And We Shall Rumor...

The GM Meetings have begun and every agent wants the Cubs excess in their clients' pockets.  So where we at...

- Russell "31-year-old Career Year" Martin wants Brian McCann money, something in the vicinity of 5/75-80M. Beefy seems to be just fine back there, don't you think?

- The Phillies are allegedly in blow-up mode, but beyond Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels, can't imagine there's much for the Cubs to look at. Hamels DID NOT put the Cubs on his list of teams he could block a trade to, but the Phillies are asking for 3 top prospects and I don't think they mean Alcantara, Edwards and Vogelbach.

- There's some ruminations that the Red Sox will end up bringing Jon Lester back, potential price tag in the 6/120M range.

- too many conclusions from one post season and is still focused on upgrading the rotation rather than the bullpen.

- Theo also mentioned that he doesn't see any international free agents as an obvious fit with the Cubs.

- A few days back, would probably prefer Lester or Shields over Scherzer and throws out Andrew Miller's name as a possibility.

- Justin Upton has the Cubs as one of 4 teams on his no-trade list, he might not want to play here or he might just be looking for leverage.

- Torii Hunter was linked to about 10 teams, one being the Cubs. I think we'd all be surprised if that happened.

- The Mets are gonna look at trades to upgrade at shortstop and Starlin Castro's name is a natural fit, but the Mets are notoriously difficult to deal with and says, "it has so far been difficult, if not impossible, for the Mets and Cubs to agree on Castro’s trade value."

Comments

Hey, Rob--I realize that you are just collecting info from around the internet, but isn't the following the entire Mooney mention of Cubs preference for Lester or Shields over Scherzer: The Cubs are believed to prefer Lester or James Shields to Scherzer. Ambiguous passive voice and all. I'm not sure I get a preference for Lester or especially Shields over Scherzer, unless it's based primarily on the perception that Scherzer will get the biggest offer of the 3 and that Shields will get the smallest offer of the three.

not sure what you're asking me about there? The entire mention is this.

The Cubs are believed to prefer Lester or James Shields to Scherzer. People around the team say lefty Andrew Miller would make a lot of sense as the new lights-out reliever. Peavy can sing “Go Cubs Go” but otherwise makes little sense on the North Side heading into his age-34 season. 

Did I summarize it poorly?

I was unclear. It's not really a question for you so much as me questioning Mooney. I wondered (but didn't really ask) where has this preference for Lester or Shields over Scherzer been stated? What are the sources? Or is this pure speculation? Too many articles state whatever claim they like while hiding behind the passive voice. Or, to Mooney, THIS PARAGRAPH IS BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.

ah got it...pretty sure reporters are quite creative in how they attribute something. In this example, it said "Cubs are believed" which could mean Theo or Jed, could mean an agent claimed to have talked to Theo or Jed, could mean the secretary passed something along, could mean a scout heard something from someone, could mean the Cubs are known to want a SP and have some ties to Shields (through Maddon) and Lester (through Theo and Jed) and Mooney needed a column idea..who the 'eff knows?

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/...

Jesse Rogers seems hellbent on the Cubs signing Martin.

says keep an eye out on Jason Heyward if he becomes available and says Cubs brass know that next year is very unlikely the year, offense will need time to grow.

Doesn't think Cubs will end up signing Shields, Lester or Scherzer, says Lester wants to win now and doesn't think Cubs are there quite yet.

Some other names mentioned: Nick Markakis, Mike Morse, Gomes, J. Hammel

Lest we forget.. Jesse Rogers is an idiot

on that Heyward mention, would you trade Soler for Heyward?

Heyward is 2 1/2 years older than Soler. Left-handed bat would be nice in that lineup somewhere.

Not saying I could pull that trigger, but it's intriguing.

Heywards frame is too big for OF, will break down need to be DH/1b sooner then later. I like Soler club control, lh bat not big a deal to me.

Heyward listed at 6'5", Soler at 6'4", one of them has been injured a lot, it isn't Heyward.

If they would get so lucky to make the playoffs, they'd get eaten alive by good bullpens without a good L/R mix imo. Also Heyward's defense has been rather exceptional to this point with good on-base skills.

Power has been disappointing though.

Heyward listed 245 Soler listed 215 Soler with better nutrition will be okay in long run. Why would Braves be keen on moving him?

I'm not sure keen is the right word, Heyward is a FA after next season and Braves seem to have realized they need to do a minor rebuild before they go into their new stadium. I imagine the asking price for Heyward would be quite steep, his WAR numbers since his rookie year have been (4.6, 2.0, 6.3, 3.4 and 5.1). That's a damn good player who is going to be playing his age 25 season next year and any smart GM is gonna take a look if the Braves make him available, which is what I got Rogers was hinting at.

