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Friday, July 04, 2014

A’s acquire Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel from Cubs for Addison Russell

FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says the deal is done and that the A’s will get both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, giving up top shortstop prospect Addison Russell in return. He adds that other players and teams may be involved.

Repoz Posted: July 04, 2014 at 10:56 PM | 186 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, oakland

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   1. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:08 PM (#4743741)
####. The A's are going for it big time this season. Two starters? Geesh.

Let's go Angels???
   2. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4743742)
Now that, my friends, is a megatrade.
   3. Zeba Zeba Eata Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4743743)
FTFA update:

11:00 p.m. EDT update: the deal is offical. Along with Russell, the Cubs will get outfield prospect Billy McKinney and right-hander Dan Straily.

   4. billyshears Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4743744)
Wow. Nice job by the Cubs to get Russell.
   5. madvillain Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4743745)
The Cubs might be putting something good together on the north side. Of course, the best laid plans...
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:20 PM (#4743749)
According to the update, the Cubs also get Billy McKinney and Dan Straily.

Just how many SS do the Cubs need?

I see Russell has only 75 PA this year so I assume he's been injured but there's nothing in the story about that.

Assuming Russell is healthy, consider me pleased. For 1.5 years of Samardzija and .5 of Hammel, getting a top 10-15 prospect who, apparently, might stick at SS sounds good. I'd have thought you might be able to go a rung up on the ace ladder for him -- Lee, Price.
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4743750)
TINSSAASSP

(or maybe there is)
   8. Bourbon Samurai Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4743751)
Man I'd put Addison Russell in a deal for David price but not Jeff samardzijaajaj
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4743752)
Wow, prior to the beginning of the season, Sickels had Russell and McKinney as Oakland's top two prospects.

Whether the Cubs would have been better off keeping Samardzija and/or Hammels is a separate issue but I think it's hard to imagine the Cubs getting a better haul than this.

I even like Straily as a throw-in.
   10. McCoy Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4743754)
Holy Cow!
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4743756)
I see Russell has only 75 PA this year so I assume he's been injured but there's nothing in the story about that.

According to Rotoworld he had a torn hamstring but has been back for a few weeks. So presumably the Cubs have seen enough to believe he's healthy... or the As have seen enough to believe he's expendable.
   12. McCoy Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4743757)
Well, I'm pretty sure the Cubs are going to be crap from here on out and in 2015 as well.

Any word on who the Cubs are calling up? I would hope Hendricks gets called up.
   13. jobu Posted: July 04, 2014 at 11:51 PM (#4743759)
I like the idea of having Samardzija pitch in O.co. Should be a real boost. Too bad to lose Russell, but A's have to go for it when they have a window.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4743765)
That looks like a pretty good deal both ways. Samardzija is very good and even if you don't buy what Hammel has done so far as continuing the A's rotation isn't one I'd want to count on all season. For varying reasons a little depth to cover Kazmir and Chavez looks wise.

On the flip side Russell is a nice get. I think getting a really good prospect rather than a bunch of slightly lower tier prospects is good when that one prospect is as highly regarded as Russell. I don't know anything about McKinney other than what's on his bbref page but hey, first round pick a year ago so why not?
   15. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4743766)
You have to like Russell's plate discipline and power. But how much of a concern are the strikeouts? If he's striking out because he's running deep counts, perhaps he just needs a little more experience to know when to jump a pitcher early in the count. Should be interesting to watch. I respect the move by Oakland.
   16. Gamingboy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4743767)
A clever move on both sides that may well win the A's the 2014 World Series and the Cubs the 2018 World Series, depending on who they flip the leftover SS prospect (whoever it turns out to be) for.
   17. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4743769)
As of right now they got 3 SS prospects and a major league player playing SS. If they all can hit you've got 3B, 2B, and SS covered for the foreseeable future. Bryant goes to left or right, Soler takes the other corner spot and then you look to see if your 4th SS prospect can play CF. Now then obviously not all the prospects are going to be major league starter worthy so it isn't really a big problem to have. The Cubs will have to decide who plays where at some point and that point is rapidly approaching. Alcantara has already been moved to second in the minors so that is one problem solved.
   18. SteveM. Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:30 AM (#4743770)
Oh yippee, more prospects. Let me be the cranky voice of impatience and say I am tired of the Rickett's Cubs acting like Loria's Marlins. They patiently develop Samardzija and then won't sign an extension because they wanted him to take a hometown discount, like the Cubs play in Kansas City or Miami. No doubt the script next year will be to trade away Arrieta when it looks like he will make too much. I am tired about getting excited about vying for the #1 pick in the draft. I am guessing the Cubs are now looking to compete in 2016 now as they are essentially punting 2015. Lovely.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:35 AM (#4743772)
I am tired about getting excited about vying for the #1 pick in the draft

Not much worry there at the moment -- 4 NL teams behind the Cubs and another 5 AL teams in the mix. If they really screw it up, they could end up with a non-protected pick!

