Sunday, October 26, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Hot Stove Cubbies blog is going to be taking some much needed time off for various things including exploring other avenues and possible updating. Unless some breaking news that requires me to utilize Hot Stove Cubbies there will be no updates from now until the start of free agency this coming offseason. But the good news is @HotStoveCubbies on Twitter will still be going strong and providing you with insight, rumors, and news in 140 characters or less. So please give me a follow for everything Cubs.
Friday, August 08, 2014
The Chicago Cubs acquired a pitcher today not named Cole Hamels. The Cubs received former top prospect Jacob Turner from the Marlins for Kane County RP Tyler Bremer and his teammate RP Jose Arias. Both are pretty much non-prospects and both are kind of oldish for low A ball but both have had some success there. It is no surprise the Marlins had their hand forced when they place Jacob Turner on revocable waivers so getting two lower level minor leaguers is the best they could hope for.
Now on the Cubs side they bought low on a 23 year old right-handed pitcher without options who use to be an UBER prospect according to most scouting report. Turner; who was the lead piece in the Anibal Sanchez trade with the Tigers, has struggled for some consistency since the Fish acquired him. In 2013 Jacob Turner posted a 3.74 ERA in 20 games started while putting a mediocre 5.9 SO9 and a bad 4.1 BB9 so somewhat of a mixed bag for Turner. This season his K’s (6.2 SO9) and BB (2.6 BB9) are better but he is getting hit averaging 12 hits per 9 innings and posting a 5.97 ERA between starting and relieving. One of the reasons the consistency is not there this season is because he has been bounced between the pen and rotation. Another thing that does not help (and why he is out of options) is that while he has played in the majors since 2012 quite a bit he has also logged 178 innings in the minors since 2012. Hard for a guy to have consistency and success when he is being bounced between being a RP to a SP alone. But then being moved from the minors to the majors as both a SP and RP? That is borderline insanity when looking for consistency.
Many of you can look at his numbers and know that he has struggled but please do not forget that back before the 2012 season he was rated the 22nd best prospect and the 15th best prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. But lets not just scout the stat line; here is what John Sickles had tosay about him in 2012 and an interesting take on Jacob Turner from Fishstripes.
In the end the Cubs got a great deal for a 23 year old former top prospect. They bought low and could be catching lightning in a bottle by combining Jacob Turner’s upside with their pitching wizard Chris Bosio.
In a corresponding move the Cubs have designated Ryan Kalish for Assignment and added Jacob Turner to the 40 man roster. We will wait to see who gets bumped for the 25 man roster since Turner is out of options and has to be on the big league club.
Until Next Time…
Thursday, August 07, 2014
OK so Brett from @BleacherNation pretty much beat everyone to the punch when it comes to his Cole Hamels write up and it of course as always it is a great read (find here). But instead of writing essential the same piece because honestly I feel he is 100% right on I am going to analyze what a possible trade could look like.
Trading with the Phillies tidbits
· The Phillies are going to want the Cubs to take on Hamels entire salary.
· The Phillies are going to want top prospects and are not likely to take less than their trade deadline asking price.
· The Cubs are not going to trade someone like Edwin Jackson to the Phillies.
· The Phillies are highly unlikely to acquire guys like Castro, Baez, Alcantara, Soler, Rizzo, Wood, Arrieta, Olt, etc.. because they are on the 40 man roster and are subject to waivers as well. All those guys would likely be claimed by the Rockies or Dbacks before the Phillies had a chance to claim them in a potential deal.
· The Cubs are not going to trade Kris Bryant for Cole Hamels. They are also unlikely to give up a uber prospect for him.
· The Phillies are unlikely to deal Cole Hamels unless they get exactly what they want.
· The window to strike a deal is small and so is the list of players which again makes this deal unlikely but still possible.
What the Phillies are looking for
· Outfielders: Possibly the Phillies biggest need is young outfielders and is rumored they were seeking them in trade talks that included Marlon Byrd and yes… Cole Hamels.
