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   301. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5589947)
So I am seeing 2/$21 for Morrow. If the Cobb rumors prove true the Cubs will add three guys with durability issues. You (generally) need to take on some kind of risk to get FA signings who have genuine potential to exceed the standard cost/value. So picking out guys with that profile is not a wrong approach, per se. Given the limited number of innings that the previous teams have been getting from these guys, I hope Joe and the Cubs have a plan to get them some rest in the middle of the season so that they have some gas in the tank come October.

If I understand this correctly, Cots Contracts projects the Cubs at a $138.5 million payroll after the Chatwood signing but not including Morrow. If we assume $10.5 for Morrow then the payroll is $149. As a random guess I'll say Cobb would cost $18 million per year so adding him would put the Cubs at $167. The last two years the Cubs have had opening day payrolls right around $172 so adding Cobb would probably take them out of the running for any more significant FAs.
   302. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5589956)
Take off significant millions because of the way they count bonuses and deferred money for Heyward and I believe Lester. Heyward isn’t costing 28 million dollars this year.
   303. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5589972)
Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal 3h3 hours ago

Brandon Morrow’s deal with #Cubs, if completed, will be two years, $21M, sources tell The Athletic. Morrow would earn $9M in 2018 and $9M in ‘19 with a $3M buyout or $12M vesting option for 2020.


So $1.5mil less that your estimate this year. I also don't think we've seen the exact breakdown of Chatwood's, so it might not be split up evenly. I would guess the only real goal this year is to stay under the luxury tax again ($197mil), at least if they have any intention on going after anyone like Harper next offseason (fitting him in would mean going into the tax definitely). If they add Cobb, there really isn't need/room for anyone else significant. They'll probably sign another bullpen arm (like Reed or McGee) and maybe another Jay type (meaning 1 year, slightly inflated deal for a guy that isn't expected to start), but I wouldn't really call either of those types significant either.

If they do sign Cobb, that probably does mean there isn't a trade of a young guy for an arm, which I am absolutely fine with. I've talked myself into that move happening at some point this offseason, so maybe it's a little surprise but it is my preferred outcome. I'm all in with the hope/expectation a number of the young guys take some steps forward (not necessarily all of them, but several; I also am ready for an absolute monster Bryant year that combines the best of the past 2 seasons).

Given the limited number of innings that the previous teams have been getting from these guys, I hope Joe and the Cubs have a plan to get them some rest in the middle of the season so that they have some gas in the tank come October.

Absolutely, that's the obvious risk with this group. Going to a 6 man rotation at times with Monty starting is probably a good plan (or Tseng getting the random start here and there). I do think this approach might mean the Cubs get into a spot where they have to made a midseason trade for an arm, which might mean one of the Happ/Schwarber/Baez/Russell group gets moved then.
   304. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5589973)
Thanks, McCoy. It looks like the way they did bonuses adds about $5 million to Heyward. In Lester's case it adds about $5 million except he's due a bonus payment of $2.5 million on December 31 of next year so I'm not sure where the Cubs would allocate that when setting their payroll targets.
   305. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5589979)

If they do sign Cobb, that probably does mean there isn't a trade of a young guy for an arm, which I am absolutely fine with. I've talked myself into that move happening at some point this offseason, so maybe it's a little surprise but it is my preferred outcome. I'm all in with the hope/expectation a number of the young guys take some steps forward (not necessarily all of them, but several; I also am ready for an absolute monster Bryant year that combines the best of the past 2 seasons).


I had previously suggested they would move Baez but I'm doing a 180 on that now. It looks like they are doubling down on that infield defense by getting groundball pitchers.
   306. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5589990)
I'm really, really not keen on Cobb.

Given that the compensation rules have changed - it's a little more palatable (the Cubs would surrender their 3rd round pick) - but I think he'll be a mistake.

Of course, they do need another SP so I suppose it's better to just buy one and hang on to everyone from the Schwarbs/Happ/Baez/Russell bucket.