Ultimately no one knows what the Braves are asking for and if he'll be traded, but good players are offered up all the time and we're never sure why.

Unless it's the Marlins or Oakland, if they are offering a player like that up that should be a red flag.

Justin Upton was a helluva get for the Braves.

I think much like Castro, teams will find the price too steep as is the case most of the time.

Add the Rays to the list too. Teams that can afford players don't trade them like that. Braves new stadium is being paid by the county.

I'd trade Baez for Heyward.

throw in Olt too!!!!

think it would take 3 very good prospects to get Heyward with a Baez or Soler type being the centerpiece.

You had to go there, didn't you?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/11/11/levine...

theo already made that mistake once.

rather stick with Alcantara, but Crawford should be a useful 2 WAR player going forward. All depends on the deal.

I think last year the average rate was about $6M per WAR, and Crawford is owed over $20M+ the next 3 seasons. If Dodgers pay about $8-10M per year and Cubs give up some bullpen arms? Not sure I'd do it, but not terrible either.

Crawford seemed comfortable being rotated in that Dodger OF last year, could be helpful.

and that would free up the EJax money/roster slot

not sure I'm following...

if someway Cubs took on Crawford and paid 3/36M plus prospects with Dodgers paying the rest around 3/24 (he's owed a little over $60M the next 3 years), how does that free up money for Edwin for the Cubs?

Now if Cubs pawned Edwin off on the Dodgers and a bullpen arm while taking Crawford's contract back with a little money help from Dodgers that would be neat, but don't see the Dodgers doing that, although Edwin did play for Rays once upon a time. I don't get Dodgers are just trying to dump Crawford or any of their outfielders at this point.

How about giving Ichiro a flier?

to do what? usher?

Ichiros' just above replacement level at this point and not sure he'd stay above it next season. I'd stick with Coghlan in that case.

sorry if 3/44, but ~swoon~

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/11/06/maddon...

If you don’t have that guy [Rivera or Percival were examples he used], it’s about leverage situations and matchups and who’s the better guy right now. The difficulty with that is you have to have those conversations in spring training. Before you ever leave camp, you tell different guys, ‘Listen, you’re not just a seventh-inning guy, you’re not just the eighth-inning guy. You’re the guy based on this part of the lineup or that part of the lineup. These are your strengths.’ So you build your bullpen that way.

Free agency sucks. I'm just gonna sign Melky Cabrera and call it a day.

this thread features c.crawford and j.heyward...both guys who's WAR intoxicates some, but scares the hell out of others when it's time to pay "market value." They both benefit (crawford at the time of his BOS signing) from D-heavy values and injury could easily harm what else they're doing both at the plate and in the field. there's also the whole thing some buy into about OF D being grossly overrated in WAR for some reason, but that's another long post. couple of near/sub-.800 OPS guys who managed to wrangle 4-6 WAR values for a stretch of years. crawford wasn't even that good of a LF'r...good, yeah, but not good enough to balance the bat and contract. a huge * on crawford was that so much of his power showing came from an unusual slew of triples and his speed gave him many hits that would ordinarily be outs. take away that speed via injury or decline and almost every aspect of his value tanks. his agent should get an award from other agents for being able to snag him 7 years and $140m.

most of Crawford's pre-Boston WAR value DID NOT come from his defense actually and if he had just regressed to a 3-4 WAR player, he would still be decent value at $20M per season. He obviously couldn't stay healthy and his speed tanked almost immediately.

Theo spent money though, I believe this makes a good move by your rules.

you're right about the D thing with crawford...i though he was pulling 1-2 off his D. to the bigger point i was trying to make...his game hinges on leg health on so many aspects aside from his contact...which is singles-hitting contact with a very mild power stroke. it's one thing when you're taking a small gamble, but 7/140 was one hell of a gamble given the foundation of the player and his position on the field (LF). also, theo money spend good ugg ugg ugg *waves caveman club around* money good spend ugg ugg ung. there, by your rules that's pretty much what was written about my view of the ricketts/cubs/theo-corp if you want to sum up the point. =p

speaking of bad contract swaps, BJ Upton out there. 3/45M 'ish left.

rather keep Edwin.

speaking of rumor... "Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs are in talks with the Nationals to acquire Jordan Zimmermann." http://chicagosuntimes.com/sports/sources-cub...

And we have our 2015 version of Jake Peavy

so what's next for Witty...should he fire up the rumor that Jedstein is working on luring Brian Roberts out of retirement?

Desmond is allegedly a year from free agency too, sure wouldn't mind a deal getting J. Zimmerman and Desmond for Castro and shitload of B/C prospects. Russell just isn't ready and i think we're all sketchy on Baez.

Getting zimmermann is it's own thing, figure out what an extension is going to cost or take your chances or deal him at deadline if he seems unwilling.

