Rambling About the Cubs Before the New Year

Hello, everybody. I hope your respective Friday is going well, and that the New Year has plenty to offer.

I have my beanbag chair, a healthy supply of beer, and a full bag of nacho cheese Doritos so I am ready to rock, ramble and roll.

So without any more nonsense, let’s just get down to the brass tax and ramble.

  • I always give credit where credit is due. There are many posters on this site who have been calling for a full rebuild for years. Too many to name, but you know who you are. You were right.
  • Hating on the Ricketts is near-sighted, bull-headed, ignorant, naïve and juvenile. He is spending money. He rebuilt the front office.
  • And he didn’t raise ticket prices. For those saying that he did, that is factually incorrect. The average price of a game went down last year and will remain the same this year. In order to argue, you must have your facts right. These are the facts.
  • Reds’ fans hated the trade. Cubs’ fans hated the trade. It is abundantly clear why very few people make money gambling on sports.
  • The idea of “hating” is hard for me to grasp. I guess the anonymity provided by the internet makes it easier for people to fire off profanity-laced tirades about the ineptness of GMs and coaches.
  • I do enjoy reading thoughtful commentary, be it positive or negative. But the ranting and mindless hating is stupid.
  • Okay, stepping off my soapbox. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
  • I will definitely miss Sean Marshall. But if we are rebuilding, trading him makes sense. Right? Yes, it makes sense. Some may not like the return, but time will tell.
  • However, the idea that a 17th ranked prospect is someone the Cubs project at second for 10 years is both intriguing and confusing.
  • Everything is so cryptic; I really have no idea what will happen to Garza. I will be equally unsurprised by either result.
  • Hold on, I need to get more Doritos.
  • I decided to go “Cool Ranch” this time around.
  • The Cubs will not be very good next year, but they will not lose 100 games. I will bet on that.
  • Wait, what did I say about betting on sports? Either way, I would still bet on it.
  • I have to think this will be Ryan Dempster’s last year in a Cubs uniform.
  • Signing Sonnastine is a no-lose situation. Very little money for a guy who had a bright future. If he doesn’t turn it around, so be it. Worth a chance. I am sure plenty disagree, but I like it.
  • What would you take for Marlon Byrd? At this rate, flip him for something or anything and move on. It just doesn’t make sense to keep him. Marlon = Reed. We don’t need two.
  • Okay, I need a vote. I have to move to a new sack. Should I go with Cheetos or Cheese Puffs?
  • Cheetos vs. Cheese Puffs. Please vote below.
  • Manny Corpas will go down in the same category with Chuck McElroy, Heathcliff Slocum and Paul Assenmacher. Yes, that category. I believe Mike Remlinger is a member of that group as well.
  • While we are at it, Les Lancaster and Mel Rojas can be thrown in as well.
  • So, as we wrap it up here, my biggest lingering question is “Who will play first next year?”
  • Not who you want to play first, but who WILL play first. So, let me know your thoughts. Let’s get it going. Have at it.

The offseason is not new or young, but there is plenty of time left. I expect some more to happen.

Happy New Year to everyone! Have a great, and more importantly, safe celebration, and until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!


  • CDC

    I hope they will give LaHair a chance at 1B

    • Cubsfdc

      It will be Fielder at first! Take that to the bank…

  • SuzyS

    Hey Brian, I liked Les Lancaster….Kind of like liking Peter LaCock.

  • Calicub

    Cheeto Puffs. The puffy curly ones if you can get em… mmmmmm

    Anthony Rizzo. They are too high on former Red Sox guys.

  • kubphan82

    LeHair with Baker platooning 1B/3B occasionally.  Fielder goes 8 years, Rizzo gets into Headley asking price (Padres will remain bitter toward Cubs this year)… And LeHair is fine, this year he hit 1HR/12.4AB through the 3 leagues… Bill James projects him to hit 1/24 next year… I’ll take that at his salary. 

  • Joshua Toulouse

    I feel like 1st base will be LaHair, and I think he will be a bright spot on our team

  • Tony_Hall

    Bravo on your soapbox!!!

    I am with you on your bet…I have taken the under 100 loss season.

    Cheetos

    At this time, you have to say Lahair at 1B to start the year.

  • Tony_Hall

    “However, the idea that a 17th ranked prospect is someone the Cubs project at second for 10 years is both intriguing and confusing.”  

    They haven’t come out and said this…it was a tweet by a reporter, who had a high level source.   I can see them thinking he could be their 2B, if he continues hitting at each level, like he has so far….doesn’t sound as good in a tweet to say….Could….if….

    I don’t think they ordered jerseys yet.

  • Tony_Hall

    Buster Olney is looking at the Top 10 at different areas.

    Today is Top 10 Infields based on Offense and Defense.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7399776/the-10-best-infields-major-league-baseball-mlb 

    It is an ESPN Insider article, so here is a look at it.

    1. Rangers
    2. Reds
    3. Yankees
    4. Red Sox
    5. Angels
    6. Cardinals
    7. Phillies
    8. Rays
    9. Nationals
    10a. Royals
    10b White Sox
    10c Rockies

    If anything, this should give hope as you can pick apart many of these infields (as you can pick apart anything in baseball).  If the Cardinals are 6th with Freese, Furcal, Berkman, and an unknown 2B situation.  

    And the Rockies are listed, based on any infield with Tulo is good, well , I think they will be saying similar things about Castro soon enough.

    • Coachdon

      Maybe he’s got DJ penciled in for the Rocks……

      • Tony_Hall

        Not at all.

        “You start with Troy Tulowitzki, who is to shortstops what Roy Halladay is to starting pitchers, and the rest is gravy. Todd Helton will share some of the first base at-bats with Michael Cuddyer, and an everyday third baseman must emerge.”

  • Tony_Hall

    Buster’s also trying to help us unload Byrd, trying to spark some interest.

    “One guy who makes a whole lot of sense as a trade target for the Nationals — and for the Red Sox, perhaps, as one piece in a Theo Epstein compensation package — would be the Cubs’ Marlon Byrd. Chicago is clearly in a rebuilding mode, and Byrd is entering the final year of a three-year contract and will make $6.5 million this season. He’s a good guy and a solid veteran when healthy. For the Nationals, he could be a short-term stopgap; for the Red Sox, he could be part of the solution in right field.”

    I would have no issue with Byrd being part of a compensation trade with the Red Sox…Byrd for his 2 years and $8.5M was an ok signing, but adding in a 3rd year for $6.5M is what always made this a bad deal.  He would have been traded last July, if he had only a 2 year deal.

  • Tony_Hall

    It looks like Cot’s contracts is under baseball prospectus and has a new looking site with even more info.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/ 

    Here is the total overview page of all salaries.  At the bottom is shows the total pay by position, with WAR (WARP on here) being added up by position, to see how efficient the league is at paying for wins.  You can even go back in past years.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/

    You can even sort by team, to see each teams breakdown.

    • jw

      Thanks for posting this info

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is the Cubs page on the updated Cot’s contracts

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/?cyear=2011&team=CHN&pos= 

    It breaks down each player’s pay by WARP.

