Is Garza Trade Bait or In Line for an Extension? … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The Cubs took care of a little business on Monday and created a roster spot in the process. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer tendered contracts to six of the team’s seven salary arbitration players (three-six years of service time). Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker, Randy Wells and Matt Garza were all tendered contracts for 2012. Koyie Hill was the only player non-tendered a contract and has become a free agent. The Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 36 players.

Instead of just a one-year contract, the Cubs could be talking contract extension with Matt Garza. For the second time in recent days, the Tribune reported Garza could be in line for a contract extension.

Not only did the Koyie Hill Era come to end on Monday but Aramis Ramirez’s officially came to an end as well. Aramis Ramirezagreed to terms with the Brewers on a three-year deal reportedly worth $36 million that includes a mutual option for a fourth year. The Cubs receive a sandwich pick (between first and second round) in the 2012 first year player draft when Ramirez officially inks his deal with the Brewers.

With the signing of Ramirez, Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin said they are no longer in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. The Cubs are seen as one of the favorites to sign Fielder, despite the Cubs public statement of not having enough room in their budget.

Here is the update …

Matt Garza
Rumors over the past few weeks have indicated that the Cubs are shopping, or at least listening to offers on Matt Garza. But could the Cubs be working on an extension with him and instead of trading him, be looking to build a rotation around Garza?

Two separate reports from the Tribune and one from Comcast SportsNet have mentioned the possibility of the Cubs looking to sign Matt Garza to a contract extension/long-term deal.

Outside of the win-loss record, which is not the best way to evaluate a starter’s performance, Garza is coming off one of his best seasons at the big league level.

Garza posted a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA (career-low) and a 1.25 WHIP (third lowest of career). Garza struck out 197 (career-high), walked 63 (tied for second lowest of career) and served up a career-low 14 home runs. In 198 innings, Garza gave up 186 hits (third lowest total of career) and averaged a career-high 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

Multiple reports have suggested the Cubs would have to be blown away by an offer in order to trade Garza … but maybe Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have other plans for the 28-year old right hander.

Matt Garza’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Yu Darvish
The bidding for Yu Darvish has begun and teams have until Wednesday, December 14 at 4:00pm CT to submit their bids for the right to negotiate a contract with the young right-hander. Once the silent bids are submitted, Darvish’s Japanese team has until Tuesday, December 20 to decide whether or not to accept the bid. The team with the winning bid has 30 days to work out a contract with Darvish.

The Cubs are rumored to be interested in Darvish and are expected to submit a bid.

Jon Heyman is hearing estimates as high as $112 million for Yu Darvish … the outlandish figure includes the posting fee and contract.

Jorge Soler
Another young player with a lot of hype right now is Jorge Soler. The 19-year old outfielder has garnered a lot of attention over the last month. While teams seem to be focusing on Yoenis Cespedes, some think Soler could end up as the better player. Soler does not figure to cost as much as Cespedes but he is more of a project and is not seen as Major League ready.

Baseball America discussed Jorge Soler during a Q&A on Monday, here are the highlights.

Jorge Soler is seen as a player with five-tool potential. He is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds with explosive bat speed, power potential, plus speed, plus arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder. Due to his youth, BA thinks he will need some time to develop but he should be worth the wait.

Soler is more talented than Leonys Martin and four years younger than the Cuban outfielder that signed with the Rangers last year. Texas paid Martin $15.6 million (Major League contract) and Soler is expected to receive a larger deal.

BA pointed out “the new CBA provides for a $2.9 million international cap for each team for the 2012-2013 signing period, but that does not begin until July 2. As long as Soler signs before then he would not be subject to the cap.”

News, Notes and Rumors
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are trying to build a younger team that can succeed at Wrigley Field. According to the Tribune, Epstein and Hoyer are looking to focus on pitching and defense with an athletic team than can win games at Wrigley in spite of the constantly changing weather conditions.

The Padres hired former Cubs’ outfielder Jacque Jones to be the hitting coach for their Low-A Fort Wayne team.

Carlos Zambrano was on the field in Venezuela on Monday night … but not on a mound. Zambrano participated in a home run derby. Zambrano is hoping to pitch again on Wednesday.

According to Bruce Levine, the Rangers, Mariners and the Dodgers will be in the mix for Prince Fielder … and Levine reminds all to not rule out the Nationals.

According to Jon Heyman and Jim Bowden, three teams among those that are interested in signing Carlos Pena include the Cardinals, Brewers and Indians.

Rich Hill was non-tendered by the Red Sox prior to Monday’s deadline.

Ryan Theriot was non-tendered by the Cardinals prior to Monday’s deadline.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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  • Aaron

    Well…I guess we can forget about the Padres developing any decent hitting talent in the lower minors with the recently reported (by Neil) hiring of Jacque Jones as hitting coach in their system.

    I wonder what he’ll teach the young guys? I bet he’ll teach them exactly what he did….be aggressive at the plate, and swing at anything remotely close to the plate…look only fastball…don’t worry about curveballs..oh, and blame racists fans for your lack of production.

    • Tom U

      Jones should fit in well with the Tincaps. He resembles their logo, an angry-looking apple with a pot on his head.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You forgot to mention the chip on the shoulder, too……

      • John_CC

        Awesome, Tom!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Hamilton/520047538 Adam Hamilton

    hmmmm.  I wonder how much Theriot will be wanting?  I wouldn’t mind having him back to play 2B and moving Barney to the bench.  Rich Hill might be an option too.  He used to be a pretty high Cub’s prospect and is a lefty.  Maybe new pitching coach can help him out. 

    • Kojak Osborne Jr.

      Things ended bad with with Rich Hill and Ryan Theriot so I doubt they will come back. Hill seem to always have arm problems so that might be a problem.

    • J Daniel

      Going to take more than a new pitching coach to help Hill.  

    • Tony_Hall

      Barney and Theriot are similar type players, as in they are both better suited for the back-up infielder on the bench role.  

      I’ll take Barney for the league minimum, just like I liked Theriot at the league minimum as well.  

    • Ripsnorter1

      Indeed.

      Theriot would work, at least as a utility INF.

      And Rich Hill was just humming out of the bullpen until he hurt his arm.

    • Gramps

      If they go that way, I would rather see Jeff Keppinger signed for 2nd base. He always seemed to hit well against us. He is not the answer for the future, but could be a good stopgap for a year. To me, Keppinger is a much better situational hitter than Theriot. He has a bit more pop and does not strike out that often. I would also give Rich Hill a shot at making the team.

      • daverj

        Agreed Gramps.  Kepp is a much better all around player than Theriot.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a stopgap 2B and batting second behind DeJesus and ahead of Castro. 

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    I believe we should go with Matt Garza year to year and not giving him an extension, this team have many holes to fill and Garza is a person that could bring us back some good pieces but I will keep for now and if we are not winning by the trade deadline then I would consider trading him at which some teams might be more desperate to pay our price for him.

  • victor

    Getting pretty sick of this new owner, Says hes going to put all money back into cubs but every year the payroll keeps dropping and says they have no money to sign the big free agents. Reminds me of old man Wrigley. 

    • Tony_Hall

      You are looking at the major league payroll only, not the entire Baseball Operations.  Just look at last years draft and the amount of money they committed to the player development budget.  Plus, this off-season isn’t over.

      • cubs1967

        the fact is the MLB payroll has gone down every year. this year they did spend in the draft.  they did not in 2010. and they have NOT spent monies on international players.  you are beleiveing and drinking all the cubby kool-aid when they say monies are equal.
        show me the signings to make-up for the $20M less payroll in 2011 and the $10M less in 2010.
        spending 12.5M in the draft does not equal.
        and don’t forget; tix prices went up; so the same money really means less money.

        ricketts is very sly about this………..and full of BS.

        proof will be in the pudding if they do not sign Fielder.

