts-and-pitch-counts/

    • Edwin

      People made the same critisism of Rich Harden, but it wasn’t the K’s that drove his pitch count up, it was his BB%. That’s why it’s helpful to look at K/BB ratio, and also K%-BB%.

    • Noah_I

      The strikeouts drive up pitch counts thing has been determined to be a myth. While strikeout pitchers may average more pitchers per batter, they face less batters than a pitcher with a similar walk rate who pitches to contact more.

  • TimBeam

    Brett, what do you think the chances of signing Jason Hammel is?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’ll have other suitors, but I suspect the Cubs are as interested as any team.

  • jcoffey89

    I order 2 or 3 books from Amazon a week, so from now on I will use the BN link. Not sure how much it will help, but it has to be more than what I am currently doing. Which is absolutely nothing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Every little bit counts – I really appreciate it.

  • ChrisFChi

    That wife of yours is a smart cookie. I’ve since changed my amazon bookmark.

    I’ve been thinking about that lack of catching for a while now. Is it inconceivable that the Cubs maybe use a few later round picks (e.g. 4-7) and scoop up some young catching this draft? Granted our need is for pitching, but without reliable backstops for that pitching, I shudder at the thought of all those passed balls…

    • D-Rock

      Changed my bookmark as well. Nice to know I can support BN while selfishly ordering things for me and my family. Well done, Brett!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        You rock, D-Rock.

        • CubFan Paul

          It’s the bandanna.

  • Jon

    If MLB were to be annoyed with the Astros, then they should be annoyed as well with the Cubs, as they are doing the same thing.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s just not true. Compare rosters over the past three years. Compared transactions. It’s really not close, as crappy as the Cubs have performed.

      • Jon

        I’m looking at Edwin Jackson being the major variance of course. Other than that, pretty much both teams have stuck to lightweight FA acquisitions to fill out their roster.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The Astros traded away every single player of consequence and salary over a two-year period. The Cubs did not.

          • Jon

            Well, if you look at the major position players they let go

            Hunter Pence
            Michael Bourn
            Lance Berkman

            Berkman was kind of our Aramis Ramierz…still get hit, but get older and didn’t fit the plan. Both teams move on.

            Would the Cubs have kept Bourn and Pence? That begs the question.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              Pence yes because he was young and promising when they traded him, Bourne I think they would’ve traded away if the return was right.

            • mjhurdle

              So what you really meant was not that that the Cubs have done the same thing as the Astros, but rather that, if you take away everything that is different and speculate on what the Cubs would have done with other teams players on their roster, they might be similar?

            • TWC

              “… Cubs have kept Bourn and Pence? That begs the question.”

              No, it don’t. But it does raise the question.

              • Edwin

                Thank you. “Begs the question” is one my pet peeves.

              • Jon

                If only Brett would give us an edit option, I would go fix that….

            • JadeBos

              The Cubs tried to trade ARam but he was either 10/5 or NTC, I forget. Either way he wouldn’t allow the Cubs to trade. So the Brewers will pay him 16 mil this year and another 4 million to buyout the year after.
              We got Pierce Johnson instead of signing a 34 yr old guy who wanted multi years, showed questionable commitment, and had started to show steep decline.

              • Jon

                Again, I’m not saying letting Ramirez go was bad or anything, I”m just comparing it to Astros letting Berkman go.

                Also

                “questionable commitment”

                This was always a pet peeve of mine when Aramis was here. Media heads like Kaplan and Rozner liked to trumpet this around. Ramirez worked his ass off (from becoming a poor defender) to becoming a pretty decent defensive 3rd baseman as a Cub. I never questioned his commitment.

                • JadeBos

                  ARam was great and then he got hurt in 09 missed May/June came back and looked good. Next year he looked, old, outta shape and sucked for the first 3 months. Heated up in July and finished strong. In ’11 he again started slow. Had 3 Hrs total in April May – carried a low 700ops into late June. Again heated up and finished with decent numbers.
                  Even Brenley questioned his work ethic. Seemed like he was playing his way into shape or just getting old. He was getting bad at 3B
                  I loved ARam but it did kinda looked like he dogged it a bit the last 2 years as a Cub.

