Cubs Trade for La Stella

The Cubs have acquired 2b Tommy La Stella from the Braves and their #4 international bonus slot for former Brave RHP Arodys Vizcaino and Cubs international bonus slots #2, #3 and #4. The Braves end up with about $832K more in international bonus money. So with the Braves getting more cash, the silent agreement between the two clubs is that La Stella was the better bet going forward as a player, certainly in the Cubs' collective minds.

La Stella came into 2014 as high as the #2 Braves prospect according to John Sickels (B grade), a left-handed hitting second basemen with good contact abilities. He put up some nice numbers in the minors (322/407/474 in just under 1200 career minor league plate appearances). The numbers weren't great in AAA to start the season, but he got the call-up when the Braves cut bait on Dan Uggla and put up a 251/328/317 line in 360 PA's with the big league team. Nothing too exciting for a 25 year old, but just the beginning.

I guess we'll find out what the Cubs intend to do here, La Stella is very capable of being a high contact, high OBP with a minor league walk rate over 11% and K rate just over 8%. Anytime you can walk more than you K, there's a lot of potential there. Now the tools and ceiling aren't Hall of Fame projectable, but I certainly think La Stella may get a chance to start and that means either Baez is moving to shortstop next year, another team or starting the year in the minors. A lot of moving pieces for the Cubs...gonna be an interesting offseason.


from Baseball America at end of May last year...

La Stella is one of the best pure hitting prospects in the minors. He has a career .322 average in the minors, consistently has posted .400-plus on-base percentages and has walked more than he has struck out throughout. He uses the whole field, and is a pest to pitchers because of his hand-eye coordination that allows him to work deep counts. La Stella needs to hit, because that’s his only plus tool.

As a defender, scouts see La Stella as adequate at best. He has limited range and an average arm, but he does make the routine play consistently. He is a good baserunner but he has below-average speed.

it doesn't sting losing a high-end pen arm as much as it does a good job shoring up a capable guy for a rare position...that said, 2nd is pretty much all he can play...maybe some 3rd/1st...maybe. still, both guys have enough value that it's hard to call anyone a clear winner or clear loser in this trade. it really doesn't look good for one of castro or baez unless one of baez/lastella start the season in AAA depending on how things work out...or if lastella is only here temporarily, anyway. it sure as hell opens up trade opportunities in the middle-IF that would otherwise not be worth considering (assuming there's a near 0% chance of a.russell being a consideration).

Speaking of high floors and low ceilings. Dusty must be consulting with Jedstein... "I remember 2004-5 when we had the likes of Todd Walker, Neifi Perez, Ronny Cedeno, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Gruidzielanek, Money (Ramon) Martinez, Rey Ordonez , Nomar, Jose Macias, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Enrique Wilson and I would play them anywhere in the infield or outfield."

It's just some weird ass shit. We are LOADED in middle infield. I'm bummed to see Arodys go ... but Cubs must have made their evaluation. That said it seems: 1.) Cubs are getting drunk on the offensive coolaid 2.) a trade is imminent with regard to Castro or Baez (meaning by opening day). 3.) they really are trying to fill subtle weaknesses like contact/OBP 4.) they think La Stella has a future and Vizcaino doesn't and they'll figure it out later. or some combination of the above.

This also makes room for Armando Rivero and his $3.1M signing bonus from March 2013. He's someone I'll be interested to watch out of the pen. Jorge Soler approves this posting. ...also, free Logan Watkins.

Logan Watkins - he gone. Javy Baez - he gone?

Mike Olt still here?

Again the bizarre thing about Olt was they devalued him. If they wanted to trade him their modus operandi has been to play the person in question. Captain History putting him behind Valaika who no longer exists didn't really help his trade value.

Ken Rosenthal full of twitter on La Stella. Sez that Cubs have been trying to acquire him for awhile

someone joked on twitter replies to that Rosenthal tweet that Maddon will turn anyone into a utiity player, so there's that...

Doesn't he understand Olt must play every day??!!!

Baez at 3b? With valbuena and Watkins as backups. They keep Bryant down for a month or two and then see who is performing well and not injured at that point.

they gotta do something with valbuena if they decide to commit to baez at 3rd...or play baez as a 3rd/SS/2nd giving guys days off (wussup j.maddon) valbuena gets crapped on by some, but as far as 3rd basemen go with the bat + glove he's got some really nice skills and realized production even if it's not all-star stuff. he would probably fetch something interesting in trade if that issue gets pushed.

my money would be on Baez or La Stella being optioned and Valbuena starting season at 3b if they don't bring up Bryant immediately. I don't think they'll let Baez flail away in the majors next year if he doesn't have an impressive spring training.

