Weekend Update … Hendry Trying to Fortify the Cubs Rotation

The CCO’s first weekend update of 2011 … it might be a New Year but Jim Hendry remains focused on making improvements to his pitching staff. Matt Garza is still at the top of the GM’s wish list and according to Bruce Levine, Hendry is “trying like heck” to trade for Garza.

Here is the update including more on Garza, plus notes and rumors from Talkin’ Baseball …

Notes and Rumors from Talkin’ Baseball
The always-informative Bruce Levine provided some insight on the Cubs’ off-season New Year’s Day. Along side Fred Huebner, the talk ranged from the players Jim Hendry is still working to acquire and keys for the Cubs in 2011.

The keys to the Cubs’ upcoming season is Carlos Zambrano … along with Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez, plus the continued development of Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin.

Here are the highlights …

Jason Frasor is probably still available and Levine thinks the Cubs are still interested. Frasor is coming off a down year (3-4 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 69 games) compared to a strong 2009 campaign (7-3 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 61 games). Levine did not mention what the Cubs would have to give the Blue Jays for the Oak Forest native.

The Blue Jays offered Frasor salary arbitration and he accepted it instead of opting for free agency. Frasor earned $2.65 million last year.

The Cubs are still very much interested in Matt Garza … along with several other teams. According to Levine, the Rangers are now out of the mix for Garza. With the signing of Brandon Webb, coupled with their desire to develop their young pitchers, Texas has decided to move on.

The Nationals could be one of the other teams in the mix for Garza. The Rays continue to ask for three or four top prospects (again, top prospects not the top four prospects in the Cubs organization).

The Cubs have to address their starting pitching according to Levine. While they want to build a strong organization they still must compete in 2011.

Levine thinks Ryan Dempster will get the ball on Opening Day.

Carlos Silva is being viewed as a “non entity” by most and is being skipped over when many in the industry discuss what the Cubs’ rotation might look like out of Spring Training. Levine pointed out that Silva was one of the top pitchers in the NL in the first half last season and should have been an All-Star. But with the heart problem and nagging injuries in the second half, no one knows what Silva can bring to the table next season, if anything at all.

The Cubs would like to have Andrew Cashner in the rotation next season. Levine asked the question if the Cubs are able to acquire a strong starter, like Matt Garza, would they leave Cashner in the bullpen? Levine thinks a bullpen with Cashner, Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall in the backend, the Cubs could have a pen in 2011 similar to the Padres’ bullpen last year.

The Cubs and Giants did briefly discuss a Kosuke Fukudome-for-Aaron Rowand swap. The talks really did not go far. Not only does the money not match (Fukudome, one-year at $13.5 million remaining on four-year contract – Rowand, two years and $24 million remaining, $12 million in 2011 and 2012, on five-year contract) but Rowand does not fit with what the Cubs need. They are not looking to add another right-handed hitting outfielder … Hendry is looking to add a lefty on the bench.

According to Levine, right now there are no takers for Kosuke Fukudome.

As mentioned, Jim Hendry is “trying like heck” to trade for Matt Garza.

The Cubs talked to the Indians about Fausto Carmona but Cleveland is looking for more for Carmona than Tampa is for Matt Garza. The Indians are “probably” asking for Brett Jackson and Chris Archer (who came over from Cleveland in the Mark DeRosa trade) and the Cubs are not going to do that according to Levine.

The Cubs could end up taking a flyer on one of the rehab guys. Levine did not mention any names. The Cubs are not sure what they will get out of certain guys that could be in the mix for a rotation spot. Jeff Samardzija will make the team out of camp, either as a starter or as a reliever, because he is out of options. Casey Coleman is short on stuff but makes up with his baseball smarts. And the Cubs are hoping Randy Wells will step up.

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Well, there is the update … and Happy New Year!

Quote of the Day

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

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  • Tony_Hall

    What is Cleveland thinking? They are asking more for Carmona than Garza!

