In response to a comment regarding the Cubs having an impending positional logjam due to all their prospects, Buster Olney recently made the following remark.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 11, 2014
Granted, 140 characters is not conducive to subtle and nuanced discourse, and Buster Olney is often very subtle and nuanced. I suspect, given the space, he’d have some “It would make sense…” or “They are likely to…” or “It is a good possibility that…” type of phrases embedded in his comment. With that caveat aside, I still would disagree with the idea that the Cubs need to trade or should trade one or more of their best prospects for pitching.
Another plan would be to try to sign the best pitchers they can this winter (remember, there are no guarantees in free agency), combine those new arms with the armada of mid and back of the rotation candidates already on the 40 man roster or lurking in the high minors, and see what happens. If they need more pitching (and they will, because everyone does), then there is another great crop of starters likely to hit free agency in 2015.
That plan seems perfectly viable, and doesn’t involve trading anyone. Naturally if the right deal comes along the Cubs should pounce on it, but I don’t think they need it to come along. Trading someone is certainly an option, a potentially good option, but I don’t see it as the best or the only option.
Nor will they have a positional log jam. If everyone succeeds in the majors (and odds are good they won’t), then move Bryant to the outfield, slot Russell at third, leave the rest alone, and call it a day. Logjam cleared.
On the other hand, this thinking could mean we’re in for a fun winter that includes all kinds of random trade rumors from every corner of baseball including the Cubs. After all, nearly every team in baseball could use a young, slugging infielder, and if the perception is out there that the Cubs have no choice but to deal one or more of theirs, then our offseason will be spent at the corner of Rampant Rumor and Baseless Speculation.
That could be almost as much fun as Spring Training next February. Almost.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Even without a single homer, the Cubs pulled off the 3-0 win.
Tennessee – The Smokies had the day off.
Daytona – Daytona was postponed by rain.
Kane County – Kane County had the day off.
Boise Hawks – Boise blew this one open in the middle innings as they won 11-6.
Arizona – The Cubs jumped to an early lead that just kept growing in this 8-1 win.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Dan Straily struck out 4 and walked 3 over 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just 2 hits.
- [Iowa] Armando Rivero was also impressive as he struck out the side in an inning of relief.
- [Iowa] Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters had the only multi-hit games for the Cubs.
- [Iowa] A double from Jorge Soler was Iowa’s only extra base hit.
- [Boise] James Norwood allowed a run on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 2 over his 4 inning start.
- [Boise] Daniel Canela hit his 6th homer and finished with 3 hits and a walk. Bryant Flete also finished with 3 hits.
- [Boise] Mark Zagunis, David Bote, and Calvin Graves each had 2 hits. Graves made one of his hits his first triple.
- [Arizona] Jose Paulino struck out 6 over 6 shutout innings. He allowed just 2 hits. Pedro Araujo and Jordan Minch completed the game.
- [Arizona] The Cubs hit 3 triples in this one. Ho-young Son, Kevonte Mitchell, and Yasiel Balaguert all had a 3 bagger.
- [Arizona] Mitchell also doubled, as did Adonis Paula and Tyler Pearson.
- After allowing four or more runs in three of his first four starts as an Iowa Cub, Straily has since posted three straight shutout performances and in the process has dropped his ERA from 4.99 on July 26 to 3.00 this morning. In general he has cut back on the walks in this recent stretch (although yesterday was a bit of an exception) and has limited the hits, but, even so, I think there is still room for improvement. In particular, his ground ball rate remains anemically low. It is possible for a pitcher to have success with a low ground ball rate, but the Cubs are trending more towards the ground ball heavy type of hurler. Straily still has some work to do in that area. That aside, his recent success should be a nice springboard for him as he heads for a possible post-roster-expansion start or two in the majors later this year.