Lukewarm Stove: Rangers, Dempster, Diaz, Simmons, More

lukewarm stoveA few items to roll around the ole noggin’ today …

  • The Rangers added Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo this offseason, which is swell, but they didn’t really do much about their rotation. Matt Garza left in free agency. Derek Holland hurt his knee and is out until midseason. Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch are coming back from injury issues. And now, Matt Harrison, who was also trying to come back from injury issues, is dealing with continued back problems that will require an MRI, per Evan Grant. If Harrison has to miss time, the Rangers’ rotation currently looks like this: Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, and … um … uh … pitchers. Among those other pitchers is probably Alexi Ogando, as well as Tommy Hanson (who is far from a sure thing). It’s hard to see them entering the season without making a move, unless the news on Harrison’s back is exceedingly positive.
  • … so, do the Cubs have some conversations with the Rangers about a pitcher? Would the Rangers even want to pay a steep price for Jeff Samardzija (I can hear all Rangers fans everywhere thinking about the possibility of another deal with the Cubs for a pitcher and screaming, “NOOOOOOoooooo!!!!!”)? Would they see a swing guy like Carlos Villanueva as a sufficient upgrade over what they already have? I’m just thinking about loud, given the situation. The Cubs do know the Rangers’ system quite well, and the sides have had many, many trade discussions in recent years. That can help make a deal a little easier, since you already know where the other side stands with respect to certain players.
  • Speaking of Rangers/Cubs pitcher trades, Gordon Wittenmyer writes about Ryan Dempster, whom the Cubs traded to the Rangers in 2012, and the possibility that the righty could come back to the Cubs after he takes off the 2014 season. The predicate for the suggestion is the possibility that Dempster, who would be 37 at the time, could want to come back to Chicago on an inexpensive, why-the-hell-not kind of deal. I don’t really have much of an opinion on it right now, because we don’t know how things are going to look – for the Cubs or for Dempster – a year from now. Maybe it’ll seem like a slam dunk idea. Maybe it’ll seem nuts.
  • Apropos of last night’s discussion of Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, Jesse Sanchez reports that he and pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne will be working out for the New York Yankees today. Apparently the Yankees, Cardinals, Giants, Blue Jays, Braves, Phillies, and Mariners are among the teams interested in Diaz (Joe Strauss). Despaigne has strong interest from at least four teams, according to Chris Cotillo.
  • The Braves continued their free-stadium-fueled extension spree today, inking shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year, $58 million deal. It’s the biggest extension in history for a guy with just over one year’s service time, but it’s a pretty fair deal for the 24-year-old whom many think has the best glove at shortstop in a long, long time. The deal covers two pre-arb years, three arbitration years, and two free agent years. As the Cubs have seen (at least in a one-year flash), these pre-arb extensions aren’t without risk to the team, because the Braves already had five years of super cheap control over Simmons. By guaranteeing him $58 million, they’re banking on those two free agent years being worth a whole lot of money, which means Simmons has to stay good and healthy for another five years before the Braves really see much value in the deal.
  • The Mariners have checked in on Ervin Santana, per Ken Rosenthal, but nothing is happening just yet. Santana remains the last higher-end starting pitcher left on the free agent market. Chris Capuano, by the way, appears headed to the Red Sox.
  • Jayson Stark reports that Santana to the Blue Jays is unlikely, which should preserve some Samardzija rumors.

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

129 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Rangers, Dempster, Diaz, Simmons, More”

  1. Sandberg

    Add more talent, please.

  2. nate1m

    What do the rangers have left? I don’t know that they could get Shark. A swing guy sure. A flip guy sure. But Shark?

    1. JacqueJones

      they still have 5 guys in baseball americas top 100. They have plenty to trade if they want to. Alfaro would be the cubs top target i would imagine.

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        The Rangers could really make a play for Price. They might prefer the higher upside with Price, but with the bigger downside he has (higher injury risk and dropping velocity), Shark may make more sense.

  3. Mike Taylor

    Please, get Rougned Odor and Luke Jackson… We need a lefty in our future lineup and pitching always helps.

    1. bbmoney

      Those are a couple of pretty nice prospects, but I’m not sure it’s the kind of package I’d want back for Shark. Not necessarily in terms of talent, but type of player I guess. I should just want best prospects we can get (or BPA or however you want to phrase it) because that’s what I always say. But I’m not sure I want Luke Jackson headlining the pitching side of players we’d get back for Shark.

