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travis wood beardThe calendar hasn’t flipped to May, let alone June – the increasingly “normal” beginning of the heavy trade rumor season – but that isn’t stopping teams from turning to the Chicago Cubs bazaar for their ever-available supply of quality goods (of course, as the Matt Garza trade demonstrated last year, the goods aren’t always available at reasonable prices – tough noogies, and all that).

Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs have already received calls about three of their starting pitchers: Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, and Travis Wood. Each starter has had a great April, and each would have a great deal of value to a contender. (SEE THE UPDATE BELOW: Perhaps the Cubs haven’t yet received calls after all. The rest of this post will remain, since, as a discussion piece, this is all still useful.)

You know the story with Jeff Samardzija, who has been discussed at length as a possible trade candidate. In some ways, I probably wouldn’t describe the Cubs as getting calls on Samardzija so much as “never stopped getting calls” after an offseason full of trade rumors. Without an extension forthcoming (and it’s seriously unlikely), the Cubs could look to capture Samardzija’s value by way of a trade this season. He’s under control through next year, but his value could be peaking, and the Cubs could try to grab a couple top young arms to pair with their top positional prospects, who could emerge over the next few years.

With respect to Hammel, the calls are unsurprising, given his one-year, $6 million deal, which was necessarily evocative of the Scott Felman deal the year before. Feldman pitched well to start the year, and was flipped to the Orioles on July 2. The same could happen to Hammel if the Cubs don’t catch serious fire over the next month. If the calls are coming already on Hammel, who has looked dominant this month, it’s conceivable that he could be deal even before July.

On Wood, the discussion feels quite different. In just his first year of arbitration, the Cubs have Wood through the 2016 season. Even if the Cubs don’t view him as an extension candidate – although it’s debatable, given the nature of pitcher extensions – having him under reasonable control for another two and a half years could line up with the Cubs’ competitive window. And, of course, Wood’s performance seems to be improving year after year. At 27, he’s probably not going to improve too much more over the pitcher he is today … but the pitcher he is today is a clear 2/3 type that any team would love to have in its rotation, including the Cubs. The fear that he was just getting lucky – outperforming his peripherals – and that a serious regression was coming seems more unjustified after each start.

In other words, it’s very hard to see the Cubs seriously entertaining dealing Wood, absent a killer return. As for Samardzija and Hammel, however, well, if those reported calls have already started, I wouldn’t expect them to stop until some deals go down.

If the Cubs aren’t going to be a playoff team this year – they didn’t look like one before the season, and nothing that has happened so far could really persuade you otherwise – then at least it’s nice to have some guys performing in a way that makes them, or keeps them, interesting trade chips. I know it’s been a tiring path over the past few years, but this is the way it is right now. And, come August 1, the future could look even brighter. On its own merits, that’s not a bad thing.

UPDATE: Carrie Muskat has updated her piece to indicate that the Cubs have *not* received calls on the three pitchers. Here is her comment on the edit: “I was told they had received calls by other sources, and a Cubs spokesman told me that is ‘inaccurate.’ The post has been updated.” Whether the Cubs have been contacted yet or not (it sure did seem early), the discussion is still interesting and useful. Eventually, if the losing continues, paired with good performances by the pitchers mentioned, the calls will come.

  • JulioZuleta

    I think I’d set the over/under on Samardzija’s starts with the Cubs at 5.5. I’m in the minority, but I kind of can’t wait for him to be traded and for this all to be over. If they trade Wood, absent a fairly mind-blowing return of MLB ready prospects, I’ll be furious.

    • Featherstone

      I’ll take the over on that one then. Shark is probably the best arm available on the market absent the Phillies shopping Lee and the Cubs are going to wait on a king’s ransom for him.

      • Dustin S

        I am with you on the over. Unless Samardzija really loses his cool with losing and becomes a problem in the clubhouse, they’ve waited this long and will probably push it to a little closer to the deadline. But not too late since jumping the market with Garza worked out well.

        • JulioZuleta

          The over is probably the safe bet. I just have a feeling they’ll want to cash in on his hot start/not risk injury. Remember, he basically started out this hot last year, before completely falling apart.

          • terencemann

            At this point in the season, anything can happen and teams aren’t usually looking to spend a lot to acquire players. I’m guessing teams are just trying to feel things out and get an idea bout what it would cost for them to acquire different players. It’s way too early for teams to make major changes.

            • JulioZuleta

              It’s never too early to add talent. It’s definitely way too early for teams with any hopes of contending to sell. The Cubs, however, don’t have those hopes.

