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Monday, December 28, 2020

Padres agree to deal for Darvish

The Padres are doubling down in their search for an ace. San Diego agreed to a seven-player deal with the Cubs on Monday, acquiring right-hander Yu Darvish, according to sources.

Neither club has confirmed a deal, which is likely pending physicals.

Along with Darvish, the Padres will acquire catcher Victor Caratini in exchange for right-hander Zach Davies and shortstop Reginald Preciado (San Diego’s 11th-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline), outfielder Owen Caissie (13th), outfielder Ismael Mena (15th) and shortstop Yeison Santana (16th), a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 28, 2020 at 10:23 PM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, padres, yu darvish

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   1. depletion Posted: December 28, 2020 at 11:41 PM (#5996322)
In other news, the Padres acquired Jacob DeGrom, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and Bo Belinsky.
   2. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 29, 2020 at 02:05 AM (#5996339)
Apparently, the Cubs didn't even have the courtesy of telling Darvish a trade was going down. Very on brand for the Ricketts family.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2020 at 02:09 AM (#5996340)
They probably laid off the interpreter to save money.

(For all I know, Yu is fluent in English. It's a joke on how cheap the Cubs are.)

Meanwhile heaps of deep, thoughtful analysis on this trade in the Snell thread.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 29, 2020 at 02:21 AM (#5996343)
They probably laid off the interpreter to save money.
No, they traded him for a freshman taking Japanese 1 at Northwestern.

For the record, Darvish is not fluent in English but has become comfortable enough to give (short) interviews in the last couple years. And he’s great on Twitter.
   5. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:24 AM (#5996352)
On the one hand, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. A blatant, massive salary dump (I guess? Are the Cubs actually covering some of Darvish's salary?) and they get back Davies and four prospects, none of whom are likely to play in the majors in the next three years, much less have an impact.

On the other hand, ALL of them were born in the 2000s, and I believe three of them have played zero (USA) professional ball. Preciado is 17. Caissie is 18, and was the Padres #2 June 2020 draft pick. Mena just turned 18. Santana turned 20 this month, the grizzled veteran of the bunch with 77 games of Rookie League ball under his belt. Preciado and Mena are both seven-figure international signings.

It's... interesting? And, once you accept that the Cubs are where they are, in austerity mode, looking to ditch a few years of winning to rebuild, maybe not so bad? First, the downgrade of Darvish to Davies isn't that huge. In exchange for that and Caratini (a quite useful bench player) is basically the draft/international FA haul a losing team gets in a given year. Not a good plan if you're looking to contend any time soon. I would have wanted one of the Padres' better and more advanced prospects in place of two or three fewer of the teenagers. Like I said, not what I want, and Ricketts can #### right off, but it's interesting.
   6. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:33 AM (#5996354)
It's a #### haul.

When rumors popped up - I was vaguely (and I know, unrealistically) hoping Mackenzie Gore might be the return (and knowing full well that meant Contreras likely had to go with Darvish)... but this is crap. Very young crap, but assuming Contreras is soon to be gone... Why not Luis Campusano at least? Or Tirso Ornelas who has at least played (though not well) full season ball?

Displeased.
   7. bfan Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:43 AM (#5996355)
So, in a 12 month period the Padres traded for Darvish, Snell and Clevinger. That is quite the haul; 3/5ths of a rotation and all arguably #1's.
   8. Ron J Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5996356)
#7 It's not hard to imagine it working badly (either a Smoltz/Alexander scenario or expensive and hurt), but you know I'm happy to see a team going for it in an intelligent manner. They got core talent without giving up anything that's clearly core talent.
   9. McCoy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5996369)
Oh, how things change. At the beginning of Theo's tenure this would have been hailed as a great trade.
   10. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: December 29, 2020 at 11:25 AM (#5996380)
Who would have thunk context matters? Not me, because I'm a dunce.


---

Like I said in the other thread, not getting a single top 10 prospect sucks. This trade sucks, plain and simple. On some level, I understand the basic logic of trading a 34 year old SP with several arm injuries at the high point in his value. Davies is fine, and the type of guy the Cubs should have been trying to add to a Darvish-led rotation; but this is 4 lottery tickets. Maybe it works out, but we won't know for years and in the meantime, you have an actual division contender (favorite?)* that is intentionally getting weaker and not filling any of its (many) holes. I don't see any way the Cubs go into the season with all of their impending FAs on the roster after this type of deal; get someone who might have a shot of contributing in 2021 and maybe it's different.

#### the Ricketts.

*and not a 5th place team 20 games under .500
   11. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 12:30 PM (#5996392)
I suppose, if you want to play devil's advocate -- and I don't like this trade, but since I always try to talk myself into things like any good fan...

As Walt notes, there's a non-zero chance that Davies outpitches Darvish in 2021 -- Darvish could certainly go boom (again) at any moment, moreso than most pitchers.

Adding Mena and Caissei to Brennen Davis and Cole Roederer gives the Cubs a nice batch of OF prospects with a good skill mix... Davis likely slots to CF, Mena and Caissei are more prototpyical RFs, while Roederer fits best in LF - but they're all relatively athletic with good arms, save Roederer. It's a decent enough quartet - though, they're all young and 2-4 years away.

Preciado and Santana join Hoerner and perhaps Chase Strumpf (plus a few kids like the Morels - Rafael and Chris) as a moderately interesting cache of IFs -- I suppose the good thing about Preciado and Santana is that only the younger, lesser Morel (Rafael) really feels like a possible stick at SS, so just like in the OF -- the Cubs now have a moderately interesting collection of IFers who fit across the diamond... though, again - all but Hoerner and possibly Strumpf will take years to be contributors.