    I would love to have Garza in the Cubs rotation (I just don’t think that the Cubs should give up prospects this offseason, because I don’t think Garza changes their chances in 2011, and he is not a stud ace pitcher), but I feel like if JH wants him, he will eventually give in to the Rays, and overpay. The Rays know young talent, they have to, to be able to compete. and will hold out for the players they want.

    Just say no, go into the season, and IF this team is competitive and they the missing piece is a top of the rotation starting pitcher, then look at trade options. This way they don’t trade off prospects on a season, that doesn’t have a chance. If this team is not competive in the Central w/o Garza, they won’t have any chance, with Garza against the Phillies/Giants, etc.

  • Dorasaga

    Mediocracy is not a sin. It is a denial of excellence, and an acceptance to be led by The Underdog and Our Average Joe. A refusal of change follows, and the mediocrats learn how to decimate creativity.

    This pretty much summarizes the Cubs as an organizational whole right now, or for the last 65 years: Three pennants, no National League championship, without a World Series appearance. Honestly speaking, why do I need to watch another rehabbing or underrated starting pitcher while the ugly part of the Chicago game is clearly with the batting lineup? Hendry has been a happy Joe since he signed Dempster (rehabbing), and on and on the list of mediocracy.

  • Tony_Hall

    This should tell everyone, all they need to know about 2011.

    “The keys to the Cubs’ upcoming season is Carlos Zambrano … along with Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez…”

    Now I feel Zambrano could have a good season, but if our hope for this year is Zambrano, Soriano, and ARam, we are in trouble. The chance of all 3 having above, career average years, is pretty small.

    But lets just see, what could happen…attaching the Cubs goggles…tightly.

    Soriano ends up fully healthy, with fresh legs and returns to form. His 33 HR’s and 103 RBI’s are a welcome sight, and with the resurgence of ARam (contract year, sort of) and his 32 HR’s and 108 RBI’s, looked real nice having the lefty slugger Pena, batting between them.

    Pena loved Wrigley (and MIlw, Cinc, and Houston) and saw a lot of his flyballs that were outs in Tropicana, find the seats. His 48 HR’s helped raise his average to 248 on the year, and led to JH’s Executive of the Year award, along with the stealing of Garza for prospects, who all took steps back in their development, and were none of the Cubs Top 10 prospects.

    Soto loved the competition in ST for his job, and he stepped up to the plate, with a career year, healthy all year he hit 28 HR’s and drove in 92 Runs to go with his 295 avg. The most impressive part was his handling of the pitching staff, and his 42% of runners he threw out….sorry the goggles exploded, I think I went a little to far.

    It could happen…

    • PleaseStopLosing

      Great Post

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZHTMAIGK4MF65LJQK54NZL62JI Jim

    Our rotation as of today:

    Zambrano
    Dempster
    Gorzelany
    Wells
    Silva
    Cashner
    Coleman
    Samardjia

    Uh, not looking good at all.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Jim, and that is why Hendry is trying to upgrade.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Brad Penny on a low-base deal w/ incentives, could be a great bargain and really help the team.

        Relievers that are available that could be good bargain additions if they are still available in a month.
        Chad Durbin
        Todd Coffey
        Chad Qualls- on a minor league deal!

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I posted a question on the 40 man roster dilemma on Carrie Muskat’s blog!
        She has answered my questions before, although I haven’t asked her any since last year

  • paulcatanese

    I have a hard time trying to figure out where Hendrys mind is. As most others have posted getting Garza and giving up top prospects to do so is insane at this point. Okay he makes the trade, then he has to rely on all thats left to have career years. One guy,maybe,four no way. Keepwhat he has these guys have a future with their youth. Not the guys who are on the way out, and thats what he would be left with.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Neil and fellow CCO
    I asked Carrie Muskat about the 40 man roster question
    CARRIE MUSKAT-

    Question the Cubs currently have 41 players on the 40 man roster since the signing of Kerry Wood. How can they do this? Are they going to make a corresponding move soon?
    Thanks Carrie.

    and here was her answer. 2 Comments
    Wood’s signing hasn’t been officially sanctioned by MLB because their offices have been closed for the holidays. I’d expect a corresponding roster move this coming week.

    http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2011/01/1111_happy_new_year.html

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks for confirming. Whether it’s sanctioned or not, a 41 on a 40-man roster doesn’t look right.