(Yeah, unlikely, another smaller trade or two and they're probably terrible the rest of this year.)
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:45 AM (#4743775)
Looks like the Cubs save about $5.5M in salary for the remainder of the season, too. PROFIT!
   21. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4743777)
(Yeah, unlikely, another smaller trade or two and they're probably terrible the rest of this year.)

It's not like they were winning Samardzija's games anyway.
   22. SteveM. Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4743778)
Here is what pissed me off. Theo had actually assembled a good pitching staff. Good hard throwing arms in the bullpen and solid starting pitching. Yet, as if self-sabotaging, he put together one of the most heinous outfields of all time. Mike Olt,who either hits the ball a long way or strikes out, is moldering on the bench instead of being sent to Iowa. When Castillo went down, the Cubs trotted out AAAA guys behind the plate. Yet, while the Minors are supposedly stocked, we won't see any prospects maybe until next year. While Baez is not ready, there is no reason why AA can't be called up to take over 2B. I know that we will have to wait until June to see Bryant-God forbid the Cubs start his clock early because that would actually require spending money sometime. All because the Ricketts were idiotic enough to agree to the Trib's desperate tactics to avoid paying Uncle Sam his rightful due.
   23. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4743780)
Are the Cubs really taking that much of a cheap approach? Because I could see a scenario where they spin Russell for Price and then sign Lester during the offseason. Call-up Bryant & Alcantara, and that team could be a winner, plus exciting to watch. But if they are really going to be cheap, that's just a drag. The arb clock stuff needs to get resolved for the next CBA. Really nauseating.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:17 AM (#4743786)
On other possible moves ...

As McCoy has noted, no way should Valbuena be on the roster when the trade deadline has passed. Other than that, it's hard to see what moves the Cubs could make. Ruggiano could find a new home but won't bring back anything of note. James Russell could be attractive and he'll be an FA after next year so maybe we can find one of those teams that just KNOWS it's a lefty reliever away from the WS.

You never know what might get offered but I guess I don't see many more moves coming. Wood, Jackson, Arrietta and I suppose now Straily are pretty stuck by age/contract (cheap in most cases), none of the non-Russell relievers have any track record of success and nobody wants any of our position players except Castro and Rizzo (and Valbuena).

If Chris Coghlan makes it to 400 PA, I might just cry.
   25. KyleJRM Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:30 AM (#4743789)
There's plenty of room for Valbuena on the 2015 Cubs, either in a reserve role or playing whichever spot in the infield Baez doesn't after Alcantara and Bryant move to the outfield.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 03:11 AM (#4743792)
There's plenty of room for Valbuena on the 2015 Cubs, either in a reserve role or playing whichever spot in the infield Baez doesn't after Alcantara and Bryant move to the outfield.

But more importantly there is plenty of room for Valbuena on the roster of currently contending ballclubs who will part with something the Cubs actually want and may eventually need.
   27. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 05, 2014 at 03:16 AM (#4743794)
No doubt that valbuena gets traded. He seems to be the only non rizzo castro player who isnt worthless at the plate.
   28. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: July 05, 2014 at 03:21 AM (#4743795)
######-a.
   29. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 05, 2014 at 04:05 AM (#4743797)
Since the A's obviously won't be signing Samardzija to an extension, they might be planning to trade him in the offseason or even in three weeks for more prospects. That would give them Hammel for the rest of the year and maybe one additional prospect over what they already had, or two guys they like better. The only problem with that idea is that I don't see who's going to panic that much. Maybe the Giants. The Yankees want to trade for a starter, but I don't think they would or could give the kind of package that would top what the A's just gave up.

[Checks out the players the A's gave up, comes back . . .]

On second thought, that's too much to give up for Samardzija and Hammel. It might be defensible to go for it in a year with no dominant team, but they can't top the package they traded for Samardzija by turning around and trading him again.
   30. Squash Posted: July 05, 2014 at 04:21 AM (#4743799)
Wow. It sucks to lose Russell, i.e. the only worthwhile hitting prospect they've developed in the last 15 years. Given injury/attrition I hate trading hitting prospects for pitchers unless they're true studs, and Samardzija is not a true stud. That being said Russell does seem to have serious injury concerns, but wow.
   31. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: July 05, 2014 at 04:50 AM (#4743800)
It might be defensible to go for it in a year with no dominant team, but they can't top the package they traded for Samardzija by turning around and trading him again.
It MIGHT be defensible? They're the best team in baseball, and they just got better. This trade isn't only defensible for the A's, it's incredible. This is exactly what you do when you've got a good shot at the brass ring. The whole point of all the finangling the A's have done is to get to the point where trading valuable prospects can actually land you someone who can win you a short series in the October playoffs that the A's will almost certainly be playing in.
   32. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:23 AM (#4743811)
I hope Hammel is getting flipped for a 2nd baseman.
   33. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:31 AM (#4743815)
All Billy had to do was ask for Darwin Barney and he would have been thrown onto the pile.
   34. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4743828)
I love this trade for both teams. Oakland is going for it in a year when they have their best chance to win a title in a generation, probably.