        • Tony_Hall

          What do you think, he walks out every day with cash in his pockets?

          Did you want them to sign Pujols for 10 years $275M+?

          They have spent money in other areas (the Dominican facility is one) and no one says (except maybe you) that they need to spend every nickel every year.  Spending to just spend, doesn’t make any sense.  Spend to improve the team.  If they saved $10, $20, even $30M so far and are in position to spend it down the road, if the right player comes along (Darvish signing bonus, Cespedes signing bonus, etc) they are in position to do it.

          The spend every nickel this year, and while you are at it, spend every nickel available next year and the year after, has proven to just not work.

          Rickets isn’t taking a salary, and I believe him that he and his family are going to not be taking money out of the team.  

          • Coolpdxcubsfan

            I wonder if maybe he is still paying for the club too. That is probably a pretty payment huh??

          • Tony_Hall

            $20M/year

          • Coolpdxcubsfan

            A billionaire’s car payment, LOL

          • cubs1967

            exaclty–there is NO proof.
            i expect a winner.  the yanks-phils-red sox spend to win.
            i never said spend to spend; spend as i expect a winner.
            there aren’t any international signings.
            the dominican facility will become a waste once MLB has an international draft; it won’t be about the money then.
            spending money won 2 divisions in a row; it did work.
            not my fault manny ramirez was all roided up and the dodgers cheated their way into a victory.
            assuming spending on draft picks will win something is asinine; it gurantees nothing.
            and there won’t be 2.5M bonuses for 14th round picks anymore.

            just sayin; Prince is a building block.

            or maybe Theo was right; Ricketts wants to wait 10 yrs……

            shall we guess the cubs attendance in 10 yrs if they haven’t made the playoffs once then>>

            try 1.5M; back to the ’70s we go.

            (spending on a cuban dude upwards of 50M is a waste; he should be drafted like every other sport; same goes for Darvish; how did Dice_K work out?? he too should be drafted; the NBA drafts their foreign players).  now you are talking about spending just to spend on those 2.
            (reds so far–12M to Chapman; total of 75IP). Waste.

            and as far as the cost of team; it’s been reported Ricketts wanted to pay cash; but he foolishly agreed to the plan by Zell to keep 5% ownership so he could avoid paying taxes on it. (this was MLB’s way of saying; agree to it becuz they did not want it sold to the other 2 high bidders; one being Cuban). so if they had the cash to buy it; then the cash is still there for them to make payments.

          • daverj

            Prince is building block but only at the right price … at the 8 years, $200 million he is holding out for, he would be a huge mistake and  stranglehold on the team in the years they will (hopefully) really need to overpay free agents to win.

            The “spend to win every year” mindset of Hendry got us into this mess.  It’s time to build slowly from the ground up,

          • Tony_Hall

            I am wanting Prince, so I don’t get the reference to Prince.

            Not sure what proof you expect of something, that quite honestly, is none of our business. They came out and said they were putting all the money back into the team, they didn’t have to do that or say that.  They could take huge salaries, and not told anyone, it it there business.  I take them at their word that they are going to put all the money back into the team, that doesn’t mean they can’t have cash in a bank account for the team, versus just spending it all on overpaid free agents.

            Theo never said, nor did Ricketts ever say, that it would take 10 years, but instead of looking at this year only, and not worrying about the next 2, 3, 5, 10 years is what has caused this team to have short runs, then be downright awful for more years, then the run.

  • Tony_Hall

    The best part about Garza is they can sign him to an extension (which they should) and that might make him more tradeable.  Teams like to know payroll certainty, and any contract you give a SP, 2 years prior to FA, should be for less money than he would get if he waited it out, but gives the player guaranteed money.  

    They would still have to be over-welmed to trade Garza.

    • Schwimmer

      I agree.  I say sign GARZA to an extension.  He is everything you want in a good pitcher.  

      And, don’t forget this is a guy who’s record “should have been” 16 – 6.   Not 10 – 10.  He had to win with a stinky offensive and defensive club behind him.  And, an erratic bullpen that lost many of his games.The CUBS have a chance to sign him for far less money than they would have to be in 2 or 3 years.  I say “do it,” THEO!!!

      • Coolpdxcubsfan

        He is our biggest fan too, I like the way he cares about the progress of the game and cheers his teammates on. I guess that is hustle for a pitcher. I say keep him, give him whatever is appropriate and only trade him if we get overwhelmed with unturndownable return.

        • Schwimmer

          You are right!  He is a joy to watch in the way he roots for his teammates.

          I do hope they give him some fielding practice.  Because as much as I love this guy — he is a horrible fielder!!!!  :)

  • Tony_Hall

    I believe that Theo and Co. have been targeting Darvish, Cespedes, Soler and Fielder all along.  

    That Pujols was just to drive the price up. That CJ Wilson or Buerhle, were not all out efforts to sign them.  

    The chance of getting any one of Darvish, Cespedes, Soler and Fielder will be tough, but these guys fit the age criteria better than Pujols, Wilson., Buerhle and most of the other FA’s.

  • Tony_Hall

    Joe Saunders is worth a look after being non-tendered.  Nothing spectacular, but could fit in at 4/5 in the rotation.  

    He is another Buy Low type candidate.  

    At worst he eats innings, and is expendable.  

    At best, he pitches well enough, holds a spot until a young guy is ready, and then you trade him off (Sell High).

  • Tony_Hall

    I know we were all ready for ARam to go (at least most Cub fans who like hustle and hard work).  But he was a good player for many years for the Chicago Cubs, stopping a drought of really bad players who maned 3rd base since the Hall of Fame career of Ron Santo (I’ve wanted to use that line for soooo long).

    So with that, I say best of luck to Aramis and thank-you for the good years.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Yeah, Aram was good.

      So was Bill Madlock…..

      • Tony_Hall

        I always liked Madlock.  Back in the days of strato-matic, my brother and his friends had guys from the mid to late 70′s.  My buddies started in the 80′s, so when my brother and his friends stopped playing and gave us their cards, I was all over Madlock from 75 and 76.  

        Never did understand trading him to the Giants.

        • cubs1967

          cheap ass PK Wrigley………PK RIcketts is headed in the same direction!

        • Brp921

          cubs1967 is correct it was all about the money. He was traded for a washed up Bobby Murcer. Ironically there was an error in calculations and they ended up paying more for Murcer than they would have paid Madlock

        • Tom U

          That was back in the era of GM ER “Salty” Saltwell. Prior to becoming the GM, he was the Cubs’ business manager. He was notorious for getting rid of players rather than paying them. 

          Among those players were Billy North, Andre Thornton, Jose Cardenal, Steve Stone, Madlock, and Don Kessinger.

    • cubs1967

      I’m one who is wondering; just like pitching coach Larry; how much we will miss ARam when Stewart finishes the year with 12 homers and a .226 avg.

      I liked ARam.  Preferred he stay.  He lost money leaving.  Agents are not smart.  He could of made $16M this year.  Another good year; he makes $12M for 3 years for a total of $52M.
      In 3 years; he has no chance to get $16M over 2 years; maybe 3 yrs.

      • Tony_Hall

        Not at his age, if he had stayed, he would have not been able to get a 3 year contract at age 35.  He might have only received a 1 year contract.  His agent made a very smart decision, and maximized his 2011 contract push year, to a 3 year contract.

        ARAM had a good year last year, after the Cubs season was over.  But look back over the last 3 years

        WAR
        2011  (3.6)
        2010  (-1.0)
        2009  (1.2)

        Total for last 3 years 3.8…not even as high as DeJesus, who you don’t like, and is only being paid $4.25M in 2012.