Cole? Is that you knocking on the door? Come on in and have some goat stew.

that's where I would be putting my money. And I bet it's Baez that's going.

I agree. I made up my mind when he went to the Dreads.

I miss Arodys!!!

Don't get me wrong I want La Stella too. Why can't the Cubs have ALL the cool guys?

Here's video of Theo calling the new Cub-

David O'Brien from the Atlanta/AJC added this info...
After batting .297 with a .371 OBP and 21 RBIs his first 46 games through July 20, La Stella hit .201 with a .281 OBP and 10 RBIs in 47 games the rest of the season, and in late August manager Fredi Gonzalez began using the left-handed hitter in a second-base platoon with Gosselin.
He's streaky or just faded. still, he had a nice start.


Executives involved in bidding for Russell Martin believe #Cubs are clear front-runner. Deal expected to be in four-year, $64M range.

im in a hurry for spring and all, but it's not april 1st yet.

Swellington part of the deal to Phils with Ruiz coming back? Hammels likes throwing to Ruiz.

ruiz is owed 17m over the next 2 years (4.5m team option in 2017) he's also got starter quality. his injuries and age are getting him closer to being a backup, but he's probably not there yet.

36 next year=old back up

he's still playing the game like a starter, though...and the $17m thing over the next 2 seasons. that said, if the cubs are going to trade for hammels then i'd rather them try to get ruiz and welly switching places rather than throwing 15-17m a year at r.martin for the next 4 years.

Here's the cool thing: With La Stella coming in, and Martin looking more and more likely - it looks like the Cubs are putting together a 'team' to compete next year as opposed to just accumulating talent. If indeed this is the case and they are able to get a Hamels or Lester it means they are actually going for it ... Regardless if whether anyone agrees with the talent, it becomes exciting AND means the Cubs will start showing their cards in how they feel about Baez, Castro, Olt, Valbuena etc. it's all terribly exciting compared to the foundational rebuild. More on the line for Theo/Jed as well. The tough decisions start now. They get to say who they believe in and who they don't.

Regardless if whether anyone agrees with the talent, it becomes exciting AND means the Cubs will start showing their cards in how they feel about Baez, Castro, Olt, Valbuena etc. How can you surmise a player who got his first taste of the bigs, and faded pretty badly at the later part of the year, denotes "it becomes exciting"? Unless you are saying that by trading for a player who controls the zone instead of a "K or HR" type player like Baez? That is a lot of conjecture considering they traded a player who had TWO arm surgeries in the last 4 years and became past by with other internal players? I think they dumped the very high risk of Vizcaino for the reward of a potential bench player, or player under their control that could actually be useful off the bench or platoon. But power he sin't got at all... We'll see soon enough, I guess...

He fits a certain part of the mold for TheoCorp hitting wise, but he sure isn't the versatile fielder they like, so it's an odd move in that regard. From everything I've read, he can barely handle second.

I can hear Maddon now: STELLA!!!!

anyone know how many options La Stella has left? I would guess 2, but he's a bit old for a rookie, so maybe just 1. Something else to consider...not like they have to find a spot for him immediately.

3 options left according to

I was passively asking Arizona Phil of course. I'm sure he'll be around shortly. I know he's having some issues connecting to the site lately.

here was the Sickels write-up on La Stella before the season

2) Tommy La Stella, 2B, Grade B: Borderline B-. What? Why so high? Simple: I get the Matt Carpenter/Allen Craig St. Louis Cardinals type massively underrated prospect vibe with this one, and I swore this year that I won’t get talked out of where my analysis leads me. La Stella can simply hit and his fielding is underrated. My main concern is durability, but if injuries don’t get in the way I think he is going to outperform a lot of guys who get more hype.

BA had him at #9 on their top 10 Braves list

and Keith Law with his usual forecast of rain (from about a year ago)

It’s not so much that anything was wrong with La Stella but that you’re banking on one tool here, the hit tool. He’s a fringy defender at best and a below-average runner, and I don’t foresee much power with a no-load swing and a flat finish.