  • CubChymyst

    I kind of hope the Cubs don’t trade Shark and Hammel early, because I’ve enjoyed watching the pitch so far this season. Also, I’m afraid their replacements will not be an enjoyable to watch. If both are traded early I’d guess Wada would be taking a spot in the rotation.

    • Featherstone

      Oh cmon you dont want to see more of the Carlos Villanueva show?

      • CubChymyst

        Only if he returns to using that leg kick when he bats.

        • Featherstone

          I’d just settle for the return of the saturday morning cartoon villain stache.

          • CubChymyst

            Yes the good old Snidely Whiplash stache.
            [img]http://www.hobonickels.org/QuickID/snidely4.jpg[/img]

  • Lou Brown

    I think they got more value for Garza by striking early last year, then if they had waited. I wouldn’t mind seeing them do that again, if it works out the same.

  • Featherstone

    Anyone think Texas is one of those teams that has made a call for one of our pitchers?

    • JulioZuleta

      Hah, you’d have to think they’d be gun shy to deal with the Cubs after the way the last two trades worked out for them.

      • Featherstone

        Third time’s the charm?

        • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

          I actually think it’s part of some marketing campagin to gather more fans in the northern states. Texas is always trying to do crazy things.

  • Edwin

    If the Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija, there’s almost no way they trade Wood, correct?

    • BenRoethig

      If they Diamondbacks call up and say they’d give up Brady I’d strongly consider it.

      • Rebuilding

        I assume you mean Bradley. The Cubs aren’t getting that call

        • JulioZuleta

          Outside chance if the Dbacks weren’t 12 games under .500 or whatever.

        • Ballgame17

          Haha, nice

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    If Hammel keeps pitching well, I wouldn’t mind extending him for a few seasons rather than dealing him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If he keeps pitching well, I’m not sure Hammel’s going to have much interest in that. If I’m him, given his great 2012 season (and quietly excellent track record before that), I think I might want to take my talents to the market.

      • Funn Dave

        Sad but true.

      • WernerT

        OK, would the Cubs be able to give him market price if Hammel was asking? I mean, I wonder if the heat from another poor start for the season might increase the team’s desire to show the fanbase something? Sure seems like Hammel would be a terrific part of the rotation for several years and maybe at a cheaper price than even Shark or others on market.

        • Rebuilding

          Hammel is 31 and although he has looked great so far, his track record is far from impressive. I don’t think there is a doubt he’ll be flipped

          • MightyBear

            I agree and if he has another start like the last one, I’d deal him as soon as I could. Sell high.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          No Cookies!

      • cm

        Isn’t Hammels the guy who bascially said he was hoping not to be traded? If that’s the case, at what point do you take the “flippable” guys and turn them into future pieces? Hammels seems like the perfect guy for a reasonable extension.

        • JulioZuleta

          A player would never sign with a new team and immediately say he hopes to be traded.

          • cm

            There’s a huge difference between saying “I signed here and hope to get traded” and saying when asked if you understand the possibilities of it happening “I hope that doesn’t happen.” There are a million ways to say you understand without going so far as to say what I understood him to say. So to that point, if he really did not want to be traded and his performance continues, does every potential flippable guy need to be one or, again, at what point does the FO say “hey, this guy could be part of the solution going forward, let’s try to get an extension worked out”?

            • Brocktoon

              Have you seen the reaction some people have had from Samardzija being honest? Hammel’s just being smart

              • cm

                Samrdzija being “honest” couldn’t be more misleading. He’s telling everyone it’s his duty to test the free agent market for the guys coming behind him to get the most most money because his dad was a union guy. Honesty and the convenience of an excuse are two totally different things. If he was being honest, he’d say “I think I’m worth more money than their team friendly contract, and oh by the way, I want to win too.”

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          They always say that, can’t say “I signed here so I could get traded.”

          • JulioZuleta

            Hey, the last few years, a free agents best chance of being on a playoff team is to sign with the Cubs.

        • Funn Dave

          I don’t think he said one way or the other. I think he dismissed it with “it’s April” when pressed on the subject.

      • David

        Trade then sign in 2015? $$$$ talks.

  • Edwin

    If Edwin Jackson pitches well, he could be a trade candidate as well. Has a team ever traded 4 of it’s starting pitchers in one season?

    • P.Fronts

      Yeah, that ain’t happening.

    • BenRoethig

      Not without us paying 90% of contract and getting some insignificant low level prospect in return.

