The High Cost of Matt Garza … and Other Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

The Cubs finally announced the one-year contract with Reed Johnson on Tuesday. The agreement between the Cubs and Johnson surfaced on December 21 and Johnson spoke about re-signing with the Cubs during an interview on MLB Network Radio/XM Radio shortly after the agreement was leaked. Johnson made $900,000 last year and will be paid $1.15 million for the upcoming season.

Matt Garza and Prince Fielder continue to be main topics of conversation surrounding the Chicago Cubs.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are reportedly listening to offers for Matt Garza but have yet to find a match … and they still have not ruled out signing Garza to a long-term extension. As for Prince Fielder, for every report that states the Cubs are not interested in signing Fielder, there is one that says they are still in the mix.

Here is the update … including more from the rumor mill.

Matt Garza
According to multiple reports, the Cubs continue to listen to offers for Matt Garza … but they have yet to find a team to meet their high demands. The Cubs have talked to the Yankees, Blue Jays, Marlins, Tigers and Red Sox about Garza but have not found a match. According to Dave Kaplan, teams that are interested are waiting to see how high a team is willing to go for Garza.

The Yankees appear to be out of the running for Garza because the Cubs want at least two of New York’s top prospects (Manny Banuelos, Dellin Bestances and Jesus Montero). The Yankees were not willing to part with those players for Gio Gonzalez and apparently valued Gonzalez more than they do Garza.

The Marlins do not match up because of the lack of pitching depth the Cubs are seeking and the same can be said about the Red Sox. Plus Boston has luxury tax issues and would likely have to dump salary in order to afford Garza according to a report from Bruce Levine.

The Blue Jays are in the same place as the Cubs. Apparently Toronto does not feel they are quite ready to compete for a title in the AL East and might not be willing to part with the package of prospects Epstein and Hoyer are looking for in return for Garza. Kyle Drabek and Deck McGwire are two of the pitchers the Cubs are asking for because they believe both could step right into the rotation for the upcoming season.

As for the Tigers, they might be willing to part with Jacob Turner, Rick Porcello and outfielder Avisail Garcia (20-year old right-handed outfielder that hit .264/.297/.389/.686 with 16 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs in 129 games at the High-A level in 2011) for Matt Garza.

Fangraphs discussed Garza’s value and they do not feel he is worth what the Cubs are asking for in return. Due to Garza’s rising salary that will take him near market value over the last two seasons of team control, he is not valuable enough for more than a position player ranked in the 11-50 range of all the prospects in the game, or a couple of players from the back-end of the top 100 prospects in baseball.

According to Kaplan, the Cubs could end up getting more back for Garza than they gave to Tampa last year.

The Cubs could end up keeping Garza and building a rotation around him. During his weekly chat, Bruce Levine said he knows for a fact there have been internal discussions about what it would take to sign Garza to a four-five year extension.

While rumors have suggested otherwise, the Cubs do not appear close to trading Matt Garza … and could just end up hanging onto one of the best players on their roster.

Prince Fielder
It appears the reports about the Nationals being the front-runner to sign Prince Fielder are correct. According to a report from Bill Ladson (MLB.com), the Nationals met with Scott Boras in the Nation’s Capital to discuss Prince Fielder.

The Mariners and Cubs are believed to be the Nationals main competition for Fielder.

The Nationals’ ownership will apparently make the final decision on whether Washington signs Fielder or not.

Scott Boras has several clients currently in the Nationals’ organization including Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasberg and Bryce Harper. There is also the thought that Boras us using his relationship with Mike Rizzo and the Nationals to drive up Fielder’s price.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago, here are the highlights:

