2010 Winter Meetings Day Three

10:30 PM CST (Rob G.): A previous Levine post said Cubs are interested in acquiring Jason Frasor after missing out on him last season. Medical reports on Brandon Webb are in the Cubs doctors hands and Chris Davis for Robinson Chirinos is still on the table, but the Cubs want Darren O'Day included in a deal.

10:17 PM CST (Rob G.): Levine says the Rays and Cubs met for a second time since the meetings began, presumably to discuss Garza and that the Cubs "package" was the most attractive. (7th grade chuckle). Brewers and Rangers are also in the mix.

5:18 PM CST (Rob G.): Joel Sherman says the Rays are thus far unsinspired by offers for Garza and will likely wait until July to see if value goes up.

1:56 PM CST (Rob G.): Well at least the Cubs called to ask about Zack Greinke.

1:44 PM CST (Rob G.): There were some multi-year offers out there for Pena with Nats, Orioles, Mariners, Blue Jays and Braves showing interest. (O's seem to be at least one team that made a multi-year offer and the biggest competition according to Pena).

12:46 PM CST (Rob G.): There it is, $5M to Pena is deferred until January 2012.

12:26 PM CST (Rob G.): Pena press conference updates culled from Twitter.

- Grew up watching the Cubs, cites watching George Bell (~shrug~).

- "To play for the was my preference...I love the city, my family loves the city, and we have a good chance at winning."

- Boras cited Rudy as one of the reasons they liked the Cubs and confidence that he can help him improve on last season.

- Here's a pic

- Rumor that Yankees could be going after Mark Prior along with rumors that they'll try and bring back Kerry Wood once the Cliff Lee sweepstakes are over. Yes, Rothschild, Prior and Wood back together again is a looming possibility.

- Trib story says Cubs targets were Pena and Berkman and talk about LaRoche and Loney were overstated. Nats, Blue Jays, Mariners and Orioles made offers or were at least interested. No mention of deferred money from them, although Levine has already put it out there. Also says they're working on trades and still talking to Brandon Webb.

12:20 PM CST (Rob G.): Bruce Levine chat excerpts:

- Says Cubs like Garza and have young talent Rays are seeking, although Archer and B. Jackson seem safe from being moved.

- Chris Davis is still in the mix even with the Pena signing.

- Mentions deferred money in Pena deal again, but no specifics.

- Cubs still high on Vitters (as they should be).

 


To the rumor cave...

- With Pena about to be signed, look for the Cubs to intensify trying to move Fukudome and giving Colvin the everyday job.

- Speaking of Pena, radio report that there is deferred money in the deal as I suspected last night. Also, he suffered through plantar fasciitis most of last year.

- Same report from Levine suggests the Cubs are making a push for Matt Garza. (Claps hands like a cymbal playing monkey). Here's a more proper link to the story.

Comments

I would definitely applaud adding Garza to the SP mix. It would be nice to avoid having to use 3 #5 starters in the rotation. I would think Garza would be AT LEAST a #3/#4...

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I doubt they need Gorzelanny. They might have interest in Hak-ju Lee, as sort of a fallback plan to Reid Brignac, giving Brignac a year or two. I could see them perhaps wanting a power arm to help fill the pen, perhaps a guy like Jay Jackson. Maybe another smaller asset, but probably not much more than that. The other issue is how do the Cubs pay for it. Considering all the tight budget talks, along with the fact that Garza could get 6 or 7 mil in arb, the Cubs either have more money to play with, or they might have to sign Garza down for 3 years or so to lessen the blow for 2011 if they still plan on adding pen help and more. That said, it's certainly doable.

