Jason McLeod Discusses the Cubs Farm System on The Score

Jason McLeod joined Bruce Levine and Ben Finfer during Hot Stove Saturday on The Score. The Cubs’ Vice President of Scouting and Player Development discussed a variety of topics including where they plan on starting Javier Baez next season and which positions he might get some exposure to in Spring Training.

The pitching the Cubs have either acquired or signed is starting to make its way up the system. Pitchers like Kyle Hendricks and Eric Jokisch will be at Triple-A Iowa to begin the year and the organization is excited about the pitching staff that is likely to start the year at Double-A Tennessee.

And while he would not show the Cubs’ cards, Jason McLeod likes what he has seen, on video, of Masahiro Tanaka and the reports he has read from the Cubs’ scouts that have seen him pitch in Japan.

Bruce Levine: Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, Jason McLeod joins us on Hot Stove Saturday here on The Score. Good morning Jason, how are you?

Jason McLeod: I’m doing great guys, thanks it’s good to be on with you.

BL: Obviously you are usually the center of attention from media people when you do show up because the organization is obviously counting on your players. Guys that you end up scouting and signing and developing along the way. I guess we should probably start with where we are at going towards Spring Training with Javier Baez. Certainly one of the great young players in the minor leagues last year. First of all where do we think he is going to start next season Jason?

JM: Well obviously he’s getting a lot of well-deserved attention coming off the monstrous season that he had. We’re going to try our best to make sure he stays on his development plan and works on things that we’ve laid out for him. With that in mind, the plan for Javy is going to be to start the season playing shortstop in Iowa.

Ben Finfer: And then is there a chance you guys will give him an opportunity to work out at second base at all as you try to figure out where he will fit best when he gets to the Major Leagues?

JM: I think that is something, once we get to Spring Training, and we’ve certainly had those conversations already internally. But once Ricky gets, and his staff get to see Javy for the first time on the field, I am sure that is something we will discuss more in Spring Training. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some exposure to second, and maybe even third base …

BF: I’m sure …

JM: [unclear comment]

BF: … No, go ahead. I am sorry.

JM: I was just saying I wouldn’t read too much into that when that happens. I mean, Starlin Castro is our shortstop and Javier Baez WILL be the shortstop in Iowa this year. That is the plan going into 2014.

BF: I know that you probably get asked about him and your other top guys, a lot, and it is because there is so much pub about them. But, I am going to ask you about them as well, what is the timetable for all of these guys to get the majors? You mention Baez, but Soler, Bryant, Almora and I will even throw C.J. Edwards into that mix to because I would say he is one of your top prospects.

JM: Yeah, I think you know it’s a combination of things. It’s first and foremost performance. They are going to dictate when they are ready by how they go out and compete and perform. There is also their individual player plans and things we’ve laid out for them. Once we can check off most of those items that we’ve laid out and discussed with them to work on and combine that with how they are performing. That will let us know and tell us when they are ready to move to the next level.

BL: Jason McLeod of the Cubs, Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, joining us on Hot Stove Saturday here on The Score.

BL: Jason, when you look at the plan, and I’ve said from the beginning, even when I talk to Theo, that you are the most important guy in the organization. I know you laugh and say ‘Well, of course but Theo makes all of the calls anyways’ …

JM: [laughs]

BL: The point is that what you and your scouting staff and your development people do is going to be the key to what happens here over the next five, seven years and certainly, in your mind it is a five, seven, nine-type of system where it is going to take that long to be consistently competitive, isn’t it?

JM: Yeah, you know and I think Jed and Theo said it from Day One it is just acquiring as many young players as we can, hopefully as many young, impact players as we can. And really shoot for volume, especially when it comes to the pitching and certainly all of us in scouting and player development has taken this on as a challenge. We are really excited about it and invigorated by it. A lot of the moves we have made too, with the pro scouting staff and Joe Bohringer, and all of those guys in pro scouting have done a tremendous job in a lot of these trades we’ve made in getting back the players we have, especially some of the pitching, like C.J. Edwards and Kyle Hendricks and those types of guys. So as a group it is something we understand what our goals are, what the plan is and to go out and get as many, acquire as much talent as we can. You hope, like they say, there is safety in numbers. We feel really good about those guys at the top end of the scale in terms of our prospects. We feel like we’ve done a really good job collecting, NOT just depth, but a lot of guys who have the ability to be everyday players in the Major Leagues in the coming years.