I do hope they're keeping in touch with Jake, at least -- if the market for him doesn't materialize into ~7 years and ~150-200 million - they really need to be in something more in the 5/100 or less range.
   307. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5590022)
I'm really, really not keen on Cobb.

I feel the same.

I can't believe I'm saying this but maybe getting Lackey on a one year deal is the way to go. For all his faults he took his turn 30 times last season and ended up with a 95 ERA+ (though his FIP was worse).
   308. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5590027)
Personally, I think you guys are selling this team short wondering about 90 wins...

Yeah, that's my attitude as well. Pitching is the question mark, but the off-season is just getting warmed up. And right now the Cubs already have on paper a fairly solid rotation.

The first online article I ever wrote on baseball was this. Short version of it: An average team can expect this level of performance from its rotation slots:
1st slot: ERA+ of about 120
2nd slot: ERA+ of about 106
3rd slot: ERA+ of about 96 (it's under 100 because relievers overall have better ERAs than starters)
4th slot: ERA+ of about 89
5th slot: ERA+ of about 78

Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, Chatwood.....yeah, most teams don't have four pitchers aren't that good. Now, there's a lot of questions. For example injuries. Lester & Quintana both had down years - what does that foretell of the future? Can Chatwood hold up for a full season?

But then again, the plexiglass principle says that Lester and/or Quintana should bounce back a bit next year. Hendricks's injury was to his hand, not shoulder or arm and so considerably less likely to be a factor this year. And if they can land someone like Alex Cobb, they have one of the most solid rotations in baseball. There isn't the Clayton Kershaw or Chris Sale or Jake Arrieta at the top of the rotation.....but a really solid rotation is worth having. (Note: Yes, I'm aware I'm giving them credit for acquiring a fifth starter before they actually do so. That isn't really fair, but it's still clearly something they intend to do).

Last year they won 92 games despite getting 32 starts from a combination of Butler, Montgomery, Anderson, and Tseung. Plus another 30 starts from John Lackey. Strangely enough, despite losing Jake Arrieta this off-season, they could easily have a better rotation next year without a huge rotation signing.

Also, the Cubs are a team that are built to win with hitting, so a really solid rotation can help them get to 90+ wins. Last year the Cubs scored 423 runs after the All-Star Break. Not only was that the most int the NL, but second most was 368 runs. 55 fewer than the Cubs. So yeah, that's a nice offense. OK, that was with a lot of guys hitting really well. True, but then again it's also with Contreras and Russell missing a sizable amount of time with injuries. And with Bryant being weirdly ineffective in clutch moments all year round. So it ain't necessarily a fluke. And it was a young offense with virtually everyone coming back. As it stands right now, the most important batters from last year not slated to come back are Jon Jay and Alex Avila.

So they should have a great offense and are just one Cobb-level signing away from having one of the most solid rotations in baseball. Yeah, I think people are a bit pessimistic about their odds to win 90.
   309. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:28 AM (#5590064)
Yup - agree wholly with Dag in 308.

Injuries and who knows aside - the regular season, we ought to be fine.

It's really the playoffs where lacking that true stopper hurts, of course. That said, even the Kershaws are no sure thing.

With the Giants striking out thus far on their "reload and we're right back in it" -- I'd just point out that if the Giants are sub-.500 heading into midseason, perhaps they might put Madison on the block? He's got a (wonderful - 12 mil) team option for 2019....
   310. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5590102)
I personally just don't have much of a feel for Cobb, but totally understand the the warning signs. Locking him up to a 4 or so year deal really locks the Cubs into those starters, for better and for worse.

I can't believe I'm saying this but maybe getting Lackey on a one year deal is the way to go. For all his faults he took his turn 30 times last season and ended up with a 95 ERA+ (though his FIP was worse).

Hard pass. Though the idea of a similar type of pitcher does have value.
   311. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 11, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5590137)
Personally, I think you guys are selling this team short wondering about 90 wins...

"You guys"? Is it anyone but me? Again, I hope people aren't taking that too seriously.