I guess if you want to be the optimist - this trade basically doubles the prospect depth in a system that badly needed it (I'd expect at least 3 and maybe all 4 acquisitions to slot into the Cubs top 10).... but -- it's a very young gaggle of prospects and the Cubs have shown very little ability to develop hitting prospects who don't get drafted as advanced college hitters. The odds say they'll be lucky to get a legit MLB starter out of the group, maybe 2.

I suppose if Amaya is etched in stone as the heir apparent to Willy....

IDK... Mostly, I'm just trying to talk myself into liking this deal and this is the best I can do.

EDIT: Oops - forgot Ed Howard on the IF list... I like the story and he's a legit SS, but less sure he'll hit enough... still, he deserves to be in the mix with the other guys up the middle.
   12. bfan Posted: December 29, 2020 at 12:38 PM (#5996394)
It's not hard to imagine it working badly (either a Smoltz/Alexander scenario or expensive and hurt),


Since one was already too injured to fulfill his original purpose (Clevinger, to be their ace in the 2020 play-offs), no it isn't hard to imagine it turning out badly at all. It is a gutsy move, and bully for them for giving it a shot.

San Diego, having already lost its NBA and NFL franchises, is drawing a line in the sand here, to bring the city a championship. And if it fails, what is 10 more years of 3rd and 4th place finishes? It isn't as if they haven't endured those stretches previously.
   13. Buck Coats Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:15 PM (#5996399)
C'mon, the NBA franchise they lost was 37 years ago.

And hey, Chicago lost their NFL franchise too! Only 60 years ago...
   14. bfan Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5996403)
And hey, Chicago lost their NFL franchise too! Only 60 years ago...


And since replaced, right? Unless the point is that the Bears are sub-NFL quality and thus do not count as an NFL franchise.
   15. McCoy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:34 PM (#5996404)
It would appear the context is that back then the Cubs needed to atone for their sins.
   16. Itchy Row Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5996405)
If the Bears don't count as an NFL franchise, the Clippers don't count as an NBA franchise.
   17. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:41 PM (#5996406)
Oh, and screw the Padres... 2016 healed a lot of hurt - but the scars of 1984 will never completely heal.
   18. McCoy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5996407)
Furthermore, back then it was trust the process and the Cubs are limited in what they can do financially.

Now it appears to be #### the Ricketts.
   19. alilisd Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:45 PM (#5996408)
San Diego, having already lost its NBA and NFL franchises,


Well, we did poach the Chargers from Smell-A to begin with, so that's a net zero, but we also lost an ABA franchise. All in all it's not been a strong showing for professional sports franchises. I'll console myself with the best climate in the country, and at least somewhat less traffic, pollution, and density than the city to the north :-)
   20. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 01:52 PM (#5996409)
Trusting the process led to a title, 3 consecutive trips to the NLCS, 3 division titles in 6 years and 5 postseason appearances. I mean, it wasn't a Yankees-esque dynasty spanning a decade like hoped.... but the process to get there worked. The problem was maintaining it - a combination of poor drafting/scouting, development helping anyone reach the next level of performance, and a lot of (pricey) FA signings that seemed like good ideas at the time that didn't pan out... toss in a few trades that disappointed....

But - the fact is, the "process" did exactly what it was supposed to do and led to the 2015-2017 (or hell, 2017 + about 150 games of 2018) era. It worked. The failure was not executing on a process to keep it going.

   21. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 02:33 PM (#5996417)
The big question mark -

Have the Cubs fixed the problem that led to the demise?

I've ####### about the Cubs scouting quite often - and the fact is, the Thed era were pretty miserable failures in the draft... The guys they "hit" on were all advanced college players who were clear 1st rounders. The Cubs have been absolutely putrid in the draft. The total WAR numbers are heavily inflated by Bryant and to a lesser extent, Schwarbs and Happ... 3 guys who were basically finished products (none of whom progressed, but more on that below). Outside of those guys? You'll find David Bote and a few bullpen cups of coffee. Hell, the one young "project" - Baez - was even the work of the prior regime (ditto Contreras, I think). Just an utterly awful near decade of drafting. Like - ought to be in the team photo with the Phillies for mid-aught futility.... and no - picking late is no excuse. Even the young successes in teen scouting - Jiminez and Torres - were no-brainers... the Cubs just worked the then-system for INTL to perfection.

Or... was it player development?

The Cubs had a few reach picks - Brendan Little, etc - but guys like Alex Lange and Ryan Jensen weren't Mark Pawelek-level WTF picks... there were even a handful of later picks (Jeremiah Estrada comes to mind) that I'll admit liking at the time. Was the scouting bad? Or did the development staff really suck? There's also the fact that a lot of the guys who were near-finished products never really progressed - Bryant won an MVP, but he's now clearly a level below the Arenado-level 3Bs.... Schwarbs is certainly a hard-worker, but he's hoping to maybe become Nelson Cruz some day. Happ? We'll see... Other than maybe Baez, it's hard to point to a guy the development staff did a good job with (and there are some rather notable coaching flameouts).

I don't have a problem with "rebuilding" - but in this case, the Cubs really ought to be thinking more "right the ship and reload" because there's still enough talent that this team need not blow things up - but if you're going to rebuild, what does Jed say to the fact that either scouting or development or more likely both really (really, really) sucked the last ~5 years or so.... and the Cubs continued to be annual contenders mostly due to players acquired who were as-advertised finished products when acquired?

There's nothing uglier than a rebuilding team that can't scout and can't develop players well.... It's like the twin towers of Pennsylvania futility - the scouting of the Phillies + the development of the Pirates from their respective recent shitty decades.
   22. Brian C Posted: December 29, 2020 at 02:52 PM (#5996420)
I'm a little annoyed at this trade but I'm having a hard time figuring out the precise nature of my objection. I guess the bottom line is that the presence of Davies means it's not a full-on preemptive surrender, but at the same time, the prospect haul isn't good enough to really serve the purpose of restocking the farm system. It's just kind of a treading-water deal.