      I probably shouldn’t look at it that way, but I can’t help it in this case.

    2. VittersStartingLF

      Add Alfaro, a great C prospect and Gallo, a great power hitter to Jackson and Odor and maybe we have a deal

      1. Jorbert Solmora

        That would be a huge overpay for Samardzija. Alfaro and Odor will both be top 50 prospects by midseason and Gallo, although probably a first base only type, has prodigious power.

        1. CubFan Paul

          A 200K pitcher in his prime that’ll only cost $14MM over two years is probably worth at least three Top 100s

          1. Darth Ivy

            I wonder what kind of return Castro could get if he rebounds this year. That contract should be awfully attractive

            1. CubFan Paul

              “if he rebounds this year”

              Into a 200hit shortstop pre-prime? We keep him, I hope.

              1. Darth Ivy

                The same reason why we like him is the entire purpose why another team would give up a lot for him. You can’t get a big return for a guy nobody wants

                It makes sense to transfer resources when you have an abundance in one area and a drought in another. If one region is flooded and another needs water, what do you do?

                1. CubFan Paul

                  “abundance in one area and a drought in another”

                  I don’t see Baez as a ML shortstop if that’s the abundance you’re referring to.

                  That said, I’d keep Castro, play Baez at 2B, 3B, or CF and dangle guys like Alcantara, Vogelbach, & Edwards in trade talks after this year because they’ll have crazy high trade value after good ’14 seasons.

                  1. Darth Ivy

                    obviously my argument is based on the premise that there becomes an abundance and baez can and does take over SS. If not, then we keep castro.

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      Do 2 guys make an abundance though?

                      For me, even if Baez became a in-control defender at short, I’d still move him to another position because the Cubs are lacking quality impact position players on the ML level just as much as they are pitching-wise.

                      He and Castro can impact two positions in the same way trading one of them for a pitcher would

                      “transfer resources when you have an abundance in one area and a drought in another”

                    2. Darth Ivy

                      It’s easier to find an productive outfielder than a top-rotation pitcher. So if the choice is to either move an infielder to the OF or trade him for a TOR pitcher, I’d rather get the pitcher.

                    3. Darth Ivy

                      “…a productive…”

                    4. CubFan Paul

                      “It’s easier to find an productive outfielder”

                      Not one with Baez’s abilities/ceiling. Unless you trade for a healthy Matt Kemp.

                    5. Darth Ivy

                      I never suggested trading beaz

                    6. Darth Ivy

                      And anyway, that doesn’t even matter. You wouldn’t need to replace him with a hitter of equal value. The equal value would have to be in the return they get from the trade.

                    7. Eternal Pessimist

                      A future quality fielding SS w/ Baez’s error totals in the minors is not all that unusual. It takes time to learn/adjust with the position and Baez has good range and quick hands.

                      On another team he would still be very likely to take over the MLB SS position. On the Cubs, I wouldn’t discount that possibility too quickly. Moving Baez off SS (if he ends up being very good at the position) will be giving up a lot of his value. If he makes a big jump in his fielding this year it may force a trade of Castro to free up the position.

        2. Drew7

          Even Brett Jackson thinks Gallo strikes out too much.

          1. jp3

            Ouch, rob deer just told me that’s harsh Drew 7

  4. NorthSideIrish

    FWIW, KLaw said in his chat today that the people he’s talked to think Diaz might be more of a utility guy than a starter. Though I think he probably could start for the Cubs at least this season.

  5. Featherstone

    Moar trades with the Rangers!

  6. Featherstone

    That reminds me. Does anyone happen to have a link or two to what any Rangers bloggers/writers thought of the Garza trade either when it happened or more recently during the off-season?

    1. headscratchin

      I don’t have a link, but live in the Dallas area. As I recall, and you might suspect, the reaction was much like the reaction on this site to anything the CUBS front office does. Some praised it and thought it was a great move that proved how great the front office was and some thought it proved how stupid the front office was.

      That was until Garza threw the first bunt attempt into right field….

      1. Fishin Phil

        “That was until Garza threw the first bunt attempt into right field….”

        Oh yeah, we might have forgot to tell them about that part during the trade negotiations.

        1. headscratchin

          I still blow whatever I’m drinking of both nostrils when I see this clip.