      • David

        You mean there’s a chance??????

  • bonger0493

    If the cubs are seriously considering reading their entire rotation, I think they have to send Neil Ramirez back down to AAA to start before he starts for the cubs. Second half rotation could include Hendricks, wada, Ramirez

  • Funn Dave

    I would looooove to see any of those three get extended.

  • Watin4aRing

    I have been a huge supporter of Theo and the rebuild since day one. I understand that these seasons are going to be agonizing and i get flippable assets. They have brought us great hauls already, BUT this will the third year of flipping players. When are going to finally start building towards a contender?!

    With a strong free agent class next year, plenty of money to spend and young talent coming up to the bigs, why aren’t we talking about Hammel as a great 5th man in the rotation candidate? We can’t strip this team down again by the break and expect a few free agent signing to turn us into a playoff team. If we are this bad again next year, even the firm rebuild supporters, like me, will be fed up.

    • Jon

      I don’t know if I could use “strong” to describe next years FA class. There are a some nice top arms on the market in Scherzer, Shields and Masterson, but the position player crop sucks. The IFA’s don’t look too good either. I don’t see an “Abrue” or “Tanaka” out there.

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Ya the position players are AWFUL for next year, but assuming those 3 guys and maaaaybe Lester get to the open market, the pitching is VERY strong. Maeda from Japan is also solid, but obviously no Tanaka. I’d be very happy if the Cubs ended up with Shields and Maeda.

        • Brocktoon

          I fear that Maeda being the presumptive top Japanese pitcher on the market is going to get an out of line payment given how successful Darvish and Tanaka have been in making the jump.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            He’s nowhere near the pitcher that those two are, and everybody in the league knows it.

            • Brocktoon

              I didn’t say he’d get paid like them.

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Then please describe an “out of line payment”

                • Brocktoon

                  If Darwin Barney was signed to a 5M deal this offseason that would be an out of line payment.

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    Fine, describe an out of line payment for Maeda…

                    You really are quite insufferable on here today aren’t you?

                  • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

                    While that makes sense, could you make it relevant to the situation you proposed? What would be an out of line payment for Maeda? Other than the obvious statement of them getting the same amount as Tanaka and Darvish, which you already said they wouldn’t get.

                  • Brocktoon

                    Something alone the lines of what I expect the other FA pitchers to get beyond Scherzer after figuring in the 20M bid. Say 20M + 5/70

        • Rebuilding

          But Shields will be 33 by the time he signs a deal and has a ton of miles on that arm. I just don’t think that fits with the Cubs

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Shields also has the type of stuff that ages well. They’re not going to go signing him to a 7 year deal, but a 3-4 year deal makes a lot of sense and speeds up the rebuild quite a bit.

            • Rebuilding

              I don’t know what you mean by “stuff that ages well.” If he loses a couple of MPH off the fastball he will not be the same pitcher. It’s not like he has dominating off speed stuff – he has great fastball command. And you are kidding yourself if you don’t think he gets a 5 or 6 year deal for more than expected

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                You just answered your own question. He relies on movement and command, not on velocity, so if he loses a tick or two off of his fastball, he can still be a very effective pitcher.

                • Rebuilding

                  Unless you have a dominating out pitch, losing a few MPH off of your fastball hurts a pitcher like Shields a lot. So yes, I answered my own question just not the way you interpreted it. And then there is this:

                  “As Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star noted earlier today, Shields and his camp have rejected rumors that he is seeking to land a deal in the realm of Zack Greinke’s six-year, $147MM pact. (Note that Greinke did not require draft compensation to sign, as Shields almost certainly will unless he too is dealt mid-season.)”

                  • Rebuilding

                    If those are the kinds of numbers being discussed (and yes they rejected the rumors, but those are the kind of numbers being talked about) then no thanks

                  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                    And I’m saying that you’re wrong in your interpretation.

                    I’m also not quite sure how your quote is relevant. Greinke was 4 years younger when he signed that deal and he didn’t have draft compensation attached to him. Shields will be 33 and WILL have draft compensation attached to him, driving the price down.

                    If Shields thinks he will get 6 for 147, then he’s going to be next year’s Stephen Drew/Kendrys Morales.

                    • Rebuilding

                      Fair enough. He obviously realizes he isn’t getting a Greinke contract, but the fact they even have to refute the rumor shows the kind of numbers we will be talking about (5 or 6 years, $100-120 million). I just don’t see the Cubs giving that to a 33 year old, with tons of innings on his arm, and losing a draft pick

      • BWA

        I think it’s safe to say that we didn’t know who abreu and Tanaka were at this time last year.