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In reply to by Rob G.

ding ding. He's not this crap pitcher that Cubs fans want to seem to think he is. He was inconsistent, but geesh, on a staff that didn't chew through a ton of innings, Wells gave us innings and solid performance. I've said this elsewhere, I think he's a very good number 5, a solid number 4, and for some staffs, statistically, he's a decent/capable 3. Leave aside the cost issue as it relates to value. He's given the Cubs 3+ WAR the last two season. His K rate increased last year without a significant BB rate increase. He's simply not this horrible, let's replace him right away, pitcher that some want to think.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

Wells gave us innings and solid performance Was this on the days he was not giving up 12 runs by the 2nd inning? He is a very inconsistent pitcher that simply cannot be counted on to win two starts in a row. He cannot make a nasty pitch when he needs to. B/c his location has to be perfect, when he gets behind in the count, Randy is dead meat. However, Ol' Randy had a terrific April 2010, going 4-1, but his losses in May and June were like Roller Coaster Randy: May 6, Lost 11-1, gone right away. Booed. To the Pirates. May 11, 3-2, FLA May 28, 7-1 Stl May 31, 2-1 Pitt. Again. How does someone from the Cubs lose to the Pirates, twice, in the same month. Must be some kind of Tribune-era record. He won a couple in May: both nail-biters. June? He loses four of five, including a 10-5 Sox shellacking, 6-3 HOU loss, an 8-1 drubbing by the M's(!), and, on cue, ANOTHER loss to the Bucs, this time 2-1. July, Randy loses 3 of 5, BUT throws a NICE shutout against the Cards. Not a minor feat at all. This is what I mean about Roller Coaster Randy! August? Now you may be thinking that, "Hey, maybe the converted-late-in-his-career-catcher MAY have figured it out after shutting out the Cards (prior to his 8-1 pasting again by the 'Stros the outing after the Cards SHO)?" - sigh - Nope. 'Ol Randy loses 5 of 6 starts, including another pasting - worst of the year BY ANY CUBS PITCHER - 18-1 to the Brewers, 16-5 loss against the Braves, 3 more one-run losses, and FINALLY wins a game at the end of the month, 3-2. And, finally, in September, with absolutely no pressure, he has a nice month as the car is on the top of the roller coaster, and wins 3 of 5 with a better ERA+. To me, and most baseball folks, this is the CLASSIC #5/#6 starter. Just below .500. Can pitch some innings (hopefully). Mercilessly inconsistent, and - while not horrible not trustworthy or "better than servicible" in any way. To say someone of this ilk would be a #3 starter on some teams?! I would like to know which ones and which GM's would saddle this guy against other teams legitimate #3's. Because, he is: Roller Coaster Randy

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In reply to by The E-Man

Classic 5/6 (so essentially, he should be in the minors half the time)? Again, numbers are bit a snapshot, but they do tell you critical information. Top 50 in FIP, xFIP and WAR over the past 2 seasons. For a roller coaster pitcher, that's remarkably ... consistent, and the numbers suggest that he's given solid, useful performance. Mind you, I haven't argued that he's a good, elite arm. Numbers can be deceiving in some respects, and I've acknowledged his inconsistencies. But to suggest that a pitcher who has performed remarkably ... solid ... the last two years shouldn't be in the majors at some points over the last two years (after all ... 6th starters are often in the minors or pen), I just don't see it. All that said, I do recognize that Cubs fans are largely disappointed at Wells. That said, on the free agent market, as Rob G suggested (and I concur), he'd likely pull in a 6-8 million dollar AAV deal for a couple seasons.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

I was very pleasantly surprised his first year, and was waiting for improvement his second. It didn't happen. Should I be pleased with that? I guess, the glass is a bit cloudy for me b/c as a STH, I picked the games when I am just sitting down with my first beer, the game is over - seemingly for the times Wells was pitching. He's not horrible. Not great. Just a #5 to me.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Gee ROB G. So, a 12-10 record, with a 3.05 in 2009, there is nothing between this and Cy Young to you? What the fuck are you talking about? If a few more wins, and closing out games in 2010 means Cy Young to you, then sure, I wanted him to win the Cy Young. Are you happy now? Let's see if he is a bust or champ at the end of the year ROB G. Maybe you'll get real lucky and take your whole family to a Dodgers/Cubs game he is pitching when he gets knocked out in the 3rd inning, and you can tell me what a great ERA+ he has (on his good days).

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In reply to by The E-Man

so you were spurned by Wells on a day you spent some cash and hence the vitriol? I can't imagine why anyone that's been around this site as long as you would still use W/L records to judge a pitcher. But yeah, about the only improvement on a 3.05 ERA, 146 ERA+ season and 160 IP in 2009 that could be reasonably expected, would be to do it over 200 innings and get himself in the Cy Young race.