BF: What would you say would be the areas you would like to see improve in your system over the next couple of years?

JM: I think you talk to 30 GMs and they will all say they do not have enough pitching, and certainly we feel that same way. You can never have enough. I think that over the last couple of years, with all of the arms we’ve drafted and acquired via trade, signed internationally, that know we are going to see that wave finally getting to the upper levels. For the last year-plus to two years, I’ve said mostly we are lacking starting pitching at the upper levels. Now this year, coming into ’14, you are going to see the Kyle Hendrickses and the Jokisches up at Triple-A. But also some of the guys we’ve drafted and acquired are now going to be pushing into Double-A. We were talking in Orlando last week that on paper that Double-A staff is going to be really exciting to see because we’ve got starting pitchers with power, swing and miss stuff, performance in High-A last year with that Daytona staff. And of course, you understand these guys have to staff healthy, which is why you try to acquire as much volume as you can. Now we are starting to see those guys in Double-A and as you guys know, once you’re there, it’s a pretty quick phone call away from getting to Wrigley.

BL: Jason, in my opinion, an impact signing for a number one young pitcher would be a tremendous energy boost for your organization as well as on the field. That said, I am not going to ask you to speculate on the Japanese pitcher Tanaka, that wouldn’t be fair. I ask you what you’ve seen of his skill set and what type of pitcher this is, if indeed he is posted by his Japanese team.

JM: It’s been quite the interesting saga. I followed it, obviously we speak about it internally, follow a lot of it on Twitter and what’s out there. But, I have not seen him in person. I have seen a lot of video of him and obviously read our scouting reports of our guys who have seen him. Without getting to in depth and showing our cards, he is an exceptionally talented guy. You don’t want to put any type of Yu Darvish-type expectations on him and saying that he would come over here and do that right away, but I think he has the ability to come over here and be successful in a pretty short time.

BF: We’re talking to Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development. This is Hot Stove Baseball on The Score.

BF: So a lot of people Jason know what your title is. We know that you are highly acclaimed by your colleagues and by people in the media. Explain to fans exactly what your role is in the off-season as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer try to build their roster.

JM: I feel like I’m spoiled in my job because I really love what I do. I love being involved with younger players and player development. I absolutely love the amateur draft. You’ve heard about us talking about that being the Super Bowl for us. In the off-season, there is no really off-season in terms of player development or scouting for that matter. A lot of what we do in the off-season is running off-season camps, strength conditioning camps, Instructional League that we run out in Arizona, keeping tabs on our players that are playing in winter ball, setting up our programs that we have coming up like the Rookie Development Program that we are going to be running out of Chicago next month. Constant updating with our medical staff, our trainers on guys that are on rehab that were hurt maybe during the year. The player development NEVER stops, that is year-round. And then on the amateur scouting side, you know we are going to be picking fourth coming up in this year’s draft and our guys have been out pounding the pavement already. We have about a handful of guys going into the year we think are in consideration already for that pick. So we setup off-season meetings with those players as well as scouting the college scout days. Scouts getting into homes and starting the background information. I try to keep tabs on all of that. Reading through the follow-up reports, watching a lot of video, going down to our Latin academies in the fall to check on the younger players down there. It is a constant job and one that I really, really enjoy. We have a great staff, a lot of young talented players. Like I said, it doesn’t stop.

BF: So how does it work when, let’s say either Theo or Jed are looking to make a move with a team. Do they come to you and say ‘Hey, we are talking to this squad. Can you begin looking at their prospects in their system?’ Or have you already done that for many of the teams around the league?

JM: No. Joe Bohringer and his pro staff they are the ones who are CONSTANTLY on top of that information on that side …

BF: Okay …

JM: … As we start getting close, we always have meetings about what our needs are. What we are looking to do. As things start to get a little more serious in terms of, we need Player X or we need this position, we will meet as a group. Theo and Jed will kind of layout what they are looking for and then we will start looking through other team’s organizations, watching video and having those discussions more in depth. That is when I will get involved and start looking at video, at players, read more reports and of course, if I have background or I have seen them before as amateurs or as professional players, of course, then I will give more of my scout’s opinion on them. I’ll just be one of the guys looking to collect information and help these guys make good decisions.

