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Monday, July 07, 2014

Keith Hernandez: Starlin Castro ‘too unreliable’

You know I am only teasing. I love you slackers out there—always have!

With the Chicago Cubs now flush with shortstops, count Keith Hernandez among those not in favor of the Mets attempting to acquire incumbent Starlin Castro.

Castro, 24, is hitting .287 with 11 homers and 51 RBIs in 342 at-bats for Chicago this season.

...“We’ve seen enough of Castro to know that he’s just too unreliable, too loose,” Hernandez said during Sunday’s Mets-Rangers telecast on SNY.

When partner Gary Cohen noted that Castro also does not exactly subscribe to the Mets’ hitting philosophy, Hernandez added: “That aside, he’s too lackadaisical in the field for my liking. I want the Mets to get guys that are hard-nosed, come to the ball yard every day and put their 100 percent in. And I don’t think Castro does that. I’ve seen enough of him.”

Repoz Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:25 PM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, mets

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   1. Lassus Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4745291)
OK, Keith - and I love you and your work, trust me - WTmotherF do you actually want to do instead, SS-wise? Do you have some kind of better suggestion?
   2. Xander Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4745308)
He does lead the majors in misplays/errors at SS with 33.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4745317)
He does lead the majors in misplays/errors at SS with 33.

Is this an actual stat? If so, where does one find it?
   4. Xander Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4745326)
Is this an actual stat? If so, where does one find it?


Not sure where it's found (I assume it's collected by BIS), but an ESPN researcher I follow on Twitter posted this yesterday:

relevant tweet
   5. Rough Carrigan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4745330)
You know Keith, back in the day, there was a manager by the name of Whitey Herzog who had a star player who came to not seem completely into the game. This manager, Whitey Herzog, was also the GM and he traded that star player to the Mets. But that player got his act together. And do you know what that player's name was, Keith?
   6. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4745341)
Only 9 WAR half-way through his age 24 season, clearly he can never improve so if Mets acquire him they would be stuck with a lackadaisical 3 WAR shortstop for years.
   7. zonk Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4745344)
Heh... well, FWIW, I kind of agree with Keith.

Castro can be a maddening player sometimes - but he can also be a pretty exciting player, and after last year's debacle, it looks like he's back on track to be a 3+ WAR player. He is still just 24 - so maybe he can still mature. The power seems to be on a bit of an uptick, which seems reasonable.

Beyond that, his contract is a pretty good one, too (5 mil this year, with basically a 1 mil raise a season through 2019. Team option for 16 in 2020, when he'll be 30).

Still, I can understand why a trade might not be something many teams are interested in -- the Cubs would want a big package and some teams just might think he's worth that.
   8. formerly dp Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4745356)
Still, I can understand why a trade might not be something many teams are interested in -- the Cubs would want a big package and some teams just might think he's worth that.
I thought that was the tone of the conversation-- that the concerns Keith articulated might make Castro not worth what it will take to acquire him. Where the Mets are at, they don't have enough talent in the org to trade for star-type players and still have enough on-hand to contend. The path forward is to start having some of their hitting prospects develop into useful players. They have the pitching on-hand to hang in 2015.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4745364)
Still, I can understand why a trade might not be something many teams are interested in -- the Cubs would want a big package and some teams just might think he's worth that.

That's the thing. Sure, you'd take Castro, but how much are you willing to give up for him?

If I'm the Mets I don't give one of the big pitching prospects, and that's what the Cubs will want.
   10. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4745367)
Every dumbass media member and fan thinks they should be able to give up Bits of string in return for Castro or one of the cubs SS prospects because they have more than one guy at a position.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4745377)
You know Keith, back in the day, there was a manager by the name of Whitey Herzog who had a star player who came to not seem completely into the game. This manager, Whitey Herzog, was also the GM and he traded that star player to the Mets. But that player got his act together. And do you know what that player's name was, Keith?


Apparently, Keith thinks Castro's problems also have something to do with his nose.
   12. formerly dp Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4745383)
Every dumbass media member and fan thinks they should be able to give up Bits of string in return for Castro or one of the cubs SS prospects because they have more than one guy at a position.
The discussion didn't come off that way-- more the opposite, with an acknowledgement that Castro will not come cheap, and the Mets may not want to pay the price. Cohen's suggestion was that the Cubs may want to deal a SS prospect for one of the Met pitchers-- and when Harvey comes back, they'll have Niese, Gee, Colon, Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, deGrom and Thor for 5 spots.
   13. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4745390)
The advanced stats don't like his D. It seems unlikely his bat would play elsewhere on the diamond as he declines (assuming he'd be poor at 2B for the same reasons he's below average at SS, which might not be).
   14. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4745397)
Wait why would a below average SS translate to a poor 2B? And why is a 24 year old ready to decline?
   15. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4745398)
[12]which of those pitchers do you feel is fair return for Castro?
   16. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4745399)
Every dumbass media member and fan thinks they should be able to give up Bits of string in return for Castro or one of the cubs SS prospects because they have more than one guy at a position.


