Jeff Samardzija, Cubs Skipper Search and Three Fall All-Stars

One of the many storylines of the off-season for the Cubs is Jeff Samardzija’s future with the team. Jeff Samardzija is arbitration eligible for next season and remains under team control through the 2015 season. Samardzija is coming off an inconsistent year, one in which he set career highs in innings pitched (213 2/3), starts (33) and strikeouts (214) while completing his first full season in the rotation (4.34 ERA, 1.35 WHIP).

The Cubs tried to ink Samardzija to a contract extension last winter. But the front office was unsuccessful in their efforts to sign him to a team-friendly deal. Samardzija reportedly turned down an extension worth more than $30 million that would have bought out his arbitration years and at least one of his free agent years. The two sides avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.64 million contract. Samardzija earned another $125,000 by surpassing 200 innings. Samardzija figures to be paid more than $6 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility for the 2014 campaign.

Pitchers like Jeff Samardzija are not easy to come by, but if the front office and Samardzija cannot come to an agreement on a long term contract soon, he could be traded before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. The Sun-Times reported such a possibility on Monday.

There have been rumblings that Samardzija would not only like a guarantee the Cubs plan on building a team at the big league level that will be able to complete for an entire season without players being traded away in July but he would also like a no-trade clause. And the days of the Cubs including no-trade clauses are over under the Theo Epstein-Jed Hoyer led front office.

According to the Sun-Times, “an extension looks like a long shot at this point” for Samardzija and “neither side is confident a sizable gap in their thinking can be closed when talks restart in earnest this winter.” The Sun-Times reiterated Samardzija is willing to go year to year with his contract until he reaches free agency. But the front office will not allow that to happen with the Cubs in order to maximize his value.

AFL Fall Stars

Jorge Soler will join Kris Bryant and Albert Almora on the East squad for Saturday’s Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Bryant figures to start the game at third base, which will be carried on both the MLB Network and MLB.com. All three prospects have created quite the buzz in a short time in the Arizona Fall League.

Kris Bryant hit his fifth home run of the fall on Monday, a two-run shot to right center in the eighth inning. Bryant went 1-for-3 with a walk on Monday and is now hitting .422/.471/.933 with six doubles, one triple, five home runs, 16 RBI and five walks for a 1.404 OPS in 11 games.

Jorge Soler started in right for the Solar Sox on Monday. Soler was 1-for-3 with a walk and was pinch ran for in the ninth by Albert Almora. Soler is up to .300/.327/.440 with four doubles, one home run and nine RBI with a pair of walks for a .767 OPS.

Albert Almora has cooled off since his hot start but is still hitting .297/.333/.541 in nine games with four doubles, one triple, one home run, two walks and nine RBI with a .874 OPS.

And speaking of Almora, could he be the top prospect in the Cubs’ system?

Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus crew are working on their list of the Top 101 prospects in the game. Parks tweeted on Monday that an early draft of the BP 101 has three Cubs’ prospects in the mix for the top 10 in the game. The assumption was Bryant and Baez would be two of the three, then Parks responded that Almora might be the top prospect in the Cubs’ system.

According to Parks, Almora profiles as a legit centerfielder at the highest level with a chance to be a power hitter that hits .300.

Baseball America’s off-season top 10 prospects lists will be posted over the next several weeks leading into Spring Training. BA posted “a rough guide to the most bountiful farm systems, or at least those most likely to pay dividends in the near future, using the 2013 league prospect rankings as a guide” on Monday.

Based on their scoring system, the Cubs rank as the fifth best system in the minor leagues, tied with the Kansas City Royals … with the Red Sox at the top of their list.

According to BA, “Chicago is swimming in position players but their long-term outlook might be most dependent on the development of such pitchers as Pierce Johnson and C.J. Edwards.”

Updating the Skipper Search

The Cubs are expected to spend Tuesday with Eric Wedge in Chicago talking to him for the second time about their managerial opening. The front office has reportedly spoken with Wedge about the job and will sit down for a face-to-face conversation on Tuesday.