        The next 3 years, now that ARam isn’t in a contract push… 

        • cubs1967

          absolutley disagree……16M is 16M; ARam is gonna hit 25HR, 100RBI, .300 avg in Milwaukee. agent blew it.
          and the team is gonna suck; Fielder gone, Braun suspended and they’ll lose Greinke in a year too.

          • Tony_Hall

            ARam’s contract

            2012 – $6M
            2013 – $10M
            2014 – $16M
            $4M buyout of 2015 mutual option.

            Your way was to roll the dice

            2012 $16M, then depending on his year, he would be on the market at 35 yrs old.  He could have a great year and break the bank, but now he has $36M guaranteed.

          • Brp921

            Ramirez was a good player for the Cubs but his skills are diminishing. He didn’t do well last year until the Cubs were out of the race and the pressure was off. He never has been one to do well when he has had the pressure of carrying the team. A good example would be the year Derrick Lee broke his wrist. Ramirez disappeared. When ARam has been successful it has been with another power guy to help carry the load. I think with his increased age, depleting skills, lack of hustle and below average defense we Cub fans would have been very unhappy with him at 3rd base next year. He is one player that the Cubs have had in his prime and let go at the right time. It has usually been the opposite. I wish him luck in the future (except against us) and thank him for the good years he gave us.

          • Tony_Hall

            By the way, I’ll take the under on Arams #’s

            Under 25HR (this is the risky one)
            Under 300 AVG
            Under 100 RBI’s

            Winner wins 2 out of 3 categories.

          • paulcatanese

            Gosh Tony, thats not a bet, its a sure thing, a given, you are being gracious. I will say he dosent play 130 games, and will have dizzy spells from under the flourescent lights.

          • Coolpdxcubsfan

            More likely back problems from Ricky Weeks running over the top of him while he’s sauntering down the base path leisurely.

          • Breeden

            Gosh, that’s a belly-bucking match I would NOT want to see.

      • daverj

        “Agents are not smart” … are you kidding?  There are dumb agents out there but most of them are weeded out pretty quickly in a profession where the successful ones make millions.

        I’m not sure we can judge the ARam deal without knowing how he advised ARam and what ARam was looking for.  Maybe they think ARam will decline in production in 2012 or get hurt so they wanted to lock-up the longer term deal now.

      • Aaron

        I thought ARAM was a great player for the most part with the Cubs…very clutch hitter, did well with RISP, and people tend to forget (because of last year, and the prior year coming off injury) that ARAM was actually above average defensively prior to his shoulder injury.

        That being said, I think the guy, personally, is a douche, and doesn’t really care about winning, even though he says he does.

        While with the Pirates, he was accused of dogging it, because the team wasn’t that great. Then he got traded, and lit it up with the Cubs while they were contending. 

        Then in 2005, when they weren’t contending, he goes down with injury…hmmmmmmmm…or was it?

        In 2006, a contract year, he all of a sudden turns it on, earns a big payday, then is out with injury for a bit in 2007 (remember, Cubs didn’t start turning it on until June of that year), then in 2008 on an ultra competitive team, he has one of his best years ever. Then gets injured in 2009, has a horrendous 2010 campaign, then turns it on again in 2011, a contract year…btw

        My guess is that if the Brewers are out 10+games out of first at any point during the season, he’ll dog it, or come down with some phantom injury.

        Most of that rant was sarcastic, but some of it is very much true.

        I do like his bat, but if your team ain’t winning, he’s indifferent, and I’m glad the Cubs moved on….they just need to replace his offense, which is NO small task. They need Fielder now, more than ever, and to those that have posted about the Red Sox team in 2004 not having many big time players….consider that they had Manny, Ortiz, and Millar….all 3 of whom had 20+hr, 80+RBI potential, with Ortiz and Manny more like 30+hr, 100+RBI…in addition to the pitching added which was mentioned by others.

        If I’m Epstein and Hoyer, there are two everyday players I’m targeting BIG TIME: Prince Fielder and Carlos Beltran (provided they can find suitors for Soriano and/or Byrd…or better yet, both)

        Think about this for a second:
        Jackson-CF
        Castro-SS
        Fielder-1B
        Beltran-LF
        Stewart-3B
        Biachi-2B (yes, I’d prefer him over Barney)
        DeJesus-RF
        Castillo-C

        Rotation:
        Garza
        Dempster
        Zambrano
        Darvish
        Samardzija

        Pen:
        Cashner
        Marshall
        Carpenter
        Wood
        L. Castillo
        Dolis
        Beliveau

        Cubs trade: Marmol, Russell, Baker, Barney, DeWitt (or option him), Soto, Wells, Byrd, and Soriano…and they get as much high-end starting pitching prospects in return, as well as corner IF or OF talent.

        In particular, Marmol, Russell, Barney, Soto, and Byrd should be able to bring decent returns. If they have to trade Marshall to get even better talent, then I’d do it…and if they land both Darvish AND Edwin Jackson, then I’d trade Garza to the Rangers, and demand a package built around Jurickson Profar. Could you imagine a lineup with both him and Castro in it?!? That’d be amazing.

        Anyway…what says everyone else?,

        • daverj

          I like your line-up and staff for 2012 think it would compete for a division title, but in my opinion it comes with free agent costs that will cripple the team in the future and trade scenarios that are unrealistic.

          Free Agents -

          (1) Fielder – If his price tag comes down, then he could be a great addition … but would you advocate giving him the 8 years and $200 million that he wants to sign now?

          (3) Darvish – Same as above.  Would you pay $100+ million in posting fees and contract for 5 years of him.

          (2) Beltran and Jackson – Nice guys to add, but it depends on price/years.  If we have to commit to longer deals with them, it could be bad.

          If we signed all those guys for the dollars they are seeking, the budget would be spent for the next 5+ years.  There would be no room to add other players.  If Fielder fades in a couple years or Darvish isn’t all he’s cracked up to be, we can forget about even thinking about the playoffs for the next 5+ years.

          If their price tags come down enough, I’d grab them and your line-up makes a lot of sense.  Right now I’d make all those guys offers, but wouldn’t make any of them must have targets.

          Trades -

          (1) Profar isn’t going to be traded for Garza.  The Cubs can demand Profar in return, but the  Cubs can’t make the Rangers pull the trigger.

          (2) Barney, Byrd and Russell are not likely to bring much back in trade (maybe a marginal prospect at best).

          (3) Marmol and Marshall could bring decent value back in trade, but probably a lot less than you have in mind.  If Marmol and Marshall were traded for what other teams think they are worth, I would guess many Cub fans would be unhappy with the deals.

          • Aaron

            I can see where you’re coming from, but I have to disagree, and here’s why:

            Right now, the Cubs have $76.8 million tied up in 7 players (Soriano, Zambrano, Dempster, Marmol, Marshall, DeJesus, and Byrd). Garza, Wells, Baker, DeWitt, Soto, and Stewart were all tendered.

            Here is the likely breakdown for their arbitration cases (approximations…ie.-rounding up to nearest million)
            Garza-$8 million
            Wells-$2 million
            Baker-$2 million
            DeWitt-$1 million
            Soto-$5 million
            Stewart-$2 million

            That’s $20 million for 6 players, which brings the total up to $96.8 million for 12 players.

