Epstein Addresses Blockbuster with Oakland, Hopeful This is the Last Time Cubs are Sellers

Theo Epstein addressed the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics for INF Addison Russell, OF Billy McKinney, RHP Dan Straily and a PTBNL in a conference call with the beat writers Saturday afternoon.

Theo Epstein is hopeful this is the last summer the Cubs will have to be obvious sellers and said, “I really feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” The Cubs do not want to be sellers any longer and would like to be in the position Oakland is in soon and they can change the conversation in 2015 according to a report from Patrick Mooney.

Epstein thanked the fan base for their patience and reiterated the front office is “working extremely hard to reward them” for that patience.

Epstein admitted the Cubs have a lot of work to do on the pitching front and the front office realizes a team cannot win without pitching. Epstein said, “We have a plan to acquire good pitching and to build a really effective pitching staff. But there are more teams out there looking for offense then looking for pitching. It’s a lot of work ahead on the pitching front, but we’re excited about what lies ahead on the mound. Young pitching is hard to build plans around. You look up and guys are hurt, there’s attrition, there’s Tommy John, there’s ineffectiveness.”

PrintThe Cubs have a talented group of players that Epstein called “real prospects.” Epstein thinks this group of players has a chance to stick together and the fans will have a chance to know them. “Not just one or two years, not just mercenaries or free agent fliers from the outside, but a really good group of young players they can get to know and love and hopefully see win a lot of ballgames at Wrigley Field together.”

Starlin Castro

The Cubs are “ecstatic with the way” Starlin Castro is playing this season. And they are proud of what he has accomplished on the field so far this year. Theo Epstein had already spoken with Castro’s agent by the time of his Saturday morning conference call.

Theo Epstein called Castro “a centerpiece to the Cubs plans” and he said Castro is the Cubs shortstop and “shouldn’t be looking over his shoulder.” Epstein does not envision Castro moving from shortstop anytime in the near future.

Addison Russell

Theo Epstein said Saturday it is his responsibility to do the right thing for the organization. There was not a pitcher available or a package of pitchers available on the market that would’ve netted the Cubs close to the talent that Addison Russell brings to the organization.

The Cubs had four different scouts follow Addison Russell’s rehab from the hamstring tear that cost him two months of his season. Russell is healthy and is expected in Double-A Tennessee’s lineup Sunday.

Jed Hoyer said Saturday the Cubs liked Addison Russell in the draft and was very high on him then before deciding on Albert Almora. The Cubs saw a lot of Russell in the Arizona Fall League last year due to the fact he was on the same team (Mesa Solar Sox) as Kris Bryant, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.

Positions – Who Will Play Where?

With all of the position player talent that is getting close to being ready for the big leagues. Theo Epstein was asked where players such as Baez, Bryant, Alcantara and Russell would play.

Epstein explained the Cubs see Javier Baez has a shortstop, but he could also play second base, third base or a position in the outfield. Kris Bryant could play third or right field. Arismendy Alcantara could fit at second, shortstop or centerfield and Addison Russell could play shortstop, third base or second base.

Epstein pointed out having too many shortstops is a good thing. Shortstops are usually the most athletic players on the team and can be moved around the field. Impact players that can hit and play in the middle of the field are hard to find.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Epstein said, “We want to see this group play and develop together. We’re not smart enough to see how the pieces fit together, but it’s easy to be excited about a lot of the different permutations.”

Dan Straily

The Cubs have assigned Dan Straily to Triple-A Iowa. Theo Epstein said Saturday the plan with Straily is the same they had with Jake Arrieta last year and they hope Straily responds the same way Arrieta did. The Cubs want Straily to go to Iowa and “take a deep breath.”

Jake Arrieta started seven games for Iowa after he was acquired in the deal from Baltimore. Arrieta started the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against Milwaukee on July 30, then went back to Iowa where he stayed until August 16.

The Sun-Times reported Dan Straily could be added to the Cubs rotation “after the All-Star break.”

Billy McKinney

OF Billy McKinney has been assigned to High-A Daytona and is expected to be in the D-Cubs lineup on Sunday. Albert Almora is viewed as a pure centerfielder according to Theo Epstein. McKinney will see time in all three outfield spots in Daytona.

Jeff Samardzija

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer admitted Saturday it was tough to trade Jeff Samardzija. But it got to a point where the front office realized they would not be able to sign him to an extension.