                  • Brocktoon

                    Brenly questioned everyone’s work ethic. He also wanted to hit and run every other play. he was an old timey baseball goof.

                    Ramirez is probably the most underappreciated cubs player in my 30 years of life and it’s buffoons like rozner and Kaplan that have driven this insane narrative that he didn’t care. Still drives me nuts

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            Exactly, the Cubs did a great job if flipping short term and expiring contracts at each deadline at thier maximum value. The Astros sold everything away quickly to get to the cellar and stay there for half a decade and cover number one draft picks. If they are successful it will be interesting to see another team do the exact same thing.

          • When The Musics Over

            We’re splitting hairs here. By and large, both teams are trying to lose (of course excl. the first half of 2013 for the Cubs), the Astros are just doing a better job of it. I’m guessing that’s primarily because they have an easier fan base to placate (less angry).

            So from 2011 – 2013 the Astros averaged 108 loss and the Cubs averaged 96 losses. The Astros may be losing more games, but both products are virtually unwatchable and should be taken as embarrassing for both franchises (plan or no plan).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              “We’re splitting hairs here.”

              We’re really not. Setting aside the 12(!) loss average difference (which is far more significant than you make it out to be), the Astros’ payroll last year was $29 million. The Cubs’ was $101 million.

              That’s the biggest damn hair I’ve ever seen.

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                It’s nearly Tidrow Stashe Hair in its epic size.

              • When The Musics Over

                A lot of that 2013 salary was “deadish” money they couldn’t move for the the personnel they wanted in return (Soriano, Marmol), another part for flippable assets (Feldman, Garza, Schierholtz) and another huge chunk they regret (Jackson). If you remove Soriano’s dead money, Jackson’s contract they regret and Shark possibly being moved, the Cubs payroll this year will approach Astros territory.

                The Cubs have, to an extent, had to maintain a slightly higher payroll to placate fans, another part because they weren’t as efficient at tearing the team down (for various reasons) and the last part because of the flippable asset tactic.

                What I mean by splitting hairs is purposeful losing. The Astros have done a better job at it. I don’t care about 95 vs. 105 losses if you have no chance to make the playoffs. Haven’t the Cubs front office members themselves echoed that very same sentiment over and over again the past few years?

                • When The Musics Over

                  And I forgot about Villenueva, Fujikawa, Baker, DeJesus, Hairston and Stewart as flippable asset salary.

                  • CubChymyst

                    But would they have been flipped if the Cubs where competitive? The FO brought in all of those guys because they thought they be good players.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Probably not, but flipping them was certainly an obvious contingency plan, one they employed in full force once they deemed it a lost season. And that dual edged plan, one that was stressed by the front office upon taking over, has been completely abandoned this offseason. They got sorta slapped in the face by last year and now they have reset their plan course.

                    • hansman

                      There is the difference between the two organizations. The Astros have made 0 attempts to be competative the last 5 years. The Cubs have attempted to be competative until it was clear they had no shot at the playoffs.

                      With positive variance last year, the Cubs probably wouldn’t have sold at the deadline.

                      And yet, their farm systems aren’t that different.

                    • hansman

                      “They got sorta slapped in the face by last year and now they have reset their plan course.”

                      How did they get slapped in the face?

                    • CubChymyst

                      I agree the flipping was the contingency plan and they did go all out each season when they used it. Which lead to a bad second half and a high draft pick. The first half last season the cubs had a 0.452 win percentage and the Astros 0.351. The Cubs made more of an effort to win then the Astros did to start the season. Could that effort have been better is a different arguement, but the Cubs did more then the Astros did to win going into each year.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Jeff Luhonow took over as GM of the Astros in 2011, the same as Theo. Since most fans act like Theo and Crew are BC/AC [(Theo being Christ) (very often even including Baez and any other prospect around "BC", such as Alcantara, as a triumph of the current front office], the same should 100% be done for the Astors and Luhonow.