But I love it for the Cubs, too. It is really hard to get blue chip prospects, and it would have been easy for the Cubs to get a larger number of "eh" prospects and lottery tickets. The Cubs don't need lots of that - they need potential difference makers...and they got one.
   35. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4743835)
But they also traded a difference maker in Jeff. So they basically went with the potential difference maker over the real one because potential cost less than real. I don't really see how this team is going to be good in 2015. In 2016 they are in line for either a dramatic increase in wins or losing tons of games.
   36. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4743841)
It might be defensible to go for it in a year with no dominant team, but they can't top the package they traded for Samardzija by turning around and trading him again.


This strikes me as related, if not identical, to the reflexive overvaluation of prospects that causes fans of good teams to wail and gnash teeth when lottery tickets are traded for stars. It's inculcated in us when our teams our middling, when the Adam Joneses are sent packing for the Erik Bedards, that these are bad trades, but in a situation in which a team like the A's is trying to put distance between itself and its competition and then win in the playoffs, it's not only "defensible", it's almost invariably a good idea.
   37. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4743843)
Jeff Bagwell
Freddy Garcia
Carlos Guillen
John Halama
   38. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4743846)
Another angle to think about re: this trade is the A's have snatched up two pitchers their direct rivals may have wanted. It stings to lose Russell, though, since he was really all the A's had on the farm.
   39. Bourbon Samurai Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4743848)
I would think the A's rate Hammell higher than most here as well. He was all right for Baltimore when he was healthy
   40. Drexl Spivey Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4743849)
   41. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4743850)
They could have picked up Valbuena as well but what do the A's have left in the system? It isn't that easy to pick up a decent MLB secondbaseman.
   42. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4743851)
Second Basemen that might be available:
Mike Aviles
Darwin Barney
Luis Valbuena
Logan Forsythe?
Dan Uggla?
Rickie Weeks?
Emilio Bonifacio

I think that might be it. I guess if you get Aviles for a bag of balls that would be an improvement.
   43. BDC Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4743852)
Jeff Bagwell
Freddy Garcia
Carlos Guillen
John Halama


And I thought "Mark Teixeira." But perhaps these are exceptions that prove the rule.
   44. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4743857)
I think the rule should be don't trade away a bunch of good to great prospects for a player with 1.5 to .5 year left before FA unless you've somehow already got an extension worked out.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4743860)
I think the rule should be don't trade away a bunch of good to great prospects for a player with 1.5 to .5 year left before FA unless you've somehow already got an extension worked out.

Why? Oakland has a very good chance to go deep in the playoffs this year, and next.

If you're Oakland, you absolutely have to make this deal. A top-10 prospect still has a ~50% chance of being nothing worth talking about.

Not to mention, Oakland has a really good track record of sourcing talent outside their top draft picks.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4743861)
This strikes me as related, if not identical, to the reflexive overvaluation of prospects that causes fans of good teams to wail and gnash teeth when lottery tickets are traded for stars. It's inculcated in us when our teams our middling, when the Adam Joneses are sent packing for the Erik Bedards, that these are bad trades, but in a situation in which a team like the A's is trying to put distance between itself and its competition and then win in the playoffs, it's not only "defensible", it's almost invariably a good idea.

100% agree.
   47. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4743862)
#42, Chase Utley would be available, but there is the pesky 5/10 rule to consider. I have no idea if he would waive/negotiate around that rule to go to a contender.

Seeing long-term players like Rollins, Utley and Howard all on my team for so long and how "players never stay with the same team for their career anymore", I am perfectly okay for any and all of those three to be traded for reasonable lottery tickets. Then again, with RAJ in charge, I dread the return they'd get.
   48. Ziggy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4743864)
Both sides should be happy here. Russell is a great prospect, the Cubs could be monsters very very soon. I'd imagine that they have the top farm system in baseball now. And the A's get the help that they need right away. The A's and Cubs fans who don't like this trade are both running heavily up against the endowment effect.
   49. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4743867)
Why? Oakland has a very good chance to go deep in the playoffs this year, and next.

If you're Oakland, you absolutely have to make this deal. A top-10 prospect still has a ~50% chance of being nothing worth talking about.

Not to mention, Oakland has a really good track record of sourcing talent outside their top draft picks.


They had a good chance of going deep into the playoffs this year and the next before the trade. Oakland also has a good track record of finding talent which makes giving up this much talent for what they'll get out of it for next year rather pointless. Getting Valbuena probably would have been vastly cheaper and had just as much impact as getting these two pitchers will.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4743868)
the Cubs could be monsters very very soon.

I'd question this.

The Cubs could be monsters in 3 or 4 years, if they can find a pitching staff. Remember, none of their top-prospects have even sniffed the majors. They're not all going to show up in June 2015 as full-grown MLB regulars.

Assuming normal development, some setbacks, time getting used to the majors, you're talking 2016 before these guys even start making an impact. It'll take longer than that to fill out the rest of the team. 2018 is probably a reasonable target for the Cubs to be "monsters", 2017 the absolute earliest, and that's if the majority of things go right with their prospects. That's not very soon.
   51. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4743870)
I'd imagine that they have the top farm system in baseball now. And the A's get the help that they need right away.

