The Cubs are Not Done Shaping the Roster

Will the Cubs announce a trade for the third day in a row? Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer pulled the trigger on a trade Friday that the previous regime would never have done. A day after announcing the trade that sent Carlos Zambrano and a bunch of cash to Miami for Chris Volstad, Epstein and Hoyer traded another former first round pick of the Cubs.

The Cubs acquired first base prospect Anthony Rizzo and a very intriguing right-handed pitching prospect, Zach Cates, from the San Diego Padres for Andrew Cashner and outfield prospect Kyung-Min Na.

Anthony Rizzo became available when Josh Byrnes acquired Yonder Alonso in the Mat Latos deal and it was assumed when that trade was announced that the Cubs would be players for Rizzo due to the fact Epstein, Hoyer and Jason McLeod drafted him.

The Cubs could have acquired their first baseman of the future if he is able to make adjustments at the Triple-A level in the upcoming season. Following the trade, Jed Hoyer announced that Rizzo would begin the year at the Triple-A level and Bryan LaHair would be the Cubs starting first baseman … but obviously that all could change depending how the roster shakes out between now and Opening Day and how Rizzo performs this spring.

The Cubs want to give Bryan LaHair a shot according to Epstein’s comments earlier in the week but during an interview on MLB Network Radio, LaHair pointed out he can also play left field.

Jed Hoyer also addressed the Cubs lack of starting pitching depth on Friday and said they are still looking to add more pitchers.

Prior to the Rizzo-Cashner trade being announced, rumors started heating up about possible destinations for Alfonso Soriano. Could Soriano be the next player traded by Epstein and Hoyer?

Here’s the update …

Anthony Rizzo
The 22-year old first baseman joined Casey Stern and Jim Bowden during Inside Pitch (MLB Network Radio/XM Radio) after the trade was announced.

Anthony Rizzo said he was at the Rookie Development Program in D.C. when he received a phone call from Josh Byrnes that a trade could happen soon if the pieces fell into place. Rizzo received a call from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer a short time later that the trade has been completed.

Josh Byrnes told Rizzo after he acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds that he realized that Rizzo was not the kind of player that would just rot in the minors … so Rizzo knew a deal could be on the horizon. He admitted that he was ecstatic when he found out Epstein and Hoyer had acquired him and he was a Chicago Cub.

Anthony Rizzo took full responsibility for his struggles at the big league level last year. He said he was pressing and ended up being someone he’s not. Rizzo plans on going to Spring Training and working hard … and doing everything he can to prove that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were not wrong for trading for him.

From Cubs.com: Rizzo thrilled to be back with Theo & Co.

Starting Pitchers
Jed Hoyer addressed the Cubs lack of starting pitching depth on Friday. According to a report from Cubs.com, the Cubs are still in the process of gathering as many quality arms as possible. Hoyer added the pieces would then fall into place as the organization gets closer to Spring Training.

Hoyer said, “We have worked hard, and we continue to work hard, and hopefully we’ll have even more starting pitching acquisitions.”

The Cubs are looking to have seven, eight or nine starting pitching options and to replenish the bullpen.

Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cubs are one of several teams interested in Paul Maholm and in recent weeks the Cubs have also been connected to Joe Saunders.

Alfonso Soriano
The Alfonso Soriano trade rumors heated up on Friday. The day began with a report out of Baltimore that the Cubs spoke with the Orioles during the Winter Meetings about Soriano. Right now there does not appear to be a match and Jon Heyman questioned if Buck Showalter would want a reunion with Soriano. Heyman did report that the Cubs seem determined to move Soriano this off-season.

The Cubs are reportedly willing to eat as much as 80 percent of the $54 million owed to Soriano according to reports … $43.2 million, very close to the $45 million that has been reported by the CCO for several weeks.

Rumors have suggested the Orioles, Mariners are possibly interested in acquiring Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs have spoken to six other American League teams.

Arbitration Eligible Players
*Note: Players salary from 2011 in parenthesis
With the addition of Chris Volstad, the Cubs now have seven players that are arbitration eligible for the upcoming season.

Jeff Baker ($1.175 million), Blake DeWitt ($460,000, first year eligible), Matt Garza ($5.95 million), Geovany Soto ($3 million), Ian Stewart ($2.29 million), Randy Wells ($475,000, first year eligible) and Chris Volstad ($445,000, first year eligible) are all in line for salary increases.

The Cubs have not avoided the arbitration process with any of those players. The salary arbitration filing period began on Thursday (January 5) and runs through January 15. The deadline to exchange salary arbitration figures is January 18.

News, Notes and Rumors

The Cubs are still negotiating with Kerry Wood and it is the Cubs goal to bring him back. Jed Hoyer is hopeful a deal will get done with Wood. According to a report from Jerry Crasnick, Wood is talking to multiple clubs and a deal with the Cubs is far from done.

According to a report from Cubs.com, the Cubs’ new regime is prepared to deal with the growing pains of a young team and will have patience with the players.

Maybe now the mainstream media will stop trying to connect the Cubs to some big name, free agent first baseman.

The 27th Annual Cubs Convention kicks off in six days.

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

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Da kid

    As always, great job, Neil!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you.

  • Vivid_Reality

    I think Cates is really what puts this trade over the top. It seems that many people view him as a throw in. From what I could gather he was a third round pick in 2010 who fell due to signability concerns but was generally considered a sandwich round talent. His first season was arguably better than any season Cashner ever put together.

    At a glance his overlying 2011 numbers are nothing to write home about, middling ERA and a high walk rate. However his FIP sits at an encouraging 3.23, a full run and a half lower than his ERA. That combined with a solid 8.47 K/9 means he could be in for a much improved 2012. I’m not trying to make him out to be this great pitcher but if he cuts his BB/9 by one, he could have solid number 3 low end number 2 upside.

    And for arguments sake I was a big supporter of Cashner. He probably will go on to be a shut down reliever for the Friars. I still make the trade regardless. I thought we would have to surrender at least one of B-Jax, McNutt, or Vitters. All three of them have been top 100 prospects at one time or another, Cashner hasn’t to my knowledge (If he did it was fringy at best). To get Rizzo, a top 25 prospect, plus a starter with possible upside for what is essentially an unproven reliever with flashes of brilliance is a huge win in my book.

    I hope Cashner and Rizzo both succeed because win win trades are always better imo. Best of luck to both and let the rebuild finally commence. Man it felt good to say that for the first time.

  • jescor

    Theo & Jed are methodically dismantling this Cub roster. They have a master plan & it does not include, most likely, any of the old Hendry leftovers with very few exceptions. All of the bloated salaries & good old boy retreads will soon be on their way out the door at Clark & Addison. HOW REFRESHING.
    They will not be taking on older “bad contracts” like Figgins at Seattle or Zito from the Giants – just young players with potential by eating most of the money on those ridiculously negotiated bad deals done by Hendry. Goodbye Soriano, Byrd, Dempster, & possibly Soto & Marmol. We may be looking at as many as 12 – 15 new names on the 25 man roster come opening day 2012 or for sure by the trading deadline in July. THANK GOD.
    I have been a Cub fan since I was 5 & went to see my hero Ernie Banks play shortstop & hit a HR. I fully back this rebuild even if it takes 3 to 4 years to reap the benefits.It will be fun to watch & the ultimate reward will be much more satisfying to us long enduring fans who have NEVER seen a World Series Champion play at Wrigley Field. YES CHAMPIONSHIP .
    Keep up the good work boys  –  don’t stop till the job is complete.

    • OttawaBob

      About 25 years ago my parents were waiting to catch a flight home from Phoenix, My mom being a huge Bank’s fan spotted him in the airport, He did alot kidding with my parents and, let my mom get their picture together.. Now for most of these superstars it would have been 2 minutes with mr.and mrs. nobody  and I’m on my way….not Ernie, it being during spring training,  Ernie wanted to take them over to Ho Ho Kam for a tour of the ST complex.. Time was short so they couldn’t so instead Ernie takes them over to the airport bar and BUYS THEM a couple rounds, sits with them for about 1/2 hour til their flight leaves, keep in mind he doesn’t know my parents from adam!!!!  ….but thats Ernie!!!  Back when I was kid in the late 60’s all these Cubs would come down to the Ottawa,/ LaSalle Peru / Streator area for speaking engagements during the winter months to make extra money. These guys were just average people who just happened to be professional athletes.

  • clark

    Still building quality arms, what a joke. To this point all they have gotten is a bunch of  5 starters at best. You build a winner with pitchers like Matt Garza. What good is depth if they are all 5 starters at best

    • OttawaBob

      Look at the Marlins, they have blown it up TWICE and won. And they’re pretty good again right now.  Got to give it some time, its not going to happen in 2 months.

    • 43hopping

      This is no joke. What do you expect of this front office?

      They said they wanted to improve defense. They did that.

      They said they wanted to add more left handed bats. They did that.

      Do you think they are going to just let pitching be? Maybe one of the pitchers they picked up will be able to be a 4 or 5 starter,maybe McNutt makes the team,and maybe Smardjia becomes a starter to add to Garza.
      Maybe they are waiting for next year when some top of the line pitchers become Free Agents.

      Rome was not built in a day and neither will this team.

      Before you start complaining wait and see what the opening day roster is.

      • cubtex

        Hopefully much more work to do…..but I have to question how the defense is improved.

        DeJesus- Downgrade over Fuko defensively
        LaHair/Rizzo- Downgrade vs Pena at 1B
        Stewart- Upgrade vs ARam at 3B

        Let’s see how the rest of the offseason shakes out but it is premature to say they improved the defense. It is currently worse than last year.

        • Tony_Hall

          DeJesus is not as awful as you make out.