  • Rick Porcello could be in the Matt Garza talks with the Tigers. Porcello is arbitration eligible according to Levine and might defeat the Cubs goal of adding young pitching for Garza. The Cubs are looking for pitching and outfield depth for Garza and the Tigers’ outfield prospect Avisail Garcia could be in the talks as well.
  • The Cubs do not have much starting pitching depth in the upper levels outside of Trey McNutt. Levine sees Ryan Dempster and Travis Wood as being the only sure things to make the starting rotation, right now.
  • Levine does not think the Cubs match-up well with what the Padres would want in return for Anthony Rizzo.
  • Younger, more athletic, more left-handed and better defense are all priorities for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
  • Levine said he knows for a fact that the Cubs have looked at the numbers in order to try to sign Matt Garza to a four or five year extension. Levine thinks Garza’s agent would want a similar contract to the one John Danks just signed (five years, $65 million).
  • The Cubs have talked to eight American League teams over the last two months about Alfonso Soriano. There is a possibility for a fit with the Orioles according to Levine but teams are waiting out the Cubs to see how much of Soriano’s contract they are willing to eat. Unless the Cubs find a team that is willing to take on a small part of Soriano’s contract, Levine thinks he will be in left field for Dale Sveum on Opening Day.
  • Levine is not sure the Marlins have enough young pitching to acquire Matt Garza.
  • As for Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins, Levine thinks the Cubs would take a non-pitching prospect in return for Zambrano.
  • The Red Sox, Nationals and Braves have all had interest in Marlon Byrd. The Cubs are hoping to find a team to take what is left on his contract … Byrd is owed $6.5 million for the upcoming season.
  • Both Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler are expected to receive their Dominican Republic citizenship in the next week or so. Once they are Dominican Republic citizens they will be able to be signed. The Cubs are expected to be in on both.
  • There is suspicion that Kerry Wood is in agreement on a contract with the Cubs but they have just announced the deal … Wood re-signing with the Cubs could be made official before the convention next week.
  • Levine said it is strange the Cubs have not released the list of players (both past and present) yet that will be at this year’s convention.
  • The Cubs are not out of the running for Prince Fielder yet but the Nationals appear to be the front runner because they are willing to give more years than some teams. Fielder is looking for at least a seven-year deal.
  • Carlos Marmol will probably stay with the Cubs … for now.
  • Levine does not think Carlos Zambrano will be with the Cubs on Opening Day.
  • Levine’s guess on the Cubs big league payroll for 2012 … $121 million, they already have $105 million committed.
  • Darwin Barney figures to be the Cubs second baseman on Opening Day and Levine thinks the Cubs will add more infield depth before the season begins.
  • Edwin Jackson is asking for too many years and too much money for the Cubs to be interested in signing him.
  • Levine has not heard anything this off-season (yet) about the Cubs being interested in signing Roy Oswalt.
  • Carlos Pena is still a possibility at first base for the Cubs.

Cubs Convention
The 27th Annual Cubs Convention kicks off next Friday afternoon at the Chicago Hilton. And while the Cubs have not released a list of the players, both past and present, that will be in attendance, the players attending Kerry Wood’s charity event and the caravan stop in Peoria have been announced.

Theo Epstein, Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Andrew Cashner, Geovany Soto, Starlin Castro, Randy Wells, Welington Castillo, Darwin Barney, James Russell, Ernie Banks and Rick Sutcliffe are expected to attend Kerry Wood’s charity event. “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up” will take place from 8:30-11:30pm on January 13 at Harry Caray’s on Navy Pier.

The Cubs Caravan stop in Peoria will feature Tony Campana, Chris Carpenter, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Matt Szczur and Casey Coleman.

The CCO will post a list of attendees and the schedule for the 27th Annual Cubs Convention when it becomes available.

News, Notes and Rumors

According to multiple reports, Coco Crisp has decided to stay in Oakland and has agreed to terms on a two-year contract according to Buster Olney that will pay Crisp a guaranteed $14 million ($6 million in 2012, $7 million in 2013 and a $1 million buyout on a $7.5 million club option for 2014). Crisp’s deal includes a $250,000 bonus if he’s traded.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles are interested in both Paul Maholm and Joe Saunders.

According to multiple reports, Carlos Silva agreed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox.

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

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • KevininSandiego

    Neil,

    Did you hear Mike Ferin and I talked about the Garza rumors and what Dave Kaplan said about getting more back then the Cubs gave up? Mike said it could mean more talent wise not quanity. sighting Drabek and Turner as better talent then the Cubs gave up.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes and I agreed with Mike at the time he said it.

    • cubtex

      I heard it too Kevin. I agree 100%. The Cubs gave up quantity….not quality. I used the example of Brett Lawrie for Marcum. I would rather have 2 or 3 high end potential starting players for Garza than future role players anyday.

  • Tony_Hall

    Fangraphs is stating the Cubs should get a player in the #11-#50 OR 2 prospects in the back end of the Top 100, even though the Cubs are asking for a lot more than that back in return for Garza.  If that is all we can get back they better hope we can get him to sign an extension.

    The conclusion to the article Neil linked.

    “’I’m sure the Cubs would love to land multiple premium young talents in return for Garza, but given the fact that they’re only selling two years of service time and that Garza’s salaries are already climbing towards market rate prices, he’s simply not a valuable enough asset to demand that kind of return. Unless the asking price comes down sharply, I’d suggest that most teams are better off pursuing a free agent like Hiroki Kuroda or Roy Oswalt if they want a short term rotation boost, or going after Edwin Jackson if they’re looking for long term value as well. Garza doesn’t offer a large enough short term upgrade or enough significant value in the long run to justify giving up multiple good young players in order to get him.
    While he’s a good pitcher who may very well have made a real leap forward last year, at the current asking price, Matt Garza just isn’t worth it. There are cheaper alternatives that would provide a similar level of production and allow those teams shopping for a rotation upgrade to hang onto their stock of prospects while still improving their teams.”

    • cubtex

      Fangraphs also ranks Garza as the 13th best starting pitcher in baseball :)

      • paulcatanese

        Just extend Garza and build around him, can’t believe the Cubs are supposed to be rebuilding and would trade a 28 yr old pitcher who is the ace(yes the ace) of the staff.
        By trading him they would put themselves backwards and this would not be the way to build a winner.
        I cannot buy the type of players that Theo is bringing in and cannot see how any of it matches up with going forward.
        Rignt now today, there is no one on the Cubs staff I would rather see take the ball than Garza.