My feeling about Cobb is similar to what I see regarding Chatwood and Morrow: risk. He had a terrific 2014, popped his UCL, didn't pitch at all in the majors in 2015 and had various other arm issues in 2015-16, and then boom, he made a career-high 29 starts in 2017 (including a toe problem). He was not very consistent in 2017 but overall he had a very good year coming off TJS. He picked up velocity as the season went on, and his curveball was back. So like Morrow, we have a guy who has had a rough road for a few years, but coming off a very good season. But still: risk. It depends on the contract he might get. I think the UCL situation is resolved, it's the other sundry problems I'm more concerned about.
   312. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 11, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5590192)
The other concern with Cobb is the K rate. What will he look like if he starts losing any amount of sink on his fastball?
   313. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 01:28 PM (#5590193)
Joel Sherman‏ @Joelsherman1 59s60 seconds ago

Mike Hill said initially went to 4 clubs Stanton expressed would waive no trade for: #Yankees #Dodgers #Cubs #Astros. No traction. So engaged others/worked out deals with #SFGiants #Stlcards. Stanton refused, so re-engaged with others and that is when #Yankees deal was forged


Interesting. Again, nothing came of it and I'm fine with that*, but I'm curious what type of deal the Cubs would have been comfortable to pursue.

*Still, #### the Yankees.
   314. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5590399)
Jerry Crasnick‏ @jcrasnick 1h1 hour ago

The #Twins, #Dbacks, #Nationals, #Rangers and #Cubs are among the clubs monitoring Brandon Kintzler’s market. #Cubs could divvy up their save opportunities if Wade Davis moves on. Kintzler is probably looking at a 2-year deal.


   315. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 05:47 PM (#5590430)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 3m3 minutes ago

Theo had no regrets about Ohtani recruitment, admitted geography and lack of DH would be issues.


   316. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 11, 2017 at 06:08 PM (#5590444)
The other concern with Cobb is the K rate. What will he look like if he starts losing any amount of sink on his fastball?

First half last year his K rate was 5.9/9, second half was 7.3, which is his career rate. Beware of split samples, of course, but his velocity went up as the year progressed.
   317. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 11, 2017 at 06:38 PM (#5590459)
Sahadev Sharma‏ @sahadevsharma 8s9 seconds ago

Theo said there was no virtual reality presentation by the Cubs to Ohtani. "Lot of question and answer, back and forth. A lot of interaction and engagement and exercises," according to Epstein.


First half last year his K rate was 5.9/9, second half was 7.3, which is his career rate. Beware of split samples, of course, but his velocity went up as the year progressed.

It's not unusual for the period immediately after TJS to be rougher than usual, right? Building up arm strength, getting feel for pitches, etc.
   318. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 11, 2017 at 06:48 PM (#5590466)
It's not unusual for the period immediately after TJS to be rougher than usual, right? Building up arm strength, getting feel for pitches, etc.

It's certainly not unusual. I think it's reasonable to feel encouraged by the overall picture. Enough to go four years? I don't know.

I'd prefer the Cubs go 3/42, or 2/32, rather than 4/48. He's 30.
   319. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2017 at 12:05 AM (#5590555)
I'd prefer the Cubs go 3/42, or 2/32, rather than 4/48. He's 30.

Once you're up to 3/$42 or 2/$32 you might as well go 4/$48 ... that's just 1/$6 or 2/$16 more. 2/$16 might bite a little but the Tigers just signed Mike Fiers for 1/$6 and the upside that Cobb is good is worth the risk Cobb that he's worse than Fiers in 4 years.

But I doubt he's available at any of those prices -- 180 IP and 113 ERA+ last year, mostly good history. More durable but Ervin Santana got 4/$55 three years ago. Cobb is maybe closer to Ubaldo Jimenez who had injury problems then bounced back to 180 innings of 115 ERA+ at age 29 and he got 4/$50 four years ago. I'll guess Cobb is looking at 4/$60-65.
   320. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 12, 2017 at 10:02 AM (#5590666)
I'll guess Cobb is looking at 4/$60-65

I'll take the over. Chatwood just got 3/$38 and nobody would have offered him a QO for his services.