          Baseball Info Solutions, the company that devised the Defensive Runs Saved metric, does video review of every play in every game.

          DeJesus was one of the best in the league Good Fielding Plays, with 29 in 2011, fourth among rightfielders

          DeJesus also limited his mistakes. His Good Play/Misplay Ratio of better than 2-to-1 rated second-best (to Gold Glove winner Nick Markakis) among those who played 750-or-more innings played at the position.

          • cubtex

            This was just pointing out defense. The factor why I put Fuko ahead of DeJesus is the arm. DeJesus is not awful defensively….it is pretty close with Fuko…but because Fuko has a much better arm it is a downgrade. RF is a position that you need a good throwing arm. Markakis has a gun

          • Tony_Hall

            I see DeJesus moving to LF at some point :)

          • Coachdon

            I see DeJesus moving to the bench at some point.

          • Tony_Hall

            I hate to be one of your players, Coach Don, you are not inspiring at all.

          • Aaron

            well played….and true

          • cubs1967

            i see dejesus neither as a long term asset or helping a team win a world series for the 1st time in 103 yrs.
            therefore……what is theo doing??

          • Tony_Hall

            Filling an OF spot, because he doesn’t like Soriano, Byrd, or Colvin.

            DeJesus is a  stopgap, that is it.

        • J Daniel

          Not sure on Fuko?  He was solid with a strong arm.  Don’t think his range was great – it was ok.  But awful at the plate and the obp way over rated in his case.  

        • 43hopping

          Rizzo still young and will work on defense (has time to improve)

          Fukudome was not a Cub at the end of the 2011 season. Dejesus should be compared to Colvin not somebody this front office had nothing to do with and wasn’t on the final 2011 roster. You might as well say Dejesus is a downgrade from Andre Dawson as he is as valid an argument as Fukudome.

          • cubtex

            what? Fukodome was the starting RF last year. You mentioned an upgrade from last years defense. Theo has not upgraded the everyday defense yet from last year in my opinion. Be objective. LaHair and Rizzo are not Pena defensively at this time. Pena is a very good defensive 1st baseman. Like I said…they are not better defensively today than last year. Can they be before spring training? Absolutely with the moves that will follow.

          • 43hopping

            No. I was pointing out Theo was improving the current teams defense. Since Fukudome was not a part of the team Theo took over he couldd not be included.

          • John_CC

            Good point, 43.  Fukudome was riding the pine quite a bit each of the past couple seasons.

          • cubs1967

            why is it rizzo, who is 22, has time to improve his defense, yet everyone on here wants castro moved tomorrow, who is 21 and is actually a lifetime .300 hitter all-star playing a much more difficult position in the majors NOT a .141 MLB suspect?

            i love the double talk crap on here.

          • Tony_Hall

            It could be different people. 

          • 43hopping

            I said Rizzo has time to improve defensively. At no point did I say anything about the Castro. I think Castro will improve his defense. I don’t think there is any double talk crap as you put it. Maybe you need to reread some posts.

      • J Daniel

        Agreed!  How bad has this team been the last 2 years?  Want them all back to try again?  Use the quote that “we are only a couple of players away”?  This is great and will take some time.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      first hendry should never have traded for garza overpaid big time. second your not gonna win for a year or two by that time he will become very expensive and their is a reason minnesota and tampa bay didnt like this guy. trying for a quick fix is why the cubs have never won in over a hundred years . go theo jed and jason hopefully dempster and sorryano next.

      • cubtex

        The Cubs are better today since the Garza deal. They have a very good pitcher who they can keep or they can trade for a very decent return if a team meets their demand. Minnesota and TB did not just give this guy away because they didn’t want him.
        As I have discussed with Tony many times…if the Cubs never made the deal…they would have an inconsistent Chris Archer who is a ? Sam Fuld(6,7 outfielder) Guyer(4 or 5th outfielder) Chirinos(2 or 3 catcher) and Lee who hit .190 in AA last year. The Cubs are better with Garza if they decide to lock him up or trade him. No doubt

        • Tony_Hall

          And you always discard Lee, by talking about his short call-up to AA, instead of his great season at high A….318/389/443.

          Let’s see how he handles AA this year and how these guys do again this year, as they are still all highly rated top prospects in one of the best farm systems.

          • cubtex

            I bet if Theo made that trade you would like it :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Of course I would :)

            If he traded 5 prospects for a #2/#3 starting pitcher this off-season, I would start to wonder what was going on, as this is not the time to make that trade, which is why I didn’t like that trade last year, it wasn’t the time to do it.  

            Garza is a pitcher any team would take in their rotation, but you make this trade, when it puts you over the..sorry, we’ve done this before :)

          • J Daniel

            Tony – I agree with much of what you post but not this one.  At any point you can add quality starting pitching you do so.  Does not matter if Garza is a 1, 2, or 3 but he is a quality starter.  When you get good you need those guys and the only way to get good is to go get them.

          • cubtex

            That is what I say but be careful here wih Tony. I agree with you 100% That is what I always say.

          • Tony_Hall

            It’s not like I’m going to insult him and call him names like some people do on this site when they disgree.
            :)

          • Tony_Hall

            So if Theo were to trade away 5 prospects, with 4 in the Top 10 or 15 to pick up Gio or Latos, right now, you would be fine with that?

            And those guys have more years of control, and even years of league minimum still. 

            I still believe the best way to build a rotation, is to bring them up from your minors, like the Rays do, over and over and over again.

  • Cubs 31

    “Get your scorecards and pencils ready for today’s new starting lineup”  And remember you can’t tell who the players are without a program.

    • John_CC

      I really hope they remove the names from the home jerseys.  I hate names on the home jerseys…and it will make us all really pay attention to who is who!

      • paulcatanese

        John, no names on the back of the jerseys was my favorite time. How hard can it be not to recognize the players by stature,place in the lineup and their numbers?

        • John_CC

          Let’s start a campaign, Paul.  The Red Sox don’t put names on home jerseys, nor the Yanks.  We need to get back to tradition.  Let’s write some emails to Ricketts and Epstein!

          • paulcatanese

            Agree with that John, after all the Yanks and Red Sox are the class of baseball. I still remember who 44 was, 48 and others. If I had an adress e-mail, I would certainly do that.

          • John_CC

            These days, they probably get way fewer letters…the kind on paper, actually written. Maybe our odds of getting through are better that way. 

            It would also be something that could be brought up at the Convention…whoever is going, hint hint.

          • Cubs 31

            Those were the good old days with Pat Pieper.  Let’s get rid of names on back of jerseys.  Every Cub fan knows 8,10 14,23, 26,  and even 31.

          • John_CC

             Don’t forget 17.  And what about 21?

            Seriously, everyone that would like to see the Cubs go back to the traditional home jersey, let your desire be heard!

          • paulcatanese

            Wish I could go to the convention, live in California and need to be with the wife 24 hrs a day.
            But almost made it to AZ last year. Miss Chicago and do have several freinds there that I havent seen since 63.

  • Tony_Hall

    Let’s check on what the plan may look like for the offense (since they don’t come and tell everyone, so that the other teams already know, yet I think we have figured out they are cleaning house).

    1B – Lahair today – Rizzo tomorrow
    2B – Barney today – Zeke DeVoss/Ronald Torreyes tomorrow
    SS – Castro today and tomorrow*
    3B – Stewart today – Vitters tomorrow (or Castro, Lake, Baez)
    OF – Soriano, Byrd, DeJesus today – BJax, Szczur, Lake, etc tomorrow
    C – Soto today – Castillo/Clevenger tomorrow

    Lets see, Stewart was brought in to buy time for Vitters to get ready and we have more depth behind him.

    DeJesus was brought in to buy time for some of our OF prospects, an OF of BJax, Szczur, Lake could happen.

    Rizzo was brought in to be the future 1B, as LaHair is being given a chance…finally.

    Barney is covering 2B, yet they added Bianchi, still have Baker and Dewitt, and have Z DeVoss going to be given every chance to make 2B his home, and they brought in Torreyes for another possibility.

    Seems like all their moves have a plan. They have brought in stop gap players where they need some time, and have brought in future players, where they seem weaker.  

    1. Szczur CF
    2. Torreyes 2B
    3. Castro SS
    4. Rizzo 1B
    5. Vitters 3B
    6. Jackson LF
    7. Lake RF
    8. Castillo C

    • The Maven

      It looks good right now, but it also reminds a little bit like 2003. Let’s hope this management “stays the course”.

      • Randallm83

        Something new management has that old staffs didn’t (besides brains), is this staff actually has job stability no matter what. They can finally afford to follow through with a plan from start to finish.

        • paulcatanese

          Thats true, but the job security works two ways. The only difference is that if this group does not do the job it would take Ricketts a fortune to replace them.
          JH was one man, and easy to replace.
          Theo’s group is smart, no doubt,but the same intensity should be put forth by Ricketts as was put in hiring them and hold them accoutable with every move.
          This is no longer a joke and needs a firm fist with the direction the Cub’s should be heading.
          Simpley enough, this is a two man show, Ricketts and Theo, that is very apparant.
          Their should be no loss of time here to get it right.

          Results are what counts.

    • cubtex

      I doubt all those players will still be on the team. I can see Theo moving more Cubs prospects over the next couple of seasons. He has no ties to any of these guys. I could see scenarios where Theo moves Sczur,Vitters,Lake and Castillo in different deals.

      • Tony_Hall

        Do you really think, that I think ALL of these players will make it?

        It’s a plan with multiple options.  If you can’t develop a position internally, you trade for, or buy a player.

        The chance that that lineup has, of ever being a real lineup at Wrigley one day is zero.  Even getting 4 of the 8 in the same lineup would be hard to do.