                      With that as my baseline. I don’t see much of a difference. The Cubs made an attempt to be competitive for half of last year. Not in 2012, not in 2014.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Slapped in the face? They realized/admitted they made a mistake this offseason. The slap being the realization. Then they changed their course of action.

                      Same reason my mom slapped me growing up and my dad physically punished me, in the hopes of me changing my behavior. The Cubs changed their behavior this offseason.

              • md8232

                So at $6,000,000 per extra win, the Cubs need a payroll of $180,000,000 to reach the playoffs?

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Better make it $270,000,000, just to be sure.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          You’ve got to be kidding or is your pessimism so blinded you that you don’t see the difference between the Cubs and Astros? The Cubs horrible record is related to the extreme sell off they’ve done in last couple years, the Astros were doomed to lose 100 games when each season started. We are nowhere as bad (but the future will show if that would be better long term) as the Astros during thier rebuild. There is a significant difference and if you don’t see it I’m sorry for how life must look to you.

          • Jon

            “There is a significant difference and if you don’t see it I’m sorry for how life must look to you.”

            I’m just pointing out there isn’t much of a difference between what the Cubs and Astros are “doing”. Hey in the long run it might pay off big time for both teams.

            Feel free to give us another kum ba yah speech like the other night though..that was sweet.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              Oh you sad sad man, joy is not a word you understand do you?

              • Jon

                Again it’s not negativity, I am simply pointing out, that if MLB was to be pissed about what the Stros are doing, I’m sure they will be pissed about the Cubs as well. So the Cubs have only been losing games in the mid 90′s for 4 years, not the mid 100s….that is still awful. Don’t you think MLB would like to put the Cubs on more than one Sunday night game? They have the potential to be a major cash cow from a national broadcasting perceptive.

                I don’t think MLB cares what either team is doing to be honest, and if so, Selig can shove it up his arse. Overslotting was a lifeline that small market teams could use to play with the big boys.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  I agree the slot system (and the penalties) was a horrible idea and hampers the teams it was suppose to help. It’s your constant angry, pessimistic bile you always resort to that worries me. Nobody should be that disgusted by a recreational distraction like baseball. I’m not happy with how things have played out but I’m not wasting my energy on writing down that disgust every single day. There are many socio-political issue that could use this level of negative passion, but to waste it on basebal (which should give you joy and happiness) is a waste of time- yiu understand that don’t you?

                • Bull Durham

                  Jon, your missing the point of the original comment. It’s not just about trying to be lose games, it’s about making no financial attempt at even fielding a competitive team. Most people thought the Cubs had a shot to at least be competitive last year, whereas the ‘stros were in the conversation about the worst MLB team in modern history. Their entire team’s salary was $26 million! Or as I like to think, roughly Robinson Cano’s AAV.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              In other word life is too precious to spend thisuch time and effort being upset about a baseball team. Be upset we all are but to spend as much time as you do complain ding good for your health. ITS JUST BASEBALL!

              • Brocktoon

                So you can only waste precious life time talking positively about baseball?

        • hansman

          At least the Cubs are far better at getting minor league talent into the system than the Astros.

          • Edwin

            Don’t the Astros have a pretty good farm system?

            • ssckelley

              They do but it has been pointed out several times there is a difference in how both the Cubs and the Astros got good farm systems.

              • Edwin

                I don’t see much difference, to be honest. The Astro’s have had higher picks each year, but both teams have rebuilt their farm systems mostly through high draft picks. Baez, Almora, and Bryant are all from the draft, not from trades.

                • hansman

                  Even with 3 years of #1 draft picks plus 3 more years of higher draft picks than the Cubs, they still will only have a farm system that is roughly as good as the Cubs.