          Sorry, can’t figure out how to make that a link

        2. jammin502

          Note to Cub players when facing Garza this year against the Brewers … BUNT!

  7. Mike Taylor
  8. woody

    I was all for trading Samardzija earlier when I thought maybe somebody give away the farm for his services. But recently he has indicated that he would like to remain a cub and I take him at his word. With Shark in the fold we are just one impact arm away from having a very good pitching staff. Without him we re not very good. And he still has upside IMO and it is a good bet that one of the guys we have in the system are going to surprize. Even going the FA route we would have to pay Sharks replacement somewhere near 6/100 million. And that is only a replacement for something we already had. We are still in the position where we need to add another arm to the rotation. Hopefully he can prove he is at least a viable number two during the first couple of months and they can get that extension done. I think moving him pushes the year of competitivness beyond an acceptable point of contention.

  9. VittersStartingLF

    We really need to extend Shark. Everyone is signing their players before they become free agents. We aren’t going to be able to buy good pitching so we better pay for what we got. Bailey is getting 10 million for his arb year and 19 million average for his five free agent years. Give shark 16 million for his two arb years plus 19 million for three free agent years. That is a five year 73 million dollar deal. Then throw in a few incentives like 2 million for finishing in the top five for Cy Young etc. That way if he pitches like an ace he could get paid even more. May seem like a lot of money but prices keep going up for pitchers.

    1. woody

      Sharks not stupid though. What happens when he gives that home town discount and they flip him a year later. He’s seen enough of that already. It seems the no trade clause is the hangup now. This FO doesn’t give them. It would be a shame to lose him because Theo can’t compromise.

      1. CubFan Paul

        “It would be a shame to lose him because Theo can’t compromise”

        Theo is comprising just by offering 5/$55MM, based on Samardzija’s track record.

  10. woody

    That was in reference to the policy of never giving a no trade clause. If you honestly think Samardzija is worth 5/$55 MM then you are entitled to your opinion. It seems like the new pitching paradigm is that you can’t rely on FA to meet pitching needs. Development and trade are becoming the only viable means of improvement without over paying. I will guarantee you that Samardzija could get a lot more than that if were on the market now.

    1. CubFan Paul

      “That was in reference to the policy of never giving a no trade clause”

      & what I said was in reference to Samardzija having 2yrs of arbitration left and Theo compromising to point of actually making a comparable market value-arbitration extension.

      “Samardzija could get a lot more than that if were on the market now”

      Doesn’t matter. Samardzija has 2 years of arbitration left. If he wants free agent dollars, he won’t be a Cub past July if he’s healthy & productive. Everything else is just conjecture (no offense).

      1. Brocktoon

        Offering 3/40 for sharks free agent years is an insulting offer

        1. CubFan Paul

          Sure, if you want to ignore the facts and reality of the situation

          1. Brocktoon

            Go on

  11. woody

    Since he is already signed for this year that leaves one year of arbitration left. Just how many 200 plus innings and 200 plus strikeout pitchers are there out there? So you let him go and then you have to replace him at FA prices and give up a draft pick etc. And then you are two pitchers awy from being competative.

    1. CubFan Paul

      “he is already signed for this year that leaves one year of arbitration left”

      That had to be done by a certain date. Many arb-agreements get thrown before opening day if a new deal is reached before Opening Day

      “Just how many 200 plus innings and 200 plus strikeout pitchers are there out there?”

      Not many. I’m not disputing Shark’s talent. I like him, i’m a ND guy.

      “And then you are two pitchers awy from being competative”

      Guys who turn down reasonable extensions with multi years of arbitration left usually get theirs, in terms of karma. The Cubs will be okay.

      1. aaronb

        I don’t think the Cubs should extend a blank check to Samjay. I would be curious if something like 5/65 could get him extended from 2015-2020 with the Cubs though.

        1. CubFan Paul

          For me, that extra $10MM to get it to $65M would have to be in incentives. 5/$65 was the type of extension for guys with better track records and less service time (Danks & Garza)

          1. CubFan Paul

            and less service time = less team control left

            My bad.

          2. aaronb

            I’d think it would be enough to get it done though. Jeff can hang his hat on getting market value compared to Garza and Jimenez. We lock up a similarly tiered pitcher who has been extremely durable.