        • cubtex

          Agree on Garza being the ace of the staff but look who Theo is putting behind Garza…..Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, maybe LaHair at 1B. They can’t win with or without Garza this year so IF they can get back some great prospects you move him…otherwise I am all for extending Garza. I think Garza is a great pitcher!

          • Spoda17

            I agree, trade him if we can for a good loot, but not against keeping him either…

        • Tony_Hall

          Ace of this staff, doesn’t make him an ACE.

          Paul – I will keep saying this, you will enjoy watching this team so much more than what you watched the last 2 years…guaranteed.

          • paulcatanese

            I sincerely hope so.

  • Tony_Hall

    Just extend Garza, I just don’t see anyone paying what the Cubs are asking for him.

    “Levine said he knows for a fact that the Cubs have looked at the numbers in order to try to sign Matt Garza to a four or five year extension. Levine thinks Garza’s agent would want a similar contract to the one John Danks just signed (five years, $65 million).”

    If that is the contract it will take to keep him, extend him, but it should take a little less, as Garza has 2 years left before FA, and Danks had 1, some of which is negated due to Garza being a Super 2 player and is going into his 3rd year of arbitration already.

  • Tony_Hall

    Coco Crisp received $14M for 2 years, guaranteed, by the A’s to keep him.

    2012 – $6M
    2013 – $7M
    2014 – $7.5M club option ($1M buyout)

    Wow, that’s a lot money to pay him, I just don’t see that his market value was there.  Makes the DeJesus deal look really good at 2 years $10M guaranteed

    • cubtex

      I knew that was coming :) Crisp is a better player than DeJesus that is why he obviously got more!

      • Tony_Hall

        Not even close, Dejesus is the better player, just compare their WAR’s :)

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, I agree, but then Beane must know what he’s doing, after all,he manuvered Brad Pitt to play him in his movie.
      Glad the Cubs didn’t get him.(Co Co).

      • Tony_Hall

        If you read up on the signing, they are trying to make sure they don’t go below $40M in team payroll, which is an unofficial salary floor for MLB.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Still trying to figure out the teams direction for this year. Lol

    • AFox

      I think we all are!  There should be a lot of activity over the next two to three weeks.

      • Rdc51143

        Will be an intersting Cub Convention if things don’t heat up soon. I still say anything less than .500 next year will be a disaster for Theo,Rickets and the rest of the Bosox suits

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is a article about the Oakland A’s rebuilding thoughts.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/04/SPN21MKAG2.DTL  

    “I’ve never liked being mediocre,” Beane said. “Either you’re good, which we’ve been in the past, or you’re trying to build something really good. If the idea is to just tread water until June, you’ll never get good. I’d rather be willing to make difficult decisions than just kick the can down the road.

    I agree, treading water to just appear to be competitive will only allow a team to “never get good”.  The Cubs have been an excellent example of this over the years.

    I know some will say you can rebuild and be competitive at the same time, if only they would sign this player and that player, and trade this player for that player.  But, I think this team will be more enjoyable to watch, then what we have been seeing the last few years, and might just surprise some of you that they aren’t bag over the head bad, as I hear forcasted by many on here.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Beane’s nuts.

      His team will be better without two younger starters and a closer? I don’t think so.

      Sure, his team will be better without David DeJesus, but then, he got rid of him. And just where did he land, huh?

      • Tony_Hall

        Short term they won’t be, but he is rebuilding…that is the part about not just kicking the can down the road.

        If you read the full article, you can see that they are looking at the long term, moving into a new stadium and using the next few years to get back competitive again, while the Rangers and Angels go all in the next few years.

        The article also stated that even with Cahill, Gio, and Bailey they would not have been competitive in their division this year anyway.  That’s where he states he doesn’t want to just tread water and be mediocre.

        Nuts, I don’t think so, he has done a good job of keeping the A’s a competitive team over the years.

        • cubtex

          Beane has to do it this way because they have NO money! The Cubs are not the A’s and should never look at them as role models.

          • paulcatanese

            Not only does Beane have to do it that way, I dont think it will make a real difference in attendence until they have a new park and a definate winner.

            There just is no comparison between the Giants stadium and the one in Oakland, and they have to get out of there to have any kind of success.

            What frightens me is the Cubs were considering Beane and his system. Theo seems to have some of those theories as well.

            They will never compete with San Francisco, never have. They need to move.

          • Tony_Hall

            Paul, 

            Billy Beanes system is just fine, but just as I replied to Cubtex, his inability to keep his best players, due to their low payroll, is what causes them to have to continue to rebuild.

            The Cubs should only have to do this once, and with their finances will be able to keep their best players, and when it makes sense add overpaid vets to complement.

          • paulcatanese

            Beanes system may be fine Tony, but what I was really trying to say, it doesent matter as long as they are in Oakland.
            People will not go to that ballpark.
            Even with a winner, the location denies a profit to the owners, and they are realizing that.
            Been to that park twice, once to see Terry Bradshaw in his debut and once to see the A’s and will not go back there.
            Location,Location,Location.