        • Brocktoon

          Abreu defected on 8/11, so he was pretty much off the radar, but he was a huge name in Cuba.

          Tanaka, though was well known and expected to be posted

    • Watin4aRing

      Agreed, when I was mentioning the FA class I was really just thinking about pitching. If all goes well (big IF), a majority of our position players should be in line for success. Outfield will still be awful, but an infield of Castillo, Rizzo, Baez, Castro, Bryant (would be huge to have him in Right) is exciting.

      What I am really trying to say here is that we cannot go out on the market and buy a whole starting rotation. If both Hammel and Smardizj get dealt you are really banking heavily on Arrieta and Hendricks. FA, FA, Wood, Jackson, Hendricks/Arrieta….thats a crutch of a bottom of the rotation.

      • ame1908

        I’d prefer to see Olt stay in 3B and move Bryant to the OF.

        Olt > Shierholtz > Lake/Ruggiano > Sweeney

        • Watin4aRing

          Yeah, Bryant is more valuable to this team as a RF assuming Olt doesn’t play awful the rest of this year. With Alcantara & Baez coming up (easily can fill out the inflield at 2B and 3B), an OF of Bryant, Bonnafacio and Lake/Kalish (big Kalish fan here) doesn’t look half bad.

          • V23

            How are you a big Kalish fan? His story is nice, but he’s a 5th outfielder.

    • Cyranojoe

      Also a rebuild believer here. And also a guy who had a tough time swallowing the “we’re going to suck in 2014″ pill as well. So while I downed it, I don’t think I’ll be up for more of the same in 2015, and that’s understanding that we’ll likely be without Shark next year. Gonna be pretty disgusted if we’re not at least competing for a .500 record. Somebody please tell me the Cubs should be able to do that, assuming a few of our prospects make it to the show after spring training…

  • hardtop

    Glad to see you’re still putting out a quality product brett. wish i could say the same thing for Epstein and company.

  • Funn Dave

    Here’s something I was thinking about last night: if I remember correctly, Jeff pitched like an ace early last year, and then came back down to earth later in the season. Couple that with the fact that he was being groomed to be a reliever for a while, I wonder if potential midseason trade candidates are worried about Jeff’s effectiveness later in the season? That might cause teams to value him less than the Cubs’ FO does.

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

      Although it is true he did have a sloppy second half last year, the opposite is true for 2012.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=3254&position=P&season=2012

      • Funn Dave

        Well that’s a relief. Thanks for the data, OTF.

        • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

          No problem. I am not sure whether or not last year was the start of a trend or not, but at least for the time being it appears that him being a first half pitcher is not definitive.

    • Brocktoon

      His previous stint as a reliever shouldn’t come into play. In ’12 he had a 5.05 ERA through June, then put up a 2.58 ERA July-September.

      Now admittedly, he was shut down at that point as was planned, but he threw 175 innings, and 28 starts, so it’s not like it was a half season.

    • JasonP

      Down to earth and sloppy are generous for Shark’s back half of 2013. Three straight months of 5.00+ ERA and FIP near 5.00 for those months as a whole is more like we wish he pitched like Edwin Jackson has in a Cubs uniform.

  • Funn Dave

    I am posting comments too quickly. I should slow down.

    • Coop

      That’s what she said?

  • ssckelley

    What would it take to get Kemp from the Dodgers? Obviously they have a surplus of outfielders and the outfield is the Cubs biggest need. I have brought this up before using Castro and not many like the idea, so what would it take?

    • BenRoethig

      That might be a good straight up normally, but we are deficient in impact minor league pitching.

    • Brocktoon

      IIRC, Coletti was rumored to have some absurd demands for him in the offseason. The problem is with them having a near limitless payroll, they don’t NEED to dump him unless they get something in return they can use. Maybe he comes down a bit after this season, but he’s kind of a buffoon so who knows.

  • Kyle

    Might as well. We’re not particularly close at the MLB level and this turdfest isn’t ending soon.