I don't think they needed two SP. Well, everyone can use the insurance but the A's weakness isn't their starting pitching. The value of the two players they got is not as valuable on the A's as it would be on other teams.
   52. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4743875)
Assuming normal development, some setbacks, time getting used to the majors, you're talking 2016 before these guys even start making an impact. It'll take longer than that to fill out the rest of the team. 2018 is probably a reasonable target for the Cubs to be "monsters", 2017 the absolute earliest, and that's if the majority of things go right with their prospects. That's not very soon.

If Theo keeps on finding these SP from the scrap heap/reclamation pile and the Cubs make a decent FA move this offseason or the next one they could vault very quickly into the 90+ win group if some of their prospects pan out. 2016 could be huge leap forward year for the Cubs. But of course 2 to 4 prospects have to pan out and Theo has to make the right moves for that to happen, as well as Rizzo and Castro have to keep on playing well.
   53. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4743876)
The A's window is closing quickly too. Lots of guys are going to start getting expensive through arbitration and Cespedes will be a free agent after next season. So it's this year and next for them and that's about it for awhile. I hate losing Russell too and think they overpaid some, but flags fly forever.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4743881)
They had a good chance of going deep into the playoffs this year and the next before the trade. Oakland also has a good track record of finding talent which makes giving up this much talent for what they'll get out of it for next year rather pointless. Getting Valbuena probably would have been vastly cheaper and had just as much impact as getting these two pitchers will.

The A's have no 5th starter right now. Samardzija is going to take 100 IP that wouldn't have been thrown by $1 Brad Mills, or some other assortment of AAA talent. That's a big upgrade. Next year Samardzija will likely take 200 IP that would have gone to their 6th-8th SP, another big upgrade.

Jesse Chavez has to be running on fumes (he's already 35 IP above his MLB career high, almost 50 IP above last year's total), and has pitched to a 4.80 ERA since June 1, 4.02 since May 1. They can now bump him back to the pen, strengthening an existing strength, and slot Hammel in his place.

This is a major, major rotation upgrade.
   55. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4743885)
To think I mocked Rod Allen a couple days ago in one of the game chatters after he mentioned that the A's should go out and get Jeff Samardzija. And then, they don't only do that days later, but snagged another starting arm who's having a very nice season.

I was watching the Cubs/Nats game yesterday and Len and JD were talking about how this would be the last time Hammel would face the Nationals this season, unless they did something silly like bring him back for another appearance this weekend... or if he got traded, which was obviously way more likely. And here we are, less than a day later talking about him being moved.

I admittedly don't follow the farm systems very closely, so I defer to others here. I'm just glad to see optimism based on the returns rather than "what the #### are they doing" being the general consensus.
   56. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4743886)
I love this trade for both teams. Oakland is going for it in a year when they have their best chance to win a title in a generation, probably.

But I love it for the Cubs, too. It is really hard to get blue chip prospects, and it would have been easy for the Cubs to get a larger number of "eh" prospects and lottery tickets. The Cubs don't need lots of that - they need potential difference makers...and they got one.


I agree with this completely. Let's go get it, Oakland.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4743888)
If Theo keeps on finding these SP from the scrap heap/reclamation pile and the Cubs make a decent FA move this offseason or the next one they could vault very quickly into the 90+ win group if some of their prospects pan out. 2016 could be huge leap forward year for the Cubs. But of course 2 to 4 prospects have to pan out and Theo has to make the right moves for that to happen, as well as Rizzo and Castro have to keep on playing well.

I just don't see that. There's not enough talent on this club.

   58. A triple short of the cycle Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4743890)
As an A's fan with a prospect fetish, I was really excited about Addison Russell, and so my initial reaction was shock and disappointment. But then, I used to fantasize about having an outfield of Travis Buck, Michael Taylor, and Chris Carter, so... I should probably trust the GM. I did not know the new guy's nickname is Shark, so that makes me feel better about this. They say Billy's #### doesn't work in the playoffs, which always just meant he could not afford a #1 starter, so yeah - the window is open let's go for it. I love Jesse Chavez but I worry about him staying strong though the playoffs after pitching so many innings.
   59. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4743893)
It's good to see the Cubs involved in such a dramatic trade, I think the biggest for them since the Palmeiro trade 25 years ago.

The A's have to take advantage of an opportunity like this. The Angels are now breathing down their necks, and it would be a disaster for them not to make the playoffs, much less lose in the post-season because of a lack of depth in pitching.

And I think the Cubs do too. They haven't developed a superstar position prospect since… Rafael Palmeiro. In recent years, McKinney might have been the best position prospect in their system; the chance to bring two guys of this caliber into their system cannot be passed up. The rest of this year is going to be ugly (again), turning south at a point when they are starting to look halfway decent (again), but it's worth it.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4743896)
I love Jesse Chavez but I worry about him staying strong though the playoffs after pitching so many innings.

You have to worry about him reaching August. He's on a pace to shatter his career high in IP
   61. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4743901)
The A's have no 5th starter right now. Samardzija is going to take 100 IP that wouldn't have been thrown by $1 Brad Mills, or some other assortment of AAA talent. That's a big upgrade. Next year Samardzija will likely take 200 IP that would have gone to their 6th-8th SP, another big upgrade.