According to David Kaplan, the reports that suggested the Cubs would begin their second round of interviews this week are inaccurate. Other names remain in play according to Kaplan. The Cubs are waiting to speak with Torey Lovullo and could be looking at adding another candidate or two to the list.

Rick Renteria has talked to the Cubs and Mariners about the managerial openings in Chicago and Seattle. Renteria is expected to meet with Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski about his skipper’s job. The Tigers interviewed Brad Ausmus on Monday.

The mystery candidate could be Brad Ausmus. The Cubs are believed to have interviewed at least one other candidate for the job. Patrick Mooney reported on Sunday night, the Cubs “are being stealth” about their interest in Ausmus, and he appears to be on the Cubs’ radar.

What is thought to be known with skipper search is that the Cubs have spoken with, and or, interviewed A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta, Rick Renteria, Dave Martinez, Torey Lovullo and Eric Wedge. There is a least one other candidate the front office has spoken to about the job and they are interviewing coaches for possible positions on the new manager’s staff.

The Cubs are believed to have asked the Rangers for permission for Mike Maddux, but are not interested in talking with Mike Maddux, Sandy Alomar Jr., Tony Pena, DeMarlo Hale or Chip Hale about the job. Could Brian Butterfield and/or Gary DiSarcina be on the Cubs’ list?

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

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  • Ripsnorter1

    I’m not a Team Theo lover, but I will give him full credit for refusing to give “no-trade” clauses.
    He’s absolutely right on this matter.

    • Tony_Hall

      Don’t throw things at us like this, we never knew you didn’t like Theo, you hide it well.

    • jtrain23

      Plus, if you were ever going to bend the rules, it sure wouldn’t be on a guy like Samardzija. I have no doubt that this guy is a solid piece on a major league rotation. However, I see his age and progression making him a 3 at best. It sounds like the F.O. Is much more realistic on what he is than Jeff is.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You are right. I agree that Jeff is too cocky and overrates his value.
        He needs a haircut so he can think a little straighter.

        • jtrain23

          His ‘stache is definitely trash!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Almora has a very nice glove. His great contact rates are also very encouraging, as
    well as his high BA.

  • DWalker

    BA’s rough guides ranking system includes guys like Bogarts, wacha and Wong but doesn’t even count Almora and Bryant in the top five values for the cubs. its an interesting ranking system that I see what they were trying to do, but I don’t realy understand how they got all their numbers. At this point, its all about the pitching prospects as to where any given ranker places the cubs system.

  • bpot92

    I know this is a fan site and not an opinion of a scout or GM but I have to believe the Cubs would absolutely be floored if Hoffman fell to them at number 4. (still so far out from the draft though, but I love looking at these things no matter where the Cubs draft).http://fansided.com/2013/10/16/pitching-talent-abounds-top-2014-mlb-draft/

    • TheWrongGuy

      While I agree with bpot92 as far as Hoffman is concerned. I believe Tyler Beede is more realistic(remember where CUBS minor league pitching coach, Derek Anderson, is from, Vanderbilt).

      Here is a list I have marked:

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/2014-draft-top-50-october-2013-carlos-rodon/

      • bpot92

        I was just reading up on Beede after I posted this. Ill be excited with alot of people in this draft, especially if a good pitcher falls to us. I have no doubt Rondon will be gone since he is the clear cut #1 even if he goes 2-4 it will be due to the preference of hitters vs pitchers and money. I would gladly take Beede after he has only upped his performance since being taken in the first round already.

  • SuzyS

    It’s comforting to know that Theo had a hand in the #1(per BA) farm system. One way or the other…we can see some big bats on the horizon…but we still have a ton of work to do…I want to see our system viewed as “pitching rich” with a competitive MLB team on the field…like St, Louis/Boston/Pittsburgh. Once we achieve that status…(and I believe we will get there) then I’ll be happy!
    Right now, our farm is still weak in pitching and catching prospects…it’s going to be really interesting to see how the Cubs address that.