                  • Jon

                    I’m not following this?

                    The Astro’s started their bottoming out in 2009 and began with high draft picks starting in 2010

                    The Cubs are 1 year behind that, with high draft picks starting in 2011.

                    Both teams now possess a top 5 farms system in baseball.

                    They seem right on the same paths. Ideally, Deshields should be further along either as a higher ranked prospect or helping the big club now..that’s the big differnece.

                    • hansman

                      I am counting this draft as well and assuming they should be able to get roughly equal talent.

                      Also, the Astros started having higher draft picks than the Cubs in 2008.

                      I’m just saying, considering that the Cubs and Astros have taken different paths with the big league teams (one of these teams has actually spent money on the MLB roster), the Astros should be running away with the greatest farm system ever. Instead, they are a top-5 system.

                      (not saying their farm sucks, just saying the Cubs have done a better job of acquiring talent)

                    • Jon

                      “Astros should be running away with the greatest farm system ever. Instead, they are a top-5 system”

                      Part of the problem..I think for both teams, is that while they have bottomed out for high picks, there hasn’t been that “phenom/stud(aka undisputed #1 pick, can’t miss)” since Harper/Starsburgh. If you were to tank for a period of seasons, that was the time to do it.

                    • On The Farm

                      ““phenom/stud(aka undisputed #1 pick, can’t miss)””

                      Buxton was easily considered the #1 pick the year he was in the draft class. He wasn’t considered the next Trout at the time, but he was the #1 and I was thinking Corriea was viewed as the #5 pick.

                    • Coop

                      ^ Yep. Although I am sure the Astros are pleased with Corriea (and he is a top 10 prospect), I am also willing to bet that they wish they had Buxton instead. However, part of their strategy was finding a top talent that could be had for cheap to allow more money to be spread to other picks. And I am too lazy to look up who their other overslot picks were. So maybe the Astros are fine with how it turned out…

                    • Jon

                      I believe they got McCulters using their saved money.

                  • Edwin

                    Some consider it better than the Cubs. And either way, the point remains, both teams have built their farm systems basically the same way. The Astros just took a more extreme path.

              • Jon

                Carlos Correa – 1st Round Draft Pick
                Jonathon Singleton – Pence Trade
                George Spring -1st Round Draft Pick
                Mark Appel – 1st Round Draft Pick
                Lance McCullers – Supp Pick

                Javier Baez – 1st Round Draft PIck
                Kris Bryant – 1st Round Draft Pick
                Albert Almora – 1st Round Draft PIck
                Jorge Soler – IFA
                Arismendy Alcantara – IFA

                I don’t see much of a difference, outside of Signgletan came via the Pence trade, and Soler was a IFA. Both have relied heavily on top draft picks.

                • When The Musics Over

                  Yep, splitting hairs. Time will tell which players end up as better MLB players, but the end result is pretty much the same, with both teams selecting in the top 5 yet again this year, and likely yet again for the 2015 draft. Purposeful losing is purposeful losing. One team has just taken it a bit more to the extreme than the other.

                • ari gold

                  @ jon, If we win the world series eventually who gives a crap. Heck if we don’t make the playoffs (not likely), I hope we are one of the 5 worst teams again. Lets get another high draft pick along with a boatload of IFA $ for 2015. By 2015, hopefully we start to make the move upwards, but if not I’m cool with the run starting in 2016. But I’m patient. I see that the organization is improving significantly. We’re actually building a farm system which hasn’t been done since the 80′s.

                  This isn’t the NFL where you can turn a franchise over quickly. 2 years ago you could argue that we had 1 of the 3 worst organizations from a talent perspective. It was going to take a long time. Even the best college players require a year or two in the minors before playing and then most aren’t impactful for their 1st year. It’s a tough rebuilding process and not all fans patient enough to take it. I’ve never been more on board with a rebuilding plan. If it doesn’t work, then so be it. At least they had a plan.