          • Jeff in AZ

            I agree with you that the cubs should not use the exact A’s model, but a hybrid form that will incorporate proper utilization of club resources for maximal performance. Of course we should also add some talent via free agency which I anticipate will happen in the next 6 weeks.

          • Tony_Hall

            The difference between the A’s and the Cubs will be the ability to keep their star players.  Castro isn’t going to be traded because they can’t afford to keep him.

            Where would the A’s be today, IF, they had the resources to keep their best players?  

      • paulcatanese

        The players that are being signed by the Cubs, look for them to lead the league in no-hitters,,,,against them.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I am going to mark this post and throw it up to Tony at the end of 2012 when the Cubs lead the league in no-hitters (thrown against them).

          What kind of Kool-Aid will be necessary to swallow that?  LOL

          • cubtex

            But we bought low on them Rip :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            AHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHA!!

            Right on, Cubtex!

          • Tony_Hall

            Go ahead.  Compared to the awful baseball that was played the last 2 years, there is no way, this team won’t be more entertaining and play better baseball.  That doesn’t mean they will win 90 games, but wouldn’t you rather watch a team that has a future and win 70ish games, versus watching a bad brand of overpaid vets win 70ish games.

          • paulcatanese

            Like it Tony and hope you are right.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Feb. 18. First full-squad workout will be Feb. 24.

    • Anthony

      AZ is loaded with Cubs already working out with the eyes of the field staff upon them

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Just posting the official dates.

        • Anthony

          Just wanted to let you know many of the boys are back in town already

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Anthony, they usually are by now … and have been.

            The coaching staff has been preparing at Fitch as well.

        • paulcatanese

          Neil, any indication on the attendence figures for the Convention?

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            I have not seen how many tickets have been sold yet. There are still weekend passes available from Cubs.com.

          • paulcatanese

            Thank you Neil, if my wife would let me cross the street I would attend.

  • Jeff in AZ

    I’m going to go on record here of saying that the cubs will sign cespedes.

    Reason’s:

    Increase international signings – check

    Pay for future performance – check

    Can be signed form 5 years or less – check

    Can help with team marketing – check

    The cubs brass flew down to watch this guy in a private wokout. I think that he will be our free agent signing along with Carlos Pena back at first base.

    The cubs will make room for him by trading soriano and/or Byrd. They didn’t add dejesus, reed johnson, and sappelt to sit and watch soriano dog it.

    Outfield:

    Cespedes LF
    Jackson/Johnson CF
    DeJesus RF

    Infield:

    Stewart 3b
    Castro SS
    Barney 2b
    Pena 1b
    Soto C

    SP:

    Garza
    Dempster
    Wood
    ?
    ?

    Just my opinion. Based on the amount of time left and the direction that the club is seemingl headed I think this is a realistic scenario.

    • Anthony

      Well, eating 15M of Soriano to not play, and adding another 10M on a IFA who feasted on Sri Lankan and Dutch pitching is odd baseball-wise.

      Unless they see something there that warrants stupid dollars on an unproven player with a cheesy promo video, even though swing analysts feel there are warts with the player, and a probable huge hitting adjustment forthcoming, then they can do what they want I suppose.

       

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Anthony, it’s not a solid Baseball decision at all.
        He is totaly unproven at the good pitching level.
        I dont think he would sign for 10 mil and whatever bonus he wants.
        I would love to eat my words, and will if he suceeds, but just dont see it happening.
        At this point Theo and crew would go down in my estimation of evaluating players if they sign him.

        • Anthony

          paul, that was 10M per season

          • paulcatanese

            That would be even more stupid.

    • daverj

      Why do you think the Cubs will sign Pena and thus give up the sandwich pick in the 2012 draft?  I think Epstein places a high value on draft picks.

      • Jeff in Az

        Limited options. If lahair fails then what? Pena does not seem to be drawing alot of interest so he will be affordable.

      • Spoda17

        I feel there is no chance we resign Pena… with LaHair and the bench… on a team that will not win more than .500… not worth the money…

    • Ripsnorter1

      Just can’t see it, myself.

      But hey, I can’t see Ian Stewart or David DeJesus, either. 
      Or any more Boston cronies in the front office for millions….