To which I reply: what's so great about Darwin Barney?
   17. PreservedFish Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4745403)
when Harvey comes back, they'll have Niese, Gee, Colon, Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, deGrom and Thor for 5 spots.


This doesn't look like a real logjam to me.

Your first 5 are a real starting rotation. Montero and Syndergaard are waiting in the wings. DeGrom has performed admirably but he's not good enough to force the Mets into anything. He's a great #8 starter.

It's a position of strength, but the Mets are not required to make a move here.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4745407)
This doesn't look like a real logjam to me.

Your first 5 are a real starting rotation. Montero and Syndergaard are waiting in the wings. DeGrom has performed admirably but he's not good enough to force the Mets into anything. He's a great #8 starter.

It's a position of strength, but the Mets are not required to make a move here.


Yeah, most every team needs 8 SPs to get through a season.

Plus, Colon is obvious trade bait. Probably this month. I wouldn't be surprised to see him wearing pinstripes soon.
   19. formerly dp Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4745418)
[12]which of those pitchers do you feel is fair return for Castro?
I think it's going to take a package to get him-- I don't think there's a 1-for-1 there. Alderson has generally been good at getting returns for his veterans (Beltran, Dickey, and Byrd), but we haven't seen him deal a mid-career guy or a prospect yet.
==
It's a position of strength, but the Mets are not required to make a move here.
Agreed. But I think Colon is gone by the deadline, which unfortunately will mean more Dice-K this year...

They have the depth to make a deal, and I think they probably should this offseason, if they can get a good return. I'm not terribly worried if they don't have an over-qualified prospect as a #8 starter-- that's what guys like Hefner and Dice-K are around for.

ETA: I am a little shaky on dealing Colon until the young guys show the ability to pitch deeper into games-- Wheeler and deGrom have been inconsistent on this front, though it seems like with Wheeler it's just a matter of time before he can go 7 on a regular basis. Quick exits by the starters is what caused the Met bullpen to burn out in the past (that and lack of talent, but whatever...).
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4745420)
I wouldn't be surprised to see him wearing pinstripes soon.


Considering their well-known slimming attributes, that ought to be Bartolo's go-to get-up.
   21. billyshears Posted: July 07, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4745431)
[12]which of those pitchers do you feel is fair return for Castro?


I like Castro, but he's basically the same player that he was 3 - 4 years ago. While there is an expectation that most 24 year old players will improve, I don't feel all that confident that this will be the case with Castro. That being said, even if he is only as good as he has been in 2011, 2012 and 2014 for the remainder of his contract, he would provide excellent value. You still have to account for the fact that he was worthless in 2013 though.

This is all just a long winded way of saying that there is a lot going on with Castro and that he's a hard player to value. As a Mets fan, I wouldn't trade Harvey, Wheeler or Syndegaard for him. I don't like giving up Niese, but I would probably do it straight up. I'd put any of Gee, Degrom or Montero in a deal, but that's not enough and we would need to find a reasonably valuable second piece.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4745442)
As a Mets fan, I wouldn't trade Harvey, Wheeler or Syndegaard for him. I don't like giving up Niese, but I would probably do it straight up. I'd put any of Gee, Degrom or Montero in a deal, but that's not enough and we would need to find a reasonably valuable second piece.

As a non-Met fan, I agree with that assessment.
   23. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4745457)
As a Cub fan I'm hanging up on you in short order
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4745458)
As a Cub fan I'm hanging up on you in short order

Well, if you want to move him, I don't think you're going to find people lining up to knock your socks off for a bad defensive SS, with head-case written all over him.
   25. formerly dp Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4745461)
I don't like giving up Niese, but I would probably do it straight up.
I don't think that gets it done, and even if it does, I'm not sure I pull the trigger. The Mets have options at SS coming up through the system. They need to find an OF bat-- given Puello's failure this year, the system's pathetically thin there, beyond Nimmo.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4745466)
I like Castro, but he's basically the same player that he was 3 - 4 years ago.

Not exactly. The power is up substantially. Also, with offense down compared to just a couple of seasons ago, putting up the same numbers is an improvement. Unfortunately he's also on pace for his worst Rfield.

