Darwin Barney is Golden … and Other Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

Darwin Barney turned in a record setting season and was rewarded with a gold glove on Tuesday night. Darwin Barney beat out the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and Arizona’s Aaron Hill for the Rawlings Gold Glove. Barney became just the fourth second baseman in Cubs’ history to take home the award (Ryne Sandberg, 1983-1991; Glenn Beckert, 1968; Ken Hubbs, 1962) and the first since his mentor and former minor league manager.

Darwin Barney saved the Cubs 28 runs with his defense throughout the season and finished the year with a .997 fielding percentage (two errors at second base, three total for the year) in 676 total chances. Barney set the all-time National League mark for consecutive games without an error by a second baseman and his 141 games errorless streak (1,154 1/3 innings) tied him with Placido Polanco for the longest single-season mark by a second baseman in Major League history. During his errorless streak, Barney had more total chances per nine innings (5.30) and more putouts (293) than any other second baseman in baseball.

Darwin Barney gave Ryne Sandberg a lot of credit for teaching him the position during an interview on MLB Network Radio and acknowledged the work he put in the spring and throughout the season with Pat Listach. Barney became the first Chicago Cub since Derrek Lee in 2007 to be honored with a gold glove after a sensational season in the field.

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

  • Levine thinks Eric Karros, Keith Moreland, Todd Hollandsworth, Gary Matthews Sr., and Dan Plesac will be considered to replace Bob Brenly in the Cubs’ TV booth.
  • The Marlins approached the Cubs about Josh Johnson. Levine has not heard how the Cubs’ responded. Levine thinks Johnson would make sense for the Cubs but not Mark Buehrle. Buehrle’s contract, coupled with his age, might make him difficult to flip.
  • The Cubs have had conversations with the Angels. Levine did not mention the players that might have recently been discussed but his answer was in response to a question about the Cubs possibly pursuing Dan Haren and/or Ervin Santana. Levine mentioned the Angels have had interest in Carlos Marmol in the past. According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Angels are likely to decline the options on both Haren and Santana.
  • Levine would not be shocked if the Cubs traded Darwin Barney this off-season. Levine mentioned the Tigers’ past interest in Barney … and this is not the first time this week that Levine brought up the Tigers asking about Barney before the deadline. During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) last Saturday, Levine discussed whether or not the Cubs would deal Barney to Detroit for a young pitcher like Drew Smyly.
  • Placido Polanco is the type of professional player the Cubs would consider signing, as long as he has a movable contract. Polanco became a free agent when the Phillies declined his option. A player like Polanco will be the type of players considered by the Cubs this off-season.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs’ payroll will be around $90-$100 million in 2013. The Cubs currently have around $60 million committed for next season according to Levine.

Carlos Marmol
Are Carlos Marmol’s days with the Cubs over? Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat on Tuesday that the Angels have had interest in Marmol in the past … then Patrick Mooney questioned how much longer Marmol will remain the Cubs’ closer. So will the Cubs be able to trade Carlos Marmol and the $9.8 million owed on the final year of his contract this winter?

After a rough start to the season (1-2 in 31 games with eight saves in 10 chances with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP), Carlos Marmol started listening to the coaching staff and put together an excellent second half (2-1 in 30 games with 12 saves in 13 chances with a 1.52 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP). Theo Epstein pointed out how well Marmol pitched in the second half and pointed to his improved fastball velocity.

Theo Epstein from Comcast SportsNet:

“Big punch-out rate, more strikes and then really significantly he did it in a completely different way. His fastball was really useable and really effective and that hasn’t been seen around here from him, maybe ever. That was a great sign, because I think it’s more likely to be repeated next year. He’s got two really viable pitches now. If he had just been a straight-out slider monster and happened to lock in his slider for a couple months and faced some aggressive hitters, I wouldn’t be as optimistic about him as I am now, because he’s got two weapons to go at hitters with again.”

According to Comcast SportsNet, “the Cubs are trying to stockpile power arms through the draft and build their bullpen from within.” So where does Carlos Marmol fit in?

