Weekend Update … Cubs Off-Season Work Continues

Baseball’s off-season figures to be rather busy over the next few weeks leading into the holidays. Teams are not done and that includes the Cubs. Even with Zack Greinke reportedly agreeing to terms on a six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers several big name players are still on the market and while the Cubs are not in the mix for those players, the deals they are working on will be held up until other pieces fall into place.

The Cubs are looking for pitching, both relievers and starters, a right-handed hitting utility infielder and help in the outfield.

The Cubs should name their minor league managers and coaching staffs in the coming days. Brian Harper will reportedly make the jump to Triple-A and will be named the hitting coach for the I-Cubs.

The Cubs should make the signings of Nate Schierholtz and Ian Stewart official this week. Once again, they will have to make at least one roster move to clear a spot on the 40-man to add both players. Jed Hoyer said Saturday afternoon they have a couple of “irons in the fire” and holes they are still looking to fill.

Jed Hoyer
The Cubs’ GM joined Jesse Rogers during Chicago’s Game Day (ESPN 1000) on Saturday afternoon. In bullet point format, here are a few of the highlights from Jed Hoyer’s conversation.

  • So far it has been a productive off-season for the Cubs. Hoyer is glad they were aggressive early with the signings of Scott Baker and Scott Feldman with the way the cost of starting pitching has escalated in the last few weeks.
  • Hoyer acknowledged the Cubs will have a couple of “small deals” to announce in the coming days. (Note: Hoyer was responding to a question about agreeing to terms on contracts with Nate Schierholtz and Ian Stewart)
  • The Cubs have a couple of irons in the fire and have holes they are still looking to fill this off-season. It is still early in the off-season, not late as some feel after the Winter Meetings. The Cubs are looking to add pieces before camp begins in Mesa.
  • Most teams have 30-35 people with them during the Winter Meetings. Each day is full of meetings with agents, about the organization, etc. Eight to ten years ago there were more meetings with teams than there are now. With the way communication has changed, the Winter Meetings are more about teams meeting with agents. Teams can now communicate through the smartphones about deals they may or may not be working on and no longer have to meet face to face.
  • There was a lot of talk about players during the meetings. There is typically a room attached to a team’s suite during the meetings. There are seven-eight meetings per day with agents that last around 20 minutes. Agents use the meetings in order to get the best deals they can for their clients. Hoyer described the meetings “as turbo charged” for agents because they can go from team to team and play one against the other quicker.
  • Jesse Rogers asked about the one-year contracts the Cubs are signing players to and not multi-year contracts. Hoyer said they generally prefer short-term deals with free agents because it limits the risk. There is a lot more risk involved for teams signing players to long term contracts. The Cubs do not want to pay for past performance any more. Most players that hit free agency are past their prime. The day will come that the Cubs sign free agents to long term contracts.
  • The Cubs feel good about the pieces they added to the minor league system this year. Hoyer thinks they added players that will be part of the core moving forward. Their goal is to add at least two-three players each year to the core. Hoyer explained how important it is to have a strong core and a strong minor league system. The Nationals and Rangers are good examples of both. Having a strong system also provides insurance in case there are injuries at the big league level, plus those pieces can also be moved in order to make the big league team better … and that’s where the Cubs have to get.
  • From a baseball operations standpoint, the draft is the most important day of the year. Hoyer and Theo Epstein have confidence in Jason McLeod and his staff to make the right additions to the system. McLeod’s track record (Boston and San Diego) speaks for itself.
  • The Cubs have not gotten on base enough in the past. Hoyer said they are trying to change the culture in the organization but too many guys swing early and often during their at bats. It is not about walks, those are a byproduct of being a good hitter. It is about working the count, getting in hitter’s counts and getting into the other team’s bullpen as soon as possible.
  • Jesse Rogers asked about the fan base and how it is different from Boston and San Diego. Hoyer said the Cubs’ fan base is completely different than the one in San Diego and very similar to the one in Boston. Only a handful of teams have a fan base as loyal as the Cubs. Hoyer stressed they are working on building a winning organization. To win a World Series in Chicago would be the best championship in all of sports. The fan base has been great over the first year. Hoyer said they have been patient and their patience will be rewarded with a big pay off one day.