        • cubtex

          I was pointing out that Theo has already traded Colvin,LeMahieu,Cashner. He left Flaherty and Marwin Gonzales unprotected.

          IF……Garza is moved to say the Yankees…the Yankees are overflowing with catching prospects. Say Gary Sanchez is included in the trade…goodbye Wellington Castillo. This is just one example…but he has already traded 2 former #1 picks and a #2 pick. Like I said….he has no ties to our prospects and obviously isn’t shy about trading them.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, but I don’t like to get into making up trades, and was just listing where it was today and trying to show that there does seem to be a plan in place.

          • cubtex

            I know but I was just saying that many things will change with prospects being added and subtracted.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree,and the key here is with all of these prospects that are coming in it’s important that they be given the opportunity to show what they have.
            Very difficult to acomplish that  with new faces all around.
            Time would be limited in ST and many will be gone(remember ST?)
            Defense ,I agree will not be a big improvement over last year or the year before.
            The key is “hit the ball”, you hit, you will stay around, you don’t you are gone. It’s that simple.

          • John_CC

            I disagree, Paul.  I think defense will be improved not solely because of the new personnel on the field, but the new management. Young players can still be coached, and you better believe they will be coached this year. Sveum will demand it. I really believe that this new staff will teach and demand fundamentals. The defense will improve.

          • paulcatanese

            Well John, one thing for sure, the defense has only one way to go,up.

          • Coachdon

            Realistically, we should be scouting Boston’s minor leagues to see who will be playing for the Cubs in a couple years. No Cubs, or very few will be kept.

          • John_CC

            Why always with this critique?  Are you really so attached to all the low minor players in the Cubs system?  They are low minor leaguers , for crying out loud. And why wouldn’t they want to get young players that they believe are better? 

          • John_CC

            You pointing out the obvious, again. I’ve said it before, you have to not take everything written or said literally word for word.  Read between the lines. I know you understand, I think you just always want to argue. You made the point, i.e. if they can add a different catcher (Sanchez) they like in a deal, then Castillo is gone. But Tony’s point is still valid.  There is a long term plan with everyone of these players, or better, positions.

            Think of it as position specific, not player specific. That it is the main point, and ultimately the difference as I see it in the big plan that Epstein/Hoyer have vs. the past. Hendry would have never traded Cashner because he was Cashner, his 1st round pick and the name meant a lot even though securing a potential long term 1B is more important for the future of the team.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I will say Theo got around the Fielder thing, with LaHair and Rizzo and I am fine with that.
            But I do understand what Cubtex is saying, spending time with the team players and watching them,it’s hard to separate to position specific with the short amount of time Theo has been in charge.
            A lot of this (for me) is learning to trust what Theo and group are doing, its all moving pretty fast and at a volume that I am not accustomed to.
            Not that its bad but more confusing. Not easy to teach old dogs new tricks.

          • John_CC

            No doubt about it, Paul.  I have never closely watched a team dissected and taken apart so fast.  And I like it. Because the Cubs is the only team I have every closely followed, and for the most part, always disappointed. I have no reason BUT to sit back and enjoy the ride. Because I do trust this new group of decision makers, why not? I mean, can they really do doing damage the product that we’ve come to know?

    • Coachdon

      Tony, this is partially in response to this post and also to the “uninspiring” post. As far as the uninspiring stuff, my guys love to play for me because I believe in them and give them a chance to succeed. I don’t believe in the guys on a team two towns away, I believe in “my” guys. Since Epstein has been hired I don’t know if I’ve heard one compliment or word of encouragement for any of our young players, only guys from Boston and San Diego. I guess you call his statement about LaHair being positive but then the next day he traded for another first baseman. I would like to see Vitters, Castillo, Clevenger, Jackson, and others get their chance to play here. I watch these guys develop from draftees to being on the cusp of big league ball, and then whoosh, they’re gone. I’d like to see what they become. As far as the original DeJesus thought, I’ve watched enough Royal ball to know that he is an aging slap hitter that plays average defense if you include a less than gifted arm. I would rather have given Colvin this year to play 135 games or so and see if he can do the job or not. I did want the team changed. I did want Soriano, Aramis, Zambrano, Byrd, Soto, Marmol, DeWitt, et al gone. They have had their chance to win here and failed. But I see no reason Lemahieu, Flaherty, Colvin, or Cashner are not here, not if you want to see what the future could be. I would rather see what an unproven rookie can do than run a bunch of guys out there that have already proven they are mediocre. So if you want to know why I am not enamored with the new regime, that is a huge part of it.

      • Tony_Hall

        Sorry about the comment, I’m sure you are an excellent coach.  My thought was as DeJesus is walking in to the clubhouse, you are telling him he is a bench guy.  He is here to fill a starting OF spot, until we have more guys ready, as they didn’t like Soriano, Byrd, or Colvin.  Then you are right, he will go to the bench and be a role player.

        I think Theo is going to give the young guys a chance, but to think they came here to just give the guys who were already here the opportunity just doesn’t make sense.  Lemahieu is a singles hitter, that I would have started over Barney, and Flaherty I thought could be one of the bench guys this year.  Colvin could have been given a chance to start everyday, and Cashner could have been given a spot in the rotation.  We can’t have our cake and eat it to.  We can say we want these guys gone, but not those guys.  They have certain type of players they want for different positions, and they also aren’t going to hung up on having drafted these guys.

        We will see more young guys, the older guys that were brought in were to fill spots that we don’t have players ready at this time.

  • Tony_Hall

    Starting pitching depth

    Theo wants to know who 7, 8, 9 will be, well obviously who they were last year was bad.

    Demspter and Garza are 2 spots baring a trade.

    So that leaves 3 spots open

    Most likely between

    Samardzija, Wells, T Wood, Sonnanstine, Volstad

    Samardzija – If they give him a shot, he will be in the rotation to start the year, baring a bad ST.  He is out of options and if they put him in the bullpen, that is where his career will stay.

    Wells – Out of options as well…so I see him in the rotaion to start the year.  Unless, they are going to try and trade him for something or as part of a multi-player trade.  I think Wells is done, but others have options.

    T Wood – I feel he is in the rotation, baring a bad spring.  He has 1 option year left.

    Sonnanstine – I believe, baring a great ST, will start the year in Iowa.  He has 1 option year left, and will need a trade, a cut, or a great ST, to make the rotation.

    Volstad – He has 2 option years left, and is similar to Sonnanstine as he will start the year in Iowa, baring a trade, a cut, or a great ST. 

    1. Garza
    2. Dempster
    3. Samardzija 
    4. Wells 
    5 T Wood
    6. Volstad
    7. Sonnanstine

    Don’t take the slot in the rotation as anything more than someone has to be listed somewhere.  Volstad and Sonnanstine in Iowa to start the year, unless Garza, Dempster, or Wells is gone.  I believe one will be gone and Volstad will be at Wrigley in April.

    Now that doesn’t answer who 8 and 9 would be or 10 if one guy is traded.  Look for them to sign a Rodrigo Lopez type or 2, that will accept a minor league contract or a split contract, like Sonnanstine.

    Competition in ST will be good to see, and with players with options, gives the ability to take the best 5 north from Arizona.  

    What about our other young options?

    So who are our 8,9, even 10 right now.
    Coleman is Iowa bound, until they don’t have room for him in Iowa, maybe this year.
    Cabrera is the other by being on the 40 man.  
    Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, Chris Rusin, Nick Struck are the next in line.

  • jw

    I think this trade points out how much things have changed…I really like it;

    A complete departure from the old model

    Rizzo may have a long swing but he sure has his head on right
    I believe he will make it work or adjust but he is definitely a guy you want in the foxhole with you and he is young He believes in Epstein and company. It means no Fielder no unmotivated player more flexibilty and focus on building this thing

    They understand talent and risk and are realistic and can work with other GM’s. While Cashner has a high ceiling he had the arm trouble that shut him down and that is a flag Even so the Cubs demanded and got a young pitcher in return that has intriguing potential. They don’t get focused on one player or situation but wait for a reasonable deal

    I am sure they are working hard to move both Soriano and Byrd but because they are team guys they have can start the season as Cubs without upsetting the master plan

  • mitziman

    I like the trade, but in the back of my tormented mind Rizzo’s swing sure looks a lot like Brooks Keischnick…

    Go Cubbies!

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I remember Brenly saying that LaHair takes good routes to the ball and fields everything cleanly but he doesn’t have alot of range. He fields everything he can get to though.

    • cubtex

      which isn’t much. He is a first baseman. Soriano is a better leftfielder than LaHair.

      • Tony_Hall

        Soriano has proven he can’t play LF.  All he does that is better than the avg replacement LF, is throw the ball.  LaHair is not going to be even avg in LF either, but to say he will be worse than someone who is awful, with such a little sample size, doesn’t make sense to me.

        • cubtex

          LaHair is worse than Soriano. I know everyone wants to bash Soriano because of his contract and age and all that….I agree Soriano is a below average leftfielder…no doubt…but LaHair is worse. He can’t run….he can’t throw….he has very limited range in lf.  Many are pulling for LaHair and are not being realistic of who he is. LaHair is like a backup quarterback in football who everyone wants to see in the game….and when everyone starts seeing him play everyday….his limitations will be exposed(especially outfield defense)

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure how you know this about Lahair’s OF defense, but I have nothing to say he is good.  

            Soriano is really bad at tracking flyballs, routes, fielding a grounder, cut a ball off, everything except throwing it.  

            I don’t see Lahair as a long term fixture of the Cubs.  If, he hits well it buys Rizzo more time in the minors and will be traded away, when it’s time for Rizzo.  If he struggles, he will be traded or released at some point.  So the LF option, would be just to get his bat in the lineup for awhile.