He can hit, though — his hand-eye coordination is very good, and the swing is simple and hard, like a quick hack at the ball that could produce line drives and hard ground balls, but few hits likely to leave the park. That might be enough for Atlanta fans sick of the Dan Uggla Show — just two more years, folks! — but it’s more average regular than star.

ultimately I don't think this means there is any impending move involving Castro or Baez or even Alcantara, just gives the Cubs another option. There's a lot of ways this can play out and some involved no one getting moved, jus that some of these guys don't pan out or get sent to minors until they flame out or force themselves upon the majors. I agree with Carlito, there obviously making moves to shore up weaknesses and try and win games next year, so that should be fun worth watching for awhile.

I came to the same general line of thinking after pondering the trade for a bit. Cubs don't have to move anybody at the moment, but have more options if they get an offer they find too good to pass up for Castro or Baez. I'm starting to see 2015 as a shakedown cruise...Theo, Jed, and Maddon learn more about guys they hope to be part of the long-term core, add pieces if they are good value, and if somewhere through the season things fall so that the Cubs are contenders make a move focused on 2015 then. The full-court press comes in 2016.

I hope you're right. I'm not crazy about this whole trading a bunch of prospects for veterans thing after all this effort to cobble them together. I can wait one more year for a real run as long as next year is interesting, which it looks to be. And it's baseball, you just never know who may come up and snatch a title. By waiting, some players lose value, some gain value, but I think it's a better strategy overall.

non-tender candidate Travis Wood

guestimates that he'd get about $5.5M next year in arbitration.

if that link works, should be a bunch of MILB highlights of La Stella

La Stella is maybe a mini-me of Dustin Pedroia? Dare I say, a gamer? Scrappy?

I'm thinking Ryan Theriot circa 2008.

Gammons reports Martin signs w BJays Same contract as McCann says Gammons 5/82 HAHAHA

At that money who could blame him. Maybe they'll trade us Dinner back now?

Beef must be the happiest Cub today.

until he gets traded to Philadelphia in Hammel deal

Passively good for Cubs

Heyward to Cards for Shelby Miller

I hate the Cardinals.

Montero rumors in the on deck circle?

I want Montero even less ....

actually, David Ross will be the backup of Lester signs. I'm OK with that. (as long as it's not Lester Grobstein;

How about Jason Castro?

I think we dodged a big bullet with Martin. In a couple of years we'll look back and be happy. On Heyward, I found this ESPN article funny: First, is Heyward for Shelby Miller in a 4 player deal really a "blockbuster"? The definition is: "one that is notably expensive, effective, successful, large, or extravagant" but now anytime there is a trade of any size that involves a regular player it becomes a blockbuster. Second, I find it interesting that the article seems to suggest the Braves are getting rid of him because he has sucked. The guy has a 24.5 career war and he just turned 25. None of his individual stats really jump out, but the guy does basically everything well on the field. Had to be the Cardinals that got him.

Even funnier was that the original headline on ESPN said Craig Heyward.....

This time of year, all baseball stuff at ESPN headquarters is handled by this guy.

I hate to see the Cardinals get a player of Heyward's caliber. He could easily be haunting the Cubs for the next 10 years, unless he cashes in somewhere else in his free agent year. The Cardinals just put TheoCorp on notice, methinks.

Heyward will be a Yankee or Red Sox in 2016

yeah I think this looks more like the cards pushing all-in for 2015 because they know the NL central will be a hell of a lot tougher in 2016

I think the Cards will do everything they can to re-sign him without doing something stupid. It'll be up to Heyward if he's happy there or wants to test the waters.

For God's sake, Heyward, test the waters. That trade is a steal if it means he ends up with Cards for his age 26-31 years. Hard to imagine he doesn't return to 20+ homers most years unless injuries do him in.

Stanton deal allegedly done, 13 for 325m hope he likes hitting home runs into empty seats because he's going to be doing it for a while

opt out after 6 years for Stanton

The current U.S. population is estimated at 323 million people. So, if every man, woman & chid in the U.S. sent Stanton a dollar -- we'd still be a couple million short.

Extry extry! U.S. requests foreign aid to pay salary of Marlins RF! Loria says, "If only the city would build us a new stadium!"

Cards hired Bill Mueller as hitting coach... a plague on the house of Mueller

Avila, Montero, Castro could all be on the radar...or just stick with Beefy.

glad Cubs chose not to overpay on Martin.