Obviously the prospects are young enough that they could all turn into HoFers for all I know. So I'm aware that I need to reserve judgment for the next few years, and it could turn out awesome. Even this year, Darvish could fall off a cliff and Davies could have a career year. Fine, OK.

But the big difference between this year and 2011, which McCoy seems determined not to realize, is that this year they still are contenders in the division, and so ought to be pursuing that goal. And this trade doesn't really help that. Like Moses said, adding Davies to a Darvish-led rotation would have been awesome. But payroll aside, this just feels like moving pieces around for the hell of it.
   23. McCoy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5996423)
Trust the process then when the future is unknowable but don't trust it now when we have a past record to go by. Got it.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:06 PM (#5996424)
Alfonso Soriano is available.
   25. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:08 PM (#5996425)
I suppose the objection is mainly what to make of Darvish.... He was lights out this past abbreviated season but obviously more like get drunk enough to black out the season prior... he's got a track of record of being everything from an ace to a disaster to hurt. He'll be 34 - but his contract is pretty reasonable for such a guy.

So - while this was clearly a salary dump of sorts - what's he really worth? A decent haul of prospects? A bunch of lottery tickets? Let someone pay the remaining 60m (or I guess, 50m or so)? Hard to say.

The biggest point of contention in my mind is that I disagree that the Cubs "needed" to do this. In hindsight, non-tendering Schwarber should have been a clue that they would.

To be honest, it sort of feels like the difference between this being a "Get ready for some lean years" salary dump and "OK, we need to shake things up and reload the farm" actually hinges on the fact that they didn't want to slightly overpay Schwarber in arbitration.

   26. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:39 PM (#5996435)
I suppose the objection is mainly what to make of Darvish.... He was lights out this past abbreviated season but obviously more like get drunk enough to black out the season prior... he's got a track of record of being everything from an ace to a disaster to hurt. He'll be 34 - but his contract is pretty reasonable for such a guy.

If you're a team that is probably going to be .500ish, but in a weak division in a pandemic year, in self-imposed fiduciary tightness and lacking prospects to fill holes to stay in contention, just like in the previous year... I think that's a good time to trade Yu Darvish coming off a great partial season. Maybe Darvish has figured it all out and he's going to be one of those pitchers for whom everything comes together in his early 30s. He was so brilliant in the one third of a season that was last year, after all. But prior to that the cycle of injury and lost command went on for quite awhile. And the Cubs really need the prospects.

Was this the return I wanted? No. These are excellent prospects in a physical scouting sense, but they have virtually no professional track record. On its face it looks like a five-year plan kind of deal, but honestly, it's not even what teams do when they have a five-year plan. I don't know what the plan is. But it does put quite a bit of good talent into the Cubs' system -- as you said, it displaces a bunch of guys from their Top Ten who have no business being in a team's Top Ten. And some of these players could figure into trades in 2021-22 that make a difference if the team finds itself in contention and needs to add some talent.

I think it's clear that the Cubs aren't going to do much to make themselves better in 2021, and I am okay with that if it means establishing sustainability. Regarding this trade, I think it should have involved one or more prospects who were more advanced, but it's not turd-polishing to consider ways that this could turn out well in the not-so-longterm. Again, if you're going to show up wearing the same thing you were wearing last year, 2021 will probably be a good year to do it. We will see.
   27. bfan Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5996436)
I'm a little annoyed at this trade but I'm having a hard time figuring out the precise nature of my objection. I guess the bottom line is that the presence of Davies means it's not a full-on preemptive surrender, but at the same time, the prospect haul isn't good enough to really serve the purpose of restocking the farm system. It's just kind of a treading-water deal.


Can anyone get to they sold high on Darvish believing he cannot re-create 2020 at his age and with his history and now can use that salary reduction to plug some other holes in their line-up? If they end up with Springer or Bauer for a year, are we okay with that?
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 29, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5996437)
Can anyone get to they sold high on Darvish believing he cannot re-create 2020 at his age and with his history and now can use that salary reduction to plug some other holes in their line-up? If they end up with Springer or Bauer for a year, are we okay with that?

I think the Cubs have made it pretty clear they're cutting salary. It would be a shock if they ended up with anyone like Springer or Bauer. Maybe if the FA market is non-existent and those guys would take a one-year deal, but even then I highly doubt it.
   29. Brian C Posted: December 29, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5996440)
Trust the process then when the future is unknowable but don't trust it now when we have a past record to go by. Got it.

Frankly, it doesn't seem like you do. It seems like you're much more interested in rehashing nearly decade-old fights than you are interested in "getting it."

Besides which, there is no appreciable "past record to go by." Theo's gone, and there's no reason to assume that Hoyer is just as good or that they're even following a similar plan in the first place. Agree or disagree with the process in 2012, at least the plan was obvious. With this move, the plan really isn't so obvious.
Can anyone get to they sold high on Darvish believing he cannot re-create 2020 at his age and with his history and now can use that salary reduction to plug some other holes in their line-up? If they end up with Springer or Bauer for a year, are we okay with that?

Well the problem is that, from a 2021 standpoint, they sorta needed both a) Darvish to stay good, and b) a guy (or actually really two) like Zach Davies. The "selling high" metaphor doesn't really work here because the goal ought to be to maximize their 2021 chances while they know they have a shot, instead of punting for some potential chance down the road.

Mind you, this is a team that could very well finish under .500 even with both Darvish and a guy like Davies added to the mix. It's very hard to avoid the impression that the Cubs are trending downwards, I get it. But still, take your shot when you have it, there's no guarantee that another will come along. Especially if your rebuilding plan involves a bunch of teenagers with barely any professional record.
   30. DL from MN Posted: December 29, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5996444)
I have to believe Davies is trade bait as well, at the trade deadline if not before.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5996448)
Or... was it player development?