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In reply to by The E-Man

I have to admit, I don't know what usage of STH is being referenced here. I'd make the argument that Wells was better in 2010 than he was in 2009. Not much, but enough, as it relates to performance he can control. His K rate was noticeably higher, while his BB rate, HR rate, and GB rates weren't that different. For a GB pitcher, your defense needs to be sharp. When you have occasional bouts of inconsistencies like Wells had, and a weak defense behind, that leads to problems.

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In reply to by The E-Man

July Wells' Starts: July 3 (CIN) 7 2/3IP, 1 ER, 5K,1BB, W July 8 (LAD) 7IP, 3ER, 7K, 1BB, L July 17 (PHI) 7IP, 0ER, 5K, 2BB. No decision July 23 (STL) 7IP, 0ER, 7K, 3BB, W July 28 (HOU) 5 2/3IP, 3ER, 4K, 5BB, L So a no decision, and a loss in a pretty solidly pitched game (7innings, 3 ER)..but yes, focus on losing 3 of 5... Wells is a solid 5..maybe a 4. And if this is the biggest ? in the rotation...the Cubs would be just fine. Lack of a #1 is still the issue.

Levine chat: Does the ten million dollar signing mean the Cubs will only be able to add to the rotation and bullpen by trade ? Bruce Levine: No because part of the contract is deferred. That type of creativity by Hendry will allow him to add another major league contract to make the trade. Bruce, tell me names like Archer and Jackson aren't being named in a possible trade for Garza. Bruce Levine: They are not.

THANKS ROB G, for all your coverage. I think you may consider also doing election results sometime. And yes, I can strike out Chris Davis.

Hendry is apparently doing his due diligence on Zach Greinke. Adding Greinke would get me a whole lot more excited than adding Garza. He (Greinke)could be the long term ace for the Cubs that Z never was. Of course, Heyman's tweet goes on to say that the addition of a mid-rotation guy is more likely than the addition of Greinke. http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/statuses/12586974749655040 If the Cubs were to get serious about Greinke, I wonder what it would cost them.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

they wanted Travis Snider and Drabek from the Blue Jays allegedly. Cashner is probably the closest to Drabek but don't think he's thought of to have that high of a ceiling. I guess Colvin would be the closest to Snider, but once again, I think Snider's got a higher ceiling. B. Jackson and Archer would start the talks I'm guessing or B. Jackson and Cashner.

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In reply to by springs

I tend to agree. I still think the Cubs are unlikely to do much this year--I think Hendry is working hard to make them a team that could play .500 ball, and that he has to work hard to do that isn't a good sign for the season. But if they are going to shell out $10 million for a 1 year deal, they must be trying to contend this year. I'm still not in favor of getting rid of all the minor league prospects to gamble on 2011--which is why I think Garza, and his lesser cost, would make more sense than Grienke. Rebuilding would make more sense.

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In reply to by Rob G.

"The real issue behind these people who are gun grabbers, the truth is — based on fact — the reason why is, they want control. They want control of the people. That's what socialism is and communism." fear is awesome. i wonder if he was one of those people who caused a nearly 1/2 year glut in ammo supply because people were 110% sure obama was gonna take their guns and ammo. woo, buying frenzy...at least it's good for the economy...lulz. ah, talk radio...you so crazy.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Barry = Americanized Barrack Soetoro = his step father's last name. It is the named he used while attending private high school in Indonesia (his step father's native country). In the world of conspiracy, this is "proof" of the birther arguement. Regardless, glad that Pena is only a one year deal. Sad that this is our big splash. A real big market team would be looking to replace the Lee/Lilly contracts coming off the books with actual replacements (see Adrian, Red Sox) instead of pocketing the savings.

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In reply to by Rob G.