Jed Hoyer discussed a variety of topics on Thursday with XM/MLB Network Radio. Click here to read the entire interview.

Jim Deshaies
Crane Kenney and the Cubs introduced the Cubs new color analyst last week during the Winter Meetings. Len Kasper reportedly pushed for the hiring and the duo should have very entertaining and informative broadcasts.

The Cubs are locked into their current television contracts (WGN through the 2014 season and Comcast SportsNet through the 2019 season) but will have stability in the booth over the next four seasons. Jim Deshaies and Len Kasper are both under contract through the 2016 season as the Cubs.

News, Notes and Rumors
Jim Bowden reported on Thursday that the reason the Cubs pulled the deal off the table with the Angels for Dan Haren was the medicals. Bowden said Haren’s hip is a bigger problem than his back. As Bowden understands it, the hip is bone to bone and he will require at least two epidurals on his back to get through the season. Haren passed his physical on Friday and is officially a Washington National.

Dale Sveum said the much publicized (and criticized) bunting tournament will return in the spring.

During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) on Saturday morning, Bruce Levine defended his report that the Cubs discussed parameters of a deal with Ryan Dempster. Dempster has reportedly turned down two, two-year deals (two and $26 million from the Royals and two and $25 million from the Red Sox). Levine said the Cubs talked about a one-year deal that did not include a no-trade clause with Ryan Dempster. Dempster’s agent figures that once Zack Greinke signs Dempster will receive three-year offers. Dempster would prefer a National League team with a Spring Training home in Arizona according to Peter Gammons.

The Phillies acquired Michael Young from the Rangers on Saturday to play third base next season. According to multiple reports, the Phillies are still looking to add a setup man and other outfielders. Alfonso Soriano has been linked to the Phillies this off-season and according to Jeff Passan, Philly could still end up trading for an outfielder.

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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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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

    Greinke signed. Let’s see if the dominoes tumble.

  • Tony_Hall

    In today’s hot stove we are still early in the process. Some guys sign quickly, but many players wait until the winter meetings to have any type of talks with teams. And until the top guys start to sign, it creates a logjam of players and teams waiting for a decision. The hot stove isn’t even to full steam yet, as 47 players have signed and there are still 121 players left on the market. Now some guys have agreed and not signed and some guys will never find a home, but I think you can see that there are a lot of players left on the market. And just a reminder, almost all of them are on the wrong side of 30.

    Notable guys under 30

    Pitchers – I would take any of these guys, but Sanchez is too much money and I would rather have the other 3 for the $$
    Edwin Jackson 29
    Francisco Liriano 29
    Anibal Sanchez 28
    Carlos Villaneuva 29

    SS – Stephen Drew 29
    CF – Michael Bourn 29
    DH – Delmon Young 27

    Not a very long list when you consider there are over 100 FA’s still available.

    Who already signed under 30 (not by the Cubs)

    Jonathan Broxton (28) 3 yrs $21M
    Melky Cabrera (28) 2 years $16M
    Zach Greinke (29) 6 years $147M
    James Loney (28) 1 yr $2M
    Russell Martin (29) 2 yrs $17M
    Brandon McCarthy (29) 2 yrs $15.5M
    BJ Upton (28) 5 yrs $75M

    So out of those, only McCarthy would I take the guy with the contract. M Cabrera could be a good signing, but I think Toronto is a better landing spot for him to get back into baseball, and Chicago would have been very bad.

    Good young players just don’t make it to FA anymore. Not without flaws that make the original team willing to let them leave or without major financial demands.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I noticed you did not list Zach Greinke. He’s 29. And yes, I’d want him to pitch.

      James Loney….I guess the Red Sox are moving away from an offensive team to a Punch and Judy approach like the Cubs. Let’s see how that plays in Boston.

      • Tony_Hall

        Missed him. Not sure I would pay him that contract. He is a #2 or even in the class of 1a, but no way is he worth that contract. 6 years $147M, almost $25M per year.