      I was browsing MLBTradeRumors, and I was checking some thing and found out that the Oakland A’s not only has fiscal health, but some useful players whom might be traded or signed in 2011. Some of them might address certain holes in the Cubs roster, as a half-season “rental” or a one-year fill-in.

      Here’s the list. Five will be gone in 2011, and they occupy a large portion of the A’s team-ly contract.

      A’s exercised club option on their walk-out year:
      – DeJesus, corner outfielder
      – M.Ellis, 2B
      – Crisp, CF

      Either of them is a better poor man’s choice than ODawg (Hudson), won’t you say?

      with Club option, but cheap buyout:
      – M. Wuertz, former Cubbie reliever

      Hmm. What did the Cubs get back from this trade? He’s probably still in the rehab, but I thought Hendry will love him back. LOL

      Signed as a free agent for a one-year deal:
      – H.Matsui, DH
      – Harden, former Cubbie

      Neither of them will come to the Cubs, and they shouldn’t.

      *Btw, Neil, love the edit option in this comment-system!

      • Aaron

        Sorry, but I just don’t see them as upgrades over what we currently have. I guess the only upgrade might be Crisp over Byrd, if anything, because of his speed.

        But all 3 of them are over 30. Ellis isn’t that great. DeJesus, while he came on strong last year before succumbing to injury, he NEVER lived up to his initial promise.

        As I said before, the best case scenario for us is to sign Milledge, Hermida, and Chris Carter on the cheap, as all 3 are under 28 years old, and if they perform well this year for us, they can either be trade chips at the deadline if we’re out of it, or we can build around them for the future. The way I see it, the following players hold absolutely NO value to us for the future and should be off the 40-man roster (speaking only of position players):
        Barney-considering we have better middle IF prospects close to MLB
        Hill-Castillo, Chirinos, and Clevenger would all be better options
        Baker-(see Barney), plus a guy like Flaherty can play all over the IF, and has a higher upside
        DeWitt- (see Barney and Baker)
        Fukudome-$14 million for a back-up corner OF that doesn’t produce much offensively is NO way to spend money or more importantly, a roster spot
        Byrd-$5 million for a CF that will likely give you just 10-12 hr, 60-65 RBI is ridiculous, considering we already have Brett Jackson who could likely give us that, plus Milledge, who has shown flashes of that AND is much cheaper…it just doesn’t make sense.

        The best scenario I can think of is if one or two of Hak-Ju Lee, LeMahieu, Vitters, and Flaherty come on strong in Spring Training and earn a roster spot.

        Additionally, if Castillo, Chirinos, or Clevenger can outperform Hill, that’d be ideal, and if one or two of Guyer, Brett Jackson, Snyder, LaHair, etc. can outperform Byrd and Fukudome, it’d be ideal, as that’d give us some options, especially if we sign the afforementioned Milledge, Hermida, or Carter.

        • Dorasaga

          Yeah, but Hermida will not come to the Cubs, unless Hendry overpays. Boston traded for him. He got some talent, and other GMs will look into those and sign him. The last thing I want is for Hendry to bid on a second tier outfielder. Chris Carter… I thought the A’s is keeping him???

          Mark Ellis has been consistently the best defensive second baseman since 2006 in the American League:

          http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=2b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2010&month=0&season1=2006

          He gets on base about league average (.334 OBP, I believe). I have doubts on Baker and Barney hanging in second base on a daily basis. Their talents are for subs, not regulars.

          Other than that, I guess you are right if you are talking about the future. I’m not so optimistic. Most prospects don’t pan out, while the Ricketts family is, well, cheap. We might need to wait until 2013 to see a real “go” for the pennant.

          I’m against Hendry signing ANY free agents for a rebuilding year. On the other hand, I want to see a competitive team fielded. All of these guys I listed are proven Major Leaguers who only have THIS year, 2011, left on their contract.