    • bpot92

      This years draft is supposed to be the best since 2011, with tons of pitching. The top two prospects are both college pitchers who trow hard with good off speed stuff for their age and arguably the third best player is a 6-5 high school righty from Texas who throws 99 repeatedly. Plus there are many more and it has been said you can probably find pitching throughout this draft and that the hitters have tools but havent really used those tools to put up numbers yet, which would indicate the Cubs may go for pitchers early and often hopefully!

      • SuzyS

        bpot92, Thanks for the link it was interesting….Last year, Theo /Jed said

        pitchers are a riskier pick when you pick high in the draft…and then they took Bryant.

        At the time, I was disappointed they didn’t take Grey…now Bryant appears to be pretty special…so I’m ok with it.
        Watching the World Series, it’s evident that elite pitching shuts down most elite hitting…(Big Papi excepted).
        They have to go after pitching, one way or the other,

        • bpot92

          I agree we need pitching, and yes they are riskier (prior, Wood, ect) but lets say for the sake of this discussion, that at the number 5 pick there are two of the Top 3 pitchers still available as the link said (assuming the Marilns and White Sox want impact hitters) and the next highest rated players are two HS pitchers, a college pitcher, and then the best available hitter isnt ranked until say 10-15. I have to believe the Cubs would take one of Hoffman(college righty rated just behind Rondon)/Kolek(HS Texas Righty 99mph) or another high quality pitcher over reaching for a position player. Now i would have no problem taking a positional player such as Alan Jackson (C/RF) if they are rated about the same draft position like Gray and Bryant were.

          This situation could also be different if draft picks were eligable to be traded, which would change the game completely (not sure if it would be better or worse, but small market teams would either gain an advantage or some big market team would just buy draft picks from teams who cant afford them),

        • 07GreyDigger

          I think for drafting you have to listen to those NFL draft shows. They always say, if you draft based on need, you reach a lot. Always take the best player available. We won’t know for some time if Bryant is better than Grey, but they took the best guy available and so far so good. I’m fine with that strategy.

          I like that they drafted a lot of pitchers too. You never know what you may get in baseball.

          • bpot92

            Thats what I meant, sorry if i was unclear. I meant that the pitchers are supposedly supposed to be better so even though they are riskier I wouldnt reach to take a position player. We need pitching but we felt Bryant was the best choice and pitching later were good value. Either was we could always trade for pitching if we select another good position player

          • 07GreyDigger

            Great point. I would imagine that one of our fab four (Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler) will end up elsewhere and traded for pitching.

          • bpot92

            If i understand correctly, Soler can opt out of his contract for Arbitration so if he does well I would think they would possibly trade him as a CF with contact and defense in Almora is better and Baez is an inf so I would guess one of the three OF (if Bryant indeed moves), Olt/Villanueva, and Vogelbach, would be moved in a perfect world where everyone works out. Obviously it wont happen but we have a lot of good hitter we will be mad we give up at first unless its for a stud pitcher who is young

          • K_Gripp

            Vogelbach and Soler should be moved for pitching. I think Almora, Bryant, and Baez are nearly untouchable.

      • cubtex

        This is my early prediction. Beede was a first round pick out of High School but went to Vanderbilt and Derek Johnson has seen him on a daily basis.

        Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

        Here’s what you need to know about the 6’-4” right-hander from
        Vanderbilt: He has two plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball and
        knee-buckling curveball, and hitters can rarely touch him. He allowed
        just 64 hits more than 101 innings as a sophomore for a .187 BAA. He
        also added 103 strikeouts and a 2.32 ERA. He did allow 63 walks,
        however, and his control is the only knock on him. With three quality
        pitches in his arsenal, along with the size and make up of a future ace,
        his upside is special. Another reason to love this pick for the 2014
        MLB draft is that former Vanderbilt pitching coach, Derek Johnson, is the current minor league pitching coordinator for the Cubs.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Yes see my link above for the 2014 draft from Baseball Am.

          • cubtex

            No way Rodon slips to 4 so that isn’t an option. I think they take Beede, Hoffman or the big High School Texan kid….. Kolek. They need to take the BEST pitcher available here and not a position player.

