Thursday, June 30, 2011

Talking RUMORS!

Jim Hendry addressed the media yesterday on the state of the team. So with that along with that come more Cubs rumors and news-

- Buster Onley said the Cubs are open for business and reports Jeff Baker and Kerry Wood are the most coveted players in the trade market since they are cheap and very useful for contending teams.

- Buster also said there is mixed results about Carlos Pena since he is a streaky power hitter. Pena has recently been linked to the Angels and Dbacks.

- The Pirates have contacted the Cubs about a familiar face, Aramis Ramirez.

- Kerry Wood is near the top of the Dbacks targets.

- Hendry said there will not be a fire sale because they will not trade away their young core which includes Carlos Marmol, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro.

- The Tigers are looking for starting pitching and could be contacting the Cubs about Zambrano, Dempster, or even Randy Wells.

- The Cubs released Doug Davis.

- The Cubs have kicked the tires on Scott Kazmir and are considering inking him to a minor league deal.

- Jim indicated he does not like the terms buyers and sellers because he considers his team to be both. He will sell off players that don’t fit into the future but may acquire impact players for next season.

- Levine adds more to the Ramirez trade rumors saying that Aram could change his tune considering his wife and child go back to the Dominican by early August for fall classes. Ramirez main concern about a trade is uprooting his family so he may accept a trade now compared to when he was originally asked.

- Levine also says teams like Detroit, San Francisco, and Cleveland could have interest in Aram. He said the Giants could move Sandoval to 1st to accommodate Aram. While the Indians and Tigers are getting little production at 3rd so they seen like a match. The Indians have a couple of players that really interest me; Carlos Santana, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Grady Sizemore. I think the Cubs could lump in Pena and Soto along with Ramirez and get Chisenhall and Santana in a deal. Now that would be building for the future!

- Kerry Wood will be activated off the DL on Friday.

- According to Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Chicago says players like Sean Marshall, Matt Garza, and Geovany Soto are not available because they are under team control and can still produce at a high level. He also states the Cubs will be looking to unload Zambrano and Soriano while getting value for Pena, Fukudome, and Aram.

- Cashner could start rehabbing this weekend and Hendry hopes to have him back sometime this year but it will likely be in a reliever role.

- The Cubs planning on keep Dempster for the rest of the season instead of trading him unless they are blown away by an offer and Dempster approves the trade.

- If the Cubs do trade Soriano and/or Zambrano then they will be even bigger players in the free agent market next season.

- Sources say the Cubs free agent target list is very short and could change depending on who they receive in trades. But right now 3 names top the list C.J. Wilson, Prince Fielder, and Yadier Molina.

- There is a lot of talk that Jim Hendry could make his last moves as Cubs GM at the trade deadline. Ricketts indicated that the Cubs management, the coaching staff, and players will be evaluated at the end of the season. Such speculation sparked the rumors of other GMs being interested in the Cubs GM job. Here is the list we have heard at HSC- Josh Byrnes, Billy Beane, Andrew Friedman, Ned Colletti, Greg Maddux, Rick Hahn, Pat Gillick, Allard Baird, and Ben Cherington. Out of those Rick Hahn, Billy Beane, Pat Gillick, and Andrew Friedman look the best. I view Maddux as a good option for President.

- Is Mike Quade’s job in jeopardy? Well considering he will be re-evaluated at the end of the season I would say it is not safe. It also depends if Hendry is retained or not. If Hendry and President Kenney are replaced, the guy coming in may decide to replace Q with “their guy.” Rumors have been circling that if the Cubs do make a change Ricketts would have more of an influence this go around on the manager. If you recall the rumors last season that Ricketts wanted Sandberg and Hendry wanted Quade. So one can assume if one goes the other one does as well. It also might be time for the owner of the Cubs to flex his muscles and give the fans what they want, Ryne Sandberg as manager!

- Little FYI on how Ryno is doing in the Phillies system. He has the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in first place with a 46-33 record. Before Ryno arrived the IronPigs in the past 3 season did not spend a single day above .500. Ryno is now 330-310 overall as a minor league manager. Ricketts needs to bring in his guy! Ryne Sandberg!

Until Next Time…

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

28 Players Under 28 Years Old: Yankees and Mets

Earlier this week I discussed a new series of posts called “28 players under 28 years old” and here is out first entry as we look at the Yankees and Mets.