            The following guys are auto-renewals, which I’m rounding up for slight raises (some like Castro might get $600k)with all of these guys to reflect $500k, even though MLB minimum is about $425k:
            Castro
            Barney
            Russell
            Cashner
            Dolis
            Lendy Castillo (if he makes team)
            Bianchi
            LaHair
            Campana
            Clevenger/Castillo
            Carpenter
            =approximately $5 million

            *2 guys left out are Wood and Samardzija…both of whom will likely earn $2-3 million apiece. That means that 1 of the pitchers listed above won’t make the team.
            =approximately $6 million

            Total=$107 million

            If the budget remains the same, which was what Ricketts said, then it should be around $135 million. If they sign Fielder, then they’d have $127 million with $8 million left for Darvish, Edwin Jackson, or Beltran, which obviously isn’t even close to enough.

            However, if the Cubs can unload Soriano, Byrd, Soto, and Marmol, that would be about $37 million combined…however, they’d have to eat about $12 million of Soriano’s deal, so that’s $27 million they’d have left to spend, plus the $8 million, which brings the total to $35 million…and you’d have to think that Ricketts would approve at least $140 million…which would be a $5 million jump from last year to give them $40 million to spend between Jackson, Darvish, and Beltran. In that case, they’d likely have about $5 million left to dish out if they wanted, and that might just be enough to land Kubel.

            I just think that being creative, dealing guys that really aren’t adding much to the team, they can make a significant difference in their chances next year by adding Darvish, E. Jackson, and Beltran.

            Also, Garza is worth more than Profar, so if they can’t land Darvish, Oswalt, or any other top flight FA pitcher (not much left), or can’t trade for a cheaper Wade Davis, then they’d be foolish not to include an unproven player like Profar, considering core guys like Young, Hamilton, Cruz, etc. are in their 30′s…their window of opportunity to win it all is closing fast…and they probably already recognize this, which is why they dealt decent prospects for relief arms like Mike Gonzalez (Pedro Strop), Uehara,(Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter) and Mike Adams (Weiland and Erlin)…Consider the fact that Hunter was 24, and Weiland and Erlin were 20 and 21 respectively…and you can begin to see what a guy like Marmol or Marshall would command…then by looking at just Erlin and Weiland, you’re astounded by the haul you could potentially receive for Garza…In fact, those two guys alone would’ve made trading Garza worthwhile to me (without even Profar included)…too bad they were already traded.

          • daverj

            I’m sure the Rangers would have traded Erlin and Weiland for Garza … I wouldn’t make that deal from the Cubs standpoint thought as neither Erlin nor Weiland are elite prospects.

            Profar is a Top 5 in all of MLB prospect.  We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one … I can’t see the Rangers including him for Garza.  I’d make Perez and other available, but not Profar.

            Marshall could return a package similar (maybe a little less) than Adams.  Marmol would likely bring back a bit less than Marshall.

      • Jason Douglas

        I used to be a huge Aramis fan.  But sometimes you have to break apart and start new.  In Aramis’ case, whether just perception and not reality, he lacked passion outwardly, didn’t seem to care, his defense was getting sloppy, and he didn’t seem to put out maximum effort.

        But what really did it for me with Aramis was the horrible start the past 2 years.  His 2011 numbers look awesome when viewed on paper…but with context, he was part of the reason the Cubs were out of the division race early.

        I don’t want guys that can pad their stats when the games are meaningless…give me consistency, and ideally a fast starter to build momentum, which breeds confidence, which feeds on itself.

    • Chadaudio

      I agree.  I hope the Brewers move him to 1B in 2013 and we are able to see him around for a bit longer.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      I also hate to see him be in our division. His moments of greatness may be inspired when he returns to Wrigley.  He might just put his laziness and non-hustling ways aside to play us.

    • John_CC

      He was my favorite Cub for quite a few years. He was an honest to goodness threat and premier clutch hitter in his prime.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Joe Saunders, non-tendered by the D-Backs, was 12-13 in 2011 with a 3.69 ERA. 

    He’d immediately be our best starter….

    • Tony_Hall

      Now Rip, he’s not better than Garza…

      I would sign him, what’s the worst that happens, if they get too many starters, we just send Dempster or Zambrano back to the bullpen…boy would love to see Z’s reaction to that going into his FA year.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I knew that would get a response. LOL

        Yes, he’s not better than Garza, but he’d have an instant spot on our starting staff if they would sign him.

        And they had better get us some starting pitching–sooon. I don’t want to see Coleman as our 5th starter again……

        • Kojak Osborne Jr.

          lol I would not want to see Lopez as our fifth starter either. However , I feel that Jeff Samardrija will probably be our fifth starter next year.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Maybe on Samardzija. Wonder if he might make closer sometime.

          • Coolpdxcubsfan

            For the first time in his carreer he was reasonably successful at relief and now everyone wants to make him a starter. He seems to get it finally. I think he would be a great closer if he continues to improve.

          • Brp921

            He was successful his rookie year as a reliever if I remember right and then had trouble after being made a swing man. They need to pick a spot for him and keep him there whether it be starter, short relief or closer.

  • cubtex

    Breaking news…..Pitcher John Rocker admitted using steroids when he played. Shocker!!!!!

    • Anthony

      In his heyday, you could look up the term Roid Rage and see his picture…lol

  • John_CC

    Either way, they’ve got to lock him up with an extension. If the Rangers get aggressive for SP, having a young guy with a good contract only ups the value a bit. 

  • Anthony

    The Cubs Org will add more pieces and parts prior to Spring Training. To what degree and level, only they know.

    What makes this different for Theo is that he isn’t inheriting a perennial 90 win team. Taking that into consideration, you get a feel he may rely on the structure and balance of the Red Sox clubs during his time there.

    In 2003, he already had an anchor behind the plate(Varitek), a star slugger in Manny, Nomah, and Ortiz. Pedro was his Ace and two innings eaters in Lowe and Wakefield.They had 94 wins.

    The bulk of the offense(lineup) was:

    C-Varitek
    1B-Millar
    2B-Walker
    3B-Mueller
    SS-Nomah
    LF-Manny
    CF-Damon
    RF-Trot
    DH-Ortiz

    In 2004, the changes to the core starters were Bellhorn at 2B, Reese and Cabrera at SS, and a platoon in RF with Kapler and Nixon.
    But the biggest change was adding Schilling and Arroyo on the mound.

    So he makes several changes to a 90 win club and they win the WS.

    Notice the RF platoon. Theo went after SP. Cubs RF now manned by DeJesus and probably a platoon.

    Looking at how he has done business, Byrd is not his CF of the future, and he may “tolerate” a Soriano in LF. I expect the addition of a CF in a Byrd trade to bridge the gap to Jackson. Wouldn’t even surprise me if it was an aging familiar retread?

    LaHair may be his Millar, at least for now, and my guess is Theo is hoping somebody beats out Baney out of ST, either from the current roster or a future addition.

    Since he inherited a 70 win club instead of a 90 win club, step one is adding the “innings eater” type pitching, step two, complete the position upgrades mentioned, taking flyers on Stewart and Bianchi types during transition buys time until future trade/FA/or Farm guys make the cut, then add a frontline SP later after getting up to 80 plus wins.

    A Garza extension locks him up past this transitional phase.

    A Garza trade could mean a longer waiting period to winning.

    Theo will, if Soriano produces, find an AL suitor in a pennant run, and if Jackson is for real, I still see him as a corner guy, but that will depend on whether Szczur is for real also. This is also NL baseball, so the leadoff position, currently weak, will be eventually upgraded by the future CF or 2B, whoever that will be after transition.

    I would also state that they are hoping at least one of two outfielders currently in the system not named Jackson/Szczur develop into major leaguers. There are several candidates from AA on down that have the tools, defensive and potentially offensive, and athletic that fit the mold.

     

    • John_CC

      Good analysis, Anthony.