        I added him to my list above.

      • Tony_Hall

        Speaking of the Dodgers. They are doing what so many on here wish the Cubs would do. Spend money. Show us you want to win by spending money.

        This team should be good this year and maybe next, but if they don’t win and win soon, this team will be old and very expensive.

        • Zack Greinke is about to earn approximately $147 million through 2018.
        • Adrian Gonzalez is owed $127 million through 2018.
        • Carl Crawford is due $102.5 million through 2017.
        • Matt Kemp has $108 million coming through 2019.
        • Andre Ethier is owed $85 million through 2017.

        That is $569.5M

        That is only 5 players.

        They still need to extend their BEST pitcher. If Greinke received $147M, Kershaw will want a lot more….$200M anyone.

        Now if this is because their new TV deal is going to allow them to afford these type of payrolls and still be able to keep adding players, then I can’t wait for the Cubs to get their 1st TV deal, in this big dollar era, when not negotiating with themselves. Because they will break the bank as well.

        • Brp921

          I don’t know how many people here want to spend money just to spend money, or just to show they are trying to win. Personally I like the idea of rebuilding from the bottom and only adding the expensive free agents when you feel you have a team in place where it is felt that the addition of one or two guys can get you over the top .However, with the changes in the new CBA and the rule changes in international signings slowing down the rebuild process for big market teams I felt this year the Cubs had a great opportunity, with the dollars they have coming off the books, to add enough talent to make them competitive in their division without jeopardizing the futre. Who knows what could happen in the playoffs once you get in. There have been some surprises in the recent past. Fans are paying big market prices to see the Cubs play. Last year it was understandable that the Cubs didn’t have the money to spend with what they were already spending. This year, as it stands now they (correct me if I’m wrong) will have one of the lower paid teams in baseball. I proposed earlier that they should try to sign BJ Upton, Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez. I think then the Cubs would have a team that would be competitive with a real chance of making the playoffs and not block anyone in the future. I did not realize at that time that Upton would cost us our first round draft pick which of course would be a mistake, but there were, and still are, other guys out there. The new front office’s stated plan was to put the best team they could on the field, as long as they didn’t hinder themselves in the future. Up to this point in this offseason, in my opinion, they have not done what they said they would do. I am willing to be patient, but as fans we should hold them accountable and not give them a pass just because they’ve had success elsewhere.

          • Tony_Hall

            Michael Bourn is out there, he will cost that same pick. Signing guys to a lot of money that won’t perform up to the contract you give them is a short sighted plan. Upton might all of sudden learn to hit for a higher average or increase his OBP by leaps and bounds, but otherwise he was way overpaid for the production he will give a team. I like E Jackson and A Sanchez and until they sign, they are still available and you just never know what might happen. Sanchez I think will get his deal, but Jackson looks to be headed to a 1, 2, or at best 3 year deal, all of which I believe the Cubs will be interested in doing. Just because they didn’t overbid someone else doesn’t mean they didn’t want the player. There is a point where it just doesn’t make sense and you let some other teams GM overpay the player.

            There is also this understanding of how much more will you get out of player A, versus player B. Sometimes the difference in production doesn’t justify the difference in cost.

            As far as the Cubs having one of the lower payrolls, let’s wait until Opening Day to determine what the Opening Day payroll will be. The team could look different if they can pull off a few trades between now and then. Plus, you never know what player may not get their multi year offer and be looking for a team that they can play for, pay them market value or above on a 1 year deal….Theo and Jed might just get a few of those late Jan/early Feb signings that we see other teams do, seemingly every year.

            I get where people are coming from, but if anyone thought this was a one year turn around and then they were going to abandon their stated plan, just to appease fans….then you didn’t really believe Theo when he said he was going to build this team from the ground up and that they would field as competitive a team as possible, as long as it doesn’t take from the long term plan. Take a look at the minors. We are loaded with talent at the lower levels, but not at AA or AAA. This next year the talent should move up to AA, where we are strong, and then the next year AAA. That doesn’t mean that the major league team won’t have players coming up this year and next, they will, but in 2 years, we should have that steady flow of talent coming up to Wrigley, and then you will see a team that is going to be competitive every year.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

            The Cubs’ 1st round pick is protected.