          • daverj

            The backup quarterback comparison is quite apt here.  Depending on what we can get for Soriano, I might advocate keeping him as well.  I do think that it’s worth giving LaHair some at-bats at 1B to start the season as it’s possible (although unlikely) that he could have a Mike Morse or Nelson Cruz type late 20’s breakthrough.

          • John_CC

            I’m not even going to pretend to know what LaHair could do with proper coaching…but come on man, Soriano is an absolute HACK in LF.

            Below average is not untrue I guess — terrible would qualify as below average.

        • Dorasaga

          That is true. We need to consider the fact that ol’Fonzi has one of the quickest and accurate throw as an outfielder of this league. As long as he makes the majority of routine plays, he’s still capable of holding runners at bay.

          • cubtex

            I remember a play last year when LaHair was in lf and a runner was at 2nd. A base hit in lf and at first I thought not way the runner would try to score, and when the coach sent the runner home…I thougt LaHair would gun him by a mile. I was shocked at how bad the throw was. It wasn’t even close. LaHair will be a huge liability in lf. He is a 1st baseman.

          • Dorasaga

            Indeed. LaHair is not an outfielder yet. Even if what Brenly said, as above, is true, that doesn’t mean good instinct translates to good fielding, overall.

            I know Bill James says in one of the “Fielding Bible”-s, we still know very little of how much value an arm effects fielding performance. Soriano has the arm. He can throw runners out.

            Maybe it matter a lot, maybe it doesn’t. Even for the advanced defensive evaluators, those numbers are skewed. So during spring training, if the Cubs plans to call up Rizzo this season, at least they start training LaHair outfield.

  • Tony_Hall
  • Patrick_Schaefer
  • Gramps

    I read all the comments every day and it is interesting and amazing to me how fans look at trades. I suspect and hear that the San Diego fans don’t like this trade. There have been a few on this site that don’t like the trade. I can remember when the Broglio/Brock trade went down….I was elated that the Cubs got a Grade 1 pitcher for an outfielder that actually was hit in the head with a flyball and could not hit his way out of a wet paper bag. Well, Brock went on to a HOF career and Broglio was washed up within a year. What I am saying is that we can look at all the stats of Cashner/Rizzo and we really won’t know anything until they get on the field and are given time to develop their careers. Remember that Sandberg was a complete flop for about a month when he came to the Cubs…..Willie Mays was terrible in his first go-round with the old Giants. Rizzo looked terrible last year, but we have to give him a chance to succeed or fail. The biggest thing I get about the Cubs now is that they are DIFFERENT! They finally have a plan. I will sit back and watch all that is going on with them and watch how they do when the season starts. It has been very interesting this winter and this site is the best. I think I am like everybody in here in that we all will be rooting for whoever the Cubs put on the field this year. GO CUBS!

    • Aaron

      Amen…and that’s why I was a huge advocate for blowing it up and giving rookies a chance…something that clearly wasn’t in Quade or Hendry’s vocabularies

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Aaron,also was in favor of blowing it up, and even mentioned dinamite for the field. The rookies are what finished it off for me last year.

      • J Daniel

        Aaron,
        You have been for blowing it up and going young since I have started to follow this site.  You are getting your wish.  I am all for it as well and now have to give these guys time to succeed.  It will not happen overnight.

        Also believe they will be huge players next year in free agency for a couple of top pitchers.

    • OttawaBob

      WELL SAID!!

  • notcubbiewubbie

    great article and your damn right the last losing administration would never pull the trigger on such a deal! go cubs keep b lowing up the titanic!

  • Demitri

    Its ironic. I can say this offseason has been one of the greatest in years for the Cubs, but they won’t even see the playoffs

  • jw

    One other thing about not rebuilding with high priced free agents…if you did get a Fielder or the like their is a high risk (unless he is one of a kind) that the player can no longer be held accountable…after all his ship has come in…he will nod his head, do enough to keep the fans off his back, and leave in his limo immediately after the game. But worse than anything you need to convince young players how to play and conduct themselves, build around ideas and get buy in to system and a mission…it is a lot harder to do with the young guys looking and listening to a guy that beat the system and doesn’t have to perform anymore. You may not have the right plan but you’ll never know if you don’t get buy-in from those you want to build around. Example Cory Patterson…I think he looked at the vets that made it and figured he knew more than management…unteachable.

    Once you establish a culture I think you can bring in a few high priced FA’s as they must fit in and not the other way around…there will be leaders in the clubhouse and they will not be annointed leader whether they deserve it or not. There is a huge bonus if you find a guy that love to play and respects the game regardless of what they make. They are out there.

  • Aaron

    I know yesterday I said I liked this deal, even though I had HUGE reservations about Rizzo from his bandbox ballpark he played in with Tucson (confirmed by both Law, Olney and Stark), so his numbers were better than they would’ve been in a better league as well. (PCL was an offensive league last year). I’m starting to re-think my assessment, even though I strongly believe that Cashner is closer to a Mark Prior-esque career than a Chris Carpenter-esque career.

    At any rate, I relied mostly on reports of his bat, the parks he played in, pitching quality, etc. Then, I came across a report that really got me thinking…and backed up my claim that he’s a dog of a prospect, and is closer to bust than ANYONE on this site even knows.

    *********************************************************************************
    Here are a few links and reports I came across talking about Rizzo, and you can see for yourself what Kahrl meant about “slow bat”…at first, I thought the video was in slow motion, then I realized the catcher and other players were moving full speed. Talk about slow bat!!!!!!!

    The report I came across was by was on an ESPN blog about the deal by Christina Kahrl:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/19731/the-cubs-pads-double-dare-deal

    This was the most indicting statement of all regarding Hoyer and Epstein on this deal: “The loudest warning bell on Rizzo is that he’s been accused of having a
    slow bat. Talking up his performance at Tucson last year
    (.331/.404/.652) might risk losing sight of the fact that Tucson’s Kino
    Stadium is one of the best places to hit in a hitter’s league. It’s
    impressive that he ripped the PCL as a 21-year-old, but Petco was not
    going to help him break through. Get too worked up over his Triple-A
    numbers, and you can expect to be disappointed, which his 2011
    big-league cameo delivered (.523 OPS). If you’re chary over Red Sox
    prospects, you have cause: It wasn’t so very long ago people were
    gushing over Lars Anderson because he was young and people expected his power to blossom every bit as much as they do now for Rizzo.”

    Here’s video, so you can see for yourself. No joke…this is NOT slow motion. You can see now why I said to take his stats in the PCL and ESPECIALLY with Tucson, with a grain of salt…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWERtQwZutk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ezVp46mUOQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdr_K9Hs1_4&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzdjYvFZGoY&feature=related

    *********************************************************************************

    From the standpoint of dealing a reliever (Cashner) for an everyday player (Rizzo)…especially an everyday 1B that has power potential….normally would be a win in and of itself, especially when you throw in the fact that the Cubs got Cates as well. Throw in the fact that Cashner has shoulder issues (which happened to end my own career), and it’s a recipe for disaster for any pitcher.

    HOWEVER, if Cashner is a rotation pitcher for them a year, maybe 2 years from now (already said he was going to be in the pen next year), or even their closer…..then Cates sure as hell better be the real deal, because Rizzo is NOT.

    Look, I love the guy…he overcame cancer, and that is no small feat, but watching video of him swinging the bat makes me nauseous. It really looks like slow motion. When you have a slow bat, the danger with that is always high K totals. Why? Because you have to start your bat sooner, which means that you can’t hold up your swing with pitches out of the zone, ESPECIALLY when they’re up in the zone when hitters usually think they’re meatballs, only to have the pitch end up as high as their shoulders.

    I hope he succeeds, and makes this a win for the Cubs, but judging by scouting reports, his stats from non-hitter’s leagues, and scouting video, he appears to be a bust.

    The most pathetic thing I see in this whole situation is that just because Epstein, Hoyer, and McLeod like or have drafted a certain prospect, almost everyone on this site gives them the benefit of the doubt, and calls them geniuses. The funny thing is, most of the supporters of this trade are the EXACT same people that would be absolutely blasting the Cubs if they brought up a prospect that failed as badly as Rizzo did last year with the Padres. In fact, many blasted Colvin, and Colvin was one of the worst hitters in the league last year…yet had better stats than Rizzo. Just because the “holy trinity” of front office execs says that a player is awesome, does not, in fact mean that they are better than what we currently have.

    In fact, I would rank the 1B in the Cubs system as follows right at this moment..

    LaHair: while he’s put up his big numbers in the offensive league like the CAL league and PCL, he also put up good numbers in MLB, and continued that in Venezuela

    Ridling: Battled an appendectomy in 2010, but still put up 13 hr, 76 RBI in a pitcher’s league in Daytona. If LaHair did not have the relative success he’s had at the MLB level with the Mariners and Cubs, I honestly would have him ranked 3rd or even with Rizzo. In that case, Ridling would be ranked #1 in my mind. He gets almost zero publicity, but all the dude does is rake. He had the appendectomy that set him back, and his initial cup of coffee at Peoria wasn’t great in his first year of pro ball split between Boise and there…but when you hit over .300 at every stop (outside of the appendectomy season at Daytona: Boise, full season at Peoria, and Tennessee this year)…and you have power…well, you deserve to be ranked #1, and I honestly hope he gets a chance to prove himself, as he can play corner OF and 1B. While he has zero speed, I would like him more than Johnson or Sappelt, I can tell you that much.

    Vogelbach: excellent bat speed and power…nothing to go off yet other than scouting video

    Rizzo: slow bat, not very impressive stats when you factor in hitter’s league where he did most of his damage…the PCL

    Bour: 23 hr, 85 RBI in a pitcher’s league in Daytona…pretty impressive. I put him below Rizzo because he’s older, and had a similar slash line to what Rizzo also had in the Eastern League which is also a pitcher’s league.