Does their competition? Does their competition even have a 3rd or 4th starter anywhere close to the A's 3rd or 4th starters? The A's have one of the best if not the best starting rotation in the league. And as you already mentioned the A's have a good track record of finding talent. Jeff wouldn't be replacing replacement level talent.
   62. Joey B. Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4743903)
If Billy Boy can't win the whole shebang now, there's nothing that I or anyone else can do for him.
   63. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4743909)
I just don't see that. There's not enough talent on this club.

Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Bryant 3B
Alcantara 2B
Soler RF
Castillo C

So that is with 3 prospects developing somewhat into major leaguers and still leaves Schwarber, Baez, Russell, McKinney, and Almora. On the pitching front I've outlined what Theo would have to do build a good rotation.

Bottomline is that there is more than enough talent in the pipeline right now for the Cubs to be very good in 2016 if they make a couple of shrewd moves between now and then and some of the prospects pan out.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4743912)
Does their competition? Does their competition even have a 3rd or 4th starter anywhere close to the A's 3rd or 4th starters? The A's have one of the best if not the best starting rotation in the league. And as you already mentioned the A's have a good track record of finding talent. Jeff wouldn't be replacing replacement level talent.

They only have a 3.5 game lead, and have no one that you would consider a reliable SP. Gray, Kazmir, Chavez, and Milone have all been good, but not one of them has a track record you can count on. It would be utterly unsurprising for 2 or 3 of them to be hurt or out of the rotation by Sept. 1.

They've also denied their competition the two most obvious SP upgrades.

I mean c'mon. The whole point of loading up on prospects is to win the World Series. There in a place to make a serious run at that in 2014 and 2015. Even if Russell becomes a star, he might be adding 4 WAR to a 73 win team come 2017.

People really do seem to have reached the point that they value prospects as prospects, not for the actual wins and playoff success they can generate.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4743918)
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Bryant 3B
Alcantara 2B
Soler RF
Castillo C

So that is with 3 prospects developing somewhat into major leaguers and still leaves Schwarber, Baez, Russell, McKinney, and Almora. On the pitching front I've outlined what Theo would have to do build a good rotation.

Bottomline is that there is more than enough talent in the pipeline right now for the Cubs to be very good in 2016 if they make a couple of shrewd moves between now and then and some of the prospects pan out.


Soler has 27 PAs above A+. Castillo is a below average C. Alcantara and Bryant could be ready in 2016, but are unlikely to be stars yet.

You still have no OF, and are relying on hand waving your way to Theo picking up 3 or 4 SP out of nowhere.

If you want to say they could be average in 2016, sure. But the odds of getting to 90 wins have to be 1 in 50.

Somebody is going to regress. Somebody is going to get hurt. You can't just assume everyone you have now stays the same or gets better, most of your prospects pan out, and you add a bunch of guys too.
   66. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4743921)
I think both Hammel and Samradzija are going to regress in the second half and I think at least one of them will put up something like a 100 ERA+ or lower.

I have no problem dealing prospects for good MLB players. I just don't agree with dealing your best prospects for insurance on a strength of your current team and with a GM who has a good history of building that strength. Oakland is struggling mightily at their middle infield positions. If you're going to give up your best middle infield prospect you might as well have done so to address that real weakness.
   67. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4743926)
Soler has 27 PAs above A+. Castillo is a below average C. Alcantara and Bryant could be ready in 2016, but are unlikely to be stars yet.

You still have no OF, and are relying on hand waving your way to Theo picking up 3 or 4 SP out of nowhere.

If you want to say they could be average in 2016, sure. But the odds of getting to 90 wins have to be 1 in 50.

Somebody is going to regress. Somebody is going to get hurt. You can't just assume everyone you have now stays the same or gets better, most of your prospects pan out, and you add a bunch of guys too.


I said that the Cubs had the potential to jump up to 90+ wins in 2016. I didn't say it was guaranteed. I said Theo had to keep doing a number of things that he is doing right now in the future as well, and that Rizzo & Castro have keep hitting, and some prospects have to pan out. You're basically arguing with me by saying the exact same thing I'm saying. So I don't really understand why you're arguing with me.

Castillo at below average isn't really a strike for a C and every position doesn't need to be manned by some guy who gives you 120 OPS+. Heck, look at the A's right now or pretty much every single team that is on pace to win 90+ games this year. There are plenty of below average players starting on those teams and some of them are even replacement level or below.

   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4743928)
I have no problem dealing prospects for good MLB players. I just don't agree with dealing your best prospects for insurance on a strength of your current team and with a GM who has a good history of building that strength. Oakland is struggling mightily at their middle infield positions. If you're going to give up your best middle infield prospect you might as well have done so to address that real weakness.

He does still have 4 weeks left to fix the MI. I wouldn't be shocked to see Hammell flipped for a 2B.
   69. Danny Posted: July 05, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4743929)
Jesse Chavez has to be running on fumes (he's already 35 IP above his MLB career high, almost 50 IP above last year's total)

He pitched 120 innings in 2012, and his IP have always been limited by being a reliever. Have other RP-to-SP conversions run into walls in August?
   70. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4743941)
He does still have 4 weeks left to fix the MI. I wouldn't be shocked to see Hammell flipped for a 2B.

