Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Gonfalon Cubs > Discussion
Gonfalon Cubs
— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Monday, October 23, 2017

Looking to next year

For me at least, it’s time to start thinking about how the Cubs can get back on track in 2018.

So what is needed this off-season? I won’t say much about particular options, and instead lay out in order what I think are top issues:

1. A couple of starting pitchers. The Cubs have a solid core of Hendricks, Quintana and Lester to amend. Jake Arrieta will be on the free-agent market, where he may or may not be a good buy. John Lackey’s contract is up as well, and he will likely retire. Together that’s 2.9 WAR in 338 IP walking out the door. We can expect Epstein/Hoyer to keep on doing their thing in the off-season (“always be signing hard-luck starting pitchers”) but they need a couple of legit rotation locks.
2. Some major infrastructural work on the bullpen. I think people tend to exaggerate it, but certainly the bullpen has not been a strength the last couple of years, and two of the better and more reliable relievers (Davis and Duensing) are eligible for free agency. That leaves Strop, Rondon, Edwards and Montgomery under control. Wilson and Grimm are both arb-eligible, and I think there is a very good chance both will be cut loose. So yeah, the bullpen is going to need some substantial shoring up. Davis is probably the top reliever in the FA pool, and it will be costly and risky to retain him on a multiyear basis, so I think there is a very strong chance that we will lose our closer. I think the Cubs will wisely use a more holistic approach here, resisting big names and multi-year deals.
3. Outfield improvement. Cubs outfielders ranked 14th in MLB in WAR, at 7.2. That’s not a good number, and it includes Ian Happ on top of that list with 1.8, including his infield work. An outfield consisting of the 2017 versions of Schwarber/Happ/Jay/Almora/Heyward is possibly adequate and probably not very good, but Schwarber and Happ could (should?) improve. It would be nice to have a legit stud in the outfield, but FA options look expensive and/or risky.
4. Second catcher. This doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but the last few years the Cubs have had some very competent second catchers who had significant impact. The emergence of Willson Contreras as a legit star has been great, but I would not be surprised to see a bit of a sophomore slump despite his prodigious talent blooming before our eyes. Both Alex Ávila and Rene Rivera are eligible for free agency. I like Ávila a lot as a backup but I’m guessing he’ll be picked up for full-time duty somewhere, in a multiyear deal. Rene Rivera hit great for the Cubs in very limited duty, but he’s really not much of a hitter, and it would be nice to have a lefty hitter behind Contreras (no, I do not expect Schwarber to fill this role beyond emergency duty). Victor Caratini is a possibility, but I don’t get the impression that the Cubs are impressed.

The infield is probably set, unless the Cubs make a surprising trade of Baez, Russell or Happ for a star player. I could see the right big trade happening involving one of these players, but I don’t expect it.

So clearly, the roster has holes. I think the Cubs are in a fairly challenging situation here, trying to achieve dominant status in the NL Central for the fourth straight year with some significant needs to be met. I think additional decline in 2018 is a definite possibility if they don’t make some really smart moves. But these are not extraordinary challenges: if they’re the perennial winners we all want them to be, management has to be up to this task.

Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2017 at 02:04 PM | 296 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 3 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3
   201. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: November 21, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5579312)
Not sure I quite get the Cubs fascination with Bote.... I think they used an AFL spot on him this fall, too.

Never hit a lick until he zoomed through 3 levels last year - had a nice full season at Tennessee (272/353/438) this past year. His main skill is that he can play 2B and did hit 14 HRs. Maybe Thed is worried he'll go all Justin Bour for the Fish or something....
   202. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:40 AM (#5579372)
...or Marwin Gonzalez

(I don't actually fault anybody for Marwin Gonzalez)
   203. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 21, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5579668)
Chicago Cubs‏ @Cubs
3m3 minutes ago

The #Cubs have named Jim Hickey as major league pitching coach, promoted Brandon Hyde from first base coach to bench coach and named Will Venable first base coach.

In addition, the Cubs have hired Jim Benedict as Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.


I think that means the staff is done. I didn't realize this means the first 2 hadn't been officially announced yet.
   204. Meatwad Posted: November 23, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5580626)
So it looks like I will be attending the feb 26th spring training game. Suggestions on hotels in the area? Only catching one game the previous 2 nights will be at the grand canyon.
   205. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 28, 2017 at 08:28 AM (#5581871)
Honestly, I'd suggest Air BnB. Hotel prices are crazy there that time of year.

---

Still crazy that FA is still absolutely quiet. Most of the writers seem to think it's because of Stanton and Ohtani.
   206. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2017 at 11:47 AM (#5583338)
FG's write up on Cubs top prospects.
   207. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5583701)
   208. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5583713)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 16m16 minutes ago

Detroit Tigers receive cash considerations from the Cubs to complete the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila deal.
   209. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5583719)
If we're going to pay them, they should at least take Wilson back.
   210. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2017 at 06:07 PM (#5583759)
I'd like to think they haggled about the amount because of how bad he was and that they settled on something like $1.50.
   211. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: November 30, 2017 at 08:33 PM (#5583831)
I'd like to think "cash considerations" means the Cubs loaned the Tigers an accountant for half a day to help them count their money.
   212. Walt Davis Posted: December 01, 2017 at 12:42 AM (#5583915)
I'd like to think they haggled about the amount because of how bad he was and that they settled on something like $1.50.

I have no evidence but I think this is how "cash considerations" and PTBNLs often do work. The acquiring team (Cubs) isn't that excited about the player (Wilson) and suspects the performance is a bit flukey while the trading team (Tigers) is of course trying to extract max value. You end up at "if he does well, you get a low-level prospect; if he doesn't, you get some cash" or "if he does well you get a PTBNL from list A; if he doesn't, you get one from list B." All gentlemen's agreements if they happen at all.