  • Patrick G

    I don’t mind trading shark and/or Hammel. If the cubs can get a big haul for shark and something decent for Hammel, it would be a good idea. I’m a big supporter of this rebuild and think the least if their problems is the pitching. Theo has seemed to find good quality pitchers for cheap(see Hammel, Feldman). Although we don’t have a great pitching core in the minors, all tha really needs to be worked on is the lineup(big bats coming up) and the bullpen. Even if shark and/or Feldman are dealt, Bryant and Baez are up and producing, they can be productive next season

    • Brocktoon

      While they did a fantastic job with Feldman, and look to be on the same path with Hammel, I don’t want to have to count on us continuing to strike it rich with those types of pitchers. If we bank on finding another one whenever it is we decide it’s time to compete, he could turn out to be Chris Volstad, and then we’re screwed. There’s something to be said for cost certainty.

      • Brocktoon

        Maholm too, I knew I was forgetting one.

        • Edwin

          Scott Baker as well.

          • Brocktoon

            I put him in a different class, as it was known he was only gonna be here for half a season or so. I’d put Villanueva more in the category with the other 4 rather than Baker.

        • JasonP

          Maholm pitched pretty well for the Cubs and netted Arodys Vizcaino. I think the Cubs paid something like $2.5 million of his salary in 2012 as well. I think that was a high return for that signing.

          • Brocktoon

            I don’t disagree, my point was in response to Patrick, that eventually we do need to worry about our pitching and won’t be able to count on Hammels and Feldmans on a yearly basis.

      • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

        I think the Cubs are only taking these risks on these types of pitchers because they can afford to. It’s not like they were expecting that Hammel is going to be the guy taking the ball for the Cubs in Game 3 in the NLDS.

  • Zoolander

    Rather than trading for and then signing Rizzo to a multi-year contract (seven-year, $41 million contract extension), the Cubs could have been in line to sign first baseman Jose Abreu this past off-season for six-years at $68 million. It’s early but Abreu seems to be a more impact player.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I’ll take Rizzo for 9 years at about the same price as Abreu for 6 years

      • Kyle

        But in this scenario, you also get to keep Cashner.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          2 years down the road, how do you know that Cashner would have been healthy/effective? You also have to factor in the 1 in 30 chance that the Cubs actually signed Abreu.

          • Jon

            That is true. Theo and Jed are not definitely not closers.

            PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN!

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Go back under your bridge, I will not answer your questions three troll!

          • Edwin

            I guess you’d need to be one of the the top GM’s in the game.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Or have a massive Cuban presence on your MLB roster…

              • Jon

                Hanh’s a fucking closer that’s for sure. His team needed a young superstar and he went out and go the job done. No blaming payroll, or the new CBA. He’s operating with the same payroll the Cubs are this year as well.

                [img]http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/images/articles/SBJ201003150101-05.jpg[/img]

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  There are so many different variables that factor into signing a free agent like Abreu, and the fact that you’re only acknowledging one proves your trollishness (yes, I know it’s not a word)

                  • Jon

                    The variable is singular, money. And then it’s simply closing the deal.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      You’re incredibly naive if you believe that

                • BT

                  This is actually pretty hilarious. You might actually be laughed off of a White Sox fan board for being too much of a homer with posts like this.

                  • ssckelley

                    I would suppose they have their fair share of FO bashers as well.

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

      That is an interesting thought…

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Abreu wasn’t a free agent when they traded for him and then signed him to an extension.

    • BWA

      When the Cubs acquired Rizzo, nobody knew that Abreu was going to defect Cuba.

    • ssckelley

      Since the Cubs already have Rizzo signed why not go after Abreu anyway? Please do not tell me they had no place to play him, stick him at 2nd for all I care.

  • Dusto

    Sorry fellas I’m just not sold on shark and never have been. And with his comments as of late I’m hoping the sooner they trade him the better. I’ve never seen him as an ace. Stat geeks can say what you want but sorry he’s not an ace and he’s starting to get up there in age now. Just something about him I’ve never liked. I hope they can trade him for a huge haul and get us some true TOR type talent, but I’m not holding my breath

    • Edwin

      He turned 29 in January.

      • JakeMac

        And it’s not just age, it’s mileage and health. Shark probably has a younger arm than most rookies anymore, let alone 29 year olds.

  • Zoolander

    Rizzo was signed to an extension last May. The Cubs did not have to do this. Abreu, who everyone in baseball knew to be one of top Cuban players (he set a Cuban home run record in 2010–2011 and was named league MVP), defected from Cuba last August.

    Theo made a big potential mistake here. If the don’t sign Rizzo to an unnecessary extension, they would have been in line to sign Abreu.

    • Norm

      Even without the extension, I don’t think the Cubs would’ve been in line to get Abreu.