He's going to trade Hammel back to the Cubs for Valbuena? Which second baseman is out there that they can get?
   71. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4743946)
Cubs trade some starters? Who would of thunk it?

anyway, interesting trade. Hope it works for the a's
   72. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4743948)
If Theo keeps on finding these SP from the scrap heap/reclamation pile and the Cubs make a decent FA move this offseason or the next one they could vault very quickly into the 90+ win group if some of their prospects pan out. 2016 could be huge leap forward year for the Cubs. But of course 2 to 4 prospects have to pan out and Theo has to make the right moves for that to happen, as well as Rizzo and Castro have to keep on playing well.

Yeah the starting rotation for 2015 looks to me like:

Jackson
Arrieta
Wood
Straily
Grimm/Hendricks/Jokisch/Wada

That has the potential to be pretty bad. If Jackson can't pick it up, it's probably time to shove him back into the bullpen to figure things out and replace him with a decent FA (I'm still irked about not signing Tanaka). Here is the list of starting pitcher FAs from MLBTradeRumors:

Brett Anderson (27) – $12MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
Josh Beckett (35)
Chad Billingsley (30) – $14MM club option with a $3MM buyout
Joe Blanton (34)
A.J. Burnett (38) – mutual option
Chris Capuano (36)
Bruce Chen (38) – $5.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
Wei-Yin Chen (29) – $4.75MM club option with a $372K buyout
Kevin Correia (34)
Johnny Cueto (29) – $10MM club option with an $800K buyout
Jorge De La Rosa (34)
Ryan Dempster (38)
Gavin Floyd (32)
Yovani Gallardo (29) – $13MM club option with a $600K buyout
Jason Hammel (32)
J.A. Happ (32) – $6.7MM club option
Aaron Harang (37)
Dan Haren (34) – $10MM player option if 180 innings reached in 2014
Roberto Hernandez (34)
Hisashi Iwakuma (34) – $7MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Josh Johnson (31) – $4MM club option
Kyle Kendrick (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (40)
Jon Lester (31)
Colby Lewis (35)
Francisco Liriano (31)
Paul Maholm (33)
Justin Masterson (30)
Brandon McCarthy (31)
Brandon Morrow (30) – $10MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Felipe Paulino (31) – $4MM club option with a $250K buyout
Jake Peavy (34)
Wandy Rodriguez (36)
Ervin Santana (32)
Joe Saunders (34)
Max Scherzer (30)
James Shields (33)
Carlos Villanueva (31)
Ryan Vogelsong (37)
Edinson Volquez (30)
Jerome Williams (33)

How many of those guys are worth 3/4 year deals but won't have the big dogs throwing tons of money their way?
   73. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4743952)
I sympathize with the popular frustration over the fact Epstein is strategically acting as though he is running the Pirates, when everyone knows full well the Cubs have twice that much revenue.

But he sure did get a good haul for 1.5 years of a #2 starter and 0.5 years of a flaky possible #2 starter.

But then again, Billy Beane evidently has lost hope that Addison Russell is going to stay healthy enough to be a good everyday major league shortstop, and bet on him being wrong at your peril.
   74. Danny Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4743953)
Which second baseman is out there that they can get?

They could also get a SS and move Lowrie to 2B.
   75. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4743962)
Ok, and which SS is going to be available for trade?
   76. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4743964)
Starlin Castro...
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4743996)
Ok, and which SS is going to be available for trade?

Alexei Ramirez, Ben Zobrist, Jimmy Rollins, Asdrubal Cabrera.
   78. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4744013)
And why would any of those teams take Hammel for their SS?
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4744018)
And why would any of those teams take Hammel for their SS?

Who said it had to be Hammel that was traded for the SS?

Hammel could be flipped for prospects, and those prospects, or other A's prospects traded for the SS or 2B.
   80. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4744026)
Who said it had to be Hammel that was traded for the SS?

You.
   81. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4744030)
I wouldn't be shocked to see Hammell flipped for a 2B.
That's not quite the same thing as "had to."
   82. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4744031)
So this has to mean that baez moves off short after this year right? No reason to keep playing him there with a guy who has better d and a good bat behind him and castro in front of him. How is bryants d at third been this year? If he is already showing that he cant hold it than he needs to move to rf and baez to third simce alcantera is at 2nd and holding his own quite well.
   83. DFA Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4744038)
I appreciate Theo acquiring an Addison, perhaps he can get a Clark next.
   84. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4744040)
Rusimn was recalled to fill one of the spots the second is still up in the air.
   85. A triple short of the cycle Posted: July 05, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4744045)
I wonder if the A's will go to arbitration with Donaldson in the offseason or will they lock him up. He's playing at an all-star level for the league minimum since he came back from AAA in 2012. And if (when?) Beane is forced to trade JD because the tightwad owners won't spend on payroll then I will have more prospects to dream on. Ah, the A's. Gotta do it this year.
   86. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4744053)
To think I mocked Rod Allen a couple days ago in one of the game chatters after he mentioned that the A's should go out and get Jeff Samardzija...


