Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ken Rosenthal - Cubs and Verlander

Here’s something interesting you might know about the Cubs: Their luxury-tax number for 2018 is $74.6 million, leaving them more than under $120 million under the threshold, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
So, if the Cubs want to pursue Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander – one of perhaps 20 trade options they are considering, according to major-league sources – they’ve got the financial flexibility to pull off such a move.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:03 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, justin verlander

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:08 PM (#5499497)
financial flexibility

DAMN YOU TO HELL, TOM HICKS, FOR MAKING THIS BASTARD CLICHE PART OF EVERY LAZY SPORTSWRITER'S JARGON!!!!!!
   2. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5499498)
Hey - sure... just convince the Tigers that this is going to be pretty much a cash deal and I'm game.

If they think they're getting much of whatever is left in the system, though -- thanks but no thanks.
   3. Tim D Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5499507)
Well, I hope the Tigers keep Verlander for his entire career but I don't think it is going to happen. FWIW, Verlander, despite giving up 3 runs, was absolutely filthy last night, fastball at 95-98 with late movement, knee breaking curve ball. Scoff at the salary and the current peripherals, but outside of 3 (really) bad starts he has been pretty good. He threw 119 pitches last night, the last one at 98 mph. Come August 1 I expect he will be a Cub, Dodger or National. He will be in the NL playoffs one way or the other. The Tigers will get "both" prospects and salary relief to some degree, likely by packaging catcher Alex Avila.
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5499529)
I talked about it in the Gonfalon thread, but I'm starting to come around on a Verlander/Avila package to the Cubs, with Candelario/Caratini/something (and hopefully Lackey to offset some money) going to Detroit. How much that something is depends on how much money comes with Verlander.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:05 PM (#5499542)
Draining the farm system for Jose Quintana this year made sense. Draining what's left of the farm system for a rental backup catcher and Justin Verlander's contract strikes me as madness of the highest order. The last couple of years everyone has been praising the Cubs even more for building a sustainable model for longer-term success than for their present success. Trading prospects for a young, cost-controlled quality starter for 3 years? That fits. But you have to keep some prospects around to sustain success. Moreover, even if they think Candelario and Caratini won't amount to anything, taking on Verlander's contract is a huge risk, as everyone knows. I side with Mr. Horse on this one.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5499543)
Meanwhile, those of us saying that Zobrist should have been sitting today look kinda dumb.
   7. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5499548)
I don't love it but the Cubs are also going to have to fill out their staff on the FA market this offseason. Verlander is overpriced but he would also be a bird in the hand. Either way somebody is going to get overpaid to fill that spot.

The Cubs do need to start holding onto some prospects. It gets a lot harder to plug holes in that staff with free agents as the hitters start getting their arbitration raises and/or sign extensions. This offseason, per Cots, the Cubs shed the contracts of Arrieta, Lackey, Davis, Jay, and Uehara (and Anderson and Duensing's modest deals... I expect Rondon will be non-tendered). Bryant, Russell, Hendricks, and La Stella all hit arb.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5499557)
I side with Mr. Horse on this one.

*This is a Ren & Stimpy reference, by the way, although I assume Lackey also does not like the idea of the trade.
   9. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:27 PM (#5499559)
Just a note, Verlander's 3 bad starts only skew his ERA a little more than the 3 worst starts of the average qualifying pitcher. As of last week, his three-worst start ERA skewness ranked only as the 33rd most out of 105 pitchers with 75 IP.

The average pitcher with 3 worst starts removed had an ERA 73% of their real ERA. For Verlander that was 69%.

   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5499560)
I don't see trading guys who may have value but no future on the Cubs as draining the system. Candelario is blocked as a starter (Bryant/Rizzo) and probably even blocked as a utility backup (who can only play the corners; by LaStella, who isn't even on the 25 man/Zobrist/Baez). You build the system up, and have excess, so you can trade for needs. There are also plenty of other prospects lower in the farm, some aren't rated that highly yet, but it's not like those guys are irreplaceable (the way someone like Eloy was).

Now, maybe Verlander/Avila isn't the right place to spend it, but at some point very soon they probably have to at least cash in Candelario. I also am not completely convinced Verlander is just his contract, I could see him providing plenty of value the next few years. Cubs still have to fill 2 spots in the rotation this offseason, and outside of Montgomery there still isn't an obvious in house option. Outside of Darvish, FA options aren't clearly better than Verlander and still may cost at least as much as him in terms of $.
   11. Tim D Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5499573)
His ERA is 3.44 without the two Cleveland starts and the White Sox start where he only went two innings with a groin issue. Yes, he sucked in those and has had some other fairly shaky outings, but he is going to look good in somebody's October rotation. The Cubs have turned the corner and should be cashing in assets for playoff runs. Unless they are going to make a play for Darvish or Gray, Verlander is the best out there. Do Cubs fans want to start Lackey against Verlander and the Dodgers in NLCS? Cubs top WAR pitcher is Wade Davis, followed by Carl Edwards. Rotation has been replacement value.
   12. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:49 PM (#5499577)
Do Cubs fans want to start Lackey against Verlander and the Dodgers in NLCS?