It's not a huge breakthrough to superstar level but the improvement we usually see in young players is power and it's starting at about the right age (24-25 for the first bump up). I'd rather wait to make sure it's a real improvement but it's been good to see. The walk rate is also up a smidge which could also be the result of pitchers being a bit more careful due to the extra power.
   27. billyshears Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4745469)
As a Cub fan I'm hanging up on you in short order


OK - so I'm assuming you're looking for Wheeler/Syndegaard? I know the Mets aren't going to do that and I doubt you're going to find any organization willing to trade a pitching prospect of that caliber for Castro.
   28. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4745471)
Oh well, I guess id just have to keep the 3 win SS signed to a nice contract
   29. 'Spos lost the handle trying to make the transfer Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4745473)
...a bad defensive SS, with head-case written all over him...


Sounds like he's headed to Tampa Bay.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4745474)
OK - so I'm assuming you're looking for Wheeler/Syndegaard? I know the Mets aren't going to do that and I doubt you're going to find any organization willing to trade a pitching prospect of that caliber for Castro.

Concur. If the Cubs want to use Castro to get pitching, they'd be better off focusing on somebody on a big contract, or in line for a big contract.

Would the Phils consider a package for Hamels based around Castro? Would the Rays take Castro as part of a Price trade and extend deal?
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4745475)
Sounds like he's headed to Tampa Bay.

Hah! I was just typing about a Price trade as you posted that.
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4745487)
castro is improving his offense while taking one for the team defensively playing at a position where he is overtaxed. he has the arm, but he's just not quick or instinctive enough to be a solid defender at short. he's not overmatched. but he is overtaxed.

last year castro seemed to be putting himself in a bunch of sh8tty counts which i figured was the result of sveum's hitting advice. he's doing a better job of managing to swing at hittable pitches this season.

castro would be fine at third base (not a new suggestion). as soon as the cubs have someone who could play a bit better at short castro gets moved

frankly, i think that he has worked to improve his game in other areas while dealing with the stress of short speaks well for the young man.

and i don't know how one can brand the guy a 'head case'. he's young, he's loafed a few times, he's lost track of the outs. but it's not chronic. there is no general malaise.

he could be a somebody for the cubs
   33. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4745490)
Wait why would a below average SS translate to a poor 2B?


Depends on why he's a poor SS, if its because of his arm, then a move to 2B may be warranted, if it's an inability to reach balls, pivot on the DP, then he'll likely be as bad at 2B as at SS.
   34. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4745496)
Castro has the arm and the athleticism but not the instincts. He's one of those guys... I remember Bill James writing similarly about Juan Samuel years ago... that has obvious skills but will never quite fit anywhere on the field you try to put him. Probably the best you can do is put him at third base or an outfield corner, whichever of those you have the biggest hole at, and live with the defense.
   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4745499)
but he's basically the same player that he was 3 - 4 years ago. While there is an expectation that most 24 year old players will improve, I don't feel all that confident that this will be the case with Castro.


To me he looks like he's where Yunel Escobar was at age 24... he just reached that level sooner than Escobar did.

My random unscientific subjective guess, he'll have few more years like 2011/2012 with a few more 2013 style clunkers thrown in for flavor.

He's not a good defensive SS, and his bat makes him a decent corner OF only in good years, so once he loses a step he'll lose playing time very quickly, so he'll be done as an everyday player by 30-32...

So he's signed through 2020, 2015-2020, 6 years, my guess, is he'll have three 3 WAR seasons, one 1.5 War season, one 0.0 WAR seasons and one -0.7 War clunker in that span.


   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4745504)
he has the arm, but he's just not quick or instinctive enough to be a solid defender at short.

Castro has the arm and the athleticism but not the instincts.

That doesn't sound like a guy who'd be good at 2B.
   37. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4745506)
Yunel Escobar has been a GREAT glove, though. Starlin Castro is a mediocre glove. The two are not similar.

I actually suspect that as long as he hits you may as well keep playing Castro at shortstop, because he's not going to be a much better glove relative to position anywhere else.
   38. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4745507)
That's quite a decline for a 24 year old.

And it would seem 3B would be the worst place to put a guy with poor instincts
   39. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4745528)
Castros error rate is what's dragging down his defensive numbers, this is the first half season where his range has graded out negatively. There's no reason he couldn't be at least average at 2B
   40. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 07, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4745530)


Wait why would a below average SS translate to a poor 2B? And why is a 24 year old ready to decline?


I am assuming that if he has a problem with his range or instincts, it will manifest at 2B just as it may be manifesting at ss.