Wow, that was a real Twitter destruction of another sports beat writer's attempt at a story. Just one after another tweet last night shooting Wittenmeyer down.

Sullivan and Mooney dumping water on the whole rumor btw.

Levine and Rogers jump on the denial dogpile as well.

good. i like j.zim, but the trade pieces needed to get it done for a 1-season rental is a bit high for an emerging team like the 2015 cubs.

Rogers doubles down on Heyward, but points more towards a FA signing next year.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs

I can pretty easily draw up a worse corner outfield situation than Soler and an age 27 Heyward

I'd like to see one mlb season of Bryant at third before slotting someone else in lf

Tall people prejudice is so ugly. And on a more serious note, I actually meant for next year. I think we'll know by the end of 2015 if Bryant is a third baseman, and 2016 is Heyward's walk year. For once, a decent free agent will probably be available unless the "sources" reporting they won't extend Heyward are wrong.

He's an inch shorter than Kingman, who started as third baseman.

Hoyer said the Cubs are drawn to contact hitters, as their stable of young players is loaded with power hitters who swing and miss often.

"We have to get on base more,'' Hoyer said. "We have to figure out ways to limit our strikeouts. We're not going to get away from them completely because of the makeup of our club. We do have a lot of power. But we have to figure out a way to fix some of those issues. It's less positionally, more fit.''

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/101197620/chica...

The music to my ears was:
"We've obviously spent three years building up our farm system through a lot of painful trades and Drafts,'' Hoyer said Tuesday at the General Managers Meetings. "The idea we would so rapidly deplete it to go for it is pretty unlikely.''

Exactly. Anyone who sees them trading top tier or even 2nd tier prospects is either misunderstanding this FO or a deluded or scheming agent.

Jim Hendry waves

Carrie Muskat ✔ @CarrieMuskat #Cubs prospect Jacob Hannemann's value rises thanks to AFL play http://atmlb.com/11ihUn2 via @mlb Hannemann for Zimmerman! Make it so!

Cubs claim RHP Donn  Roach off waivers from Padres

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

Huh, not sure I see the interest here. Once he got above A+ ball his stats have been pretty mediocre, and walks are high and strikeouts low.

Theo talked up his sinkerball fwiw, says he'll be in mix vying for a spot.

rumor mill is quiet today...let's guess where the big 3 pitchers go

Scherzer - Yankees

Lester - Red Sox

Shields - Angels

Scherzer-Detroit Lester-Cubs Shields-Boston

Scherzer NYY Lester BOS Shields TOR

*sharpens pitchfork*

Scherzer - Cubs Lester - Cubs Shields - Cubs

agreed. along with g.stanton in RF and d.robertson closing games, the 2015 cubs are going to rock.

I'm not so sure. Will we still have Olt?

Victor Martinez re-signs with Tigers for 4/$68M

kluber wins the AL CY...damn.

"A spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic's Attorney General's Office, Tessie Sanchez, said Oscar Taveras was "legally intoxicated when he crashed."" :/

Cardinals ....tradition...

His BAC was higher than his BA. Piece of shit.

@CSNMooney

Theo: "People predict that we’re going to sign 2 top-of-the-rotation starters who both require 9-figure contracts. That’s not happening."

So all 3?

People = ? George Offman, Phil Rogers or David Kaplan

Add Gordon Wittenmeyer "I don't believe in Zimmerman"-JL

Nice!

Ha ha! That made my day!

Shields won't get 9 figures, and if he does, someone help that poor GM who thinks it's a good idea.

Pirates trade RP Justin Wilson to Yankees for C Francisco Cervelli

Bye Bye Martin.

cervelli finally gets his starting gig...at age 29 (turns 29 in march).

Zambrano no hitter on CSN right now. Remember watching it.

Yep! In Milwaukee, vs. the Astros, as I recall, because of hurricane damage in Houston. Weird night.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Martin, more Martin, and at last Martin

speaking of Martin, another story on Martin

http://chicagosuntimes.com/sports/cubs-inchin...

Witty gives Cubs the kiss of death and labels them as the frontrunner

And I've got some land on Jacob Zimmerman's Arizona ranch for sale, if anybody is interested.

Martin rapidly becoming the player that must not ever be a Cub, a la Brian Roberts, just to reinforce the lesson that sports writers are mostly full of it.

I haven't given up on Brian Roberts yet. And I never will, retirement be damned.

The year is 2108. Cyborg Crane Kenney hires a Necromancer to bless the home dugout at Wrigley Field 10.2. But nobody expected Brian Roberts to return from the dead... and lead the Cubs all the way to the World Series! This summer, coming to theaters everywhere, Brian Roberts: Ghostie on Second. Teaser 2: Brian Roberts is back, and he's finally a Cub -- but things get dicey when the Cardinals' rookie SS turns out also to be an exorcist sent by the Vatican, under deep cover. Brian Roberts: Ghostie on Second. Watch for the pick-off play!