    We paid Soriano $212,119,148 per Win he created in 2011.

    His WARP is 0.09…

    • Anthony

      nice link, and looking at the potential 2013 free agent list. maybe a handful of solid plug-in players, and the rest, as weak and/or old as the current crop remaining.

      That is an opinion…………

      If Theo views it the same way. it gives an indication as to priority of player sources.

      So far, he snared other teams minors/rejects, and expect better prospects in forthcoming trades

      I mentioned trades, and he mentioned Farm Development, and the Theo Way(Cubs Way).

      If all 30 teams view free agents as so-so, then everyone is in the same boat.

      The numbers of guys hitting 25 bombs per season should continue to decline with drug-testing, and level off to where it should be easy to identify true power hitters. In other words, HR’s in general should drop league-wide a tad more.

      What that may result in is a simple reversion to how  assembling a baseball team profiled decades ago.

      The name of the game is who scores the most runs, not hits the most HR’s. That Era is history, that’s why you hear from “a source within the organization” state that a player like Torreyes will be the 2B for 10 years.

      That means to me that a player of that type, solid defense at his position, good contact and table-setting skills will be coveted versus a 2B who in 2002 could hit 27 steroid bombs.

      It means your RF has to be by the book defensive plus, with a gun, and athletic enough to almost play like a 1/2 CF, and be a solid hitter, your LF needs to be a reject former RF(in a good sense) and maybe hit 20-25 bombs, and that affords your CF to be of the classic leadoff hitting profile who could play with his back to home plate.

      Up the middle defense may end up more important than ever, so how this all unfolds under Theo should be interesting to everyone, including himself, as he enters his 1st season inheriting a weak overall 40-man roster and some AAA cloggers, and most important, an ERA of hopefully drug-free natural players.

      In other words, Theo has never done this before. In Boston, he walked into a good situation, signed a few more injected plug-ins, etc.

      His Drafts stunk at times also, but there are more generally weak drafts than premier drafts, and 2011 was premier for everybody. Many of this class will make the Show, in my opinion.

      My guess, Theo gives Castro 2012-13 to become a reliable defensive SS, and if that fails, someone from the Farm. or another INTL will be ready.

      Watching how the game has evolved from the mid-60′s, through a great 70′s and 80′s era, then into the steroid era, and now cycling back, those not old enough to have experienced it will be very pleased if it gets back to what it was.

      We had expansion and dilution of talent, mound height adjustments, ball tinkering, free agency, an influx of INTL signings, smaller venues built, and Steroids/PEDS.

      It may seem crazy, but is it possible MLB condoned the usage of these drugs?

      Just go back and read how MAC and SAMMY saved baseball?(and Bonds watched in anger)

      • John_CC

        Does it seem crazy? I’ve been under the assumption that Bud and the MLB most definitely condoned the PED era…if not directly, certainly by looking away. Is that really a stretch? I think it is assumed now. And many are suspects, and I’m not talking the players. Actually, the players, in my opinion are being unjustly scapegoated when there were managers and beyond who knew better and looked away. Look no further than Tony the genius LaRussa.  Try to tell me a guy with his knowledge didn’t know when he was in Oakland, no way. And he is only the obvious example. The MLB is to blame, not the players.

        You look at public consensus polls on the major sites, asking if ____ is a hall of famer, and guys like Palmero, McGriff, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzales, players that put up ridiculous numbers, in the height of what is now considered the “asterisk era”  are generally snuffed by the baseball fans. Remember Brady Anderson? These guys were all just competing.

        The MLB failed. Bud Selig and the players union should be indicted, in my opinion. All the testing that he finally got enacted is too little too late.

    • Dorasaga

      It got cute chart. I dunno if the charting itself became more useful than other similar online sources, though…

      • Dorasaga

        NEVERMIND. The click into teams help a lot… Tony provided in the first link. I was talking about the 30-team chart on your 2nd link…

        • Tony_Hall

          When does our fantasy leagues site start up for 2012?  I need to narrow down my keepers.

          • Dorasaga

            Please check your email.

  • Phil Z

    Is my Boyhood Hero Billy Buckner Available at 1st Base? Oh how I miss watching him play.

    • Jeff in AZ

      Actually we hired him as an A ball hitting coach this year. Seriously.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    LaHair or RIZZO i still think LaHair makes the team no matter what and gets time in left/pinch hitter/1b/dh in interleague play.

  • CUBS 31

    Bring back “The Penguin” Ron Cey at third and Billy Buck at first.  I still think Anthony Rizzo is a possibility in a 3-way trade with the Rays.  Also I think there will be a trade with Boston that includes Lars Anderson.  I vote for the cheetos but fingers get so messy.

  • Tom U

    Good Morning CCO!

    With the VWL ending regular season play today, Bryan LaHair has a four home run lead on teammate Mario Lisson, and will most likely end up the league’s home run champion. This was despite some differences that LaHair had with Mangallanes management over protection in the line-up, which caused to leave the team a couple of times. I believe he is the Cubs’ first baseman.

    Byrd would balk at going to Boston, he only wants to play centerfield. 

    I’d go with the barrel of cheese balls you get at one of those warehouse clubs.

    It’s curious that you have Corpas, a right-hander, mixed in with left-handers McElroy, Assenmacher, Remlinger, and Lancaster.

    Les Lancaster was an under-appreciated pitcher.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, have a Happy New Year Brian!

  • Tony_Hall

    Maybe JH is advising the Angels, or it’s just how GM’s and owners think, when they feel a move will put them over the top,

    Some info on Albert Pujols contract….they sure are counting on inflation to make this one look good.

    “Albert Pujols will earn base salaries of $12MM in 2012 and $16MM in 2013, reportsESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.  Pujols’ 10-year, $254MM contract with the Angels was backloaded so the Halos could afford to sign C.J. Wilson.  As a result, Pujols will receive more than $30MM per year in the latter years of his deal.  The contract’s total value could be worth as much as $265MM should Pujols reach various incentive and milestone bonuses.”

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Albert-Pujols-deal-helped-Angels-add-CJ-Wilson-122911

    • RickinMSP

      Wow, a bad contract looking worse by the day.  Obviously, it makes them legitimate playoff/world series contenders for the next three years, then they are hamstrung for seven.

  • http://www.facebook.com/swifty84 Steve Swift

    I think Bryan Lahair gets his shot.. 195 lifetime at bats with a 262 ave is not a failure or AAAA type.  For all the rambling is that he is to old he really hasnt had a chance to fail..  If he can hit 270-280 with 20hr and 70-80 Rbi..I can live with that and I dont care if he is 35 as long as he is getting it done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/swifty84 Steve Swift

    how about adding  Mike Proly and George Frazier

  • Cloycub13

    Brian,
    First of all Yuck! Cheetos and Cheesy Poofs, grew out of those in 8th grade, right before I grew out of Doritos. Try some Pringles Cheesums… now those are pretty good, or sour cream and cheddar Ruffles. Keep the beer going though, I think we all may need some this year.

