Friday, January 07, 2011

Garza Trade Reaction

Now that the dust has settled and when know who is going where (besides the PTBNL); here is my reaction to the deal.

First off the Cubs did in fact give up a strong package for Garza but most minor league baseball experts say the Cubs did not give up there impact players such as Castro, Colvin, Jackson, Vitters, and Jay Jackson. But in my opinion the package of players the Cubs did move was slightly above the value of Matt Garza and Fernando Perez. Now depending on the PTBNL, who could be an impact player for the Cubs, this deal looks like a slightly bigger win for the Rays. The Rays get 4 out of the top 20 prospects from the Cubs system but guess what I can see Hendry's logic.

Chris Archer- Rated the Cubs top prospect by many baseball sites. He has a great fastball and is expected to be a top of the rotation pitcher once he makes it to the majors. The reality is the Cubs have had "top prospects" in their system like this just fizzle out in AAA like Bobby Hill, David Kelton, and may others . Not to mention the Cubs have Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Andrew Cashner, Brett Wallach, Trey McNutt, Hayden Simpson, and others that could fill the same role as Chris Archer. The main reason I don't mind giving up Archer is the fact he only pitched in AA last season where he had tremendous success but he is a hard thrower with control issues.

Hak-Ju Lee- This one hurts in my opinion. Lee was the Cubs SS of the future maybe even getting the call this year. He hits for average, has great speed, great range, and a plus arm. This is a guy that Cubs should have marked off limits and is a mistake on the Cubs part to include him in this deal. One good thing is the Cubs have some good up and coming infielders such as Ryan Flaherty, Junior Lake, and DJ LeMahieu. Having said that, Hak-Ju Lee will be a ML superstar in the next 5 years! Mark my words!

Robinson Chirinos- To be honest I would have traded this guy along with a minor leaguer for Chris Davis and Darren O'Day. I see this guy being a good backup catcher in the ML or an average starter behind the plate. I do not see him exceeding what Soto brings to the table and I think Wellington Castillo will be a better catcher in the long run than Robinson.

Brandon Guyer- At first I was furious they gave away a guy that stole 30 bases in 2010 with a .344 batting average but then I looked at the depth the Cubs have in the outfield for years to come. They have Brett Jackson who should hit the Big Show in 2011 then they have guys like Colvin, Soriano, and Byrd who will likely be in the outfield until 2012. They also have some young guns coming up through the system that are a few years away like Reggie Golden and Jae-Hoon Ha. Losing him is not as bad as I thought.

Sam Fuld- I did not know he was still on the roster. Just kidding... I wish Sam the best but I do not see how he fits on this team.

Now here is what we have-

Matt Garza- He is a good pitcher not a great pitcher. I view him on the same level as a Lilly and Dempster, a solid #2. The difference with Garza is he has pitching in the toughest division in baseball for the past years and has been a Yankee and Red Sox killer. Now he is going to the easy NL league in arguable one of the worst divisions in baseball. I think Garza will be a solid pitcher for the Cubs in 2011 and win double digit games. One thing he needs to learn is to keep that ball down if the wind is blowing out.

Fernando Perez- At first glance this guy looks like a throw in for the Cubs but before a wrist injury sidelined him in 2009 he hit .288 with a .361 OBP and 43 SB in AAA in 2008. He had success in the minors even before then hitting .307 in A ball. Now can he turn those numbers in to success in the ML? That remains to be seen. One thing that worries me is this guy sounds awful familiar, he reminds me of former Cub and Ray Joey Gathright. Lets hope he does not end up that way.

PTBNL- Something tells me this is going to be a top 20 prospect from the Rays organization.

After running through this trade in my mind today and seeing both sides of the argument whether this is a good trade or not here is what I came up with. The trade is great for the Cubs for the next two years. The Cubs are getting a potential #1 pitcher in the NL that makes less a year than guys like Carlos Silva, Joe Blanton, Barry Zito, and Derrek Lowe but is twice the pitcher they are. The Cubs get a guy who could be their potential leadoff hitter and starting CF of the future in Perez which softens the stink of losing Guyer.