    • Spoda17

      Good thought Jeff, but I absolutely think we need to pass on him.. Sign the 19 yr old kid, but I really think we need to pass on Cespedes…

  • Anthony

    no shortcuts
    many players away
    hire more scouts
    player development
    draft better
    patience
    do best to compete
    Ricketts not in it for the money
    can’t throw money at problems
    won’t comment on more trades yet
    no formula
    convert st asset to lt asset
    vague answer on Garza
    expect 1 to 2 mlb’ers per draft as success

    part 1 with Theo on WGN

  • Anthony

    culture change means:

    player expectations
    pride in Org
    handle themselves as a Pro
    self-police themselves
    handle adversity as a unit
    bad egg is selfish, a whiner(Z)
    can’t win that way
    be accountable and honest
    manager puts Org first over any individual

    RE:Z

    won’t fit in unless he changes and buys in
    Theo is skeptical
    or he is GONE

    Q’s:

    trades made-Marshall———-reason is lack of club control to get
    draft pick versus let him walk-one season vs. 5 with Wood

    prospect control

    Wood can step in middle of rotation

    took job for the challenge(ego)
    lot of work ahead

    no problem of sunk cost—–eat Soriano
    no problem sending player packing
    creative trade/work with player/dump—3 ways to deal with

    Part 2 of Theo

    • John_CC

      Listening to the podcast right now…it sure sounds like Zambrano is gone. It’s hard to imagine Z changing his attitude enough to last.

  • Aaron

    It sucks that I was wrong about Crisp yesterday…not because I thought he was a star player, but because I thought because he and his agent were tight-lipped about things, that maybe it was because the Cubs had trades in the works for Byrd and/or Soriano.

    Oh well…not a big deal, but still would like to see those 2 out of the picture…among others like DeWitt, Baker, Wells, Zambrano, Dempster, Marmol, and Soto….doubt any of those will be traded at this point, but one can dream….

    I also wanted to comment on the Garza trade…

    Everyone needs to keep in mind that throughout his career, Epstein has orchestrated 3 three-team deals if memory serves correctly, with Manny and Garciappara the big names going in those deals.

    I would not put it past him that he’s trying to do the same with Garza in order to get what he wants, which is MLB-ready young, cost-controlled pitching, and a high ceiling bat.

    Here’s what might be happening…He could be looking at the Tigers and Marlins in particular. He likely wants Turner and either Oliver/Smyly as part of the return as well, but the Tigers likely will not meet his demands for a young bat. That is where the Marlins come into play. The Marlins are obviously looking to improve their rotation even more. but the Cubs have no rotation pitcher other than Garza that is desirable.

    Thus, here is my proposal:

    Tigers trade-Turner, Smyly, Porcello, Oliver
    *receive-Garza, Barney, Cabrera/Mateo, McNutt
    **reasoning-Tigers want Garza, but don’t want to include both Turner AND Castellanos, and while the Cubs need pitching, they need a high ceiling OF or corner IF just as bad, and Yelich fits that description. The Tigers need a hard-throwing pen arm to replace the oft-injured (and likely departing) Zumaya, and Mateo/Cabrera would fit that need, with Cabrera providing additional upside with his starting experience. Additionally, Barney fills a much needed middle IF hole for them, as he can play both SS and 2B. The Tigers aren’t high at all on Oliver
    anymore, as he’s struggled mightily in MLB, and doesn’t have tremendous
    minor league stats either, but he still has potential. Porcello signed a MLB contract out of the draft, but is still team/cost-controlled, but just doesn’t fit in with the Tigers anymore, and they’ve soured on him big time. The only real losses for them are Turner and Smyly, but you have to give up value to get value, and with Barney and Cabrera/Mateo, they get two solid complimentary players to add to their roster. McNutt gives them good upside for a rotation prospect, essentially replacing Turner. Their rotation would then include: Verlander, Garza, Fister, Scherzer, Casey Crosby (or put Coke back in rotation)

    Cubs trade-Garza, Barney, Russell, Cabrera/Mateo (one of the two), McNutt
    *receive-Turner, Smyly, Fernandez, Yelich, Ceda
    **reasoning-They need young pitching, and Turner, Smyly, and Fernandez fit that mold. Fernandez comes with huge upside, but almost no pro experience, so there is risk there, but the Cubs can stash him in the low minors until they’re ready to compete in a few years. Yelich gives the Cubs a very high ceiling OF bat. As for the players given up…by the time the Cubs are ready to compete for a championship, Garza will be VERY expensive, and likely a FA anyway (unless his new team extends him). Ceda returns to the Cubs as a power arm, and likely displaces Corpas or Sonnanstine (who were signed to minor league deals). Barney is a decent singles hitter, and versatile infielder with solid defense. The Tigers had rumored interest in him as part of any deal. As for Russell, the Cubs already have Gaub, Maine, and Beliveau in the mix, and the former two are getting close to running out of options, so the time to sell high on Russell is now. Cabrera and Mateo offer depth for the Cubs…but little else. With power arms in the mix for the pen already in Cashner, Samardzija, Dolis, Weathers, Lendy Castillo, and even Kurcz has an outside chance…plus with lower velocity veterans like Corpas and Sonnanstine in the mix, those two don’t factor into the present or the future, and need a change of scenery. As for McNutt, it be tough to give up an arm like his, but the hype hasn’t matched the results, and he needs a change of scenery too. The Cubs must give up value to get value in return. Turner and Smyly would be placed immediately in the starting rotation, and Ceda would like be the precursor to a Marmol trade for a high ceiling rotation prospect to replace McNutt in the system.