            He’s passed the pitcher injury nexus. So I don’t have injury fears with him as I would with other pitchers. Seems fair for his age 30-34 seasons.

            1. CubFan Paul

              “I’d think it would be enough to get it done though”

              Probably. Definitely. It’s more than likely his agent’s end game: ask for $17MM AAV and settle on $13MM AAV

              But I don’t see the Cubs going that high in guaranteed money (5/65), because it’s still an overpay, based on like arb-extensions.

            2. Brocktoon

              Sharks value isn’t comparable to garza because he doesn’t have injury concerns.

          3. Chad

            I don’t hate the 5/65 because now it will encompass 4 FA years correct? so those four years are really 4/ 57, which is only about 14.25/year. I’d do that in a heart beat, but I don’t think this is about the money as stated earlier. It’s about the NTC. I’d say throw a 6th year on there if that’s what it takes.

            1. aaronb

              This years contract is signed. My thinking is that 5/65 covers 2015-2019. Hopefully the Cubs do it for a standard 13 a year also. So it’s a fixed cost over those years.

              1. CubFan Paul

                “This years contract is signed”

                It can be torn up in the case of an extension

                1. aaronb

                  True. But I wouldn’t object to an extension taking effect next year. I don’t recall what they agreed to pre arbitration this year. But that 5/65 is more or less 6/73 if he’s getting 8 this year.

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    “I wouldn’t object to an extension taking effect next year”

                    Shark probably would, because of the signing bonus he could get now. $5M-$15M up front would also maybe ease his demands for a no-trade clause too.

                    6/73 is fine because it fits the recommended/comparable AAV of $11M-$12M

              2. Brocktoon

                He’s not getting extended for less than 15m/yr

        2. brainiac

          the plan: “baseball in chicago has been canceled until further notice”

          it’s very unlikely that they’ll sign him for *anything*, they’ve signaled that they want him to be final trade fodder and they want something good. if they can’t get something good jed will take something bad and claim that these player failures and losing on purpose is actually constitutive of winning.

          1. baldtaxguy

            Both sides have essentially signaled both options, with an extension (I believe) being the most likely. There is room between $13-$15 per year for each side to give on, with the Cubs giving in a bit more if they want to keep their policy of no NTC’s intact. The FO is certainly not going to give him away.

            1. CubFan Paul

              I don’t think the Cubs offer more than $12MM per. Theo&Co only overpay on international assets, not their own short-term assets.

              1. Chad

                I think the cubs are smart to wait. Why not wait and see what he does with the first half of the season. If he does great you can either extend him at a slightly more valuable contract. 15 mil/year of FA years and say 10 for his last Arb year is 5/70. In this market for a good SP (if he proves it) is not bad at all. If he doesn’t like that his trade value is high. If he stinks he can still be valuable to the cubs for next year or his extension will be pretty darn cheap.

                1. baldtaxguy

                  I believe that if he has his best success in the frist half of 2014, I’m almost posotive he will not accept anything in the range you are suggesting. He’ll be inclined to go another 1.5 seasons and Get Paid. The Cubs will almost 100% have to trade him (i.e. “0% chance he is not traded in July”).

                  1. Chad

                    I do not agree with this assertion, however he has stated his price to the cubs and his desire to stay with the cubs, so if he does perform well maybe the cubs meet or come closer to his price (assuming it is reasonable) and he stays with the cubs.

                    His improved performance is a double edge sword. He’s more valuable in trade, but could cost more in extension. Same is for poor performance. Not worth much in trade, but who wants a not good pitcher?

                    1. Chad

                      Sorry, I DO agree.

              2. baldtaxguy

                I guess anything is possible, but the market for starting pitching is developing into a bias towards investing in your own assets. I’m not sure they will be able to ignore that bias.

                1. CubFan Paul

                  “starting pitching is developing into a bias towards investing in your own assets”

                  This is happening where?

                  1. baldtaxguy

                    Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland (rumored), of late. Philly has done this. Detroit is expected to again.

                    1. Chad

                      Those teams have also all spent on the FA market or traded prospects for pitching.

                    2. CubFan Paul

                      Cincy giving Bailey free agent dollars ($17.5MM), Detroit trading piching & signing Sanchez, Philly signing two of their own for over market value ($24MM) & trading Worley and May for Revere is not what I would call “bias towards investing in your own assets”

                    3. Chad

                      I believe that you were talking about starting pitching only correct?