This is a good trade for the Rays for the future of their organization and will payoff in the long run. Guyer could be playing along side Desmond Jennings in a really talent Rays outfield, Hak-Ju Lee could start becoming the face of their franchise as early as 2013. Chris Archer could help this year but more than likely the following year and be apart of a rotation that includes Jeremy Hellickson, David Price, James Shield, and Jeff Niemann. Robinson Chirinos is under team control forever could easily be named the starting catcher in 2011.

The Cubs right now are getting a great deal while fast forward two years later the Cubs and their fans are going to be saying "remember when we traded Lee and Archer to the Rays?" "What was Jim thinking?"

I honestly hope I am wrong on this but it is hard to ignore the talent the Cubs sent away for basically one good pitcher.

Win Now Grade- B+
Future Grade- D-
Overall- C

Here is what the rest of the media is saying-

Until Next Time...

Cubs Trade For Matt Garza! UPDATED!!!

11:40 AM CT- I am hearing the pitcher the Cubs acquired in the trade is Matt Moore, Alex Torres, or Braulio Lara. All three are left handed pitchers in the the Rays top 10 prospects for 2011 according to Baseball America. As soon as I can confirm it I will post it. If this is the case you can then argue the Cubs got a better deal than everyone originally thought.

11:15 AM CT- According to my sources and confirmed by Bruce Miles the Cubs got Fernando Perez, a switch hitting speedy outfielder. Not a bad pick up, would likely replace Guyer on the roster.

The Chicago Cubs have traded Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee and Sam Fuld to the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Garza, a minor league pitcher, and a minor league outfielder.

This seems like a lot of prospects for one decent #2 pitcher but I guess it is a move Jim "had to make." A lot is going to depend on who the minor league pitcher and outfielder are for me to grade this trade. So far it looks like a win now move for the Cubs by trading away a ton of their young talent.

More reaction and information on this later.....

WGN Radio Update....

The Cubs were hoping to have Pat Hughes' color guy named right around the Cub convention but unfortunately it may be a little longer. The list of candidates did dwindle today after a report from several Chicago media sources. Former Cubs Rick Sutcliffe, Dan Plesac, and Mark Grace have taken themselves out of consideration for the opening. Rick Sutcliffe just signed a new contract with ESPN for 40 games which means he would not be able to do all 162 for the Cubs, Dan Plesac is under contract with MLB Network, and Mark Grace is very hesitant to leave Arizona and Fox Sports for the Cubs radio booth.

The remaining candidates are Keith Moreland, Dave Otto, and Gary Matthews Sr.. Out of the three Matthews seems the most like a long shot and Moreland with the most experience on both TV and radio. I honestly would not count out Doug Glanville who is one of the smartest baseball players in history. Not only does Glanville know how to play the game and has tremendous insight into baseball, he brings an Ivy League education. I think the Cubs should make a big push for Glanville.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2012 Your Looking Good!

Looking ahead to the 2012 Chicago Cubs they have numerous things going for them. They are subtracting themselves of a ton of contract money, that have young talent that will likely see the Big Show this year and some that will see it to start of the 2012 season, and they will have money to spend on free agents. Going into 2012 the Cubs will only have 62.5 million committed not count arbitration raises of course. The Cubs also have player, club, or mutual options for Aramis Ramirez ($16M club with $2M buyout), Ryan Dempster ($14M player), Carlos Silva ($12M mutual with $2M buyout), and Jeff Samardzija (has unknown club option). I can see the Cubs interested in bring back Aramis Ramirez but not exercising his club option. I would hope Ryan Dempster would be extended or at least exercise his player option. With Carlos Sliva and Jeff Samardzija I do not see the Cubs bringing either back.

The Cubs will likely go into 2012 looking to fill their infield and pitching. There has been talk about Castro moving to 2nd or 3rd base when top prospect Hak-Ju Lee is deemed ready so their needs would change based on when Lee gets the call and where Castro moves to. The Cubs are most definitely going to need to fill the void at 1st base and this is the off-season to do so. The Cubs are very fortunate to have the young talent they do in the outfield with Brandon Guyer and Brett Jackson near ML ready because the outfield market is less than desirable. They also have inexpensive and experienced back stop Geovany Soto and two prospects in the minors named Castillo and Chirinos that will fill that void for years to come. Pitching is not necessarily a need but with the addition of an ace or two (depending on whether Dempster is back) this rotation could be a mix of vets and young studs. With all that said the Cubs maybe poised to make a huge and I mean HUGE splash in free agency after the 2011 season. Here are potential fits for the Cubs in the 2012 free agent class- (Bold represent some sort of an option)