    Marlins trade-Yelich, Jose Fernandez, Ceda
    *receive-Porcello, Oliver, Russell
    **reasoning-The Marlins are clearly going for it now with their recent spending
    spree, so by getting the Tigers involved with Porcello and Oliver, it
    would provide rotation depth, as both would likely see a huge drop in
    ERA by switching to the NL. As mentioned above, Porcello signed a
    MLB contract out of the draft (another one of Boras’ coups), and is
    still under team control and relatively cost-controlled. The Marlins
    could decide to either trade Nolasco to save money, or let him walk, and
    still come out ahead with Porcello (again, with switching to the NL,
    his ERA likely sees a big drop). Russell gives the Marlins a solid lefty for their pen. While giving up Yelich and Fernandez hurts for the future, it’s really difficult to see how they fit in. The Marlins OF is loaded with Stanton and Morrison likely entrenched for years to come, and they might be moving Hanley Ramirez to the OF as well. By signing Heath Bell, they basically negated the need for Ceda for closing depth. Overall, they’re not giving up much, while receiving two solid, former top pitching prospects in return that they can plug into the rotation immediately. Keep in mind that Josh Johnson is coming off injury, they aren’t high on Volstad anymore, Vazquez is retiring in all likelihood, and only Sanchez, Buehrle, and Nolasco are assured right now of starting the season in the rotation. If Johnson is healthy, then they’d only need one of Oliver/Porcello, but both of them provide much needed depth.

    The Padres are looking for solid young prospects in return for Anthony Rizzo…and he doesn’t even have decent stats. That’s why Porcello and Oliver, who both have decent MLB stats for Yelich, Fernandez, and Ceda makes sense, with the Tigers in turn, trading them along with Turner and Smyly to the Cubs essentially for Garza, Russell, Mateo, and McNutt. The Cubs would be trading a top rotation guy with ace potential (once again, as I’ve ALWAYS said…he has yet to prove that, but he’s a solid 2-3), their top pitching prospect, their best lefty out of the pen with Marshall gone, and a solid middle relief pitcher with mid 90′s heat in either Mateo or Cabrera. Additionally, they’d be trading their starting 2B, who was a ROY candidate last year. So….it’s not like the Cubs aren’t giving up anything. This trade makes sense all the way around. Porcello and Oliver are basically just depth for the Tigers and nothing more, so they don’t have much value to them. The way to look at it from the Tigers perspective is that they’re trading just Turner and Smyly as top prospects while getting a sure thing in Garza for the top of their rotation, and other pieces. As for the Marlins, outside of Ceda, they’re not even giving up a MLB ready player, so it’s not hurting their depth, and they’re receiving two solid rotation guys out of it. The Marlins might actually have the best return in this trade relative to what they give up, and that’s the incentive for them to join the 3-team trade to give the Cubs Fernandez and Yelich.

    I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. I tried to provide
    reasoning for everything, and logical trades. Obviously, perception from
    the outside would be that the Cubs would be fleecing everyone, but I
    don’t see it that way, especially as I mentioned, with a top-of-the-rotation talent in
    Garza, a solid middle IF like Barney, and a reliever that had an ERA in
    the 2′s last year out of the pen (starting was an entirely different
    story for him), and then both Cabrera and Mateo are power arms, and
    Mateo has already had decent MLB success, so it’s not like the Cubs
    aren’t giving up value.

    • Anthony

      you didn’t listen to the interview

      • Aaron

        No…why? I saw your recap below, but how does that relate to my post?

  • Anthony

    Q:

    KWOOD-loves him, winning culture guy, negotiating, should work out and will sign

    CLOSER-Marmol wild but good stuff, had an off year, they will work with him—–club control, they are committed to him

    every game scouted even when watching for fun on TV

    rumors:

    2 priorities, 1st build an annual winner with young players, no quick fix, and 2nd, the precious each season needs a winner opp

    deals need LT interests for balance, err on side of the big picture

    does the deal make sense for winning and/or trade value

    Q: moneyball, did not see movie, read book, says inaccurate portrayal, some truth, but more a good narrative

    about the Fans———–impact from winning, calls them family

    1B plans——————LaHair as of now, excited to give him opportunity, confirms that hitters hit regardless of level, dominating, raked in Venezuela……………AAAA is BS, LaHair given unfair rap, unfair opportunity——————-if you hit, and get ext opp, you will hit in MLB——-right time to give him opportunity, and Theo excited about it.

    That should tell everyone LaHair will get the chance, and I like it!

    part 3 with Theo

    • GaryLeeT

       Watching for fun on TV? Now that’s the true definition of an oxymoron.

  • AFox

    I predict Prince Fielder will sign with Nationals soon.  Then Cubs will trade Marlon Byrd for Adam LaRoche.  Both Byrd and LaRoche contracts expire after 2012 and trade benefits both teams for short term.