          Byrd, Fukudome, and Sam Fuld should be gone by July 31. Hendry most likely will sign or trade for some veteran anyway. I’ll hope he’ll sign for a half season, like guys I mentioned.

          • Aaron

            wrong Chris Carter. I’m talking about the one the Mets non-tendered. Here he is:
            http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/cartech01.shtml

            He’s a career .307 avg, .380 OBP, .514 SLG in the minors. That’s pretty good talent if you ask me. For some bizarre reason, the D’Backs and Red Sox never gave him a chance. I suspect the Red Sox didn’t, because he was completely blocked in the corner OF and 1B when he was with them, but the D’Backs…it’s quite baffling. The Red Sox gave him 26 total plate appearances in 2008 and 2009, while the Mets gave him 180 plate appearances after he hit .336 avg, .390 OBP, and .611 SLG in AAA. Dude flat out rakes, and rarely strikes out. I have absolutely no idea why this guy hasn’t been given a full opportunity. It goes back to the politics of baseball. Really, you find it at every level. I had friends in high school that were horrible, and yet made our team, because their parents had money and donated. I can remember my junior year, my friend’s dad donated the lights for our field, and my friend got playing time out of it, even though he had absolutely no talent whatsoever…and I love him to death, but that’s the honest truth.

            Sometimes, you’ll find cases where guys are moved up through the system because a certain scout has more pull, and they’ll vouch for the guy, hoping they’ll be right, and get a promotion out of it. We even had a kid in college that our coach made a mistake on, giving him a full ride, and he completely sucked. He was our RF, and every time I came into the game from the pen and saw him playing, I almost vomited. The crappy thing is, he literally couldn’t catch a ball, and he wasn’t even a great hitter. Our pitching coach even went to the head coach for us pitchers, and tried to get him removed. But he kept playing him because he was a senior, and was on full ride. The point is, on every level, you find guys that aren’t even close to being deserving of playing time, receiving it, and it just drives you crazy.

            In the minors, it often times has to deal with draft status, in addition to signing bonuses, etc. Ironically, Carter was drafted in the 17th round, which usually results in a player looking from the outside in while players drafted from 1st-15th rounds are given countless opportunities and advancement. And, while I don’t agree with this on premise, it actually makes a little sense…at least for the first 4 years of a player’s pro career.

            Here’s an example:
            Player A-drafted in 1st Round, given $2 million signing bonus
            *in addition, player paid on average $30,000/year while in the minors. For the first 4 years (using Rule 5 as basis for this argument), a player is paid essentially $530,000 per season (though the signing bonus is often times paid upfront.
            Player B-drafted in 17th Round, given $75,000 signing bonus
            *player essentially earns $48,750 per season.

            Fact is, if teams just gave up on all of their early round selections that never developed, and went with late round selections that clearly earned it, but the team has no investment in, then teams would be throwing an incredible amount of money down the drain. It’s also the same reason why teams will leave some players unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, while protecting guys that clearly do NOT deserve it.

            So I get it…I really do, but at some point, you have to cut your losses, which is how the good teams operate (well, actually they never really get to that point, because their scouting departments are better than the Cubs and can identify early on which players have a greater likelihood of succeeding, thus they do not waste money on bonuses like the Cubs seem to do).

            But Chris Carter has one of the best lines in the minors that I’ve ever seen. He’s a pure hitter, and that’s what we desperately need right now.

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron,I don’t usually disagree with anyone on the site as it is their opinion. but in this case I have to. You are a very talented writer and have guessed from your’e posts also a good athlete. I know as well as everyone else that their are politics involved and if I were you I would have let it go at that. You come on pretty strong about the teamates that you had that did not have the ability that you posess. The only thing I would point out is hat if you were unhappy with the performance of a player and being the pitcher that you must have been you should not have it effect your game. Why didn’t you just keep the ball inside on right handers so they would pull it and outside on leftys so the would not be able to pull? If a pitcher displayed that to me about a teamate.the next time a ball was hit to me I would stuff it in my pocket and walk down the right field line. What you have described has happened to all of us but isn’t the object of the game to give your best and the rest will take care of itself.