          • TheWrongGuy

            I agree with you 100%. Rodon won’t be available unless he is injured, and then he would be a stretch for the number 5 pick. My money is on Beede as the CUBS 2014 pick.

          • cubtex

            Hopefully if that is the case that he turns out to be like Sonny Gray….another Vanderbilt kid.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Yes. I thought Sonny Gray might be in play during the Garza talks before he went to Texas.

          • cubtex

            I don’t see the A’s moving him until he gets too expensive for them. That kid is special!Too bad he didn’t sign with the Cubs out of High School.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Agree’d.

          • bpot92

            I agree 100% with all of this. As i mentioned above to TheWrongGuy since I saw his reply first, Rondon should go #1 barring an injury, and even if he drops he shouldnt get passed 4, but Appel slipped due to signbility so he could probably slip 1-2 spots to 2-3. I know Appel isnt as good, but they said its not too far of a reach to say Appel and Gray are close behind. Kolek hits 99 and has a big frame, 6’5. Hoffman’s only issue isfor as hard as he throws, he is only stiking out 6.5 per nine and his stats generally arent producing what his stuff should, but that could just be learning to pitch vs throw in my opinion and could be fixed with experience. Beede looks really good as well

        • SuzyS

          Cubtex, very astute observation! I’ll follow Beede in the spring.
          Another thought occurred to me…I wonder if Houston will still take a pitcher since they took Appel last year…I would assume they would…but then…they’ve surprised us 2 years in a row.

          • bpot92

            Im sure it depends on injuries and performance( mainly if someone really performs well and shoots up), but the consensus is that he is the clear #1 guy, where as the last two drafts there havent been that that clear cut #1. Again that is not my opinion, but that of the scouts that have done prospect rankings for the draft thus far. Unless they dont want to spend the $$$ and go someone high upside they can sign under or at slot like Correa did, then I dont see how any team passes on Rondon. You can never have too many good pitching prospects and as we saw the Giants do a few years ago, if you have 2-3 legit aces you can win with timely hitting and pitching dominance.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    This Managers name list is longer than then line of Kids at your door at Halloween!…..
    Is it possible that all interviews sucked so far!…..
    Just let everyone know, a “Mystery Candidate” is someone whose name was never mention before in the list of people……
    I other think other teams got jealous that were stole Edwards in that Garza deal…….national media always want to see Cubs do bad so they can poke fun at them……
    no doubt when the time comes, the prospect haul will even be bigger in the Samardzija trade……
    way too early to talk who the Cubs will get in the next draft…….Theo will pick the best player, not going for a position need…..
    I see the Cubs Den people who slammed me when I said Theo should plan about trading Shark a year ago, are now on the Band Wagon now…..how simple minds can change so quickly in a year’s time…..
    Dempster one win away from a Ring……while the Cubs are at least three seasons minimum away from seeing the Playoffs.
    Lets Go Bulls !

    • Dwalker

      a lot of things change in a year. Biggest problem with shark is he shows flashes of brilliance followed by just going through the motions. Did he just give up this year and in a competitve year he is the pitcher we saw opening day? or will he always be a gamble as to which guys shows up on the mound. I didn’t want to trade him before because i thought he could be an ace and I have many more doubts now. all the stars are lining for him to be on the trade block though, and if we get one top level pitching prospect and a decent prospect package besides, I will live with it because right now I don’t see shark with us in 2016.

      • SuzyS

        Dwalker, I agree. However…if Shark continues in this pattern…wherever he is…he really might be best suited to the bullpen…but I don’t think we’ll see it…The Cubs are out of time with him…and he’ll bring back a better haul as a starter.

        I look for him to be traded this offseason…as opposed to the trading deadline.
        It’s too early to tell who the trading partners might be…we’ll have to watch how the pitching market develops in FA/Tanaka etc.

        • Eugene Debs

          Some talking heads on Atlanta area radio have mentioned Samardzija as being a possibility. Cubs and Braves have been willing trading partners a few times, so that might be plausible. If we do trade Jeff, I hope the player(s) in return are close to ready or actually on the MLB roster.