                      Cincinnati traded prospects for Latos
                      Detroit signed Sanchez and had traded for Fister
                      LA: signed Greinke and Ryu as FAs
                      Philly: traded for Lee and Halladay and then signed them in FA

                      It’s not a bias toward their own, but just in acquiring the best SP wherever it becomes available from

                    4. baldtaxguy

                      Hmmm, I think I’m wrong here. What I was referencing were extensions made to very good starters by their teams before they hit the FA market. They seem to be happening a bit more of late (my Philly reference was off), but that may be my incorrect perspective now that you raise these other situations.

  12. Sacko

    I agree woody Im for getting Shark signed long term he is a great athlete besides his pitching, this has got to stop somewhere and Shark would be a good indication of players we should keep. Otherwise Jackson could go also and on and on we go again.

  13. cubbiehawkeye

    If I’m the cubs I’m waiting until the deadline. I’m of the belief that Shark has a good first half and teams come a little closer to the Theo/Jed asking price(assuming the Rays are still in contention and Price is being thrown around). If he isn’t traded, for whatever reason, maybe he rethinks the “R” word with a some youth infusion that not only makes it a more enjoyable second half for fans but a springboard for 2015….might help extension talks. I guess at this point I don’t see an advantage to selling him before midseason.

    1. cubbiehawkeye

      *assuming Price ISN’T being thrown around

      1. CubFan Paul

        “assuming Price ISN’T being thrown around”

        Chances are, he will be, because he’s owed $18MM this calendar year ($4MM from his 2013 arb-salary)

        1. Chad

          If the Rays are in the hunt he won’t be shopped mid season though.

  14. LER

    I’ve thought that Shark was worth 5/75 since the beginning of the negotiating .There aren’t enough better-than-average pitchers in the free agent pool to get excited about next year or the year after. When Ubalde Jimenez, who has had two decent seasons, one of which (last year) was pretty misleading, gets 4/48, then you know how shabby the market really is. Extend Shark now.

    1. Chad


      It ain’t that simple cowboy.

    2. aaronb

      I think he probably gets that if he hits free agency.

    3. Brocktoon

      What was misleading about Jimenez last season?

  15. Jason Powers
    1. aaronb

      Really nice write up!

  16. Diehardthefirst

    Are any of Cub starters likely to win more than 10 games assuming run support is same as 2013? None have that ability to pitch a 0-2 run game most starts. eg Koufax Marichal Jenkins etc.. So it doesn’t matter who is on rotation as all of them could win if given 5-6 runs each start which is not going to happen. It doesn’t matter period!!!

    1. Brocktoon

      1 pitcher in baseball can give up 0-2 runs most games

    2. Brocktoon

      And of course the 3 examples you provided all had ERAs well over 2 in their career.

      Marichal and Jenkins never had so much as a single season with ERAs below 2 and that was while throwing in a new deadball era

      1. Diehardthefirst

        You got my drift– Cubs need to score 5-6 runs a game given shortage of starter talent which was problem last year too- getting Cruz for 2 years would help

  17. LER

    That’s a really impressive piece of analysis, and I’m sure that you’re right about what the Cubs might hope to get from a trade. The trouble is that all we have now minus Shark is a good 3 pitcher (Wood) and some guys with promise. It’s not that Shark is an ace. As you point out, he’s a 2 pitcher if he pitches better than he has so far. But A market that gives A. J. Burnett more than $18 million, a glorified double A pitcher from Japan $23 million for years to come, and a mediocre pitcher like Jimenez $12 million has warped the value of pitching out of true in ways that affect the willingness of clubs to trade anyone who looks capable of pitching well enough some day. If we can’t get the four future pitchers that Shark is worth in your analysis, and settle for two after dickering, what have we gained by trading him?

    1. brainiac

      this is exactly right. we shouldn’t make fun of the braves for taking care of business. we should make fun of theo for being emasculated by a suburban dork whose daddy gave him a one billion dollar toy to destroy. don’t worry kids, his daddy will buy him a new one.

      1. bbmoney

        Are people making fun of the Braves? I think all those deals they signed are pretty fair. The only one I would really be concerned about if I were them is the Kimbrel one and that’s just because relief pitchers on long term deals scare me, but he is probably the best in the game.

        I really don’t see why we need to make fun of the Cubs either or people from the suburbs.