Barring injury, Lackey will not be on the playoff roster even if the Cubs fail to acquire a replacement. It is not clear to me that Justin Verlander would be one of their four best starters either.
   13. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 03:52 PM (#5499581)
Depending on how the rest of the year went, he could end up being a better option than Arrieta or Hendricks. But that's a good point. Whichever of those not in the rotation could be a decent reliever option.
   14. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 25, 2017 at 04:06 PM (#5499605)
His ERA is 3.44 without the two Cleveland starts and the White Sox start where he only went two innings with a groin issue. Yes, he sucked in those and has had some other fairly shaky outings, but he is going to look good in somebody's October rotation. The Cubs have turned the corner and should be cashing in assets for playoff runs. Unless they are going to make a play for Darvish or Gray, Verlander is the best out there.
His peripherals are worrisome, but that has to be expected for a mid-30s pitcher. However, unlike three years ago, his struggles aren't because he's started losing velocity or anything — if anything, he's throwing harder than he has been in years. The last two seasons indicate he's more than capable of making adjustments to his age, and he'll be going to a non-DH league and a team with a solid bullpen. If there's a big-contract pitcher to take a risk on, I'd say it's Verlander.
   15. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 25, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5499610)
I'm sort of coming around to this idea, though Verlander's sort of a mystery meat at this point. (If, as suggested, he ends up in the pen on a postseason roster, he seems like a lot better option than Lackey.)
   16. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 25, 2017 at 04:10 PM (#5499618)
Cubs top WAR pitcher is Wade Davis, followed by Carl Edwards. Rotation has been replacement value.

Heh--I was looking at the bbref "photo gallery" of the Cubs' WAR leaders yesterday and noticing this. (I mean, I've been watching the team all year, but I still would not have guessed that the Cubs' top 4 pitchers, by WAR, would be Davis, Edwards, Duensing and Montgomery, in that order, let alone that the Cubs would be hanging around near the top of the division if that were the case.)

It has been a strange season for the Cubs, but it could yet become a really good one.
   17. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: July 25, 2017 at 04:57 PM (#5499672)
His ERA is 3.44 without the two Cleveland starts and the White Sox start where he only went two innings with a groin issue

As of last week:

48 of the 105 pitchers had an ERA *under* three without their three worst starts. 73 of the 105 pitchers under 3.50. 91 of 105 under 4.00. And every single one of the 105 under 5.00 (worst as of last week was Ubaldo Jimenez, with a 6.67 ERA at the time and a 4.99 ERA without his three worst starts).

There is *nothing* significant about Verlander's three worst starts. Everybody looks better without their three worst starts.
   18. Tim D Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5499679)
FWIW, Verlander's career record vs. NL: 28-5, 3.03, 273 K, 88 BB in 261 IP.
   19. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5499686)
I tend to agree with Moses -- barring some kind of catastrophe I don't even want contemplate, Candy just really has no future with the Cubs. I suppose on the same level, neither, really, does Caratini.

If that's the price for Verlander AND Avila, I think I'd pay it.

...and I see no real reason to pretend Verlander hasn't been 'meh'. He's simply walked too many guys, period. That's it. His K rate is still fine - above his career average, in fact. He was still one of the top 3-4 SPs in the AL as recently as last year and by all accounts, his stuff and velocity remain fine.

He's never gonna be prime Verlander again, of course, but a 200 IP horse is fine and dandy like cotton candy.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:19 PM (#5499692)
FWIW, Verlander's career record vs. NL: 28-5, 3.03, 273 K, 88 BB in 261 IP.


What's it look like without his three worst starts?
   21. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:25 PM (#5499693)
For the last few years, Verlander has been mediocre in the first half and pretty good in the second half. Three starts into the second half this year, the trend seems to be continuing. The Cubs could use that, and paying the big bucks to keep him: well, they would have Quintana for a couple of years cheap, and would be overpaying for Verlander, so I guess that balances out.

Let's see what they can pull off here. I think there are a lot of suitors, and while Rosenthal brings up a good point here about the luxury tax, I am not seeing the Cubs coming up with the best offer. And as I said elsewhere, I think Avila is a useful addition if he can be included.
   22. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5499699)
He's never gonna be prime Verlander again, of course, but a 200 IP horse is fine and dandy like cotton candy.