I don't see the point of adding Michael Young to this squad, unless the Rangers pay the majority of the deal, or they take back Soriano. I don't see the latter happening, and there isn't really another contract to swap for Young that I would want to make (Z's deal is of similar length, and he, while inconsistent and moody, is harder to replace. Furthermore, there's a chance 2013 won't vest for Z). Young is an upgrade over Baker/DeWitt (at least, on paper), but not worth giving up much, in terms of prospects and salary, IMO.

I did a Google News search that turned up a Bruce Levine blog where he conjectures what the Cubs and Rangers might talk about. The blog post was dated November 17.
Texas has a need for catching and the Cubs have two solid young catchers in Welington Castillo and Robinson Chirinos. Texas has an abundance of good hitting in their organization and they have excess at first base, a position where the Cubs have a need. Left-handed hitting Chris Davis is a home-run hitter who turns 25 in March, etc., etc.
If I had known where and when this rumor started, I wouldn't have paid any attention to it this week, especially when the Rangers acquired Torrealba for two years on 11/29. I doubt that the Rangers are talking to the Cubs about Chirinos.

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In reply to by crunch

Horrible deal, imo, only because of the length. Players who's main skill is speed do not age well into their mid-30s. Hell, many of them lose their speed in their early 30's. Speed is Crawford's game, and he's going to a cold weather city (never good for legs), although playing in Fenway should increase his HR totals a bit, so maybe it's the best spot for him he could have landed.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

Guys who lack power and depend on their speed almost never age well as well. Often times, what you are saying holds, that a guy who K's this much loses more bat speed. There are exceptions to the rule for both sides, but sure, let's revisit this a few years later and see how it turns out. I feel pretty comfortable in thinking that Crawford won't age well, but maybe he's an exception. I feel pretty comfortable in saying that, as of now, I think Crawford's contract is far worse and that Werth will age better.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

Don't get me wrong, I understand the argument the other way. Crawford's not only a "speed" guy, he's a good athlete, and overall, athletes age well. From a value perspective, though, if he loses his speed, you'd have to be fairly confident that his power will pick up a bit to balance it out. His defensive value will be muted a bit by being in Fenway. By no means do I think either contract is a good one. Werth, though, is a very good athlete. From a value perspective, the question for me is how late in his career his power can carry. I think he'll be a solid RF for most of the contract. I think it'll be alright, but only time will tell.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

I think everyone who does the serious type of analysis required to award a contract like that is confident that Crawford will continue to add power and patience for the next four years. Crawford had a 134 OPS+ last year, and he's heading into the years where a player typically hits for the most power. Werth had a 145 OPS+ season last year, and he's playing what's generally considered to be the final 'peak season' in 2011. Plus he's an asshole who just got his set for life contract. That deal has disaster written all over it. People will be talking about it for 20 years.

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In reply to by toonsterwu

There are very few "speed" type guys I can remember who didn't lose their speed as they aged. Ricky Henderson is one, although he did lose speed, he was still just a great base-stealer that even a slower Ricky was a better base-stealer than most players, and let's not forget that Ricky was the rare speed/power guy. Davey Lopes could still steal bases at a high rate late in his career, although he had become a bench player. Those are the only two in the last 30 years that stand out. I like Crawford, but I think a 7 year deal is just insane for his type of player. Now maybe he adds a little power in that park to offset his declining speed and it's a less disastrous contract than if he played in another park. Still, most of these GM's should be hauled in front of firing squads. If they were running real businesses they would.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

BP comps for Crawford. Coleman, Wilson, D. Hamilton, S. Podsednik, B. McBride, L. Polonia, P. Kelly, S. Finley, J. Pierre, M. Wilson BP comps for Werth Gibson, Canseco, Barfield, Rice, C. Davis, R. Monday, M. Bradley, B. Bonilla, D. Strawberry, J. Conine don't care much for BR comps, they just find guys that started around the same age with similar playing time through those years (and somewhat similar skills). that being said, both contracts are terrible, Werth was a platoon player two years ago and Crawford's a faster version of Fukudome with triples speed that pumps his SLG up.

i can't even image what the lineup is gonna look like at this point. fukudome/baker probable L/R #1 castro is probably #2 c.pena is probably #4 ...beyond that *shrug* byrd/soriano/soto/aram...who the hell is gonna hit 3rd? do you stack soriano/c.pena back to back?