Epstein said, “In the end, that mutual interest wasn’t enough. Don’t blame anyone. Timing wasn’t aligned.”

And Theo Epstein said he spoke with Jason Hammel about coming out of Friday’s game early. Epstein told Hammel he was absolutely right and agreed with what he said. Epstein also told Hammel they were close to a deal that included him and Rick Renteria was asked to be smart about how Hammel was used Friday. The timing was weird with the front office working on a trade that included Hammel on the day he was pitching.

Players Reactions to the Trade

Darwin Barney told Patrick Mooney that with all of the turnover that his wife “is the only one left from 2011.”

James Russell said he and Jeff Samardzija “shared a beer and a cigarette” then Russell sent him on his way. Russell admitted it is “tough to see your boys leave.”

Finances and PTBNL

The Cubs and Athletics will complete the trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel later this year. According to Mark Gonzales the PTBNL deadline is after Nov. 20.

The Cubs did not send cash to Oakland in the deal according to Patrick Mooney. The Athletics took on the remainder of $6 million owed to Jason Hammel, plus the $1 million incentives package and the remainder of the $5.345 million owed to Jeff Samardzija. The trade cut around $5.5 million off the Cubs payroll for the remainder of the season.

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  • jtrain23

    Taking the best possible talent gives the Cubs future options. Why take pitchers just for the sake of taking pitchers when there are better positional prospects out there. Some will pan out, some will not, others could be used to trade for pitchers as early as this winter/next spring.

    The F.O. Is going to build their core of positional players, take chances on some pitching prospects, and probably fill in the pitching staff using trades or free agency to acquire pitchers that are already proven and established.

    I like the plan and hope they stick to it. You can never have too many prospects and you should never pass on the best talent available (by far) just to meet a certain criteria.

    • J Daniel

      You do not need to “hope” that they will stick to their plan. They are sticking to it and are not going to change it.

      • Tom U

        Not necessarily true. The main reason Theo & Co. are in charge of the the Cubs is because there have been a few rebuilds that have looked promising, only to have management scuttle them by going “all in” when they start to have some success. Here’s hoping that present company avoids that temptation.

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

      Agree. Look for more teams to adopt this strategy. Usually Theo’s become the norm everywhere in a few years.

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

      Agree. Look for more teams to adopt this strategy. Usually Theo’s become the norm everywhere in a few years.

  • Ripsnorter1

    #3, 5, 6, and 18 top prospects in MLB, according to Baseball America.

    Hmmm. What does #3, 5, 6, and 18 really look like? I mean, if we go back 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, what kind of record did the #3, 5, 6, and 18 prospects of time past compile? Career slash line is listed.

    Note: if a pitcher was at assigned number, I’ll post the next non-pitcher down the list.

    2009–five years ago…
    Colby Rasmus .247/.314/.439
    Jason Heyward .257/.350/.432
    Travis Snider .239/.303/.391
    Logan Morrision. .248/.335/.426

    Comment: none of these are real difference makers. Heyward is slugging only .370 this year. Each year he has declined from the previous year. Rasmus is inconsistent. The other two we do not want on our roster.

    2004…ten years ago
    Grienke–would love to have him…/Jeremy Reed, Chisox OF .252/.309/.354
    Fielder .285/.388/.552
    Weeks .348/.345/.422
    Greg Miller, LAD pitcher…never made it./Grady Sizemore: .266/.354/.465

    Comment: nice crop this year. Who wouldn’t love to have Grienke, Fielder, or a healthy Grady Sizemore on your team? Unfortunately, Reed isn’t a difference maker, Fielder and Sizemore are hurt, and Weeks was never my kind of player. Ten years is a long time in MLB.

    1999, fifteen years ago….
    Eric Chavez .268/.342/.475
    Brad Penny/Pablo Ozuna, Miami .282/.318/.359
    Mike Barrett, ex-Cub .263/.320/.422
    Nick Johnson, Yanks .268/.399/.441….this guy could get on base. Look at that lifetime OBP.

    Comment: all ML regulars, but no superstars.

    • Sonate

      Interesting comparative analysis Rip. As you say, prospects are suspects until they show their mettle in the show. We should be careful not to get too giddy about our prospects. However, the speculation is fun. Thanks for bringing me back to earth!