          • Aaron

            wow…you were extremely off base. First of all, did you ever play at a high level of baseball, like college? Probably not. Second, did you know the whole story, other than a brief description I just gave you? Third, if you did that as a fielder in college, your ass would be benched so fast you wouldn’t know what hit you.

            I’m just beside myself as I read your post. It’s actually quite humorous, as you write almost as if you were there yourself, and have a clue as to what you’re talking about.

            #1-Politics exist…guys play in all major sports that don’t belong there, and often times, it’s what drives teams apart. It takes a good coach and coaching staff (in the case of football where a head coach has ultimate say, but position coaches are heavily involved), to identify which players should ride the pine, which should be cut from the team, and which ones should be starters, etc. Imagine what it would’ve been like if Dusty had benched Neifi, or Piniella benching players like Soriano that dog it, etc. It would’ve changed everything.

            #2-In case you didn’t read (which you obviously didn’t read carefully), it was NOT just myself that had concerns about him playing RF…our entire staff, including our pitching coach had concerns.

            #3-As mentioned, if you did that as a fielder, you’d be benched. He never lacked effort…he just plain couldn’t catch a ball to save his life. But, more importantly, you describe a pitching scenario that is valid…..but you since I have experience playing both in wood bat college summer leagues and metal bat regular season, I can tell you that in spring ball, your scenario just doesn’t hold water. The metal bats change the game so dramatically, many people don’t understand the difference, and why so much weight in scouting circles is placed on summer wood bat leagues or in the case of Bryce Harper, wood bat regular season leagues. You would also know that while you might be able to hit your spots, you simply cannot account for the bat speed of the hitter involved in a given pitch sequence, especially in college, where you have limited advanced scouting to go off of. I can remember one particular encounter with Alex Gordon in a summer wood bat league, where we wanted him to hit the ball the other way, and I pitched him accordingly, and with a wood bat, he took that fastball (probably 92-93 mph) straight down the RF line just barely foul…and this was a few inches off the plate even. Now, I also faced him in high school with a metal bat, but all I know is playing against his team, not a particular AB, because he wasn’t as hyped yet, so I never paid attention….but I can surmise that if I faced him in college with a metal bat, that very same pitch would’ve ended up on some berm well beyond the RF fence. The point is, with some guys, you cannot account for that. When you’re playing video games, as you seem to be relating to with your description, it’s probably valid, but the reality of the matter is our entire staff couldn’t play keep away with our RF.

            Sorry for the terse response, but that type of response just gets me, because you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about when it relates to my own personal experience.

            As for the topic in the first place, the whole point was to describe why guys like Chris Carter aren’t given a full opportunity, so I could respect your post if you kept it at that, but instead you attacked me. What the hell was that about?!?

          • paulcatanese

            Yeah Aaron I played a little,not in college but short stint in the minors and for two base teams in the Army,one for Fort Bragg and Northern Area Comand Europe not company teams but base teams where you had to have played a lot more ball than you think. Coached Jr College baseball, High School baseball , and no I didn’t see anything but a wood bat when I played, no helmuts ,didn’t even have to bring myglove in between innings of course I know I would have been benched had I did that. Also had two sons play Division One College ball one football one baseball and two grandsons play Division One Football one of themdrafted by the Jets. I got your point but as a non-pitcher I had to respond. Sorry it upsetyou so much, I did not mean to do that as I admire your posts and have so since I started posting. But don’t kid yourself I did play.I guess that its because your’e a pitcher. Take it with a grain ofsalt Aaron I did not mean to upset you..

          • Dorasaga

            Ouch.

            LOL

            Seriously, this reminds me of the conversation of one CCO post about the guy, a season ticket holder, was a guest a round table event with Ricketts and the president of the Cubs. I think the guest asked something about the Cubs not paying off from their draft. The president respondeds something along the line of: If you know baseball so much, why don’t you become a GM?