    • Ripsnorter1

      It was a 71 win club, thank you.  LOL

      And a mere improvement of 10 wins means we are .500.Mike Qlueless lost that many games on his own. 
      We just HAVE to have some power bats.
      1. Aram and 26 HRs–gone!
      2. Pena and his 28 HRs–gone!
      3. Colvin and his 6 HRs–gone!
      4. Funko and his 3 HRs–gone!
      5. K.Hill and his 2 HRs–gone!

      Are you laughing yet? You shouldn’t be, because the Cubs only hit 148 HRs all year, and now we are short another 65 taters. We were #20 in the league last year. This could put us down in the SD Padre territory of just 91 taters.Please don’t tell me Ian Stewart is going to make up for Aram’s loss. We’ll be lucky if he can even cover K.Hill’s production. 

      DeJesus? If he hits 10, he had a big year.

      Those nay-sayers that contend that HR’s aren’t important should consider this fact: all the teams that hit fewer HRs than the Cubs in 2011 were (except SF and LA) all sub-.500 teams. LOOK
      :20. Cubs
      21 KC
      22 SF
      23 LA Dodgers
      24 Oakland
      25 Sea
      26 Mets
      27 Pittsburgh
      28 Twins
      29 Houston
      30 Padres.

      SF has 4 outstanding starters. LA has a good rotation. Both are in pitcher’s parks where the opposition aren’t hitting many HRs, either. None of these things are true of the Cubs. WE NEED THE SLUGGING! Or else we will repeat last year’s fiasco.

      • daverj

        We do need some slugging to contend … but we don’t necessarily need it this year if it means hurting the team in the future.  It would be nice to contend in 2012, but it’s not the priority (not should it be).

      • Anthony

        I disagree on the slugging aspect snorter1

        The 2011 Cubs had the worst fielding % in MLB

        25th in ERA

        Yes, you need offense, balanced offense.

        The better the pitching and defense, the less stress on an offense to have to rely on the longball, especially in the NL without a DH.

        The Cubs currently have NO leadoff guy in the traditional sense, and that spot usually is maintained by the CF or 2B, and Byrd and Barney ain’t it, nor is DeJesus, so, look for a trade or a one year retread signing.

        I feel the future OF will be manned by Tweeners, in a good sense. Each one will have the athleticism and bat of a 1/2 corner guy and 1/2 CF type to protect the gaps as well as the lines.

        Assuming no trades or JD Drew type deals, I still feel if Jackson arrives, he will eventually be a corner guy, and if Szczur is for real, the eventual leadoff CF unless the future 2B is more of a slap/bunt guy who blazes.

        Also assuming no future trades or Drew-type signings, the lower levels of the minors have some athletic tweeners as well as a few others that profile as true speedy CF’s. Be Patient in 2012, see if the Cubs can win 81+, see who emerges from the minors in 2012 as viable near-term prospects, and see how some of the kids develop.

        Also, spending 15M on a 19 year old Cuban, unproven is a silly move(Soler), as is over 100M on a Japanese league star in terms of marginal rate of return aspects, and over $50M on a Cuban slugger who lunched on chumpy pitching.

        • John_CC

          Right on Anthony. You’re on fire today!

          But we diverge when it comes to spending money. I don’t think that it is always bad, I think the Cubs can afford to take a chance on a 19 year old with Soler’s athleticism and potential.  I am also intrigued with Darvish. To me, these guys are better high reward palyers than spending a ton on old FAs i.e. Pujols.

          • daverj

            Darvish is intriguing … but do you think he’s worth the $20-$25 million per year it will take acquire him?  I’m assuming a posting fee of $50+ million and a 5-6 year contract at $12-$14 million per season.

          • John_CC

            I don’t know, daverj…that’s the gamble.  If you had $20M to spend on one guy to build around for the next 5-6 years, would you take an elite pitcher (Darvish) or an elite hitter (Prince)?

          • Anthony

            so far Darvish is the King of Japan baseball, not MLB

          • John_CC

            I understand that. But even Halladay is not a guarantee, no pitchers is. So hypothetically, no names; for equal money, young elite SP or young elite hitter – who do you build around, for the Cubs, of course?

          • Anthony

            none of those

          • daverj

            I’d prefer Hamels and Cain next offseason to Prince and Darvish this season.  I realize it’s possible, Hamels and Cain are resigned by their current teams but I’d take that chance.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Save your Confederate money! I agree: we don’t need the unproven Japanese or Cuban talents at $50 million per pop. It’s crazy!  Let the other teams gamble.

          • GaryLeeT

            That’s right. The team with the 103 year drought should play it safe with young FA’s. Especially with all that talent coming up in the minors.

      • Brp921

        Good observation Rip.

      • Aaron

        Rip…you’re absolutely right, and I’ve been saying it for a VERY long time.

        Teams that go far in the playoffs have 3 things in common, usually: pitching, defense, and power bats.

        The Cubs went into this offseason missing ALL 3!!!!!!!!!!!!

        ARAM is gone, and Pena is likely gone…both had 20+hr, 80+RBI. Stewart replaces ARAM and had ZERO bombs last year…yeah…not a smart trade, considering the likelihood of him being non-tendered, but I digress, and will wait for things to play out in the spring.

        That leaves Soriano as the sole power source, which is absolutely laughable. He can’t be counted on for anything, and should be traded or released, as he’s close to a negative WAR player anyway.

        The Cubs horrific starting pitching staff appears to be returning with Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, and Wells all seemingly entrenched…with Garza being the ONLY valuable one in that group.

        As for the defense, it just improved with DeJesus and Stewart, and the non-tendering of Koyie Hill (who was atrocious defensively last year)…if they unload Soriano and replace him with someone like Beltran, and get rid of Byrd in favor of Jackson, and unload Soto (who like Hill, was atrocious defensively last year) and replace him with Castillo or Clevenger (especially Clevenger), then the defensive issue is solved. If the Cubs land Darvish to replace Wells in the rotation, and possibly Saunders as well, then their starting staff is solved…and if they just sign Fielder and Beltran, then their power is resolved….as well as adding Jackson over Byrd.

        The Cubs could then carry LaHair, Ty Wright, Clevenger, Lake, and Ridling on the bench. Lake can play 3B, SS, and OF, while Bianchi (who would be starting with Barney traded) can play all over the IF, and Clevenger can also play corner IF…so the Cubs would still have versatility and pop off the bench.

        It’s unfortunate that they lost Gonzalez, LeMahieu and Flaherty all at once this offseason, as they would all be better options than rushing Lake…but at some point he needs a chance, so why not this year in a low pressure role off the bench?

        • Ripsnorter1

          Theo needs to be kicked for losing Gonzalez and Flaherty and Lemahieu–and he got nothing in return. Sure, Lemahieu brought back a converted INF who walks 9.5 batters per 9 IP–he won’t be up to help us this year, if ever.

          Cubs fans want to say that the Cubs cannot compete this year. They are wrong. With proper roster management and proper field management, the Cubs could win a playoff spot this year–at least. 

  • John_CC

    Did you notice the back-loaded structure of Aramis’ contract?  It is something like: $6M in ’12, $10-12M in ’13, and $16M in ’14, with a $4.5M buyout and option.

    Yikes. When will they learn?  We all knew that $16M in 2012 was going to be a bath, but when he’s 37 and playing 100 games a year?

    • cubtex

      The Brewers window is small. They need to win now and that was the only way they could afford to sign him. It is not a matter of learning….It is their only option.

      • Tony_Hall

        Which is good for us, as they are going for it in 2012, and making a mess of 2013 and beyond.

        • John_CC

          Yep.

        • cubtex

          I am sure they figure they won’t be able to keep Greinke and Marcum long term. I was thrilled KRod accepted arbitration. I know the Brewers were hoping he wouldn’t.

      • John_CC

        You say it was their only option, I say it is a poor decision.