                  • When The Musics Over

                    I think you’re missing Jon’s point. People are acting like the Cubs should be crowned for the way they have gone about their rebuild, while the Astros should be vilified. Jon, and myself, are saying there really isn’t a huge difference.

                    The end result, in terms of minor league talent, at least so far, is very similar. The 2014 and 2015 drafts may change that.

                    • mjhurdle

                      Jon’s original point, which you seem to have missed/moved away from, was that, if MLB was to get upset with the Astros losing 100+ games 3 (and looking strongly like 4) years in a row, they should also be mad at the Cubs, because they did the same thing (even though they didn’t).
                      No one was talking about “crowning” the Cubs, or even vilifying the Astros. It was simply an observation that the Astros may draw MLB ire for being so bad for so long.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      By punishing one team and not the other, you are saying one team is going about their business with dignity, while the other is shamefully doing so.

                    • mjhurdle

                      Or you could be saying that one team didn’t lose 100+ games 3 years in a row, and another did.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Who cares? If the Cubs drop 4 more games in 2013 and if they lose 100 games in 2014, suddenly what they have done should be punishable. This is all semantics. I’m not saying the Cubs shouldn’t have undergone a massive rebuild (they needed to, though it’s getting a bit long in the tooth). I just don’t see a huge difference between what the Astros and Cubs have done. Certainly not a big enough one to punish one team for it, and say the route the other team has took is totally commendable.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      You lost the point about 50 miles ago.

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Sure, I made it my point and ran with it.

                    • Jon

                      Team A lost 91, 101, and 96 games sounds a bit better then Team B lost 100+ games 3 years in a row, but not much better.

                    • Coop

                      Does it sound better if you report that Team A lost 15 more games, lost 6 more games, and lost 15 more games? Because that is also true. And it is also a substantial difference in losses…

                    • When The Musics Over

                      Not when the loss amounts are hovering around 100 for both teams.

                      Should I care the same amount if the loss amounts were hovering around 130 a year, and the same yearly variances were applied between the Cubs and Astros losses?

                    • Jon

                      In all seriousness, I think 5-7 years from now the Cubs, White Sox and Houston will make a fascinating case study about modern day, post CBA rebuilds. The Cubs and Stros took the full blown tank approach, while it looks like the White Sox are angling for quicker incremental improvements(less high draft picks)

          • Big City Mick

            Sorry Hansman, I’m going to have to really disagree with you on this. The Astros have done a REALLY good job at beefing up their farm system and they were able to do it without the help of signing and trading players like the Cubs.

  • brainiac

    congrats, that’s a huge promotion deal. just for the record a lot of us hate how the team is being run, but that’s not to be conflated with our love for the site.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well thank you.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Well that is good because I’d be worried if a person was coming on a page they hate to scream about a team they hate- at least we know there is something you love about the Cubs.

      • D-Rock

        Jon admitted the other day that he was an A’s fan, so I have no idea why he keeps coming on here spouting negativity about the Cubs 24/7.

      • Chad

        You should be worried because this is what Jon does every single time he posts here

      • brainiac

        you can strongly support a team and a tradition, and not support an administration or investors. this is a simple fact of life. we’re not tasked with enjoying what we’re told.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    When the DH comes to the NL the catcher will become the new pitcher, where the bat is not the focus it will be defense and game calling that will keep players at the position. We will see plenty of below average hitters still starting because teams are not keeping good bats at catcher. However if you have one you will be quite lucky and at a major advantage but if you have a Buster Posey you’ve got to be considering moving him but if you have NECK TATTOO Molina you are very lucky since his defense is as impressive as his bat.

    • ChrisFChi

      Thou I’m against the DH, I agree goat.

      This is why I hope we can grab a few college catchers this draft. Give them some time to develop that defense. When we reach that point where we have top-tier pitching, we will have some catching in the wings ready to fill in if beef gets hurt/traded. Otherwise, looking at the depth, we might as well put a price of plywood up behind home plate.