Gary Sanchez-Catcher-Yankees

Gary Sanchez is rated the 30th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America and is 4th best prospect in the Yankees farm system. Sanchez has declined some this year posting a 250 average with 6 homers and 27 RBI in 49 games. He is only 18 years old though and does have some attitude problems but it is likely he will mature out of that. Scouts say Sanchez is better defensively than Yankees top prospect Montero and even drawing comparisons to Yadier Molina and a young Ivan Rodriguez.

Sanchez could be available because the Yankees have Montero and Romine in their top 10 prospects. The Yankees do not need to 3 catching prospects so one could be expendable. The Cubs could use Sanchez for when Soto is traded or elects free agency. With Sanchez only being 18 he still needs time in the minors for seasoning. It is also not likely he would contribute right away but his acquisition could make Soto available. The Yankees have already stated they are not looking at Z or Dempster but that could be posturing, Grabow could interest the Yankees but the only way you get Sanchez is if you send a package to NY with Grabow included.

This is a long shot for the Cubs because the Yankees and Cubs do not match up well for a trade. Not to mention the way the Yankees value Sanchez but anything is possible.

Austin Romine-Catcher-Yankees

Another good overall catcher in the Yankees system and ranked 98th best prospect in baseball according to He is doing well for the Yankees AA squad hitting .291 with a .353 OBO and 4 homers in 48 games. Romine is only 22 but is closer to being ready for the Big Show than Sanchez. His throwing out rate has been above 20% in the minors which is good not great but combined that with his offensive numbers then he has the potential of being an everyday catcher.

The reasons why he is available, what the Yankees want, etc… is comparable to what I said about Sanchez above. The only difference is Romine is a LOT more available than the other two.


Josh Thole-Catcher-Mets

This guy is not going to WOW anyone with his offensive numbers. His career in the minor leagues has him hitting .289 with a .376 OBP and 16 homes in 450 career games. His ML career stats are slightly lower hitting .273 with a .350 OBP and 4 homers in 149 games. But he is another player that could be available because he is young, a left-handed bat but a righty behind the plate, and he is under team control. One thing I give Thole credit on is CS percentage in the majors. In 2009 he had a 33% rating, in 2010 he had a 44% rating, and in 2011 it did drop to 20%. But it should be noted most of those SB against him this year came against a slow pitcher on the mound like RA Dickey.

Thole is available especially if the Mets stay in the WC chase and the Cubs could target him as their long-term catcher and ideal #2 hitter in the lineup. The Mets could target a variety of players on the Cubs like Carlos Pena because Ike Davis looks like he is lost for the season. The Mets could also look at pitching and outfield as well, especially if they deal Beltran who did say he would waive his NTC.

I see the Cubs targeting Thole because he provides so many things Geovany Soto does not. Plus he is a lot more affordable considering Soto has the chance to make a lot more money via arbitration. I put the chances of them acquiring Thole at 25% because they had interest in him last season as well.

David Wright-3b-Mets

David Wright is a guy that is going to create a ton of interest for many teams in baseball. Rarely a superstar 3rd baseman is rumored to be on the block let alone traded (unless you are Arod) but that is not the case for David Wright. A couple of things make Wright a double edged sword 1) he is not back from his fracture in his back and could still be a huge injury risk 2) if traded he will become a free agent after the 2012 season and 3) he may not be ready to go before the trade deadline. These things give most teams worries so the Mets might hold onto him until next offseason. Either way the Cubs will be in on David Wright.

Wright could be dealt because of finances, to stock the farm system, and/or they are looking for money to give to potential free agent Jose Reyes. The Cubs would target him because he is a superstar 3rd baseman and the Cubs long-term players for 3rd (Vitters and Aram) are either not ready or going to be let go because of money. Wright would make an immediate impact on the Cubs and if acquired I believe the Cubs would not hesitate to sign him to an extension. Once again the Mets could look at Pena, Aramis, and pitching for the Cubs but they also could value prospects Flaherty, Vitters, and McNutt to build up their farm system.

The percentage I put on this happening is below 10% at the deadline but near 20% if both teams wait until next offseason to discuss Wright.

That concludes our first installment of “28 players under 28 years old” look for the next four by next week. We will be addressing players from the Marlin and Twins.