Isn't that what was said when they signed Lackey 2 years ago?
   23. PreservedFish Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:40 PM (#5499703)
Wasn't Lackey an important part of a World Series winning team? And I don't think he'll ever not be a horse.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:45 PM (#5499711)
Wasn't Lackey an important part of a World Series winning team? And I don't think he'll ever not be a horse.

Not really. I mean, having him make a bunch of starts during the season had its uses - kept the pen from being over worked, and he was clearly better than any scrub off the street. He was pretty bad in the playoffs: 13IP in 3 starts, 7ER. Cubs won 2 of the 3, but none thanks to him (big comeback in the clincher against the Giants was necessary cause he sucked; they crushed the Dodgers 10-2; he lost his only WS start 7-2).

This year, he's been garbage. I'd hope that Verlander's age 34-37 age seasons are better than Lackey's 37-38 considering he's starting from a higher point.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5499748)
I would not be a fan of this trade. I agree Candelario has to be cashed in at some point and it's unlikely his value is going to go up anytime soon. But I don't want to take on Verlander's contract and I see nothing wrong with developing a back-up C and it's not like there aren't plenty of Cs who develop late (and Caratini is only 23). But it's mainly that I don't want Verlander's contract, especially not in what is likely to be an under-cooked run at a WS (we might not even make the playoffs).

That said, if Theo thinks it's a good idea then fine. It's not my money and I don't expect to miss the two prospects. I just think there must be better ways to spend 2/$56 ... like maybe most of the first 2 years of a Darvish contract.
   26. John DiFool2 Posted: July 25, 2017 at 07:16 PM (#5499788)
Heh--I was looking at the bbref "photo gallery" of the Cubs' WAR leaders yesterday and noticing this. (I mean, I've been watching the team all year, but I still would not have guessed that the Cubs' top 4 pitchers, by WAR, would be Davis, Edwards, Duensing and Montgomery, in that order, let alone that the Cubs would be hanging around near the top of the division if that were the case.)


The Revenge of FIP.
   27. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 25, 2017 at 07:33 PM (#5499800)
Draining the farm system for Jose Quintana this year made sense. Draining what's left of the farm system for a rental backup catcher and Justin Verlander's contract strikes me as madness of the highest order.


I could not agree more.
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 07:57 PM (#5499810)
That said, if Theo thinks it's a good idea then fine. It's not my money and I don't expect to miss the two prospects. I just think there must be better ways to spend 2/$56 ... like maybe most of the first 2 years of a Darvish contract.

What the Cubs have to give up in terms of talent isn't much, unless they go balls to the wall and trade Schwarber in the deal or something like that. So that part doesn't worry me so much. I agree that it's more about what is owed on Verlander's contract at ages 35-36 that is of concern.

The problem with "better ways to spend 2/$56" is that there isn't much available on which to spend it. There's Darvish, but now Texas is using him as a cat toy by making it sound like they aren't that interested in trading him. And of course, either way, he is going to be the belle of the ball, and may end up playing in Arlington next year. I can kind of imagine how the Cubs might land Verlander right now, but I can't fathom how they could compete for Darvish.

The Cubs could definitely use another SP. They got one, but it's pretty clear they could use another. And unclear where they're going to get that guy.
   29. DanG Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:01 PM (#5499851)
AL starters with 12+ Quality Starts, ranked by Average Game Score:

Player          GmScA QS ERAOPS+    IP Age  Tm
Chris Sale       67.7 17  181   44 141.1  28 BOS
Corey Kluber     65.1 12  170   50 108.1  31 CLE
Luis Severino    59.2 12  144   66 120.2  23 NYY
Yu Darvish       58.3 15  133   72 133.1  30 TEX
Carlos Carrasco  57.6 12  129   78 117.0  30 CLE
Ervin Santana    57.1 13  136   81 129.2  34 MIN
Chris Archer     56.6 14  110   87 136.0  28 TBR
Michael Fulmer   56.0 16  129   67 126.1  24 DET
Marcus Stroman   55.5 14  152   84 126.2  26 TOR
Jason Vargas     54.8 12  147   87 114.0  34 KCR
Dylan Bundy      51.1 13   95  107 119.1  24 BAL
Justin Verlander 50.8 12   96   98 124.0  34 DET
Rick Porcello    48.8 14   99  115 133.1  28 BOS 
   30. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5499863)
Unless I missed news of an injury somewhere, Verlander isn't any better of a bet to have a good 2nd half (and/or playoffs) than Lester or Arrieta, and not much better than Lackey. Trust to regression (the good kind) and don't pick up a piece who is, frankly, redundant on the Cubs roster.