This deal was for Paredes, Candelario and "a PTBNL or cash." Even if it was a real longshot, why wouldn't a team with as weak a system as the Tigers take a flyer on the PTBNL? I suspect that's because it's a PTBNL only if Wilson had done well.

FG's write up on Cubs top prospects.

Their "Mahalanobis comps" look useless. Given everyone is a MLer but in fact only a few of these guys will ever reach the majors, I am guessing this is each prospect's nearest neighbor that made the majors. Without knowing how close that MLer is nor how many non-MLers lie closer or at about the same distance, the comp is kinda useless as much of anything except a (probably) realistic good outcome or even realistic upside.

For those who don't know, Mahalanobis distance is a statistical calculation of (standardized) distance in multi-dimensional space. That is a player that is close by had a similar set of performance metrics through age whatever. This is a common method for determining "nearest neighbor", a term that might be more familiar.

Sickels on prospects

Not overly useful at this stage, all it tells us is we have no A/A-/B+ prospects and that we have 6 Bs ... but he doesn't say which ones.

   213. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 01, 2017 at 11:03 AM (#5584048)
and that we have 6 Bs ... but he doesn't say which ones

True but I would have guessed the Cubs were carrying half that number of B prospects so I take it as a positive.
   214. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 01, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5584052)
This deal was for Paredes, Candelario and "a PTBNL or cash." Even if it was a real longshot, why wouldn't a team with as weak a system as the Tigers take a flyer on the PTBNL? I suspect that's because it's a PTBNL only if Wilson had done well.

Congratulations, Tigers. Your PTBNL is Heyward.
   215. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 01, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5584054)
For those who don't know, Mahalanobis distance is a statistical calculation of (standardized) distance in multi-dimensional space.

Duh, who doesn't know that?
   216. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 01, 2017 at 12:01 PM (#5584121)
Probably zonk.
   217. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 01, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5584268)
Chicago Cubs @Cubs 59m59 minutes ago

The #Cubs and LHP Dario Alvarez have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.


Welington Castillo to the White Sox. Chicago catchers' balance of L's is back to normal.
   218. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 01, 2017 at 06:36 PM (#5584528)
Jesse Rogers‏ @ESPNChiCubs

Cubs righty reliever Hector Rondon will not be tendered a contract for 2018 making him a free agent, according to a source. http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0728389533183253931-4 …
5:20 PM - 1 Dec 2017


As expected.
   219. Walt Davis Posted: December 03, 2017 at 04:42 PM (#5585204)
Also non-tendered and possibly of interest to the Cubs is Mike Fiers. He's been hit pretty hard the last couple of seasons but remains a guy with a career 95 ERA+ and durable in a 5th starter kinda way. He made about $3.5 last year so he might be had pretty cheap. More likely to be a solid investment than another Brett Anderson injury type ... but also reasonably likely to pitch like Brett Anderson did.

Other than that, the list was mainly a bunch of relievers I'd never heard of plus the other Rondon and Al Albuquerque. And Matt Adams but safe to say he's not on the Cubs' radar.
   220. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5585602)
For those who aren't aware:

Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal 3h3 hours ago

The seven teams that will meet Ohtani, confirmed to The Athletic from sources: #Dodgers; #Angels; #Padres; #Mariners; #SFGiants; #Rangers; #Cubs. Every other club is out.


FWIW:
David Kaplan‏ @thekapman 12h12 hours ago

MLB executive just told me that Theo and Jed are pulling out all of the stops to impress Ohtani. “Theo and Jed are being incredibly creative with their pitch. They’ve thought of everything. And I mean everything. Still going to be tough to land him but they are in there hard.”

David Kaplan @thekapman 12h12 hours ago

Cubs have poured considerable time + money into their recruitment of Shohei Ohtani. According to an executive of a rival team that was eliminated they are a major threat to sign him. However, others I spoke with still believe West Coast teams have the advantage.


Sure sounds like the Mariners or Giants are the favorite, but the Cubs still have a shot. Which is cool, and all you could hope for.

Other rumor, from Rosenthal:
If the Cubs do not re-sign Wade Davis, they might add a reliever with little experience closing and plug him into the role, according to major league sources. Right-hander Brandon Morrow is one such target, lefty Mike Minor another, sources say. Both relievers enjoyed breakout seasons in 2017, and both are drawing interest from numerous clubs.
   221. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 04, 2017 at 11:41 AM (#5585667)
Greg Holland is also available in FA, though I definitely prefer Davis.

The Cubs getting to this point in the Ohtani process is kind of impressive considering the natural roadblocks. I refuse to get my hopes up.
   222. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5585722)
Right, I'm trying to keep them from getting up too.

But...I'm starting to try to think through what the Cubs next move would be. If they get him, it probably means they have a plan for getting him more ABs than just PH and when he starts. That would mean time in the OF, and the Cubs might already be juggling too many guys there. Would landing him then make it more likely the Cubs trade a position player for a starter, if only to make sure there's enough ABs to go around? And if so so, which player is most likely to be impacted (schwarber, has to be some of his ABs, right?)? Landing Ohtani also would mean the Cubs aren't really dipping into the offseason budget, so they could still afford to sign another SP plus fill out the pen.

Probably won't matter though.
   223. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 04, 2017 at 01:02 PM (#5585751)
Probably zonk.


You're going on the list, buddy.... though reading the word, my first thought is why the hell anyone is basing anything on a fringey Cubs utility player lottery ticket...

If everyone else is going to eyeore the surprising Ohtani news, then I suppose I'll make the leap and monopolize the optimism. I've got a good feeling. So I will gladly buy up everyone else's hopes at bargain basement prices.

   224. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 01:07 PM (#5585757)
Holy ####, Lee Smith turns 60 today.
   225. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 04, 2017 at 01:10 PM (#5585761)
Big deal... I turned 60 in October of 1984 watching Smith.... and I was born in 1973.
   226. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5585776)
Sure sounds like the Mariners or Giants are the favorite, but the Cubs still have a shot. Which is cool, and all you could hope for.