    • Tony d

      Nice post! It’s nice getting young players but this is what we may end up with! The main thing is that we are still 2 years or more out before these young players come up a jell into big league players . I just hope that the cubs can sign some players this off season that can help take this team to the next level.

      • J Daniel

        They will be signing pitching.

        • GaryLeeT

          At this point, their committed payroll for 2015 has be an anorexic $60 mil or less. So we’ll see how committed they are to investing all that “rolled over” savings from player payroll.

          • GaryLeeT

            Actually I just looked it up on Baseball Prospectus. The Cubs have $31 million committed for next season.

          • Ripsnorter1

            They could save money by non-tendering Mr. Darwin Barney.

            Let’s get that payroll down under $25 million!
            Who else can we cut? Hmmm. Let’s see…

            James Russell. He’s going to make $2 million. I’ll betcha he’s traded away before July 31. Waiver claim. Something. Anything!

          • paulcatanese

            Watched the A’s yesterday, good team, but you are right, they could use Barney in a big way. 2B is a real hole in their lineup, Barney’s glove would put them over the top.

          • Eugene Debs

            Les Expos.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I think that it is lower than that, sir. Who is here for 2015 that makes over $3 million per?

            Rizzo $5
            Castro. $6
            Are you ready for this? Fujikawa $6 million if Cubs don’t buy it out at $500,000. Talk about one expensive bust….
            Edwin Jackson, $11 million.
            Travis Wood, currently $3.9 million (arby)

            I think $45 million or less…..

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            no excuses to not spend this off-season, considering all the savings in Hammel trade, the “rolled over” savings from not signing Tanaka, etc etc…

          • Denver Mike

            I may wrong, but when Epstein says,

            “We have a plan to acquire good pitching and to build a really effective pitching staff. … Young pitching is hard to build plans around. You look up and guys are hurt, there’s attrition, there’s Tommy John, there’s ineffectiveness.”

            I hoping he is talking about signing and/or trading for proven ML starters rather than banking on young pitching prospects that may get inured or be ineffective. I’ve mentioned this a couple times of the last 2 days so I won’t go into detail again, but Price and Lester would look mighty fine at the top of the rotation.

            EDIT/ADD: …and as Rip points out, they should have plenty of money to sign some pitching.

          • GaryLeeT

            Actually, I did.

          • Denver Mike

            Haha, my bad…credit where it is due I suppose

          • J Daniel

            Forgot all about Fujikawa!

          • Ripsnorter1

            You can spell his name I-N-J-U-R-Y B-U-S-T.

            12 IP for $10 million.

            Cheap, eh?And they can re-up him for 2015 at just $6 million.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Please read and follow the commenting policy.

            Thank you

      • John_CC

        But how will they know, like really be sure that the players they sing in the off season will be able to take them to next level?

    • J Daniel

      All my not hit Rip, but there is also Schawrber, Soler, Alcantara, and another high end prospect in next years draft. A few are going to hit.
      I have a feeling that more than a few are going to make it and if a couple of them are stars while the rest are good … well that makes for a contender.

    • John_CC

      Thanks for another pointless exercise in negativity meant to pee on everyone that likes something that just happened.

      News flash, Rip: nothing in life is guaranteed! Nothing. Kershaw could blow out his shoulder tomorrow, or get hit by a bus, slip in the shower, crack his head open and die in a pol of blood. Maybe the Cubs team plane goes down on their way home and whole team dies! Then what will they do!

      Comment: we are all screwed!

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        If Kershaw happens to die that way, your post is very incriminating…

      • cubtex

        What’s wrong with pointing this out? News flash- the tooth fairy and Santa Claus aren’t real.

        • JasonPen

          Damnit… I read this site for Cubs news… Not to have Santa Claus ruined for me!! So who has been getting my Christmas letters sent to the north pole for the past 30 years? Lol

          • Ripsnorter1

            answer: the tooth fairey has been reading your mail.

    • Denver Mike

      Good post, I haven’t thought to go back and look at that and it is pretty interesting. I’m not building a case one way or the other, but wanted to look at some of the missing years as well. For the sake of comparison I’ll leave out pitchers:

      Year: #3/#5/#6/#18

      2012: Trout/J. Montero/Profar/Sano

      Far to early to tell on Profar/Sano, but Trout is a stud and Monetro is a bust.