News and Notes
The Cubs finally announced the hiring of Derek Johnson on Tuesday. The Cubs officially named Johnson their new Minor League Pitching Coordinator.

The Cubs still have several positions in player development left to be filled. The Cubs are expected to announce the coaching staffs for all of their Minor League affiliates in the coming days. The Cubs also have to hire a new Minor League Field Coordinator, Latin America Field Coordinator and up to two spots on the athletic trainer staff.

The Cubs outrighted Justin Germano off the 40-man roster and assigned him to Triple-A last week. Germano decided to test the market on Tuesday and elected for free agency.

Due to the new national television contract signed by MLB, each team will receive an additional $25 million per year under the new broadcast contract.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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  • SuzyS

    The one thing we haven’t talked about…last year, the Cubs had a $200 million budget for all baseball operations…With the CBA limitations on draft and international signings…their budget for the minor leagues should go down a bit AND be fairly easy for the organization to project. They can’t say they are dumping ALL their investments into the minor leagues….AND that should free up more $$$ for their major league budget.
    While Josh Johnson would be a great addition to the staff…I don’t see the Cubs giving up the minor league talent required in a trade for him….I could see them making a run at him if he hits FA after next year.

    • Aaron

      LOL….seems we both kind of posted the same thing about Johnson at precisely the same time.

      As for the budget, they could make the argument that the added staff, etc., facilities and operating costs would approach that threshold. But only if the team spends $90-100 million on the big league payroll as Levine suggests.

      That’s why the team could take on Haren, Johnson, PLUS a FA starter like Liriano, and still be under that amount. If they end up getting all 3, then you could see them trading Garza for whatever they can get, and that’d preferably be a high ceiling power arm, starting pitcher and a 3B prospect. The Tigers could make sense with Castellanos as a part of an expanded deal to include Barney, Smyly, and someone like Bruce Rondon

    • Tony_Hall

      Buster Olney did a look at each team’s off-season.

      http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/8568597/early-looks-big-offseason-decisions-facing-all-30-teams-mlb

      On the Cubs he stated that if they can improve the team long term they will do that, but that they do have a lot of money to spend but have to be careful to not squander their financial advantages.

      If JH was still GM in this situation, he would spend every dollar on what was available this year, and would also make the payroll maxed out for the next couple of years. As Buster states, it is smarter to not squander the financial advantage the Cubs have, just because they have money to spend. It doesn’t mean they will all take out bonus’s because their is cash in a bank account, but to be successful long term, they need to have the cash to make the additions, when the players are smart to add, and not just spend it because you have cash in your pocket.

      I feel the Cubs will be able to start “buying” young players from other teams that want to move them, because they are getting more expensive. Salaries are going to go up, way up again for the best players, as teams have more coming in from new TV deals, then ever before.

      • cubtex

        If ANY GM was trying to win and is in a big market they would spend money and put the best product on the field.

        • paulcatanese

          Just a silly little question Cubtex. What GM are you talking about, certainly not Hoyer, or the manager Sveum.

          Mr. Epstein runs the whole show, I rarely see any of the other names out there when things are going on.

          Not that their is anything wrong with that, but why did the Cubs even bother to sign a GM when Epstein has the say so?

          Very little power there beyond Epstein.

          • paulcatanese

            And Cubtex, as an added point. Baker,Johnson,
            Theriot, Derosa, and Zambrano are now free agents again, what a group of has-beens. I see the Cubs bringing one or more back, as they fit the mold of cheap or has-beens, and one year deals.

          • John_CC

            Baker, Johnson and Zambrano were all traded by Epstein/Hoyer…these guys are NOT Jim Hendry … who I would not put it past to try to bring back Z or Theriot or whoever.

            But, Epstein and Hoyer would never re-sign any of these guys because they are all past their prime too old. Of course they had to fill holes last year but none of them were old washed up veterans. Rather, they were all players with past promise, low floor / high ceiling players. Hole pluggers in a lost season. All these guys you mention, none of them are the type of player the Cubs will pursue because they are all low floor / low ceiling players that you know exactly what they will give, which is most likely less than they did the year before because they are all on the downside of their careers.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I had made that post as a funny, I would also imagine they would not bring anyone of them back under any circumstances.