On the potential for decline, I had thought it was common for defense to deteriorate from the beginning of a player's career, but perhaps that's just above-average defense.
   41. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 07, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4745534)
Yunel Escobar has been a GREAT glove, though. Starlin Castro is a mediocre glove. The two are not similar.
I was thinking as hitters.
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 07, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4745535)
i wouldn't put him at second. risk of injury and the footwork.

third base. he will be fine.
   43. McCoy Posted: July 07, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4745542)
If Bryant is developing as they say he is over at third it seems like it would be a waste of Bryant's talents to then have him move to a corner outfield spot.
   44. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 07, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4745550)
the cubs could also leave him until things really go south or there is someone obviously better defensively. becasue right now he's battling things to a draw

my gist is that the young man is contributing. dinging castro for what he is not is the approach of losers.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4745556)
the cubs could also leave him until things really go south or there is someone obviously better defensively. becasue right now he's battling things to a draw

my gist is that the young man is contributing. dinging castro for what he is not is the approach of losers.


Sure, you don't sour on him just because he hasn't gotten better.

But, your description is a pretty good rationale for why teams won't be throwing elite SP prospects at the Cubs to get Castro.
   46. bobm Posted: July 07, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4745605)
[32] His mix of counts has improved somewhat from 2013 to 2014, with more first pitch swinging.

Starlin Castro: 705 Plate Appearances in 2013

Count   #
  2-2 110
  1-2 108
  0-1  71
  0-2  69
  3-2  65
  0-0  64
  1-1  58
  1-0  49
  2-1  47
  3-1  37
  2-0  19
  3-0   8

  Beh 248
  Evn 232
  Ahd 225



Starlin Castro: 367 Plate Appearances in 2014

Count  #
  1-2 64
  0-0 43
  2-2 43
  3-2 37
  1-1 35
  0-1 33
  2-1 29
  0-2 27
  1-0 18
  3-1 15
  2-0 14
  3-0  9

  Beh  124
  Ahd  122
  Evn  121
   47. John DiFool2 Posted: July 07, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4745641)
Castro has the arm and the athleticism but not the instincts. He's one of those guys... I remember Bill James writing similarly about Juan Samuel years ago... that has obvious skills but will never quite fit anywhere on the field you try to put him.


Like Shawon Dunston?

I recall waiting for him to finally put it all together-and he never did. He eventually ended up spending most of his time in the outfield.
   48. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4745647)
Dunston played outfield his last few years in the majors, when he was mostly warming the bench, but as long as he was a regular he was a shortstop. In his career he played 11,000 innings at shortstop, 1,300 innings in the outfield.

Castro is a better hitter than Dunston was, but defensively Dunston is a good comparison--that's why I suggested that while Castro is a mediocre shortstop, I suspect he'll prove mediocre anywhere on the field you try to put him, so you might as well put him at shortstop if you don't have Troy Tulowitzki or Andrelton Simmons on your team.
   49. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 07, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4745648)
Why not keep Castro and move one of Russell/Baez? Either should fetch more than Castro given more cheaper years of control, if one seems more flexible in terms of positions he can play (given they have to fit in with Bryant/Castro) I'd keep him, if they are the same I'd see which one fetches the best package of pitching.
   50. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4745651)
Maybe someone will be willing to give up two good pitchers for Russell plus stuff?
   51. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 07, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4745674)
I don't know, the Cubs didn't have to give up two good pitchers to get him.
   52. Walt Davis Posted: July 07, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4745686)
1. While not good, the young Dunston was not a terrible SS either by my biased eyeball or Rfield (-35 in about 6 full seasons worth of play through age 30).

2. Castro is nowhere near as bad as Samuel. As a 2B, Samuel was -54 in about 6 full seasons, -3 dWAR, through age 27. Castro is -25 at SS, .7 dWAR in nearly 5 full seasons.

3. The Castro comp you're looking for is Julio Franco except that Castro is a much better hitter at the same ages -- Franco debuted at 24 with an 87 OPS+. Templeton is also not a bad comp and he had 26 WAR from 21-29. Castro is already a better hitter than Rollins was at these ages and Rollins put up 21 oWAR from 24-29. Another good recent comp is Asdrubal Cabrera (21 WAR in 6 seasons, erratic production).

Castro's not a problem and isn't likely to be any sort of problem until he's 30 at the earliest. The Cubs have him signed through age 29 ($43 M to go) with an option for 30. If the Cubs want to trade him, trading a young 3-WAR player for 5/$45 is an easy sell.
   53. depletion Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4745884)
"I want the Mets to get guys that are hard-nosed, come to the ball yard every day and put their 100 percent crossword puzzles in."
   54. depletion Posted: July 08, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4745887)
The Mets' estimation of Castro's defense will have an effect on whether they can move Dan Murphy or not. While Murphy is not a great fielder, it would probably be a bit of a downgrade to go to Wil Flores at 2B. Do they want Castro and Flores up the middle? Could be a lot of offense, but not the best defense.
   55. Lassus Posted: July 08, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4745904)
If the Cubs want to trade him, trading a young 3-WAR player for 5/$45 is an easy sell.