· Catcher: The Phillies have no catching depth in the minors so acquiring at catcher might be the best thing for them.
· Starting Pitching: You have an aging Cliff Lee plus if the Cubs do deal for Hamels they are going to need to fill up that rotation with someone.
· First baseman: Someone is going to have to eventually replace Ryan Howard and it maybe sooner than later.
What the Cubs have to offer
· Outfielders: All the sudden it seems like the Cubs could have a lot of outfielders especially if they sign R. Castillo, keep Alcantara in CF, move Bryant to RF, and put Soler in LF. This of course if not even factoring in prospects Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora. So the Cubs have the outfielders the Phillies drool over but the Phillies will not be receiving Alcantara or Soler because they are on the 40 man. Plus I have heard Bryant is basically off limits. Kyle Schwarber to me could be a candidate but he hits left-handed which is something that the Cubs sorely need in their system. That leaves us with former 1st round pick Albert Almora. Almora seems right now to be the odd man out. His struggles do not help but like many fans and scouts I think he turns it around. He has the intangibles every team looks for which includes his off the charts character and leadership ratings. But in the grand scheme of things I think if you had to deal a top outfield prospect for Hamels he is the one you deal.
· Catcher: The Cubs do not have top catching depth and Castillo is not going anywhere so the chances of the Cubs and Phillies being a match here are slim.
· Starting Pitching: Again the Cubs do not have a lot of top pitching but there could be a match if they decided to include guys like Pierce Johnson, Paul Blackburn, Rob Zastryzny, etc… Like catching I do not seem pitching as a primary piece in a deal for Hamels.
· First baseman: Former prospects Rock Shoulders or Dustin Geiger could be of interest to the Phillies but Dan Vogelbach takes the cake here. The Philles GM Amaro loves big boppers and Dan fits the profile he is looking for. Dan has bounced back here of late hitting .269 with a .359 OBP and 12 homers. He is starting to look like a guy who could get called up to AA soon.
Although a deal for Cole Hamels does not look likely from either team I think there is the slight possibility a deal could get done. After what is said above I think this is a deal worth considering for both teams.
Phillies Receive: Albert Almora, Dan Vogelbach, and a guy like Jeimer Candelario/Jacob Hammemann (top 20ish prospect who does not have a spot on the team).
Cubs Receive: Cole Hamels (and pays his entire salary)
In this deal the Phillies shore up two spots for the future with Almora in CF and Vogelbach at 1st base. They then get another guy who could also fit on their roster in the next two years. Almora is not ranked lower than 35thon baseball prospect list and Vogelbach is ranked just out of the top 100. The Phillies should be intrigued by the chance to not only unload that huge salary which would make them players for this great crop of starting pitchers in free agency next season but they get a top 35 prospect in all of baseball as well? That is intriguing, very intriguing to them.
The Cubs would get their Jason Werth (thanks Tom Loxas) and they deal from their surplus of talent to get him so the loss of Almora and Vogelbach does not hurt as bad because of that depth. This will allow the Cubs also to concentrate on only acquiring one FA pitching this offseason which is far more likely to happen than trying to sign two FA pitchers which has been eluded to here and other sites.
But like I said and what many have said as well; a deal is unlikely to happen but to me a deal like I laid out could make it a little more probable than originally thought.
Until Next Time…
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
The Chicago Cubs prospects are getting closer and closer to making their impact on the Major League roster especially with the call-up of Javier Baez who joined Arismendy Alcantara in Chicago. Then you have Jorge Soler who is likely to make his Major League debut when rosters expand in September. Then around May of next season there is the anticipation of Kris Bryant being called up to the show. Now a lot of things can happen between now and then such as injuries, trades, players regressing/improving, etc… but if everything goes as planned (like I tweeted last night) this could be the Chicago Cubs roster sometime in May of next season.