    • Rebuilding

      Or you could have offered Abreu 6/85 and asked him to stand in left field like Holliday, Gomes, Burrell, Iniviglia and several other LFs have on pennant winning teams have lately

      • Brocktoon

        Is that a Pete Incaviglia reference? Define “lately”

        • Rebuilding

          Haha. Yes, Inciviglia isn’t exactly lately. The point is really that a lot of successful teams have had immobile LFers, including both teams in the WS last year

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Again, they get Rizzo for 3 more years at the just about the same price. Abreu is 1 month into his professional career and the key phrase is “would have been in line.”

    • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

      But the fact is they already had Rizzo, who is a good defensive first baseman, showed some power, and is young. Why spend all that money to move Rizzo off of first? They feel comfortable with Rizzo and they signed him to a great deal. At the time they traded for Rizzo they had no idea Abreu was going to be on the market for this year.

      • Rebuilding

        Everyone knew Abreu was going to be on the market soon. Cuba pretty much gave up on keeping their younger stars in Cuba years ago. And again, why do you have to move Rizzo off first. There are plenty of LFers that get paid to hit and catch ball hit right at them

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Wait, so now we have to build our team trying to predict/plan for future FA who might become available?

          The Cashner/Rizzo/Abreu slop is quite the case of Capt. Hindsight.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Didn’t you know that’s the most efficient way to build a team hansman?? My favorite thing, (and don’t get me wrong, I like Abreu) is that we’re having this conversation one month into his career.

          • Edwin

            Aren’t we already somewhat doing that with starting pitching for 2015-2016?

            • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

              Pitching is different though. You can have a different starting pitcher every day for five days in a row. However, you can not have a different starting first baseman ( I know you could, but there is a reason the really good teams don’t do this) in that same period. It’s one thing to look ahead to SP, it’s another to try and plan out signing a position player two years out.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              It’s also different with Major League talent compared to international talent. MLB players have contracts, so you know when they’re eligible to become free agents. Teams have no idea when a player will defect, and how long it will take him to become available to MLB teams.

          • Jon

            Shouldn’t we hold the “smartest guys in the room” to a higher standard?

          • Rebuilding

            Abreu is not hindsight on my part. I was beating that drum from the moment he defected, posting Cuban stat translators – nothing he is doing now is surprising. The projections translating his Cuban stats had him OPSing around 1.000

        • http://iawrestle.com On The Farm

          “Everyone knew Abreu was going to be on the market soon.”

          At the time of the extension, yes they knew Abreu was going to be available, my comment was at the time they traded for Rizzo they weren’t and shouldn’t have been planning on Abreu to be their starting first baseman for 2014. That’s two whole seasons of baseball that had to be played before Abreu took an at bat, why risk waiting for him and trade for a budding young player.

          As for why not put Abreu in LF. I don’t know, but apparently it didn’t make sense to them or they didn’t feel comfortable placing Abreu in LF. I don’t know. I was just saying it wasn’t a mistake to trade for Rizzo when they did, and signing him to an I have no issue with signing him long term.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            It’s interesting that the only teams really in on him were AL teams.

            It’s doubly interesting that nearly all of the marquee sluggers have been signed by AL teams the past few years.

            It’s almost like NL teams have a handicap in getting marquee sluggers…especially ones that have giant question marks with the glove.

            • Rebuilding

              Maybe that’s a market inefficiency we should take advantage of in the NL. Tell me Hansman, when have you ever thought the FO made a mistake? I’ve been on the board since Brett started and don’t recall a time

            • mjhurdle

              That is the real telling thing to me.
              If there were a ton of teams interested in Abreu, and the Cubs just sat it out, I would be more inclined to think they messed it up.
              But the fact that no NL teams were seriously in on him means that there was enough questions about his bat and fears about his glove that no NL teams wanted a piece of that.
              Maybe those professional scouting departments didn’t know about the almighty internet Cuban stat conversion tools out there that would have predicted all of this.

              It might very well turn out that all the NL teams whiffed big time on Abreu. Or maybe the concerns that scared away every NL team start showing up as the season progresses. I am actually really interested to see how his season goes. He is definitely playing well right now, that is for sure.

              • Rebuilding

                He’s doing better than playing well. He’s already set the rookie record for HRs and RBIs in April and is OPSing 962. And I don’t think a GM that ran Manny Ramirez out to LF on two WS teams has the excuse “we had nowhere to play him”

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  There’s a difference between trotting someone out there that was already on your roster vs. spending $70 million on a free agent to do the same. Also, lets let pitchers make some adjustments on Abreu before we declare him a god. He has been very poor on inside pitches so far this year, so lets see how he handles getting more fastballs in on the hands.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Sure, there will be adjustments back and forth. But even if he settles down to only OPSing 900 and slugging 550, then 29 teams, including the Cubs, missed out wildly on Abreu. I don’t think that’s really all that controversial

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      That 550 slugging seems a lot more certain to you than it does to me.