But nobody expected Brian Roberts to return from the dead... and lead the Cubs all the way to the World Series!
Their 93rd consecutive World Series.

if Cubs don't get Martin, Alex Avila and Jason Castro are two names that are rumored to be available. Neither will remind you of Johnny Bench with the bat, but neither will Martin once he ages and regresses.

Ronny Cedeno In case any of you are interested, the dumbest player I ever saw play for the Cubs is now playing in the AFL. At 31. Wondering if AZ PHIL has run nto him?

I nearly ran into Cedeno once. My wife and I were in the concourse at Wrigley about 20 minutes before a game- and an obviously late, was-stuck-in-traffic Cedeno runs through the concourse to, what I assume was the clubhouse. My wife looks at me, puzzled, and was like "Was that Ronny Cedeno?" I mean being a little late is understandable, but 20 minutes before game time?

"Can't talk !! Running late to getting thrown out at second on a walk!"

"Shit. Where the hell is second base?"

E-MAN: Ronny Cedeno is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League (VWL). He has too much MLB Service Time to be able to play in the AFL.

It's not that unusual for veteran Venezuelan players like Cedeno to play in the VWL during the MLB off season, just like it's not that unusual for veteran Dominican players to play in the Dominican Winter League, either as a way to pick up some cash, and/or because the player's hometown team entices the player to play.

PHIL: I get daily feeds from Baseball America and they listed Cedeno as the VL - I misread it. Indeed you are correct, sir. It sure seemed odd - but it is still surprising he is "kicking around". I hope he can find his car after the games.

Some people just obviously love to play baseball and probably don't care much where they play (I refer you to, also, one Manny Ramirez). Cedeno may not have been a very good MLBer, but if he played on a sandlot anywhere in America he'd generally be, by far, the best player on the team. In a way, a guy like Cedeno just gives me more appreciation for the game.

Jake Arrieta received 3 5th place votes in the Cy Young to finish tied for 9th overall: http://bbwaa.com/14-nl-cy/ Interestingly, none of his 3 votes came from Miles or Wittenmyer (AZ, CIN, PHI). I tried to edit the Wikliefield page, but it has some sort of bug or error in it--even if I just open the editor and change nothing and click save it comes up. And for some reason the editing option isn't even showing up for me on the ROY page on the site (says its protected). But looks like first Cub receiving a Cy Young vote since 2008 (Dempster), and Hendricks was first ROY vote recipient since 2011 (Barney).

“In reality, they’re a powerhouse,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “The Cardinals are the standard in a lot of ways. They’ve built an incredibly healthy baseball organization and a thriving, robust business operation and they combine those things really well. I don’t think they’ve reached their potential yet. I think there isn’t a player in baseball that they couldn’t go get if they wanted to. If they sensed a threat and they wanted to put their foot on the gas I think it’s almost unlimited what they could do.”

http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/profe...

I see Concepcion has kind of stunk it up in the AFL: 10 ER in 15.1 IP, 7 SO and 9 BB

he's fulfilling what everyone but the cubs front office thought he was capable of...go figure. that said, most of his cost was sunk in seasons where they weren't spending anyway so it's not like it's an albatross or a future-hindering cost concern.

While Gerardo Concepcion and Zach Cates have generally stunk, C. J. Edwards looked great yesterday in his three innings of work (his best game so far), and Ivan Pineyro threw the ball very well today. His fastball had zip (topped out at 93), his curve had some bite, and his change-up was outstanding, keeping the Glendale hitters off-balance.

Among the Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft, C. J. Edwards is a lock to get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster by the 11/20 desdline, and I would say that Pineyro has pitched himself into serious consideration with his impressive showing in the AFL. The main problem with Pineyro was the recurring forearm issues, but he sure looked plenty healthy today.

Nice summary of the winter meetings: http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i... “We can fit all of our impact position player prospects on the field at the same time,” Epstein said Wednesday. “That’s probably what we’ll end up doing. We’re not rushing out to move those guys for pitching even though we admit we would like to acquire impact pitching. We’re not going to close the doors on anything, but we’re certainly not in a rush to trade away our position players.”

Looks like the Winter Meetings are in San Diego December 7-11. These GM meetings are some sort of preliminary. Not sure why the duplication--AZ Phil would be able to explain the difference. I know that more happens in the Winter Meetings, as teams shop for Xmas presents for their fans.

it's what you said, the GM meetings are preliminary, start the ball rolling on talks. The Winter Meetings come after non-tender decisions are made and is a bigger spectacle that culminates with the Rule 5 draft.

Dustin Geiger update... Hopefully, he can answer the question: Where's the Beef? https://twitter.com/D_Geiger/status/531972610...

