Winter Meetings 2011 Day 3

The same deal as yesterday, keep the rumors flowing and check the twitter box on the right.

The news from the Cubs is that Carlos Pena has declined arbitration, although Levine indicates he may return on a free agent deal. If he signs elsewhere, the Cubs will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. Aramis hasn't formally declined, but obviously very unlikely he would accept since he declined the Cubs $16M option already, unless he misread the market and a multi-year deal isn't really out there, but that seems unlikely. My guess is he goes to the Brewers.

- Talks continue on Ian Stewart with names like Blake DeWitt, Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu being mentioned.

- Albert Pujols had 10-year offers from the Marlins and Cardinals and it appears he's headed back to the Cardinals. The Cubs were in the mix somehow, but don't appear to be a real threat to land him. Marlins may move on to Fielder or focus their dollars on pitching.

Comments

Maybe he is over 28? Oh, and, then you would only be paying for past performance I guess - instead of future imminent failure.

Fuck that trade.

Ditto, Rush.

CHIPs signed James Loney to an impressive DUI. Sideswiped a Mini, Prius, and a Benz before/after/while passed out in the fast lane of a freeway. Then he tried to leave.

and he spit on an arresting officer (allegedly)...

if milton bradley keeps it up the LA penal system softball league is gonna get really awesome.

also, alcohol/drugs not involved...at least ones they test for (ha)

Before he blew out his elbow in the AFL post-2008 (and I think I might have been at that game), Casey Weathers was one of the Rockies Top 5 prospects, and one of the top closer prospects in baseball. He was the closer for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, and was a college teammate of ex-Cub Ryan Flaherty at Vanderbilt.

Unfortunately, he has taken longer than normal to come back from the TJS (he missed all of the 2009 season and most of the 2010 season, and could not throw strikes this past season at AA or in the AFL post-2011), so he is a big question mark at this point.

I like this move a lot more than the Dejesus signing. That being said, Fielder, Darvish or Cespedes are hopefully part of this plan.

I thought I read the Cubs were supposedly higher on Soler than Cespedes? But I agree, Darvish please.

[EDIT] Ne'ermind, just having page update probs.

No you're not. Our big move at the Winter Meetings was to trade for someone who got out-hit by Tyler Colvin last year.

The funny thing is if both Fielder and Pujols end up out of the NL Central, those would be the 2 biggest deals the Cubs didn't make this winter to improve their chances. And you guys thought HoyStein don't have mind control powers.

Agreed. That would vastly improve the chances of earning the right to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Fingers crossed!! Though, I'm still hoping for Fielder.

Cubs are pretty damn good at earning the right to be swept out of the first round.

mlb.com's article on the colvin-stewart trade plus an embedded mlb network interview with Hoyer

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

Bruce Miles tweet...

GM Hoyer calls Stewart a "gifted third baseman" and hopes change of scenery will help offense.

http://twitter.com/BruceMiles2112

---------------------------------
--will Stewart's defense at 3B be an upgrade from ARam?
--will Stewart be able to draw more walks than Colvin?
--will Stewart's improvement be Pena-like, meaning it's a good season if he hits .225?

are the Cubs the tallest midget in the NL Central?

yes x 3, no on the last one...Brewers will still be good and Cards get Wainwright back. Reds are poised for a comeback season if they can deal for a starter or two.

Here is a 5/9/11 fangraphs article on Stewart during his early 2011 season struggles. Some interesting discussion regarding who would be a trade partner for Stewart at that point considering his struggles.
---------
Stewart’s pre-season 2011 ZiPS projection (.248/.332/.462, .341 wOBA, 10.1% walk rate, 30.1% strikeout rate)

Stewart’s plate discipline hasn’t completely broken down. His walk rate is about the same as his career rate, he’s swinging less than usual (and only slightly more at pitches outside the zone, according to BIS), and he’s making the same amount of contact. If professional scouts see something in his approach that means he isn’t the same, approximately league-average hitter he’s been in the recent past, I will cede to them. Statistically, this looks like the same guy: a 26-year old hitter with some contact issues, but a good walk rate, and above-average power. Stewart’s window for stardom is just about shut, but given his ZiPS RoS projection and the fact that he plays at least an average third base, he’s still good enough to be at least an average player in terms of his true talent.

I like the gamble. We get a league average 26 year old 3rd baseman and a live arm. In exchange for 2 guys who are Utility spare parts.

league average?

which, mexico?

and the Aaron Gleeman linked article calling for the Rocks to trade Stewart.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/05/09/...

do any ian stewart fans have anything to say about the guy that doesn't involve a number? ...especially since the AAA ones seem to be the only useful ones unless you want to project power and ignore what showed up last year.

what is so nice about his plate approach? the only good thing about this deal is it costs next to nothing both in what was given up and what's being paid...it also leaves dewitt/baker as the main 3rd base backup. well, it's good he can actually field 3rd...that's a good start over a guy like c.mcgehehehehe at least.

i know the guy's minor league numbers looks like a bunch of shiny dimes or some crap, but what about that guy swinging a bat looks like upside to anyone?

"do any ian stewart fans have anything to say about the guy that doesn't involve a number?"

Does anyone have any non-Facts to argue with my biased TV viewing?

not just me.

ian stewart isn't some 19 year old dominican kid.

Are there any Ian Stewart fans?

I saw so few games last year even of the Cubs. Real busy with work, but mostly because I was just so disgusted with the direction of the team, and saw nothing to look forward to even in the future.

So, even tho Stewart had an okay rookie year, I really can't remember even seeing him bat. Ever. I can't imagine he has a lot of fans in Chicago. "HEY! LOOKEE!!! WE GOT IAN STEWART! WOO HOO!!"

Most of us casual fans, and that's what I was last year, don't even know who the guy is.

Brief thumbnail on Ian Stewart & Casey Weathers roster status info:

STEWART: 3+050 MLB Service Time... under club control through 2014 season... eligible for salary arbitration... was also eligible for arbitration post-2010 as a "Super Two" & ended up with a $2.2M+ salary in 2011... has one minor league option left, but he would need to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before he can be sent to minors...

WEATHERS: No MLB Service Time... has two minor league options left...

Underwhelming off season thus far.

Just wait until we bring in James Loney or Kotchman for the other corner. Things will look a lot rosier then.

I'm thinking Daric Barton after he's non-tendered on Monday. Then everything will be coming up roses.

Why wait for the non-tender. Why not trade potential useful parts for him now?

How about just going International? Sign Cespedes, Darvish, Soler, and Concepcion and be happy.

Phil Rogers gives Jaramillo too much credit as a Mr.Fixit, since Bagwell, Biggio and Castro never stumbled in their early careers, while Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Palmeiro were hitting stars well before they met RJ. Tyler Colvin, meanwhile, who had his ticket out of town punched by Rudy, is not mentioned in the article.

But Rogers does make a good point when he says that Stewart may be just a one-year placeholder for Vitters or Lake. The Cubs didn't necessarily want to invest a lot in a 3B this year.

Jaramillo historically has done great work with young hitters, and Starlin Castro’s .304 average in his first two seasons suggests he could be on his way to joining the group of great hitters who cut their teeth working with Jaramillo (most notably Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez).

5 guys suspected of taking 'roids...

Oh Wrongway, never change...

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Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    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...

  • nice.

    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.