          • Brp921

            At this point in time only a world championship would warrant giving up our first round draft pick. While not out of the realm of possibility, you wouldn’t be going to far out on a limb to say the Cubs probably won’t win a world championship by signing the guys I mentioned above.
            I wouldn’t want to pay Bourne a lot of money at his age because once his speed is gone he doesn’t have to much left to make him worth it. They could have afforded BJ Upton though, even if he’s a little overpaid, and that’s what you have to do to sign the better free agents. Say what you will about all the new stats, to me run production is what counts and BJ Upton produces runs. But enough about that we could debate free agents all day and still disagree and thats not really the discussion here. My point is simply that there is money there that they could have put a better team on the field this year than what they have and they would not have to hinder the future by doing so. I know the off season isn’t over but I don’t see them making much of a splash, if they do I will gladly eat my words.
            I would agree with you in most instances that there comes a point where your better off letting someone else overpay a player. This year though I think is one of the years that the Cubs could’ve overpaid. They have the money available and no clearcut favorite in their division. Who knows maybe we catch lightening in a bottle.
            Now let’s assume for a minute that the worst case scenario comes true and the Cubs have a low payroll this year. Let me ask you, does Tom Ricketts need the 50 to 60 million dollars he’s saving more than you need the $500 it will cost you to take your family to a game next year. Another question, if the Cubs did the impossible and won a championship by overpaying a couple of free agents would we be worrying then about how much money they cost.
            Last but not least I did believe Theo when he said he would put the most competitve team on the field as he could without hurting the team in the future, it’s just that so far this year I haven’t seen him do that.

          • triple

            I think they are going about it the right way. Say they did what they needed to get Upton, Jackson, and Sanchez. Does that really turn us into a team that can contend for the world series? Trading for Upton would further deplete the farm system instead of replenish it. Maybe the Cubs could sneak into the playoffs, but they wouldn’t be a postseason threat. Then they’d also draft around 20 spots lower in the draft and wouldn’t be able to draft impact talent. Same with the next year. Then they are stuck where they are now. They need to rebuild the farm system and this really is the only way. It’s not the sexy choice, but I do believe its the right choice. The big part about the statement about rebuilding that you mentioned is “without jeopardizing the future.” That’s exactly what they would be doing if they put more long-term/big number contracts on their books right now, not to mention trading prospects for Upton.

            After another year when Theo and Co. can really assess where they are at in the process (how close our own prospects are), you may see them sign a free agent who’s more appealing than Nate Schierholtz or Scott Feldman. For now, I’m really fine with those signings as they still offer hope for the future, not more walls to take down to get there. Just think if they were even offering any of these guys 2 year contracts? Now that would be something to be up in arms about. And yes I know Fujikawa did get a 2 year contract, but he should actually be able to strengthen the bullpen, and makes Marmol much more expendable.

          • Brp921

            The Upton I mentioned was BJ Upton and he was a free agent. I also said that once I realized he would cost us our 1st round pick that it would be a mistake to sign him. I think you, Tony and maybe some others are missing my point which is: The Cubs had the opportunity to spend some money available, from finished or traded contracts, on free agents this off season that would improve the team in 2013 without hindering their future. If they had done so they could have made themselves more competitive within their division. We all know that if you make the playoffs anything could happen. Theo Epstein stated that his goal was to put the best team on the field that he could as long as it didn’t hurt them in the future. They haven’t, at least to this point, this off season done that. The result of that will be the ownership saving an extra fifty to sixty million dollars while earning the same amount money they received while having a large payroll. I’m just not ok with that, that’s all.

          • Tony_Hall

            This 50-60 million that the team is saving…where do you think this money goes.

            Theo made sure when he was hired that if he built up cash, by not spending it just to spend it, that he would be able to spend in future years, just like Ricketts said when he said they wouldn’t take any money out of the Cubs. He was told YES, he could do that. So this savings you are talking about is just that a savings account with lots of cash, so that when he wants to add to this team in future years and cash is needed, he will have lots of it.