          • John_CC

            You’re an enigma Paul! I can never get a read on when you’re being sarcastic or not.

          • paulcatanese

            John. lucky for me, neither can my wife.

            All kidding aside, I should have put a smiley face at the end of the post, my bad.

          • cubtex

            The thing I have been saying is that IF Ricketts wanted a full blown rebuild…..he didn’t need to pay for a GM like Theo. This is not brain surgery or difficult to do it the way Theo is. Now….if they were trying to win and re-build at the same time then I would understand the big name front office.

          • RynoTiger

            such a beautiful example of being a “fan board” Owner or GM.

          • Cubtex

            How is a small market rebuild unique or difficult? Is he reinventing the wheel here? Be real

          • RynoTiger

            i think you’re letting your saltyness blind you. i didn’t say anything about a small market rebuild. if rebuilding an organzization and changing it’s culture was so easy, any Joe Cubtex off of the street could have submitted his or her resume and been considered and hired.

          • Tony_Hall

            Paul – the front office is so much more evolved now then in the past, that you have to have many people to stay on top of everything. Theo is the final say on everything, yet Hoyer concentrates on the MLB team, while others take care of their area. They all report up to Theo, who, as the boss, can make the final decision whenever he wants to.

        • RynoTiger

          essentially doesn’t that mean, just throw money at a problem and it’s solved?

          problem is, it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem and fix the foundation.

        • Tony_Hall

          So you are saying, that smart business people, would spend the money they have today, to improve the team…today. Even if the value is just not there, and they feel it will be next year.

          Sorry, but smart business people, save their money, when there is no value, and spend it when it makes sense. I have seen the Yankees, have money they could spend in an off-season, yet pass on the big names available, because they are not worthy of the big money, only to spend even more the next year when real difference makers are available.

          Timing is everything. JH spent on Soriano, but if he had waited he could have better players who were true difference makers the next year, for the same money. By just doing that, showing patience, he may still be calling the shots.

          • Cubtex

            So if a GM is judged by wins and losses and you have resources to pick up better players…..you don’t? Name one GM who wouldn’t? Your boy Theo did it in Boston. Did you forget the John Lackeys and Carl Crawfords? This is a totally unique situation.

          • Tony_Hall

            There are years where the top players available are not true difference makers, like when Soriano was signed by JH. The smart teams stay away from the big money deals in those years and just look to add complimentary players and save the money for the next year or for adding a high priced player at mid-season.

            And yes for the 1000th time you have posted that Theo, as GM, signed Lackey and Crawford, both of whom were highly sought after FA’s, who didn’t meet expectations. As you know, he made the decision on his own, with no input from anyone below him and with no one above him pushing him to add those guys. It was all his fault they were signed and all his fault that they didn’t perform up to expectations.

          • Cubtex

            You act like Hendry is the only GM to pay for a FA. Soriano had zero other offers right? Lackey had terrible career numbers at Fenway but for some reason Theo overpaid everyone for his services. My point is that if a GM is trying to win in a big market and the owner gives him $ to spend……who wouldn’t? There are no guarantees for next year. Ned Colletti went from no money with Mcourt to huge pockets with Magic. Only Theo in a big market is not judged on wins and losses

          • Tony_Hall

            No many teams have paid for FA, pretty much every year they all end up somewhere. And most of the high priced ones turn out bad, as almost all high priced FA’s are over paid, as the winning bid has to be higher than anyone else is willing to go…therefore that team overpaid what any other team would be willing to pay.

            So if I have you correct, you would go out and spend all the money they have available to sign free agents, this year, to make the team competitive in 2013, regardless of how many years these guys may have to be signed for and not whether it is just a short term need versus a long term need.

          • Cubtex

            Who is saying ALL of their money? I am saying if a team is trying to win and there are players out there who are upgrades why wouldn’t you pick them up. I am not talking about Carl Crawford here… I am talking Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson….. Not Kevin Youkilis… Not Scott Rolen. Upgrades that aren’t bargain blue light specials. Big Market teams don’t act like the Pirates.