BL: Well Jason, you are in the projecting business. That is how you make your money. That is how you’ve gotten your success to this point. So are we. If I would give you a scenario where Kris Bryant and Javier Baez dominate their leagues where they are at and its June 25 and Theo and Jed come to you and say ‘Can we promote these two guys?’ something like what the White Sox did in 1990 with Frank Thomas and Alex Fernandez on the same day. What that scenario being intact, would you be comfortable with that?

JM: Well, I think that by that point we would have had two and half months of the season to evaluate the quality of their at bats, the quality of their defense. Do we feel that they are ready to come up here and play defense in the Major Leagues? Do we feel like they are ready to come up here and compete in their at bats and be able to hit in the lineup somewhere that they would have success. If we felt that those boxes were checked, and of course if there was a need up here at the Major League level, then YEAH I would feel very comfortable with it. The process would have to be right. I wouldn’t want that to happen if we just had an injury up here …

BL: Right …

JM: … And he was the next best guy, even though we did not feel from a development standpoint it was the right time for him, I would not want to do that. If he checks all of the other boxes, and things were going well on his player plan, then yeah I would be very comfortable with it.

BL: The other checked box is that I made sure I had a date there for salary arbitration purposes …

JM: [laughs]

BL: … They were pushed back. I’m sure you are well aware of where I was going with that one. Obviously, people are so excited, Cubs fans are so excited about your young players that literally all of the questions I get in the emails and the chat rooms that I do, ninety percent of it is about players you are helping to develop, and your people are helping to develop to get there. Do you feel any more pressure from that because of that concentration?

JM: No. Not pressure, no, because these are talented players. When you are in the business long enough, of course teams always fall into the trap of over-evaluating their own prospects and falling in love with their prospects to a degree sometimes. I think that being with Theo and Jed for as long as I have I feel like we have a pretty good, we are able to be pretty objective with our guys. I know I was always hard on a lot our prospects in Boston so I think we have a pretty good check system in place. So when it comes to the players that are being talked about in our system here it IS exciting because these guys are really talented. Now, we understand that they still have some development time to go, but it is an exciting time. I know that everyone in Player Development is excited, our scouts are, and it makes us that more excited to go find more players like these guys that are in the system now.

BF: It seems like, at least once a month Jason, there is article about how one day you are going to become a General Manager, teams are interested. I mean, Cubs’ fans want to know, based on how important you are to the re-build. How long are they going to have you for?

JM: Until we win multiple World Series. It is something I don’t really think about because I work with two people that I respect so much. Not only that, they’re very close friends of mine and an incredible town. I’ve been very spoiled along with Jed and Theo to have experienced World Series Championships in Boston, especially when we won it in ’04 and came back and won it in ’07 with more of the players we had developed. So we know what that feels like and we know how much it means. It is just an incredible challenge here with an ownership group who wants nothing more than to win and build it the right way. I hope five, ten years from now we are all here and hopefully we’ve won one or two World Series, if not more, by then.

BF: Jason, we really appreciate the time and thank you very much and good luck the rest of the off-season.

BL: Take care Jason, thanks.

JM: Had fun guys, great to be on with you.

__________________________________________________________________________________

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  • J Daniel

    I think we would all say let’s start with 1 World Series! Can you imagine what that would be like? I am a huge Blackhawk fan. Watch their movie 17 seconds as it is fantastic for a Chicago sports fan. Can only imagine how CRAZY it will be when the Cubs finally win the Series.

    • cubtex

      just ordered a stocking stuffer gift for my 2 boys. One is 19 and the other is 14. It is a Chicago Cubs Shirt that says…..Just One Before I Die :) We can only hope :)

      • J Daniel

        Who in their right mind would give a down arrow, really? Let’s be honest, folks. Is there anyone posting that has seen a Cubs title? I thought so! I am with that shirt … just turned 50 and time is ticking … so … Just One Before I Die, PLEASE!

  • SirGladiator

    That guy sounds like a nice fellow. Disappointed to hear they pushed the date back to June 25th, but at the same time that could be for the best, as it gives us a little bit more time to judge how they’re really doing before we decide whether to bring them up or not. Hopefully come June 25th of next year we’ll be bringing up at least two or three of our top prospects. Then we can go on a nice long winning streak, and make the big playoff run!