          I think that the Free Agent market is going to be ridiculously overpriced.

          • bpot92

            without knowing the Braves farm system, who would be a realistic target from them prospect wise?

    • bpot92

      As I stated its very early and a lot can change from now until draft time, but its always interesting to see who moves up/down on boards and who is projected to be taken

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Who would trade for Samardzija…..
    First, Theo will not trade Shark to a N.L. Central team…..so Reds, Cardinals, Pirates and Brewers are out……
    Rule out the Dodgers because they are not trading away their prospects….and they will get David Price in free agency……everyone else in N.L. West cannot hook up with prospects for us……
    Phillies don’t know which direction they are heading, so they are out…..Marlins & Mets are also out…..Braves & Nationals maybe…..depends who they can offer to us with prospects…..
    Looking tot he A.L. teams……Yankees have nothing to offer…..best team in A.L. East with prospects could be the Blue Jays……and maybe the Rays…
    A.L. Central has the Royals who would take Samardzija…..and if the Tigers really want another pitcher, they have prospects for us…..
    A.L. West …Rangers……filled with prospects……can Theo take them again?…….we will see……..Angels need pitchers, but don’t have the prospects.

    • SuzyS

      Rays won’t want him…they are going to deal Price who is akin to Shark in the arb/FA process….he’ll cost them too much.

    • bpot92

      The Padres actually probably could since they have a decent farm system. Its just a matter of why would they want him with his salary. A guy like Max Fried is very interesting as he is a hard throwing lefty who was taken 7th overall in 2012 out of high school (one pick after Almora). Obviously the Cubs may want more which is why I dont see the padres doing it since if they traded Latos, why would they want a guy who hasnt performed as well and will cost the same if not more. The only way I see it happening is if they are close to contending, which I dont see them doing next year.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        You answered your own question of where Shark won’t go.

        • bpot92

          Yes but you said they didnt have the prospects, and weve seen teams get pitching for prospects when they feel like they need to when they arent ready ( KC with Shields, Cubs with Garza). I said they probably wont want to do it due to cost, but I never said they wont. Think about how good Shark could be at Petco…

          Theres a difference between saying that they dont have the prospects like you stated and saying they probably wouldnt give up their prospects…

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Jed would know the Padres system…..but right now, Padres are not competing, like us, they are stocking up on prospects.

          • bpot92

            I agree, but remember when they came out of no where to compete? It all depends on how they start and how their young guys grow/Headley and Evereth Cabrera come back

  • John_CC

    I gotta believe Shark would return 2 MLB ready pitching prospects, or one young MLB pitcher and a couple prospects.

    Think the Tigers would like to add one more potential top of the rotation pitcher to their staff to slot in the 4th spot in the rotation? They have Smyly and 5 of their top 10 prospects are pitchers.

    • 07GreyDigger

      If you think about it Royals gave up two pitchers, Wil Myers and another prospect for Shields and Davis.

      So if Shark is a 3 and Shields is a 2, I’d think that he’d be worth about what you said, but maybe just one MLB pitching prospect and some other smaller guys.

      • DWalker

        thing is, its not if shark is a 3 or a 2, its what he is perceived to be. the FO will try to sell him as an ace or a 2, and the other gm’s will try to buy him as a 3. Somewhere in there though hopefully, theres one or two gm’s that are thinking “this guy has ace stuff, we can be the ones to bring it out”. Thats the problem with this situation, its very very hard for anyone to come up with a fair value for such a talented and inconstant guy. If they can find just one gm that is willing to negotiate on the chance he is a 2 or ace then the haul dramatically changes. Not only that, the issue of length of control come up. if the FO doesn’t get the offers they want to see, they can keep him still. If he doesn’t sign an extension, he is gone, no question, but they still have some time to make use of him and maybe he goes up in value, maybe they give him what he wants, or maybe he doesn’t. .

  • GaryLeeT

    I am sure everybody has heard that the Angels have put Trumbo on the block, for starting pitching. Would trading Samardzija for him be fair for both teams?