          • Tony_Hall

            I thought you were saying if the owner gives them money to spend, they should spend it.

            I am all for Sanchez, E Jackson types and think they will go after at least 1 SP through FA and offer more money per year, on a shorter term deal, than a guy can get elsewhere. They also may go the route of a SP who wants a 1 year deal, to try to improve their value for next year.

            I think if they can improve 3B, RF, 2 SP’s and the bullpen they will do that, and they have stated this as well. Not sure what you are complaining about then. You don’t have to over pay in FA to prove you are a big market. Big market teams wrap up young talent like they did with Castro and will soon do with Rizzo and they would go out and flex their muscle and sign a guy like Soler. These are better moves long term for the franchise than signing overpaid 30 somethings who are about to decline.

          • Tony_Hall

            Also, why do you say Theo isn’t judged on wins and losses and he is the only one?

            Do you think the Astros guys should be judged on wins and losses only?

            Or is there a bigger picture that they are working on in Houston?

            Is Houston a small market that they should get a pass on rebuilding?

            Last time I checked Houston is just slightly smaller than Chicago, as the 4th largest city in the US.

            Also it seems like the New York Mets are rebuilding as well. That is the #1 largest city in the US.

            That the thing that has never happened before, large market teams rebuilding, is currently going on in 3 of the largest 4 cities in the US.

          • Cubtex

            Didn’t the Astros manager get fired? Do the Astros have a following like the Cubs? Do the Astros draw as many fans as the Cubs? Not even close. Mets will be competitive next year. Have you seen their pitching staff? They picked up David Wright’t option and they didn’t lose 100 games. I guarantee you that Meta fans would not tolerate a 3 or 4 year rebuild with not being competitive

          • Tony_Hall

            Who cares if the Astros manager got fired, does that mean you think Sveum should be fired?

            The Mets may be competitive next year, but they have finished 4th out of 5 teams for the last 4 years….

          • Cubtex

            You always say JH would do this. Open your eyes and see what Theo did in Boston. He made more blunders than jH ever made. Boston Globe and Dan Shaughnessy have been writing articles like crazy about how Theo ruined Boston. How he got credit for Dan Duquettes framework for the WS. Very good articles. Google…who is Theo responsible for Red Sox problems

          • Tony_Hall

            I actually gave an example of what JH did do, and everytime JH had money to spend, he spent it that year, plus some of the next years in advance. Now if JH had a 2nd chance would he do it differently, very possible. He would probably follow the direction of his boss, just like he did with the Cubs and just like Theo did in Boston and is doing in Chicago.

            You are right though, I have finally gotten it, Theo is the worst GM in the history of baseball….with 2 World Series rings to show for it….of course he should get ZERO credit for it, as the wins were due to others, but the bad signings were all him.

          • Cubtex

            Now you get it.

          • Tony_Hall

            I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound…with your biased hatred for Theo…and I know I am biased the other way, as I actually see what they are doing, and understand the plan they have told us they are doing, and think they have done a good job in 1 year of changing the direction of this organization to one that is going to have a strong farm system, that will produce major league players, so that FA is a supplement not the source for your major league rosters players, which is going to be extremely important as FA’s keep being expensive and still in their 30’s and without the aide of PED’s, these will be mostly years of decline.