        • cubtex

          when you don’t have a big budget and you know you only have Greinke for another year, you have to pick your spots when to go for it. Pujols is no longer in Stl… The NL Central is up for grabs and they are going for it next year. I don’t blame them.

          • John_CC

            It’s not about blame, I just don’t think it’s a wise move. They put themselves in a hole by trading a lot of prospects to get Grienke, so you’re right, now they have dig the hole deeper by spending money in free agency if they want one more shot to win now.  But realistically, loosing Prince is huge, and then Braun for a 1/3 of the season, the wise decision would have been to take a deep breath.  They don’t have much of a chance in 2012, Aramis or no Aramis.

            This is the difference between taking the long view – looking at the club in 10 years – which Ricketts and Epstein are talking about (and have been grossly misinterpreted for here), or doing what Hendry and Cubs have done in the past; trying win now by spending big, hoping to catch lighting in a bottle with a bunch of guys in their prime all at once. Then for years after, they have to deal with the aftermath of long term contracts, no prospects, and a busted budget.  We know where that leads.

  • paulcatanese

    Extended contracts, free agency, players seeking more years,when their contract is up. Sound familiar?
    Seems to me this is pretty close to what baseball was before free agency with the exception both players and teams want control of the time they have to collect or spend money.
    Either way had and has its drawbacks. before free agency a player was at the whim of the owners. Now with free agency the players are free and are sticking it to everyone.
    Being paid what they deserve to be paid?
    The only way to become familiar with a player is by the length of a contract.
    I know I keep ranting on this subject, but I fail to see the difference except in the amount of millions being spent and the wealth of agents increasing and teams nearing bankruptcy.
    It is what it is, but I dont have to like it, and just an opinion.

  • Anthony

     The 2011 Cubs pitching ranked as follows:

    15th of 16 in Quality Starts
    3rd most Runs allowed
    3rd most Earned Runs allowed
    1st in most Walks issued
    14th of 16 in ERA
    14th of 16 in opponents OBP
    14th of 16 in WHIP

    The defense was LAST in Fielding %

    What offense will outhit that?

    Up the middle defense:

    From the C position-LAST
    From the SS position-2nd LAST
    From the 2B position-13th of 16
    From the P position-2nd LAST
    From CF-7th of 16, OK

    So Theo will work with Castro as he is young, but he probably will always search for a better defender unless he gets better there, and as far as 2B, expect a change, soon!

     
     

    • paulcatanese

      Well Anthony you have stated the obvious, at least it has been since the beginning of baseball..
      You are correct no offense will correct that.
      Svenum is an ex shortstop so Castro will be under the microscope as well as second base, and as you say I expect change their as well.
      Catching, I would not be surprised in the least if Varitek would be brought in.
      Pitching and their defense, well that is a sore spot, seems its tough to teach someone to throw in another direction other than home plate.
      And Centerfield, I think as you, it will take care of itself, anyone they have put out there has done the job.

      • Anthony

        paul, just a reminder, thats all it was

        Varitek is not a viable sign, just too old for the position, pop times and tired old legs don’t mix well by definition

        • paulcatanese

          Absolutly agree with Varitek, I was just pointing out the additions of Theo and the seemingly ties to the Red Sox.
          The rest, just agreeing with you.
          One point though, after the wealth of shortstops that have been with the Red Sox I dont think Theo will have a sustained patience with Castro and his defense there.
          I believe in the back of his mind he is looking for Castro over at third, sooner than later.
          Castro cannot continue with the errors that he has been putting up there.
          That has been a little joke ongoing between Cubtex and myself, but now I dont know with defense being a priority.

          • Chadaudio

            Yeah, I was really surprised to hear the front office already state that they weren’t moving Castro this year.  I’m sure he can improve some (maybe get below average) – but I want an awesome defensive SS.  I’m guessing Castro will get one more year at SS before being moved to 2B or 3B.

          • cubtex

            He is the most talented shortstop the Cubs have had there since Dunston. Be patient!

          • Chadaudio

            cubtex, 
            I always appreciate your optimism concerning Castro as an SS.  I hope you are right.  And lucky for you, he is the SS for at least another year.  I don’t think we have the luxury to be patient with him at SS, because we have so many other defensive “question marks”.  The best way to build a team is to get strong defense up the middle – and Castro just isn’t that.  Can he get better then being the second worst SS in the league – yes.  But can he get above average?  I don’t think so.  For every Shawn Dunston, there is a BJ Upton that had the tools, but just couldn’t put it together at SS.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes, but don’t forget this:

            Defensively, DUNSTON NEVER DID MAKE AN OUTSTANDING DEFENDER.

            In case you forgot….
            Dunston’s career Fielding: .967

            Castro in 2011:
            .961

          • cubtex

            How old is Castro? U r penciling in his career nunbers after 1 full season? Give me a break.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Think, Cubtex, think….

            You said he is the most talented since Dunston. I said, “Dunston never did get it defensively.” That’s what the scouts say about Castro now. SS is not his world, man.

          • Airkeys

            You are right Paul about the amount of shortstops under Theo. I wouldn’t call them wealth? More like scraps :) That position hasn’t been stable for the Red Sox since they traded Nomar. From Edgar Renteria to Julio Lugo to Alex Gonzales to Marco Scutaro. He finally inherits a great young shortstop in Castro…I hope he knows what he has there and leaves him there for the next 7 years or so…..And then he can move to 3rd :0

          • Ripsnorter1

            Move him to 2B can he can stay there 18 years. Think of it: Power. Speed. Batting Average. All at a traditionally weaker batting position. It is easier to find a hitting 3B than a hitting 2B. And a hitting 2B along with a hitting 3B is what helps make champions. (Cf. Pedroisa in Boston; NY has Cano; remember Sandberg?).

  • Aaron

    It’s been awhile since Phil Rogers had an intelligent article, but at least he finally did his research and backed up what he was saying:

    *********************************************************************************
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-your-morning-phil-saunders-braun-fielder-20111213,0,3261367.story

    Some advantages actually would seem to skew in Saunders’ favor. He’s
    30, Buehrle is 32. His fastball averaged 90 last year, Buehrle’s
    averaged 85. He’s 55-44 in 128 starts over the last four years. Buehrle
    is 54-44 in 131 starts.

    Consider the narrow differences over the last two years:

    Buehrle: 26-22, 3.94 ERA over 415 2/3 innings, 1.35 WHIP.

    Saunders: 21-30, 4.07 ERA over 415 1/3 innings, 1.38 WHIP.

    ….Saunders
    is available, and the Cubs should sign him. He didn’t finish 2011
    strong, working his way to the back of Arizona’s playoff rotation and
    getting lifted for a pinch hitter after only three innings of Game 4
    against Milwaukee, but he could be the Cubs’ No. 2 starter next season
    and possibly a solid No. 3/4/5 guy for at least the next few years.
    *********************************************************************************

    I have to agree with him on this…if the Cubs were as interested in Buehrle as reports stated…then, it’d only seem logical that they target his equivalent, who would come much cheaper.

  • Anthony

    off subject, not meant as a HJACK, but somebody’s old lady went flappin her gums on radio, and kind of confims what I thought.

    The Cards made a good baseball and business decision and the rejected girlfriend is insulted not being paid for years 1-11 with monies from years 17-21

    Stan the Man and his statue remain pure and intact.

    When the Machine’s talent succumbs to Father Time, those baggage years will essentially convert to the Personal Services clause of the deal maybe sooner than expected.