For funsies, MLB Trade Rumors projected Chatwood to get 2/$20 and Cobb to get 4/$48.
   321. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5590702)
Yeah, I agree, Walt/Pops. I bet the Cubs prefer it be only 3 years, or maybe make the 4th year an option, but they'll probably have to guarantee that 4th year.

---

Bunch of interesting quotes from Theo yesterday:

Ohtani:
“We had plans to try to make him nito-ryu,” Epstein said. “Which is a two-way player or samurai with two swords, depending on your translation.”
“I thought we had really increased our odds,” Epstein said, before suggesting that he believed the lack of a DH spot really hurt them. “But I was so proud of the work the organization had done and I felt so passionate about the fit that I probably fooled myself into thinking we had a real chance. It was a great process and I have no regrets and certainly wish him well. He was a really impressive kid. I think, health permitting, he’s going to do really, really well, have a long career and he’ll be fun to follow.”

Morrow, though he didn't name him (physical is today):
“I think we’re pretty close to signing somebody that would certainly we would be comfortable closing games,” Epstein said. “But he’s the type of team player that would be willing to take any role depending on what the rest of the team looks like.”
“I think it’s fine having someone who hasn’t done it before or done it consistently, but it makes sense to name a closer just so you can establish roles,” Epstein said. “Relievers are human beings, they do enjoy knowing what their role is, approximately when they’re going to pitch so they can mentally and physically get ready for that responsibility.”

I think it was The Athletic that the Cubs might use him as a closer for health reasons - that way he's warming up less often and on a more regular schedule (also, Davis just threw fewer innings last year than the setup guys). Maddon does follow the typical closer usage during the regular season, but has shown more flexibility come playoff time. I could see that being a useful plan, if they really think it will help keep Morrow healthy.
Pitching needs (I guess the question was really about if they needed a leadoff hitter):
“You can’t dictate the timetable,” Epstein said. “If an opportunity that really makes sense to us presents itself and we hesitated, I’d be disappointed. I also don’t want to make something happen just for the sake of making it happen. We’ll try to be really thorough, try to be really creative and try to be aggressive when appropriate to continue to round out this pitching staff. It really doesn’t matter whether you get stuff done at the winter meetings, after the winter meetings, in January, in spring training, as long as you have a pitching staff that’s really talented and deep enough to withstand the attrition that always happens during the course of the season. We’d like to add another starter in one way or another if we could and one more reliever.”
“One way to look at the offseason is to think of all the different ways your season could be sunk and then build to mitigate those threats,” Epstein said. “Our greatest threats, right now, relate to pitching. Not having enough quality pitching, suffering multiple injuries to your pitching, not having enough depth. That’s a scenario we have to address first. If a prototypical leadoff type guy doesn’t emerge again, we’re still a good bet to score 800 runs and we’ll be OK. It’s not quite the priority it might be if we were in a different situation.”

Schwarber (there were some weird rumors the other day the Red Sox were interested in him, but I don't see any sort of match):
“He’s always been someone that teams have had an interest in, I guess,” Epstein said about Schwarber's name being bandied about. “But we have probably the most interest.”

   322. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5590958)
The Chicago Cubs have expressed interest in Kansas City Royals left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, a league source tells FanRag Sports.

Another player the Cubs are said to like is left-handed pitcher Scott Alexander, the source added.

Kansas City is characterized by one source as “listening” on Duffy, as well as closer Kelvin Herrera, who is said to also be garnering trade interest.

The fit for the Cubs makes sense – they’re in need of a starting pitcher with Jake Arrieta very likely leaving town via free agency. Duffy fits the bill of what the Cubs are looking for; he’s a proven starting pitcher signed long-term for an average of $13 million per season.
   323. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2017 at 05:59 PM (#5591184)
Mark Gonzales‏ @MDGonzales 12m12 minutes ago

Cubs hope to secure bulk of pitching needs by end of meetings. Hoyer says Schwarber drove to Orlando to meet with Theo & Co. with new physique.