Verlander also isn't really worth his contract anymore. If the Cubs do get him, they really shouldn't have to give up much or anything. Certainly not a decent prospect. And if they want a backup catcher, Caratini is already one of those.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:22 PM (#5499866)
Disagree somewhat on Darvish. The Rangers can probably do better than C&C but 2 months of Darvish simply isn't that valuable. See that thread -- the return for David Price 2 years ago was pretty blah (but better than C&C). Schwarber or Happ possibly makes that deal interesting for the Rangers.

The 2017 Cubs obviously could use some help. But sufficient talent to win the NL Central is already on board (doesn't mean it will happen) and sufficient talent to close the gap to the Dodgers isn't available. If we are likely to make the playoffs anyway but will need a reasonable dose of luck to go deep into the playoffs anyway, just stick with what we've got.

Yes, we have to replace Arrieta and Lackey for 2018 but Quintana is already one of those replacements. Obviously Darvish would be lovely (it's not my money) but a Lackey type and a sub-Lackey type will put the Cubs in the same sort of position they were in prior to 2017 ... and 2016 ... and a bit better than 2015. At this point, Verlander is a Lackey type so why pay 2/$56 for that when we got the last one for 2/$32? What's not to like? Or if we're going to spend real money, a CF would be nice (Cain should be available, not sure about others).

Gain, if the Cubs' FO thinks that Verlander is better than his numbers of the last 3-5 years suggest then fine. They've shown themselves to be generally excellent judges of talent.

Verlander, 2013-17: 909 IP, 109 ERA+
Verlander, 2014-17: 691 IP, 106 ERA+
Verlander, 2015-17: 485 IP, 118 ERA+ (and counting but not in the right direction necessarily)
Verlander, 2013-16: 785 IP, 112 ERA+

Lackey, 2013-15: 605 IP, 119 ERA+ (before the Cubs signed him)
Lackey, 2013-16: 794 IP, 120 ERA+
Lackey, 2013-17: 897 IP, 114 ERA+

To be clear, I want the Lackey the Cubs signed not 2017 Lackey. I don't see anything in Verlander's recent performance (no matter how you slice it) to suggest he's better than the Lackey the Cubs signed or the Lackey we thought we had coming into this year. It's very likely he's better than the Lackey we have right now mainly because Verlander is 4 years younger but he could turn into that guy any day now. 2/$32 for Lackey made lots of sense; 2/$56 plus potentially useful (but not star) prospects for Verlander does not.

If we're not going to sign Darvish or find some other true stud SP via trade, then a 2018 rotation of Quintana, Lester, Hendricks, pseudo-Lackey and pseudo-Hammel is still one of the best in the NL and won't cost you more than Q, L, H, Verlander and total junk. The identification of pseudo-Lackey and pseudo-Hammel is left as an exercise for the reader. :-)
   32. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:27 PM (#5499892)
Not sure why that list of QS is limited to AL starters. I'll note that Lester himself has 12. Potentially available Julio Teheran has 14. Leake has 13 (and 3/$48 remaining on his contract). Heck, Jhoulys Chacin has 12 ... injury prone, probably not actually a very good pitcher, but 545 IP of 102 ERA+ over the last few years.

Continuing on with the Cubs:

Lester 12
Quintana 11
Arrieta 10
Hendrick 5 (in 12 starts)
Lackey 7

So sure, Verlander would be likely to add another pitcher in that list of guys we're a bit disappointed with. Note, possibly Hendricks would look a little better but Maddon has it in his head he can barely make it 6 innings. But at worst it's only cost him 1-2 QS as he's got one start of 5.1 with 0 runs and another of 4.1 with 1 run (but 8 hits and just back from injury). Hendricks has only 1 start this year where he even reached 100 pitches.

In that list in #29, I'm not sure if the GSc average is for all starts or for the QS ... I assume the former. So Cub SP average GSc's

Quintana 53.5
Lester 53.5
Hendricks 52.3
Arrieta 51.8
Lackey 48.7

Verlander is at 50.8 so only an improvement over Lackey. Sure, it would be great to replace Lackey in the rotation ... but not with another guy who maybe shouldn't be in the postseason rotation (although obviously Verlander would be) and who costs another 2/$56.

Verlander's main advantage over the Cubs' current SP is that he's been pitching in the tougher league ... although interleague this year has turned out quite close. I suppose also that QS and GSc should be adjusted in some way for the DH and maybe that would push him slightly ahead of even Lester and Quintana on GSc.
   33. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 26, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5499983)
The problem is that I'm not sure that there's anything else C&C can fetch beyond Verlander... and after Quintana, the Cubs don't really have many shiny chits left (there are guys I still like - Trevor Clifton, for one, though he's hit a bit of a wall the last month).