Mocking Rod Allen for anything seems like a terrible idea to me.
   87. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 05, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4744146)
I just don't see that. There's not enough talent on this club.


Until now the Cubs have been a shade below .500 by 3rd order wins, has it all been the doing of 2 starters?

What, Hammel/Smarz were on were on pace for 20 WAR?
   88. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4744181)
Didn't take long to get a glimpse of what some of these games will be like with these two gone. Cubs down 5-0 and they can't seem to buy an out in the third.
   89. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4744183)
87. Any team could fall into disarray after jettisoning their two most effective starters. There are effects beyond the individual statistics compiled by the missing players. The bullpen will be asked to do more. Less reliable options will be given opportunities in the rotation. I'm sure the Cubs have played plenty of low scoring games when those two pitchers have started. That makes everything look better. You can use your best relievers in the late innings. Now the offense will be asked to produce more with the same players.
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4744197)
Until now the Cubs have been a shade below .500 by 3rd order wins, has it all been the doing of 2 starters?

What, Hammel/Smarz were on were on pace for 20 WAR?


They were on pace for 10.

But my point is who are the MLB players who are going to be average or better regulars on the mythical 90-win 2016 Cubs?

You've got Rizzo and Castro. Maybe Travis Wood is an averagish SP.

Who else? Jackson is looking toasty. None of the RPs have any track record. Maybe Arrieta, but 65 great IP doesn't outweigh 400 terrible one; he's still an enigma.

Even if Arrieta is decent, you need to find 6 regulars, 4 SPs, and likely a whole bull-pen and bench in 1.5 years. That's hard to do. Especially when your owners show no inclination to spend money.

Most teams build incrementally to 90 wins. They don't go 75, 65, 90.

   91. Ziggy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4744201)
Given that they've got a bunch of big prospects due up in the next few years, it seems like this would be a good time for the Cubs to get into the free agent market. Surely they've got the money to bid on top starters. If memory serve, though, Scherzer is an extreme fly ball pitcher isn't he? Not a good fit for Wrigley. (Unless memory doesn't serve.)

Very few of the guys on the list in 72 are exciting, but the Cubs don't really need exciting pitchers (though obviously those would be preferable). They need not terrible pitchers; you don't need to shut your opponent out, just score more runs than them. Kicking the tires on a slighly used Dan Haren or Francisco Liriano might not be a bad idea. Unfortunately for the Cubbies, a bunch of the promising guys seem to have very reasonable club options. There is exactly a 0% chance that Cueto will be a free agent this year, for example.
   92. Ziggy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4744211)
In re: #90. Bryant, for one. Maybe Baez (we'll see, he still has some growing to do).
   93. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4744226)
In re: #90. Bryant, for one. Maybe Baez (we'll see, he still has some growing to do).

Sure, they've got a great farm system. If a bunch of these guys pan out, they'll be good.

I just don't think they'll be good by 2016. That's too much to ask those guys to be mainstays that early, AND, build a whole pitching staff to support them.

Given that they've got a bunch of big prospects due up in the next few years, it seems like this would be a good time for the Cubs to get into the free agent market. Surely they've got the money to bid on top starters.

Does it look like they want to spend? They didn't make much of an effort to extend Samardzjia. He would have been cheaper than any good FA will be.
   94. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4744244)
Most teams build incrementally to 90 wins. They don't go 75, 65, 90.

Not really.

TB went from 66 wins to 97 wins. Detroit went from 71 wins to 95 wins. Baltimore went from 69 wins to 93 wins. Cleveland from 68 wins to 90 wins. Arizona went from 65 to 94 wins. The Cubs themselves went from 67 wins to 88 wins. The Padres went from 4 wins to 87 wins.

Yes some teams do gradual rises but plenty of teams make gigantic leaps from year to year.


The Cubs have a year and a half to develop some of their prospects and fill the rest via FA and trades. Tell you what I'll bet $2 that the Cubs win 90 or more games in 2016 and you bet $80 that they won't. I'm giving you much better odds than you've figured for their chances.
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4744257)
Very few of the guys on the list in 72 are exciting, but the Cubs don't really need exciting pitchers (though obviously those would be preferable). They need not terrible pitchers; you don't need to shut your opponent out, just score more runs than them. Kicking the tires on a slighly used Dan Haren or Francisco Liriano might not be a bad idea. Unfortunately for the Cubbies, a bunch of the promising guys seem to have very reasonable club options. There is exactly a 0% chance that Cueto will be a free agent this year, for example.

Yeah, outside of guys subject to options I think Scherzer, Lester and Shields are going to be getting a ton of money; I would look at Lewis and Joe Saunders for short deals; and for longer deals I would like Ervin Santana and Brandon McCarthy. It still takes a bit of squinting to see how the rotation would be better than league average for 2016. If C.J. Edwards gets healthy and effective again that helps.