  • Tony_Hall

    I get that fans are getting impatient with the rebuild and the way the major league team is being constructed. But the more times you listen to these guys talk and explain their systems and processes, how can you not be excited about the way they are rebuilding this franchise. When you hear about how much is involved in the FO and in this case, just the player development side, not even the pro scouting side that is run by Joe Bohringer, it should make everyone know how much of a disadvantage the Cubs were all those years, when they had the smallest front office in baseball. There are no guarantees in any sports, but I believe this franchise has much better days ahead and that this FO will turn this team into a perennial winner, that competes and ultimately wins a World Series for all of us to celebrate.

    Thanks Neil for another great transcript!

    • GaryLeeT

      I am not being impatient with the Minor League system, things are going very well there. It’s the 60 Million dollar payrolls for the MLB club I have an issue with. Not to mention, the young guys coming up could use some mentoring, and a little cover from glaring exposure of the expectations that will be put upon them by the long suffering fans, Just one of the many unintended consequences of being penny wise, and pound foolish.

      • Tony_Hall

        The impatience I was talking about was with the major league team, not the minor leagues.

        Spending payroll dollars just to spend them makes no sense, there has to be a reason to sign a player, not just to spend money. I think the players have had plenty of mentoring the last 2 years and the next wave of young guys will have guys to look up to as well.

        I don’t think they are being penny wise and pound foolish at all, I think they are being extremely smart with how they allocate their spending to make the team into a perennial winner. Now, if their goal was to go all this year, they would be penny wise and pound foolish.

        • cubtex

          This is a big market Tony(at least that is what people seem to say not named Ricketts) Why the minor league roster on the major league team in year 3?

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry, you know the answer and we have been through this before. Not going to rehash it again.

        • cubtex

          I think they are being very foolish. They are going to be losing a ton of revenue at the gates next year if they sit pat. They almost need to make a big splash because I do not think Ricketts is that dumb. He is a businessman and he has to realize that he needs to field a better product or he will lose millions.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think they are fully prepared to take the “hit” as you say to do what they are trying to accomplish in rebuilding this team.

            I believe they will go all out for Tanaka, regardless of how you and others think they have no chance, so that is the big splash if they get him.

          • cubtex

            So…lets say for kicks the Cubs sign Tanaka. He is basically a free agent with a 20 mil negotiation tag attached. He is 25. He will get at least a 5 year deal…at least….agreed? Ok. What $ do you think it will be to land him? 20 mil per? 21,22? So…it will be a 5 year 120 mil deal at least for this guy. And you have him making 1/4 of the entire payroll? If a team signs this guy it is to win and you need to have a 130 mil plus payroll to make it worth signing this guy.

          • Tony_Hall

            I guess you don’t need to worry about talking about Tanaka again.
            I don’t believe in percentages, as numbers can be skewed. A team like the Rays, couldn’t make it work, the Cubs could.

          • cubtex

            What was your point. My point was that he will get at least $120 mil for 5 (including the 20 mil price tag) Agreed or not? That will be 1/4 of the Cubs payroll with the likes of Valbuena,Barney,Sweeney
            Ruggiano and others playing until a bunch of unproven rookies are called up. How wise is that if you are not going to try and win for 2 or 3 more years?

          • Tony_Hall

            Once again, there is no switch. Adding a player like Tanaka, will fast-forwarded your team to being a winning team.

            1/4 of their payroll paid or payroll they could pay? Big difference. I believe they have the money to sign Tanaka, but they are not going to spend it just to spend it. If they don’t sign Tanaka.

          • cubtex

            You know what would have fast forwarded this team to being a winning team? Making better trades for Maholm, Dempster, not trading Cashner for Rizzo and here is the main point. By aquiring BETTER trade chips over the last 2 years to trade for BETTER prospects.

          • Tony_Hall

            You are right they have done horrible move after horrible move. I guess it does take skill to do a rebuild this way.

          • cubtex

            Be realistic. Look at the Marlins rotation and see how they got it. Henderson Alvarez(aquired via trade) Nate Eovaldi(aquired via trade) Jose Fernandez- draft. Our pitching staff is much much worse than it was last year and 2 years ago.

          • Tony_Hall

            Pitching is further away, but is going to start to fill up the AAA rotation this year.

            You do know that the other teams purpose isn’t to make the Cubs better, it is to make their teams better. They are under no obligation to trade us their young, major league ready players.