1. Alcantara CF
2. Castro SS
3. Rizzo 1st
4. Bryant 3b
5. Baez 2b
6. Soler RF/LF
8. Castillo C
Now the Cubs could go into next season with a Coghlan/Ruggiano platoon in either RF or LF depending on where Soler ends up (I would be totally cool with that). But in the end I do not believe Lake or Sweeney are going to cut it on this roster. I also do not feel Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, or Josh Vitters fits what the Cubs FO is looking for in their OF. So to me that leaves free agency and trades to acquire an outfielder. Here is a list of 5 guys who I think would fit nicely into the Chicago Cubs outfield next season.
1. Dustin Ackley: Everyone knows how fond of this guy I am. It could be that he is a former top prospect who bats lefty and can play multiple positions. Or it could be that he has a career .290 avg with .397 OBP and a 840 OPS in 1044 PA in the minors which has not translated to the majors making him a low risk/high reward guys that Theo and Jed love. To me it sounds like he needs a change of scenery and I think the Chicago Cubs are the perfect place for him.
2. Nick Markakis: The dude has a team option for next season but the O’s are not sure if they will pick it up or not. Now Markakis is not your tradition power hitting corner OF but with the power that is currently on its way to Wrigley I think the Cubs need a guy to get on base for those power guys; Markakis can do just that! In the tough AL East Nick owns a .359 OBP which would be nice to have in the 2 hole in the lineup. He also will add some pop hitting 10+ homers in every season since his 2006 debut. I really like me some Markakis but he could command more than the Cubs want in terms of a contract.
3. Tori Hunter: A guy who does not really jump off the page as a guy Theo and Jed would go after but he provides something very few do; fantastic veteran leadership! He has constantly been named as one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball and frankly the Cubs need that veteran leader on the team. But lets not forget Hunter is no slouch either owning a career .278 avg with a .334 OBP and 300 career homers plus lets not forget 9 gold gloves. Hunter provides so much both on the field and off he is extremely intriguing to me.
4. Michael Cuddyer: Another aging vet that may have been rejuvenated by the high altitude of Colorado buyt has been on the shelf with a left shoulder fracture. He could be a buy low candidate given his age and injury risk which is right up the FO ally. The other thing that is intriguing is he can play 1st, 3rd, and RF decently and owns a .346 OBP in his 14 year career. He also would look mighty nice in that two hold ahead of Rizzo.
5. Jason Heyward: My favorite trade target is Jason Heyward! He will only be 25 in August and will be a free agent in 2016. Rumors have the Braves shopping him this winter which should be no surprise considering he was linked to a possible Jeff Samardzija deal last year. The big lefty is best suited for LF or RF but can play center. He is a very streaky hitter but that has not stopped him from putting up good numbers in his short 5 year career. He has a .261 avg with a .352 OBP with some up and down power numbers in his career but get him at Wrigley and I see a consistent 20 HR guy. He will likely cost some decent prospects but I think the Cubs could get him without trading one of the “sexy 7”
All in all I believe the Cubs need to add an outfielder this offseason. While getting an outfielder is not as important as lets sayPITCHING. I think adding the right guy can be as important as landing a front line starter.
Until Next Time….
Friday, August 01, 2014
Trade Deadline Winners
· Tigers: Just adding David Price makes them a winner but doing so by just shipping out Drew Smyly, Austin Jackson, and Willy Adames is amazing for Dave Domrowski. The Tigers now have 3 Cy Young award winners in their rotation.
· Athletics: The A’s turn Yoenis Cespedes, Tommy Milone, and a comp pick for Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes, and Sam Fuld which alone is a decent haul for Billy Beane but then add in the fact they got Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija on the 4th of July; WOW!
· Cardinals: As it pains me to say this they had a great deadline by giving up Joe Kelly and struggling Allen Craig to get John Lackey and Corey Littrell. Add this to their awesome buy low acquisition of Justin Masterson the day before and you can argue they had as good as a deadline as any team not named the Tigers or A’s.