    Honestly I think they are tearing the thing to shreads and I like it! I have heard rumors of Matt Harrison from the Rangers for Marmolade, these suspected prospects (like what I did there) from the Jays for Garza, Soriano to the O’s, Byrd to the Sawx, hell yeah, keep em coming. This does not even include the likes of “The Centipede” (Great Nickname whoever came up with it) or Soler.

    Finally, to end this post, I firmly believe, and always have, that the 1B for next year will be none other than Prince Fielder! There I said it. Whether you like the idea or not, at a 6 year deal with a 7th mutual option, at an AAV of 25.5. I know we are just now dealing with the end of Fonsie’s deal (I wish), I know that we have been burned in the past, I know that we are jaded Cub fans, but I think we can be highly competitive in the next 3 years, that gives us a monster masher, a feared member of the lineup, and an everyday stabilizing player right smack dab in the middle of his prime. The guy has missed one, ONE, 1 game in the last 3 years. He is in no danger of his legs breaking down as he is not a speed guy at all, and I think he is legitimately dedicated to beating the pants off of any numbers that his father put up.
    If it all comes to fruition:
    1. Jackson CF
    2. Castro SS
    3. Fielder 1B
    4. Cespedes LF
    5. Soto C
    6. Dejesus RF
    7.Stewart 3B
    8. Barney 2B

    Harrison
    Demp
    Z
    Wood
    Cash/Shark

    That would be fun to watch!

    Happy new Year CCO’ers!!!!

  • SC

    Cheetos and LeHair.

    • Dorasaga

      I thought the Cubs hired a woman’s “La” hair, not a man’s “Le.”

      Bonne année!

  • notcubbiewubbie

    like your article agree with much of what you said but when you have jim hendry (the cpt. of the titanic) sinking your ship it is pretty easy to rant and rave. thank god in 2012 we now have an admiral in charge in comparison. nough said. happy new year . thanks for the great website for us diehard cubfans.

  • RickinMSP

    At this point, I don’t see any reason to go with anybody but LaHair at first.  I’m not sold on Rizzo.  Truth be told, I only know about him from this site and Aaron has convinced me that we shouldn’t trade anyone of value for him.  Of course, if we can get him for not much of anything, why not. 

    I’ll take the under 100.

    Cheetos, the cheese that goes crunch.

    Let’s throw Oscar Zamora and Horacio Pina to the list of great Cub relief pitchers.  And, I too. always liked Les Lancaster.

  • cubtex

    That reminds me of a joke about a guy who got laid off from his job and was spending too much time at home sitting naked on a beanbag watching porn and eating cheetos. I am sure cheese puffs could be substituted as well :)

  • Javier

    I think LaHair will win the job at 1st.

  • Aaron

    -I think the fan disgust over Ricketts has mostly related to a lost season. In other words, allowing Hendry to sink the ship even further…and even worse, after getting rid of him, allowing Quade to push back this organization yet another year. When you take over an organization after you’ve completely done your research, talked to others around the game, etc., you do NOT need to give anyone a grace period. The sale process took over 2 years to complete, and was in the works even longer than that. They spent a significant amount of time with the Red Sox brass, getting to know them, and how a successful big market team should be run. That was NOT the case on the North Side, and Hendry should not have been along for the ride after even 1 year, but they gave him 2 years, which is pretty sad.

    -I believe every fanbase out there either…
    a) Values their own prospects too much
    or
    b) Thinks their veterans are worth more than they really are
    …..In the case of Marshall, as well as the “rumored to be near completion” Garza trade, there was already some precedence for the quality of players the Cubs should receive in return. In my opinion, the best example was the Mike Adams deal when the Padres received two top starting pitching prospects in Erlin and Wieland. Even the lesser pitcher, Uehara brought back Hunter and Chris Davis. So while I acknowledge certain premiums are paid when it’s at the trade deadline, there are just as many trades that happen in the offseason where the returns are about equal to make you wonder if that’s not an old wive’s tale….But it was my opinion (and continues to be my opinion) that the Cubs got hosed in that deal. If they got Wood, Corcino, and H. Rodriguez, that might be a more fair deal. I don’t think everyone realizes how rare it is to find a lefty reliever that gets both lefties and righties out at a very good clip. It’s why so many lefties are referred to as “LOOGY”. Time will tell, but only Torreyes looks decent in that deal. If the Cubs were so interested in a lefty starter, they could’ve just converted Marshall, who’s had decent success starting in the past, and would surely be able to best Wood’s near 5 ERA last year.

    -….That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with the Marshall trade, because the Cubs are, in fact, rebuilding…I just disagree with the quality in return…and again, there is PLENTY of evidence…recent evidence, suggesting that the Cubs should’ve gotten more quality in return. And if you don’t want to use those trades I mentioned as your benchmark, because they were righties, you could look to the George Sherrill trade that netted the O’s Josh Bell, a power hitting 3B prospect and Steve Johnson, a starting pitching prospect that had high K totals, low walk totals, and a fastball that sits in the low 90′s. I just don’t like Sappelt and Wood, and I could be wrong on both…I hope I am…but thought they should’ve at least received Corcino instead of Sappelt.

    -Dempster might not even last this offseason

    -The thing a lot of fans didn’t understand about that signing (Sonnanstine) was that I think it was (along with Corpas) portrayed as 2 MLB signings, when, in fact, they were both signed to minor league deals with a split. I have no problem with those signings now…I was confused at first, along with countless others, because there was a lot of misinformation out there.

    -You’re absolutely right about Byrd….Now you’re starting to understand what I’ve been saying all along about veterans vs prospects…though, in this case, you’re comparing 2 veterans with each other, and you’re absolutely right…neither of them have any plate discipline whatsoever…they go up hacking every damn time, no matter what the situation is…both are aging, and should no longer be considered CF, or everyday players for that matter, and neither have speed anymore.

    -Cheesy Poofs (that would be the Cartman way of saying it)

    -I believe the first choice will be Pena, but only if they can get him on a 1 year deal for around $8 million and less, and that might mean they’re waiting it out until the end of January. If he signs elsewhere, it’s LaHair, then they’ll make a trade for Rizzo, for reasons I really don’t know…to have immediate depth. If they go with LaHair, it’s likely they might find a way to bring in Ridling as well for a platoon situation….just my opinion.

     

    • daverj

      I can’t see Pena coming back at any dollar amount.  Epstein wants the sandwich pick for Pena signing with another team.

    • paulcatanese

      Good article Aaron, feel exactly the same way. Wish I could put it context the way you do.

  • Zelnio

    if we trade marmol and byrd, get rid of soriano eating 14-15 mil, we can sign fielder (25 mil per yr) and edwin jackson (about 10 mil per yr) and have a payroll of about 101-102 mil.  This would be a good mix of going young, reducing payroll and still being competitive.

    Rotation would not have an ace, but still decent: Garza (2-3), jackson (3-4) and 3 5′s (wells, dempster, wood/cashner/smardzja).  Possible that Garza, jackson or cashner could develop into an ace.

    • daverj

      To trade Soriano, the Cubs are going to have to eat 14-15 million per year … not in total … though maybe that is what you meant!