      • ssckelley

        It is not that simple, right now the catchers in the college ranks are not all that impressive. The top prospect at catcher is out of high school, Alex Jackson, someone that should be on the Cubs radar with the #4 pick. But he may not stick at catcher.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Precisely because if you can hit then teams don’t want you catching, lesser hitters with great defense will become the norm for catching.

        • ChrisFChi

          I agree its not simple, as I suggested in my post above use some later round picks, grab one or two college guys and give them a few years to develop. Obviously its too early to see what kind of catching will be available in the draft. Addressing this need now will help alot in the long run. Like I said above, what good is it if we have stud pitching but catching that can’t catch a cold. (again I make this statement on the assumption that what would we do if beef gets severely hurt or traded)

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        It’s going to become a luxury few teams have and Koyie Hills will be common.

    • Brocktoon

      AL catchers out OPSd their NL counterparts by 21 points last year

  • chief

    Is it me or are we going to become a way too right handed batting team in the future?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If every top prospect breaks through, sure, there will be a lot of righty bats. But there’s also Rizzo and Alcantara. And there’s also the fact that not every top prospect will break through, and there will be spots for external additions.

      In the end, balance is great – but you mostly just want the best players possible.

      • ari gold

        yeah i agree Brett. I think we’ll eventually have 3 left handed bats just because some of our prospects won’t make it and the front office will target a left handed bat. Law seems to be very high on Alcantara though. He thinks Alcantara will be in Wrigley sooner rather than later in 2014. Would be nice to have him and Baez destroy AAA and come up this year.

    • TWC

      “We just need to be a little more left-handed.”

  • ssckelley

    Jeez, cannot even spell Remillard correct? :P

    But out of last years draft Cael Brockmeyer might be more polished. Tyler Alamo was another bonus baby taken out of the high school ranks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My bad. Probably not a good sign…

    • ced landrum

      I am glad you brought up Alamo because he is a decent prospect with good upside. He wasn’t really a bonus baby though. Everyone thought he would be a tough sign so there was an assumption he would be, but he only took a slot at $100,000. He was in BA top 500 in the high 300′s so it really was a good deal for the Cubs.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        We should come up with a new way to characterize late round picks that get the full $100,000. It’s not quite ‘slot’, given that the recommendation for an 11th rounder wouldn’t actually be the same as a 35th rounder. That is to say, the fact that Alamo got $100,000 definitely doesn’t make him a “bonus baby,” but he’s something more than a mere slot sign. (But something less than a high round guy who gets slot … so yeah, we need some kind of new term.)

        • hansman

          Slot Baby?

          Bonus Kid?

          Baby Slotter?

          • cubsfan08

            I think I like Slot Baby…for some strange reason I really want a term for this to be solidified

        • ced landrum

          That is going to take some thought and I agree with you. Funny I hadn’t actually thought anything about it yet.

  • cooter

    I read an article about Bronsen Arroyo yesterday and how peeved he is about the FA. I completely understand. I wouldn’t mind a durable arm in the rotation. What do you guys think he’s worth? And how much is he asking?

    • TWC

      I’d give him a minor league deal if he promised to stop his country music act.

      • CubFan Paul

        Exactly. Between the music, leg kick, & what my girlfriend calls unhealthy stringy hair (she thinks he needs better conditioner or something), I won’t no part in Arroyo.

    • D-Rock

      If the price is right, I’d consider Arroyo. Very durable vet who could add stability to the rotation. Seems like a likeable guy too who would be a good clubhouse presence for the young players.

    • Brocktoon

      I wonder if Arroyo holds a grudge against Theo for the way he kinda dicked him over when trading him to cincy (Arroyo signed a below market deal in arb[i think ] and boston promptly traded him away now that he was a more valuable piece. I mean it was 10 years ago so he’s probably over it but still.

  • dAn

    Brett,

    Regarding the catching, what about Contreras? Do you think he has a shot at being an everyday guy down the road, or is that a pipe dream?