            I think this is one of the worst things a host can say about his guest. And I also believe that the Cubs as an organization is not ready for objective criticism, and they don’t care what the diehard fans think about them.

            Can’t we cut the crap of being defensive and claiming who’s more “eligible” to speak about baseball? Unless Aaron, you feel like ruling out 99.9% of the guys who never played at a Major League level, because frankly, what do we know about Major League operations unless we played there, right?

            LOL

            Paul, I’m glad you responded. This might be a bad analogy, but it seems we have checks and balance in CCO, unlike the Cubs.

          • paulcatanese

            I agree,and I have stopped and apoligized to Neil and in effect to Aaron,I
            just lost it,

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron a P.S. to my response to you. I also played semi-pro at the age of seventeen. I also know that you can hit a tight pitch to the oppisite fld.did it many times….from bothsides of the plate,got hit by Herb Score, had a scholorship offer for Baseball at Northwestern. And Jeter constanly hits to the oppisite fld on inside pitches.But I never played College Ball ,sorry I missed that. Oh I did play top league softball in Calif. where they would throw 88-90 mph from 46 ft.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Hermida signed a minor league deal with the Reds tonight.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Patrick, thank you for checking on the 40-man … interesting.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        No problem.

        Neil everytime I go to comment I have to re-login to Disqus is there a way I can stay logged in?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Patrick, your computer should ask if you would like for it to remember your password. If you select ‘yes’, you should remain logged in.

  • cubsklm

    One of the scary things, is that Hendry needs to get this team competitive in 2011 otherwise, hopefully, he is gone. I certainly hope, we don’t give away the farm just to save Hendry. The Rays can afford to trade Garza, because they have Hellickson & Moore waiting in the wings. I am not opposed to to trading a couple mid-level prospects for Garza. But not 4 quality guys. Some one keep an eye on Hendry, please! He built this payroll ship, now it’s time for him to go down with it.

  • Gary J

    still I don’t get the apathy toward Garza… he’s 27 – 3 full years MLB experience w/ a playoff team – former USA today minor league player of the year – Tampa coach says he has the best pure “stuff” on their staff – no injury concerns…. he’s already very good with potential to be great and at 27 it’s not “mortgaging our future”

    • Tony_Hall

      Gary – He is not a shutdown pitcher. He is a very good pitcher, that would fit into any team’s rotation. If we were looking for a solid #2/#3 pitcher to solidify our rotation, and we were a team, with legitimate hopes for contending this year, I would say go for it. But our team needs a true ace, and the only ace part of the equation, is what the Rays will want in return.

      • daverj

        As usual, Gary J is right on the money.

        Given that the Cubs don’t have a single guy in our system that projects as a future ace, I’m not quite sure how someone can say what the Rays want in return is an ace.

        Lee, Chirinos, and two other mid level prospects would be a fair price for a solid #2/#3 who is three years from free agency.

        • Tony_Hall

          They don’t? Last time I checked, Cashner, Archer, McNutt, Carpenter are all considered top of the rotation ability. They can’t be an #1 until they prove it at the major league level.

          Not sure what you mean by “how someone can say what the Rays want in return is an ace”.. What I said was what they want in return, is as “if” they are trading an ACE.

          Hak Ju Lee should not be traded for Garza. Chirinos, I can live with, but would rather they gave him a chance.

          I have followed Garza for the last couple of years, and would not trade away Hak Ju Lee for Garza going into 2011, with the team we have today. He doesn’t make this a WS team!

          • daverj

            Sorry if I misread your ACE comment. Lee, Chirinos and two mid level prospects would not get an ace in return so if that is what the Rays want then they’re not looking for an “ace” like return. If the Rays want two from the group of Lee, B Jackson, McNutt, and Archer, then I would agree with you.

            Archer, McNutt and Carpenter do not project to be aces … at least not from anything I’ve read. Cashner maybe … but even that is a huge longshot.

          • Tony_Hall

            Since there has been no accepted trade, it is pure speculation, as to what the Rays want in return, by everyone. But since there hasn’t been a trade, you can assume, they are asking more than teams are willing to give up, and may be asking for two from that group. If so, hats off to JH for not doing the trade.