That seems to be a big thing that the Cubs haven't really done. My team routinely puts out 2 or 3 war players that nobody really thought much about, the Cubs on the other hand had great talent reach their potential, but how many lesser talents have they produced in the past decade that have become solid major league players? I don't know the numbers for real, just a feeling that they still haven't fixed their system from the ground up. That was what Theo was supposed to be bringing to the table, a wholesale systematic change, and I'm not sure it's that whole... The major league level is recognizing what is valuable, but are they turning 1.5 war players into 2.5 war players?

And it's probable that I'm reading things wrong (Cardinal colored glasses and all) but it just doesn't seem like their system is pumping out quality average players at the rate that you want a franchise to pump them out. I trust Theo to be the GM of the major league team completely, but it seems like there might be underlying issues that he wasn't really willing to fully address.


Can anyone get to they sold high on Darvish believing he cannot re-create 2020 at his age and with his history and now can use that salary reduction to plug some other holes in their line-up? If they end up with Springer or Bauer for a year, are we okay with that?


I'm pretty sure that it's quite likely he won't repeat his 2020 season, but that isn't the standard that you would grade this trade on, it's whether or not he is a 120 era+ pitcher or even a 110 over a full season... and yes it's very possible he isn't, but if you are someone that thinks wear and tear on the arm is a major contributor to age degradation, a 76 ip, season following a 178 ip season might give you some optimism.

Either way though, the Padres have probably at worse acquired a league average pitcher for a bunch of lottery picks. If you are a fan of the Padres, you have to like their year coming up (they still won't win the division, but they are absolutely in great shape for the top wild card spot, and are in good shape for a short series) And as a Cubs fan, you have to wonder where the promise of the Theo years has gone, in just a few short years after the success they had, and the promise they showed.

I don't think it's to the level of Mets immolation type of despair, but I do think that it has to feel a bit like betrayal or at least a kick to the stomach.
   32. Brian C Posted: December 29, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5996456)
Either way though, the Padres have probably at worse acquired a league average pitcher for a bunch of lottery picks.

That's not really true, though, because they gave up Davies, too. I think it's fair to say that this was a Bright Shiny Object trade for them, and if Darvish isn't still a star pitcher, then this deal doesn't really work from their perspective.

Also I think the "at worst" with Darvish is a lot worse than that. At worst, you get a way below average pitcher over 75 IP. But of course the upside is very high also.
I don't think it's to the level of Mets immolation type of despair, but I do think that it has to feel a bit like betrayal or at least a kick to the stomach.

Well, the big issue for me is that this was supposed to be the golden era financially for the organization, what with the Wrigleyville buildup and stadium renovations and the new network. Instead, it's penny-pinching time. Something just doesn't add up there - I can understand that the debt load may be substantial from all the work they did in and around the park, but the whole point of all that work was basically to be able to print money on demand. If all the revenue was just to plow into debt service for the foreseeable future, what was the point? It all sounds fishy, is what I'm saying, and it's not like these issues don't predate COVID.

But strictly baseball-wise, eh ... I understand that a big part of the plan was that Rizzo and Bryant and Baez and Schwarber and Russell and even Almora and Happ would all form a dominant core, and it looked like it would be that way for awhile. And then it just didn't happen like basically everyone in baseball thought it would. And they've been slow to adjust, perhaps justifiably so in some ways and less justifiably in others. It's disappointing, but it happens. That's sports for you, and anyway they had a solid run.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2020 at 05:28 PM (#5996465)
I'm not a fan of the phrase "guy like Davies." He missed most of 2018 but over the last 4 "years", it's 486 IP with a 116 ERA+ ... and a scary-low K-rate. For 2019-20, it's 229 IP and a 133 ERA+. That's a darn good pitcher there. Granted, the K-rate means he's probably not the type you want to make a 5-year commitment to or anything but a middle class man's Kyle Hendricks is a good thing.

Darvish is much more than 2020 too. This transformation dates to June 2019. To that point, he had 73 Ks and 41 BB in 2019; then the miracle happened and for the rest of the year it was 156 K and 15 BB in 118 IP. Add this year and it's 194 IP, 249 K and 29 BB. The extra miracle this year was controlling HRs which might be a fluke.

Still, over the past 4 years, missing nearly all of 2018, it's 481 IP and a 121 ERA+.

I'm sorta OK with the trade. I'm not so fine with how the Cubs got to the point where I'm sorta OK with the trade. They've gotten to this point without extending Bryant, Rizzo, Baez or Contreras. Maybe we'll all be thankful about that in a couple of years (as we now are that they didn't extend Schwarber and Russell) but it's left them in the pickle that the team falls apart at the end of 2021 anyway. It would obviously be reasonable to make one last big push for it but given the strict payroll limits of the last two seasons, that wasn't realistically happening. Personally I'm never excited by "let's hope mediocrity gets us over the line into a 14-team playoff" but there are worse situations to be in.

Broken record I know but we're in a better spot than when Theo took over because we have some assets to trade. When Theo took over, he had a season of Dempster, a couple of seasons of Garza and Sean Marshall ... then developed Samardzija into an asset. Darvish and Hendricks under reasonable contracts, 1 year of Bryant, Baez and Rizzo, 2 years of Contreras, however many Happ has left. At least there are options.