Best shape of his life, already.

Interesting way of phrasing that though, Mark.
   324. Meatwad Posted: December 12, 2017 at 09:16 PM (#5591267)
cubs sign smyly 2 year deal 10 mil with 7 mil in incentives.
   325. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2017 at 09:25 PM (#5591277)
He had TJS, so this is more for next year or late in the year in the pen. Like the risk.

Robothal also reporting Montgomery wants to start or go somewhere he can.
   326. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 12, 2017 at 10:02 PM (#5591298)
Smyly deal is $3 million guaranteed in year one, $7 million in year two. Up to $6 million more in incentives in 2019 if he's a starter, $1 million if he's a reliever. Potential for $16 million total.
   327. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 13, 2017 at 10:22 AM (#5591553)
The Smyly signing is great. I'm very glad to see the Cubs do things to bolster their depth.

I am also very glad to see Schwarber slimming down. If he can fight LF to a draw then he can be a nice piece of the Cubs' future.
   328. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5591559)
The Smyly deal is a good one, I think. As for Duffy, that would be nice, and it's an interesting alternative to Cobb. If the choice is paying the rest of Duffy's contract (4/60) AND giving quality player(s) versus just paying Cobb 4/60 along with draft compensation, I think I'm inclined to go with Cobb. I think Duffy is a surer thing than Cobb and he's a year younger, but they're not that different. Of course, it depends on what kind of player(s) it would take to get Duffy -- I am assuming it will take a decent major league player and one of the better low-level prospects, but I don't have any idea.

Robothal also reporting Montgomery wants to start or go somewhere he can.

Not on this team. He's been very useful, but he's never really settled in with his command. I like him in his current role, but I would trade him for the right player(s). He could be the guy the Cubs trade to KC for Duffy...
   329. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5591620)
Completely agree, Andere. Considering there's been so much smoke about Cobb to the Cubs for some time (I think Gammons said it would be done by Thanksgiving), I'm guessing the Duffy and now Salazar rumors are because Cobb's cost has gotten quite a bit higher than the Cubs are comfortable with, so a bit north of 4/$60mil. Speaking of Salazar:

David Kaplan‏ @thekapman 7m7 minutes ago

There is something to the Cubs and Indians talking about Danny Salazar as @MLBBruceLevine first said. Could the deal include Ian Happ and could the Cubs get Jason Kipnis as well? Just a thought. Nothing close yet from what I’m hearing.


Sounds like Kipnis is pure speculation (you know how much Chicago sports folk love themselves some local kids), but he doesn't make sense on a team that already has Zobrist unless there's also another trade involving Baez or Russell opening up 2b (or I guess Schwarber could be in the deal, opening up LF for Kipnis).

Not on this team. He's been very useful, but he's never really settled in with his command. I like him in his current role, but I would trade him for the right player(s). He could be the guy the Cubs trade to KC for Duffy...

I think I probably even quoted Theo in this thread saying that the Cubs aren't considering him as a starter except in the swing role he had this year. So if Monty pushed the issue, yeah, he'd be dealt.

---

Shaw and McGee to the Rockies, and Cubs were supposedly looking at both. I think they both got around 3/$27mil.
   330. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 13, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5591624)

Not on this team. He's been very useful, but he's never really settled in with his command. I like him in his current role, but I would trade him for the right player(s). He could be the guy the Cubs trade to KC for Duffy...


I sure wouldn't mind that move.

On an unrelated note, I wonder why the Cubs continue to hold onto LaStella. He's got some nice rate stats but it would seem he has more value as a chit if the Cubs are going to hand him <200 PAs per season.
   331. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5591856)
We haven't talked about other teams a ton, but it'll be interesting to watch the Cards/Brewers make move to catch the Cubs.

Cards are getting Ozuna, giving up a few young arms and maybe Grichuk; they're also rumored to be moving Piscotty to to OAK (not sure for what). That would put their OF as Pham/Fowler/Ozuna.