      Cubs will only sign Fielder if he’ll take a 5 or 6 year deal … that will depend on how much other teams offer.  I think some team will step up and give him the huge contract he wants.

      I can see Jackson as a possible signing, but it’s going to be for more than $10 mil per year.  I’m guessing he’ll sign in the $12-$13 mil per year range.

      • Zelnio

        I was only talking about 2012 payroll.  Even with Jackson at 12-13 mil we are still under 105 mil for 2012

        • Tony_Hall

          Actually we are already in that range and adding Jackson, will put it closer to $115M.

          • Zelnio

            I actually forgot about getting rid of Z hoping someone would pay close to half, that would put it at between 110 and 115M.  Still 15-20M less than 2011.

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    1. CHEETOS!, no contest, healthier baked yukky puffs, no way.
    (when you get rich you can try plain potato chips with a little clam dip)
    2. LaHair (no Greedy Prince Sorrylike contracts, or Rizzo risk)

  • Jeff in AZ

    Cheetos @ 1st and Lahair for a …errrr…Lahair @ 1st and Cheetos crunchy for a snack.

  • Anthony

     GARZA TRADE:

    Trying to get the most bang from your ONE bargaining chip is tough, especially when you try and kill several birds with one big stone, so improving the Farm and maybe being competitve in 2012 versus total rebuild means you have to play monopoly and split that big stone into several pieces.

    I think Texas would have the best return for Garza, with the 3 “ez” pitchers and must include Leonys Martin. Not a big fan of what the AL East Clubs have versus the Rangers.

    Martin Perez
    Neil Ramirez
    Roman Mendez

    Take 2 of those 3 plus Martin for CF.

    Leonys Martin makes Matt Szczur tradeable, and every other CF prospect, Jackson is a corner guy.

    Texas also has a lame duck Josh Hamilton who they may let walk?

    Boston has a lame duck Kevin Youkliss who they may let walk?

    • John_CC

      Good thoughts there, Anthony.

      I think Texas will resign Hamilton. And if they don’t, I wouldn’t touch him…his baggage is too serious of a risk. Not to judge him personally, but professionally, I wouldn’t want him to come live in Chicago and hope he stays sober. He has a real good thing going for him in Texas with teammates that care and respect his problems.  I hope he can continue to thrive.

      Youk…I’d LOVE to see Youk in Chicago.

      • Anthony

        If I had to make decisions with limited resources, to better the Club and the Farm, to eventually benefit the ML club, it would be two ways of thinking combined into one.

        What I would want in return for a Garza is at least one ready position player(young) to allow me to trade a future one of the same position. Secondly, the return has to have immediate flippers(tradeable prospects) to fill a position I need currently to someone who has them, so

        In other words, I would work backwards, i.e

        I would call around and ask who needs a future CF top prospect(Szczur) in as part of package for a proven, younger 2B or 3B.

        Then, Garza to Texas for 2 of those arms and Martin, and pencil Martin to CF. I now have Szczur as a trade chip along with 2 top 10 prospect pitchers and solid rookie CF.

        I traded Garza for 4 assets out of 3 players. Three very tradeable that any one grouped with a veteran to get the next player.

        You can spend all the 50M on a Centipede or 20M on a 19 year old kid who happens to be Cuban and they”are so special and better than US players by asssociation………….lol)

        or you can be smart and creative

        Take Sczur(or Vitters) and one of the young Texas arms you received, call Cherington, arrange a sign and trade with Youk extension, flip the trade, and 3B is solved 3-4 years. They should grab that considering Youk is lame duck after 2012, and who knows what relationship he has with Epstein?

        Or, sit tight, and wait for his FA.

        Where Stewart and Bianchi eventually fit, if they do at all, is part of the equation.

        If Garza is traded at all, at least ONE piece of the entire transaction, be it inclusive or by a subsequent flip, MUST include an everyday position player ready to contribute.

        • daverj

          If Texas signs Darvish, why would they make a deal for Garza?

  • John_CC

    Thanks for the rant, Brian!  I am a firm believer that the virtual “hating”, profanity and vitriol is a product of anonymity.  I love good arguments, but when was the last time you had a conversation with a stranger on the bar stool next to you and you called him names, told him – I told you so, and were just generally arrogant and rude — without going home a little bloodied?

    Off my soapbox now, too..

    Cool Ranch? Really? Exactly what in hell is Ranch, anyway? 

    Cheetos!  …er…Puffs are pretty good too…Cheetos.

    Keep up the good work! Happy freakin New Year, Heathcliff Slocum!

  • jescor

    Here are the trades to make – Byrd to Boston for Bowden (RHP)
    Marmol & Soriano & Cashner (Nolan Ryan loves him) for Harrison LHP
    Michael Young 2B, Perez LHP CUBS pay last year of Soriano contract at $18 mil. Send Harrison, Carpenter, & Dewitt to Padres for Rizzo 1B & Wieland RHP
    Garza, Clevenger, & Russell to Toronto for Norris LHP, Nicolino LHP,
    Hutchison RHP, D’ Arnaud C, & Marisnick OF.
    Sign Soler OF out of Cuba & Maholm LHP 2 yr. $ 6 mil / yr. FA deal.
    Lineup for 2012 :
    DeJesus RF
    Castro SS
    Young 2B
    LaHair LF
    Soto C
    Rizzo 1B
    B. Jackson CF
    Stewart 3B
    Bench – Jaramillo – C, Baker 1B, 3B, – Barney 2B, SS – Sapplelt OF,
    Campana OF, P
    Starting 5 – Dempster, Maholm,Zambrano,Wells, Wood
    Bullpen – Maine, Beliveau, Samardzija, K.Wood, Corpas, Castillo, Dolis
    Cheetos w/ bacon ranch dip. Rizzo at 1B with LaHair in reserve & Young in reserve for 2 years till Vitters or Vogelbach ready.

    • Tony_Hall

      None of your trades will happen.

      You think a team is going to pay $36M of Soriano’s $54M?  Plus the Cubs have to pay their part of his pay in the first 18 months, after the trade.

      Like most trade proposals, if they sound good to us (Cub fans) there is no way the other team would accept.

    • Brett

      I think they’re saying a straight contract swap of Young/Soriano for 2 yrs with the Cubs picking up Soriano’s entire 3rd yr. That said….no chance of all this. I really like Garza & believe his next 5yrs will be the best of his career but Theo & Co. need to max out a deal for him either now or at the July 31st deadline. I like the Marshall deal. I’ll miss him as a Cub like most but I think for a relief pitcher who isn’t a closer the Cubs did well. 1 player with 1 yr of control for 3 guys who have some good upside & little to no service time works.
      I think the Blue Jays are the best match & after losing out on Darvish, Latos & Gonzales, will make a serious push for a guy like Garza who is also proven in the AL east.

    • Aaron

      That’s a lot of blockbusters you just mentioned, and I’m not sure that could be done, but I like your way of thinking. In fact, RE: Byrd, I was about to suggest that very same trade with either Bowden or Lars Anderson in return.