          • Brp921

            Tom Ricketts seems like an honest enough guy, though his dad controls the purse strings, so I beleive I’ll take the “spend it later” statement with a grain of salt. Besides the time to add free agents, if you can afford them and they fit your plan, is when they are available and will make you better. For the Cubs that opportunity was this year. I’m being redundant, but Theo stated the plan was to put the best team on the field as possible without hindering the future. Again that’s my point, thats all I’m saying. I think we should all hold him accountable and not just say that’s ok he won two world series in Boston so he’ll win here, and give him a blind pass.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can’t say that this FA class was one that made me want to dive into. I actually don’t believe the big money will be spent on free agents, as much as other teams players they can’t afford, that the Cubs will trade for and then extend and our own players that are true difference makers. Of course if they are smart and wrap up guys early, then it can make for a lower payroll then the teams that wait on guys (like JH did with Garza, instead of extending him right away). Etiher way I get your point, but just don’t see this as the year to dive into the 30 something jackpot bonanza.

      • calicub

        Um. James Loney just signed with the Rays to replace your boy Carlos “Mendoza Line” Pena. The BoSox on the other hand just added Napoli to play 1st. I think he has a bit more pop potential…

        • Ripsnorter1

          Thanks for the correction.

          Who would want a 1B slugging .336 like Loney did last year? Gag. Can’t win many games like that.

          Concerning Carlos Pena…To be technical about it, Mario Mendoza hit .215 for his career. Mr. Pena has not achieved that success in 2 of the last 3 years. Look how Wrigley pads the stats with that .225 marker he hit for us in 2011.

          Anyway, maybe it should be Carlos “Below the Mendoza line” Pena.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

      Chris young, the CF, is not a FA.

      • Tony_Hall

        I thought that didn’t sound right, but didn’t check it. The point was more the limited number of guys under 30 that you would want to add. I took him off.

    • TheWrongGuy

      Out of that list of under 30’s yet to sign. I can see 1 name the Cub’s would sign given what they have already signed. Carlos Villaneuva as he looking to be a starter and the Cub’s FO is looking for starters and looking to improve the bullpen. Villaneuva has done both, he would probably be the best fit for our needs. He can start, with the unknown health currently of Garza, Baker, for the start of the season , would make this signing very interesting and give us some stability in the pen if a starter goes down. Yet this is the key with him, word is he only want to be a starter.

      Thats my 2 cents worth.

  • Ripsnorter1

    I don’t know who wants to spend the mega bucks for FAs on this board. Myself, I didn’t want Pujols, Carl Crawford or Cecil Fielder’s boy, Prince.

    Remember the rule: big contracts weigh heavy on the mind, and performance is often off the career line by 25% or more.

    But I do think that the Cubs could have both rebuilt and been competitive. Unless you think that you must have the #1 or #2 pick in the draft, there is no reason to run your fan base into the ground, esp. with some of the most costly seats in MLB.

    Let’s sign Jackson and Sanchez. Then look at the rotation:

    Samardzija

    Garza

    Baker

    Sanchez

    Jackson

    Spot starter/reliever Feldman

    Marmol

    Fujikawa
    Camp
    et al in the pen.

    That would be a competive team in the NL Central.

    • Brp921

      It all starts with pitching. A little more offense would help too though. Is Nick Swisher still available, and if he is does he cost a draft pick?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Swisher is still a FA. He’s 32 and looking at a 4 yr deal (at least).

    • mutantbeast

      Rip, the Dofgers spending like madmen is doing the econ omics of the game no good. Greinke is a good pitcher, but worth 25 m per yr? Wgats gonna happen if Verlander ever becomes a free agent? And what Sanchez is asking for is NUTS. Garza is a better pitcher than Sanchez.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Dodgers are insane for sure. And they just inked Ryu for a 6 year deal as well. It was for chump change though. Just $36 million dollars, that’s all.

        I hope they lose.

        • Tony_Hall

          How many starters do they need?