    • TheWrongGuy

      I saw that as well Gary. But I also don’t believe Theo will make a deal with the Angels unless it involves pitching of some kind. The Angels are in a lack of pitching. I would LOVE Trumbo in Cubbie blue but The Cubs needs and want pitching if they are trading pitching. Just my thoughts.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        It is all about the pitching for Theo.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      No…..No……No

    • 07GreyDigger

      I think Howie Kendrick would make more sense. Or Peter Bourjos.

    • Dorasaga

      As much power as Trumbo has, he’s never rated as high as Shark was. All the baseball writers (and their sources) have been praising Shark’s “potential” for years. It’s not some merit that Trumbo earned.

      Since the Halos lack young and ML-ready pitching, if Hoyer can “buy” him low, let’s say, trade Shark straight up for Trumbo + a “B” prospect down high-A or more, then it’ll be a steal, like what the front did for CJ Edward in the Garza package.

      The Cubs lack consistent power at corner outfield right now. I have no faith on Schierholtz being a regular on any contending team. Other than better contact, a “plus” for Trumbo is that he can field 3rd regularly, but there ain’t many positions out there for Schierholtz and his free-swings.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    From looking at the MLB chat room, Shark is sought at from various teams fans……but it takes the GM’s to make a deal….not the fans who have their team rosters on their I-pads…….baseball experts look at a trade similar to Shields……but Theo got more for Garza then most would had expected.

    • SuzyS

      The Garza trade was a unique situation…Texas had Garza in their sites for years…Theo and Jed also used the right strategy to pull the trigger well in front of the crowd at the trade deadline. Still, kudos to Theo/Jed for that deal.

      I’m sure Shark, in his mind, is a TOR pitcher.
      He made his 200 innings goal…but fell apart in the second half doing it…and put questions,(in my mind, at least), about his mental make-up.
      It also makes me wonder if he isn’t better suited for the bullpen…but he will fight that…because of the big $$$ involved.
      In any case, Theo/Jed are not going to give him any assurances that they are not going to trade short term assets at the trade deadline, even if they have no plans that way.
      Shark is now a short term asset…asking for assurances no general manager would give.
      We all know what Theo and Jed do with that type of player.
      Hopefully, we’ll get back at least one top flight pitching prospect (near ready) back along with other prospects.

  • Eugene Debs

    I think that Samardzija is as good as gone and I’m not sure I’m upset about it.

  • Ripsnorter1
    • bpot92

      Wouldnt the Cubs want a young SP back?

      • SuzyS

        Short answer is Yes.

      • K_Gripp

        I’ve read some things that say if the Cubs were to land Tanaka they might be looking to turn Smardzija into a major league left handed bat. If the Cubs dont land Tanaka I cant see them trading a solid starting pitcher for anything other than pitching prospects. That puts us closer to idea of winning in 2016. Im hoping for the sign Tanaka and trade for an MLB ready bat. I’d like to see competitive baseball on the North Side next year.

        • bpot92

          What position would this Left handed bat play? We already have Rizzo at 1st and Schierholtz is probably going to get some playing time. It would be interesting to see what type of prospect/player they could get from Shark but I just feel like Tanaka and a top pitching prospect is better than a top hitting prospect for the long run with the amount of hitting prospects that are coming, not every single one is going to miss. Plus I hear the Dodgers and Yankees are both in on Tanaka which will make it extremely hard to get him. Even if the system changes to cap the bids, that only hurts the cubs because even if they bid the whole cap and the top three teams are the Dodgers, yankees, and Cubs, why would he choose the Cubs in that scenario?

          • K_Gripp

            It seems like a long shot to get Tanaka. Im sure we will be the international bidding bridesmaid once more. As far as what position the player would play I would say it would have to be second base or outfield. I dont think Nate Schierholtz would prevent the Cubs from making a deal to get an impact player. I love Shierholtz and Sweeney as extra outfielders. I’ve not heard any specific names. It was just talk. The Cubs have some really interesting options heading into the hot stove league. I really believe the Cubs can make 3-5 moves that improve the Major League Team and the farm. IMO we will see how good Theo and Jed are this off-season. If they do nothing they are admitting to me that they are not looking to win until the renovations are completed.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Why would Tanaka choose the Cubs over the Dodgers or Yankees? He wouldn’t,

          • bpot92

            Both are closer to contention than the Cubs and LA has many other imports. The only way the Cubs get him in my opinion is if the system doesnt change and they outbid everyone else.