· Red Sox: Honestly the moves they made throughout the trade season rivaled what the A’s did getting Lester and Samardzija. On deadline day they acquire the power hitting young OF to damage their short porch in LF with Yoenis Cespedes. They also get more young pitching with Joe Kelly and a struggling hitter but good rebound candidate in Allen Craig for a year of John Lackey and minor leaguer Corey Littrell. Then they move top notch reliever Andrew Miller for lefty Eduardo Rodriquez who was their #3 prospect at the start of the season according to John Sickels. Then to top it off they saved 5 million bucks by shipping Stephen Drew to the Yanks for Kelly Johnson. The BoSox were a winner at the deadline but again you take that and add that they also acquired Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree for Jake Peavy who has similar number to Edwin Jackson… that blows me away.
· Mariners: The M’s needed hitters so they got some with Chris Denorfia and Austin Jackson. They did have to pay a hefty price with Nick Franklin, Abraham Almonte, and Stephen Kohlscheen but overall I think the pieces they acquired are far superior to the pieces they gave up.
Trade Deadline Losers
· Pirates: The Bucs did nothing during the deadline to improve their team and they watch the Cardinals just load up on pitching. Big time losers are the Pirates for not landing Price or Lester especially giving the cost of both.
· Phillies: How do you not trade anybody on a team full of aging veterans. They need to start over but opted to hold high priced old vets in Lee, Byrd, Rollins, Howard, and Utley. While their best trade chip Hamels is also staying put. Very disappointing for the Phils.
· Blue Jays: Again they had several needs including a hitter and a top line pitcher but opted to stay put while the Yankees and O’s bought in. Even the Red Sox got better in my book and at least the Rays did something by acquiring some decent prospects for Price (although the Price deal still baffles me).
· White Sox: Again! A team that should have sold off some of their pieces remain stubborn and hold on to guys who are get less valuable by the day.
· Rangers: Failing to trade Alex Rios is beyond excusable since hitters were at a premium at the deadline giving the lack of them available. Inexcusable.
Teams like the Cubs, Braves, Nationals, Orioles, Dodgers, Reds, etc… did not impress or disappoint with their moves or non-moves. The teams above are clearly defined as winners or losers by the moves they made.
WHAT A FREAKING AWESOME DEADLINE! THE REAL WINNERS ARE US WHO LIVE FOR THIS STUFF!
Until Next time
Monday, July 28, 2014
1. James Russell: He is the most obvious one to me that will be traded before this deadline. He seems to fallen out of the helping this team moving forward group and into the trade discussion. I was not that convinced that he would net anything substantial until the Hudson Street trade now I am thinking a high-risk raw prospect could be the realistic net for Russell.
Taking his spot: Zac Rosscup is the guy that will take Russell’s spot. The Cubs are going to need a lefty out of the pen and I think he will get the first chance to be a lefty specialist.
2. Nate Schierholtz: Here is a guy that Theo and Jed may have misread when it comes to trade value. It seems the FO may have whiffed on getting max value for Nate last year but he still provides value for a team looking for a defensive left-handed hitting OF with some pop. To me the Tigers are a perfect fit here as are several other teams looking to strengthen their bench.
Taking his spot: Jorge Soler is the guy and I hear the cheers already! Now there are reports he will be called up in September but how he has been playing and the status of his contract makes him an easy call up after Schierholtz is dealt.
3. Emilio Bonifacio: I thought he may have gotten the Cubs some really nice pieces before his injury but now I think he may have right around the same value as Schierholtz or maybe a little more considering speed and versatility. No way he is not traded by the deadline to a contending team. Guys like Emilio are at a premium for playoff teams.
Taking his spot: Javier Baez gets the call. The guy has been hitting about as well as you can be and to me the move to 2nd base has already stated the Cubs front office is ready to give Baez a chance at the ML level this season.