1st base
Albert Pujols- If he becomes a free agent he IS the Cubs top priority.
Adrian Gonzalez- Did not sign an extension with the Red Sox, the Cubs want him. He is a close #2.
Prince Fielder- Here is a big bat for first and number 3 on my list.
Nick Swisher- Don’t laugh! The versatile Nick Swisher is a switch hitter that can play all three outfield positions well along with 1st base where he clocked 236 games over the past 5 years. Has hit over 20 homers every year since 2005; with 29 in 2009 and 2010. Not to mention he is only 31 years old.

2nd base (Depending on Castro and Lee)
Robinson Cano- Likely will not see free agency. If he does the Cubs should label him has a top target even ahead of Prince Fielder.
Rickie Weeks- It would be hard to not to sign Weeks. He plays great defense and hit 29 bombs last season. If he lands on the free agent market the Cubs need to put him on the short list of FA top targets.
Brandon Phillips- The guy plays stellar defense has a really good bat. Not a top choice but would be a heck of an addition to the infield and lineup.
Aaron Hill- It is hard to come by 20+ homerun 2nd baseman. His glove won’t wow you but his homers will.

3rd base (Depending on Castro and Lee, or Aram)
Jose Bautista- The only one I can justify putting on the list besides Aram. Signing him will depend on what he does this year after his 54 homer campaign.
Aramis Ramirez- We know what he can and can’t do. He can hit but only when he is healthy and unfortunately he can’t stay healthy.

Grady Sizemore
- I know I said our outfield is set but a Grady Sizemore only come around every so often. If the Cubs can somehow dump Soriano an outfield of Colvin in LF, Sizemore in CF, and Brett Jackson in RF would be pretty sweet. Not to mention having Marlon Byrd coming off the bench. Of course all of that hinges on how he does coming back from injury. In 2008 he had 38 SB, a .375 OBP, 33 homers and 90 RBI. If he can come close to those numbers the Cubs should have him on their wish list.

Starting Pitching (I will just list these in order of top targets for pitching)
Adam Wainwright
Wandy Rodriguez
Chris Carpenter
Roy Oswalt
CJ Wilson
Ryan Dempster
Scott Kazmir
Mark Buehrle
Brandon Webb (if he comes back like I think he will)

Having said all this, the Cubs could go make some moves this season that change the route they go in free agency. The could end up trading Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee for Garza which would deplete middle infield but fill the need for a top of the rotation pitcher. The Cubs could also become seller at the deadline and trade guys like Dempster, Zambrano, Aram, and others which could impact the off-season as well.

The Cubs defiantly have options going into next season and some of them will cost a ton of money because they have a ton of talent. It should be a really fun off-season for the Cubs and could really be the make or break off-season for the Cubs for years to come.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Levine's Latest and More....

How about that, two post in one day! Here is the latest from Levine-

- The Cubs are still looking to add pitching but the Rays and Indians are asking a ton for Garza and Carmona.

- Brett Jackson will likely start the year in AA or AAA but injuries could cause him to be called up sooner.

- The Chris Davis deal is not dead but the Cubs do not want to trade top talent for him.

- Levine said Aramis Ramirez could be trade bait if the Cubs are out of contention by the deadline. Either way we have to hope Aram has a monster year!

- The Cubs liked Capuano and almost signed him before he signed with the Mets.

Other Rumblings-

- According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports via twitter the Cubs are not looking to upgrade 2nd base so they are likely out on Micheal Young.

- According to a source of mine the Cubs and Rangers have discussed a trade that would send a package headed by Soriano and followed with 2-3 very good prospects to the Rangers for Micheal Young, Chris Davis, and Darren O'Day. The Cubs would also send cash upwards to 20 million for the back end of Soriano's contract. The Cubs view Chris Davis as a utility guy to spell Aram and Pena from time to time, Darren O'Day as middle relief, and Micheal Young as their starting 2nd baseman. The Rangers view Soriano as their primary DH but would likely split time in RF and LF with Cruz and Hamilton. The prospects are unknown but you better believe one of them is Robinson Chirinos.