Brewers really haven't done anything yet, but they could make a move for a big SP - either try to sign Darvish or Arrieta or even trade for Archer.

Right now, I'm still fairly comfortable in projecting the Cubs as better in 2018, but not as comfortable as I was a year ago going into 2017.
   332. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: December 13, 2017 at 01:23 PM (#5591857)
I suppose teams don't get jittery about trading with teams again after a bad trade -- i.e., I'd think after the Soler experience, KC would be leery of another Cub deal.

Regardless - Duffy or Salazar? Much as I'm not keen on Cobb, I think I'd probably rather just pay him than part with Happ/Schwarbs/et al.
   333. Quaker Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:02 PM (#5591910)
Starting every game w/a groundout to the right side would likely be deflating to the rest of the team.
   334. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5591912)
Yeah, I'm not thrilled with moving Happ under any circumstances. Especially with Zobrist being 37 and coming off a lousy season. If Happ could bring back an elite type starting pitcher, that's one thing, but none of the names we're throwing around here fit that bill. Maybe straight up for Salazar? That's a fair trade but not one I want to have to make.

I suppose teams don't get jittery about trading with teams again after a bad trade -- i.e., I'd think after the Soler experience, KC would be leery of another Cub deal.

I doubt this is an issue -- I assume KC made that deal with eyes wide open.

   335. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: December 13, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5591951)
I doubt this is an issue -- I assume KC made that deal with eyes wide open.


Yeah, I'm sure...

I've always just been such a terrible trader in my roto leagues that it's become something of a running joke that you can only take me to the cleaners every season and a half or two - so make it a good one. I tend to assume MLB front offices work like I do!
   336. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 14, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5592420)
The Cubs add another solid pitcher you've heard of who has health issues in Steve Cishek. Rosenthal is saying 2 years and $12-$14 million which sounds pretty good to me.
   337. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 14, 2017 at 12:20 PM (#5592562)
There's seems to be 2 different type of reliever contracts going around, the 3/$27mil and the 2/$12-15mil one. I think there was one 2/$10 mil (Kinzler, which honestly is probably the best of those deals).

I'll probably start a new thread in a day or two to talk about where the roster stands now, but there were some rumblings yesterday the Cubs might be open to Davis coming back, provided the terms are favorable to the Cubs. I wouldn't be opposed to that, and there's still 2 open spots in the pen; right now you'd probably pencil in Alvarez - though I think he has an option and he'd be the 3rd lefty - and one of Maples/Mills/Tseng/etc to win a spot in ST. EDIT: I'm forgetting about Grimm.

The big thing to come still is that last SP, be it Cobb or someone else.
   338. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 14, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5592573)
If the Cubs added Davis my feelings on the bullpen would be about 180 degrees from what I felt two weeks ago. I'm not sure where the money would come from to add an FA starter though. So I guess signing Davis would likely mean they are making a trade to fill out the rotation.
   339. Zonk is a cagey fellow Posted: December 14, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5592693)
FWIW -

Surprisingly, the Cubs' rather rapidly thinned system lost a guy in the rule 5 (Pedro Araujo) -- and then three more guys in the minor league phase.

I think Araujo has a chance to stick with the Orioles -- he's been kicking around the system forever (obviously) -- but he's always had good numbers out of the pen. I think he's had a fairly long string of health issues - that slowed his advancement (he only hit high A ball this past year). Not a huge loss - hard to make that he's worth a 40 man spot and he's not exciting enough that anyone would trade for him.... but wouldn't shock me if he was decent enough as a 9th/10th man on a staff.

The minor league guys are just org fodder - I don't think there's a Justin Bour in the troika - but the sort of org fodder I imagine teams like... Andrew Ely is a slap-hitting, but versatile utility guy. Chris Nunn is a guy the Cubs signed out of the independent leagues - I think he was also drafted by Jed back when Jed was in San Diego. Alberto Mineo might be missed a bit - he never really hit much until this year (and a 23 yo hitting 278/374/358 at low A isn't exactly lighting any worlds on fire anyway) - but he's supposedly a great handler of pitchers in the Crash Davis mold. He's actually Italian - not Latino - but also fluent in Spanish and I've a few pieces suggesting that the Cubs really rave about the bonuses he provides for pitcher development.