[Enter Koyie Hill, frantic.] Koyie: I'm here from 2007 to warn you about sharp instruments! [Enter Kevin Costner, affect completely, inhumanly flat.] Costner: Eh. It'll make the climax more poignant.

Former Cubs Alvin Dark Has gone dark http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-11...

"According to Jon Heyman on Twitter, 22 teams have shown interest in relief pitcher Andrew Miller." that's quite specific.

If it was Wittenmeyer, "22" would have just been some randomly generated number.

Rosenthal says Marlins and Stanton discussing $300M extension.

Dear lord, what is Bryant gonna end up costing?

We should trade him now for an undervalued pitch-to-contact mid-rotation... I can't even finish this hyperbole. I just love Bryant so much. Pay him with my still-beating heart.

Someday, baseball players are just going to have to own the teams. Somewhere, Karl Marx is cackling with glee.

Mike Trout takes AL MVP unanimously.

Guessing Kershaw takes NL MVP

@BNightengale 

Cole Hamels open to trade, and #Phillies likely will move him to loser of Lester sweepstakes: #Redsox or #Cubs. http://usat.ly/1uofAWl

Seems like Theo and Jed were pretty clear that they weren't going to meet Phillies' asking price for Hamels.

things change, could be Castro, Castillo and some non-elite prospects.

Don't get it. If you're willing to give up a big haul, trade for a younger player and then attempt to extend him (as many have fantasized with Stanton). Like others, I'm not enchanted with Hamels at the salary and the trade cost.

all depends on the haul and player in return...a younger player with a smaller contract would cost more in prospects most likely. Taking on Hamels contract should offset some of what the Cubs would have to pay in prospects.

Should being the operative word, really depends if Phillies back off on 3 top prospect demand and what top prospect really means to them.

But if some of the rumors end up being true, Cubs could move Castro whom Phillies could desperately use and maybe Vogelbach, Castillo and a decent SP prospect (Edwards or Pierce Johnson), Cubs get Hamels and maybe another piece. Just spitballin' cause I have no idea what Phils will hold out for.

 

Another piece = Cliff Lee?

Might be overeaching there and not knowing Lee's contract off hand, guessing he's more a trade deadline guy to build up his value. Figure teams want to see if he was healthy. 

I was thinking a useful role player or change of scenery guy like Dominic Brown.

 

 

Phils will be holding onto Hamels until June or July at least.

Maybe, seems easier to move a multi-year contract in the offseason though. Seems most trade deadline deals are no more than a year+ left on their deals.

Just seems like there's no way the Phils get what they ought to want for Hamels while there are 3 comparable pitchers to be had for cash alone.

"[Hamels for] Castro, Castillo and some non-elite prospects" I think you may be selling Castro a bit cheap. I'm not sure that if there are prospects in such a deal, they're not on the Phillies' side. Even then, the Cubs will have to mull this over before pulling the trigger. Castro will turn 25 a week before the 2015 season starts. If the comparison with Tony Fernandez that Tim Wilken made a long time ago continues to hold up, Castro has eleven, twelve, maybe thirteen full seasons left. He turned on the power to some extent last season, although missing the last month diminished the overall numbers. But he's more of an impact hitter than Fernandez was. That said, I find a Castro-for-Hamels deal intriguing. Both teams know what they're getting, and get what they need. The Cubs could shell out for Lester and save Castro for later, but then they would be paying more per year over, what, twice the number of years? Hamel's contract only runs four more years (with an option for a fifth). It's an exciting trade, big dog for big dog.

trigger pulled on that deal. Whats the purpose of having all these SS around if you can't trade one of 'em. /would prefer trading Baez instead

age and contract factors I can't be 100% sure on, but Cole Hamels 4-6 WAR seasons vs Castro's 2-3 WAR seasons I can. Hamels was the 2nd best pitcher in the NL this year behind Kershaw and is always near the top.

I think there would be some parts going both ways. Phillies are going to want more than one piece for Hamels and Cubs are probably going to try to recuperate a little on the youth they loss.

 

I'm with V-Phil on this one on the value of Castro, who I think is pretty underrated given his accomplishments at age 24. He'll be 25 next year, Hamels will be 31. Castro is a position player, a good hitter, in an era where hitting is at a premium, especially at short. We are also in an era where pitchers very quickly become like Walking Dead characters. I'm as dead set against giving anything more up for Hamels than Castro as the TCR hive is against getting Martin.

I hear ya, and on further reflection I think you guys are probably right that it wouldn't be anything significant the Cubs would add to Castro, but I do think they'd have to give something up. Phils aren't gonna swap Hamels for just one piece.

Hamels has been ridicoulsy good though in his career and I don't worry as much about pitcher's age as I do position players. And the contract is more than reasonable that he's under.