I'm way behind, and haven't read the comments. I'm thrilled at one year, not thrilled with $10m (which they undoubtedly had to spend to get the one year done), and could go either way on Pena. I think he'll do great things at Wrigley and in the NL Central. That said, I don't really think he was the 'missing link' to any titles (including the division). But I'd be more than happy to be wrong, watch him hit 50 bombs and bat .250 with a .400 OBP.

I'd like to bring up something that Real Neal alluded to in a post on a previous thread. Wrigley is NOT terribly friendly to left-handed pull hitters. I've been listening (with irritation) to sports talk radio for the last couple of days and hearing commentators talk about how many HR's someone like Pena could hit at Wrigley (stating that it should increase his HR totals). NOT TRUE -- unless (like Edmonds) his power is largely to left and left-center field. Wrigley Dimensions: LF line: 355 L "Well": 346 L/Cf: 356 Cf: 395 R/Cf: 376 R "Well": 346 RF line: 353 Wrigley is NOT symmetrical, as it appears. The 400' dimension is to the right field side of straight away CF, leaving a deeper bulge to right and right-center than to left field. Ask anyone who remembers Bobby Mercer's time with the Cubs and all of the warning track fly balls he hit that would have been HRs in Yankee Stadium's short RF porch. Note: The dimensions on Wrigley's walls are probably accurate -- but next time you look, notice how much closer to straight away center the "left-center" 368' mark is than the "right-center" 368' mark (remembering that the 400' is not straight away). Wrigley was made for right-handed power hitters (with no wind or blowing out) -- not lefties.

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In reply to by JoePepitone

A couple of things I found on the subject: Steve Gardner, USA Today, citing Bill James Handbook 2010:
For left-handed power hitters, Wrigley Field in Chicago was the place to be -- with a 139 rating that was the highest in either league. Meanwhile, GAB in Cincy (118) was slightly ahead of Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park (114) for right-handed home run hitters.
Tristan Cockcroft, espn.com, in March 2010:
[Wrigley is] apparently tremendous for power-hitting lefties, with a 126 home run index from 2007 to '09, highest in the majors.
I don't know what the ratings are based on. (But they're not based on little Bobby Mercer hitting warning-track shots.) Williams is an exception to the rule that the Cubs traditionally don't "do" lefthanded power hitters (or lefthanded starting pitchers), probably because those are valuable commodities and the good teams get them. Trying to think of a lefthanded swinger who has hit 30 home runs for the Cubs in my lifetime, other than Williams I come up with Rick Wilkins and Fred McGriff, once each.

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In reply to by The Real Neal

Drat! I was sitting in the dentist's chair thinking I should have checked Rodriguez and also Luis Gonzales. The fact that the Cubs have specialized in wrong-way lefty hitters in the last ten years--Jones, Bradley, Choi, Hollandsworth, Edmonds, Fukudome come to mind--does not necessarily tell you anything about the ball park. It could just mean that these guys were the dregs in terms of power bats. (My theory.) Colvin is a different kind of hitter, a pull hitter. Seven of his nine HRs in Wrigley last season were to right, to the right of the 368 sign.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

Nobody used the word "wind" yet. The dimensions are a little off, but after mid-May when the wind starts blowing hard toward the lake, with major-league hitters, it probably feels more like 320' in a dome. Wrigley to me has always seemed like a "neutral" park because on any given day it can be so different than the day preceding, not to mention the other half of the season.

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In reply to by VirginiaPhil

VAPhil -- Interesting info on Wrigley's power ratings for lefty power hitters. I'd also like to know more about how those numbers are arrived at. Perhaps a combination of left-center power plus more doubles & triples to the right of center? Prevailing crosswind out to right field? Just guessing here. One thing for sure -- Wrigley's short dimensions are on the left field side, not the right field side. However, your sources have caused me to keep my mind open on the subject of Wrigley and left handed power hitters.

Cubs MLB Roster

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Last updated 11-18-2022
 
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PITCHERS: 20
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Mark Leiter Jr
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez
Michael Rucker
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Keegan Thompson
Erich Uelmen 
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Christopher Morel
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