      2011: Brown/Hosmer/Moustakas/Jennings

      Brown showed a flash last year but has fallen off, Hosmer and Jennings are productive ML players, and Moustakas has never put it together.

      2010: Stanton/Jennings/Posey/Hicks

      Who the heck is Aaron Hicks? Otherwise I would take any of the other three on the Cubs today.

      2008: Rasmus/Maybin/Snider/Moustakas

      Rasmus has had a couple decent power years with very low average, otherwise…meh.

      2007: D. Young/Maybin/Longoria/CarGo

      Young was a head case, but Longoria and Cargo are studs and perennial All-Stars

      2006: B.Wood/S.Drew/Milledge/Saltalamacchia

      Lastings Milledge, now that’s a name I never wanted to hear again! Overall very underwhelming.

      2005: D.Young/J.Guzman/Kotchman/Heredia

      Not too excited about any of these guys either.

      Overall a pretty decent mix of talent, some guys I’ve never heard of and some All-Star level talent as well. As you said, you never know who will make it and who will flame out. Another reason to be glad we have a lot of high-end talent down there, and aren’t counting on 1 or 2 guys to save the day.

      • GaryLeeT

        ” but Trout is a stud”
        That, my friend, is officially the understatement of the year. He is without a doubt the best player in the Majors.

        • Denver Mike

          I agree, I just try to stay away from absolutes and leave that to the “experts” :)

      • triple

        Looks like a post that tells more of the story than RIP’s. Also, regardless, it’s all very unscientific when there are different rankings by different publications, and all by organizations that have no hands on experience with the players or the game itself.

        Also, it’s not like we need all of them, or even half of them to become super-star talent. If just one or two of them become perennial all-stars, that is alot of talent to add to Castro and Rizzo who already are proving themselves. And if a couple others become average serviceable MLB players, then we have a great lineup, and this FO will have produced way more talent from within than JH ever did at one time. I like our chances!

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

        Really though comparing the actual position of the ranking across years is irrelevant. It’s a different makeup of players each season. What would make more sense would be to look at the top 15 prospects from different years and the number of them that became impact players. Not necessarily looking at slotting.

        • Denver Mike

          I agree, after I posted this I thought about it, and I tried to do that in more detail below, by looking at the 2013 list and seeing what the top 25 have done to date. Overall I think the 2013 class has done pretty well.

        • J Daniel

          The rankings are constantly changing and differs from who is doing the rankings as well.

  • J Daniel

    Basically team Theo has treated this like an expansion team, stripped it completely, and have rebuilt the system to one of the best in the game if not the best. I really believe they are enjoying this process as it has been a huge challenge. If it works, which it is starting to look like it is going to, they will go down in baseball history. If it doesn’t, well, they have been terrible basically for 105 years.

    Bowden says Russell “has a chance to be a superstar” and the “Cubs are building the best young group of position players in the game.”

  • Ripsnorter1

    Speaking of top 100 prospects…here’s the first 25.
    Baseball America’s 2014 list includes these who have made it to the Show…

    #2 X. Bogarts, BoSox. Hitting .238 at the ML level, .319 OBP .361 slug.
    #3 Oscar Tavaras. Not clicking for the Cards just yet. .196/.236/.314 slug.
    #4 Tanaka. Hardly a rookie, imo. He’s done very well. 12-3.
    #10 Greg Polanco…299/.387/.412. Nice slash line, minus a little power just yet, but doing nicely.
    #11 t. Walker…just 1 start: 1-0…4.50 ERA in 6 IP
    #18 Geo. Springer .239/.347/.470 nice slug.
    #25 Nick Castillanos….266/.312/.405 it’s okay. Better than Olt so far….

    • GaryLeeT

      That’s why I like to see players get to the big league club as soon as possible, even this year. Not to try and win now, but to start the clock on the 2 to 3 year growing process. Unless of course, one of them is the next Mike trout.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Get that ESPN Insider subscription, buddy! LOL
        You are missing some info that you’d enjoy reading. : )

        • GaryLeeT

          Or, you could just tell me what they are saying.