OOC, do we have any sort of definitive idea if any FA is calling any other FA and saying "Listen, a young 3-WAR player is an easy sell"? Do we know as of yet that WAR is being tossed out as a selling point from GM to GM?
   56. Walt Davis Posted: July 08, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4745931)
No GMs probably don't toss around WAR in such conversations but they all know the numbers and it's basically what they're saying and what they know they're trading away/for no matter what terminology they use.

Whether you want to call him a 3-WAR player or the 3-time AS Castro or an excellent hitter for a SS or a mensch, (nearly) every GM knows that Castro is a good but not gteat player, signed to a reasonable contract, and is a good bat and not so good glove.
   57. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4745951)
While Murphy is not a great fielder, it would probably be a bit of a downgrade to go to Wil Flores at 2B.
I'd like to at least see Flores play a month straight at one position before assessing his defense. Murphy was pretty bad at 2B when he first started playing there, and he still struggles both with ability and instinct. The fact that he's passable there is a testament to his work ethic. Flores has a poor rep defensively, but has played 482 career games at SS, 111 at 2B, and 95 at 3B. Murphy in the minors was almost exclusively a 3B. IOW, there's good reason to expect Flores, who has spent almost his entire career as a middle infielder, to adapt competently to 2B. Like Murphy, Flores reportedly has worked hard to improve his defense.

Here's what I don't get, though-- when you have someone like Tejada, who was hailed as a glove guy coming up, switching them between positions would be something you'd expect them to handle with ease. In Flores, they have a player who has always been suspect defensively. For someone like that, it would seem that giving them a position and telling them to learn it to the best of their limited ability would be the way to go. But with Flores, he's literally playing a different position every day-- game logs since the demotion, 2B/3B/SS/1B/3B/2B/SS/3B/SS, 2B/3B/SS. This does not seem like the path to success; if they want to trade him, they're only reinforcing his rep as a guy without a position, and if they want to keep him, they're exacerbating his limits by constantly shifting him around the infield.
   58. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4745966)
[57],

In other words, LOLMets?
   59. Lassus Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4745968)
Yeah, I didn't mean that as confrontational as it sounded, I was simply wondering how much we knew about how much SABR stuff was being freely used at this point.

Also, I agree with dp, but I think the Mets have painted themselves into a corner. They don't seem to want to commit to Flores for whatever reason, but they don't want to pay whatever cost to either a.) make him a good player for the Mets or b.) make him good trade bait for anyone else. They need to come to grips with the fact that a cost will have to be paid somewhere and get on with it.
   60. zonk Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4745969)
Whether you want to call him a 3-WAR player or the 3-time AS Castro or an excellent hitter for a SS or a mensch, (nearly) every GM knows that Castro is a good but not gteat player, signed to a reasonable contract, and is a good bat and not so good glove.


Basically, the problem with Castro is that he's talented enough that if you're the one trading him -- you really want to get a superstar-level haul back because there's a much better than non-zero chance he elevates his game to the next level. There's probably a better chance he does just add a bit of power and holds serve elsewhere.... and there's also a non-zero chance he just turns into latter-career Gary Templeton.

If it weren't for the crowded Cubs IF (combining AA + AAA + the AAAA major league club), there's no earthly reason for the Cubs to consider moving him. Even if he turns into the older Gary Templeton, maybe with more O and less D, his contract probably still makes him a nominally reasonable option on a good team.

I don't think the Cubs should be in any hurry to move him - let's wait and confirm that Bryant can stay at 3B, find out which of Russell/Baez/Alcantara can stick in a major league lineup (either at SS or one of them or Castro moving to 2B).

From the Mets, I'd certainly want someone like Wheeler - assuming Harvey is untouchable. Syndegaard might work. Montero, I'd probably want a little more... I can absolutely understand why the Mets would balk at that - in their position, I think I would, too because they're rebuilding, too.

Still, I wouldn't be hanging up the phone if someone inquired about Starlin... Something like a Baez/Syndegaard deal might make more sense, though.
   61. depletion Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4745971)
So Wilmer Flores is the 21st century Greg Jefferies? Played a year full-time in AAA at SS to get as many reps as possible, then jerked around at MLB.
   62. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4745979)
They don't seem to want to commit to Flores for whatever reason, but they don't want to pay whatever cost to either a.) make him a good player for the Mets or b.) make him good trade bait for anyone else
I think a few things have been complicating the situation-- they don't know if they want to hold Murphy, they now seem sold on Tejada as the solution, at least in 2014, at SS, Matt Reynolds looks like a real player at SS/2B, as does Herrera, Duda is playing like a legit major league 1B, and Wright looked like he might need a DL stint as recently as this past weekend. I don't get playing him at SS if they've decided that Tejada will be the man for now, but even that isn't a sure thing.