  • Vivid_Reality

    Shark to the Tigers for Nick Castellanos and Drew Smyly. There might need to be an exchange of cash in the deal but I think that is pretty fair for both sides. Maybe the Cubs throw in Russell for a lower tier prospect for the offset.

    I still think Shark puts it all together eventually but if he isn’t willing to extend even a few years it just isn’t worth it for us. Smyly is still the real deal for me. I don’t think he struggles in a transition to the starting rotation and coming from the AL will just make it easier. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him post a sub 3.50 ERA over 175 innings. As for Castellanos, I’ve never really liked him that much but he would provide another 3B/OF option and he can always be traded for another piece we need.

    • TheWrongGuy

      It looks nice but I don’t think it will happen. Almost all talks/chatter/rumbling through the rumor mill of CUBS and Tigers involve Porcello. So I see a Porcello package deal if anything with the Tigers for Shark.

      • SuzyS

        There’s talk that Detroit might be shopping Scherzer around this off season since he will be a FA after next season….Thinking outside of the box…anyone think there is anything we could do with that?

        • TheWrongGuy

          He would be very costly. It would take at least 1 or more of our core 4 prospects. Then to sign him to a contract would be like trying to sign Albert Pujols a few years ago. WAY TOO MUCH MONEY. He and Shark are close to the same age. He will probably ask for a long term contract, and the rest of his major league time will be in decline. I would love to see him in Cubbie Blue!

        • Dorasaga

          Vitters+Baez+Shark for Scherzer+Smyly.

    • K_Gripp

      I like that thought and I think the Cubs could make a deal work there but the Tigers have been unwilling to trade Castellanos. The Tigers have traded players more “untouchable” than him in the past.

  • Ripsnorter1

    ESPN insists that the Cubs are interested in Choo.

    I sure hope not. It would be a bad contract. He’s very nearly a platoon player.
    And he cannot adequately cover CF.

    Read this quote:
    “Choo played at the bargain rate of $7.38 million this season, far less than what he will ask for in the open market. When an unnamed general manager suggested that Choo could get a contract in the $100 million range, his agent recently told CBSSports.com that the figure was too low.”

    Meanwhile, don’t forget….Dusty had the top two OBP in all of MLB and couldn’t win a thing.

    • K_Gripp

      I’d like to have Choo or Ellsbury. Just not for 6 or 7 years and not for $100 million dollars.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Then you are not getting Choo or Ellsbury. :)

        • cubtex

          Ellsbury has ZERO pop at this stage of his career. 14 total HR’s over the last 2 years with the Pesky Pole in Fenway? No thanks

          • 07GreyDigger

            I don’t want the guy either. I was just saying if you don’t pony up, you’re not getting him. But I’m confused why no Ellsbury, but you wanted Bourn. Same guy!

          • bpot92

            Bourn was only a 3-4 year contract correct?

          • 07GreyDigger

            Yes. But Cubtex wanted Bourn last offseason badly. But he had zero pop too. Seems contradictory.

          • bpot92

            I agree, but Ellsbury will get a much longer contract. In my mind that makes it harder to give.

    • cubtex

      Rip- Although I agree with you that Choo is probably not a good fit for the Cubs at this stage of the rebuilding…..Choo is definately not a platoon player.

      He has a freekin .347 OBP against LHP. Yes…his average sucked but the guy is an on base machine.

      • Ripsnorter1

        He was last year. Decline is setting in vs LHP, I believe. Big contracts weigh heavy on the mind=25% decline in stats for 2014 = not a good year. Oh yeah, big contracts bring on an injury as well.

        That’s my thinking.

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