    • Anthony

      Theo just stated he is a fan of LaHair

  • Anthony

    Q; Wrigley renovation——-focused on baseball side, referred to Fenway, contribute in small way, better for fans, and revenue

    analyzing day baseball at Wrigley, using past stats, listen to players, make the best of the situation, use as home field advantage, embrace it as a challenge

    Dale—————genuine, authentic, players smart, can’t fake it

    both tough and fair regarding handling of players, a hybrid

    Comp issue unresolved, good faith, hung out at his old desk in Fenway when made Wood trade

    end of interview

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Cubs signed Triple-A OF insurance type Joe Mather. According to reports, this is a minor league deal.

    • cubtex

      Awesome!!! We just signed Beaver Cleaver

    • Aaron

      not a fan of any of their signings yet (DeJesus, Johnson, Sonnanstine, Corpas, Mather). I am disappointed, because I thought Epstein and Hoyer would be looking for 20-something’s that need a change of scenery, etc. such as Hermida, Brackman, etc. This is very disappointing when they keep signing aging players that haven’t cut it elsewhere, or in Johnson and DeJesus, aging players that have injury issues, and are best used as back-ups…Johnson obviously will be a back-up, but DeJesus will be the starter, and that is NOT a good thing.

    • Anthony

      decent numbers in the minors, decent cup of coffee

      remember, Jackson was about the only remaining player on the AAA roster, and Theo must think nobody off the AA roster is ready to move up yet?

      He may also end up parking Campana there(hope not), as there are 6 OF’s on the 40-man

      DeJesus
      Soriano
      Campana
      Sappelt
      Byrd
      Johnson

      Mesa is going to be an interesting watch in ST for both the big club and the prospects

  • Anthony

    My take from Theo on WGN:

    1. will get a deal done with Kerry Wood
    2. Marmol has good stuff, had an off year, commited to him
    3. LaHair is the 1B, Theo said very nice things and appears to have his back and will provide the long awaited opportunity
    4. Garza, he kept close to the vest
    5. Zambrano either gets with program or gone
    6. Travis Wood should step into middle of rotation

    not surprised by any of this, and good for LaHair, even if Theo gets a Rizzo, he goes AAA in waiting, and if LaHair hits, as Theo feels he will, then you have an option in LF with both, as he mentioned about having the choices available to deal with a contract(Soriano), by either trading and eating a portion, working with player to better them, or a full dump and release.

    If they extend Garza, and get innings eaten up by Dempster, and Wood does the craft lefty thing, that isn’t a bad thing.

    The AA/AAA starting pitching is the weakest link in the entire minor league system, but that gap can be bridged with money after 2012 on the better FA market, and buys time for the A-ball pitchers to develop.

    2012 is more of a transition year than a rebuilding year. It should provide opportunities for Theo to see what they really have and what younger pitchers can be accelerated within the system .

    2012 will provide full-season views of the 2011 draft class.

    “sources within the organization” say there are many players currently in AZ right now, as well as the entire Cub field staff observing.

    Sappelt is a Cub to cover if Byrd is traded(when he will be traded) and if Jackson doesn’t make the club out of ST. He and Johnson are there if/when Soriano is dealt, as is DeJesus.

    Detroit denied trade rumors, but, they need a 2B, and would you take a flyer on Oliver in a small package?

    • Aaron

      did you see my post above responding to you?

      • Anthony

        I lost my reading glasses……………lol

        Aaron, I don’t think this is that complex.

        There is so much to be decided, mostly on the field of play in Mesa in ST.

        Bianchi was a solid player before multiple injuries. If he is back to form, a better option than Barney, which creates a small tradeable asset.

        Same can be said for Stewart. See what he does in ST, and, he is there now, hitting, as are the Cub coaches, watching.

        If Theo sticks with what he has done so far, trying to pry a struggling Oliver out of Motown is a deal I would make, not the usual crafty lefty, but big and hard throwing who may need a change of scenery, for a low price only.

        AA/AAA starters are the huge weakness, and with the projected Cub starters counting Z if he doesn’t short-circuit again, can carry the load for 2012, but…………

        beyond that, Theo probably goes shopping to fill the void for 2013-14 with FA signings for SP’s

        That buys time for the A ball pitchers to develop.

        • Aaron

          With Bianchi, I was NOT at all on board with that signing originally, especially since they could’ve protected Flaherty and Gonzalez…both of whom are likely better players. But I must say, the scouting reports I read on Bianchi were pretty amazing. He has plus bat speed, hit over .400 in 2 consecutive seasons, albeit across just 40 games and 176 AB’s…but doing so is an incredible feat, even in a small sample size like that. He has above average power and speed for his size as well. In addition, his career has been sidetracked by injuries, and if you look at the numbers, he’ll struggle when he comes back from injury that first year, then return on a normal top prospect path, then gets injured again, comes back and struggles…here’s hoping he’s finally healthy and returns to his original promise.

          Sure, Oliver AND Porcello could be had from the Tigers relatively easy. The problem is, other than Garza and Barney (trading Barney even straight up for Oliver would be laughable, and I would crown Epstein GM of the century if he pulled something like that off), we don’t have much other than spare parts that they need (ie.-relievers, etc.), so it would offer little incentive for them to trade them straight up, and not as part of a bigger deal.