I just allowed myself 30 seconds to think about how cool it would be if they got Ohtani. That's enough - any more and my hopes would start to rise.
   227. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5585789)
FWIW (I'm using that too much lately), but because it's the only place I'm seeing it right now, Joel Sherman ranks the favorites in this order: SEA, LAD, TEX, CHC, SFG, SDP, ANA. I'm pretty sure it was Sherman that had it the Yankees had the same odds of signing him as the field prior to yesterday.

I'm kind of enjoying how much everyone is just guessing here, and how not knowing *anything* is really make people uncomfortable.
   228. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 02:01 PM (#5585800)
Missed it this weekend, but here's Sickels's ranking of the Cubs top 20 prospects.
   229. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 04, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5585844)
He lists Dillon Maples as the #19 prospect. Really?
   230. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5585870)
He lists Dillon Maples as the #19 prospect. Really?

And he says nice things about Victor Caratini in raking him #5 - including that he's a reliable defensive player. I wonder if anyone ever shows this to Joe.
   231. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 04, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5585876)
Much as I agree on Maples -- there's no getting around the fact that his K rate absolutely spiked this year for some reason. If you suddenly start K'ing a batter and a half per inning - people are going to notice.

Sometimes those HS live arms just take a long time to "click"...
   232. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5585879)
Sickels also says if Maples could improve his control at all, he could be a closer. So perhaps being only 19th in this group is a way of acknowledging the ridiculous stuff and the extreme unlikelihood that the control magically improves.

At least one of Maples/Mills/Tseng are likely going to be in the Cubs pen next season, maybe all 3 at one point or another considering they all have options left. Hopefully FA makes it so that those guys are only are there if they've earned it and not because there's no other options.
   233. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5585881)
If everyone else is going to eyeore the surprising Ohtani news, then I suppose I'll make the leap and monopolize the optimism. I've got a good feeling. So I will gladly buy up everyone else's hopes at bargain basement prices.

I'm keeping the flame burning for Ohtani and Archer this offseason, even if I'm keeping those dreams/delusions mostly to myself.
   234. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 04, 2017 at 04:02 PM (#5585949)
Sickels also says if Maples could improve his control at all, he could be a closer. So perhaps being only 19th in this group is a way of acknowledging the ridiculous stuff and the extreme unlikelihood that the control magically improves.

Maybe but what are the odds a healthy Maples throws innings in MLB this year? 80%? Higher?

Sickels is even quick to note how high his ceiling is.

can hit 100 and has a plus breaking ball ... could be a closer if he makes any more command improvements


I find it strange that this profile* is barely in the org's top 20 prospects.

*Even with just one good year under his belt.
   235. Walt Davis Posted: December 05, 2017 at 01:16 AM (#5586173)
If they get him, it probably means they have a plan for getting him more ABs than just PH and when he starts.

I've been saying this ... but then remembered we have all of Jay's 433 PA to fill. A lot of those came in CF which I assume Ohtani would not play but Almora, Happ and Heyward could all play there if he's in LF or RF. And we only have to give him 300-325 non-pitcher PA to get him to about 400 on the year.

Still, if they land him, I won't be surprised if it's matched by a Happ trade (unless we've found somebody to take Zobrist).

but here's Sickels's ranking of the Cubs top 20 prospects.

Ademan sounds like he could be Didi Gregorius. The kid's way too far away to expect anything out of him but Sickels suggests a 2021 arrival and I note that Russell is scheduled for FA after 2021 so that timing could be perfect. A bit surprised to see Tseng so low, not in the sense that he's anything special, but in the sense that it doesn't take much to be high on the Cubs' list.

Is Charcer Burks related to Ellis?
   236. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 05, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5586295)
I've been saying this ... but then remembered we have all of Jay's 433 PA to fill. A lot of those came in CF which I assume Ohtani would not play but Almora, Happ and Heyward could all play there if he's in LF or RF. And we only have to give him 300-325 non-pitcher PA to get him to about 400 on the year.

That would leave Almora as the only "true" CF on the roster. On top of that issue, playing Ohtani and Schwarber in the OF at the same time is a big risk. I feel pretty confident that Ohtani would be taking Schwarber's ABs (and the Cubs add a guy who can caddy for Almora in CF and when Ohtani gets pulled for defensive purposes).
   237. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5586435)
I think I'm coming to the same conclusion, Pops. Happ/Almora/Heyward are the nominal starters in the OF, with Zobrist and Ohtani as the next 2. Zobrist also backs up 2B (Happ could also start there on occasion), LaStella is also a 2b/3b backup. I'd assume having someone like Ohtani means the Cubs stick with the 8 men pen, since he is also a hitter. That would leave 2 more bench spots, one of which is the backup C. It's worth remembering Happ can also play CF, so would they try to sign another guy that can play there, or be comfortable with Almora/Happ/Heyward taking those ABs?

Hmmm....
   238. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5586758)
Leonys Martin‏ @leonys27martin 45m45 minutes ago

Although a brief stint in the Windy City, I enjoyed going to the playoffs and making my pitching debut. Detroit, I am excited and ready to play.A pesar de una breve temporada en Chicago, disfruté yendo a los playoffs y haciendo mi debut como pitcher. Detroit, estoy listo.


His HR robbing, game ending catch that knocked the Cards out of the playoffs was a pretty cool highlight from last year.
   239. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2017 at 05:13 PM (#5586791)
Although a brief stint in the Windy City, I enjoyed going to the playoffs and making my pitching debut. Detroit, I am excited and ready to play.A pesar de una breve temporada en Chicago, disfruté yendo a los playoffs y haciendo mi debut como pitcher. Detroit, estoy listo.