Castro/Edwin/spare parts for Hamels/Rollins/spare parts?

Rollins would be a decent stop gap until Russell gets here or Baez figures it out. It's Rollins contract year, might be a bit more motivated this season.

That's kinda interesting. Rollins has said no way he'll accept a trade but I don't believe him. Every piece I've seen has said the Phils want way more than I think the Cubs will give them but like you say, things change. If nobody is going to give it to them, and they want to shake things up, they gotta do something. I can see the reluctance to give up a guy like Hamels, though. Not many like him.

Rizzo finished 10th in MVP voting, 1 6th place vote was the highest spot he got.

But somehow couldn't beat a-gonz for the Silver Slugger.

Gonzalez finished ahead of him in MVP voting.

Gonzalez had much better numbers than Rizzo with Runners on and RISP, which may not carry predictive value, but carries plenty of real value over a season.

.956 OPS RISP/.905 Runners On for Gonzalez

.788/.895 for Rizzo

Regardless, I think we all know Rizzo will be the better hitter going forward and probably had the better season, but doing it for a go-nowhere team will always be frowned upon unless it's an absurdly special season.

Fair enough. I didn't know that.

One of Sullivan's better articles. Good quotes from Theo on WAR and Cherington on free agent pitcher longevity predictors. More on Cubs' reluctance to trade hitting prospects for pitching: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Joe Maddon on Dan Patrick- -can't talk about rays tampering charges "unfortunate" "oblivious to the whole thing" -Preaching patience and being pragmatic "it's a daily thing" -Not very sensitive to criticism (well your baseball guys in TB are former Reader's Digest writers easy to say now) -Only worried about what team thinks Ricketts down to players -Cubs job was "highly attractive" -Wants to utilize old players Banks and Williams (keep them away!) -likes driving RV -RV is in AZ now -

"Wants to utilize old players Banks and Williams (keep them away!)" Relax. He means he wants to play them. Imagine what @Maddonini can get out of those old veterans.

From MLBTR: "Olney also wonders how the frightening, season-ending injury to Stanton has affected his perspective and influenced his willingness to accept a deal like this. " ACCEPT a deal like this? 12 years, $320 million? He could build a comet landing robot for that. Start a reasonably high GNP small nation. Build a new tower in Dubai. ACCEPT?????

No kidding! He just finished his age 24 season and has played 123, 116 and 145 games in the past 3 seasons. He keeps getting injured and he's a young guy. He needs to jump on that sucker before he becomes the next Rondell White.

It begins... Cubs opener moved to Sunday night April 5 vs Cards on ESPN

Seriously, Jacos? It may be below freezing.

Yup, Maddon said he will have "his hot chocolate ready" I went to one Cubs opener, it snowed in the 7th inning and Mark Parent hit a hr, I left. No more openers for me unless they raise the flag. I was at Hawks Winter Classic on Jan 1 at Wrigley, and it would rank about fifth for coldest I have been at Wrigley Field.

addison Russell named top prospect over Bryant by Baseball Prospectus.

Seems like a bit of a click bait move, but I'm sure they have their reasons.

typical BP move...along with leaving cj edwards off. russell, having the D to go with the bat can make an argument for #1, but i imagine a lot of list makers will have bryant #1. throwing vogel in there at #9 is good for a chuckle. b.mckinney at #6 is a bit bullish and c.sands won the "best of the over-slot-paid" SP crew ranking from the last draft at #10.

yeah, and no Ryan Harvey anywhere on the list too.

That's because his last year was 2012, when he hit 29 HRs and got 92 RBI for Lancaster. That was his golden chance to get called up again and become the next...Brian LaHair.

Burnett signs 1/8.25M deal with Pirates

Stanton about to sign 13/325M deal, includes some sort of opt out and NTC.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyma...

I hope for everyone's sake he stays healthy. The face of their franchise, now. I wonder if it'll help get average attendance up past Iowa's.

burn declined a 12.5m player option with philly and instructed his agent to only negotiate with pit. swank.

i imagine nothing will come of it since Tony Bosch is the witness here, and I'm not sure it's anything necessarily illegal, but Boras tried to fabricate medical records when Manny got his first suspension and made up some stuff.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014...

Any thoughts on the Hellickson for Velazquez and Willams trade? My initial reaction was that I wish the Cubs had done it, but I think I'm remembering rookie Hellickson and his prospect upside. Still, it seems like a comparable swap for the Cubs might've been McKinney and Gleyber Torres for Hellickson. Hellickson's ERA has been all over the place (2.95, 3.10, 5.17, 4.23), his IP is not great, generally in the 180 area, though only 13 big league starts last year, and his FIP has never been super impressive (4.36 for his career). Would us Cubs fans make that trade? Would the Rays want more, or could the Cubs have pulled it off for less? Obviously this is pure fantasy land.