                  • Rebuilding

                    Well, Davenport’s translation system predicted 298/393/576 so maybe he’s the one who will make adjustments because arguably he’s “underperforming”

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Projections are far from exact, especially from the Cuban league to the MLB

                    • Rebuilding

                      Yeah, actually that’s not true. Davenport nailed Cespedes and Puig within .020 of OPS.

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      2 data points out of many do not make something an exact science

                    • Rebuilding

                      He’s also hit on nearly every Japanese player over the last 5 years. People can either hit and pitch or they can’t. They’ve pretty much figured out that Cuban ball is the equivalent to AA and Japanese ball is the equivalent of AAA

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Everything I’ve read has compared Cuban baseball to Low A

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Correction, industry consensus is High A

                    • Kyle

                      It’s kind of like A-ball with a handful of MLB talents sprinkled around it.

                    • Rebuilding

                      That is correct. From Davenport: “He considers the competition in Serie Nacional to be equivalent to high-A ball in North America’s minor leagues — the Carolina, California, and Florida leagues.”

  • MightyBear

    I’m beginning to think the Shark is going to be here the rest of this year AND next. Theo/Jed have set the bar extremely high for the Shark and teams are clinging to prospects. Theo/Jed may want to examine the FA class next year themselves and if all the studs re-sign with their teams or someone else, they may up their offer to the Shark. If the Shark still wants to go FA, the Cubs give him a QO and take the supp pick.

    • Brocktoon

      I can’t imagine a scenario where a healthy Shark pitches for the Cubs in 2015 unless they’ve extended him by that point. (Meaning I pretty much can’t imagine a scenario)

      • MightyBear

        How about this scenario – nobody gives Theo/Jed what they want in a trade from now until opening day 2015.

        • Brocktoon

          I’m 100% confident there will be an offer out there that is more valuable than a compensation pick.

          • Head and Heart

            I think ideally the Blue Jays and Rockies continue to hang around their division leads. Both have interesting arms they could offer although I suspect it would be tough or maybe even impossible to get Sanchez or Gray. Baltimore is another team worth “rooting” for as they have 6 pitchers in their top 10 prospects. Although I can’t see them giving up their top guy.

        • willis

          I think that is possible. But, I think where the team is right now, the money issue/demands, and desperation of a contender in a couple months, the trade will happen. I’d love to see him stick around and be a big part of this rebuild, but I think there will be too much temptation to trade him once they see what they can get, also knowing how far apart they are on an extension.

    • Jason P

      I can guarantee you the Cubs could get something more valuable than a compensation pick for Samardzija today. Or at next year’s trade deadline.

  • Truely Blue

    I’m not for trading all these pitchers for prospects. True, it appears the we got a good haul for Garza but even those players still have to prove themselves in the majors. Olt seems more “iffy” by the day and 2 of the other guys are here but have not proven themselves to be as good as Garza. What if none of them becomes a good major league player? Is it a good trade then? If we can’t keep our good pitchers then and only then trade them.
    What would be wrong with having 4 or 5 “2/3″ level pitchers without an identified #1 ace? I bet that we could win a lot of games. Keep the identified major leaguers and let the other teams keep the prospects!

    • JakeMac

      For half a season of Garza, we got 3 players already in the bigs, and a potential stud pitcher (either in rotation or relief). Even if they are all only adequate, the trade will go down as a good trade for the Cubs. It may not be the “heist” everyone expects it to be, but better than not making it and letting Garza walk. Based on his comments to Shark, he wasn’t sticking around.

  • MightyBear

    I have to make another comment that will probably get pounded and is off the subject but I’m pretty happy with the way things are going this year and although the record doesn’t reflect it, this team has a lot of positives going for it. First, Castro is night and day compared to last year. He looks relaxed, smooth and having fun both at the plate and in the field. He’s going to be good for a long time in a Cub uniform. Rizzo looks great at the plate and in the field. Wood, Shark, and Hammel are all pitching extremely well. Rondon, Strop, and Justin Grimm are pitching great out of the pen. These are all young guys (except Hammel) which are part of the future. There’s less and less holes on that roster and with the kids coming up, the team will be very good in the future, both short term and long term.