I'd love to get in on a Darvish or a Sonny Gray, but I just really don't see how the Cubs could put together a deal to tempt the Rangers or A's - unless we're gonna start chipping away at guys contributing to the big league club.

Walt's point about just 2 months of Darvish is important - but I suspect the Rangers don't see it that way (I think Gray has at least one - or is it two? - more arb years?)

After C&C - the remaining guys are very much "well, he's got a good arm but hasn't really proven it" - like Oscar De La Cruz or Jose Albertos or toolsy OFers like a DJ Wilson. I just can't see any of those guys adding enough to a C&C package to fetch another clear upgrade.

If not Verlander, then I guess I'd just suspect that the rotation is what it is...
   34. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5500009)
I don't see anything in Verlander's recent performance (no matter how you slice it) to suggest he's better than the Lackey the Cubs signed or the Lackey we thought we had coming into this year. It's very likely he's better than the Lackey we have right now mainly because Verlander is 4 years younger but he could turn into that guy any day now. 2/$32 for Lackey made lots of sense; 2/$56 plus potentially useful (but not star) prospects for Verlander does not.

Age also matters, right? Cubs were getting Lackey's age 37-38 seasons. If Verlander were to be a FA this offseason, I'm sure he'd easily clear 2/$56 in guaranteed money (though definitely less annually); does 4/$80 sound that crazy? This site wouldn't like that deal, but that seems like what the market would pay. So getting him for only those 2 years (plus this year - today's Verlander is an upgrade over today's Lackey, even if not huge). So that's why the C/C/etc package for Verlander and Avila makes some sense to me.

Also, you really have to look at the upcoming FA market. The Cubs have plenty of money to spend and there just isn't much to spend it on past Darvish. They need 2 starters. The Cubs trade chips in the offseason are basically the same as now. So if they were to make this move, it would be one of those from this year and the next couple.

Again, I'm not saying outright that the Cubs *should* do this trade, just it makes some sense if, IF, the Cubs rate Verlander higher than his current numbers.
   35. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:36 AM (#5500012)
Here are the free agents starting pitchers this offseason per MLB Trade Rumors:

Brett Anderson (30)
Jake Arrieta (32)
Clay Buchholz (33)
Madison Bumgarner (28) — $12MM club option with a $1.5M buyout
Trevor Cahill (30)
Matt Cain (33) — $21MM club option with a $7.5MM buyout
Andrew Cashner (31)
Jhoulys Chacin (30)
Tyler Chatwood (28)
Jesse Chavez (34)
Wei-Yin Chen (32) — Can opt out of the remaining three years, $52MM on his contract
Alex Cobb (30)
Bartolo Colon (45)
Johnny Cueto (32) — Can opt out of the remaining four years, $84MM on his contract
Yu Darvish (31)
John Danks (33)
Jorge De La Rosa (37)
R.A. Dickey (43) — $8MM club option with $500K buyout
Nathan Eovaldi (28) — $TBD club option
Marco Estrada (34)
Scott Feldman (35)
Doug Fister (34)
Yovani Gallardo (32) — $13MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Jaime Garcia (31)
Matt Garza (34) — $13MM vesting option/$5MM club option (can become $1MM club option based on DL time)
Gio Gonzalez (32) – $12MM club option, vests with 180 innings pitched in 2017
Miguel Gonzalez (34)
Jeremy Hellickson (31)
Derek Holland (31)
Ubaldo Jimenez (34)
Ian Kennedy (33) — Can opt out of the remaining three years, $43MM on his contract
John Lackey (39)
Francisco Liriano (34)
Jordan Lyles (27)
Lance Lynn (31)
Wade Miley (31) — $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Mike Minor (30) — $10MM mutual option with a $1.25MM buyout
Matt Moore (29) — $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Jon Niese (31)
Ricky Nolasco (35) — $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Martin Perez (27) — $6MM club option with a $2.45MM buyout
Michael Pineda (29)
Clayton Richard (34)
Tyson Ross (31)
CC Sabathia (37)
Anibal Sanchez (34) — $16MM club option with a $5MM buyout
Hector Santiago (30)
Chris Sale (29) — $12.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Masahiro Tanaka (29) — Can opt out of the remaining three years, $67MM on his contract
Chris Tillman (30)
Josh Tomlin (33) — $3MM club option with a $750K buyout
Jason Vargas (35)
Jered Weaver (35)
Chris Young (39) — $8MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout
   36. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:51 AM (#5500022)
Yuck. There's a couple ok options, but overall, yuck.
   37. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5500023)
And even with Quintana, the Cubs need two more guys. I wouldn't mind if Arrieta came back on something reasonable (whatever that means) but I will be surprised if he is signed by anyone prior to February 1 and I'm not sure the Cubs can wait on him.
   38. Brian C Posted: July 26, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5500029)
Isn't the point of trading for Verlander precisely that they'd get a pre-2017 equivalent of John Lackey? That sounds like basically a feature, not a bug. If they overpay for it slightly contract-wise, who cares? They don't really have the prospects to overpay talent-wise (unless they start moving players from the major league roster).
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5500042)
Olney suggests the Cubs might also want to get Justin Wilson in a Verlander deal. As good as Duensing has been, that's still an upgrade from the left hand side (even though he's not just a LOOGY) and I'd be pretty happy with the top 3 in the pen being Davis/Wilson/Edwards.
   40. Brian C Posted: July 26, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5500044)
Lackey struggled in the playoffs last year, but let's not forget that he threw nearly 200 innings of 122 ERA+. He was a big part of a really great rotation. If Verlander can duplicate that kind of production next year, that would make the trade more than worthwhile.