      • JasonPen

        Even Mike Trout struggled on his first callup…

    • Denver Mike

      When considering 2015, we should look at the top 25 from 2013 and consider what they are doing in 2014:

      #1 Profar, TEX – 303 AB, 32 R, 13 2B, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 2 SB, .231/.301/.343
      #3 Taveras, STL – 55 PA, 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .196/.236/.314
      #4 Myers, TB – 533 AB, 76 R, 33 2B, 18 HR, 78 RBI, 8 SB, .268/.338/.432
      #5 J. Fernandez, FLA – 224.1 IP, 2.25 ERA, .972 WHIP, 3.62 SO/BB (Out with TJ)
      #6 S. Miller, STL – 291 IP, 3.37 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.32 SO/BB
      #7 G. Cole, PIT – 203 IP, 3.46 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.12 SO/BB
      #8 Bogaerts, BOS – 346 AB, 43 R, 19 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, .240/.319/.361
      #11 Wheeler, NYM – 195.1 IP, 3.82 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 2.03 SO/BB
      #12 Skaggs, LAA – 152.1 IP, 4.73 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 2.28 SO/BB
      #14 Bauer, CLE – 92.1 IP, 4.87 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 1.61 SO/BB
      #15 Yelich, FLA – 518 AB, 80 R, 24 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 45 RBI, .276/.357/.413
      #17 Zunino, SEA – 423 AB, 54 R, 19 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 47 RBI, .215/.278/.385
      #18 Walker, SEA – 21 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 3.0 SO/BB
      #20 Hamilton, CIN – 317 AB, 50 R, 19 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 48 SB, .281/.313/.407
      #21 Castellanos, DET – 292 AB, 26 R, 18 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 2 SB, .267/.310/.397
      #22 Olt, CHC – 203 AB, 19 R, 5 2B, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 1 SB, .148/.229/.335
      #23 d’Arnaud, NYM – 264 AB, 17 R, 9 2B, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 1 SB, .205/.287/.307

      Top 25 guys from 2013 that haven’t made their MLB debut: (2) Bundy – BAL, (9) Sano – MIN, (10) Buxton – MIN, (13) Correa – HOU, (16) Baez – CHC, (19) Taillon – PIT, (24) Zimmer – KC, (25) Bradley – ARI

      67% of the top 25 from 2013 is already in the majors, and I would say there are quite a few productive Major Leaguer’s on that list. Of the 8 that haven’t made it 3-4 are knocking on the door with Bundy and Bradley almost sure to make their debuts this year.

      • Denver Mike

        I should also note that 3 of the 8 that haven’t made it are out for the rest of the year due to injury (Sano, Correa, Taillon) so there is always some risk as well.

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

          So using that rate you could say of the Cubs top 4 prospects, 3 are likely to make it. I like the odds and that why you stockpile guys. We have so much depth of good players. Guys like Hanneman, who appear on no lists and are low in the level but who knows how will end up.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s talk Mr. Geo. Springer, lately of the Houston Astros…a real strikeout machine. 101k in 264 AB. A real disaster is going to happen here.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/11173570/will-george-springer-low-contact-rate-limit-ceiling-mlb

    Gary, spend the dough and buy a subscription to ESPN magazine, and the insider comes with it for free. It’s worth the dough!

    Dating back to 2002, when the contact-rate stat was first kept, there have been exactly zero players who have ever put up a qualified season with a contact rate lower than Springer’s 61.3 percent. The next-three-lowest marks all belong to Mark Reynolds, who had a brief stint as an elite power hitter but had only one season with more than a 1.7 WAR, then two seasons by Springer’s Houston teammate, Chris Carter, who is hitting .181 and might soon be looking for new employment.

    • triple

      I don’t get why this info is worth paying for? You couldn’t see that with your own eyes? ESPN had to teach that to you? Really? That info isn’t worth Luis Valbuena baseball card!

  • Eugene Debs

    Looking forward to that $5.5 million “rolling forward.” And I actually mean that. Let’s hope we can cobble together a rotation that keeps us from sinking into one of those 10 – 35 streaks. But…I do feel a little closer to competing.

  • cubtex

    Hey? Did a trade happen? So….Hammel and Shark for Addison Russell and Texas high school kid Billy McKinney. Hmmmm. I think they got a for sure starting mlb player in this deal in Russell. Unlike the Garza deal where there are ????? all over the place. Will CJ Edwards be able to handle a starters workload. Will Neil Ramirez be able to stay healthy? Olt will more than likely not be on the Cubs for any extended length of time. At least with Russell……the Cubs aquired a true top prospect. Expect another Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett type trade. That is way he built his rotation in Boston.