"@CSNMooney Source says #Cubs stretched beyond a 4-year, $65 million concept and were willing to give Russell Martin a 5th year in certain scenarios." christ...thank god that toy got put into someone else's toybox.

projected photo of Russell from year 5 of his new contract...

Things that make me say hmmmm.... per Roto/Olney, Blue Jays supposedly not interested in Melky Cabrera now that they signed R. Martin. Cubs might need a leadoff type OBP CF but he'a also attached to a draft choice after turning down a QO.

Free agency sucks. Let's just sign Melky Cabrera and call it a day. Wait. I already said that a few posts ago. Never mind. And, I'm sorry.

Ugh. No thanks to Melky, too. I'm not super into free agency these days unless it answers a really serious franchise need (like TOR starting pitching). A LF isn't really a big need, as far as I'm concerned.

Free agency sucks.

don't think Melky is CF material anymore unfortunately...

his steroid suspension was pretty ugly too with the fake website and all that goofiness, but they did forgive Manny, so not sure if that'll weigh in on it.

I'd wait on Melky and see if anyone bites, he seems like a guy that could be still around in February and hardly a need.

I don't remember the fake website stuff, but it sounds fun. If they sign him, I'll have to google that.

I know it's far more complicated than this, but I'm having these ambivalent pangs regarding the fact that we traded one of our higher ranked pitching prospects for a low ceiling middle infield prospect. For this team it just seems absurd. I hope we don't miss Arodys down the road.

" for a low ceiling middle infield prospect". Stella, I've seen Mike Olt. And sir, you are no Mike Olt.

I think they pegged Vizcaino as a bullpen arm at this point and he seemed to fall pretty far from most the prospect lists with his AAA performance. Still a lively arm as far as I know, but easily replaceable on the open market. If Braves convert him into Kimbrel 2.0 or a decent starter, then good on them I guess.

I liked La Stella a lot before the trade so I'm probably bias.

I'm glad to hear that. If Vizcaino is a reliever I honestly don't care ... I don't think he's a starter, but if he panned out as a starter that would suck. But just writing that out made me realize how slim the chances are for that to happen.

I'm glad to hear you like La Stella a lot. I really don't know much about him - I don't have the baseball knowledge a lot of you guys do - so that's pretty encouraging cuz you have a pretty keen eye for that kind of stuff. So that's a yay. TheoCorp has been after this guy for awhile so it doesn't sound like he's a fringy or low ceiling guy.

If he sucks Rob becomes the new Michael Barrett

It's way past time for Barrett to be replaced on the blame roster.

Our pal Arizona Phil cannot access the site via his home PC, he seems to be able to connect to other sites though and can connect from other computers.

He's tried the normal stuff (new browser, delete cache, restart router, etc, etc). Anyone have any ideas? He gets a 503 error whenever he accesses the site. I've gotten it here or there but usually fixes itself. Seeing if the hive mind can help, further description below



6. I continually receive the "ERROR 503" auto-message whenever I attempt to access TCR. 
7. The only way I can get to TCR from my PC is by using Google Cache, at which point I can see the TCR home page (at least as it was the last time the Google crawler recorded TCR). However, if I try to access a post or view a comment, I get the "Error 503" message. I can click on the Log-In prompt, and while it does give me the Log-in screen, when I fill in my user name (Arizona Phil) and password, I get the following two error messages: "AJAX HTTP request terminated abnormally" and "Path: /system/ajax"
8. I talked to our I. T. guy at work, and he is totally puzzled. He says an "Error 503" can relate to various issues (usually that a web site is actually temporarily down, or possibly some type of router problem), but the only possible explanation he can provide in this case-- given that I am able to connect to all other sites on the web from my PC except TCR-- is that TCR is blocking my IP for some unknown reason (and it would have started suddenly out-of-the-blue Tuesday night, after I was able to access TCR normally once, and then a few minutes later when I came back to TCR, I started getting the Error 503 message, and have ever since). 
-- Phil

Well clearly it is the Rays counter-tampering one of OUR most valuable assets.

I blame Michael Barrett. (Hard to let that go)

I have no idea what a 503 is, but this site has bumped me to the apple App Store on my iphone a couple of times in the last 3-4 days.

