Perplexing, Isn't It?
So the trade deadline came and went, not with a bang, but a whimper. The only move that Hendry sought fit to make was trade Kosuke Fukudome and about $4M for a couple of non-descript minor leaguers. Ones that must be better than what the Cubs already have per Hendry's reasoning below. It was also a move Hendry indicated had to happen so they could make room for Tyler Colvin, whom promptly sat on Sunday night versus a right-handed starter.
Hendry's reasoning behind the rest of the inaction...
“There’s not somebody waiting to take [Pena's] place for next year
in-house like Tyler is hopeful to do that in the outfield in moving
Fuke,” Hendry said. You have to look at it that way, too.
“The other factor, if you get a second-tier or two prospect back
and you already have people better than that in your own system, then
you really haven’t done anything to help the organization, and then
you’re also put in the spot where if you add minor-league players today,
that means somebody’s going to be sent backwards in our system or
eliminated. That’s just the way I looked at it.”
It's tough to play armchair GM when you don't know what the offers were, but that hasn't stopped the blogosphere and the media before. The problem for me and I suspect many of you is Hendry's tone that essentially most of the team can be part of a winning club in 2013. It's that sort of detached reality that is infuriating. What's also infuriating is the notion that seemed prevalent in a few of the articles yesterday that one of the reasons they didn't move Pena was because they're considering bringing him back next year, presumably if they can't land Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. I'm not necessarily against bringing Pena back if that ends up the case, but since he's a free agent regardless at the end of the year, his agent is Scott Boras and currently he would not net the Cubs any draft pick compensation even if they offer arbitration, keeping him around does little to increase the Cubs chances of resigning him. And it's certainly not outweighed by whatever marginal prospects they couldn't have gotten back.
The other guy that seemed to have some real interest from other teams was Marlon Byrd, well at least from the Braves. I understand the Cubs would still need to be looking for a center fielder next year if they did trade him, on the other hand he'll be 34 next year and on a good year, he's barely touching an .800 OPS. This doesn't seem like it's that hard to replace even if Brett Jackson isn't ready. But I would have been happy with Jordan Shafer and a minor league arm myself.
As for the Fukudome deal. you fine readers seemed upset over the haul of prospects. For a corner outfielder that doesn't hit home runs and has a .664 OPS since April 29th, they got what they could in my opinion. Abner Abreu seems to have some upside at age 21 and some love from the scouts for his bat speed and potential power (6-3" frame), some of which started to show this year. He also seems to play some decent defense with a real good arm. Unfortunately a career 25.9% K rate and not much willingness to take a walk, means he'll either have to find that power or change his approach radically to become a regular. But a 5th outfielder is a necessity as well and Abreu still has time on his side to reach that lofty goal.
As for Carlton Smith, well you can't have enough pitching. As a converted catcher, he started showing some strikeout ability this season with a K rate over 9 per inning. The walk and home run rates are a little high, but another possible bullpen arm, one that is presumably not too far from the majors isn't a terrible thing to acquire.
While blogging is generally all about over the top reactions with little information, I generally try to see both sides of the issue and understand what Hendry or Cubs management is doing and most importantly, understand we as fans are only privy to part of the process. Guys like Byrd, Baker, Grabow and so forth can just as easily be traded in August or the offseason for likely similar hauls then what can be had now. But the lack of interst and motivation in moving Carlos Pena is one that I just can't wrap my head around. I read what Hendry had to say and that makes some sense, but there's just little reason for me to believe, they're in any better position to resign him if they traded him and that he offers much to the Cubs the next 2 months, other than keeping them farther from the #1 draft pick if he sticks around and plays decently.
KKVG: Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive of the 2015-16 IFA. He has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the 2015-16 IFA position players who could. To accommodate Paredes at SS, the Cubs have been moving Andruw Monasterio (who was the #1 SS at AZL Cubs in 2015 and the presumptive Eugene SS going into Minor League Camp) around the infield (SS-2B-3B) at EXST.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.