The other question around Flores has always been how much he'll hit, and if it will be enough to have value at a non-MI position. With the way he's hitting right now (11 HRs in 42 games at AAA) it looks like he has the power bat to be a 1b, and that changes the conversation, though he'll still be blocked at 1B by Duda.
   63. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4745988)
Something like a Baez/Syndegaard deal might make more sense, though.
Yeah, but those swaps of A-level prospects rarely happen, right? Can't think of one OTH.
   64. Lassus Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4745997)
With the way he's hitting right now (11 HRs in 42 games at AAA) it looks like he has the power bat to be a 1b, and that changes the conversation, though he'll still be blocked at 1B by Duda.

Is Duda really hitting in a manner that makes a case for him blocking anybody? Hasn't Campbell dislodged him somewhat as an everyday regular or am I not paying enough attention?
   65. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4746004)
Yeah, but those swaps of A-level prospects rarely happen, right? Can't think of one OTH.

Depending on your opinions of them as prospects, Cubs already made one in Rizzo/Cashner.
   66. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4746008)
Is Duda really hitting in a manner that makes a case for him blocking anybody? Hasn't Campbell dislodged him somewhat as an everyday regular or am I not paying enough attention?
1) Yes, and 2) No.

He's hitting .251/.348/.471; that's after a hot streak, so we'll see how the line looks once he cools.
   67. Lassus Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4746013)
He's hitting .251/.348/.471; that's after a hot streak

That's a blocking line? AFTER a hot streak? Doesn't seem so to me. Am I being too harsh? Someone other than dp should answer. ;-)
   68. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4746014)
I think Flores should be doing what Campbell is doing. Righty utility guy.

I'm not in a hurry to deal Murphy - he's one of our best players. Murphy blocking Flores is not a problem, it's a solution.
   69. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4746031)

That's a blocking line? AFTER a hot streak? Doesn't seem so to me. Am I being too harsh? Someone other than dp should answer. ;-)


It didn't used to be, but in 2014 in Citi Field, that's good enough for a team-leading (among regulards**) 133 OPS+.

**originally a typo, but I decided to keep it
   70. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4746039)
I think Flores should be doing what Campbell is doing. Righty utility guy.
He's the best hitter in the system, and he's 22. That's precisely what he shouldn't be doing right now. The Mets haven't developed an impact bat in a long time; Flores has the chance to be that. To me the solution is to make Tejada the utility guy and play Flores for a month (or two?) at SS, but maybe his defense will be unpalatable there. Or stick him at 1B and send Duda to the bench (I don't have any particular love for Duda, but as pointed out in #69, his line in this offensive environment is surprisingly good). Flores is a valuable asset who isn't really being treated like one.
   71. Ziggy Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4746051)
They're rare, but Pineda for Montero was a swap of top prospects. Now, it didn't quite work out as we thought, but they were blue chip at the time.
   72. Lassus Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4746055)
To me the solution is to make Tejada the utility guy and play Flores for a month (or two?) at SS, but maybe his defense will be unpalatable there.

I like Tejada, and I'm more than fine with this plan.
   73. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4746062)
The Cubs FO has made fairly clear what they think of acquiring pitching prospects. They won't be doing top 20 hitter for top 20 pitcher.
   74. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4746063)
I like Tejada, and I'm more than fine with this plan.
Great. Now we just need Collins to sign on-- seems like he's the one who rediscovered his like for Tejada. I will say that Ruben is gradually inching back toward respectability with the bat, but not enough to block an obviously superior hitter.
   75. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4746075)
I will say that Ruben is gradually inching back toward respectability with the bat, but not enough to block an obviously superior hitter.


Flores is not an obviously superior player, though.

I get that we want to give Flores consistent playing time and consistent ABs, but if there's no hope for him as a shortstop going forward, this isn't the best of plans. I'd be fine with it, I guess. I don't think it's obviously better than using him as a utility guy.
   76. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4746082)
For the little its worth, the fangraphs and bref metrics say Flores was fine at ss in his limited time there in the majors this season.
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4746087)
The Cubs FO has made fairly clear what they think of acquiring pitching prospects. They won't be doing top 20 hitter for top 20 pitcher.

It's going to be really hard to build a decent MLB pitching staff if you don't want to draft top-notch pitchers, and you don't want to trade for them.
   78. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4746096)
Flores is not an obviously superior player, though.
No. He's a superior hitter. His defense remains a work in progress, and really that's going to determine how much of a gap, if any, there would be between he and Teajda in terms of overall value at SS. What I question is how using him as a utility guy impacts his long-term development and long-term value.
   79. Ron J2 Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4746118)
#9 I'm at the point where all I'd give for Castro is the proverbial couple of lottery tickets. Sure Castro is still young but there's a pretty fair chance that he never takes a big step forward.