    Time will tell if this was a good trade, but guys that can throw 101 mph AND have starting experience (and success there) just don’t grow on trees. While I realize his injury concerns, and his poor showing in the AZFL this year, supposedly he’s healthy now, and he had the best potential of any pitcher in the Cubs system or roster (and I’m even including Garza) of being a future ace-caliber pitcher. If all he does is pitch in relief the rest of his career, and most of it is non-closer, then I will consider this deal a win, even if Rizzo and Cates never amount to anything….and the reason I feel that way is power relief arms in the Cubs’ system/roster are a dime a dozen, including: Wood, Marmol (if he regains his fastball again), Dolis, Weathers, L. Castillo, Mateo, Cabrera, Samardzija, Maine, Carpenter, Parker, Batista, Rhoderick, Burke, C. Thomas, Kurcz, Zych, Suarez, Jensen, Urban…and both Dolis and Carpenter have hit 100 mph at some point….and literally all of the rest of those pitchers throw 95 mph and above.

    I just became annoyed when I did my research on Rizzo that everyone was falling in love with him seemingly just because Epstein and Hoyer love him. It was completely unjustified, as he’s really done nothing outside of the PCL last year to even warrant top prospect consideration. If he gets that type of billing, then all of the 1B I just listed in the Cubs’ system, especially Ridling and Bour, should receive that type of consideration. Hopefully that makes sense to everyone.

    I’m not trying to blast everyone for liking the guy…I happen to see the justification for the trade, and I believe Hoyer and Epstein when they said they saw Cashner as a reliever, and they just don’t value relievers that highly….and I happen to not value them much either. But people need to stop calling this a definitive win until we see what happens with Cashner. If he ends up in their rotation, it’s almost guaranteed to be a loss in my opinion just based on what I’ve seen with Rizzo.

     

    • paulcatanese

      Thanks Aaron for the videos, agree, long,long swing,and a lot of upper hand movement, wonder what he can do with chang-ups. At this point it will depend how he responds to instruction.

    • Tony_Hall

      Cashner is not going to end up in their rotation.  JH was trying to convert Cashner to a starter, and he will go back to the bullpen, where he may become a good 8th or 9th inning guy. As it said in the same article, that you took out only the negative part on Rizzo.

      “But for the Padres, Cashner is headed into the relief role people projected as his destiny since his days starring at TCU before getting tabbed with the 19th pick in the 2008 draft. Jim Hendry’s outfit invested a lot of time in seeing if Cashner could stick as a starter, but both the new Cubs’ crew and Padres GM Josh Byrnes are convinced his best role is in relief. There, he can chuck the changeup and get back to dealing high-90s heat to set up a sharp power slider. ”

      “It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see both Cashner and Rizzo on a National League All-Star squad in 2015. The real question isn’t why everyone could come out looking good, but why you make this deal at all if you’re the Padres. Isn’t a top offensive prospect worth more than a pitcher whose ultimate upside might be quality closer? Maybe Byrnes is much more sold on Yonder Alonso than Rizzo, a defensible choice, but is Cashner really all you want to get if you’re willing to part with one of the best power prospects in the minors? ”

      Well, isn’t a everyday prospect worth more than a bullpen arm?

      Of course it is.

      No one has put Rizzo in the Hall of Fame yet, but you have already labeled him a bust.  

      He played AAA at age 21 last year and will be in Iowa this year to start the year.

      Depending on how he plays will determine when he comes to Wrigley, but Jed Hoyer admitted he made a mistake bringing up last year, that he needed more time.  He will get that more time, as long as LaHair hits. 

      No one will know the true winner of this trade for many years.

      • cubtex

        Look…It isn’t about JH tried to move Cashner to a starter but…..Theo knows that he a relief pitcher. This is the stuff that gets obnoxious.
        Question….What type of pitcher is more valuable…A relief pitcher or a top of the rotation starter? I am sure you know the answer.
        Why is Boston looking to move Daniel Bard in the rotation this year….when Theo had him as a relief pitcher? Cherrington sees the value of him as a starter when Theo didn’t? Do you see how ridiculous that is?
        Why are the Rangers moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation when he was such a dominant closer?

        The Padres will put Cashner in the pen next year but I am sure if they see his shoulder issues are behind him, they might consider moving him to the rotation one day. This is not a JH….Theo thing.

        Theo has put the Red Sox in an awful situation for the next several years with some immovable contracts….just like JH did here with the Cubs. How will that Lackey contract and Carl Crawford contract look in a couple of years? How did that Dice K contract work out?

        Let’s try and look at each move without deflecting everything by saying JH this or JH that. JH did some good things for the Cubs.

        • Tony_Hall

          Wow, all that because I mentioned JH was the one converting Cashner to a starter.

          I didn’t bash JH, I liked the idea of trying Cashner as a starter. I was just stating a fact that instead of leaving a guy who was a closer in college a closer, he was the one who converted him.  

          • cubtex

            Jim Hendry’s outfit invested a lot of time in seeing if Cashner could stick as a starter, but both the new Cubs’ crew and Padres GM Josh Byrnes are convinced his best role is in relief.

            Having read that again…..maybe I overreacted.
            Just as Rizzo’s career cannot be written in stone….neither is Cashner’s. When you have an arm like Cashner’s….it is worth seeing if he can start. Starters are more valuable.

      • J Daniel

        What would the difference between Rizzo and Vitters at this point?

        • cubtex

          Vitters doesn’t strikeout and doesn’t have a clear cut position yet(hopefully 3rd). Rizzo is definately a 1st baseman and has more power.

          • J Daniel

            I know statistically and the position.  The point is they are both young with improvement needed.  Aaron already has Rizzo as a bust but wants to see Vitters.  It is way to early to tell if either will be good or a bust.

            I think they need to acquire as many guys like this as they can and they will hit on a couple.  

        • Whatupbr

          Rizzo has more than 400 at-bats at AA with an .815 OPS and more than 350 at-bats at AAA with a 1.056 OPS and a reputation for an average to above-average glove. Vitters has more than 650 at-bats at AA with a .740 OPS and a reputation for a well below average glove.

    • cubs1967

      this site has far too many blind drunk bleacher bums to get your point; if theo and jed said so; they’d all jump off the wrigley roof.
      if young kids are the right direction; then someone should tell the red sox, yanks and phils plus the cards; so they stop winning world series………i assume that’s still the goal OR is it  just to have a great AAA team, drool over the farm system, and extend the 103 yrs into the next decade.
      (i’ve seen no championships won by the rays or twins or royals in the last 20 yrs………what am i missing).

      rizzo is at best adam laroche;which won’t win a WS with or worse; bryan lahair…….which will lose you 100 games like this year’s version will.

      • cubtex

        I don’t agree about Rizzo…but the Theo “Love Childs” on this site are out of control. No objectivity whatsoever.

        • Tony_Hall

          What is there to be objective about?

          They haven’t played one game yet, yet so many on here want to say how bad all these moves have been, that’s not objective either.

          As far as Rizzo, he has a huge ceiling, but could fail as most prospects do.  That’s just common sense…didn’t think it had to be said, to prove objectivity.

          • cubtex

            So far….I like 2 of the trades. The Z trade…I don’t. I don’t like the DeJesus signing and not thrilled with Stewart at 3rd. That is being objective. Look at each and every move. This Theo made a trade or deal so it must be good is what 1967 is talking about.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think you need to look at the offseason as a whole.  All of his moves are part of his offseason plan to try and turn this awful team around.

            I’m not thrilled with Stewart, I wanted Headley.

            I didn’t pick out Sonnanstine or Volstad this offseason and hope they could get them.  But he is getting something for players who have little value to the Cubs.

            I just don’t see the point in bashing every move, just because he did it.  Your initial reaction for this trade was that you didn’t like it.  And you didn’t like it because you didn’t want Theo here, and will find fault in everything he does. That’s not objective either. 

            JH (sorry to bring him up) earned his hatred from many on here, from years of bad moves.  Why not give Theo a little time to clean house and look at the team he fields next year, before being so critical.

          • cubtex

            My initial reaction was…I wanted Rizzo but I thought right away Not Cashner with so little starting pitching that they have. I changed after looking at all the parts 5 minutes later. I don’t do this Theo made this trade….so it sucks. I am giving Theo time. This is the first move that actually generates some excitement for the future. Nothing before this(imo) has been extraordinary.

          • Tony_Hall

            This is the first move that has immediate, long term plans.  The Marshall trade brought Torreyes, but he is a few years off.  But all the rest have been about getting rid of the old,and bringing in some new players, that match more the type of player they like.  They are hoping to find a couple of guys that can stick around for awhile, or bring back more value in trade.

            Also, once again, what we didn’t know  changes what people think.  Cashner was never going to get a chance to start (here or there) so they viewed this as trading a reliever, who had missed almost a whole season with shoulder issues and returned a young kid, who has a high ceiling.

          • cc002600

            I am still amazed how anyone cannot like the Z trade.

            Not one player on the team wanted him back, would have been disaster to bring him back. You saved $3M and got a 25 year old starting pitcher with possible upside for a complete cancer who is a now a bad pitcher, making huge dough.

            what the heck don’t you like ?

            The ONLY reason there was a team willing to take this nut job was b/c of Ozzie.  There is NO MARKET for this guy. At some point, you have to cut your losses. You were never going to do better than what we got.

          • cubtex

            They actually saved 2.5 mil. Have you seen Volstad’s numbers??? 15.5 mil out of 18mil for one of the worst starters in baseball? And you ask how I don’t like the trade? :)

          • cc002600

            yep, I have. Have you seen Zambrano’s numbers the last 3 years ?