Ask Phil to clear his cookies and browser cache. Sounds like a session management issue. It could be he tried to access the site when it was down. A cookie may still have been written to the browser, with a session ID. Then, next time he accessed the site, he may have been accessing that same cookie and if your Drupal installation has any kind of a cache server associated with it (I assume you're still on Drupal) then it *may* be serving up the 503. If you do have a web guy still, and you have any kind of cache server, tell him to change the configuration so that it doesn't have such a long TTL (time to live) - this being a site with lots of posts etc you don't want such a heavy handed caching mechanism.

Also, enchant your iron pickaxe. /geek'd

I have also been receiving the "ERROR 503" message when I try to go to the TCR home page on an Apple computer at home. This started happening roughly a week ago -- before that, I had no problems accessing it from that computer. I can still access the site from work, so I hadn't thought to complain about it.

We all need our Az Phil fix!

Bosox puppet Cafardo just on MLB network saying "he expects" Red Sox to reopen talks with Phils for Hamels.

John Beasley at The Cub Reporter expects that as well.


Hammels is someone else.

Re the App page steers - I am having a similar issue that appears prominent more so with Chrome - When I clear the cache , cookies, browsing history - it goes away. Unfortunately I cannot clear cookies all the time as I have important sites with logins I need access to and having to re-enter constantly is a pain. It may have to get there however. On both Safari and Chrome - without any interaction - I get shuttled to iTunes apps typically to buy a game of some sort. Fucking aggrivating as hell.

if you go to chrome settings and type cookies in the search bar at the top you'll be presented with 2 buttons, click content settings, then all cookies and site data. this will bring up a list of all your cookies so you can delete only the ones giving you a problem. you can also search within them instead of scrolling through the entire list

Salud Waveland! Thanks and I will give it a try.

I have opened settings and I cannot find a link to "show cookies" in Chrome. I can "erase" all of them, but have not found an option to show what lurks. iPad2.

All this is is a guess, and so it has the certainty of a Gordon Wittenmeyer trade rumor, but I'd bet on the advertising service, as being the source of the trouble, so if deleting TCR cookies doesn't help, delete those, too. Yardbarker also drops a few cookies but I doubt it's any of those.

thanks for the suggestions, our tech guy has been awol unfortunately and haven't been able to get a hold of him so my apologies for all those having issues.

I did disable all ads for the time being, I imagine that'll solve the being diverted to the App store problems, not sure about the 503 errors which apaprently more than AZ Phil has been suffering through.

The site is about 50 times faster. Something in that ad service is really hanging things up.

Russell Martin gets $20M in 2017,2018, and 2019. I guess the Jays intend on winning it all in the next two years.

Free agency sucks.

guess they really wanted Russ Martin for all 5 years.

The Palmolive building beacon is sending out the Arizona Phil Bat-signal... (the TCR website is now smoking' fast)

Yeah, no kidding, the site is lightning fast right now. I really notice the difference on my smart phone. Maybe you should tell us how much you make in ads a year and we can do a once-a-year PayPal drive and get rid of them all together.

I'm in.

Think Giancarlo Stanton contract money, and subtract a few bucks.

not a terrible idea...

I don't know the specifics of TCR's budget, but I wouldn't guess the ad revenue would be that much. If 50 or so regular readers gave say $25 each might that be enough to go, at least mostly, ad free? I would certainly be willing to do that. You can give us a paypal address to send it to and we can see how much our "fundraising" drive can come up with. If it works, we could do it every year leading up to the holidays--would keep the ads down, the site running, and give us all even more of a feeling of having a stake in it. What do others think? If there is enough interest, then I say we try it.

I don't mind donating...but I prefer advertisers to be doing it.

I'm open to the idea, but if I did contribute, I would have to know more about the finances of the site.

I'd like to see Rob make at least a few bucks on the site and ads are the only way to get there. When I see comments about needing to see the finances of the site before someone wants to contribute, which neglects the blood and sweat required to just keep this thing going, it just makes me think it is going to be hard to maintain a subscriber base of any kind. The real trick is just getting the ad service to work right. It's a common problem on websites these days, especially news and blogs. No lazy loading of the ads so they hang up the whole site. It's definitely not a problem limited to this site. I see it all over the place, more so now than ever.

As a writer who rarely ever gets paid for my own writing, I'd love to see Rob G. and others get both recognition and compensation for their work. I'm also broke and can't offer much myself. (Would try to make an occasional contribution--I am on this site way more frequently than is healthy just about everyday.)