          Kershaw
          Greinke
          Ryu
          Beckett
          Billingsly
          Lilly
          Capuano
          Harang

          I know a few have injury history, but man that is a lot of starters.

          Evil Empire West, but just because you pay players a large salary, doesn’t mean they will be good. I hope they lose as well.

          • Ripsnorter1

            That’s quite a rotation.

          • Tony_Hall

            Kershaw Greinke is a nice top of the rotation. We are assuming Ryu will be good enough to be a 3 or 4. Beckett is past his prime and Billingsly seems to get hurt a lot. Lilly, Capuano, and Harang they will try to trade 2 of them and the other will be the swing guy, something I am sure they won’t like.

            I still like the Giants in the West over the Dodgers.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You could be right about Giants over the Dodgers due to the “Angels Syndrome.” Last year the Angels spent the big bucks and didn’t even make the playoffs with Mike Trout. Now that’s an accomplishment.

    • J Daniel

      RIP,
      I would agree but I don’t think they want to be competitive this year. I think next year we will start to see them make better moves. This will give them more really high picks next year as well while buying more time for the young guys now. I believe the plan is to deadline trade as many as possible for as many prospects they can get but it will again giving us a brutal end of the year again.

      We might even see one more year of this after this upcoming season. By the, the system should be in a very good place due to the number of high picks and deadline deals. This is the only way to not overpay for “stars”.

  • Tom U

    Luis Valbuena 2-for-3, double, three-run home run, 5 RBI for Cardenales de Lara in the VWL.

  • Aaron

    Wow, nice job by the Rays for getting Wil Meyers for a pitcher with high mileage that’s been slightly above league average and is homer prone in Shields….then a guy like Davis who is more of a Scott Feldman clone than he even the second coming of Shields himself…..plus, the Rays get more prospects to reload, and also free up salary to make a run at extending David Price long-term.

    Additionally, this creates a rotation of:
    Price
    Moore
    Hellickson
    Cobb
    Niemann
    *plus, Archer and others waiting in the wings

    They did EXACTLY the same thing they did when they dealt Garza to the Cubs….they determined who was a good fit long-term, and held onto them, and dealt away excess (Garza) for prospects. Only Lee and Archer look like they’ll pan out, but it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to overpay a redundant rotation, especially when you have other arms coming up through the system in addition to other prospects you acquire via trade of those excess arms.

    This is probably why the Cubs will go nothing but high end arms for the draft and in trades they make before or after the draft.

    Pitching is always in demand, and just imagine what the Cubs could do if they had a couple of Samardzija’s in the upper levels of the minors. They could trade him for a nice haul, and go younger and cheaper with the same type of pitcher with those prospects.

    That’s also why it’s so important that guys like Underwood, Johnson, Conway, Maples, Vizcaino, Loux, Whitenack, McNutt, Wells, Jensen, Rosario, Paniagua, Arias, McNeil, Lang, etc. to take the next step forward, and advance to the upper levels this year.

    That’s also why it’s important to see Garza, T. Wood, Baker, and Feldman have good starts the year, in addition to relievers like Marmol, Russell, Camp, etc., so they can be traded for more depth without worry that they won’t be able to replace them with prospects at the upper levels.

    The Cubs need to look now at mature rosters around the league and try to make some trades with them. Why? Because those teams will be in a “win now” situation. In other words, they have a majority of their money tied up in veterans and there’s no turning back for them.

    The teams that fit that description would likely be:

    Phillies
    Angels
    Yankees
    Cardinals
    Dodgers
    Giants
    Rangers (though they have a decent mix, but several high priced veterans)
    Tigers
    Braves (somewhat)

    The only real top prospects the Cubs have are position players: Almora, Soler, and Baez

    I don’t think you can consider Brett Jackson a top prospect, and as for the pitchers, there’s absolutely no way you can think of the pitchers I mentioned above in those categories, because they don’t have enough stats between a majority of them that would lead other teams to demand them in trades. Yes, there’s potential with guys like Underwood, Paniagua, Maples, Johnson, etc., but the stats just aren’t there.