        1. brainiac

          we’ll make fun of the cubs because we care, until they end their comedy of errors and start acting like professionals.

          suburban kids, natch. no explanation needed.

          1. bbmoney

            You will I guess. There’s no “we” involved…natch….

  18. LER

    And I agree with Chad that the NTC is big, and for rational reasons on Shark’s part.

  19. ssckelley

    Yes, let’s rape the Rangers farm system again.

    1. Jason Powers

      Pillage too. Don’t forget pillage.

  20. Diehardthefirst

    Probably heresy after Soriano cash dump but signing Cruz for 2 years to play 1B with Rizzo to LF could make them a contenda as MB would say

    1. OlderStyle

      lol. whew.

  21. Jason Powers

    It would seem you can play the Rangers vs. Seattle for Shark or Villanueva.

    Seattle needs a arm, and a bat. Rangers the arms.

    Get them bidding for Shark…

    1. CubFan Paul

      The Blue Jays need a starter too

      1. Jason Powers

        But are the Blue Jays at all contenders for the top in their division? That, to me, is probably why they haven’t made any big moves.

        Red Sox, Yankees, Tampa, even the Orioles, made their moves.. Toronto might just want to wait…. Giving up more SP talent – Syndergaard – doesn’t seem like a great move to sell. But AA might do it.

        Seattle and Texas, whether good or not, did make big splashes. And both need that final piece to show it was more than a splash…

        1. CubFan Paul

          “are the Blue Jays at all contenders for the top in their division?”

          That hasn’t stopped them from weighing the potential cost/contract of Jimenez/Santana versus giving up Sanchez&Stroman for Shark.

          I expect to them to acquire a pitcher despite AA’s comment the last 2 days.

          1. Jason Powers

            I window shop too. ;)

            But trading off two top pitching prospects just seems the worst thing they could do….But if the Cubs get them AND a 3rd, hey…that’s cool.

    2. Jason P

      There are so many Villanueva’s in this league it’s got to be near impossible to leverage teams against each other for him.

  22. Cheese Chad

    Cubs are looking for a starter too. They should inquire . . . . .

  23. RWakild

    Just Seen Trea Turner went from home to first in 3.5 seconds regularly last weekend. Who does that compare to and how fast is that? Excuse my ignorance please. :)

    1. RWakild

      lol Just googled it. 3.9 seconds is at the top of the scale and he goes in 3.5. Wow. I think this guy can make the defense make mistakes. Hope he is still there for the Cubs!!!

  24. RITZ

    I liked Dempster in a Cubs uniform at a younger age and his foundation work is admirable. However, if the Cubs did bring him back we need a no shaving cream pie in the face clause in his contract during other players post game interviews.
    The first 100 times he did it after games it was funny,…not.

  25. Diehardthefirst

    With Texiera having Derrick Lee wrist issues the Yankees may grab Cruz and rather be hypocritical than behind Boston

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      (Sox – Yanks) >> Cruz.

  26. cubbiekoolaid2015
    1. cubbiekoolaid2015

      Turner is hitting .500 through his first 4 games with 0 strikeouts and 2 walks. He’s also 5-5 in stolen base attempts and has a 1.000 fielding percentage. Not a bad start.

      1. Chad

        Turner would make me very happy, but so would 3 or 4 different pitchers, so I’m pretty easy to please. Cubs are in a very good spot in the draft. Whether they see Turner as a SS or OF he just adds depth and makes other prospects (or ML vets in a few years) available for trades for pitching.

        1. Chad

          I should mention I’m slightly biased toward Rodon and Turner as an NC State alum

          1. Picklenose

            Chad, I think there are support groups that can help you get over the NC State thing. (Just a little Tar Heel humor, no insult intended)

            1. Chad

              Ha, don’t worry, I’m not diehard Wolfpack fan. Just got my masters there. If Iowa could ever produce any baseball players worth a crap then watch out!. FYI a high school kid from Iowa (pithcer) that would be a great 2nd round pick. Just saying.

              Good win by your heels last night btw.