            LOL

          • cubtex

            Z was 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA. in 2010. Volstad hasn’t sniffed a 3.33 ERA in any year

          • Brett

            Volstad had a 2.88 in his 15 games/14 starts in 2008….

          • Tony_Hall

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          • cc002600

            and oh, one guy is 25 and the other is 31. (so they say, I will bet my right nut he’s closer to 34, but, whatever).

            I will bet you that Volstad puts up better numbers this year than Zambrano.

            what do u think ?

          • cubtex

            Done! I will definatley take that bet

          • cubtex

            OK. I see getting rid of Z because many on the team didn’t want him back….but to get all giddy about Volstad is a little extreme. Basically the trade was to save 2.5 mil of his contract so if you want to get excited about that,,,I will join you…Yipee! Great Trade!!!!!!!!

          • cc002600

            it’s not so much that we got Volstad, its more that I don’t have to that watch jackass point to the sky and throw temper tantrums like a 13 year old girl.  anymore. THAT’s what I am giddy about. That’s worth 15M and more.

            good riddance.

          • John_CC

            Aside from dumping Z, when’s the last time ’67 said anything positive about anyone?

            I do not Stewart, I’ve said it a number of times.

            I think dumping Z was crucial.

            I like this deal for Rizzo. It’s funny how the same people that are calling for patience with Vitters because he is only 22 are already calling Rizzo a bum.

            I like the Marshall trade.

            I don’t care one way or the other about Sonnanstive, Volstad, etc…there are just players filling spots that will have to compete for positions.

            Just because I am blinded by my heart-searing love for Theo Epstein and passionate adoring of every single thing he does and says…that does not mean I cannot also be ‘objective’ as you call it.  It doesn’t mean I am not “objective” just because I am not in teen-age girl tizzy about how terrible this team is and how they WILL lose 100 games this year and will NEVER be good, ever. 

          • Scott

            If Stewart is a stop gap until we can see if Vitters (or another prospect) is ready to take the position, I don’t have a problem with him.  Stewart will never be great, but if he can get back to a .250/.340/.450/.790 player, that isn’t that bad and buy us time as an organization.

            The same can be said for DeJesus.  No, he isn’t an all-star, but we have a lot of outfield prospects in the minors that are a few years away (other than Jackson) and two outfielders on the roster that we would love to move (Soriano and Byrd).  But he plays the game hard and will be a welcome change to how we all saw players like Aramis play the last few years.

            And I think that we did well in the Zambrano trade.  Read what all of the players have said about Z – no one trusted him in the least.  They all knew that he was a ticking time bomb and have said that he could not come back to the team.  Enough players have played with Z over the years that this was not a secret at all.  No one wanted to touch him with a 10 foot pole.  Only Ozzie Guillen wanted him which tied the Cubs hands.  Z has talent, but is a clubhouse cancer so to get ANYTHING for him was outstanding.  And to get a young arm, under control for years, that can eat innings at the back end of a rotation for a few years while the organization improves was a great move.

            And no, I am not one that thinks that just because Theo made a move it has to be a great thing.  But I am also not one that thinks that when they make a move it was automatically a terrible move (like cubs1967).

            I would love to see all of the negative posters actually give their own ideas as to what they would do instead of only being negative.  It is easy to say that Epstein is an idiot for “only” getting Volstad for Z, or “only” getting Rizzo (the #1 rated 1B prospect in all of baseball on MLB.com) and Cates for Cashner and Na, etc.  But for those people that know so much more than the Cubs front office, please tell us what the “right” moves are.  I would love to know.  I would love to know how you could take the disaster of a roster that the Cubs had with an average farm system and turn them into a World Series contender in 2012 (and each subsequent year).

      • Coolpdxcubsfan

        One of the things I really like about this site is that everyone is allowed to have his opinion. Even the “blind drunk bleacher bums”, not just the supposed experts speaking from some lofty position.
        I love reading all the opinions, even your’s, sometimes especially your’s.
        BUT respectfully,
        Rizzo is what he is. He will either adjust (bat speed or whatever it takes) or he will fail. Lots of others have done it. Maybe it will work when he get’s help from Jarmillo or Sveum, who knows. But he is a great kid with the right attitude, and I say good on em (team Thoyer).

      • Tony_Hall

        You already know how Anthony Rizzo’s career is going to play…that is remarkable…why do they even play the games, you already have their careers figured out.

        You also already know the Cubs record 62-100 is the best they can finish based on your opinion.  

        You bring up the Twins and Rays.  What would have happened to their teams, if they had the resources to keep all of the great players they have had.  They would be a powerhouse.  Well if the Cubs are doing what they did (and have had very good teams doing it),  and they have the resources to keep the best players, don’t you see that this could be a great way to build a team that is in the playoffs year after year.

        Talk about being blind and drunk and not seeing the point.

        • Aaron

          I think the point to take away with Rizzo is the following:
          1) His swing is too long, and has too much of an upper-cut…something that might’ve played out well in Tucson and the PCL, but will NOT play well in most MLB parks

          2) His swing is also too slow

          3) Other than his 2011 minor league season, what the hell is there to get excited about with him. I’ll give you stats (talking full season…or close to it), then you make your decision:
          low-A and high-A; 119 games, 132 hits, 37 doubles, 12 hr, 66 RBI, 50 walks, 99 K’s, .297/.368/.461 slash line

          high-A, AA; 136 games, 138 hits, 42 doubles, 25 hr, 100 RBI, 61 walks, 132 K’s, .260/.334/.480

          AAA; 93 games, 118 hits, 34 doubles, 26 hr, 101 RBI, 43 walks, 89 K’s, .331/.404/.652

          ….now, I want to give you some other stats to chew on:
          high-A; 126 games, 118 hits, 31 doubles, 7 hr, 47 RBI, 30 walks, 108 K’s, .251/.305/.361

          high-A, AA; 114 games, 134 hits, 26 doubles, 13 hr, 72 RBI, 46 walks, 75 K’s, .317/.389/.470

          AA, AAA; 133 games, 140 hits, 33 doubles, 20 hr, 72 RBI, 61 walks, 111 K’s, .290/.370/.487

          …..and some more:
          low-A; 127 games, 138 hits, 31 doubles, 12 hr, 87 RBI, 58 walks, 100 K’s, .291/.375/.436

          high-A; 133 games, 139 hits, 30 doubles, 23 hr, 85 RBI, 46 walks, 105 K’s, .277/.335/.478

          First stats are from Rizzo, second are from LaRoche, and third set is of Bour…

          I compared Rizzo to LaRoche before, and that seems an accurate comparison, but he’s pretty damn close to Bour too, especially with his low-A and high A stats.

          Once again…when everyone is analyzing these trades, at least put things into perspective by comparing other folks other than saying, “Anthony Rizzo is the second coming of Adrian Gonzalez”….or whatever….or for that matter, even penciling him in the lineup for the next decade, which is an absolutely absurd prediction I saw after the trade was completed. I actually feel bad for guys like Bour who just hit, yet somehow, because of the media hype, get completely overlooked by their own damn teams.

          LaRoche and Bour might’ve been 2 years older than Rizzo at every stop, but they also were drafted out of college, while Rizzo was drafted out of high school.

          As I said before, and I’m even more convinced now after looking at video on the kid….at best, he’s Adam LaRoche…at worst…well…he’s out of affiliated baseball in 4-5 years.

          LaRoche’s best MLB season was early in his career at age 26, when he put up the following line:
          .285/.354/.561, 140 hits, 38 doubles, 32 hr, 90 RBI, 55 walks, 132 K’s

          Arguably his next best season was a couple years ago with Arizona:
          .261/.320/.468, 146 hits, 37 doubles, 25 hr, 100 RBI, 48 walks, 172 K’s

          I think LaRoche is probably the best comparison at this point. Both Rizzo and LaRoche took 5 years after they were drafted to reach MLB. Both have upper-cut swings. Both strike out a lot. Both have a similar slash line:
          Rizzo’s .296/.366/.514
          vs
          LaRoche’s .289/.359/.451

          • Tony_Hall

            Aaron – You are great at stating arguments, and producing stats.

            Comparing Rizzo and Laroche, lets add up the stats above and get an OPS.

            Rizzo 880
            Laroche 810

            That’s a decent amount of difference in my book.  

            How about we let this kid (who just turned 22 at the end of the season) a chance to get to 25/26 before we right him off, like you seem to have already done with this statement “backed up my claim that he’s a dog of a prospect, and is closer to bust than ANYONE on this site even knows”  Not only is he young, but lost a season due to fighting cancer.

            He’s not that bad and he’s not headed to the HOF, probably somewhere in the middle, but both are possible as he progresses through his career.

            Maybe he will continue to work on his game, as it has been said he is hard worker, and will work on shortening his swing.  

            As far as Bour goes, if he keeps going, he will get his shot. and may pass Rizzo by.  Rizzo was obviously brought in to be the future 1B for the Cubs, but things don’t always work and he could be gone and Bour could be our 1B, or Ridling, or Vogelbach.  

          • http://gladiatorblog.blogspot.com/ SirGladiator

            Rizzo has been super impressive, but it’s also true that he played in an unusually hitter friendly park.  However Theo and company have been high on him well before he did that, they saw something in him a long time ago, and these awesome numbers just add to that.  Its that scouting, done by some of the best baseball minds in the world, that is what we’re truly relying on right now.  As I saw an expert say yesterday, regarding Rizzo and his swing, the Cubs hitting coach is one of the best in baseball and when spring training rolls around he is going to help Rizzo in a big, big way.  Once Rizzo gets that new and improved swing, and then is sent down to test it out in Iowa, all those numbers he puts up during the first two months will tell us a great deal.  I’m quite hopeful that Rizzo will perform in Iowa similarly to how he performed with his old AAA team, and after two months we’ll be able to bring him up full time, moving LaHair to left, and Soriano to another team.