Like everybody else, I would have thought the Cubs would concentrate on more advanced prospects. At best, this suggests they're hoping to squeak in this year (the Darvish to Davies drop could be quite small) then be good again ca 2025. They just traded Darvish for a good 2020 draft (plus Davies). That could work out very well ... in 5+ years. It could also turn out disastrously. Given very few prospects played in 2020 at all, most prospects are a pig in a poke. But three of these guys are just starting out anyway, there was no development to be interrupted -- that might turn out to be a good thing. It also seems consistent with the apparent league-wide FO belief that, at least for the really talented young guys, they're better off in a skills-based development academy setting than in the low minors.

That is, I want to partially emphasise how crazy young these guys are. Preciado isn't 18 for another 5 months, Mena turned 18 a month ago, Caissie was apparently the youngest player in the draft (July 2002 bday). Add Howard (19) and Santana (20) and it looks like a major shift in Cubs draft/develop strategy vs the first 5 picks of 2019 all being college guys. Zonk would know better than me but based on their top 30 at mlb.com, the Cubs don't seem to have been very active on the international market the last few years either so this may signal a shift there as well. No guarantee it will work and maybe it's just a one-time thing but it may suggest a substantial change in focus.

So basically I wish the Cubs had done better over the last few years -- drafted/developed better, extended the right guys, added a genuinely good younger FA, etc. -- such that we weren't caught between a one-and-done budget buster or a complete reset but here we are. There's no reason a team with the Cubs' resources (or its fans) should find itself thinking like Milwaukee, Cleveland or the post-Madoff Mets but it's pretty much what we all expected from the Ricketts when they took over. So I'm disappointed that Jed and pals think we're 5+ years away but I can't say they're wrong and, if the owner's not gonna spend and you don't have good prospects, you need to rebuild. The Astros are in a pretty similar spot although I'm not sure they realize it yet.

So yes, a bit like 2012. I didn't like the Cubs deciding to throw in the towel for 3+ years but, given that decision, Theo did an excellent job. Then he took a couple of big risks to keep it going, neither worked particularly well and here we are. The inclusion of Davies suggests they might be 2011'ing this year which may or may not work (it didn't in 2011) before diving back to 60 wins. At least if things go pear-shaped in 2021, we have some guys to deal for possibly useful trinkets at the deadline plus a couple of real assets in Hendricks and Contreras.

(Or of course this might just be the first of many offseason moves. It's the incluson of Davies that throws me -- not sure why the Padres didn't want to keep him for 1/$8-10, not sure why the Cubs would want him if they aren't hoping to compete.)
   34. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 05:28 PM (#5996466)
Nah, I don't think those are Cards-colored glasses at all, cfb -- it's precisely what I'm talking about... Just glancing at recent Cardinals iterations, there are guys who range from Carpenter (16th) to Pham (similar) to Dejong (4th) to lots in between. I think Kolten Wong is the only the 1st rounder among the hitters of recent Cards vintage... The Cards have gotten more or less the same value out of Harrison Bader (a 3rd rounder) as the Cubs got out of Almora (a 6th overall).

Scouting or development or both - something sure sucked this last happy period.

In a Gonfalon thread some time back (last year?) - it's shocking how little the Cubs have gotten out of their drafts the last decade. They made some loud noises with high 1st rounders, but it's so, so putrid after that. Tack on the fact that their INTLs were either "cheat the system" no-brainers who got subsequently traded....

   35. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 05:45 PM (#5996469)
That is, I want to partially emphasise how crazy young these guys are. Preciado isn't 18 for another 5 months, Mena turned 18 a month ago, Caissie was apparently the youngest player in the draft (July 2002 bday). Add Howard (19) and Santana (20) and it looks like a major shift in Cubs draft/develop strategy vs the first 5 picks of 2019 all being college guys. Zonk would know better than me but based on their top 30 at mlb.com, the Cubs don't seem to have been very active on the international market the last few years either so this may signal a shift there as well. No guarantee it will work and maybe it's just a one-time thing but it may suggest a substantial change in focus.


FWIW, I *think* the Cubs got a bit dinged a few years back over some Mexican league shenanigans... They were widespread and I'd have to re-google the details, but in effect, they got some penalties for some hanky-panky dealings. They weren't alone - and they weren't the only team caught up in the imbroglio, but IIRC - it cost them a couple promising teenagers and also cost them a bit of INTL money.

They do have a few INTL guys who are legit prospects - the Morels (Christopher in particular) are decent prospects. They've got a Venezuelan, Richard Gallardo, who was the consensus top pitching prospect (or close enough) on the INTL market in 2018 and another catcher, Ronnier Quintero, who looks like an Amaya clone and was the best INTL catcher in 2019.

Basically, the Cubs worked the (former) INTL system like it should be worked -- i.e., they outspent everyone to get Eloy Jiminez and Gleyber Torres... then went to the cap penalty box.... Then they did it again in 2015 -- that was the INTL crop that included Amaya, plus Brailyn Marquez (probably their top prospect), and the aforementioned Christopher Morel.... back to the penalty box.... rinse repeat until the rules changed.

The big issue is that no one has *really* broken out yet... I mean, Amaya, Marquez, and Gallardo are legit prospects -- but none of them has busted out in a manner that they really deserve "wow, this kid could be special" ways.

EDIT to add -- or basically? The guys they went 7 figures on have turned into moderately good prospects... but yet again, the equivalent of the mid-rounders (i.e., guys you toss a few 100k at)? Nobody looks like a keeper.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2020 at 05:45 PM (#5996470)
#31 -- Zonk has documented rather thoroughly the Cubs' inability to produce useful pieces out of the system in the Theo era, so you're on the money there. There's also the issue that even some higher-end prospects (Almora, Schwarber, maybe Happ) became just useful pieces, not good players. (But nobody produces useful pieces better than the Cards so that's not a fair comparison exactly.) On the other hand, Theo's draft/sign/develop track record looks a lot better if Torres, Jimenez and Cease were kept. He gambled the future on 2016-19 and he got the big prize in 2016 of course but things didn't work out as well as hoped in the other years and we'd be a much better and more interesting team right now if we had those guys.