          • cubtex

            I understand the plan 100% as well Tony. I have said and will maintain that Theo is the most overrated GM in baseball. In his tenure with Boston he drafted 2 starting pitchers who have been above average…..Clay Buccholz and Justin Masterson. Name a trade that he has made over the last 5 years that is considered a steal???? I rank Theo in the bottom half of GM’s in baseball and for some reason he gets a free pass. Had Ricketts not pursued him….he would have been out of a job with Boston and might have never gotten another gm job again. The only argument that you seem to have is his 2 WS rings. One of those he was the benefactor of what Dan Duquette did….and I had pointed out many times that Boston averaged the #2 payroll in baseball under his guidance. You know as well as I that the best team doesn’t always win the WS. Look at the last 3 years as an example. You need some luck and Boston certainly got some the year they won. I am about what have you done for me lately. This type of re-build and changing the culture is a bunch of BS. How is the culture in Boston? Who laid the framework for that culture? You win by putting better players on the field year to year. There are no guarantees for next year. Everyone on here is excited about Soler and Almora. I am as well…..but there is no guarantee these players will be stars is there? There are risks with any young player. As I have argued with you about Hak Ju Lee. Here is a kid who repeated AA and still hit .260. You can’t assume these young players will continue to produce at each level. I have seen it firsthand with so many players. It is a whole different ballgame now building a team through the draft. You can’t draft a Rick Porcello in the 20’s anymore and overpay to sign him. You can’t draft a Samardjija in the 3rd round and pay him to sign. You need to make shrewd trades and sign FA along with building through the draft. IF Theo continues to sell this song and dance on doing it the “right” way and sustained playoff teams…..this will be a 4 or 5 year process. The A’s and O’s and Pirates have to do it this way due to $. The Cubs don’t. As I have said many times…….you can win and be competitive very quickly by building a strong starting rotation. Look at the Giants. Look at that starting 8 and they won 2 WS in 3 years! Every opportunity should have been to aquire young starting pitching with the trade chips they had. It is ridiculous that Dempster,Marshall,Cashner,Maholm only brought back Travis Wood and Vizcaino. The NL Central is not the AL East. I can’t stand that he threw away this year and it looks like he is going to throw away another year.

      • DWalker

        another thing is a lot of money was spent last year on buyouts/cash in trades, and probably a lot more was earmarked for a handful of buyouts that never happened. This year, theres only a couple of buyouts still plausable, and they each have one less year on their contract and are way better looking players then they looked this time last year.
        A lot of their decsions are going to be based on if 14, 15, or 16 is their target year. If 14 is now a year they think they can be competitive, they might look to make a bit more of a splash picking up cornerstone multi year players. I think no matter what though, you are right and that the big focus will be this year on buying younger players who can be locked up longer term and most of their 25 man additions will be has been, wannabe’s and almost were’s in the hope of finding another maholm.

  • cubtex

    I think Ervin Santana would be very good in the NL. He has great stuff. He had an off year but still gave up less hits per IP. He is still only 29 and if they could get him……I bet he bounces back and they might be able to flip him later in the year to a contender for a big haul.

    • John_CC

      I’m all for giving Ervin a shot as well.

  • cubs1967

    someone has to say this: Barney credited Sandberg for teaching him the position…………BUT Sandberg can’t be a manager for the Cubs.
    Good job! Ricketts-JH-team Theo.
    just disgusting!

    • John_CC

      I guess SOMEONE did have to say it…

      Do you know how silly and immature this sounds? Who won the GG at every other position? Are all of those players’ minor league managers MLB Managers now? But they should be! Disgusting!

  • cubsron10

    I think that the Cubs should maybe sign Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez) to a minor league deal or a spring training invite and i would kinda like to see the Cubs sign Mark Reynolds to an incentive type of deal, then if he does do good they might be able to trade him at the deadline.

    • ChadAudio

      Mark Reynolds is the complete opposite of the kind of hitter Theo is looking for… not going to happen

  • paulcatanese

    The injury(thumb), wasn’t that an off the field, non-playing injury that happened to him? Thumb, dumb. The post wandered down the page, I was talking about Baez, edited a few seconds ago.

  • cubtex

    Casey Mcghee is available as a stopgap for 3B???? I would rather have him over there instead of Valbuena.

    • Tony_Hall

      I know this won’t be popular, but I bet they bring back Stewart (even if he starts in AAA) and could then pair that with someone like a McGhee, who really wouldn’t block Stewart if he looks healthy.

      • Tom U

        Logan Watkins named to replace Javier Baez in the AFL.

        • Tony_Hall

          Tom – Any idea why Watkins wasn’t there to begin with after this past year? I have to believe he will see Wrigley in 2013.