          • cc002600

            as usual, your arguments hold no water.  When comparing Bour and Rizzo, lets look at these facts to put this into perspective.

            1.) Bour is 1 year older
            2.) Bour’s numbers are A and low A, which are 2 and 3 levels BELOW AAA, which is where Rizzo put up his numbers last year.
            3.) Rizzo’s numbers are better at a HIGHER level.

            WTF.

            Your point is ridiculous.

          • Aaron

            You should do a better job of reading…pretty sure that’s why I put the disclaimer about their ages being 2 years older due to having been in college. What more do you want?

          • cc002600

            than why make the point ?

            Apples and oranges.

            hello ???

          • cubtex

            I agree Rizzo has a ton more upside than Bour but……1 year older? LOL Cmon. 1 year? That was reaching for straws there :)

          • cc002600

            yea, 1 year older, while playing at 2 levels higher, and putting up way better numbers.

            THAT’s the point

            there is no comparison

          • cc002600

            I mean 1 year younger, and playing 2 levels higher,
            and putting up better numbers.

            again, no comparison

          • Whatupbr

            Putting LaHair, Ridling and Vogelbach ahead of Rizzo seems even more ridiculous.

            LaHair’s AAA numbers for 2011 were nearly identical to Rizzo’s in the same league and he’s freakin 9 years older! Nine years! That’s beyond funny. That’s like Roy Hobbs.

            Ridling and Rizzo played at the same levels in 2009 and 2010, and though Ridling is more than three years older, Rizzo had superior seasons both years. To top it off, Rizzo had a far superior season to Ridling’s in 2011 despite playing one level above.

            Vogelbach has 24 professional at bats. Nuff said. Completely absurd.

          • cubtex

            I am not one to compare numbers in the minors and say because player X has better numbers in A or AA as player Y…player X is a better player. There are way too many expamples when that doesn’t translate. The minors are night and day away from the majors. That is a waste of time in my opinion.

          • cubtex

            I am not going to go thru the trouble..but take a look at Ryan Howard’s numbers in A and AA and put them up to Rizzo. If you dig deep enough you can find All Stars who had worse numbers in the minors than Rizzo. It doesn’t mean a kid’s career is marked in stone because he had these numbers. Look at Karl Pagel’s numbers. Micah Hoffpauir. It doesn’t matter if they don’t adjust and get better. Rizzo has a lot more upside than Bour. That is silly to compare the 2.

          • KevininSandiego

            I have some minor league stats for you

            .296/.365/.448

            Those are A Gon’s and are you comparing LaRoche to AGon? The point is as long as they play well enough in the Minors to get the the show it is up to them to make the adjustment when they get there

          • Aaron

            Nope…just pointing out that everyone needs to use a little duct tape to hold their boners down a bit with every move Theo and CO make…with some already declaring Rizzo the 1B for the next decade I tried proving that he’s closer to bust than most are willing to admit

          • KevininSandiego

            I am not saying he would be. What I am saying Minor numbers dont mean anything. That matters is if Rizzo can make the adjustments he needs to to be success in the Majors. There is not such thing as a Sure thing. He was also called up be for he was ready. Not many 21 year old are ready for the Majors.

          • John_CC

            Come on, Aaron, he is top 100 prospect. This has nothing to do with the fact that Epstein acquired him. It’s that the Cubs have basically never made an astute trade for a prospect that a lot of professional baseball people, not blogging homers and armchair GMs, think COULD be very good, like AGon good.

            All prospects are gambles, I know you know that. This is a huge upside gamble. But are you saying, based on two years in the minors, that you would rather sit back and wait for Ridling to take over 1B for the future because YOU know he is better?

          • Aaron

            I am not saying Rizzo is no good…or that I wouldn’t want him in the system at all….what I am saying is Ridling, Bour and LaHair appear to have more polish and given how he bounced back from the appendectomy from 2010th with the year he had last year should not go unnoticed. I really hope he gets a chance. Rizzo might have more upside power-wise later on but Ridling is the better overall hitter NOW..and i live in the now .

    • Dorasaga

      Aaron, I must say the first two youtube links aren’t very useful. The cameras wobbled too much, and in the first one, everything looks slow due to the quality of the film, methinks.

      In this third one, there are 3 at-bats. I kind of get the “slow bat” thing. My bigger concern is that Rizzo did not use his whole upper torso here. He’s also not a true power-hitter, yet, due to where he transferred his weight on the bat throughout the swinging process. But He also had a good extension chasing a breaking pitch for a contact. Looks pro to me.

      Let’s also think about this “slow bat” problem a bit more. It’s comparative. The younger, 40-HR Adam Dunn had a slower bat than Jim Thome even in his late 30s. But both got swinging misses a lot. Bat speed does not define a player’s total effectiveness at-plate. You need to understand that this Rizzo kid is still young. Younger than all college players entering pro. He still can improve. There are more to think of.

      By the way, that’s why I’m glad Rebel Ridling is still with the Cubs:
      http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2010/07/cubsprospect708.php

    • J Daniel

      Aaron,

      The one thing I believe with Theo and co. is that if Rizzo is not the guy then they will move on from him to.

    • Jeff in AZ

      You still haven’t answered my question from yesterday? How do you explain his power in AA Portland? He didn’t play in the Tucson launching pad ( lol) then. Also, you are repeating the analysis of three talking heads in your assessment of kino stadium, a ballpark you have never stepped in, let alone watched a game in.

      My other question is how do the “band boxes” ( which you have never seen for yourself) help his .331 avg?

      I find it very insulting that you have the audacity to tell me I’m wrong about a subject you only can comment on based on the writings of olney and starks.

      I will concede that the PCL was a hitters league last year because stats support that, but this “bandbox” garbage is ridiculous.

  • Whatupbr

    This is hysterical. We’ve got experienced professionals with teams of scouts and state of the art statistical mathematics who say that this kid is the real deal but we’re already writing him off because a couple of inexperienced monkeys have determined based on watching a couple of You Tube videos that his swing is too slow/long. Completely absurd. Get a clue.

    • Aaron

      Really? That’s what you think of people that have a brain and actually use it?

      Do you know how to use your 5 senses? Do you know how to read? I assume you know how to read…top to bottom, left to right…put words together to make sentences (sorry, just had to throw a Tommy Boy quote in there)

      Do you know what scouting reports are?

      Do you know what scouting videos are?

      Do you know how to make your own deductions? Were you taught that in school?

      Evidently not or you wouldn’t say something that lacks intelligence altogether.

      Real scouting reports say he has a long, slow swing. If you look at the scouting video, it only confirms it.

      What more do you want?

      • carmelo

        What scouting reports are we talking about?  Who wrote them and from which club?  Scouting reports are not for the general public—have to be careful when “scouts” are quoated.  There’s never a name attacted to it.

      • Whatupbr

        I see I’ve struck a nerve. Shocking!

        Here’s what I think: I think you’re about as qualified to evaluate this trade as I am – which is not at all. I think it makes you feel good to think you’re some kind of baseball savant and I think you spend thousands of words a day trying to convince everybody else that that’s what you are. I find it absolutely hilarious.

        • paulcatanese

          I think you are barking up the wrong tree with you’re post.
          Some people are qualified to evaluate.
          While I and others do not always agree with Aaron, he is on the money and does do the research to post,and if you dont agree, there are other ways to say it.
          Many on this site have “laymans” qualifications to comment, and if you dont agree, just say we agree to disagree and let it alone, keep it light.
          Otherwise welcome to the site.

          • Whatupbr

            Thanks coach. If you actually read the comments, you’ll note that it was Aaron who decided to take us away from “light”.

            Quote: “That’s what you think of people that have a brain and actually use it.”

            Quote: “Do you know how to read?”

            Quote: “Evidently not or you wouldn’t say something that lacks intelligence altogether.”

            Sounds like junior high to me.

            And by the way, the term “layman” actually implies that the person in question has no such qualifications.

          • paulcatanese

            Well, I never claimed to write the dictionary. Actually learned words from the site.

          • Aaron

            Intellectual dishonesty runs rampant with you….so by saying “inexperienced monkeys” you weren’t being inflammatory?….hmmm. I don’t put up with that nonsense and have no problem being condescending in return

          • Whatuppbr

            Golly! I’ll have to keep that in mind.

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually the inexperienced monkey comment, kind of started it.

    • paulcatanese

      I’m not inexperienced.

      • Tony_Hall

        So are you a monkey :)

        • paulcatanese

          Glad you caught that Tony, my wife didn’t, she thought both applied.:)

  • matthew8510

    Talks between the Orioles and Cubs were probably not very serious, sources told Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Dan Duquette doesn’t want to spend heavily on a designated hitter and even if the Cubs ate about 80% of the $54MM owed to Soriano, the O’s would still be on the hook for $3-4MM for each of the next three seasons.
    Dubroff adds that if Duquette shells out a big contract this winter, it’ll be for a pitcher, not for a one-dimensional DH.

    • RynoTiger

      I wanted to laugh at how I interpreted this.  So does this mean that Duquette thinks 3yr/$12million for Soriano a big contract? If so then I feel real sorry for the Orioles and their fans.

      • matthew8510

        i bet they would take sori for 2 mil a year and not 4 probly just waithing for the cubs to say we wwill pay 50 mil and u take on 4 mil

  • mitziman

    Everyone just needs to CHILL, and see how it works out!  I think SD and CHC had concerns with both players, and therefore in my opinion made a lateral move.  If both were “cant miss” prospects, both Rizzo and Cashner would still be with their respective teams.