      The problem with the Rangers trade, is really two-fold:
      1) Once they landed the rights to Darvish, their need for Garza went down exponentially
      2) Getting rid of Young at this point doesn’t help them at all. In fact, he just might’ve been their MVP last year…even if they got Soriano in return, it wouldn’t make sense.

      So, with that in mind, let’s just leave them out of it.

      I would try to unload Garza, Soriano, and Byrd in the same deal if possible, either directly to 1 team, or getting a 3-team deal, involving the Padres for Rizzo (as that, unfortunately seems to be their target, even though I think he’s a bust…yes, even at his young age…the 3-team might not even be necessary as you’ll see below)

      I would probably do the trade with the Jays, including Garza and Soriano (paying almost all of Soriano’s deal) for:
      Drabek, Nicolino, Marisnick, Syndergaard, and Snider.

      I would then trade Byrd, and maybe someone like Jay Jackson to the Padres for Rizzo, and in doing so, pay all but $2 million of Byrd’s deal. The thought process there is that the Padres need help in their OF, as they only have Maybin they can really count on, and Jackson’s flyball tendencies will likely not hurt him as much in the larger PetCo Park.

      I do love the trades getting rid of everyone except Cashner and Carpenter, though….Fireballers don’t grow on trees, and those 2 can really bring it. I just don’t think you give up on them this soon.

      If the Cubs can get at least 2 high end rotation prospects (I am NOT including Drabek as he’s basically bust right now), and 2 above average position players for Garza, that would be ideal. I would then use those guys, along with Cashner, Samardzija, Carpenter, Dolis, and L. Castillo to rebuild the pitching depth.

      I would use the position players acquired, along with Torreyes in the Marshall deal, to combine with W. Castillo, Castro, Vitters, and B. Jackson to rebuild the lineup.

      If Torryes is as good as Epstein and Hoyer say he is (as well as how his stats, and opponents like Micah Gibbs say he is), then you could have something like this in 2013:

      C-Castillo
      1B-LaHair/Bour/Ridling/Rizzo (if acquired)
      2B-Torreyes
      SS-Castro
      3B-Vitters
      LF-Snider
      CF-Szczur
      RF-B. Jackson

      ….that’s not so bad, if you ask me. I know it’s a long way off, and nearly all the players need to show they can handle advancements, but it sure as hell is better than what we have now.

    • daverj

      Unfortunately the GMs of the other teams are not Cub fans so those trades won’t happen.

  • jescor

    Hey folks sorry if I was not clear on the deal with Texas. I’ll try to explain in more detail. Michael Young is still owed 2 years totaling over 33 million at about 16.5 per year. He is still unhappy about having to DH & has suggested he will waive his no trade 5/10 rights.Soriano is owed $54 million by Cubs – 3 years at 18 each. I’m proposing the Cubs pay $18 million – I don’t care if its 6/yr or $18 million at the end of the contract. Soriano has played well in Texas before & they could DH him full time or spot play him in LF to give Hamilton a break.The first 2 years of deal would be basically a money wash.
    They have said they are looking for relief help & Marmol would be that help for 2 years at a reasonable rate given the Papelbon contract. Cashner is THE KEY to the deal – he is  from Texas, Nolan Ryan loves him & they could use him in relief or stretch him out & try to put him in their rotation. I hope I’ve cleared things up for the folks who questioned my proposal. Have a great 2012 !!!

    • Tony_Hall

      You are assuming that Young is not worth his pay, as Soriano is not.  Young is worth his pay, and therefore would not be a swap of “bad contracts”.  If you want to swap Soriano for a bad contract, you need a bad player who is being paid a lot of money, not their MVP from last year, as Aaron pointed out.

    • Dorasaga

      Ideas are good.

      Happy New Year.

  • Aaron

    Wow…The Cubs LOVE collecting crappy Cuban players (see the Twitter feed about them signing Martinez and Balaguert)….I think the best one they’ve signed thus far is Del Valle, and they’ve spent nearly $5 million altogether on the Cuban signings from him, to Cabezas, Silva, Borges, Valdes, etc.

    They might be signing the crappy players, trying to build rapport with agents down there so they can steer their clients the Cubs’ way, including Soler, in my opinion.

    If the Cubs can’t land Soler or Cespedes with all their other crappy Cuban signings, then it’s an EPIC FAIL in my opinion.

    • Chadaudio

      Yeah. The scouting report on the 2 new Cuban players sounded awful. I have to admit, I saw the twitter headline on my phone and was excited until I read the players names.

    • daverj

      Aaron – What would you be willing to spend on Soler and Cespedes?  Sounds like Soler will go for at least $20 mil and Cespedes for at least $50 mil.  At those prices, I’d gamble on Soler but not Cespedes.

      What if the Soler bidding gets into the $25+ mil range?  A lot of teams are interested so those figures are possible.  At what point do you think the Cubs should drop out of the bidding?

      • Aaron

        Cubs should drop out of Cespedes bidding if it gets over $40 million. I’ve seen the tape on him, and while reports say he’s 26, I believe he’s actually older…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing with him if you’ve seen his body type. I would do a 5 year, $40 million deal for him, and even then, I might stay away, because…

        Assuming no extensions happen before then, the following OF (with ages) will be available as FA after this season (and Cespedes would likely require 1/2 a season to a full season in the minors prior to being called up):

        Hamilton (32)
        Delmon Young (27)
        Melky Cabrera (28)
        BJ Upton (28)
        Sizemore (30…but only a viable option if he proves he’s healthy this year)
        Victorino (32)
        Eithier (31)
        Quentin (30)
        Swisher (32)

        I would probably go for Hamilton first, Swisher next, then Upton, then Young…and the thing about Young is he probably has about the same upside as Cespedes…along with the same risks. So would you tie up $8 million/year in an unknown commodity that faced basically JUCO equivalent or less competition?!? I don’t know about that…

        As for Soler, I’d do a $15-20 million bonus easy with him, and spread it over 5 years. That’s far less risky, and he has more upside than Cespedes in my opinion.

        Ironically, in talking about the OF options, it got me thinking about starting pitching options, and why maybe Epstein and Hoyer are going for under-the-radar type of signings/trades, already having acquired Wood, and targeting the likes of Saunders, Maholm, etc.

        Look at the 2013 starting pitching class:
        Cain (28)
        Carmona (29)-with option
        Greinke (28)
        G Floyd (30)
        Hamels (29)
        Haren (32)-with option
        Liriano (29)
        Marcum (31)
        McCarthy (29)
        Peavy (31)-with option, but highly unlikely to be exercised
        A. Sanchez (29)
        J. Sanchez (30)
        E. Santana (30)-with option
        Shields (31)-with option

        Cain’s future is tied to whether or not Lincecum signs a hefty extension. The Giants are  going to have to pay the piper with Sandoval, Posey, Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Wilson all in arbitration in 2013. They all are set to receive substantial raises with Wilson, Sandoval, and Lincecum all in later years of arbitration then.

        Cain will earn $15 million this year, so he’s likely to see that rise in free agency next year. Zito will “earn” $20 million next year. Lincecum will earn more than the $14 million he got in arbitration last year. Wilson will earn $8.5 million this year, so that’s likely to rise next year to over $10 million.