    • The Uncouth Sloth

      To me, as long as Castro and Rizzo get two hits each, then I am happy. If Castillo and Lake can join in, even better. Otherwise I just wish they would get rid of everyone over 26 years of age and let the next 80 games be a tryout camp for the second tier prospects. If they show something, great. If not, let them get a headstart on their next careers.

  • MightyBear

    Prediction: The next position guy to come up from Iowa – Logan Watkins.

    • ssckelley

      he has been a super sub down at Iowa playing almost everywhere.

  • V23

    Trading Shark for a guy who can POTENTIALLY become Shark seems counterproductive to me.

    When does the actual building of a team start? Sign at least one big name pitcher in offseason, keep Shark and Wood and that’s a real nice pitching staff.

    At some point the Cubs trajectory has to point up.

  • The Uncouth Sloth

    Shark has only begun to pitch like an Ace now that he is on the trading block. His motivation is to leave the Cubs, so please trade him for all you can get.

    It makes zero sense to trade Wood.

    As for Hammell, right now it just seems awful to consider trading him. No, he is not an Ace, either, but he is an excellent 3, just as Wood is an excellent 4.

    • Funn Dave

      Uh, Hammell makes the most sense to trade out of those three; we only have him for the year. As for your baseless accusations about Shark, nobody wants to hear you making completely groundless assumptions about his motivation when you have no insight whatsoever into his actual mindset.

    • Brocktoon

      If he’s only pitching well because he’s on the block, what’s the rush in trading him away? The longer he’s on the block the better he should get right?

    • V23

      Hammel is the guy you trade now. He is the #4/#5

      …Wood is a #3/#4.

  • Funn Dave

    So, am I missing something, or have the Garza / Shark comments still not been brought up in an article here?

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      You mean the ones said in the last week… They’ve been covered

      • Jason P

        No, there were more. Garza telling Samardzija to “pitch his way off the Cubs” and such.

        • Brocktoon

          Pretty sure that’s what Goat is referring to. Technically “last week”

          • Jason P

            Garza had comments last week that were covered here where he said he’s glad to finally be winning rather than just hoping to win. A couple days ago, he spoke again and said he told Jeff Samardzija to “pitch his way off the Cubs”. The first set of comments were covered here: http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/04/26/clarifying-darwin-barneys-role-and-other-bullets/.

            I haven’t seen anything on the second set unless I missed it.

            • Brocktoon

              I don’t think there was a posted piece on it, but it was discussed in comments over a couple different entries.

  • CubsFaninMS

    Unless they receive an offer that simply blows them away, I would be very disappointed to see Travis Wood traded. It’s not just an “I like this player” reaction… but I believe, because his repertoire is not deemed “dominant” like Samardzija, he’s worth much more to us than we can get on the trade block. Wood seems like the type who would be okay with signing a team-friendly extension. Samardzija wants to be paid like a TOR arm. He needs to be traded like one and the front office needs to go hard at a couple of high-quality SPs in the offseason or via trade if a favorable situation arises in that regard. If the front office doesn’t begin to switch gears over the next 12 months, they’ll start to look like the KC Royals.

    • JasonP

      With Shark and Wood you’ve got nearly 600 IP of data on each with a few seasons in the bigs. I’m sure everyone will counter with the Shark didn’t play until he was older argument, so maybe there is a little more chance for development.

      All said, I think we have a pretty good idea of what these guys will be, and it would be a shock if either of them got significantly better. Neither is a TOR guy.

  • ncsujuri

    Trading Shark should net you at least one top 50 type pitching prospect who is able to slot into the 2015 rotation, drafting Rodon / Beede gets you another guy who could handle it as well, add one of the FA guys (Lester/Masterson/Scherzer) and you have a legit looking rotation, IMO though maybe one light on MLB experience.

  • KHRSS

    I don’t know why so many who say Shark is not an ace undervalue him so much.
    At 29, with relatively less mileage on his arm than other pitchers at this age, and improving numbers he is a very valuable pitcher and he would be great to have for this rebuilding process. Unfortunately I think it’s more about the money than anything else so he will get traded.
    Trading Hammel is a no brainer, hopefully he can keep it up till June.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Unless he gets hurt, then Jeff Samardzija is a lock to get traded before July 31st. Dodgers, Giants, Braves, A’s, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays are each teams that could have serious interest.

    I honestly think Samardzija is traded very soon. The competitiveness of some teams, coupled with all of the pitcing injuries that have hit baseball, is why I think that.

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