Until Next Time…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Going East, Going Home, and Having 2nd Thoughts???

Rumors and news are ramping up so let’s get to them-

- Bobby Scales left the Cubs to play in Japan.

- Marlon Byrd in his first live game action got plunked in the left shoulder. He is fine and said it was good for him to have it happen so soon.

- Barney also got hit yesterday and he is OK. He is expected to be back with the Cubs on Weds.

- Cubbies Crib says Hendry will be revaluated at the end of the season which leads to their speculation that he will be fired. It should be noted CC cited a source that is very reliable.

- Ricketts is willing to eat some money on Fukudome and Soriano both to get them traded according to sources.

- A friend of Aramis Ramirez says he maybe more willing to waive his no-trade clause if it is “to the right team and the right situation.” Speculation says he would be willing to go to contending teams like the Angels, Tigers, Phillies, Giants, and Braves. The friend also said Aram would expect his 2012 option to be exercised before any trade is completed.

- The Angels have interest and have been scouting 3 Cubs players recently; Geovany Soto, Carlos Pena, and Aramis Ramirez. No discussions have taken place between the teams as of yet but expect trade talk to gain steam right after the All-Star break.

- Just throwing this out there about sending Soto, Pena, and Ramirez to the Angels for Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger, and Mike Trout?

- Here is a three way trade that got into my inbox, probably sparked by the rumor yesterday that the Rangers are interested in Beltran and K-Rod. Mets get Chris Davis, Mel Olt, Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson, and Jurickson Profar, Cubs get David Wright, and Rangers get Beltran and K-Rod. Pretty interesting trade for everyone involved but the Mets get a slew of good young prospects in this deal.

Until Next Time….

Monday, June 27, 2011

28 players under 28 years old

With the news that Jim Hendry, scouts, and other team officials are meeting today and Tuesday to discuss possible trades and targets for the Cubs I bring you “28 players under 28 years old.” In this post I will give you 28 players from contending and non-contending teams that could interest the Cubs. I will also label Cub players that other teams (mainly contending) have interest in which could make a potential trading match. These are also players that will make an impact next season or in the near future. Here are the 28 players in no particular order-

Billy Butler - Royals
Chris Davis - Rangers
Mark Trumbo - Angels
Alex Gordon - Royals
Lars Anderson – Red Sox
Kila Ka'aihue - Royals
James Loney - Dodgers
Justin Smoak - Mariners
Christian Yelich – Marlins
Gaby Sanchez –Marlins
Josh Bell – Orioles
David Wright – Mets
Danny Valencia – Twins
Josh Thole- Mets
Francisco Liriano – Twins
Hank Conger – Angels
Carlos Santana – Indians
Brandon Belt – Giants
Martin Perez- Rangers
Travis E. d'Arnaud - Jays
J.P. Arencibia – Jays
Derek Norris- Nationals
Gary Sanchez – Yankees
Austin Romine- Yankees
Chris Carter- A’s
Dayan Viciedo – White Sox
Matt Rizzotti- Phillies
Bobby Borchering- Dbacks

These are the 28 players under the age of 28 that could help build the Cubs for next season and/or the future. Many of these players are available for one reason or another. In the d”Arnaud and Arencibia case both are up and coming catchers in the Jays system so they could make one available via trade to address other needs which is why I put both on my list. Another example is block prospects like Lars Anderson who has been blocked by Adrian Gonzales at 1st. Players like David Wright might be dealt for financial reasons and players like Gaby Sanchez could have a young prospect like Christian Yelich knocking at his door (both on my list). The most unusual I added to the list is Brandon Belt who could be dangled to get more offensive help or catching help for a playoff run, the same could be said for Smoak, Davis, and Liriano. Even a team like the Indians and White Sox could dangle some young prized stars to get more impactful young players from the Cubs. One thing I did not include is the teams in the NL Central, I don’t believe the Cubs will deal for any young talent within their own division mainly because it is tough to do.

So over the next weeks I will be breaking down this list into 7 groups of 4. In each group I will discuss these questions-

Why is the player available?

Why would the Cubs want him?

What impact will he make on the Cubs?

What the other team could value from the Cubs?

What are the chances this could happen?

Look for my first “28 players under 28 years old” post sometime this week as we discuss the players from the Yankees and Mets.

Until Next Time..