Classy of the guy to say he is excited about playing for Detroit, although I note that the Spanish version only says he's ready.
   240. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5587143)
The Cubs supposedly made their in person pitch to Ohtani yesterday. The Padres go today, and then all the team are done. People have speculated he might visit some cities afterward, but nothing concrete. It really is amazing to me how little has leaked during this process.
   241. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 06, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5587187)
I've been busy, and am generally feeling pretty ho-hum about where the Cubs are right now, so I haven't had much to say.

Regarding Ohtani, based on 1) the Cubs' freedom regarding payroll, 2) their deep need for a starting pitcher and 3) their lack of alternatives, I'm guessing the Cubs are going to make a very serious offer to get him. But with six competing teams, I would say it's unlikely they land him. I won't be surprised if they do though.

I find it strange that this profile* is barely in the org's top 20 prospects.

I guess I do too, but that's also partly the state of the prospects in the system. He does have a high ceiling. But at the same time, who ahead of Maples would I move him ahead of? I'm a bit surprised to see Duane Underwood as high as 11th, but he was a high draft pick and he's only 23 -- still, while he might not deserve to be so high on the list, I'm not sure Maples is ahead of him.

So really, I feel better about this list than I thought I would, reflecting the subtitle of Sickels' article ("The Cubs farm system has thinned but is not devoid of talent"). But for the near-term, I'm very bearish. I'd rate potential 2018 major league impact on this list as 1) Mills, 2) Tseng, 3) Zagunis, 4) Caratini*. So essentially I am saying I expect little impact coming up from the farm system this year. One major difference between the current Cubs organization and previous regimes is that I can imagine good but not great position prospects like Zagunis or Caratini having breakthroughs.

*Before Face gets on me about it, I put Caratini fourth because I don't think he's going to get a chance to make an impact, mostly but not entirely because there isn't much of a role for him.
   242. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 06, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5587195)
*Before Face gets on me about it, I put Caratini fourth because I don't think he's going to get a chance to make an impact, mostly but not entirely because there isn't much of a role for him.

I don't disagree - I'm not asking much, just that Joe let Caratini be the backup to Willson.
   243. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 06, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5587207)
I think Maples IS an awfully hard guy to score/rank.

He WAS a pretty decent prospect -- 5-6 years ago.... then he couldn't stay healthy and sucked when he was. So he becomes virtually forgotten org fodder, albeit org fodder with good gas. Then - just a year before he likely just floats off in the minor league FA market, he suddenly zooms three - well, technically four if you count the cup of coffee - levels with eye-popping K rates, showing the sort of stuff that made him a prospect 5-6 years ago.

I have no idea how you rank that as a "prospect".
   244. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 06, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5587240)
I don't disagree - I'm not asking much, just that Joe let Caratini be the backup to Willson.

I am coming around to the idea of Caratini getting the second spot, but it would be nice to have someone with clearer defensive skills to go with it. The Cubs have fairly consistently had two offensively and defensively strong catchers the last few years, and it's served them well. Still, with them trying to scrape by with twelve position players on the roster half the time, everyone has to be able to hit, and Caratini might be a very handy guy to have on the bench. I will not be opposed if the Cubs spend a little money on a veteran backup who is likely to hit and defend better than Caratini.
   245. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2017 at 12:14 PM (#5587263)
Caratini should be a decent bat next year, right? I haven't seen any projections yet, but it might be hard to get someone who will definitely outhit him while also providing more defense. Avila probably will, right? But he might be looking for a starting job. Who else is there?
   246. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 06, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5587292)
Where is the evidence that Caratini is bad defensively? According to Sickels, he's solid. It just seems like people are assuming he must be bad defensively because Joe refused to play him.
   247. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5587368)
Virtually every scouting report ever written about him. EDIT: Maybe "bad" is too strong of a word. Not good enough might be better.

Sickels said "defensive tools aren’t naturally outstanding but he’s developed into a steady and reliable receiver through hard work, also playable at first base; fits profile of player who has offensive surge in his late 20s. ETA 2018." Solid would be a generous interpretation of that, IMO. Most of these read to me as a guy who really doesn't seem like a natural catcher but is a hard worked that has made improvements to perhaps be average in the right situation.

Cubs Den:
Hit: 50/60, Disipline: 50/50, Power: 40/40, Run: 30/30, Defense: 40/40, Arm: 50/50
Stout frame
Limited athlete with heavy feet
Hit tool has improved every season
Good plate discipline from each side and can surprise with some pop
Arm is good but slow footwork gives him trouble throwing out runners
Offense-first catcher with ability to fill in at 1B


Fangraphs (in their recent top 22):
He caught and played the infield at Miami-Dade CC and then began a full-time transition to catching in 2014, his first full pro season. Since then, Caratini has improved all aspects of his catching. He’s a fringey but passable receiver, has average arm strength that plays down due to a slow transfer (something Caratini seemed to try to remedy in 2017 by throwing from his knees more often), and is now adequately mobile and able to block balls in the dirt, though they still carom away from him too often.
He’s a mess of 40s and 45s on defense, and some scouts think that’s just fine considering what Caratini can do with the bat.
Many people in baseball think that the physical grind of catching inevitably dilutes offensive production throughout the season. They worry someone like Caratini will hit, say, an empty .270 and do little else if asked to catch every day. Caratini has never caught more than 86 games in a season – he did that in 2015 – and has seen more time at first base during the last two years. He’s more likely to catch sporadically — when his battery mate best suits his skills — and moonlight at first base and perhaps an outfield corner. This bat-first skillset is best suited for the American League, where Caratini would be able to get into the lineup more regularly.


Lot more detail from an earlier writeup on FG, including:
Caratini’s a good hitter, but his profile really pops because he plays the most premium of defensive positions. If he weren’t a catcher, I probably wouldn’t be writing an article about him. He’s not regarded as a great defensive catcher, however. Both Clay Davenport and Baseball Prospectus have data that suggests he’s decidedly below average behind the plate. And here’s what Eric Longenhagen said about him last month.