            Develop our own and we won’t have worry about buying pitching.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I like Rizzo…great glove, power, good OBP…I think the avg will come back up. He is a lefty Derrick Lee in my eyes…a quality 1B. He needs to rebound from last year though, or my opinion is subject to change next offseason.

          • cubtex

            It’s about as wise as paying Edwin Jackson 19 mil for this past season on a 96 loss team.

          • Tony_Hall

            If I could pick one player to have his best season of his career this year, it would be EJAX.

            A good ole basic stat season of 16-4 and 2.85 ERA, with the exact same WHIP of his career,

          • cubtex

            Wow! I think the odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery is better than that happening.lol

          • Tony_Hall

            I am going to buy a ticket this week.

            Finally a big enough jackpot to make $1 ticket worth it :)

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I also think he will bounceback, but feel your numbers are a bit too good. I see 12-11, 3.50 ERA type of year, on what should be a losing team.

          • Eugene Debs

            He’ll be 7-17 w/ 5.03

          • Tony_Hall

            LOL – what about his BB%, SO%, Whip, etc.

          • Tony_Hall

            Sarcasm is just lost on this site. I was way over stating things to make a point.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            exactly. Tanaka doesn’t make sense unless you plan to go for it in 2015. So one year of his contract would be wasted, but assuming it is 5 year contract, you would get Tanaka for 4 years when the Baez/bryant brigade shows up, perhaps with another farm pitcher and likely a FA pitcher in offseason next year to be ready to compete for playoffs.

          • cubtex

            Tanaka won’t sign here anyways but if he did it would be a 25 mil per year contract(including the posting fee) So you got Tanaka at 25 mil per and EJax at 11 with a payroll of 80 to 85 mil? Team won’t be good till at least 2016.

          • J Daniel

            Tanaka does make sense because you have to start adding guys that will be here and will be contributors if and when they are good.

          • J Daniel

            Agree, he will not sign here unless the money is outrageous beyond what others are offering which I don’t see happening.

          • cubtex

            I really wish Ricketts would sell this team to someone who is capable of doing a Big Market rebuild. This Astros/Marlins rebuild plan is for the Astros/Marlins….not Chicago

          • Tony_Hall

            One day soon, you will look back and be thankful for how they did it. If you want to be a fan of the Big Market team be a Yankee fan.

          • cubtex

            So one day I will look back and thank the Astros for giving Theo the same rebuild plan?

          • cubtex

            It is not that long of a drive. I guess I can do that :)

          • Tony_Hall

            I really don’t care how the Astros are doing things. I would have been behind the new owner if he had come in and had a real plan that was based on going for it from the start. Either way can work, but ONCE AGAIN, this is the plan that Tom Ricketts, who is the owner of the Chicago Cubs is doing.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            and even if not field a better team, and ruin draft position…but throw in some “names” for fans to at least be excited to watch. Sign some old guys on the tail end of their careers who will provide a glimpse of their former selves every now and then and be a bit of a thrill/kick for fans to see.

            Morneau, Colon, and guys like that. They can still be flipped at the break, which is a win-win for fans because we have the name brands for 1st half of year, and then when they are traded away at the break we likely see a guy or two promoted from the farm (ala Junior Lake) that we can watch and be excited about.

            Professional sports, when you break it all down, is entertainment. I would appreciate if the mlb club were more entertaining…I don’t think that is so much to ask, and in now way does it have to disrupt the acquisition of farm player volume and development.

          • cubtex

            exactly. Better Short term assets appeases the fans and gets back better prospects in turn…speed up the rebuild. Kevin Gregg, David DeJesus, Ryan Schierholtz,Dioneer Navarro were a waste of time and space. We got nothing for these players as short term assets.

        • GaryLeeT

          Well I mentioned how the kids could use some mentoring, cover in the batting order, and cover from the spotlight, as 3 reasons to have vets (on short term contracts) in place already. I mean, look at the season Castro and Rizzo had last year
          Now they are going to have to over pay more than other teams for FA’s to get them to come to a 90+ loss team(4) , and the many areas of lost revenues (5) that come from being a perennial loser that makes little to no effort to improve the MLB team. I could go on and on as to why it was stupid to not sign some Beltran type players during this journey.