The statistical comparison Walt made between Lackey and Verlander breaks down if you use FIP instead of ERA+, by the way. From 2014-2017, Verlander posts a 3.69 FIP, and Lackey is at 4.01, and the difference gets even greater the more recent the comp because Lackey's been so awful this year.

Verlander's just a better pitcher than Lackey. You get the same results if you just compare their age 31-34 seasons, too.
   41. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 11:38 AM (#5500065)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 16m16 minutes ago

Yu Darvish’s 10-team no-trade list, per sources: BAL, BOS, CHC, CLE, COL, CWS, DET, OAK, PIT, TOR. Free to go to LAD, NYY, HOU, all others.


Interesting.
   42. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 26, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5500070)
The Cubs were like a 60 win team when he signed with the Rangers. I wonder if that had anything to do with it?
   43. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: July 26, 2017 at 01:02 PM (#5500115)
I would think the "financial flexibility" the Cubs have is the reason they DON'T go after Verlander. Why spend $80 million plus two prospects when they can spend $90 million in the off-season and not lose any prospects?

Jhoulys Chacin sounds like a more sensible target for the Cubs, although he's a sensible target for the Brewers, too.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 26, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5500118)
What concerns me about Verlander:

1) Spike in BB rate. He's at 4.1/9 right now, which is way over his career mark of 2.8. If this continues I don't think he is going to be very good in his mid/late-30s.

2) While he has maintained velocity, and in fact, is throwing as hard as ever, it seems all his pitches but the four-seamer are not very good this year, per Fangraphs. Comparing the movement and velocity graphs, it's hard to tell 2016 from 2017, except that he seems to be throwing things a little harder. And maybe that's not such a good thing. 2017 is his worst year for hard contact.

3) HR rate is up. Going back through the 2016 season, he's given up 1.15 HR/9, ~36% higher than his career rate.

What I like about Verlander:

1) No apparent loss of velocity or movement!

2) K rate right on track with his career norms at nearly 9/IP.

3) Durable as hell. Other than the triceps issue in 2015, he has made 30+ starts every year since his rookie season.

Comparing him to Lackey is interesting, because a few years ago I think some of these same general trends were evident with him. However, prime Lackey is not nearly as good a pitcher as prime Verlander.

There is a lot of risk here, but I am not nearly as skeptical about the idea as some of you.

   45. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 01:19 PM (#5500129)
I would think the "financial flexibility" the Cubs have is the reason they DON'T go after Verlander. Why spend $80 million plus two prospects when they can spend $90 million in the off-season and not lose any prospects?

Jhoulys Chacin sounds like a more sensible target for the Cubs, although he's a sensible target for the Brewers, too.


Ok, they can target Chacin this offseason. They still need another starter. The 2 years beyond this one for Verlander kinda lines up nicely when the Cubs will have to start paying their young position players (and hopefully are churning out arms from the system). Even adding Verlander now doesn't necessarily prevent them from also going after Darvish as a FA. The other needs this offseason are of the bench/middle relief type (unless they decide to give Wade Davis a big deal, which I'm not sure they will or want to).

   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5500135)
In reality, I bet this is much ado about nothing. I'll predict the Tigers will chicken out on dealing Verlander until the offseason. The Cubs also probably just have one or two small trades they'll make (backup C and random RP).
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 26, 2017 at 02:34 PM (#5500180)
In reality, I bet this is much ado about nothing.

Yeah, but we like ado. Ado is fun to talk about.
   48. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 26, 2017 at 02:52 PM (#5500187)
Yeah, but we like ado. Ado is fun to talk about.