The Cubs themselves didn't take anyone in the major league or minor league portions.
   340. Quaker Posted: December 14, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5592722)
I'm still 100% fine letting Davis walk. Some guy on Twitter was floating $34/2, and I'd rather spend that $$ on the rotation or the lineup.

At this point, of the options floated, I'm hoping for Salazar at hopefully not too high of a cost. My hunch is that they wind up w/Britton.
   341. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 14, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5592749)
I'm still 100% fine letting Davis walk. Some guy on Twitter was floating $34/2, and I'd rather spend that $$ on the rotation or the lineup.

The Cubs aren't that close to the luxury tax line to be not able to afford that and a SP. I'm not sure where they'd spend any money for the lineup unless they traded someone for a SP.
   342. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 14, 2017 at 04:29 PM (#5592832)
Cubs games on the radio sounded the same to the untrained ear of so many fans that 2014 season, with polished play-by-play man Pat Hughes comfortably providing the soundtrack of summer car rides and barbecues like always. But by the time October arrived, the legendary announcer sensed something was different. Something was off.

“Anybody who uses their voice for a living, you know when it’s not right,” Hughes said.

And long before Hughes would undergo three surgeries in a 14-month period because of a precancerous lesion known as dysplasia on one of his vocal cords, he knew. Or at least he knew what he didn’t know, and it scared the bejesus out of him.

The health crisis Hughes concealed publicly until now started with a bout with bronchitis that June, which went away thanks to an inhaler. But an irritation in Hughes’ throat lingered. Put in baseball terms, he possessed the vocal range of a Gold Glove shortstop but suddenly struggled getting to every ground ball. He especially noticed raspiness whenever he tried producing a deeper pitch. At first he wanted to attribute the issues to fatigue from the grind of calling another 162-game schedule.



Is this why we get that horrible 5th inning every game with Coomer failing to do PBP?
   343. Quaker Posted: December 14, 2017 at 04:41 PM (#5592838)
The Cubs aren't that close to the luxury tax line to be not able to afford that and a SP. I'm not sure where they'd spend any money for the lineup unless they traded someone for a SP.


They can give the $17MM, plus a year's worth of interest, to Bryce next year.

https://twitter.com/CharlsMeow/status/941417119148687360
   344. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:17 PM (#5592883)
I see no reason why the Cubs *need* to stay below the tax next year if they're under this year. Cot's puts the Cubs at around $153mil towards the tax (including arb predictions, which are slightly higher than MLBTR), not including Cishek, and the tax is $197mil. Quite frankly, they are not at the point to be counting change in order to skimp; IOW, I totally bought the "rolling over" budget money during the rebuild but I'm not going to like it now.

Now, if this is right:

Alex Cobb’s reported price of four years and $80 million is thought to be too rich for many interested teams, including the Cubs.


Then yeah, it's an easy pass on Cobb and means trading for a SP, which I guess is how they free up more for Davis (I'm ok overpaying somewhat if they can get a shorter deal).
   345. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 15, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5593149)
Rondon to the Astros.
   346. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 15, 2017 at 03:27 PM (#5593441)
Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal  19m19 minutes ago

Hector Rondon contract with 
#Astros, per source: Two years, $8.5M. Deal is official - he just passed his physical. 
   347. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 15, 2017 at 05:46 PM (#5593532)
A Cubs nugget from Gammons ($):
People close to Shohei Ohtani privately said that Epstein’s presentation was far and away the most compelling, and it impressed Ohtani. But Ohtani also realized that with his elbow ailment—a Grade 1 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm—playing the outfield, swinging a bat every day and pitching had risks. With that in mind, he preferred an American League team because he could DH and thus wouldn’t always have to throw from the outfield. And after Angels GM Billy Eppler made his presentation, Ohtani found an AL club with which he was comfortable.
   348. Quaker Posted: December 16, 2017 at 07:31 PM (#5593862)
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2017/12/16/cubs-pursuing-yu-darvish-free-agency/

Cubs are interested in Darvish, which would please me greatly.