"A passable receiver with average raw arm strength, Caratini’s defensive shortcomings lie with his ball-blocking and immobility. But he’s an excellent hitter from both sides of the plate (but especially from the right side) and projects for an above-average bat without the game power to profile at first base. Scouts consider Caratini a species of player more commonly found in the American League, one who can DH, play some first base, and occasionally put on his catcher’s gear."


Add in the way the Cubs have talked about him publicly and Joe's reluctance to play him, it's not hard to infer that the Cubs prefer someone already more established defensively there but also have their own reasons and evaluations to come to that conclusion. Considering how young Willson is, it would make perfect sense that having a veteran is helpful in a number of ways - working with the pitchers, helping Contreras, and allowing the coaches to spend their time on Willson. The one thing that this version of the Cubs FO has very clearly placed a lot of emphasis on is catcher defense, and they've been consistent about that, from Castillo to Ross to even the Contreras transition.

Now, I readily admit I don't know enough to know if they're right or wrong about him - he's not as obviously terrible back there as Schwarber is. If the Cubs had a veteran guy there instead of Willson, I could see them bring him along slowly with the hopes of eventually making him a starter. In their current position, I get that hesitance.
   248. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 06, 2017 at 01:26 PM (#5587392)
Sickels said "defensive tools aren’t naturally outstanding but he’s developed into a steady and reliable receiver through hard work, also playable at first base; fits profile of player who has offensive surge in his late 20s. ETA 2018." Solid would be a generous interpretation of that, IMO.

I dunno, I think "solid" is a fair synonym for "steady and reliable," but I guess YMMV.

heavy feet

What does that even mean?

But OK, it does appear that the consensus is that Caratini isn't particularly good defensively. I guess the Cubs just overrate catcher defense and veteranniness in a backup. I mean, it's not like the coaches don't have enough time to work with two catchers.

   249. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2017 at 03:45 PM (#5587563)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan 34m34 minutes ago

Sources: Shohei Ohtani is done interviewing the seven finalists to sign him. His last meeting was actually Tuesday night with the San Diego Padres. Next, presumably, will be his decision. Timetable is not clear yet, but it could well be soon.


No one even knew when he was meeting with the teams! I am flabbergasted all 7 teams have been able to keep everything so quiet.
   250. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 06, 2017 at 04:10 PM (#5587595)

No one even knew when he was meeting with the teams! I am flabbergasted all 7 teams have been able to keep everything so quiet.


After the Yankees stuff, I bet his representation told the prospective suitors to STFU about the process.
   251. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 06, 2017 at 04:18 PM (#5587604)
Probably. I'm also amused the reporters keep guessing:

Joel Sherman‏ @Joelsherman1 17m17 minutes ago

I have been shocked how quickly these 1st phases went. If he limits to LA-area teams or West Coast, already there to do quick visits. I thought this could drag to Dec. 22 deadline. Now, thinking Ohtani is unique in every way and this will come quicker.
   252. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 06, 2017 at 04:48 PM (#5587626)
Between Otani's apparently swift timeline and the new report that Stanton is supposed to make a decision by the end of the week, it looks like the de facto FA freeze is about to end.
   253. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2017 at 09:20 PM (#5587770)
That would leave Almora as the only "true" CF on the roster.

I'd say Jay last year showed his "true" CF days are behind him as well. Obviously you take a big hit in RF but I'm fine with Heyward as a part-time CF. My main worry is whether Almora can hit RHP well enough to start against at least half of them. If he's not, I'm not sure Happ is a worse CF than Jay was last year.

If by some miracle the Cubs land Ohtani then LaStella would be the first casualty, possibly regaining a spot if somebody is traded. Ohtani (or whoever's on the bench that day) gets the PH PAs and, if they want, the Cubs get a defensive-minded backup IF. Are folks not worried that if Ohtani really is going to take 300+ PA away from a position player, the Cubs will use this as an opportunity for a 9th reliever? (Granted, at the moment I'm not sure we've even got 4 relievers I'd want to see on an ML roster so god only knows who #9 would be.)
   254. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 07, 2017 at 10:11 AM (#5587889)
Caratini should be a decent bat next year, right? I haven't seen any projections yet, but it might be hard to get someone who will definitely outhit him while also providing more defense. Avila probably will, right? But he might be looking for a starting job. Who else is there?

I would be happy to see the Cubs retain Ávila, but I think it's likely that he will get a multiyear offer to start somewhere else. Chris Iannetta may also have earned himself a pretty decent contract, although I would guess he's more likely to accept a backup role? I'm not sure the 2018 Cubs backup catcher is slated to get that many PAs though This is why I'm thinking Caratini might be a pretty decent option, but I doubt the Cubs see it that way. I think we'll end up with someone like Nick "No Relation" Hundley or A.J. Ellis. Would be nice to have a lefty hitter though.

It's hard to judge catching defense and I certainly have no insights regarding Caratini, but if there's a consensus from the scouting summaries, it seems that he lacks tools but has worked hard to become respectable. I'm guessing the Cubs are looking for more than that, and I'm okay with that. My bigger concern is either 1) a weak defensive specialist as the backup getting a lot of starts, thus watering down the offense or 2) Contreras being completely wrung out by the end of July.

Between Otani's apparently swift timeline and the new report that Stanton is supposed to make a decision by the end of the week, it looks like the de facto FA freeze is about to end.

One of the chit-chatters on MLB radio speculated that the FA ice jam is partly because there are so many Scott Boras clients as FAs. There might be something to that.
   255. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5587906)
Contreras being completely wrung out by the end of July.

Definitely my biggest concern. That, or another injury so the backup is playing too often, which makes your first worry worse.

Are folks not worried that if Ohtani really is going to take 300+ PA away from a position player, the Cubs will use this as an opportunity for a 9th reliever?