        With just Zito, Lincecum, and Wilson, they might have $50 million tied up in them next year.

        If the Giants are out of contention by the deadline this year, I fully except them to unload Cain and Wilson.

        I believe the Cubs should target Cain and Anibal Sanchez in that class, and go all out to get them. I actually would go after Sanchez first, because Cain has logged so many innings the last few years that he’s bound to breakdown soon, while Sanchez had injury issues that kept his innings low, and just the last 2 years he’s logged typical starter innings of 195 and 196 IP

        • daverj

          I think you nailed Epstein’s plan on pitching.  He’s going to push to add at least one (maybe two) of Cain, Hamels, Sanchez, Greinke and Marcum.

          • Aaron

            As it stands right now, the Cubs have the “ability” to go into next year with an entirely clean slate in the rotation.

            Garza-arbitration
            Wells-arbitration
            T. Wood-arbitration

            Dempster and Zambrano come off the books.

            Obviously, they would NEVER decline arbitration on Garza, but the other 2 are very good possibilities, especially Wells. Wood will have to have a huge bounceback year to even be considered for next year, otherwise he’s in the minors for depth.

            As you said, Cain, Sanchez, etc. are likely circled on their list, and that might be one of the reasons Epstein has seemingly decided to keep Zambrano and Dempster instead of trading them…because he knows that he just needs to get through the year, and he wants to win (“every opportunity to win is sacred”). If Cain, Sanchez, etc., sign extensions, I believe you’ll see Epstein and Hoyer in complete “white flag” mode.

            What would be awesome, is if the Cubs, indeed, can unload Garza to the Jays for a package including Drabek, Syndergaard, and Nicolino.

            They can enter next year with Drabek, Zambrano, Dempster, Travis Wood, and Samardzija/Cashner in the rotation.

            The following year is when it’d get really exciting, especially if Syndergaard and Nicolino can reach AA this year and do well. Theoretically, if things go well all around, they could open 2013 with:
            Cain
            Anibal Sanchez
            Drabek
            Nicolino
            Syndergaard
            …and if anyone fails in 2012, they could always go with…
            Cain
            Sanchez
            Samardzija
            T. Wood
            Cashner

            …just a thought, right?

            Until the Garza situation is resolved, none of us will know what direction the Cubs will take next year. If he’s dealt, then I believe you’ll see Soriano, Byrd, Soto, and others traded. If not, then he will be signed to an extension, and the Cubs will look to deal Zambrano first, then Dempster (if they can deal Zambrano), and try to rebuild in the interim. After the season, they’ll go for Cain and/or Sanchez, hoping for a 3-headed monster at the top of their rotation. Either way, I don’t think there’s any denying they will go hard after those high end FA starters, because there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Dempster, Zambrano, and Wells are on this team in 2013 unless the unthinkable happens (ie.-all of the high end starters sign big money extensions prior to next offseason)

  • Spoda17

    LaHair at first… best move financially, and I actually think he is going to be a good bit above average at first, and may give us a few very good years.  This will allow us to get a rock solid pitching staff and not have to worry about 1st.

    I really don’t care what position players we are even looking at until we totally revamp our rotation.  Trade Garza while we can, and blow the rest of it up.  Start over with a solid proven ace, proven #2, strong farm prospect for 3,4,5…

    I agree, and have been saying for weeks, not a big fan of the haters, I love a good debate, and opinions, but the hating I’m not a fan of… and as I have been saying for weeks… we are NOT going to the playoffs next year, even if we did keep Garza and sign Fielder… so get rid of Garza, and pass on Fielder… and remember… patience… patience… patience…

    Cheetos – YUCK!  Cheese Puffs – YUCKIER!  Spicy Nacho Doritos… by far best snack that is not popcorn!

    I like Lester too, seems like he has a good fan base… Asamacher… lol… sigh…

    Happy New Year all!

  • uww1

    I still think that if we could trade for Headley and sign fielder and Cespedes.  We could be really good, especially in the NL Central.

    RF    DeJesus
    SS    Castro
    3rd   Headley
    1st    Fielder
    CF    Byrd
    LF    Cespedes
    C      Soto
    2nd   Stewart

    That would be fun to watch! 

    • Tony_Hall

      If we could have traded for Headley, we wouldn’t have traded for Stewart, who is way past his 2B days.

      So if we can just sign Fielder for $25M over 6-10 years and sign Cespedes, who no one knows if he can play MLB level, for $50-$60M, plus trade away prospects for Headley, we would be all set for your plan.

  • Thetravelingmacaby

    I agree with everything. Most Cubs fans seem confused this winter. We were happy when we fired Hendry, and we were happy we hired Theo. But it seems like Cubs fans want Theo to take the Hendry approach and just throw money at a big name and keep the rest of the team as is and hope for the best. If Hendry were still in power, he would have kept the team intact, thrown a bunch of money at Prince or Albert, and we’d still have an empty farm system and no depth at starting pitching. Our team has lots of holes, so Theo and Co. has to start over. Why are we upset that we lost Marshall (who only had one year left on his contract)? We aren’t winning the World Series next year, so we traded him and got back an interesting starting pitcher candidate, and two talented minor leaguers. It seems like the new regime is just trying to get some talent in numbers. They aren’t getting one big name, cause that’s not going to cure everything. They’re just trying to bring in as much new talent as possible. I have no idea what they’ll do at first. We’ve got a talented option in-house, or maybe Theo will somehow squeeze a bargain out of Boras and get us Prince. Who knows? I just hope it’s not Pena.

  • Tom U

    Navegantes del Magallanes will not play tonight, so Bryan LaHair wins the VWL home run championship with 15 round trippers. 

    Overall, LaHair placed fourth in the home runs for all winter leagues. He is behind two unaffiliated players and a 30 year old first baseman for the Yankees Triple-A team, all playing in the Mexican Pacific League.

    • Dorasaga

      That’s music ringing in my ears.

  • paulcatanese

    Under the guidlines of Theo, it will be LaHair at first. (thats if he follow’s his own guidline)
    With what he has picked up so far for the roster, he would be remiss if he did it any other way.
    The only thing that bothers me is LaHair is healthy, and has had a good year behind him, and that is not what Theo has been signing.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tigers have joined pursuit of Matt Garza.bit.ly/tf9hCS 

    • Aaron

      Neil, if this part of the article is true:
      “Because Garza comes with fewer years of control, the Cubs would be less
      likely to insist on both Turner and Castellanos in talks with Detroit.”

      ….then why the hell even trade him?!?

      He’s the defacto ace of the Cubs, and he’d be a top 2-3 on just about every team. If you can’t get at least 2 top prospects, and 1-2 mid-levels for him, then there’s no point in even trading him.

      Why? Because he’ll be a Type A when he reaches FA, and you get 2 top picks (unless they changed that in the new CBA) for him (one team’s first rounder, plus a supplemental). In that case, you’re likely to find 2 top prospects.