Jesse Rogers suggested a Russell for Machado deal, which seems like a terrible value since it requires sacrificing 4 years of a good player for 1 year of a great one. The Cubs & O's don't seem like a great trade fit. Would anyone here prefer to give Machado a megadeal instead of Harper? Either in a vacuum and/or for the Cubs specifically?

https://twitter.com/ESPNChiCubs?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

   349. Voodoo Posted: December 17, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5594003)
Would anyone here prefer to give Machado a megadeal instead of Harper?Either in a vacuum and/or for the Cubs specifically?


In a vacuum, I think Machado is at least as good a bet, if not a better gamble, on a mega-contract. And maybe the Cubs should get involved; Bryant can move to RF and that would be one hell of an infield. I'm down for a 2018 Hot Stove Megacontract debate, but what I'm not cool with is the idea of trading a star cost controlled young SS for the chance to sign a superstar to a huge ass deal. That's dumb.
   350. Walt Davis Posted: December 17, 2017 at 10:53 PM (#5594181)
I'm forgetting about Grimm.

We should all be so lucky.

The Smyly deal is reminiscent of the Yanks and Jon Lieber deal back in the dinosaur age. I'm not sure Smyly's the guy I'd make that kinda deal for but it's still not my money.

Obviously it depends a lot on how they do in 2018 but I'm guessing Machado will get substantially less than Harper so I think Manny is likely to be the better value. But the fit on the Cubs isn't great although as noted, Bryant to RF makes sense and maybe to 1B after Rizzo is gone.

I'm agnostic on Duffy. He's been a better pitcher than I realized (his peripherals are a better match to his ERA than I expected) but he still hasn't made it through a full season as a starter. I would not be fond of trading Monty for him -- they look like pretty much the same pitcher. I guess I'm alone in being fine with Monty in the rotation (not that I wouldn't mind a genuine upgrade).

I'm mostly kidding about Grimm. But I also recall the days when we thought he might be an OK starter and maybe it's time to try again (not with the Cubs in the majors obviously). He was a pretty good starter in the minors (K/BB near 3, minuscule HR rate) but has been quite mediocre as a reliever in the majors.

LaStella as trade chit -- I just doubt he has much value even as a chit. He's a man out of time -- go back 15 years and he'd be at least Lenny Harris or John Vander Wal or something. But I'm pretty sure no team wants his glove in the field, he doesn't have enough power to DH and it's only the tremendous positional flexibility of the Cubs that allows them to carry a PH specialist. (Especially that Baez is such a good SS, most other teams have to put a backup SS in LaStella's spot.
   351. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5594248)
The suggestion for trading for Machado would be with the intention of him playing SS, not 3b. If he then left in FA, the Cubs would still have Baez for SS.
   352. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5594263)
So the weird Braves/Dodgers trade sent Brandon McCarthy and his 1/$11.5 contract to Atlanta. I wonder if the Braves plan on trading him and, if so, whether it would cost anything significant to get him.
   353. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5594265)
Also, the Orioles are not going to let anybody enter into pre-trade negotiations with Machado which seems to indicate he's intent on becoming a free agent. I wouldn't place any value on the exclusive negotiating window the Cubs would (hypothetically) get in a (hypothetical) trade.
   354. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5594272)
The suggestion for trading for Machado would be with the intention of him playing SS, not 3b. If he then left in FA, the Cubs would still have Baez for SS.


And it would be a ridiculous trade.
   355. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 18, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5594276)
Agreed, Pops. I think Boras is also on record saying he wouldn't want the 72 hour extension talks either.

They'd do the trade if they really think they can convince him to stay *and* he's a significant upgrade on whatever Russell turns into. I'm sure he can handle SS, but will still probably be a downgrade defensively.

It's also a total pipedream clickbait that has no chance of happening.
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