    • cubtex

      That being said…..if Castro is the one traded then it will hurt thus team hard since as RIp illustrated….most prospects not named Castro usually struggle at first. As I have preached to this choir….this plan will one day work but it is an all day sucker. A prospect or 2 sprinkled in next year another 2 sprinkled in 2016 and hopefully by 2017 have a chance.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Hanley/Beckett turned out pretty good, as Beckett averaged about 15 wins over 5-6 seasons, and they had him starting at age 26…just entering his prime. Would love to see something like that.

      One difference I hope they now have in place is: if you trade the future SS superstar, do you have another option for your future at the SS position? Looks like the Red Sox went with a Julio Lugo and Misc Guy strategy to fill their SS position during their peak Beckett years.

      In the Cubs’ case, they could trade Baez, and hopefully have Russell/Castro doing SS/2b, so the loss of Baez’ future potential is mitigated.

      Maybe we trade Baez for Sonny Gray in the off-season? Ha.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Neil if Alcantara were to come up now. How does his arbitration clock go, it’s the same as if he comes up In September right?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I am not sure what you are asking. Please expand when you can. Thanks man.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        What I meant is he comes up now and stays it’s basically the same as if he came up on opening day next year and stays up as far as arbitration goes. Is that correct? As far as team control years of service.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          He is past the Super Two date as Tom said. If I am understanding you correctly, yes it would be the same. The Cubs would still have six full seasons of control.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    How can I believe anything Theo says when all the experts on this site tell me Baez will never be a SS and the plan is for him not to be a SS. Theo specifically calls him a SS (yes, he mentions he could play other positions).

    I think the main reason for this lack of candor around Baez’ position is simple: just like with Russell, a great-hitting SS prospect is considered extremely valuable. I think he wants to keep calling Baez a SS until the Cubs trade him.

    And how soon we give up on our super prospects…Baez was clamored for in ST, and then many gave up on him as he struggled and fell in love with Bryant and now there is Russell. So who needs Javy Baez anymore in this town?

    • triple

      I am just going to point out that in reading some stuff about Addison Russell, that there were people saying he will have to move off the SS position in Oakland in the future, but it’s not like the A’s/Billy Beane were saying anything other than he will be a SS. So I’m sure you can find a scenario in every organization where scouts and fans say one thing, while the actual guys who work with the player/team say a player will stay at their position . Otherwise, I guess we just got hosed by Billy Beane, because he decided to keep calling Russell a SS while he may really just be a 2nd or 3rd baseman.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    How can I believe anything Theo says when all the experts on this site tell me Baez will never be a SS and the plan is for him not to be a SS. Theo specifically calls him a SS (yes, he mentions he could play other positions).

    I think the main reason for this lack of candor around Baez’ position is simple: just like with Russell, a great-hitting SS prospect is considered extremely valuable. I think he wants to keep calling Baez a SS until the Cubs trade him.

    And how soon we give up on our super prospects…Baez was clamored for in ST, and then many gave up on him as he struggled and fell in love with Bryant and now there is Russell. So who needs Javy Baez anymore in this town?

  • John_CC

    It makes sense now that Epstien stayed in Chicago rather than travel to Boston to take care of “family” business, eh? He and Beane must have been working on this for a while.

    Russell and Jeff sharing a ciggy in the alley behind the clubhouse…nice, those guys are Sooo Cool! I can just see those two mullets passing a Camel Light back and forth, swilling a can of Bud…just like in a movie. Blah! I can wait for Russell and his mullet to hit the road next.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      ditto on that whole 2nd paragragh.

  • Tom U

    From Carrie Muskat:

    According to Judd Sirott, RHP Blake Parker has joined Cubs in DC

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      any reason why? Not sure I see his value compared to any of the bullpen arms we have. Does that indicate a trade of Villanueva or conversion of Ramirez/Grimm to SP?

      Probably I am reading into it and they just need an extra bullpen arm due to the shellacking they took yesterday.

      • Tom U

        Most likely. Parker is on option, so why not bring him in when needed.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Cubs have a ton of good position prospects, Bryant, Baez, Alcantara, Russell, Almora, Soler, Schwarber, Vogelbach, Billy Mckinney, Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jiminez, Jeimer Candelario, Christian Villanueva, Jacob Hanneman, not just the 4 in the top mlb 20 rankings.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Even if 2 of these guys are Allstars and 2 are just good along with Castro and Rizzo, the Cubs are looking really good very soon.