      So, if the Cubs can’t get Turner, Oliver/Smyly AND Castellanos in the same deal, then it makes ZERO sense to trade him…same for the Jays with Drabek, Nicolino/Syndergaard, and Marisnick.

      As some on this site have said, prospects are suspects…The Cubs gave up 3 top 10 prospects (Archer, Lee, and Guyer) and Archer and Lee are now the Rays #2 and #3 prospects in a loaded system. That should tell you just about all you need to know about what the Cubs need to receive in ANY deal to make it worthwhile. Garza is a known commodity, and the Tigers, Jays, Yankees, etc. prospects are NOT.

      If they can’t get what they want, then as I mentioned, they should extend him, then look to trade Dempster and Zambrano for just about whatever they can get (along with Byrd, Marmol, Soriano, and Soto), and go after Cain and Anibal Sanchez in FA after this season.

      Garza, Cain, and Sanchez would probably earn $40-45 million combined at that point, and considering they wouldn’t have any other high priced FA tied up (assuming they can unload Soriano, Byrd, Marmol, etc.), they can fit that in the budget. That would be on par with the Wood-Prior-Zambrano threesome circa 2003, in my opinion…

      So…needless to say, I hope Epstein and Hoyer are making it VERY clear they’re willing to extend him, and form a solid rotation around him, otherwise teams are going to low-ball.

      Also, I don’t buy the whole, “he’s under less years of control, so teams shouldn’t have to give up much” argument.

      Such was the case with Lee twice: once 2 years away from FA at 31 yrs old (Phillies to Mariners) which netted Ramirez, Aumount, and Gillies (Aumont and Gillies were the prized ones)
      then at 32 yrs old, 1 year away from FA (Mariners to Rangers) Lawson, Beavan, Lueke, and Smoak (Lawson, Lueke, and Smoak were the prized ones)

      Also, Halladay, who was 33 years old, netted the Phillies top 3 prospects: D’Arnaud, Taylor, and Drabek…and he was 1 year away from FA.

      My point is that Garza is younger than either of them, and is still cost-controlled for 2 years (2012 and 2013) whereas those guys were NOT.

      It should not be a surprise at all that Garza could command a decent haul of prospects, especially if the Cubs can expand the deal to include some of their other veterans (Byrd, Soriano, Marmol, etc.).

  • cubtex

    Tigers have joined the Garza pursuit. Nick Castellanos and Drew Smily would be a nice start.

    • cubtex

      Jacob Turner is probably untouchable….but the Tigers have some good young pitching including Drew Smyly,Paulino and a couple of other young lefties.

      • Aaron

        I would think it should take Turner, Smyly/Oliver, and Castellanos just to get the deal done.

        That’s about a fair trade. Why? They’d rank 1, 2, and 4/5 in their system.

        And while Turner is very young, he had dreadful numbers at the MLB level, and Oliver, while somewhat young (24), still had dreadful numbers 2 years in a row  at the MLB level, and poor numbers at AAA this year as well.

        It should be Turner, Smyly, and Castellanos in my opinion…but it does not appear the Tigers are willing to part with Turner in any deal.

        Again, I am using the Latos, Gonzalez, and even the Lee and Halladay deals as benchmarks. The latter 2 are stretches, because the price of frontline starters has gone up, and I don’t think I should’ve used Halladay (certainly) as a comparison, because he commanded the Phillies’ top 3 prospects, and that’s basically what I’m saying it’d take from the Tigers too, but I’m not trying to say Halladay and Garza are equal pitchers, because they’re clearly not. What you have to do though, is take the availability of starters into consideration, cost, control, and what teams have given up for similar starters RECENTLY…and you’ll see that, in fact, the 3 prospects I mentioned should be enough…and even then, I’d prefer the Cubs try to get whatever they can out of the Jays system, because they have better prospects in my opinion.

  • jescor

    I guess there are a lot of folks out there – including AL general managers -  who  believe Soriano is not worth anything or he would have been traded by now. I would really like to hear the logic behind their thinking. I understand GM’s like Kenny Williams have made apparently poor choices with their DH dollars – Adam Dunn, but what about all the teams other than the Red Sox – Ortiz, or the Rangers – Mike Young. Soriano has averaged over 23HR’s & 85 RBI in the first 5 years of his deal. How many DH’s in the AL have done that last year ? Only 1 !!! Ortiz -  I understand most teams do not have $ 18 mil / year allocated for that slot in their lineup but 4 or 5 million. Why not ? Anybody got an explanation for me ? The position is called  ” Designated Hitter ” isn’t it ? Maybe an AL fan can explain to me how much better & supposedly tougher it is to pitch in the AL as opposed to the NL when you have DH’s all over the league hitting .230 or worse & averaging 12HR”S Hell Carlos Zambrano could pitch once every 5 days & average 12 HR’s & hit at least .230 DHing. Anybody ?

    • Aaron

      I happen to agree with your assessment, but this is NOT the same league it was with all the old GM’s where it’s an “old boys network”, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of thing anymore…The Hendry’s of the game are gone, and they are interested in BEATING YOU, and NOT being your friend, making you look good in front of your boss, taking your mistakes off their hands.

      Other GM’s also aren’t likely to be lining up to help Epstein in any way right now, especially after he made it known they are rebuilding. They see this as an old school Littlefield-era Pirates sort of firesale where they can get even useful veterans for chump change. Remember how Hendry raided them, then hired Littlefield when he got fired? That’s what I’m talking about with this league now…it’s NOT that way anymore.

      A lot of teams in the AL could use Soriano’s bat in their lineup as a DH, and $4-5 million for an aging player that will still hit 20 hr, 70-80 RBI is about fair. The problem is, I think GM’s have wised up a LOT in the last year or two, where they’re no longer willing to give more than 1 year deals to players over 35 years old. The fact that Soriano is signed for 3 more years has more to do with it than the cost per year of his salary…and THAT is the major hurdle right now, in my opinion. Teams just don’t want that type of liability clogging up their 40-man roster anymore, where they know that at 35 years old+, that player could break down at any time, and they’d still owe them that salary, plus any future years, and there’s no guarantee at that age that they’d be able to “return to form” once they’re back off the DL.

      My opinion is that if Soriano is a full-time DH, he could hit 30 hr, 80-90 RBI, and maybe even increase his average to the .270-ish range. His legs…and abnoxiously heavy bat are the primary reasons for his decline. He needs to rest his legs on the bench as a DH, and get a lighter bat, which both Perry and Jaramillo have tried to get him to do.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Can’t see any real GM wanting Sorry-oh-no for more than $4 million total delivered price.

        I really think Cubs’ fans are over-valuing Mr. Soriano’s services. He’s in serious decline in every part of his game.

    • Tony_Hall

      I think Aaron explained it pretty well.  

      Would you sign Soriano to a 3 year $15M contract if you were a GM?   $12M?  Hopefully at some point, a team says yes, but if $5M/year is the number, I doubt anyone would want to guarantee more than $10M, because to think he will make it more than 2 years is hard to believe.