              1. Picklenose

                Chad, thanks for seeing that as playful! I grew up a Tar Heel, went to Northwestern for grad school and returned to a faculty position at Duke. Talk about being conflicted. But it does give me two good teams to root for during basketball season. Seems like Iowa should produce some great players, was a nice place when I visited.
                Fun Duke story (yes, I realized that can be an oxymoron). Coach K occasionally opens Cameron for pick up games. One night I was playing and got the perfect pass. I swept in from the wing looking to dunk . . . and clanked it. I looked up and half the team was in the bleachers laughing at me. Sigh.

                1. Chad

                  I am a die hard Hawkeye fan that spent 7 years and 2 degrees at Iowa State, so I know what you are saying. Iowa unfortunately plays baseball in the summer (starting in May) so they don’t get exposed as much as other states. They produce some good baseball players, but they all attend college in SEC country if they are good enough or B12. Very few go to Iowa or other B10 schools. I can’t blame them. Who wants to play baseball in March in the midwest?

    2. Javier Bryant

      Definitely the favorite IMO too. Everyone probably already knows I’m hoping for the Cubs to draft him.

  27. aaronb

    Cruz and Santana seem like a good way to salvage this offseason for the Cubs. We should be able to get both of them and still stay under our self imposed 110 million ca.

    2/20 on Cruz

    4/50 on Santana

    1. JeffR

      I’d rather have the draft picks and a protected first rounder next year than sign those 2 and still not make the play offs.

      1. MichiganGoat

        Exactly adding those two will do nothing but give more people things to complain about.

        1. baldtaxguy

          You’re no fun !!

          Although, I’m getting convinced its not “more people” but the “same people” with “more to complain about.”

          1. MichiganGoat

            True, it will give the same people even more especially if any of the free agents we didn’t sign have a good game or the Cubs lose it going to be a long year because of the “same” people.

      2. C. Steadman

        definitely rather have the draft picks

    2. Isaac

      It’s difficult for me to fathom actually believing this is a good idea.

      1. another JP

        Thankfully we have ownership that also believes signing these two FAs isn’t the answer. Now getting Capuano @ $2.25M + incentives would have been a good deal and I’m wondering if the Cubs ever entertained the thought of getting him. None of these guys makes us a contender though, so what’s the use until the big-shot prospects make the big time.

        1. Isaac

          And even beyond “not making us a contender” (which is quite true, and I agree with), both of these players are deeply flawed, and very poor fits for our team. Committing $70,000,000 to them has almost zero chance of having a positive long term outlook.

          1. Jason P

            I agree. Cruz hasn’t been worth more than a win and a half in three years AND he’s declining. He’s best suited as a 4th outfielder or DH at this point.

    3. Edwin

      I don’t think Cruz is very good. His defense and baserunning has eroded, so he’s pretty much a bat only player. The last three seasons he’s been worth about 1.3 WAR per season. I don’t see much of a fit.

      If Santana could pitch like 2013 Santana, I’d be more optimisitic to that move, but almost all the other years he’s pitched he hasn’t been very good. I think the Cubs can do better either by trade, or by FA class next off-season.

      1. aaronb

        Cruz is a prime example of the flaw in WAR ratings. His defense at arguably the hardest defensive outfield position really drags down his overall rating.

        I see no reason why we couldn’t hide him in LF (ala Soriano) and get a least neutral defensive production.

        His bat would instantly be the best bat in the lineup. And I’m sure that protection would benefit guys like Rizzo, Castro, Schierholz and Olt.

        Santana is a good run of the mill 3rd starter. Having him in the rotation gives the Cubs the ability to start a true MLB Starter each and every day.

        Not really much different than how we became a fringe contender back in 2001.

        1. bbmoney

          I don’t think it’s very easy to argue RF is harder to play than center. Longer throw to third, that’s about it.

          I disagree with you about the idea of lineup protection too.

          BUT, all of that said, while I don’t love either player. If they can be signed for the values you propose, I’d have no problem signing either.

          1. aaronb

            The other nice thing about doing something like this. It doesn’t block anybody of note.

            It also might put us in a situation where we can push .500, and surprise if something like Baez tearing up AAA and getting the MLB call to 2nd or 3rd base. Who wouldn’t be excited about a team playing for something past May?




            And a better bullpen outlook. Stranger things have happened.

  28. JeffR

    Hopefully the free agent class next year turns out to be pretty good. We could potentially add 80+ million in payroll and likely have plenty leftover in following years to extend our own players. They could sign 3 free agents and only lose 2nd-4th rounders. Maybe 2 starting pitchers and an outfielder.

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