Any rebuilding team (without a better SS prospect. Castro has little value any place else) should be willing to take a shot on him for the right price. But there's no way I'd give up a real prospect for him.
   80. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4746122)
It's going to be really hard to build a decent MLB pitching staff if you don't want to draft top-notch pitchers, and you don't want to trade for them.


3rd in fWAR and 8th in bWAR for this year's staff.
   81. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4746124)
Castro doesn't need to take any steps forward to be worth more than a couple lottery tickets.
   82. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4746131)

3rd in fWAR and 8th in bWAR for this year's staff.


Much of which is now in Oakland. I believe that was part of snapper's point.
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4746139)
Much of which is now in Oakland. I believe that was part of snapper's point.

Yes. Chicago just sent 5.1 of their 10.1 BWar and 3.3 of their 3.7 WAA to Oakland.

If they don't want to acquire young pitching, and don't want to pay older pitchers, where exactly is the pitching going to come from?

You can't build the starting staff of a contender based on one big FA, and a bunch of 1-year fliers.
   84. billyshears Posted: July 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4746168)
I tend to agree with the Cubs' approach of not investing heavily in pitching prospects, but at a certain point teams in rebuilding mode have to transition from merely acquiring resources to utilizing them efficiently. It doesn't do the Mets all that much good to have 9 viable cost controlled starting pitchers and it doesn't do the Cubs all that much good to have 4 shortstops. The Mets have been pushing the cliche that "you can never have too much pitching" which is fine right up until the point where you have too few viable MLB hitters. I've read the line that having too many shortstops is never a problem, which is of course true, but it misses the point - the problem is having too few starting pitchers. Teams have to fix their problems somehow, and the best place to do it is from surplus. No matter the Cubs view on pitching prospects in general, using their surplus of hitting prospects to get pitchers or pitching prospects seems like a pretty good approach right about now.
   85. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 08, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4746201)
Yes. Chicago just sent 5.1 of their 10.1 BWar and 3.3 of their 3.7 WAA to Oakland.

If they don't want to acquire young pitching, and don't want to pay older pitchers, where exactly is the pitching going to come from?

You can't build the starting staff of a contender based on one big FA, and a bunch of 1-year fliers.


I think that is an oversell. The Cubs have drafted a ton of pitchers lately (rounds 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... of the last draft), they have made deals centered around pitching prospects (acquiring Arodys Vizcaino and then C.J. Edwards was the centerpiece of the Garza deal).

It appears they haven't been willing to use the opportunity cost of high first round picks on pitchers or make big deals centered around a single pitching prospect (C.J. Edwards was one of several interesting pieces).

One interesting strategy they appear to be using is acquiring young pitchers perceived to be underperforming at the MLB level (Wood/Arrieta/Straily).

Based on all that, I think it's accurate to say the Cubs value top 20 position prospects more highly than top 20 pitching prospect types. I don't think it's an abandonment of home grown pitching so much as the idea that they will try and accrue elite position prospects and lots of arms. It's tough to see where the rotation is going to come from in two years but it's also true that the surplus of bats is imagined rather than real at this point in time.
   86. Ron J2 Posted: July 08, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4746204)
#81 Sure. He's worth the lottery tickets now. And that's all I'd give for him. But the Cubs are almost certain to get a better offer from somewhere.
   87. zonk Posted: July 08, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4746231)
One interesting strategy they appear to be using is acquiring young pitchers perceived to be underperforming at the MLB level (Wood/Arrieta/Straily).

Based on all that, I think it's accurate to say the Cubs value top 20 position prospects more highly than top 20 pitching prospect types. I don't think it's an abandonment of home grown pitching so much as the idea that they will try and accrue elite position prospects and lots of arms. It's tough to see where the rotation is going to come from in two years but it's also true that the surplus of bats is imagined rather than real at this point in time.


Agreed.

It was only just 10 years ago that the Cubs went all in on the TINSTAAPP principle and absolutely hoarded arms -- with middling results due to the usual suspects (injury, plateaus, etc)... Once upon a time, the question was who would be the ace once the rotation was Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, and Juan Cruz (and there were plenty of other arms that were also held in high regard).

It should also be noted that even the current staff isn't without talent -- Rondon, Strop, Grimm, and Rameriz all have legitimately plus stuff (granted, they're also all relievers -- though, both Grimm and Rameriz have decent minor league track records as starters).

Pierce Johnson and Edwards are both top 100 prospects and there are a couple of other mildly interesting arms that ought to have a shot at careers (Kyle Hendricks in particular really ought to have been on someone's top 100 list... he's had a fine minor league track record, but just doesn't blow anyone away. I think he'll end up being a perfectly fine #3 for a long time).