  • cubs1967

    back to my agents are dumb…….

    according to the CCO twitter feed:

    ARam gets $6M next year, $10M in 2013 and $16M in 2014; but $6M is deferred SO:

    Cubs offered 16M for 1 year OR get 16M for 2 years ????
    and them 6M is deferred till when>>…..he’s gonna make 26M in the next 3 yrs with 6M deferred…….

    somehow I could of gotten him more than 5M after 2012 to match this……WOW!

    and the Brewers are gonna suck next year w/o Braun till June and no Prince.
    2013 say good-bye to Greinke…….

    good job Paul Kinzer!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Ya’ll seem to want to talk defense, so let’s talk defense.

    You can be a good defensive club and stink up the joint.#3 in MLB in fielding: White Sox. And they didn’t even finish .500.
    #4….Atlanta…didn’t make the playoffs, either.
    #5…Dodger…didn’t make the playoffs.
    #7….Reds…Dusty never makes the playoffs anyway….
    #8…Boston…didn’t make the playoffs.
    #9…Angels….didn’t make the playoffs.
    #10…Florida…only won one more game than the Cubs!

    #1…Tampa Bay, runner up in the East
    #2 Phils, and they didn’t have enough bats to go deep into the playoffs.
    #6…D-Backs

    So sound defense may not mean a thing.

    #27 in fielding: THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS.

    But how can Theo clean up the Cubs’ defense?

    Catching…30th in MLB…Soto had 13 errors. But his fielding was 15th in MLB, and he was in the top 5 for throwing out runners. 

    1B….12th in MLB….Pena had 8 errors, but he’s gone. Hey, that means Pena isn’t the greatest fielding 1B, too. 12th of 30 teams is pretty much middling, isn’t it? Admit it, Cubs’ fans. No other Cub made an error at 1B. Now who is going to play there? We need a bat, and LaHair isn’t a great glove, either.

    2B…24th in MLB…Barney made 12 of the 15 Cubs’ 2B errors, and his fielding was 16th of the 18 qualified 2B.  Only Rickie Weeks and Dan Uggla was worse, and both of those guys can hit and hit for power…..

    SS…29th…St. Louis was worse….Castro had all 29 Cubs’ SS errors…What do you want to do, Move him to 2B? (Everybody screams, “NO!”). Well then, if you don’t move him, you don’t improve your fielding. Which way do you really want it?

    3B…Aram was 8th of only 12 qualified 3B, with a stinking .953%. He made 14 of the Cubs’ 23 3B errors. Who made the rest? DEWITT! He made 5 errors in only 17 Starts at 3B (23 total games). .848 was the #147 worst fielding 3B of 158 in 2011. 

    LF…Soriano…Cubs were #27 with 9 errors…7 by Soriano….but that doesn’t count a dozen balls hit over DeWitt’s head and Baker’s head because they turned the wrong way. Those went for hits instead of errors. Stop playing DeWitt and Baker out there and it will tighten up the defense.

    RF….Baker and Funko. Surely…I mean, SURELY, Sveum is smart enough not to play Baker in RF. Because if he does, he’s another Mike Quade. It’s criminal. DeJesus will do okay out there. CF….Bryd is okay. 

    So folks, to tighten up the defense, it is really simple:

    #1 MOVE CASTRO TO 2B. That solves 2 problems: Barney’s weak glove and Castro’s weak SS skills.

    #2 Stop playing career INFs in the OF; namely, DeWitt and Baker.

    And we can win with the rest.

    • cubs1967

      yes, but the Cards were home grown………
      Holliday…..no wait Rockies
      Berkman…..ugh-’Stros
      Carpenter….whoops-Jays
      next year-Wainwright—-oh no-A’s
      so of their best 5 players only Pujols was…….

      so really home grown-defense-not of means a crap–just get in the playoffs and anybody can get hot for 3 weeks….

      or wait 10 years……..like Theo says……….

      • Ripsnorter1

        YES….home grown failure! That’s crazy!
        I keep saying it: the Cubs could compete in 2012 with a good GM grabbing just a few BATS and making a few judicious moves. And let’s stop the excuse making!

        • cubs1967

          but i’m gettting yelled at for wanting to spend to win………we should save money to lose..
          JH spent dumb; i thought Theo was a genuis and would spend smart; U know as the largest team in the division; w/ NO pujols or larussa or fielder……..but ….but-excuse-wait-all the BS you can handle.

          • cubtex

            Where did you get that Theo spends smart? Crawford? Lackey? JD Drew? Dice K? Do I need to go on? Wait…..I have a feeling they will sign Fielder and it will not be smart either.

          • daverj

            There can only be a few $20+ million dollars players on a team on long term deals … maybe spending wisely means spending in 2013 or 2014.

      • Tony_Hall

        Actually Wainwright was sent with Marquis from the Braves for JD Drew.  

    • cubtex

      Castro doesn’t have weak SS skills. Someone like Theriot has weak SS skills. Castro has all the skills needed to be a very good defensive SS.

      • Chadaudio

        I think you’re confusing skills with tools.  He has the tools to be a good SS… but he has no skills to work those tools.  Thus, he looks like BJ Upton playing SS.
        Theriot had skills, just not the tools.  Now, I don’t think he has either.

        • cubtex

          What??? What skills does Castro not have to play SS and what skills does Theriot have to pkay SS. I am curious to hear your response.

          • Chadaudio

            Castro Tools: has the tools to play SS – Great arm, great range.
            Castro lack of Skill: Castro only recently figured out how to tag someone stealing second. He doesn’t have good footwork.  He often seems out of position.  He throws the ball away… a lot.

          • cubtex

            Sorry Chad but I can’t let this go. Castro has very good feet. I think you might be confusing skills with fundamentals. Look…u need to remember where Castro comes from. He is from a poor country where he didn’t have the fields or training and coaching that someone like Theriot grew up with. Does he need some polish? Absolutely….but to argue that Theriot has more SS skills than Castro is absurd. When you have a player with Castro’s tools….you work on improving those tools. He has range,size,arm, and he is excellent at running down popups. I have played with quite a few latin players in the minors and u have to understand how difficult an adjustment they have. They don’t speak the language….alot of the coaching we had as kids…they didn’t. Why do u think players like Flaherty, LeMahieu etc. are moved off shortstop? SS skill??? Fundamentals????? I think you know the answer. TOOLS! Athletic Ability! Give the kid some time. If he doesn’t improve..feel free to blast me.

          • Dorasaga

            For this week, I dare not to speak of the Castro–>3B possibility. You just sold your point. Good job. :-)

    • Rational Logic

      Very sad indeed – but I think you’re underselling Pena – his errors were probably more due to Castro/Aram than anything else. 

      Aram is gone, and Castro is so young – it will come. Also, errors aren’t the only metric for defense, you have to consider range as well, which Castro is above average in. 

      Regardless, it’s a pretty terrible situation. Regarding the comments about those teams that made the playoff with bad D/those with good D that didn’t make the playoffs – you can’t look solely at defense, either!  you have to consider the whole body of work when looking at the standings, our team obviously didn’t have the pitching or the bats to overcome our defensive deficiencies. I would imagine if you went back several years and had a solid sample size, you would find that consistent pitching and consistent defense get you into the playoffs and clutch hitting wins it. 

      All in all, it’d be nice to see a solid defensive squad behind a good pitching staff first and foremost. If you win games by giving up less runs it will automatically make your offense appear better!

      Stewart sounds like an upgrade, but boy oh boy would Fielder and Castro be interesting to watch…(i still want Fielder since we seem to be his entire market…)

      • Ripsnorter1

        I respect you and your comments. Thank you for posting them.
        Just want to point out that Bill James did an exhaustive study of teams that win the WS from 1900 until the time of his study (1993), and found only three exceptions to this rule:Teams that win have top three hitting, with middle of the pack pitching, and the defense can be anywhere. 