Not all ado is created equal. Stop talking about it as if you can merely funge any random ado at will.
   49. Meatwad in mourning Posted: July 26, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5500240)
cubs dfa'ed brett anderson.
   50. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: July 26, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5500301)
Ok, they can target Chacin this offseason. They still need another starter.


They NEED another starter after the season, not now. Quintana, Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey is a fine rotation for now. Lackey being bad and an expiring contract lines up nicely for leaving him off the post-season roster a la Hammel.

If they WANT someone before August 1, I'd target Chacin because he will be impossible to get after the deadline as other teams will block the Cubs on the waiver claim.

If they WANT someone after August 1 and Verlander hasn't been traded, they would be fools not to put in a claim because they are the one team that could easily take the contract and would be less likely to get blocked. That would put Detroit in a position to either let him go as a salary dump, deal with the Cubs only and get lesser prospects because of it, or pull him back and shop him in the off-season.

If the Tigers right now are only willing to trade Avila if Verlander is taken, then the Cubs have a tough decision as they would have to give up an A/A- prospect plus others and Avila would be a good piece for them right now.

   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5500311)
They NEED another starter after the season, not now.

They need TWO starters after the season. If you can get one now, while replacing Lackey, all the better.
   52. SteveM. Posted: July 26, 2017 at 09:49 PM (#5500423)
Personally, I'd go for a Verlander trade because it won't take major prospects if the Cubs pick up most of the salary. Acquiring Avila would be the icing on top. There is not going to be a lot available on the pitching free agent market this offseason.
   53. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 03:53 AM (#5500525)
The statistical comparison Walt made between Lackey and Verlander breaks down if you use FIP instead of ERA+

That's a fair point but it's because Lackey has out-pitched his FIP. Verlander's FIP+ 2014-17 is 110 vs his ERA+ of 106 so while that might affect the comp to Lackey, it doesn't have much effect on whether he's worth 2/$56.

What the Cubs need for next year (and the next few years) are durable (we hope) solid SPs, not star SPs. Obviously we'd like the stars too. This is part of the issue -- if $28 M is committed to Verlander, how do we avoid next year's Brett Anderson experiment? (But let's not forget we've got Montgomery.)

Here are what I consider the perfectly respectable names on that list, bearing in mind that we can (mostly) get two of these for Verlander's salary and hold onto our meager prospects or use them to help address other areas.

The expensive, sexy names:

Johnny Cueto (32) — Can opt out of the remaining four years, $84MM on his contract
Yu Darvish (31)
Masahiro Tanaka (29) — Can opt out of the remaining three years, $67MM on his contract
Madison Bumgarner (28) — Not expensive in money but we'd have to give up real talent

The might be more expensive than they're worth names:

Jake Arrieta (32)
Gio Gonzalez (32)** – $12MM club option, vests with 180 innings pitched in 2017
Lance Lynn (31) -- hard to say. Seems healthy, ERA+ performance is good but HR rate and FIP are WAY up this year so he might not be over-priced.
Chris Tillman (30) -- he's been a durable, average but erratic starter ... which Tillman will a team pay for?


The perfectly respectable not as good as we'd prefer for 4th starter but look much better than standard 5th starter fodder and it's probably only 1-2 years for most of them:

Trevor Cahill (30)
Jhoulys Chacin (30)
Tyler Chatwood (28)
Alex Cobb (30) -- K-rate is a definite concern
Marco Estrada (34) -- hard to tell what's going on here but the K-rate is up and the FIP is a lot better than the ERA.
Scott Feldman (35)
Jaime Garcia (31)
Matt Garza (34)**
Wade Miley (31) — $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Tyson Ross (31) -- getting shelled but back among the living ... would require a cheap, "prove it" contract and probably a bad idea
Jason Vargas (35) -- seems healthy again, even by FIP he's having an above-average season

Anyway, sure, Verlander is a better pitcher than any of the guys in the last list and would be placed in a "solid pitcher who is almost certainly more expensive than he should be" category. Would he get 4/$80 as an FA? Quite possibly given what guys like Shark and Kennedy have gotten in recent times. But if the Cubs like 2/$56, they would most likely prefer 4/$80 as that marginal is just 2/$24 and that's less than Marco Estrada money.

Anyway, if Theo et al think he's got a good shot at giving 5+ WAR over the next two years ... well, then it's still not really worth throwing any talent into the deal but it's far from a disaster. But he's only on pace for 2 WAR this year, put up 2.2 WAR in 2015 (due to injury) and 1.1 WAR in 2014. If he's got one more 2016 in him, then do the deal, that alone justifies $56 M (or close enough). In fairness, I never fully trust pitcher WAR as it seems very sensitive to the adjustment bits but we've already discussed ERA+ and FIP.