    With the teams listed above like the Braves (Teheran), Tigers (Crosby, Rondon, etc.), Rangers (Perez, etc.), Phillies (Biddle, Aumont), the Cubs would appear to align well with their needs in trades. All 4 teams could use Soriano. All 4 could use Barney (even the Rangers, who could give Profar more time in the minors). All 4 could use pen depth…hell, any team in the league could use that.

    • Dorasaga

      Just remember, the Rays got to do this because they got sustainable pitching. Garza, Shields, and Price were all healthy workhorses for multiple years. Good scouting and good farm development on sustainable pitchers, of course. Pitchers are in demand, so it should be for the Rays, but they always knew they can afford trading away those healthy veterans while foreseeing their next wave of pitching, which could be a mix of more risks.

      • Aaron

        It’s important to note two things about this trade….and offseason in general.

        1) If Garza even comes close to a Cy Young Award this year (he won’t in my opinion), or wins 17+games….Greinke set the market at $20+million/year for a pitcher under 30, and Garza fits that description

        2) The Rays-Royals trade just set the market for a pitcher in the last year of his deal (as Shields was…well, plus an option for 2014). The deal is this: 2 top pitching prospects, top position prospect, and low level prospect for a guy like Shields in his early 30’s with high mileage on his arm, and a guy like Davis who has never taken off and is a Feldman-esque guy right now…plus a PTBNL (probably a nobody). The trade roughly equates to the same amount of players swapped in the Garza trade.

        This all leads to the Cubs trading Garza this year if he’s healthy…and they SHOULD demand…and they SHOULD be able to get a similar haul, especially if he proves he’s healthy.

        For instance, the Cubs could do something like this…

        Garza, T Wood, and Soriano to the Phillies

        for

        Biddle, Aumont, Asche, and D. Brown

        or…

        to the Tigers

        for

        Crosby, Wilks, Paulino, and Castellanos

        or…

        to the Braves for

        Teheran, Maurecio Cabrera, Jaime, Alex Wood

        or…

        to the Rangers for

        Wilmer Font, Olt, and Ronald Guzman

        or…

        to the Angels for

        Maronde, Bedrosian, Luis Jimenez, and Witherspoon

        or…

        to the Giants for

        Gary Brown, Crick, Blackburn, and Gillaspie

        ***also, the Cubs could always sub in Baker or Feldman if they do well later near the deadline instead of prior to the season

        • Dorasaga

          Good ideas. I found this Tigers trade an especially to-do on a checklist. I don’t know if it’s because you and a few others mentioned these foreign prospects a many times already: an effect of familiarity?

          It’s important to understand that the bar’s set high by the current market demand for top pitchers. The Theo-Cubs always wanted to move Garza while he’s healthy. He wasn’t. But I think he will.

          That would be a good force for a World Series contender, in the future. Shark might already be an essential part of this solution, though. That’s why they’ll move away surplus. Like the Rays? Talents are not stock options; they’re not like “asset for trade,” because what matters is to know which few talents you always keep in the team. We pay pro teams to see these stars. But again, everything’s business when they went pro.

          Boy, o, boy, it’s really tough to decide which player must stick with the team and be built around with a team. I’m glad it’s not my authority to make. I might just keep them all.

        • daverj

          All those deals would be steals for the Cubs. Shields is worth significantly more than Garza in my opinion, but if one of those other GM’s is willing to make a deal like that, let’s hope Epstein grabs it!

          • Tony_Hall

            I am sure you know, none of these deals could ever happen, because as you said, these would be steals for the Cubs. True trades can only be put together through negotiations by 2 parties that aren’t on the same side.

    • Tony_Hall

      At this point, there is no way for the Cubs to get the same value for Garza as the Rays received for Shields.

      – Shields has a team option for 2014 @ $12M
      – Davis is under control through 2017
      -Garza is coming off an injury
      -Garza’s WAR the last 2 years is 3.5 Total
      -Shields WAR the last 2 years is 6.9 Total

      Garza needs to come out and be the good Garza all the way up until they trade him, if they trade him, otherwise there is no way to overcome the difference the last 2 years, plus the extra year on Shields contract.