      M Young 
      2011 (2.4)
      2010 (2.7)
      2009 (2.9)
      2008 (3.7)
      2007 (3.2)

      Total 14.9 WAR – $5M/WAR = $74.5M of value to the Rangers

      A Soriano 
      2011 (1.3)
      2010 (1.6)
      2009 (-0.9)
      2008 (2.2)
      2007 (3.6)

      Total 7.8 WAR -  $5M/WAR = $39M of value to the Cubs

      As you can see, Young is the far superior player.

      David Ortiz 
      2011 (3.8)
      2010 (2.8)
      2009 (0.5)
      2008 (1.1)
      2007 (6.0)

      Total 14.2 WAR – $5M/WAR = $71M of value to the Red Sox

      So is Ortiz.

      As far as other GM’s making bad DH choices…maybe that’s why they are against trading anything to spend $12M over 3 years, when there are other options, much cheaper and less years available.  I believe Soriano, if traded (and not released) will be done late Feb or March.

      • cubtex

        Now that you are talking all this WAR stuff……Do you realize Matt Garza had a 5.0 WAR last year. That ranked 13th amongst all starters in baseball……and 6th best for all starters in the NL. And get this….his WAR was higher than every Rays pitcher :) I guess according to sabermetrics…he is an ace and Hellickson was a downgrade from Garza.

        • Tony_Hall
          • cubtex

            What is the difference with that compared to fangraphs? That is where I got that from.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure, but they can use different formulas to determine the stat.

            I have always used Baseball Reference for stats.

            Ah, just another way to add to the debate.

            Why can’t it just say somewhere, this player is better than this guy and this guy is better than that guy?

          • Tony_Hall

            Interesting though, I’m assuming Fangraphs was written by a Cub fan…we always value our players more :)

          • cubtex

            Now I am even more confused :) I thought WAR was WAR. I didn’t know there could be different ways to distinguish that. Go to fangraphs.com and check the leaders section. That is where I got those numbers from.

          • Tony_Hall

            I did.

            If they are saying Garza was better than all the Rays starters, I think they are losing credibility in my book.

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TBR/2011.shtml 

            Look at the pitching stats for the Rays. 3 starters with WHIPS at 1.15 or lower.

            If you can look at their individual stats and honestly tell me Garza had a better year than all of them, you have drank way, way too much Garza Kool-aide.  

            I can tell you from fantasy, Garza was still an inconsistent start, and you ran his streaks and benched him when he wasn’t on one. 

            Hellickson, Shields, Price were all good starts, that you started every week.

          • Tony_Hall

            WAR isn’t a simple stat.

            H/AB type formula.

            It is still evolving.  That is why Theo and Company say they use their own stats.  It’s not being arrogant or cocky, it’s using stats they have developed that  they understand how they are derived and what they mean. 

            Also remember sabermetrics is about digging into the stats deeper.  Looking below the surface of that high batting average to see that it really wasn’t as good as another player, who had a lower batting average, but was actually more productive for a team.

        • cubtex

          Hellickson WAR 1.4….. No comparison

          • Tony_Hall
          • Dorasaga

            Oh well. No more skinny views. :)

            Happy New Year.

          • Tony_Hall

            Happy New Year!  

            You are almost there, we have the whole day still.

            Good Luck in 2012, but my ground work from last year (rebuilding a woeful franchise) should start to pay dividends soon.

          • Dorasaga

            Too skinny up there. I’ll say this: the problem with WAR started with how “Replacement player,” or the “R” in WAR, was defined.

            The rest are still theory. I enjoy baseball stats, but I really don’t like this stat. It opens up objective debates for Hall of Fame or the comparison of a pitcher to a batter on the same page. Interesting, but not my thing.

          • Tony_Hall

            But fun would we have without objective debates :)

            I don’t like to compare pitchers to hitters, but SP to SP, closers to closers, 2B to 2B,etc.  For that this is a good way to compare.  But I’ll stick with Baseballrefernce for my info.

          • Dorasaga

            True. I guess that’s what I preferred to do as well–A to A, B to B (until we got into the mess of who’s going Hall of Fame).

            You keep your BR preference. I’ll keep my fangraphs’, and let’s see who’ll end up developing a more valuable team (talents) this year.
            >:-D

          • Dorasaga

            In fact:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/forums/topic.php?id=6560
            One difference is the “replacement level” runs. Fangraphs uses 20 runs per 600 plate appearances… So, position players should have a slightly higher WAR on B-R than on fangraphs… Fangraphs uses wRc+ (which is league- and park- adjusted wOBA) as the basis for its batting category. B-R uses OPS+ instead.”

            I like woba. Simpler, makes more sense. I’ll go for fangraphs for this one. But in general, WAR is an awkward theory. A carefully devised one, but why should I think of a “replacement” whenever I think of “Value” for a Major League player?

          • Tony_Hall

            I can see a statistical variance, but these here show completely different values to players, totally reversing which  one had a better year.  

            I know you understand these stats to a much higher level than I do, but there is no way that Price, Shields, Hellickson  all had worse years than Garza.  And if that is what fangraphs is coming out with, than they are decreasing their production based on park factor way too much.

          • Dorasaga

            I can imagine there’ll be LESS value accounted to the ballpark factor from BR, since Garza pitched in one of baseball’s worst pitcher-park.

            I understand woba (counts toward hitter WAR on fangraphs) a lot more than I understand how they calculated pitcher WAR.

            Between BR and FG war-s, the truth is probably lying in between. ;-)

  • cubs1967

    just some rambling thoughts:

    define right direction?………if it’s rebuild; then answer how many WS the rays-twins-royals-bucs, teams always rebuilding with high draft picks have won since 2000 compared to the phils=red sox=yanks=cards who never rebuild.

    as a juvenile; i enjoy hating on an owner who lowers payroll 3 yrs straight including 2012; while tix prices remain 3rd highest according to the pk ricketts family OR the highest according to independent reports; either way; way too high for teams that each year get worse; inclduing 2012 when they will lose more than the quade managed 91 games. (esp if Garza gets traded). (2011 saw 13 games see huge increases while some season tix went up 3 percent. those are real stats; not opinion stating facts.)

    lahair should be the 1b; winning is No longer the goal; so why would they bring in Pena………let lahair hit .265 with 15-65-2SB and then everyone can stop asking for him; you know jake fox style.

    and finally, if garza gets moved; the only package of suspects acceptable is deck mcgwuire; who is almost MLB ready; kyle drabek and some 3rd team helping get us anthony rizzo.  at least then all the suspects can play at iowa wrigley next year……..instead of in daytona like the future all star from the reds farmcrappy…..and theo and jed can stop their mancrush on rizzo; he of the rob deer esque long swing and .151 way overmatch MLB batting avg. (that’s a combined avg of .150.5 for stewart and rizzo; you know the future).

    happy new year…………may God give us all patience to see us thru the only major market team ever to rebuild!

  • Gonzo

    Well said! I agree with most of what you said here. I will use no invectives but I hate all of the Veterans committee whovp voted against Ron Santo all those years? Did he become a better player after he passed on? Why couldn’t they let him enjoy getting into the hall? Yeah, I pretty much hate them for that.