I know Darvish has been fragile but otherwise, I don't know where this "league average" stuff is coming from. The guys got over 1100 innings and 40 pre-injury innings and 61 post-rehab innings are the only time he was a bad pitcher. Outside of that, he's been a 130 ERA+ pitcher (he's been 125 with them), with no season below 110. Sure, like any pitcher and probably more likely than most, his arm could break again at any moment. Until then, he'll be a very good pitcher if occasionally giving up a large number of HRs.
   37. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 05:55 PM (#5996473)
And yeah, I agree with Walt in 36.... comparisons to the @#!@!@#!! Cardinals, who continually manage to pull useful regulars out of satan's bunghole with alarming frequency is probably unfair... but not everybody wants to sell their soul to the dark lord!
   38. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: December 29, 2020 at 06:01 PM (#5996476)
There's nothing uglier than a rebuilding team that can't scout and can't develop players well.


What about a team that can't rebuild because it has the best player in the world but also can't scout or develop players well?
   39. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 29, 2020 at 06:11 PM (#5996478)
What about a team that can't rebuild because it has the best player in the world but also can't scout or develop players well?


Frankly, YOU fellas really should have been in on Darvish... something like Jordyn Adams, Jeremiah Jackson, and Jahmai Jones for Darvish and Contreras... Or maybe Adell in place of Adams....
   40. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2020 at 06:36 PM (#5996485)
I did notice Morel but mlb.com puts him at #11, he's now 22, hasn't played above A ball and they have him listed as 6-0, 140 which can't possibly still be true can it? Anyway, with at least most of these guys slotting in ahead of him (it sounds like), he's down in the "Walt stops paying attention" end of a team's top prospects list and certainly not a major international signing success. I should have checked Marquez though (Cubs #1 at mlb) -- name a kid Brailyn and I default to "born in the US."

Challenging time to be a prospect hound with nothing much to go on for 2020 development. Obviously Morel isn't alone in being a half-decent prospect at 20 in A ball only to now be a questionable prospect at 22 at A+ or trying to make the jump to AA. I'm interested to see what the minors restructure does to the concept of "young for his level" (which was already a bit questionable).

On the Theo-era development front -- I think they get pretty much full credit for the development of Baez and Contreras which are two very fine prizes and hardly can't-miss types. (They also get "credit" for Almora.) Agreed that Bryant, Schwarber, Happ were mostly finished products when drafted so there wasn't much development to do and neither Bryant nor Schwarber seem to have developed further in the majors (let's see if Happ repeats 2020). But they also get lots of credit for Hendricks -- the Rangers developed him into a solid, might be a #3 starter prospect but he became much more than that when he got to the Cubs. They also seem to have done excellent work with Samardzija, Arrieta and Darvish. In all of these cases of course maybe it was more the player himself or a single coach along the way or they'd have done much better in other systems, but given what we've got, credit where it's due.

But yes, the freak average position player, solid bench players, #5 starters, useful relievers were few and far between. They weren't likely to be anything special but they got nothing from the leftover prospects (Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Alcantara, Pierce Johnson), Castro still just 22 in 2012 never took a step forward. Some of the early moves seemed based on the notion the Cubs could turn guys around (Volstad, Bowden, Ian Stewart) although they did get the formula right (and then some) with Arrieta. I don't blame Theo for not seeing it (I certainly didn't) but those surprise prospects were Marwin Gonzalez (14 WAR, 2 WAA) and DJ LeMahieu (16 WAR, 4 WAA even before turning into the love child of Jeff Kent and Rod Carew). You don't expect much out of that pile and one Arrieta excuses all the misses but it does end up seeming less like they knew what they were doing than they knew that one of out of every 15 randomly chosen MLB transactions will turn out to be a steal so let's make 15 transactions.

If Theo had kept LeMahieu and Gonzalez, maybe he could have delayed Bryant another 7-8 weeks and he wouldn't have even been a super-2. :-)
   41. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2020 at 07:32 PM (#5996493)
So, in a 12 month period the Padres traded for Darvish, Snell and Clevinger. That is quite the haul; 3/5ths of a rotation and all arguably #1's.
And signed Ha-seong Kim. This may get the Dodger's attention.
   42. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: December 29, 2020 at 07:54 PM (#5996495)
Frankly, YOU fellas really should have been in on Darvish... something like Jordyn Adams, Jeremiah Jackson, and Jahmai Jones for Darvish and Contreras... Or maybe Adell in place of Adams....


No kidding...especially given the return the Cubs got. The Angels could have done that, although they really can't give up ANY starting pitching, so there wasn't really a Kyle Davies equivalent (maybe Bundy?) that the Angels could afford to part with.

That said, it's irrelevant since the Angels don't believe in pitching.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2020 at 08:29 PM (#5996498)
So, in a 12 month period the Padres traded for Darvish, Snell and Clevinger. That is quite the haul; 3/5ths of a rotation and all arguably #1's.

But Clevinger had TJS and is expected to miss all of 2021. Still have control for 2022 but that's it.

Between those 3 trades, the Padres have given up (I think) 10 "prospects" plus a couple of guys fresh off the "prospect" pile plus Urias to get Davies and Grisham. In 5 years, goats or heroes ... or probably most likely former owners of a lot of injured pitchers acquired for prospects that go nowhere and nobody ever thinks about these trades again.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 08:32 PM (#5996499)
(But nobody produces useful pieces better than the Cards so that's not a fair comparison exactly.)


I just wanted to requote this... for no particular reason.

but not everybody wants to sell their soul to the dark lord!