Starlin Castro, Dan Straily, cash, and lower-system guy(s) for Alex Cobb, David DeJesus, and Grant Balfour. Rays get a cost-controlled middle infield anchor and very much-needed salary relief. Cubs get a young cost-controlled starter without a ton of arm mileage who under-performed his peripherals, plus some of those veteran-y guys they want. Cubs could also broker James Loney and help find him a new third-party home if need be to seal it.

Wouldn't even consider it.

Seems fair to me.

I like the Castro/Cobb matchup, but I'm a big fan of Cobb.

Why Balfour or DeJesus?

Rays have publicly stated they need to cut payroll. They have three players clearly being overpaid, all of whom walk after 2015 - DeJesus, Balfour, and Loney. The first two fit much better on the Cubs than Loney, who would have to be traded. Heads-up Castro for Cobb, I doubt the Rays do the trade. But if they get salary relief plus someone like Straily to eat Cobb's innings, I think they would pull the trigger.

So taking on Balfour and DeJesus is just to help out the Rays. Pass. Heads up Castro for Cobb, I doubt the Cubs make the trade

It's salary relief for the cheapest team in baseball, but that doesn't make them scrubs. Cobb may be the prize, but those guys could legitimately help the 2015 Cubs if things break correctly, and at positions of need, too.

DeJesus get $5 mill...he played 83 games last year, and will be 35 in December. 52 of those games were as the DH. So he's a backup? Balfour is 37 in December, and his WHIP, ERA, K/9, K/BB, and BB/9 were all bad. I like Alex Cobb. DeJesus and Balfour seem to me to be dead weight.

Luckily, the days of the journeyman outfielder for the Cubs is just about over.

via rotowurld... "Rob Bradford of reports the Cubs have shown interest in free agent Jonny Gomes."

3/30M to Billy Butler from the A's

at least he's young...but 9 HR's last year from your DH

Cards just trolling the Cubs now

rumored interest in Lester

guess Theo wasn't kidding about the gas pedal

I'm really tired of seeing everyone say how much they respect the St. Louis organization. I want a fracking earthquake to engulf the city of St. Louis and lay waste to Budweiser stadium or whatever the hell they call it these days. It'll be a weekend so everyone with any sense will be out of town and nobody gets hurt.

Not gonna ever happen. Most people in Missouri are Republicans and don't believe in science.

"[they] don't believe in science" Belief and science are actually supposed to be at odds.

Zach Duke just parlayed one good year out of the bullpen into a 3-year $15 million contract with the White Sox. Before that he hadn't really had a good full season since 2009 as a starter.

That's Scott/Stevie Eyre money (or Bobby Howry). Did they consult with Jim Hendry?

To be fair, he completely altered his delivery. He's almost a different pitcher. And 3/15 these days is basically just asking him to put up 2.5 WAR on the contract. I don't see that as a bad signing at all, to the extent you choose to pay for any free agent RP at all. It's highway robbery compared to what Robertson will get.

Relievers are just so fickle that I hate the idea of paying too much for anyone or signing them long term. Someone like Wesley Wright is a good investment (1 year, 1.4 million, still in arbitration), otherwise, just bring up your own arms. As evidence of fickleness: Jose Veras with Cubs in 2014--8.10 ERA in 13 IP, released; Jose Veras with Astros in 2014--3.03 ERA in 32 IP, 10.2 SO/9, 1.25 WHIP.

Re: Johnny Gomes

imagine he'd be a decent platoon option for Coghlan? or someone else? Seems like an older Justin Ruggiano, but they want that vet presence and Gomes is very well liked I believe.

RSox offer for Lester for 6 years/110-120 range

Free agency sucking and all, but if the Cubs REALLY want Lester, and they REALLY want to play this game, that's not an insurmountable number in this day and age. I'm not saying they should do it, but if they're gonna play this game, they need to pony up.

In a world where late-career Russell Martin get's $82 mil over 5 years, Lester at 6 $120 would be a steal.

I'm with you.

Well, like I have been saying ad nauseum, I'm not a fan of 21st century free agency, but I don't see the point of playing that game if they aren't gonna actually be the high bidder for once. I'd honestly be perfectly content if they keep just poking around for second tier guys and hoping they score on a younger, not yet stud. But, since they ARE playing this game, they should be all in and blow everyone else out of the water. Otherwise, just stop the charade.