Seems like a good Theo reclamation project, but he usually buys those. Not sure if this is the time for such a project, though. I was also a tad disappointed...but I imagine Tampa and Chicago aren't the best of friends at the moment.

Wait, we don't get all of the cool players? Bullshit!

Right? The Cubs haven't stolen anybody's manager or signed an impact player in, like, a week, and I'm beginning to question the whole point of there being an offseason.

he's a kinda boring player, imo...especially since the magic of his first couple seasons wore off. fastball, change, curve...a few more pitches, but that's his main effective arsenal. 90mph fastball and mid-70s change are flyball...high-70s, very low 80s curve is a groundball pitch. when he doesn't have command/control of his fastball things get ugly because he really needs it to set up his really slow off-speed stuff...and the D behind him is kinda important because there's a good amount of contact on him. he's not trash, but he looks like an end-rotation guy at this point...and i dunno why ARZ thinks he's a good fit for the NL West, especially chase field.

Point being, he could be a Hammel type of guy - not a great risk...but for those guys, I'd prefer free agency than giving up prospects.

yeah, myself...i have a hard time figuring out how much value ARZ gave up for him because i'm not too familiar with the kids they gave up. they both have promising numbers, but neither has much experience. i dunno what it would take from the cubs side for a comparison of whether ARZ risked well or "over paid" in talent.

Most of the celebrating I've heard was actually from TB's side, but the weed is always greener, I guess.

it's nice to have expendable pitching. even with price/hellickson gone they're still left with cobb/smyly/archer/odorizzi/m.moore

peoria vs salt river AFL championship game on MLB Network.

this game went from good to silly in the 7th...still, live televised wood bat baseball...swank.

That's one helluva tell, Shakey. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11879624/jo...

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-offic... Jim Bowden speculates on 4 possible trades for Cole Hamels. Some commentary on initial requests and counter-offers... Cubs:
In time, the Phillies ask for a solid third prospect, but not one of the untouchables. The deal that could happen: C.J. Edwards, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora for Hamels. The Philllies get a solid starting-pitching prospect and two long-term solutions for their outfield. The Cubs get their top-of-rotation starter and are able to keep most of their high-ceiling prospects.
Cardinals:
A deal that could happen: Shelby Miller, Stephen Piscotty and Carson Kelly for Hamels.
Dodgers:
A deal that could happen: Julio Urias, Chris Anderson, Alex Guerrero and Zach Lee for Hamels.
Red Sox:
A deal that could happen: Anthony Ranaudo, Deven Marrero and Matt Barnes for Hamels.

I don't hate it. But I'm not very high on Almora.

I don't hate it either, but TheoCorp seems VERY high on Almora. I think if it was me I'd pull the trigger anyway. But ... I hate 3 for one deals on costly veterans. Another thing somewhat rantish - I don't understand the fascination with unloading prospects suddenly that you see all over the Twitterverse (less around here). We've all suffered for three years to see this system get built up. I don't want it torn down for a win now thing. That's what Hendry did. I'd rather see the Cubs spend on free agency to get a couple guys in the tier under Lester and Hamels and see if they catch fire. This whole Hamels thing is freaking me out a bit. In other words, I'm torn.

Cubs would do that deal yesterday....

BP had a writeup on teams odds of winning the 2015 World Series, (9 teams whose odds are too long or too short. Marlins, Mets, Phils, Rays, Pirates, Reds, Royals, Cubs, Indians)... http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...
8. Chicago Cubs (5.88% Bovada, 4.56% adjusted) According to the odds, the Chicago Cubs currently have the seventh-best chance of winning the 2015 World Series; this comes on the heels of a 73-win season and a last-place finish in the NL Central. The Cubbies have an incredible nucleus of young talent, particularly up the middle, but that talent will take time to ripen on the vine. This is a team that is built to make a World Series run as soon as 2016 or '17, but 2015 is a bit premature. Young players go through trials and tribulations as they experience adjustment periods at the highest level, and it is too early to tell when youngsters such as Javier Baez and Jorge Soler will be cornerstones of expected performance. That clock is further delayed for players who have yet to make their MLB debuts such as Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Just look how long it took Anthony Rizzo to solidify himself as an impact player—he endured a couple seasons of up-and-down performance before his breakout season of 2014, and this was a bat-first player whose offense might be expected to coalesce relatively quickly. The team is extremely thin on the mound once you get past Jake Arrieta, and though expectations might include their snagging one of the big arms that is available on the free agent market, there is no such thing as the 15-win pitcher who can vault them to immediate contention (and any signing is purely theoretical at this point). Signing a pair of Clayton Kershaw's might get them there, but there is only one Kershaw, and he is currently employed by the top team on the list of World Series odds. It's also worth noting that NL teams occupy five of the top seven spots on the list, a conundrum that throws another wrench into the Cubs' likelihood of turning into an overnight juggernaut that takes the National League by storm. —Doug Thorburn