Rumors Running Wild.... Until Next Time....

Just Rumoring Around...

First Update of the year-

- Jim Hendry is trying like heck according to Bruce Levine to acquire Matt Garza. The Rays are insisting on at least 4 prospects in any deal for Garza. The Rays are asking for Hak-Ju Lee and Robinson Chirinos in any deal for Garza. The Rays also like Chris Archer and Andrew Cashner but they are off limits according to team officials. If the Cubs do land Garza it would immediately push them from rebuilding to contending next season. The move would also allow the Cubs to keep Cashner in the bullpen which would strengthen it even more than it already is. If this seems all too familiar to you we have been through this before with Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy. Lets just hope the difference is the Cubs get their man this time.

- There are still no takers on Fukudome according to Bruce Levine but I have heard different which I will tell you more about below.

- Carlos Silva will be viewed as a non-factor this year until he proves otherwise. He has no trade value and could be released in the spring.

- The Cubs are still interested in upgrading the pen and maybe looking at Jason Frasor as a trade candidate. The only way the Cubs will trade for him is if Cashner is in the rotation.

- Jeff Samardzija will make the team out of camp either as a starter or reliever because he is out of options. I am hearing Shark is gaining interest from multiple teams but only as a reliever. A snagging point is Shark’s no trade clause which HSC just found out he invoke last season when he rejected a trade to the Twins. He also rejected a trade to New York this off-season.

- Casey Coleman could be a dark horse candidate for the long reliever in the pen.

- Randy Wells better have a good spring or he might find himself back in AAA.

- The Cubs could still sign a veteran pitcher for the rotation. Cub officials say they have “kicked the tires on Jarrod Washburn and Jeff Francis”

- The Cubs are interested in adding depth to their bench. They would like to ink Cristian Guzman, Felipe Lopez, Willie Bloomquist, Wily Aybar, Fernando Tatis, or Andy LaRoche to minor league deals with invites to ST.

- In regards to Fukudome, there has been interest in him but only if the Cubs eat most of his contract or take a bad contract player in return. We have all heard the deal that went dead that would have sent Fukudome to San Fran for Aaron Rowand. HSC has learned the Cubs, Red Sox, and Mets had a three way deal that hit multiple snags before being put on the back burner. According to sources the Cubs would have received Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, the Red Sox would have received Carlos Beltran, and the Mets would have gotten Kosuke Fukudome, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, and a prospect from the Sox. In this deal the Red Sox and Cubs would both be receiving cash for the contracts they taken on from the Mets because the Mets would be removing 18 million off the books for 2011 if they did not chip in any money at all. The Red Sox would end up adding payroll while the Cubs and Mets would decrease theirs for 2011 in this deal. How much the BoSox take on and how much the Mets and Cubs save are determined on how much money NY sends to Boston and Chicago. (Are you still with me)

There are three reasons why this deal never went through, one reason is Samardzija rejected a trade to NY and another was how much money was exchanging hands. The Mets did not want to pay over half of Beltran’s contract and that is the only way the Red Sox would have accepted the trade. The Mets insisted on Samardzija and a prospect if they were taking on Fukudome. The Shark vetoed the trade while the Red Sox and Mets could not agree on a prospect. A Mets official said they were asking for 2nd baseman prospect Oscar Tejeda, Outfielder Josh Reddick, or 3rd base prospect Garin Cecchini. They rank 7, 4, and 6 respectively on John Sickels Red Sox top 20 prospects of 2011.

In the end I wish this deal would have went through for the Cubs. The Cubs would have rid themselves of Fukudome and allow Colvin to play RF full time. They then could have brought up Brett Jackson or Brandon Guyer to play CF and move Byrd to the fourth outfielder role. It would have also given the Cubs a lefty in Oliver Perez who could be either the 5th starter or swing man in the pen. Luis Castillo would have been a welcome addition off the bench filling in for DeWitt and expanding his horizons by maybe playing some 3rd to get Aram a night off or when he gets injured. The other thing that sticks out is it would clear a roster spot be trading Samardzija since he is out of option and in the end this saves the Cubs money. No word on if this trade will be revisited but if I were Jim Hendry I would try to make it happen.

Until Next Time…