I... don't agree with that exactly. No reason to blow the competing bids out of the water. But if they are going to make a big money gamble, I sure like Lester (or Scherzer) a lot better than Russell.

The difference between Lester and Scherzer (other than left/right) is the 2nd round draft pick cost (first pick if he goes to StL or Atl). Shields is a step down in quality (and age) but then there is the Maddon tie in. I think the net cost to win the dollar game for Lester ups his price because of no draft pick attached. The cost of Scherzer is increased because of the Boras effect. Also, I'm interested in who the Rays pick as manager. Davey Martinez to the Rays or to Maddon's bench? Seems that the process to get a new Rays manager is almost as slow as it was when Jedstein paraded a few through their grueling quiz show interviews in 2011 with Pete MacKanin, Mike Maddux and Sveum. Here is the video of MacKanin with Theo during one of the quiz sections of that interview...

Whenever I see Steve Martin, I realize nothing else much matters.

free agency is heavily slanted toward overpaying when you're talking no-doubt 3+ year contract market players (and quite often for contracts less years than that). but yeah...i'd rather see lester get 20-22m rather than russell for 16m. neither would be good deals, but that wasn't gonna happen anyway. it's not that russell is trash, it's just the cubs have an extreme need in SP compared to C even if a C upgrade would be nice. i also wouldn't mind scherzer at all. i wouldn't complain about shields...


Has anyone figured out AZ Phil's computer problem? I need a AZ Phil fix!

The other MAJOR issue with Free Agency is that elite hitters automatically go to the AL ... Because the AL can pay heavy for an extra year or two with the DH. I'm hoping the Cubs do bid big $$ on Lester because he is relatively young for a FA pitcher and there is no draft pick lost. He's the best gamble in recent years ... Never a sure thing or smart money BUT all things considered he's as good a gamble to overpay for as I can imagine. Especially for an NL team.

Well, it maybe more likely, but it is certainly not automatic. I can think of a number of big NL contracts in the past decade or so, some in fact where it would have been better if an AL team signed him instead. Soriano and the Cubs would be one example. Delgado signed in the NL. Matt Holliday chose to stay with St Louis. Jim Thome signed with the Phillies. Carlos Beltran and the Mets. Just a few off the top of my head. Of course, maybe teams are learning from those guys, since many ended up injured by the ends of their contracts or traded to the AL. But in the end I think money talks and NL teams know they are competing with AL teams and many will pony up what it takes to get a player even if they know they will perhaps get less value for that player than an AL team because they will have to eat the money and make a trade at the end of the contract. But maybe sometime this winter I will look systematically at free agent contracts for hitters over the past decade and see if there is an AL bias in there and write something up.

Yeah please do. I have noticed the trend really reach full swing in the last 3-4 years with Prince, Pujols, Hamilton, McCann, Cano, Cruz, Ellsbury etc ...

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  • Cubster 15 hours 7 min ago (view)


    then said quietly by his elves: although it can take up to 1-2 days (or two tanks of gas) to get through test lines and then 7-14 days to get results.


  • crunch 15 hours 31 min ago (view)

    5 cubs players + d.ross didn't work out with the team today because their tests were dealyed.  4 players + d.ross later came back negative and 1 test will have to be done again because it was compromised during transport and invalidated.

    ...turns out the compromised test was not a player, but a non-player/non-ross Tier 1 employee.  neat.


  • crunch 17 hours 52 min ago (view)

    v.caratini will continue to be darvish's preferred catcher this season.


  • crunch 17 hours 53 min ago (view)

    j.hicks (STL) opts out.  he's a T1 diabetic currently rehabbing from TJ.  he was expected to return in august.


  • JustSayin' 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports.  The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers.  The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits.  If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt.  At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.


  • crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    rizzo took BP and did some field work today.  also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.


  • Cubster 1 day 23 hours ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms


  • crunch 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    the COVID-Division should be fun.

    teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other...  CO is all "wtf, really?"


  • Cubster 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    ...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts. 

    Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?


  • Charlie 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.


  • Cubster 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S 


  • crunch 3 days 20 hours ago (view)

    buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.


  • Cubster 5 days 27 min ago (view)

    per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 12 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).  


  • crunch 5 days 16 hours ago (view)

    rizzo takes another day off (lower back).  ross says the club is "exercising caution."

    klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.