4. Wesley Wright: I have to admit I was not a fan of the signing and thought “how could he be a flip able piece?” Well I was wrong and actually think now he could get a better return than James Russell.
Taking his spot: Kyuji Fujikawa is most likely the guy. He has been working his way back to the majors and the timeline just seems to be perfect.
5. Edwin Jackson: Edwin Jackson will be traded before the end of the season but I even think he is moved before the deadline. With the return the Red Sox got for Peavy it is no doubt that pitching right now is at a premium even for guys that have even struggled this year. This is good news for Edwin Jackson and the Cubs alike. Rumors have been circulation that the Yankees still have some interest but other clubs are kicking the tires such as the Orioles and Blue Jays. The return will be small for Ejax but the spot on the roster combined with the salary relieve maybe enough to get him dealt before July 31st.
Taking his spot: Dan Straily gets the nod. I think the Cubs have already seen enough Chris Rusin and Dallas Beeler so I think Straily gets a crack at the rotation next. While he has not pitched well for Iowa I think he is the next logical choice.
Guys on the rumor mill that will not get traded:
Guys who maybe traded after the deadline:
Until Next Time…
Thursday, July 24, 2014
We take a look at the most recent trade talk in this Rumor Rundown!
· The trade talk surrounding Junior Lake is increasing with the Mariners being the most aggressive. Keep an eye on Dustin Ackley in any trade with the Mariners.
· The Yankees are still looking for pitching and are said to be interested in Edwin Jackson. There has been some rumors circling a possible Edwin Jackson and Darwin Barney package deal being discussed with the Yankees.
· The Tigers are looking for a left-handed hitting 4th OF that plays good defense and with a little power to balance out their lineup. Enter Chris Coghland, Ryan Sweeney, and Nate Schierholtz to Tiger rumors.
· Many teams are in on relievers but the trade value has increased since Joakim Soria and Hudson Street trades which is good for the Cubs since they are shopping Wesley Wright and James Russell.
· The Cardinals have scouted the Chicago Cubs relievers recently according to sources.
Until Next Time…
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A quick run down of what happened yesterday plus the latest from the stove…
· Darwin Barney was designated for assignment and is not likely to remain on the club. There is a lot of talk that a trade is in the works where the Cubs may end up with a low level minor leaguer or cash.
· Emilo Bonifacio was activated off the DL yesterday and took Barney’s spot on the roster.
· Mike Olt was optioned back to Iowa after hitting just .139 in Chicago. Olt showed good power with 12 homers but he needs to get his confidence up and is likely to see a lot more playing time in Iowa. He will play primarily 1st base.
· In a corresponding move Tsuyoshi Wada will be called up today to pitch for the Chicago Cubs as he looks to lock down a spot in the rotation.
· Some more big news of the day is that Arismendy Alcantara is remaining with the Chicago Cubs.
· The biggest and most surprising news is that Jorge Soler who has been tearing the cover off the ball in AA Tenn. was promoted to AAA Iowa.
· Soler buddy Albert Almora was also moved up and took Soler spot on the Smokies roster.
· Then there is several media sources including Patrick Mooney that say Jorge Soler will be called up to Chicago in September if he can stay healthy. It is a big IF but that is some fantastic news for all Cubs fans.
· I am hearing Javier Baez will be called up to Chicago if and when the Cubs trade Luis Valbuena and/or Emilo Bonifacio.
· Once Javier Baez is promoted to Chicago expect the corresponding move to be Addison Russell being promoted to Iowa.
· There is some talk that Bryant could be moved off of 3rd base soon but Jed Hoyer tried to squash the talk by saying he wants more development at 3b for Bryant and already thinks he can handle the OF. Even reminding us Bryant played CF in college so he could handle RF. Where as he needs some work defensively at 3b.