As to the lineup, Alcantara will probably be manning second base before the year is out. One of Russell, Baez or Bryant should be able to fill another infield position (possibly moving Castro off SS) in another year and a half.

The outfield is more of a problem. I suppose you have the remaining two candidates from the Russell, Baez, Bryant trio but Soler can't get healthy and Almora has been awful. It's probably a stretch to think McKinney could help that quickly (even if he pans out) but Schwarber might be another name worth throwing into the pile. That's a whole bunch of guys for three positions and Baez, Bryant, Russell, and Soler are all in AA or AAA. Schwarber would probably be knocking on the door of AA this year in an organization that wanted to be more aggressive. So a lot of these guys are also somewhat close.

I suppose I should add the disclaimer that these guys are just prospects and nothing is guaranteed. OTOH, I think Bryant's bat is ready to make him a plus contributor at the MLB level right now.

No, I don't expect the Cubs to be a 90 win team in 2016 but the wave of talent from the rebuild is close enough that Chicago should begin to augment with FAs - particularly pitching. These guys could be the majority of a really cheap and productive lineup.
   96. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4744283)
Man, all the action in this thread came while I was sleeping.

1. My only real question from the A's perspective is whether they could have gotten a better package elsewhere. That largely depends on what you think of Samardzija, how valuable his next year of control is, whether you believe in Hammel's FIP, etc.

2. Yes, Beane is good at finding pitching. So ... if Beane thinks this are good pitchers to get, trust him. And if you question Samardzija and Hammel going forward, how could you have faith in Chavez, Straily, Pomeranz, Mills?

3. Looks like a busy offseason for the A's as b-r projects their 2015 payroll to $75 M already before this trade and their standard model probably under-estimates Donaldson.

4. Cubs 2016 are certainly a possibility. Bryant must surely be the most ML-ready prospect right now and no worse than #3 overall. Crazy numbers. Ks are a huge concern but I have little doubt he can hit at least as well as Springer right now and, while clearly less of a prospect due to age and presumably defense, a hitting line like Stanton wouldn't surprise me. This year's staff has a 109 ERA+ with the peripherals to match. All of those guys plus Straily will still be around in 2016 (or traded) except Samarzija and Hammel so Theo needs to replace them and has two offseasons to find them. Still need some average solutions on offense so, yeah, that's a lot to go right but it's basically how the A's got this good.

5. The Cubs are supposed to be big dogs.
   97. Ziggy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4744311)
The word on Bryant going into the year was that he's headed to the OF anyway. Is that no longer the plan? If Bryant goes to the outfield, that leaves Baez, Russell and Castro for 2B-SS-3B. Of course there's no guarantee that Baez and Russell will pan out, but even if one of them doesn't, that means that the 2016 Cubs are set at 1B, SS, 3B, and a corner OF spot. There's still a chance that Olt becomes useful. Castro would be the only one making more than the minimum. If you're set at 4 positions (with a distant chance at 6) for $7m + (3x to 5x the minimum), that's a lot of payroll room to play with. Even if the Cubs continue to be cheap, that should let them take a run at one of the good pitchers, or Cespedes, or etc.
   98. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4744342)
Doesn't appear that the Cubs have drawn any immediate inspiration from the trade - down 9-0 to the Nationals in 7th. That's always a problem with the Give Up Trade, the rest of season can be grim.
   99. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4744355)
5. The Cubs are supposed to be big dogs.

Yeah, that's the big question... when/how do those purse strings get loosened? I think Scherzer's next team is going to regret it very quickly but Lester and Shields may be more reasonable investments if the Cubs want to spend that way.

Even under payroll constraints though, what would it take to get Saunders and McCarthy? It's an honest question because I haven't paid enough attention to pitcher FAs. Maybe 2/20 and 4/60 would be reasonable contracts? Between Soriano, Schierholz, Samardzija, Hammel and Villanueva now/soon off the books, the Cubs are dropping about $36 million from the 2014 opening day payroll. Replacing Barney with a league minimum Alcantara would save another $2 million and Valbuena is likely gone this year which is another $1.7 million. So adding two pitchers for $25 million is quite reasonable even in the current climate. Heck, the Cubs could add John Lester without upping the 2015 payroll over the 2014 opening day number.

So now I've talked myself into the fact that the Cubs will add two solid FA pitchers - which makes the rotation look a bit better going forward.
   100. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4744365)
The word on Bryant going into the year was that he's headed to the OF anyway. Is that no longer the plan? If Bryant goes to the outfield, that leaves Baez, Russell and Castro for 2B-SS-3B. Of course there's no guarantee that Baez and Russell will pan out, but even if one of them doesn't, that means that the 2016 Cubs are set at 1B, SS, 3B, and a corner OF spot. There's still a chance that Olt becomes useful. Castro would be the only one making more than the minimum. If you're set at 4 positions (with a distant chance at 6) for $7m + (3x to 5x the minimum), that's a lot of payroll room to play with. Even if the Cubs continue to be cheap, that should let them take a run at one of the good pitchers, or Cespedes, or etc.

Don't forget Alcantara. He is apparently viewed as a plus defender at second base and currently carries a solid .887 OPS in Iowa.
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