   45. cardsfanboy Posted: December 29, 2020 at 08:44 PM (#5996501)
I know Darvish has been fragile but otherwise, I don't know where this "league average" stuff is coming from. The guys got over 1100 innings and 40 pre-injury innings and 61 post-rehab innings are the only time he was a bad pitcher. Outside of that, he's been a 130 ERA+ pitcher (he's been 125 with them), with no season below 110. Sure, like any pitcher and probably more likely than most, his arm could break again at any moment. Until then, he'll be a very good pitcher if occasionally giving up a large number of HRs.


That was just a comment to talk about what I perceive is the lowest performance that the Padres is going to get out of him... I get the short season might be just a "hot streak" viewpoint, and that his age is also a potential issue, but at the same time, when healthy he's been a pretty good pitcher, so any analytics of him, at worse, should assume league average performance, but in reality if you are using what is ranges of likelihood him sucking is in the 10% range, him getting injured and being a non-factor is 10% range, him being average is about 30% range, him being good to very good is probably also in the 30% range and him being great is 20% range or so.... (rough numbers of course... I'm sure there are real numbers out there) safe bet is he'll be average or better. ... but there is a real chance he may not.

If someone put a gun to my head and said give me the over/under for his era+ next season.... 110 would be the minimum I would give. 120 would be more likely.
   46. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:08 PM (#5996506)
It would be funny if what they bought with the Bryant shinanigans was a better set of prospects when they trade him to the Yankees (or whomever).

The inclusion of Davies means that this might turn out to be an unconditional win for the Cubs. As others have said, he's a fairly decent pitchers, and Darvish is old and has had plenty of stretches of pitching that were no better than "pretty decent". Now, I'm not expecting that to happen, but it sure could.

Fun fact that I noticed when looking over the trade (that you folks probably already know): Darvish is the all-time leader in K/9. Obviously that's going to be someone active, but my guess would have been Chris Sale. (Who, it turns out, is just a fraction behind Darvish.)
   47. JJ1986 Posted: December 29, 2020 at 09:15 PM (#5996508)
Fun fact that I noticed when looking over the trade (that you folks probably already know): Darvish is the all-time leader in K/9. Obviously that's going to be someone active, but my guess would have been Chris Sale. (Who, it turns out, is just a fraction behind Darvish.)
I would have guessed Robbie Ray. All 3 of them round to 11.1.
   48. The Duke Posted: December 29, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5996518)
33. That’s a good take and my general view. The real issue is why it got to this point. They’ve been half-pregnant for a couple years now and the money issues finally forced a decisive turn. I expect all of them to go now In short order. Contreras, Bryant, Hendricks and Rizzo. If they are lucky and in combination with good draft slots, they should be back in the game in 3, maybe 4 years

It sets up well for the Cards who in 2022 have a cheap good team that they can ride for that same 3-4 year period. Their only decision is whether they can afford Waino and Molina for one last year (answer: yes). The pirates may lose 120 games. Cincinnati looks like it wants to do what chicago is doing and the brew crew started their demolition last year.

I wonder what yelich and Hader might bring. Gotta think they are on the block too.
   49. asinwreck Posted: December 29, 2020 at 11:25 PM (#5996530)
Trade now official; Cubs kick in $5 million.
   50. kwarren Posted: December 29, 2020 at 11:39 PM (#5996533)
Fun fact that I noticed when looking over the trade (that you folks probably already know): Darvish is the all-time leader in K/9. Obviously that's going to be someone active, but my guess would have been Chris Sale. (Who, it turns out, is just a fraction behind Darvish.)
I would have guessed Robbie Ray. All 3 of them round to 11.1.
I would have guessed Craig Kimbrel 14.7
   51. asinwreck Posted: December 29, 2020 at 11:51 PM (#5996534)
   52. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 12:24 AM (#5996538)
Min 1000 IP to make the "all-time" rate leaderboards
   53. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 12:36 AM (#5996540)
I haven't noticed any dugout style quizzes lately so here goes ... the current top 10 NOT active pitchers in K/9, min 1000 IP (thanks to b-r obviously), you name 'em

1. 10.61 (4th overall)
2. 1o.32 (7th)
3. 10.04 (9th)
4. 9.55 (14)
5. 9.36 (17)
6. 9.29 (18)
7. 9.28 (19)
??? 9.01 (21) -- b-r lists as active but didn't pitch in 2020 and I'm not sure he's ever coming back
8. 8.91 (23)
9. 8.86 (25)
10. 8.83 (26)

I will be impressed if you get #5 without cheating and I will buy you a 30-pack of Pepsi Max and ship it all the way from Australia if you get #8 without cheating (no I won't, I will accuse you of cheating).

So yes, 15-16 of the top 26 are active.

EDIT: I'm a long ways away time zone wise so you know that won't be updated any time soon. If somebody wants to take over as referee, be my guest.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 01:30 AM (#5996548)
Corrected: Cubs kick in $3 million.

If I remember what I read earlier correctly, this is how much Darvish's salary went up over the last 3 years due to his CYA finish in 2020. Especially given it wasn't even a "real" CYA year, it's reasonable for the Padres to want that bonus picked up.
   55. baerga1 Posted: December 30, 2020 at 07:15 AM (#5996558)
probably bad guesses:

1. Unit
2. Koufax
3. Pedro
4. Mariano
5. J.R.Richard
6. Clemens
7. Smoltz
??? King Felix
8. Boaty McBoatface
9. Ryan
10. Johan Santana
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: December 30, 2020 at 08:30 AM (#5996561)
5 or 8. Javier Vazquez?