            Very, very few pitchers are ever projected to be aces. Pitching prospects are projected to be Top of the Rotation, mid rotation, back end of the rotation, middle relief, etc. Once in the majors, when a pitcher can become a true ace. Zambrano was never projected to be an Ace, yet turned into one for many years. Cashner, Archer, Mcnutt and Carpenter are all at the upper end of these projections, and gives the Cubs some potential future aces.

          • Gary J

            Garza projected to be an ace coming out of the minors and it often takes a couple of full years for them to harness their “stuff” consistently (see Cliff Lee in recent memory). Personally in this case I’m a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (leagues)” kind of guy – I’d rather have the proven than the prospect. Four prospects might be pushing it… especially Lee. But two top guys and a couple of mid level low minors guys? In a heartbeat.

            Even if he’s not an ace though… he’s a solid young #2 innings eater (with a ALDS MVP under his belt). A top of the rotation of a stable/sane/focused Z, Dempster, and Garza would be more than competitive. If Cashner then goes to the pen along with Wood, Marmol, Marshall (and maybe a healthy Grabow) that’s a very solid pen.

            And with solid pitching anything is possible.

            Hope my friend. Hope.

          • Tony_Hall

            Garza projected to be an ace coming out of the minors? Most guys coming out of the minors, that are projected to be an ace, are strikeout pitchers. Guys with “ability to miss bats, kind of stuff”.

            Garza
            725 IP – 572 K’s

            7.1 k’s per 9 innings

            Not exactly miss your bat kind of stuff.

            So lets, get this straight, you want to improve the rotation for 2011, give up prospects, (Hak Ju Lee our future SS) to get Garza, a very good #2 rotation guy, about to get expensive, so that Cashner can stay in the bullpen, instead of starting, so that we can have hope, since we have a solid pitching staff.

            – Cashner has miss your bat, kind of stuff, and needs to be given a chance to start.

            – The idea that Cashner’s career is being decided like that, to make our team have a solid pitching staff, and pitch as a 3rd option for set-up, instead of starting, is another example of why this team never gets anywhere. Cashner needs to start, for his development. If he struggles (all young guys do), then he should go down to AAA and get a few starts.

            – The pitching staff was not the issue last year! It was the offense. What has been done to improve the offense. Signing a sub mendoza 1B, that has a power bat.

            – Even with Garza, this rotation does not match up with ANY of the top teams, in just the NL. He doesn’t even make them better than their own division rivals. The Cardinals, Reds, and even the Brewers, look to have better rotations, EVEN IF the Cubs get Garza.

            Bottom line, if you need Hak Ju Lee, Chirinos and 2 mid-level prospects (when you put names to these slots, you might be surprised what names appear) to get Garza, to improve a team that needs offense, in a year that has slim chances to even be competitve, just so you can feel like there is hope..should tell you all you need to know about 2011.

            IF, by June’/July this team is competitive, then adding a Garza makes sense, IF the rotation is a problem. IF JH trades for Garza, and the offense doesn’t improve, than he will have mortgaged the future (yes Lee is a big part of the future) to get a pitcher, who is about to get very expensive, when he already had more starting options, than he needed, all the while stunting the chance that a young pitcher with miss your bat kind of stuff has of being a starter.

            And it all doesn’t matter unless the Rays actually make a deal for Garza and we can see what we or someone else gave up to get him.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,the comment about the upcoming season and the trio of Z,Sori, and Rami are big. They certainly are questionable and I think a lot of luck will have to come their way to improve over 2010. Sori is what it is and we have him and cannot do very little about it. Z has to control himself and Rami needs to stay healthy to make all of this work. Castro and Colvin are still unproven comodities at this point and must avoid the soph jinx, I think they will and I hope it all comes about.

  • Dexter

    Come on Hendry, pull the trigger on a deal already!

    • daverj

      It seems most Cub fans only want JH to pull the trigger on a deal if it’s a deal the other team wouldn’t be foolish to make. That’s their idea of “being creative”.