No, not really. I mean, like I said before, it guarantees an 8 man pen fulltime, though the Cubs were pretty much already there.

One of the chit-chatters on MLB radio speculated that the FA ice jam is partly because there are so many Scott Boras clients as FAs. There might be something to that.

Another reason I've heard is that teams are just smarter, in that they're not rushing out to sign FA as they realize the market will eventually come down. That, plus there's not really a single must have FA (outside of Ohtani).
   256. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 07, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5587948)
My main worry is whether Almora can hit RHP well enough to start against at least half of them. If he's not, I'm not sure Happ is a worse CF than Jay was last year.

Yeah, part of the reason I worry about a true backup CF is that I'm not yet confident enough in Almora.

I'm a bit less confident in Happ playing a lot of CF. I'm not necessarily correct to feel that way.

I do wonder if Heyward might become more CF than RF going forward.
   257. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5588037)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 37s38 seconds ago

Cubs have agreed to a three-year deal with RHP Tyler Chatwood
   258. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5588047)
Whoa, Chatwood. Interesting.

I'm a bit less confident in Happ playing a lot of CF. I'm not necessarily correct to feel that way.

That's the way I look at it. He looks OK, and the numbers are not bad. What gives me some inclination to give it a try is that he's pretty fast -- Fangraphs' speed metric placed him second on the team behind Leonys Martin. Speed does not necessarily translate into effective CF defense, but it's a very nice thing to have, and he's got a decent arm. He held his own playing the position in short duty. I think we've seen legit CFers with less in the way of tools, that's for sure, and he hasn't fallen on his face at the position.
   259. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5588052)
Last season I complained about the Cubs not supplementing their pitching with depth pieces. Chatwood and Dario Alvarez are a very good start in that direction.
   260. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5588054)
Cubs officially announced only minutes after the writers tweeted. Usually there's a bit more rumors leading up to an official deal; no $ I can see yet.

---

Agree on Happ. He has the tools, just not the experience and thus not the instincts. He needs time there, IMO. Maybe he'll get better, maybe he won't. It's hard to give him the rope he probably really needs playing next to Schwarber.
   261. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5588059)
Sahadev Sharma‏V @sahadevsharma 44s44 seconds ago

Three years and $38 million for Chatwood.


Whoa. Pitching is still super expensive.

I don't think he's depth; right now he's the 5th starter (or technically 4th, until they add someone else).
   262. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5588082)
Wow, that is costly. I guess you're right, Moses. He's going to be in the starting rotation.

His career high in innings in a single year is 158.

He's no great shakes but he did OK in Colorado and has a pronounced home/road split (5.25 vs. 3.31 ERA).
   263. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 01:56 PM (#5588092)
Jeff Passan‏ @JeffPassan 1m1 minute ago

The good on Tyler Chatwood:

- Will be just 28 next year
- Career 55% GB rate in front of that great Cubs infield
- The upside of playing in a normal stadium

The not-as-good:

- Durability: Never made more than 27 starts or thrown 160 innings.
- Control is iffy: Career BB/9 4.2.


The walks are scary. I guess it's basically the 2nd Hammel Cubs deal after inflation/market adjustments. If the other starter is either Ohtani or Cobb, the Cubs still probably would be well served to have another starting option to be ready to pick up a decent amount of innings (in addition to Montgomery).
   264. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5588120)
This is probably a fairish writeup of Chatwood's strengths and weaknesses and what the Cubs might be looking/hoping for from him.
   265. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 02:26 PM (#5588129)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 1m1 minute ago

Tyler Chatwood career on the road (62 games/54 starts):
3.31 ERA, 315.1 IP, 25 HR, 141 BB, 214 K, .692 opp OPS allowed
#Cubs


That K/BB ratio, just yuck.
   266. Man o' Schwar Posted: December 07, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5588250)
What I said in the Dugout:

$13M/year seems like a lot. He led the league in losses last year, was 3rd in walks and 5th in wild pitches.

I don't like those walk numbers (4.0 and 4.7 BB/9 the last 2 years) combined with low strikeout rates (6.7 and 7.3).

I guess he's only 28, and maybe leaving Coors will help him out. Apparently he's pitched much better on the road (3.31 career road ERA, with 1.335 WHIP vs. 1.628 at home).


I guess the hope is he'll pitch to his road splits and get some help from the Cub defense, but there's not a lot of defense for a high walk rate. Maybe he'll be more aggressive in the strike zone if he's not pitching in Colorado, rather than nibbling at the corners.

I do like it better if this is the first of multiple moves to improve the rotation, rather than the only move.
   267. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 07, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5588260)
It's not the K/BB ratio that bothers me, it's the BB rate. Just what this team needs. His overall road stats are encouraging, but I don't expect a 3.31 ERA pitcher.

$12.6M/yr isn't that much for a decent starting pitcher nowadays, and I guess there is a lot of potential for upside. But my overall feeling about it is that the Cubs are going to make do with what's available and not be that good in 2018. Maybe out of Colorado, Chatwood can bloom into the next Kevin Brown -- they are similar pitchers in a lot of ways (hard-throwers who got a lot of contact and a lot of walks), and Brown was kind of a late bloomer.
   268. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 07, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5588265)
Chatwood didn't qualify last year, but if you drop it down to players with at least 140 IP, Chatwood's GB rate of 58.1% is 5th behind Keuchel, Stroman, Perdomo and Clayton Richard. GB rate was probably something that the Cubs FO really liked, putting it in front of a very good IF defense.
   269. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5588302)
But my overall feeling about it is that the Cubs are going to make do with what's available and not be that good in 2018.

Are you just talking about the rotation or the team overall?
   270. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 07, 2017 at 05:28 PM (#5588321)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 1m1 minute ago
More
Epstein declined repeatedly to conment on Ohtani. “We have a lot of respect for the player and the process.”


Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 8s8 seconds ago
More
Epstein described Chatwood as “uber talented,” adding his best days are ahead. Chatwood and family were impressed with Wrigley & city during visit with Rox in June.
   271. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 07, 2017 at 05:32 PM (#5588326)
Are you just talking about the rotation or the team overall?

Overall, with the problem being pitching. I'll add: the winter meetings haven't even started yet.
   272. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 07, 2017 at 05:53 PM (#5588342)
I'm pretty sure the Cubs signed Chatwood because the Ohtani talks went so well, and they figured Chatwood would make a great fifth starter.

Chatwood didn't qualify last year, but if you drop it down to players with at least 140 IP, Chatwood's GB rate of 58.1% is 5th behind Keuchel, Stroman, Perdomo and Clayton Richard. GB rate was probably something that the Cubs FO really liked, putting it in front of a very good IF defense.

This is a good point. More good points.
   273. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 08, 2017 at 12:13 AM (#5588545)
LOVE the Chatwood signing -- he was the one FA pitcher beyond the luminaries (Ohtani, Darvish, resigning Arrieta) that I really wanted the Cubs to go after. A bit more than I would have wanted to spend on him, but it's not my money and it's hardly a crippling contract even if it doesn't work out.

If you want the pie-in-the-sky optimistic upside - I think Chris Carpenter. Highly regarded prospect. Comes up young, has some success albeit with questionable peripherals. Gets hurt and loses a couple years. Then, suddenly in his late 20s - gets healthy, harnesses what was always well-thought of stuff, slashes his walk rate in half and it's off to the races. Obviously, I'm way over my skis in that comparison - but I'm just saying that I very much agree with Thed that there's some reason upside here. The Cubs obviously paid a premium for a chance to scratch that lottery upside ticket, but money is something they ought to have plenty of - and should for the next three years.

Very, very pleased with this move.
   274. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:17 AM (#5588621)
Saw Dan O'Dowd on MLB Network talk about this. One thing he said: when he was in Denver & Theo/Jed were in Boston -- they always had an interest in Rockies reclamation projects. They'd always call him up about guys who were struggling for him.

Apparently, Chatwood has a really high spin rate on his curve and fastball. Top ten with both pitches. Not sure what (if any) impact the thin air of Denver would have on that.

He was also apparently the youngest free agent starting pitcher on the market.

As for his walk rate away from Coors, its' a matter for concern, but I have one thing giving me hope - the Darryl Kile experience. Kile went there and his walk rate skyrocketed at home and on the road. Coors got into his head and his starting nibbling on the corners more - and that affected him everywhere, not just at home. Hopefully, something similar is going on with Chatwood. (Or maybe he just walks too many guys).
   275. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:34 AM (#5588641)
Yeah, the more I read the more I like about the Chatwood signing.

But still, he's not a lock to be good, and that's what the Cubs are going to need in 2018.

And yes, Coors is bad for curveballs.
   276. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5588693)
But still, he's not a lock to be good, and that's what the Cubs are going to need in 2018.


No doubt - reiterating, they're paying a real premium for upside.

However, he's at best the #4 -- and personally, I think/hope the Cubs aren't done adding to the rotation. So long as he doesn't get hurt - risk for any pitcher, especially for him - even non-Coors Chatwood is a perfectly fine #4.
   277. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5588704)
More on Chatwood, though behind a paywall. Some interesting stuff:

Last season, according to Pitch Info, Chatwood averaged his highest velocity on all his pitches, including 95.3 mph on his four-seamer. Team president Theo Epstein is confident the Cubs found an undervalued arm who they can slot into the back of their rotation.


The difference is stark. And the road ERA is so strong that during that span he’s tied for second-best in the National League with Stephen Strasburg and behind only Clayton Kershaw. The results aren’t the only thing that’s different. Chatwood is essentially a different type of pitcher on the road compared to home as his four-seam usage drops from 44.1 percent at home to 27.1 percent on the road and his two-seamer jumps from 23.5 to 42.9 percent. He uses his changeup more than twice as much on the road (3.2 to 6.7 percent) and has a nearly eight percent drop in slider usage.


One pitch he didn't vary his usage drastically at home or on the road over the last two seasons was his curveball, which hovered around eight percent. However, Chatwood seemed to lean on the pitch far more often last season. As Eno Sarris pointed out at FanGraphs, Chatwood gets a ton of spin on the pitch and in the second half last season he seemed to be able to manipulate that particular pitch quite well when away from Coors (which is death on curveballs).


One aspect of Chatwood’s game that doesn’t need to change, home or away, is his ability to garner groundballs. Chatwood has posted a 57.6 percent groundball rate over the past two seasons, fourth-best in baseball. That’s helpful in Coors, but didn’t seem to matter because his fly balls flew out of the park so often. But put those groundballs in front of the Cubs defense, which converted groundballs into outs at a 78 percent rate last season, best in the game for the second year in a row (the Rockies were 13th last season and 19th in 2016) and assume many of the fly balls that left in Coors stay in Wrigley and now you have a much more impressive pitcher on the mound.
   278. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5588708)
But still, he's not a lock to be good, and that's what the Cubs are going to need in 2018.

Yeah, a lot of it is projection that being away from Coors and getting to their coaching will help him. The Cubs absolutely aren't done adding pitchers, and like you said, it's not even the winter meetings yet. I see no reason to worry quite yet.
   279. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5588917)
So, no Ohtani, which isn't a surprise, but now it'll be interesting to watch the Cubs next moves. Do they make that trade for a controlled SP? Do they take the plunge on Cobb, and then add more depth to counter the health risks with him and Chatwood? I still don't think they'll splurge on Darvish or Arrieta; I could see Arrieta coming back but that would be much later (a la Fowler, but not with a 1 year deal) in FA and not sure the Cubs can just wait that long to get another SP.

   280. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:08 PM (#5588932)
Do they make that trade for a controlled SP?