          • Tony_Hall

            You assume Beltran type player wanted to come to Chicago to be a part of the rebuild even before.

            Wasn’t Soriano a mentor the last 2 years? Yet Castro and Rizzo had a down year. Maybe this mentoring thing is a little overstated.

          • cubtex

            I heard Ruggiano is a great mentor :) Expect Rizzo to follow him all over the field like a puppy following his mother.

          • Tony_Hall

            I would hope Rizzo is comfortable enough to be a leader on this team, not a follower.

            R Roberts, now, he may need to wear sleaves.

          • Eugene Debs

            His sub .250 batting average tells me he needs to focus less on leading and more on hitting. Thus, we need some more veteran leaders to assume that part of the clubhouse.

          • Tony_Hall

            Leaders don’t focus on leading, people just follow them. Rizzo isn’t spending hours studying video to become a better leader. He already is one.

          • GaryLeeT

            EVERY player has his price. Besides, If they had kept the team competitive, by the time they got to the 3rd Beltran, it would not have been so hard to lure them in.

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes, I am sure they could have kept the team in the 76-80 win range like JH did in his last 2 years of being just 3-4 moves away and spending every dollar he could, back-loading contracts and spreading one year deals over 3 years. (He was extremely creative, though).

            Oh wait a minute, maybe not.

            2011 – 71 wins
            2010 – 75 wins

            Maybe 70-75 would be more accurate and I am sure those extra wins would make everyone happy. I mean that is 9.5 more wins his last 2 years, versus the last 2 years. One team was rebuilding and one team was going for it and none of those teams made the playoffs.

          • GaryLeeT

            You are assuming that the current FO would have signed the exact same players as JH. I am going to give them more credit, and say that there is no way Theo would have signed a Jaque Jones, or Milton Bradley. Hendry did the right thing, but did it with the wrong players.

          • Tony_Hall

            So I put you in the Tanaka could come to the Cubs camp then, right?

          • GaryLeeT

            Yes.

          • Eugene Debs

            No, this “mentor thing” is not overstated. See 1991 Braves and what signing a couple of vets did.

          • Tony_Hall

            For every example there are other examples.

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            agreed.

            Plus…having a more competitive team, or at least a few interesting/seasoned players to watch would make for a better fan experience.

            I know personally that I don’t torture myself by watching them when there is nothing they have on the mlb club worth seeing.

            Last year I watched Garza, Soriano when he got his hot streaks that would last 3-5 games, Travis Wood once he started looking to be legit/good, and Junior Lake when they called him up. I had hoped to be watching for Rizzo & Castro, but my mid-season I had given up on expecting a thrill from them.

            For this coming year, I am interested again in Castro/Rizzo, I am neutral on Castillo, still high on Lake, want to see Wood stay consistent…maybe see if Strop can catch fire and be consistent. Hmmm…not sure what else would compel me to watch. If we don’t trade Shark, I will watch from afar to see if he can be consistent, but he has burned me too many times for me to get comfy in my chair and plan on watching a Cubs game because he is starting.

  • Eugene Debs

    Some good prospects on the horizon. Keep ‘em coming….

  • cubtex

    I got a question. I heard all last year on how we needed to trade Soriano because he was blocking a potential call up and how they needed to keep that spot open. OK. I still don’t see any young outfielders beating down the door. Junior Lake has been the only one.

    So the question is why did Theo and company sign…Casper Wells,Aaron Cunningham, Darnell McDonald, Ryan Kalish? They still have Jae Hoon Ha for AAA as well plus BJax and possibly Vitters(If he doesn’t make the team)
    They also signed Eli Whiteside and John Baker to minor league deals at catcher.
    Chris Valaika for the infield.

    Any ideas what they are trying to do at AAA for next year?

    • cubtex

      So no one has answered this question. I forgot to mention Thomas Neal was resigned to a minor league deal as well. What is the point of signing Aaron Cunningham,Darnell McDonald,Casper Wells,Thomas Neal and Ryan Kalish unless you have no outfielders knocking on the door? So again….My question. Who was Soriano blocking and why can’t they sign or even better yet….trade for a long term option in the outfield(like Adam Eaton) instead of Sweeney,Schierholtz,Ruggiano. Anyone care to answer that?

      • Tony_Hall

        They took the first opportunity to get something in return and have some team pay part of his salary to trade him.