That seems like a fair assessment and another reason Cubs fans should be patient. They shouldn't be blowing their prospect wad on trades. Hamels MIGHT be an exception, because he's pretty unique. But I'd like to see a little free agency action and see what that brings us for the year. If they make a crazy run, it will just be that much more fun.

yeah...it might be a good idea to wait until...i dunno...april, at least, to make disposable lists like this. also, not lumping all "young players" together and looking at them individually might be a good idea, too. i don't think anyone is worried about soler's mature approach in 2015 (even if he's far from peak), though baez has concerns.

Am I a terrible Bears fan for hoping they play like, well, they have so far today? I'm thinking long term here and if they somehow played well it could lull people into this false idea that the coaching staff is salvageable.

Tampa newspaper article getting Maddon to comment on all the Rays managerial candidates. Also a mention of the tampering investigation having no estimated time to completion. http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/...

You would think there would be something akin to probable cause. Of course we know nothing and there may be a smoking gun ... but if there is not I hope it is disposed of quickly.

it'd be interesting if the cubs got put into a corner and they settled it with the cubs taking j.molina off their hands before they have to set their 40-man rosters. actually, that would suck. nevermind.

Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson, 6 degrees of separation... (per Roto):
Cubs acquired INF Tommy La Stella and international signing bonus slot #4 from the Braves for RHP Arodys Vizcaino and Cubs international signing bonus slots #2, #3 and #4. The 25-year-old took over as the Braves starting second baseman midway through the 2014 season, slashing .251/.328/.317 with one homer and 31 RBI in his 93 games. He should function as a reserve infielder for the Cubs.
anyone know something about Tommy La Stella? Did we really need another reserve infielder? More to come? I don't quite get this move.

What?!!!!! We traded Vizcaino back??!!!!

LaStella apparently is a low strikeout, contact guy. http://rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=20403

I've never even heard of him. I should pay more attention.

interesting, like LaStella a lot

great numbers in Hi-A and AA, #2 Braves prospect heading into 2014

ceiling isn't high, but floor is

not a power hitter, but Cubs have plenty of those

if you want conspiracy theories, Castro or Baez are getting moved soon or Baez is gonna start season in minors.

I like your thinking on this. Intriguing!

well, it seems the cubs have d.barney back. =p what the hell... also, i'm not sure castro or baez (one of them) is safe. la stella is too good for bench even if he's not much of an impact player. he hit singles, takes walks, isn't very fast, and plays good-enough D. meh.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 48 min ago (view)

    heyward / cast / bryant / rizzo / baez / schwarb / caratini / kemp(2nd) / Q

     

  • crunch 2 hours 9 min ago (view)

    so stoked for the williamsport game.

    the increasing amount of off-site games is a bit concerning (middle of nowhere Field of Dreams field, really?), but I love this one.  it's played out great so far and giving the kids playing in the LL series some primo seats (hope this continues) is a great touch.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 hours 30 min ago (view)

    Craig Kimbrel reinstated from IL, Duane Underwood Jr optioned to Iowa, Mark Zagunis recalled as the "26th man" for tonight's game (special travel required to get to Williamsport so MLB Comissioner permits 26th man for both clubs). 

     

  • crunch 21 hours 45 min ago (view)

    at least...

     

  • Charlie 22 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Lester pitched 35 innings today.

     

  • crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    2019...cubs fan...being thankful heyward and chatwood are around...wtf...

     

  • Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Like having a 5-1 lead going into the ninth?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    With our vaunted late inning tandem of Tyler Chatwood and Rowan Wick!

    Who would have thought?

     

  • Jackstraw 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cubs 1-10 with RISP in the series.  Left lots of ducks on the pond.  Could take some of the pressure off the pen.

     

  • Jackstraw 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    You could hit your thumb with a hammer.  Or take a big bite of wayyyy too hot pizza.  Just sayin.

     

  • Eric S 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    I’m a little surprised and confused that Bote wasn’t in the infield in the ninth? Wth - need that one out boot to complete my day

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    cubs win!  about time.

     

  • Eric S 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cubs have to scratch mightily to get two runs against the mighty second half buccos

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    K, diving catch by happ for an out, HBP to load the bases, ground out

    phew.

    PIT has loaded the bases 3 times in this game.

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    ...and we're doing more 0 out, men on base stuff...

    2 on, 0 outs...up to 103 pitches and lester's day is done.

    bullpen time.  oh. boy.  neat.

    chatwood in.

     

  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    bryant has not forgotten how to hit homers.

    sweeeeeeeet.