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

      Exactly. Our depth of talent is unreal. That’s 14 mentioned and didn’t include Hanneman, Vogelbach or Olt. We’re deep and given the rate of players that will actually turn out I think we’ve got a pretty dang good chance of a few becoming solid. Plus there’s others we’re not mentioning like many of the draftees. And all the pitching that’s been added like Stinnett, Cease, Steele and Sands. Plus Maples, Blackburn, Johnson, Edwards, Black, Pinyiero, Hendricks, Beeler and others.

      We’re pretty much stacked although we don’t know how any will turn out. But it’s a numbers game and we’ve tilted the odds greatly in our favor.

  • Tom U

    Billy McKinney batting lead-off for the Daytona Cubs today.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Tom if Alcantara were to come up tomorrow it’s the same as if he comes up In September right ? As far as arbitration clock goes.

      • Tom U

        We have passed the Super Two date.

      • JimBo_C

        We have also passed the super two date for Baez and Bryant. If this is the last “sell off” year would the FO really wait until the next super two date to bring these “prized” top prospects up to the major league squad? I personally doubt it.

        • GaryLeeT

          Exactly. There is no reason not to bring Bryant and Alcantara up now, and let them learn on the job. Super 2 status shouldn’t be a concern, because If team Theo likes a player they get the Rizzo/Castro treatment and super 2 becomes moot.

        • triple

          In Bryant’s case, I say yes, and it mostly has to do with that “all day sucker” guy who is his agent. They will want cheap team control of him for as many good baseball years as they can get. He will not be so easy to sign at low cost like Castro and Rizzo were. I suspect that we may never see Baez in a Chicago Cubs uniform. I think that as long as his bat keeps developing in AAA, he remains a top prospect, and the type that can garner a proven major league arm in return.

          To expand on my thought about Baez to be involved in a trade, is for the Cubs to add in a couple more prospects (not as highly ranked) and maybe one of our solid relievers, and trying to work out a sign and trade deal with the Marlins for G. Stanton. Stanton only has 2 years left on his contract, which we know the Marlins won’t pay for him, so why not let them replace him with a SS who looks to have that potential, and they could have him under control for 6 years. I just keep thinking about how our lineup would look next year if the middle consisted of Castro, Rizzo, Stanton, and Bryant. If the Cubs had those guys and signed 2 of the higher end FA pitchers in the offseason, 2015 could be a really interesting season.

          • SirGladiator

            I’d rather trade Castro than Baez, but I agree that trading for Stanton is the right move. If the Marlins want Baez more than Castro then I’d do it, but I’d really want to keep Baez because he will likely be a lot better than Castro in a year or two. Castro’s contract was made to be trade-friendly, and he’s got more value right now as a big league player, so I would think he would be a more valuable trade piece than Baez, but I guess it just depends on the GM. Another guy we should be looking at is Jose Fernandez. He won’t be able to pitch until the middle of next year, but nobody rehabs players better than we do, and he’s one of the very best pitchers in the game, so once we get him healthy he would be in our rotation for probably a dozen years or so, and be the ace of it for most, if not all, of that time. That would definitely be a player worth getting.

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

            Nice point Gladiator. Add Stanton and Fernandez? Sheesh, that would be nice. Baez/Castro and maybe Soler would probably get it done.

          • Jeffrey Rogers

            Castro is the just the type of player the FO is trying to fill the roster with. Proven, cheap, experienced, and entering his prime. Plus, Baez is not Castro’s replacement. Baez will never play SS for the Cubs.

            And why on earth would the Marlins give up Fernandez? He is under their control for several more seasons.

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

            I think we’re going to be active in the offseason for some really good, proven players. I expect us to be very good next season.

            I wouldn’t bring up any of the young guys except Alcantra. Let them continue to work in the minors. There was never a player who had his development hurt by coming up more slowly. I’d like to see Bryant run into some troubles and have to make adjustments as he certainly will at the MLB level. I say “certainly” but nothing is certain with him. He may be the outlier that never deals with a huge slump.

        • DWalker

          super two doesn’t mean much. year of control date is everything.

          • JimBo_C

            is the year of control date aligned with rookie classification?

            A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of a 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service).

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