** Are Gio and Garza cases where the player is getting screwed a bit by the vesting option? Or does it become a player option in that case? Certainly for Gio, another 53 innings putting him into a guaranteed $12 M next year will cost him money. If so, them's the breaks but the vesting option is usually meant to get the team off the hook of a guaranteed year while being forced to pay them well if they have a good year. I'm sure the Nats would be perfectly happy for that option to vest and that's not quite how it's supposed to work.
   54. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:33 AM (#5500538)
That's a fair point but it's because Lackey has out-pitched his FIP. Verlander's FIP+ 2014-17 is 110 vs his ERA+ of 106 so while that might affect the comp to Lackey, it doesn't have much effect on whether he's worth 2/$56.

Lackey has outpitched his FIP at least in part because he's had good defenses behind him - per bWAR, his RA9def has been +.12 or higher each of the last five years (including both parts of 2014), and +.3 or higher in 2.3 (2014 Cardinals but not Red Sox) of the last four. Verlander's RA9def has been negative in five of the last six years (+.02 the other one), and -.25 or worse in three of them. If Verlander is picked up by the Cubs, his ERA+ would presumably benefit from his new teammates.
   55. Buck Coats Posted: July 27, 2017 at 07:39 AM (#5500539)
Well in Garza's case his 13 million option becomes a 5 million team option if it doesn't vest, so he's definitely not being screwed by it...
   56. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 27, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5500583)
If the Tigers right now are only willing to trade Avila if Verlander is taken, then the Cubs have a tough decision as they would have to give up an A/A- prospect plus others and Avila would be a good piece for them right now.


We're fresh out of A/A- prospects... Eloy and Cease and were the only guys that even a Cubs prospect fluffer like me would say deserve the A/A- tag.

FWIW - I don't think that SP FA list is bad at all, though - most of the option guys are no-brainers that I expect to be picked up (or voided without a moment's thought).

I do think/wonder if Thed and company are in a phase where they're a bit leery of signing comp guys - i.e., chasing someone like Darvish in the offseason might depend on whether he gets dealt or sticks around in Texas. Of course - they'll likely get a supp pick from Jake (and Davis, if they don't resign him).

Getting Quintana makes me a lot less worried about they'll do with the rotation going forward, of course -- plenty of 'ifs' always come with pitchers, but if Lester continues to be pretty decent #1.5/#2 -- if Kyle shows no ill effets... that plus Quintana is a plenty fine 1-2-3. Of course it would be nice to add another top rotation guy, but they should be fine with that troika plus whatever filler.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - November* 2017 College Football thread
(182 - 1:53am, Nov 19)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogHow an Astros player helped high-school kids have a cool World Series celebration
(1 - 12:20am, Nov 19)
Last: ajnrules

NewsblogOTP 13 November 2017: Politics, race now touching every sport
(1992 - 11:58pm, Nov 18)
Last: PreservedFish

Hall of MeritMock 2018 Modern Baseball Committee Hall of Fame Ballot
(76 - 11:33pm, Nov 18)
Last: robd4701

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1410 - 11:06pm, Nov 18)
Last: don't ask 57i66135; he wants to hang them all

NewsblogOT: Winter Soccer Thread
(197 - 10:58pm, Nov 18)
Last: SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY

NewsblogThe Eric Hosmer Dilemma | FanGraphs Baseball
(37 - 9:34pm, Nov 18)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

Hall of Merit2018 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(240 - 5:49pm, Nov 18)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

NewsblogStanton, Altuve capture first MVP Awards | MVP
(51 - 4:35pm, Nov 18)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogJim Palmer on Mark Belanger and Omar Vizquel: The Hardball Times
(98 - 4:33pm, Nov 18)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogFangraphs: Let's Make One Thing Absolutely Clear About Aaron Judge
(22 - 3:42pm, Nov 18)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogThe story of Alex Anthopoulos: From tragedy to prodigy to Braves GM
(1 - 8:30am, Nov 18)
Last: bfan

NewsblogBraves will lose prospects, and possibly a lot more, for violating international market rules
(48 - 1:30am, Nov 18)
Last: Armored Trooper VOTTO

NewsblogJudge, Bellinger named BBWAA Rookies of Year | MLB.com
(86 - 9:25pm, Nov 17)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogDerek Jeter addresses Giancarlo Stanton rumors | MLB.com
(24 - 7:38pm, Nov 17)
Last: Khrushin it bro

Page rendered in 0.4593 seconds
47 querie(s) executed