Saturday, January 05, 2008

Pagan traded to Mets!

The Cubs have traded Angel Pagan to the Mets for two minor leaguers. Right hander Ryan Meyers and outfielder Corey Coles. Meyers , 22, combined to go 1-4 with 13 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 41 relief appearances between New York's Class A Savannah and Port St. Lucie affiliates in 2007. The six-foot-five, 204-pound Meyers struck out 55 batters and walked only 16 in 51.2 innings while limiting opponents to a .229 batting average. He was the closer for the majority of the year.

While Coles , 25, combined to bat .286 with 14 doubles, one home run and 31 RBI during three stops in the Mets minor league system last year, including his first tastes of Double-A and Triple-A. The left-handed batter and thrower spent most of the 2007 season with Double-A Binghamton and batted .296 with a .352 on-base percentage in 66 contests. Coles also played 23 games with Port St. Lucie and nine games with Triple-A New Orleans last year.

This likely means that Fuld will take over the 4th outfield spot or the Cubs are going to acquire an outfielder that can play all three spots. This does clear up a roster spot. Could Roberts be on his way???

Levine on ESPN1000-

On ESPN 1000-

The Brian Roberts trade talks are really heating up again. The O's want Cedeno(who Baltimore covets) along with Gallagher, Marshall, or Veal. There is no mention on Epatt or Murton though they have been rumored in the deal. He can see a trade happening soon so the Cubs can move on to starting pitching.

Levine was asked if Cedeno is traded who will fill in as a back-up SS? He said the Cubs have showed interest in middle infielder Alex Cintron. Cintron hit .243 with 2 homers and 19 RBI and .281 OBP last season in 68 games. Seems like ok replacement for Cedeno. He is also a switch hitter which gives Lou some options. I much rather see them trade for Felipe Lopez or Christian Guzman who is available.

He also notes the Cubs have shown interest in Jon Leiber as the back of rotation type guy. Lieber has been fragile the past couple of years. Not pitching over 200 innings the past two years but he could be a good # 5. He did well with the Cubs form 99 to 2002 and went 20-6 in 01 for them. I wouldn't mind bring back Lieber. Adding him would provide depth in the rotation which I think we need. Here is what the rotation could look like-

Marquis/ Dempster/ Lieber/ Hart
Marquis/ Dempster/ Lieber/ Hart

It would be nice to have a least 3 to 4 guys battling for the last two spots in the rotation. I would prefer to trade for a #2 or 3 pitcher like Blanton but that doesn't seem likely. If the Cubs consider bring back Lieber they need to consider looking at Livan.

Cubs should trade for Ryan Spilborghs!

The Rockies have a good problem on there hands, they have too many young outfielders. They currently have Hawpe in RF, Taveras in CF, and Holliday in LF. Leaving Baker, Sullivan, Smith, Spilborghs, and a young guy in the minors named Joe Gaetti to fight over the 4th and 5th spot in the OF. The Rockies are currently looking for pitching and considering bring in a low tear pitcher or a rehab starter. This makes the Cubs a perfect trading partner for the Rockies. The Rockies could use one of there young studs to lure young or veteran pitching from the Cubs. The Cubs need a right or left handed hitting OF to platoon with Pie and give Fukudome and Soriano days off. They also need a guy that can play all three outfield positions, play good defense and hit well. Ryan Spilborghs is that guy.

Spilly has incredible numbers despite his terrible numbers in the playoffs. He hit .299 with 11 homers, 51 rbi, and 4 SB. He has a great OBP of .363 and also did well in the minors batting .323. He plays really good defense and has an above average arm.

The Rockies can get quality pitching for him. The Cubs earlier in the off season had talks of a Ohman for Spilborghs deal but nothing materialized. I think a deal like Epatt or Font with either Dempster or Marshall should get the deal going. I would even consider trading Gallagher for Spilborghs straight up( only if the O's don't want him in the Roberts trade).

Of course the Cubs could go with Angel Pagan, but he is no Ryan Spilborghs. This would also give them the freedom to trade Murton and Pagan to another team that needs outfield help.

This trade in my opinion would really help out both teams. Can you imagine a Spilborghs/Pie platoon next year?!?! That would be nasty!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 thoughts on Soto!

Check this out-

Geovany Soto, C, Chicago CubsYou won't find a more debated prospect coming into 2008 due to his out-of-nowhere production last season. Coming into 2007, Soto had done nothing to prove himself as a top prospect in Chicago's system beyond being an above average defensive catcher, batting a paltry .262/.344/.371 over his full career. And there's still reason for concern coming into 2008 when you take into consideration his high hr/f rate and low fly ball and contact numbers upon call-up.

However, one simply cannot discount the numbers he put up last season as a fluke. Not only did he lead the minors in batting average by a catcher (.353) and slugging percentage (.652), he also won the Triple-A Pacific Coast League RBI crown (109) and was named MVP of the league. And he was arguably Chicago's best hitter after his call-up, so he was able to excel for an extended period of time.

One secret to this success might be the dramatic weight loss Soto achieved before 2007's start. By losing 30 pounds before the season, Soto was able to get around on pitches more efficiently with his compact swing, as well as helping his defense wholesale. While one has to take pause that he has not done this beyond one season, where and when he's doing it cannot be ignored.

Combine with that the fact that Soto is all but guaranteed the starting catcher gig this year, and you have yourself a potential breakout player. His defense will keep him up (he had a 31% caught-stealing rate last season, which will translate well in the big leagues), and considering how long they toiled with Jason Kendall, if his bat is only half as good as it was last year, he's going to stick. Most quality catchers will go in the middle rounds of a regular 12-team, with the top three going way too early, making Soto a wonderful speculative pick at the end of your draft, allowing you to maximize on positional players with high at bat impacts.

460 AB, .281 BA, 19 HR, 66 R, 74 RBI, 1 SB

If he can produce those numbers next year I would be thrilled! He is expected to hit 6th or 7th in the lineup and if he produces 19 homers and 74 rbi that would be something else! He is a good offensive catcher with great defensive skills. My prediction of his stats is this-

440 AB, .275 BA, 15 HR, 50 R, and 66 RBI, 2 SB

If he even puts up those numbers I would be happy!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rumors will start heating up fast!

The rumors are expected to start heating up now that the holiday season is drawing to a close. The most active market is expected to be free agent starting pitching as well as numerous teams looking to fill there voids via trade. Lets take a look at some of the Cubbie rumors, shall we-

-The Orioles have backed off on the idea of trading Brian Roberts, but talks between the Cubs and O's are still strong.

- Both Chicago teams are interested in acquiring Corey Patterson. If the Cubs got Patterson, look for him to compete for the starting CF job. Also if the Cubs get Cpatt, don't look at Figgins or Lofton being in Cubbie blue next year. I don't see the appeal of Cpatt except for the price.

- Livan Hernandez is in serious negotiations with an unknown team. Livan has been linked to the Rox, Cards, and Mets. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs sneak in there and get him.

- Cubs could take a look at Mike Cameron as a platoon partner with Felix Pie in CF next season. It would be a great defensive platoon and also give the Cubs decent offensive numbers. Cameron has good power, hitting 20+ in 6 of the 9 previous years. Has struggled with his average and consistency in OBP but can play all three outfield spots and would be a good option of a platoon/bench player for the Cubs. I honestly think they should just sign Lofton and be done with the outfield!