          It’s true that AA/AAA starters are the huge weakness for this team…at least last year, but consider the following arms that moved up well through the system last year:
          Struck
          Rusin
          Beeler
          Rhee
          Searle
          Antigua
          Loosen
          *I’d throw in Whitenack at the top of my list, but he’s injured, coming off TJ surgery

          Rhee, Loosen, Antigua, and Beeler in particular are arms I’d look out for. Those aren’t terrible 4-5 options for the rotation, and if you consider that group of 7 pitchers, the Cubs should find at least one of them to stick. Rhee and Loosen throw mid-90′s while Beeler is a control guy that sits in the low 90′s. Most everyone on here knows I’m really high on Antigua…the dude throws strikes, and he does far better out of the rotation than the Cubs’ misguided attempts to make him a reliever last year.

          After that, the low minors offer far more upside with names such as:
          Liria
          Wells
          Kirk
          Wang
          Wellengton Cruz
          Maples
          Scott
          ….etc., but those names are years away, outside of maybe Liria and Kirk.

          As I said before, and I agree with you…Epstein will shop for starters via FA next offseason, so this depth I just listed likely won’t mean much.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs also signed Edgar Gonzalez, Adrian’s brother, to a minor league deal.

    • Anthony

      Barney in a trade?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Just a minor league signing

        • Aaron

          Neil,

          I respectfully disagree with that. While I have heard reports linking the Tigers to Barney, and now, supposedly they’re out of the running entirely if you believe the rumors (only Marlins and Yankees remain), but it’s quite clear that Barney is not high on their list of players to build around.

          What that tells me, is that if they can unload a bigger name veteran (Garza, Z, Dempster, Wells, Marmol, Byrd, etc.), Barney will no doubt be considered in that swap. Barney is the epitome of an anti-Moneyball (and thus Theo) type of player. He rarely walks, doesn’t see many pitches at all, UZR rating is about average, has almost no SLG potential, and his OBP sucks…even in the minors it sucked.

          Gonzalez, while much older, has more versatility than Barney, has more SLG potential and has a proven track record of that in the minors, and has a better OBP in the minors.

          That being said, he’s still 33 years old, and has only played in 2 MLB seasons in spot duty with decent success.

          But I believe there was a very good reason Theo landed Bianchi. He also has versatility, is  slightly younger than Barney, and also has more power and speed.

          With DeWitt and Baker both on the roster with similar skill sets as Barney, I find it very hard to believe that Epstein would keep DeWitt, Baker, Barney, and Bianchi all on the 40-man roster. DeWitt is left-handed, so getting rid of him would defeat Epstein’s goal of becoming more left-handed, and given his apparent affinity for Baker dating to his BoSox days, I doubt that means he’s shopping Baker.

          It’s just my opinion, but I believe signing Gonzalez and Bianchi makes it more likely that Barney will be traded.

          • Anthony

            agree, thinking he is the bailout if Bianchi fails either out of ST or during the season.

            Detroit would be foolish to trade their A1 young pitchers, and as mentioned before, Oliver could use a change of scenery, and if he had a solid ST, would make two LHP’s in the rotation.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Aaron, as always I appreciate your input. I have to admit I have missed any rumblings of them trading Barney. Do you have a link? I am very curious.

            Thanks man.

          • Aaron

            It was one of the major national reporters you had on the sidebar Twitter feed. It was between Olney, Rosenthal, or one of the other ESPN guys…can’t remember, as it was a few days ago. If you can look at the past Twitter feeds, it should be in there, but it was DEFINITELY a national guy that reported that.

          • Aaron

            …and I should put it into more context to clarify…it was ALL about the inclusion in a Garza trade, and NOT a stand alone deal for Barney

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Are you talking about the one at the top or the one toward the middle that rolls through?

            Thanks

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    There are rumors coming out of Venezuela that Zambrano has been traded. NOTE: These are RUMORS and UNCONFIRMED. If he has been traded I will post.

    I hesitate to post this as I am not trying to pass on bad info … Just wanted to stay ahead of the information in an attempt to keep everyone in the loop.

    • Aaron

      Dierkes over at MLBTR already shot it down…not that he’s the “end all be all” of writers, but it’s worth noting, I guess. It was in the chat feed up on MLBTR today.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        From Rosenthal: Sources: Marlins close to acquiring Carlos Zambrano from Cubs

        • Aaron

          Wow…wonder how Dierkes feels now…LOL

          I wonder who the Cubs get? Just salary relief and a low level crappy guy? Or, do you think it’s Volstad, Nolasco, Yelich, or Fernandez coming our way?

          Thoughts, Neil?……

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            The Volstad rumblings are still out there. With the 40-man full, would not be surprised if it is a minor leaguer and salary relief.

  • matthew8510

    Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal
    Big Z would need to waive no-trade for #Marlins. Likely would
    to play for fellow Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen, if he hasn’t already. #MLB

  • matthew8510

    Marlins acquire Carlos Zambrano; sign extended warranty with Miami Gatorade Machine Repair Service