Friday, August 08, 2014

Cubs Trade for Jacob Turner

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

Unlikely; But How a Trade For Hamels Could Work

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

My Top 5 Off-Season Outfield Targets

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

7.     ?????RF/LF

8.     Castillo C

9.     Pitcher


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….