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.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.