    • Tony_Hall

      The Padres had to move Alonso or Rizzo at some point, but you are right, we need to let them actually field a team for a game or two, before we say their moves won’t work.

  • Tom U

    I’ve kind of stayed out of this discussion on this trade, but since some tempers seemed to have flared, I’d like to chime in.

    I like the trade for two reasons:

    1. It seems equitable
    2. Management named LaHair the starting first baseman

    Anyone who has read any of my comments before knows how big I am on trades being equitable. Neither side should be taking all the risk. In this particular deal, both organizations are getting a promising player who has yet to reach their full potential. Its a roll of the dice for both sides.

    As far as number two, my main concern with acquiring Rizzo was that LaHair would walk (and sign in Japan), leaving the team incredibly thin if Rizzo wasn’t ready. By announcing that Rizzo would go to Triple-A, the organization is set up well. The Cubs organization is stacked at the first base position. Now is the time for each to prove it on the field.

    And may the best man win.

    • John_CC

      Why do you have to be so sensible…and calm about it, too!!? Jeez, Tom, where is the fun in that? ;)

    • Jeff in AZ

      Great take Tom, and not just because we agree.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Where is Rip on? Iassume hemust like the trade because he is silent. At least he isnt here ripping every move apart. Maybe he took my advice and is follwing a new team

  • Tony_Hall

    Someone asked about where Rizzo would rank with our prospects.

    John Sickels updated his rankings with both Rizzo and Cates in the Top 20.

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/1/6/2688854/chicago-cubs-top-20-prospects-for-2012 

    2) Anthony Rizzo , 1B, Grade B+: Acquired today from Padres  for Andrew Cashner. Nobody should panic about 128 at-bats. Although he’s not going to hit .300 in the majors, Rizzo should provide plenty of power and walks and I think he’ll make the needed adjustments. Maximum outcome: Ryan Howard. Worst-case: Chris Davis. 

    16) Zach Cates, RHP, Grade C+: Acquired in the Cashner/Rizzo trade. Often overlooked due to 4.78 ERA in Low-A, but he has a live arm and peripheral stats were much better. Breakthrough possible. 

  • Gary J

    No one will likely see this one as I’m sure Neil has another update coming up soon – maybe I’ll move it to the new thread :-)

    Ironic that Gramps should chime in today because his “stay classy Cubs fans” mantra was one of the things I used to like about the community that Neil has built here.

    And it’s degenerating into name calling. It’s just not right people.

    Here’s my take.

    If someone likes the moves that have happened this off season… why is it that it has to be because they have on Theo goggles?  

    We all agreed coming in – this team has no quick fix on the horizon.  Contracts are hamstringing things for the next couple of years.  

    Hendry had to go – he went.

    Whether you think Theo was the right hire or you had another you would have rather seen, I don’t think that anyone here (with a couple of notable exceptions) disagreed that at the very least he was one of the top possible choices.  And he’s here now.  And he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

    If you don’t like it, PLEASE stop bashing him.  The situation he inherited was a disaster.  And only time will tell if he’s taking the correct tact to fix it.  

    He and the rest of the mgmt team has a stated plan.  It’s simple.  Clean up the mess.  We’re not a world series caliber team as constructed.  So with that in mind, convert short term assets into long term assets.  It’s a straightforward statement and a simple philosophy.

    For example… the consensus is that Vitters is still a year away.  So you trade a guy that at his ceiling is a high BA no power utility guy in Lemaheiu and a guy I personally have zero faith in with Colvin and bring in a guy that until last year had a bright future (much like Colvin) but had the wheels come off in Stewart.  Is he the future?  Even I with my Cubbie goggles don’t think so… but he’s a low cost bridge to Vitters and a buy low candidate.  If entirely possible the change of scenery and a healthy year brings a guy that hits 25 at the corner.  And that for a few million less than A Ram… and I figure the effort level will be much better.

    The Marshall trade… trading a reliever with a year left on his contract and getting a soon-to-be 25 year old former top prospect lefty starter under team control for multiple years who did great in his first year and not so great in his second… he was 24 and in his second season in the bigs.  He’s currently the ONLY guy on the 40 man roster that has the designation of “SP” by his name and an L in the column for “throws.”  There’s no discussion as far as I’m concerned.  He’s as much of a sure thing for the rotation out of spring (barring more trades) as Garza and Demp.  They aren’t going to march 5 righties out there.  And that to me that’s worth a year of Marshall.  Especially so if the old adage of starters really showing if they are going to make it in their third year comes around and he blossoms.

    Is it going to happen?  Who the heck knows.  But I liked him for the Reds going into 2011 and I’m excited to find out.  But to look at this trade (with the youngster 2b thrown in) and rant and rave about how this kid is crap…. please.  It’s a solid baseball move.  And I have yet to read a national article that didn’t think it was a good one for the Cubs.  And I for one will be watching every fifth day on WGN (or MLB.tv) to watch him pitch because I’m excited about the possibilities.  And I couldn’t say that last year about any pitcher other than Garza.

    The Z trade.  Addition by subtraction.  Theo/Jed didn’t play the arrogant GM/President and hand a malcontent to the manager and say “I don’t care if he get’s along with everyone – this isn’t a popularity contest – we’re paying him $18 million… put him out there”  No.  He talked to people that are the leaders in the clubhouse (of which I thought his reported discussions with Kerry Wood were telling about what the real story is about if he’s returning or not) and to a man they said “this guy is a douche.  And we’ve had enough.  We’ve given him chances.  He’s irredeemable.”  So he cut him loose.

    Getting Volstad back.  Gravy.  He’s young enough and was highly touted enough that maybe the change of scenery kick starts him.  Personally I think he starts in AAA and the instructors down there take a shot at him.  But even if it doesn’t pan out, Theo and group got a “maybe” player out of a guy that they were going to be forced to release anyway.

    Cashner for Rizzo.  Liking this trade has ZERO to do with “trusting that the front office that has been following this kid for years knows what they are doing”.  The national scouting publications and media types that follow this stuff for a living have Rizzo rated in the top 50 at the outside and top 20 in some cases.  It’s a highly subjective thing… prospects are called that because they haven’t proven a damn thing yet.

    But this is a kid that made the bigs (and admittedly pressed and flopped) at 21 and that was including a year lost to lymphoma.  Not a bad back or bum knee mind you… he had cancer.  And the three years since he’s plowed through the minors.

    Yes – his stats were compiled in a hitters league, but comparing him to the others in the league is as decent a metric as anything.  When I look at the stats for the league last year (http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/leader.cgi?type=bat&id=2b849127) I see something.  Among the guys that put up those gaudy numbers in that league, I only see two guys younger than 23 in the leaders.  Lawrie and Rizzo.

    And yes – I like Cashner.  But a reliever for a position guy is a generally good swap.  And it’s a reliever with admittedly great stuff… but also recent shoulder problems.

    You don’t get something for nothing.  Yes – Rizzo has a long swing.  But he’s coming up on 22.  And he missed a year.  And his long swing is in reports that also note how great his makeup is and how hard he works.  By reports (I haven’t met him personally and I would venture to guess most of you haven’t either so it’s all I have to go on) he isn’t one of these kids that come up through the system, buy into their own hype, and figure their raw talent will be enough.  He’s already identified where he went wrong last year and is vowing to get to work to fix it.  

    So is he a sure thing?  No.  But… to me… he’s the closest thing we’ve had in a 21 year old kid that I can remember since Woodie.  And in a position player since the Gracie/Palmiero battle.  And yes – I suppose you could fold Pie in there… so it just shows there are no sure things for any kid coming up.  

    That said though – the fact that I like trading Cashner for Rizzo doesn’t mean I’m a Theo homer.  It means that I like the idea of trading an admittedly talented reliever with shoulder problems for a 21 year old possible (key word possible) all star caliber power hitting first baseman.  

    The article that Aaron pointed at earlier from Christina Kahrl that he used to illustrate his point of a slow swing wasn’t the point of the article.  The point is that why can’t both teams come out winners in this?  Honestly – if you haven’t read it it’s a great read so I’ll link it again (http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/19731/the-cubs-pads-double-dare-deal).  Her point is that it wouldn’t be surprising to see both of them in the 2015 All Star game.  It’s a trade that could easily work out for both sides.  And if that should happen, I’d take the 1B over the RP every day of the week.

    OK – I’ve ranted long enough.

    My point is…

    Each of these trades, taken on their merits alone, can be argued either way.  Personally in a vacuum I like the trades in the Cubs favor to bring in Wood and Rizzo.  I think the Z trade was just “meh” but something that needed to happen.  And the Stewart for Colvin deal was a classic change of scenery move.  I could see both or neither of them overcoming their dismal 2011.  So to me it’s a push, but it’s a guy that can play 3rd and we needed that in return for a guy that played a position of surplus. 

    But in all these moves, you don’t get something for nothing.

    Liking these deals is not fawning over Theo and the mgmt team.  In fact the majority of the articles I’ve read on each of the deals by the major media outlets has liked the moves for the Cubs.  So the people liking the deals are not just the people on this forum that are (looking for the quote… oh there it is) blind drunk bleacher bums that would all jump off the wrigley roof if Jed and Theo said so.

    And although we can debate the merits of these deals ad infinitum (and undoubtedly the merits of the deals yet to come), the fact is that the team that is being constructed isn’t done being constructed and probably won’t be until 2013.  We’ll see what they put on the field in April… and then see which of the minor leaguers blossom and re-evaluate in a couple of years.

    So like the deals or don’t – your entitled.

    State your case fellow Cubs fans and back up your arguments… but if someone doesn’t agree with your viewpoint, they are NOT idiots.

     KEEP IT CLASSY CUBS FANS!!!!!!!!!  (love ya Gramps)