          • Tom U

            Tony, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense that your 22 year old Player of the the Year isn’t asked to go to the AFL, but a 19 year old Single -A player who struggled in his last month is.

            Four of the seven assigned did make a lot of sense. The organization wanted to see what they had in Nick Struck and Dae-Eun Rhee. And since Matt Szczur and Rubi Silva didn’t have a full season at Double-A.

            But Zac Rosscup and Tony Zych were real head-scratchers. Neither had the success you would have like to have seen at Tennessee, although Zych is acquitting himself. Kevin Rhoderick was actually a good selection to replace Rosscup, and except for one poor outing, has been a pleasent surprise.

            As for Baez, I don’t want to spread unsubstantiated rumors, but there is a lot of scuttlebut as to why he is in Arizona.

          • Aaron

            Tom,
            Could you please humor me with what is being said of Baez?

      • paulcatanese

        Actually Tony, I agree on Stewart, they very well could bring him back. They will see how he responds in ST
        after that injury and if ok, he will be back.

        • ChadAudio

          Yeah, honestly, the options just aren’t very good at 3B at all.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Ervin Santana and cash to the Royals for lefty reliever Brandon Sisk

    • John_CC

      Wow. A minor league reliever. Santana is a big risk, but worth that I’d say.

      • Tony_Hall

        A lot of money for Santana for 1 year. Sisk is a lefty on lefty specialist, and considering the Angels were going to drop them, that is about all they could get.

        If we do a deal like this with the Angels, I would much prefer Haren.

  • Aaron

    Neil,

    If suggestions of Barney for Smyly (or some derivative) are true, I would do something like that in a heartbeat.

    I also look at potential trades like Josh Johnson, and wonder what the Marlins would demand. He makes $13.75 million next year though, and he’s a lot like Garza at this point in his career. Both have high quality stuff, but never seemed to put it all together. Johnson does have a slight leg up on Garza with his 2010 season with a 2.30 ERA…

    But given his injury history, high salary, and what the Cubs had to give up for Garza (2 top prospects in Lee and Archer, 2 mid-levels in Guyer and Chirinos, and 1 quad-A type in Fuld)….it’d be like the Cubs giving up Maples, Baez, Lake, Clevenger, and LaHair…and there’s no way I could see them giving up Baez for Johnson, who turns 29 next year. I would probably bring a contingent of fans to Wrigley, demanding Team Theo resign their positions if that happened.

    The Marlins now need a 3B (after dealing Ramirez), a 2B (after dealing Infante), a 1B (after dealing Sanchez, plus the fact that Lee is likely a goner), and OF help. Then, they’d need a replacement for Johnson in the rotation.

    The Cubs could help them at every turn with a package like this:

    Travis Wood-decent pitcher for their park

    Vitters-solves their 3B depth issue, and has no future with the Cubs

    LaHair-solves their 1B issue as a bridge to a real prospect

    Barney-solves their 2B issue

    Cubs solve a number of issues with this move, including freeing up a net of three 40-man spots.

    The way you have to look at it is this….

    Johnson-replaces Wood in the rotation

    Valbuena/Lake-replace Vitters (both already on 40-man)

    Bour-replaces LaHair on the roster, as he’s played 1B and LF

    *this could also be filled by a FA

    Watkins-replaces Barney, and is a speedier and lefty version of him, which helps diversify the lineup (will likely be added anyway to the 40-man)

    The ideal thing would be to not have to include Barney in that deal above, and trade him straight up (plus maybe a low-level arm if absolutely necessary) for Smyly.

    That way, the Cubs would be adding Smyly’s rookie level deal, Johnson’s $13 million, and they’d be around the $73 million payroll level. Then, they could deal Marmol to the Angels for Haren (both have 1 year left on their deals), and they’d add around $5 million net to their payroll in that deal. That takes them up to $78 million. Then, they could sign someone like Liriano, Jackson, etc. for $11-13 million, which would take them up to around $90 million. For the last $10 million as Levine suggests, they could go after a BJ Upton for the OF.