I think they almost have to if we are correct that Darvish and Arrieta are not on the menu. Cobb costs a draft pick and has a health history that isn't really any better than Chatwood's.
   281. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5588942)
Yeah, a lot of it is projection that being away from Coors and getting to their coaching will help him. The Cubs absolutely aren't done adding pitchers, and like you said, it's not even the winter meetings yet. I see no reason to worry quite yet.

I'm not worried, it's just that my expectations are not very high. I don't see a path to 90+ wins at this point, but I'm not the one responsible for finding it.

Looking forward, I like the Cobb idea, but I like the idea of turning some position talent into Chris Archer better. I worry about

   282. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5588954)
I worry about

Should be worried about what happened to you here?

---

I'm not worried, it's just that my expectations are not very high. I don't see a path to 90+ wins at this point, but I'm not the one responsible for finding it.

Yeah, I'm not feeling that level of despair at all. I see a path, and hell, I expect the moves the Cubs make will get them there. Am I reading this wrong, or is this projecting the Cubs as is to 92 wins (depth chart doesn't include FA, but includes Chatwood)?
   283. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5588989)
Heh, not sure what happened there.

Since Ohtani discussion is over, how about Giancarlo Stanton?

MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday night that the Giants and Cardinals are not Stanton's top preferences. The fact that Stanton has yet to sign off on a deal with either NL club also raises questions about the four-time All-Star outfielder's interest with those teams. Rosenthal's report added that Stanton would consider trades to the Dodgers or Yankees. Another report, from Craig Mish of SiriusXM, added the Cubs and Astros to the list of Stanton's preferred destinations.
   284. Man o' Schwar Posted: December 08, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5589043)
I'm all for Stanton. I'm not sure you can afford him and Heyward in the same outfield, and I doubt seriously the Marlins would be interested in taking Heyward back in a deal.
   285. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5589058)
Sure, I'm in for Stanton. You've got to worry a little about his durability, and the Cubs would have to be comfortable with how his contract impacts the eventual amounts they're gonna have to pay their own guys (or they just hope he's so good he opts out when he can in 3 years) and sitting out big FA hunting next year. There's probably no way to get the Marlins to take back Heyward's deal, so either Heyward becomes a regular CF or Schwarber is completely superfluous (maybe he's the biggest piece in the deal going to the other way, but really I want a lineup with both of those guys in it).

So, best case optimistic scenario here is what - get Stanton for nothing on the major league roster by taking on most of the contract and then use Happ to get another SP (one of the ESPN writers suggested a Happ for Duffy deal)? Fill out the rest of the pen with FA, Heyward/Almora platoon CF and 4th OF duties with Zobrist as super utility? Or do you move Baez and live with Happ/Zobrist at 2b? Or even move Russell for a better SP like Archer and Baez is the SS?

Fun to dream about...
   286. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:03 PM (#5589120)
I love the idea of Stanton for the next four years. The problem is the age 32-38 seasons that follow, for $204 million. Reminiscent of Albert Pujols and the Angels.

Hard for me to imagine a Stanton deal that doesn't send Schwarber back. Truth be told, it's hard for me to imagine a Stanton deal that the Cubs can make at all. Seems like Miami wants good players back AND being free of the contract.

It's not my money, but I'm not going to be upset if the Cubs don't go all-in here.
   287. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 08, 2017 at 09:33 PM (#5589132)
Sure the Marlin's want that, but the Giants and cards deals leaked and neither were that great.

It is unlikely, even more so than Ohtani was.
   288. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: December 09, 2017 at 10:06 AM (#5589207)
Yeah, I read “don’t see a path” to mean “given the talent now on hand, I don’t see a non-zero chance the Cubs win 90 or more games.” Love ya, AR, but that’s nuts. :)

Obviously there are holes to fill and talent to be sorted out, but the former’s true of every team and the latter remains a nice problem to have.
   289. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 09, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5589219)
I gotta be completely honest, and even though I know this is completely irrational, but seeing both Ohtani and Stanton goes elsewhere right after each other really is quite disappointing. The Cubs probably never seriously considered Stanton, and I don't want them to just throw around money Willy nilly, but I admit to starting to now question their appetite to really act like a dominant big market team. Ohtani doesn't fit that narrative at all of course, and it is early and next year with Harper always made more sense anyway (and Stanton has to take the Yanks out of that derby). At least it wasn't the Dodgers getting either guy.
   290. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 09, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5589223)
I admit to starting to now question their appetite to really act like a dominant big market team

I think it is safe to assume they are not going to join the ranks of the Dodgers/Red Sox/Yankees.
   291. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 09, 2017 at 01:13 PM (#5589292)
I never expected peak Yankees or dodgers spending, but they should be right behind that.
   292. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 09, 2017 at 01:34 PM (#5589303)
What I mean is that I see the Cubs win total somewhere in the high 80s right now. I am heartened by Fangraphs calling it at 92, but I'm just not a believer in the state of the pitching. Again: Winter Meetings don't even start until tomorrow.

Who knows what it would have taken to bring in Ohtani. With Stanton -- again, it's the back end of that contract that I don't like, even for a dominant big market team. This is a guy who has missed a fair number of games in his career and may not age very well. I'd be excited if it had happened, but am okay with it.
   293. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 10, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5589596)
Cubs are supposedly close to signing Morrow, and trying hard to sign Cobb.
   294. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 10, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5589611)
Heyman:
Morrow will have deal with cubs. Expected to be for 10 or 11M a year.
   295. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 10, 2017 at 03:55 PM (#5589619)
Passan:
Source: The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms with free agent RP Brandon Morrow on a two-year deal with an option. @MLBBruceLevine first said they were close. Deal is pending a physical.
   296. Meatwad Posted: December 10, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5589621)
Seems like a pretty good deal.
Page 3 of 3 pages  < 1 2 3

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
greenback wears sandals on his head
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.9727 seconds
60 querie(s) executed