· Soler could actually be moved up to Chicago earlier than Sept. if the Cubs end up dealing two of Lake, Ruggiano, Schierholtz, Coghlan, and Sweeney at the trade deadline or during the waiver period in August.
· So Schwarber is hitting “just” .296 but has a robust .424 OBP in just 33 PA with Daytona. I heard from source that Schwarber could be moved up again and relatively soon which means he could be the quickest riser in the system. This source even alluded to a Baez, Russell, and Schwarber promotion chain reaction.
· I heard from another source that the Chicago Cubs front office is perfectly fine going into next season with all the prospects they currently have now and signing free agent pitching rather than dealing their young positional talent to get the pitching they desire. I have expressed this could happen and frankly I really want this to be the route they are going.
· So now as the picture is getting clearer it seems this could be the Chicago Cubs lineup in Sept. Hard not to get excited!
1. Alcantara CF
2. Valbuena 3b
3. Rizzo 1st
4. Castro SS
5. Soler RF
6. Baez 2b
7. One of the remaining LF
8. Castillo C
Until Next Time
Friday, July 18, 2014
So Javier Baez has been moved to 2nd base. So what does that mean? Well it can mean a lot of things so lets run down the reasons.
· The front office is simply seeing if he can handle 2b.
· He is showcasing he can handle 2b to lessen the idea that the Chicago Cubs front office “has to” trade one of their stud infield prospects.
· The front office could be showcasing that Baez can handle 2b which shows versatility and increases his trade value as well as his value to the Chicago Cubs.
· Javier Baez is making the move to 2b because he is getting closer to being called up to the Majors.
· Baez is being moved to 2nd base to eventually make room for recently required SS prospect Addison Russell.
· Baez is being moved to 2nd base to decrease the Castro trade chatter.
· The front office has decided this is his primary position that he will be playing in Chicago so he needs to get comfortable there in Iowa.
Truth is it could be a combination of all of these things but the underlying message is the Cubs front office is getting closer to making a move with Javier Baez. Whether that be a promotion, trade, etc. But before I give you my final thoughts on this impactful decision we must take into consideration what Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey had to say about Javier Baez and 2nd base (special thanks to MiLB.com for getting these good quotes):
"Everything's backwards, but he's such a good athlete that he won't have any problem with the adjustment," Triple-A Iowa manager Marty Pevey said of moving Baez across the infield. "It's just footwork [that's different]."
"He looked like an All-Star shortstop playing second base. You can put an All-Star shortstop anywhere in the infield," Pevey said. "He had the most range of anybody I've seen at second base in a long time."
"I'm working with [Baez] there over the next several days," Pevey said. "We'll see him mainly at second base at least over the next several days."
So after those comments it seems more clear that this may turn into a permanent thing.
With everything I laid out above I believe that Javier Baez will be called up to the Chicago Cubs sometime in early August. I believe this front office sees great strides in Baez plate approach and production from the dish recently to have him earn a Big League call up within a month. For example; Arismendy Alcantara logged 11 games in CF before being called up and the front office always suggested positional movement would be in late stages of the minor league player development process for any prospect. So Javi being moved to 2nd base tells me that he is in getting closer to being called up to the majors. What it is also saying with the move to 2b is this front office believes his best value to the Chicago Cubs is at 2b because if his best value was at SS then he would remain there; same thing goes with 3b or OF. I have always said that the only two places Javier Baez would play is 2nd or 3rd base for the Chicago Cubs because his bat plays well at both positions and Castro would remain at SS. I also am pretty confident that when Baez is moved to the parent club that Addison Russell will be moved to Iowa and start off playing SS (I think he ultimately ends up at 3b with Bryant in the OF). Now I feel we have a good snippet of what the Chicago Cubs front office is going to toward 2015 which is Javier Baez at 2b and Arismendy Alcantara in CF. And for us patient fans waiting for this rebuild to materialize this is gold!
Until Next Time…