    The rotation could potentially look like this:
    Garza
    Samardzija
    Johnson
    Smyly
    Liriano

    Lineup something like this:
    C-Castillo
    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Watkins
    SS-Castro
    3B-Lake/Valbuena
    LF-Soriano (or Delmon Young if they can unload Soriano)
    CF-Upton
    RF-DeJesus

    The Cubs could then have up to 4 lefties in the lineup to give more balance. As it stands now, they’d have 3 at most with DeJesus, Valbuena, and Rizzo. By adding Upton and Young, they add youth, while giving Soler and Almora more time to develop. I am assuming Jackson has about zero chance of improving, as he looked dreadful at the plate last year…not even close to MLB caliber. 2-3 year deals for Upton and Young would accomplish that, plus DeJesus comes off the books. That’s the smart way of doing it , at least IMHO.

  • John G

    How about Carlos Marmol to the Tigers for Jose Valverde? JK

  • Brp921

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Upton played some third base as well? I’m all for signing B J Upton in any scenario.

  • cubtex

    I heard the Tigers are more likely to deal Porcello. I would do a Barney for Porcello deal in a heartbeat as well. Barney has probably reached his ceiling and given the fact he can play SS as well as 2B might entice the Tigers. Barney has more range at SS than Perralta and the Tigers were exposed defensively this year and was a big reason why they couldn’t finish the job. If they plan on keeping Cabrera at 3B and Fielder at 1B…..they could use a good glove like Barney. If the Tigers can sign Anibal Sanchez(I know they want to)…..that makes sense for both teams.

  • John_CC

    Are you nuts? I’d take Marmol over Valverde everyday! Valverde is a train wreck…the luckiest closer in baseball.

  • Aaron

    He’s played 2B, 3B, SS, CF, and LF. He wasn’t really given a shot at the infield, because he had a lot of errors when he was 19, 21, and 22 years old respectively. It just wasn’t enough time, and he was too young. Even so, coming up through the minors as a SS, he had 56, 35, and 53 errors in 3 straight seasons. At any level, that is completely unacceptable. He did much better when he went back down to learn 3B, but the Rays had seen enough. Having said that, the Rays wisely used his athleticism in the OF, and he’s done just fine there, which is the primary reason they haven’t moved him back to the IF.

    A lot of people knock Upton for his free-swinging ways, but I find it hard to believe he’s completely lost all plate discipline, given this line from the minors:

    .295/.391/.454. That is an extremely high OBP for a guy that was as young as he was at every single level he was at through the system

    18 yrs old-single A, AA

    19 yrs old-AA, AAA, MLB

    20 yrs old-AAA

    21 yrs old-MLB

    At the MLB level, he’s had 2 above average OBP years with these lines:

    .300/.386/.508

    .273/.383/.401 (97 walks that year)

    If the Cubs really believe in Rowson and their new hitting philosophy, then it’d be wise to take a flier on a guy that has a proven OBP ability and the minors, as well as some success at the MLB level. PLUS, the dude has 30+hr, 90+RBI potential (28 hr and 82 RBI are his largest numbers to date), and he’s stolen as many as 44 bases in the minors.

    As much as Cubs fans (including myself) want to anoint Jackson, Almora, and Soler as the OF of the future, it’s simply foolish to expect them to even come close to Upton’s proven numbers. I would much rather use one of them as bait for a top arm (other than Soler).

    If they could sign Upton for 2-3 years at $10-12 million per year, I’d do it in a heartbeat

  • Aaron

    He was joking…didn’t know that you saw the “JK” (just kidding) at the end

  • paulcatanese

    Baez?? Thats where I envision him, sounds like
    Upton had the same experience. Both are athletic and Upton was moved to the outfield, why not Baez?

  • John_CC

    Thanks, I did miss that…Sorry John G!

  • John G

    I figured that you didn’t catch that. The point was that they’re both train wrecks. Valverde just chose to do it on a much bigger stage, in a more spectacular fashion. Maybe he’ll learn some humility from the experience.