        Move on.

        • cubtex

          Is that all you got?

          • Tony_Hall

            Sometimes, the truth is all you need.

            The spot was opened up for Lake. Once again, the truth is all that is needed. All the other guys are roster fillers for ST and maybe for AAA if needed.

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is a fun article on “To spend or not spend…on an ace” Talks about the difference in spending the same amount of money, but doing it different way in building a pitching staff.

    WARNING – Not for the weak of heart when it comes to stats. So if you believe W-L and ERA tells you what you need to know about a pitcher, move on, nothing to see here.

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/12/15/5205812/mlb-salary-spending-orioles-braves-pitching-ace-tanaka-burnett-sabermetrics?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rotofeed+%28The+RotoFeed%29

    • cubtex

      thanks for not wasting my time by adding that disclaimer ;)

      • Tony_Hall

        No problem, but it would be a good read for you. You can gloss over the stuff that is too much and just look at the graphs. Seriously, you can just go the graphs and see the results.

        • cubtex

          as long as it has pictures. I can’t read anything that doesn’t have pictures :)

    • paulcatanese

      I would read it Tony if I were a fan of this type of Baseball, but as you know, I am not.
      Anything that is not pre free agency holds no interest for me and has limited my posts.
      IMO free agency has ruined baseball as far as I am concerned . It has developed in the truest sense of the word to “Money Ball”.
      I see nothing but dollar signs by the owners and players involved. This is not Baseball as it was intended to be.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I agree, Paul: Free Agency has ruined the game. I still love baseball, but
        it is a shadow of the glory it had in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

      • Tony_Hall

        Are you saying you liked it better when the owners made all the money and “owned” the players and they weren’t free to choose where they can play at some point in their career?

        I am sure we all don’t like the money side of the game, but if the players weren’t making the money, the owners would be and I just can’t accept that. I wish the system was fairer, but it is not and I don’t see how baseball fixes that, when so much of the revenue a team makes is from local sources. I have a hard time believing you are against the players on them being able to be free agents at some point.

        • paulcatanese

          So you are saying that the owners and players should split all the money and the fans get hosed paying it all.
          It was baseball then, and doubt if you were around to see the game as it was, not splitting every few years for more dollars and owners watching how long they will have control over a players. Millions of dollars being spent for someone who is not going to make a difference except with the amount of people that can be lured into the park, and owners selling everything that they can for a extra bucks. This game nauseates me.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree everything has gotten more expensive, but that is because people keep paying the price. If people stopped paying, then prices would go down. Just like players salaries, if teams offered less, then salaries wouldn’t keep going up, but they are not offering these contracts because they can’t afford them. Sports has higher revenues than ever before and yes I believe the players should get their fair share, as they are the reason we pay the money. I would love to see tickets prices go down, and they actually do in the cases where they don’t sell them. Supply and demand will always dictate prices.

            The game doesn’t stink, Mr. Catanese. It’ a great game.

          • Tony_Hall

            The game doesn’t stink Mr Catanese. Its’s a great game.

          • paulcatanese

            I get it Tony, you think the game is a great one, good for you:)

  • Tony_Hall

    Edit – Sorry tried to post a picture of the graph for Ray. Didn’t work.

  • WidespreadHisPanic

    Thank you for posting this transcript!

  • cubtex

    Mark Ellis signed with the Cards. No other FA 2nd baseman on the market. Yankees need to trade for one. Please take Darwin Barney. Cubs need to start a new body at 2B and 3B next year.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Were the Yanks so poor that they could not pay Ellis?
      He is a vast improvement over Barney.

      What gives?

      • cubtex

        Hopefully they think Barney is better :) They still could get Brandon Phillips. I heard he asked for more money to waive his no trade and that pissed the Yankees off.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Cashman is a better judge of talent than to think Barney is better.
          Besides, if he needs help, he has Jim Hendry working for him.

          • Tony_Hall

            Barney would fill a huge need. He is also SS insurance for Jeter. It also buys them time to fill the position in June or July, depending on if they are still in it at that point.

          • cubtex

            they signed Brendan Ryan as insurance for Jeter.

          • Tony_Hall

            I forgot about that one. I don’t see why they would have interest in Barney then. Jeter could move to 2B or if the great ones ego couldn’t handle it, Ryan can easily play 2B.

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