    And what do you know about Marra?–numbers don’t mean much in the low minors, but Marra owns an 877 OPS as a pro and also has done well in EXST (if memory serves…). He’s a LH bat, is very young, and was pretty accomplished as an amateur–but I don’t hear anything about him. What’s the deal there?

    • ced landrum

      Contreras could be an everyday guy. He is a little like Castillo. Super athletic, bat ahead of catching skills. Cannon for an arm. he is at the least intriguing.

      Marra is also intriguing, but he needs to start moving. He has been a back up so far which doesn’t bode well for him.

  • Senor Cub

    Catchers, it seems like an easy solution to me. Trade some of the 3rd basemen for a top of catching prospect.

  • CubChymyst

    Shocked by the news about the Astros Rotation. Figured Feldmann would count for more WAR given last season.

  • Napercal

    Other than Randy Hundley and Jody Davis, the Cubs have been looking for a catcher for the past 50 years.

  • Fishin Phil

    Not a big Barry Foote fan? Tee, hee, hee

    • Napercal

      LOL It reminds me of conversations my family has when we’re really bored: name the Bears quarterbacks, name the Cubs third basemen, name Cubs catchers

  • MightyBear

    Astros will be better this year. They’ll be competitive in 2016.

    • Jason P

      They added Dexter Fowler and Scott Feldman to a 51-win team. The Astros are still going to be a good 7 or 8 wins worse than the Cubs.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Moreover, the Astros lost only 5 more games than expected given their peripherals last year. The Cubs lost 10 more than expected given peripherals. The over/under on peripherals for Year X is a lousy predictor of the over/under on peripherals for Year X+1, which means that good old regression will take the Cubs further up than it will the Astros.

        The Astros really do have an awful team. The Cubs have about 7 or 8 holes in their Regulars + Starters: the Astros have at least 11 and maybe 12 (of 13 possible). That is really daunting rebuild: the holes they fix first will probably become holes again by the time they get halfway through rebuilding.

  • MichaelD

    Am I the only one who gets tired of seeing the same match-ups on ESPN and FOX every year? I feel like you could make up their TV schedule by just following a simple algortithim. If the Red Sox and Yankees are playing then it is on. If not then the Giants and Dodgers. If not them the Cubs and Cardinals. If not them the Phillies and the Mets.

    I’m guessing this is what is best for ratings, but I would much rather see the Cubs play another team than the Cardinals, and there is close to 0% chance that I’ll watch another Red Sox-Yankees game.

  • Javier Bryant

    If the lineup is supposed to be as good as it is in a few years, then having Castillo as your number 8 hitter wouldn’t be bad at all. I can see them taking a long look at Alex Jackson in the draft if they feel he can stay behind the plate.

    • D-Rock

      if the Sox don’t take him at #3. Plus we are probably going pitching, pitching, and more pitching in this upcoming draft, unless a good value is there for hitting.

  • Diehardthefirst

    As I said yesterday- Tidrow is waiting for the courtesy of a return call on Sandoval

    • Jon

      Not that it matters, but should Brian Sabean be taking that call?

  • Cornish Heat

    Dammit, Houston! I want the #1 pick! Stop sucking so much, and allow for other sucky teams to suck worse than you!!

    Jeeze…

  • Edwin

    RE: Cubs/Astros,

    I guess it depends on where you want to draw the line. The Cubs have done a similar thing to the Astros, namely, making minimal attempts to improve the MLB talent of the club while focusing heavily on improving the farm system through the draft, trading mlb talent for prospects, and spending where possible in IFA. The Astro’s may have taken a much more extreme approach, but the Cubs haven’t done much more.

    Can’t the Astro’s play the “There weren’t any moves in FA that would have made them into a competative team anyway” card, even more so than the Cubs?

    • Brocktoon

      The Astros can also play the we can’t afford to compete card much better than the cubs can

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+