        Remember, the difference between the best 1B and the worst is about 4 errors per year. (Yes, a first year Mark Grace made 17 errors with Shawn Dunston throwing smoke at him, but that’s rare).

        I want a good defensive club, too.  I especially want players who are awake during the game, who throw to the cutoff man, and to the proper base–in other words, who are well coached and well disciplined. Let’s see if Mr. Sveum can do that. 

        But again, if you want to win, you have to have some bats, and we don’t have any. Look at the St. Louis Cards in 2011–they won the WS without their ace pitcher and WITHOUT A CLOSER!! . But they had Pujols, Holliday and Berkman. And that made all of their bats better.

    • Coolpdxcubsfan

      There were quite a few errors that weren’t called too. I remember several  caused by poor hustle and lack of range that went as hits. We have made a pretty good dent in the slacker department, but there is still a ways to go.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, I remember. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    Just looking over Soriano’s scouting report for 2011….

    He hit .309 vs Fastballs, (.293 vs RH fastball, .350 vs LH fastball).
    Curves? Just .193 overall (.190 RH; .200) vs LH curveballs)
    Sliders? .212. (RH-.219; LH sliders, just .158!!)
    Changeups?  .193 (.213 vs RH; .179 vs. LH changeups).
    This guy can only hit a fastball. Why would ANYBODY throw him a fastball?

     Answer: there are brain-dead pitchers, too. 

    Of all the pitches thrown to him low and away (outside of the strike zone), he swung at 40% of them. Sure don’t want him batting cleanup for us!

    • John G

      Pedro Cerrano: Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.
      Eddie Harris: You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.
      Roger Dorn: Shit, Harris.
      Pedro Cerrano: Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball.
      Eddie Harris: You trying to say Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?

    • cubtex

      Because a lot of pitchers don’t have good command of anything else but a fastball.

      • Anthony

        good comment

        and the flat ones get punished

        makes you wonder how a Mariano Rivera remained successful with one Q-pitch, a little cutter, and the hitters still knew it was coming, and struggled

        movement
        late movement
        location

        sounds Maddux-like?

  • Anthony

    I suppose the 82 Brewers are more your liking….. rips?
     
    Balance is needed. Better defense, not the #1 defense, better pitching, not the #1 staff, and better balanced offense.
     
    It appears the issue here is a lack of Home Runs?
     
    HR’s, if the new drug testing works, will continue to drop in total.
     
    In 1993, a HR was hit in MLB every 38.5 at bats
    In 1998, a HR was hit in MLB every 33.0 at bats
    In 2003, a HR was hit in MLB every 32.0 at bats
    In 2004, a HR was hit in MLB every 30.7 at bats
    In 2011, back up to 36.4 at bats

    if the trend continues, you may see the frequency numbers above 40 at bats like the 1980′s, in other words, true power hitters will be premium, no more fabricated false stats

     
     

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Dodgers have signed Angel Guzman to a minor league contract that includes an invite to big league camp.

    The Dodgers also signed Jose Ascanio and Scott Rice to minor league deals that includes non-roster invites to big league camp

    • Tony_Hall

      I would love to see Angel Guzman make it back to the majors, even if it’s not with the Cubs.  

      A good guy, who deserves a break.

      • Chadaudio

        I wish him well… I actually sort of thought we would be able to re-sign him.

  • Jason Douglas

    Neil / CCO…anybody!

    omg…Phil Rogers just compared Joe Saunders to Mark Buerhle.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-your-morning-phil-saunders-braun-fielder-20111213,0,3261367.story

    How do you have any credibility after saying something like that?

    Is that like saying “Carlos Pena is a 1B like Albert Pujols…the Cubs should sign him”?

    Next we will be comparing Randy Wells to Greg Maddux.

    • Anthony

      the analysis was based on results

    • Aaron

      Relax Jason…he finally had an intelligent article where he backed up what he was saying…notice, he said “last 2 years”…and he’s absolutely right with that statement …if he would’ve said “Saunders has been just as good as Buehrle throughout his career” then I would agree with you, but alas, he did not.

  • Anthony

    Lets talk PRINCE, and discuss if he is the Man.

    Will he give at least a few free concerts to the Fans in Wrigley, and will he bring Sheila E. with him?

    Or should we talk about Cecil’s kid?

    OK, ChiC is a huge market, and ChiTown is a great city, those are facts and obvious.

    It appears Ricketts is willing to spend money, because he just raided two MLB clubs front offices and made a splash on a group of guys who won’t/don’t step in the batters box and try to hit high-speed projectiles.

    Ricketts paid huge amounts for a bunch of suits, so why do that, then cheap out on your product, your marketing, and your working assets!

    The issue with long-term deals that extend into the players late 30′s is more of a pending high opportunity cost than anything. Boras, and most agents are smart enough to know that if there soon to be 28 year old superstar signs a shorter term deal(say 5 years), then the market for that FINAL PAYDAY CONTRACT is essentially foregone, i.e, who wants to sign a fat guy at age 33 in the NL?

    Smart agents compromise. It is about making the most dollars in the shortest period of time. If Fielder signed with the Cubs for 7 years at a higher annual salary then Pukeholes did, then he wins, and the Cubs win because the money is there, the prime years are there, and Prince can hang out as a AL DH after age 35 and beyond, for his final contract.

    The Cubs then get production, you would think, and an anchor for 7 years as Theo’s Manny/Papi offensively speaking. Theo also may develop trade assets with the 1B prospects down on the Farm as a position of strength.

    1. Play Castro at SS, and if his defense doesn’t eventually click in, there is always 3B in the future, BUT

    2. You have to expose Vitters to MLB pitching and see what happens, because if Castro proves a possible 3B solution(keeps hitting), then Vitters needs to become a trade asset, or a Cub regular.

    3. If you sign Fielder, you HAVE TO keep Garza, and extend

    4. Upgrade the Catching position

    5. Upgrade 2B

    What will you guys say if Jackson gets the call, and struggles, K’s too much, and shows below-average power? It is his time to see to get the call and give it a shot.

    Deal with Soriano, and he may become even better offensively flanked by Fielder.

    Did I say revenues from Fielder jerseys, etc? These guys aren’t stupid, and neither is an owner who is filthy rich.

    Sign Mr. Purple Rain, even though I don’t care much for how the system works these days in all Pro sports, and the most important thing?

    It ain’t my money, nor do I purchase MLB concessions or garb.

    I rather spend it at the local eatery/bar pregame or maximize my cable bill…….lol

  • Tom U

    I wish Guzman well and certainly don’t blame him, but his rehab assignments last season messed up a lot of good pitching prospects.

  • Tom U

    Rodrigo Lopez is now pitching for Tomateros de Culiacan (that’s Tomato Pickers) in the Mexican Pacific League.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s talk Boston Red Sox and winning…..

    Let’s look at their lineup. Would you call it a Punch and Judy singles hitting team? Or would you say that it was a lineup filled with POWER?

    Boston lead MLB in runs scored…..how did they do it? With singles hitters?  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    1B Gonzalez…338 BA  27 HR …548 slugging
    DH Ortiz……..309 BA…29 HR….559 slugging
    2B Pedroia…..307 BA.,..21 HR…474 slugging
    SS Scutaro….299 BA….7 HR… .423 slugging
    3B Lowrie……252………7 HR…….382 slugging–the weak line here
    LF Crawford…255 BA….11 HR….455 slugging–off year due to contract
    CF Ellsbury…321 BA….32 HR….552 slugging
    RF Reddick….280…….7 HR……457 slugging in part time duty
    C  Saltalamacchia…..235 BA…16 HR…..450 slugging

    These guys all had power…except Lowrie.

    Now Theo wants a Punch and Judy lineup of Stewart, DeJesus, Barney?????