Other than Castro and Rizzo, the Cubs really only had one chit that had the potential to bring back a legit top 20 overall pitching prospects and they just dealt him for Russell.

The pitching is thinner than you'd like a team in year 3 of a rebuilding plan to be, sure, but the cupboard isn't bare by any stretch -- and I do think Thed and company have done a good job identifying middling 20somethings that have shown flashes with a chance to be more.

I wish Samardzija was a just a smidge better than he is -- ideally, if he could have just taken a step forward into the land of being a true good team ace -- you give him the big payday.... but I just don't think he's a guy you can cement in as your #1 and go from there.

The Priors are just few and far between -- those elite pitching prospects tend to either fall into your lap or blossom... Just cruising through the top prospect lists and the MLB leaderboards -- I'm not seeing a lot of guys that were 'acquired' as prospects... Either you hit the jackpot in the draft, a guy comes out of middling prospectdom to blossom, or you go out and sign a FA/make a blockbuster trade that cleans out your system.

   88. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 08, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4746233)
You can't build the starting staff of a contender based on one big FA, and a bunch of 1-year fliers.


They had the starting staff of a contender based on the equivalent of a big FA (Samardzija), fliers (Hammel, Wood, Arrieta), and Edwin Jackson.
   89. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4746237)
They had the starting staff of a contender based on the equivalent of a big FA (Samardzija), fliers (Hammel, Wood, Arrieta), and Edwin Jackson

Well, 2 big FA, Jackson got a bunch of money. You can luck into good years that way, but you won't be good year-in and year-out.
   90. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4746247)
Well Jackson is sub-replacement level in bWAR, so I don't think he played a huge role in that measure at least. (1.2 fWAR)

The Cubs have 31.5M committed to payroll next year, and their highest arb award will go to Travis Wood or Luis Valbuena. As much as I think Tom Ricketts is Frank McCourt lite, they won't be running a 70M payroll next year.
   91. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4746262)
The cubs and their pitching prospects circa 2002 did pretty darn good. Dontrelle, zambrano, farnsworrh, wood, wuertz, nolasco, Marshall, marmol, hill, and prior were all quality major leaguers.

The problem for the Cubs was that they wasted top draft picks on some horrible selections. Brownlie? And they did it year after year but the farm system produced quite a few good arms.
   92. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4746264)
Well Jackson is sub-replacement level in bWAR, so I don't think he played a huge role in that measure at least. (1.2 fWAR)

Right, but that's going to happen with pitchers. FA, high draft picks, everybody who throws a baseball for a living, is going to have a high attrition rate of injury and suckitude.

The Cubs have 31.5M committed to payroll next year, and their highest arb award will go to Travis Wood or Luis Valbuena. As much as I think Tom Ricketts is Frank McCourt lite, they won't be running a 70M payroll next year.

Which makes me wonder why they didn't extend Samardzjia. There's no guarantee you can sign any of the couple of guys who may be better (Scherzer, Shields, Lester), and they're all going to cost more in years and $ than Samardzjia.
   93. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4746274)

Which makes me wonder why they didn't extend Samardzjia. There's no guarantee you can sign any of the couple of guys who may be better (Scherzer, Shields, Lester), and they're all going to cost more in years and $ than Samardzjia.


Samardzija will be a free agent after 2015. The Cubs can sign him then if they want to.
   94. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 08, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4746275)
Samardzija will be a free agent after 2015. The Cubs can sign him then if they want to.

Well, if he makes it to free agency healthy and effective, the price tag will be closer to 8/200 rather than the 5/100 extension he might have taken. Plus, no guarantee he even wants to come back.
   95. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 08, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4746401)
I think that's a big assumption that Samardzija would sign a reasonable extension now but his price tag won't be reasonable or he will have no interest in Chicago in a year and a half.

Given the return, I'm happy with the decision to trade him and roll the dice with their money in the FA market.
   96. formerly dp Posted: July 08, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4746510)
Given the return, I'm happy with the decision to trade him and roll the dice with their money in the FA market.
If I were a Cubs fan, I would be too. That was quite a haul.
   97. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: July 09, 2014 at 02:18 AM (#4746757)
My boas against smardjza comes from his days at ND so no love lost seeing him get traded for a stud prospect.
   98. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 09, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4746891)
I thought you were an ND fan meat?
   99. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 09, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4746916)
On a semi-related note, Alcantara is getting a brief callup to fill in at 2B while Barney is on paternity leave. I'm interested to see his defense.
   100. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: July 09, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4747086)
I am SSR, but that doesnt stop me from not liking him!
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