I always guess Javy for random pitching trivia.
   57. SoSH U at work Posted: December 30, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5996562)
Is Gossage somewhere on there?
   58. The Duke Posted: December 30, 2020 at 09:09 AM (#5996567)
I would think the cash the Cubs laid was to reimburse the signing bonuses for the guys traded. There have been several deals like that recently. Maybe it’s an internal accounting gimmick where the GM “reimburses”!his counting Dept for the money spent on signings to make them whole. Sounds like something companies do
   59. Baldrick Posted: December 30, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5996573)
The ones that immediately occurred to me were: Johnson, Pedro, Wood, Ryan, Koufax, and Santana. I hadn't thought about relief pitchers, though. Wagner didn't quite make 1000 IP or he'd top the list. Now I'm trying to think of who might have made it to 1000. K-Rod? Joe Nathan? Feels like there's value in a guy who racked up some decent innings as a starter before converting to the bullpen and/or who wasn't just a closer. Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel come to mind. Norm Charlton maybe?

Other starters who feel like possibilities: Schilling, Clemens, Timmy, AJ Burnett. Mark Prior didn't make 1000 innings, did he?

Now I'm just throwing stuff at the wall so I should probably stop.
   60. Brian C Posted: December 30, 2020 at 09:49 AM (#5996575)
I think Kerry Wood is #1. Maybe #2.

Random guesses for the hard ones:

5. JR Richard
8. Steve Blass
   61. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 30, 2020 at 09:53 AM (#5996576)
For giggles I checked out some of the old-time K/9 champions. My have things changed. Bob Feller led the league in 1947 with a mark of 5.9. The highest mark of Dazzy Vance's career was 7.6, and his league leading figure in 1922 was 4.9.

#8 isn't all that hard really. I didn't expect him to make the list, but he was the third of the non-current guys I decided to look up. (And more recent than Feller and Vance.)
   62. Baldrick Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:04 AM (#5996579)
I looked up #8 and if you had given me a complete list of pitchers over the course of his career and unlimited guesses, I probably would have hit on him with my...200th guess? Maybe?
   63. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: December 30, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5996597)
I think it's both scouting and player development. And to CFB's point in 31, the Cubs spent the previous 2 offseasons remaking both areas so it's still to soon to know whether or not they "fixed" it. Anyway, I don't disagree with most of your points, zonk, but have some real bones to pick here:

I've ####### about the Cubs scouting quite often - and the fact is, the Thed era were pretty miserable failures in the draft... The guys they "hit" on were all advanced college players who were clear 1st rounders. The Cubs have been absolutely putrid in the draft. The total WAR numbers are heavily inflated by Bryant and to a lesser extent, Schwarbs and Happ... 3 guys who were basically finished products (none of whom progressed, but more on that below). Outside of those guys? You'll find David Bote and a few bullpen cups of coffee. Hell, the one young "project" - Baez - was even the work of the prior regime (ditto Contreras, I think). Just an utterly awful near decade of drafting. Like - ought to be in the team photo with the Phillies for mid-aught futility.... and no - picking late is no excuse. Even the young successes in teen scouting - Jiminez and Torres - were no-brainers... the Cubs just worked the then-system for INTL to perfection.

I'll buy Bryant as a "finished" product - or as close as one could be, but even that revisionist history. He was absolutely not a sure thing - one, as evidenced by not going first and not even being first on the Cubs board allegedly - but you can go back and re=read the scouting reports to say he was possibly too much swing and miss and definitely too big to stick at 3rd. But fine, the Cubs get little to no credit there. I take a much bigger issue with the idea that either Schwarber or Happ were finished products (again, both were considered somewhat reaches, and more importantly, both were sent back to the minors so it's literally impossible for them to be finished products). I'd say both Baez and Contreras have to be considered successes of the player development side (and it's much more obvious with Willson considering how much further he came, and all under their watch) even if both were acquired by the Hendry one. Lastly, I dispute the fact that either Torres or Jimenez were "no brainers" as there has pretty much never been a no brainer int'l signing at 16 years old (what about the rest of that signing class - where are they?).
   64. Brian C Posted: December 30, 2020 at 12:11 PM (#5996606)
The whole concept of a "finished product" is a fallacy in the first place. Highly-regarded prospects crash and burn all the time, and this is just as true in other sports where, unlike baseball, top prospects really are expected to be close to "finished products" and contribute immediately. And hell, in Bryant's case he turned out not to be a finished product even after he won the goddamned MVP.
   65. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 30, 2020 at 12:14 PM (#5996607)
And hell, in Bryant's case he turned out not to be a finished product even after he won the goddamned MVP.
If that’s the case, they need to figure out how to un-finish him real quick.
   66. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: December 30, 2020 at 01:03 PM (#5996618)
Fair enough - I'm probably being a bit overboard as the Thed era did clearly scout and develop well enough to win a WS, go to three NLCS's and make the playoffs 5 times in 6 years.... so, I certainly don't want to imply that I think they're idiots who did nothing right and simply got lucky.

Anyway... rather than finished products, maybe I should have should "advanced" players who were near MLB-ready upon drafting.

Regardless, I do hope they've fixed what I do think was the glaring weakness of a great era... whatever ratio it came in, the juggernaut ran out of gas because they simply couldn't sustain a reasonable pipeline to supply the big club with both necessary supplements and/or trade chits.

The problem with so many prospects in the 18/19/20/21 range is that it may very well take 2-3 years until we know... and if it turns out the issues weren't corrected, it's going to be especially ugly...
   67. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: December 30, 2020 at 02:10 PM (#5996639)
Yeah. Reading more about these guys and seeing where they fit in the Cubs pipeline next to the guys like Amaya, Howard, Davis, Roederer, etc it would appear - and just looking at the minors in a vacuum - they've done a good job of refreshing the system and have more potential there than any time since the recent peak. Oddly enough, they once again look much better on the position player side than pitching (there's arms there, but outside of Marquez none of them appear to have even a hint of all-star potential).

Like you said though, when you look at the major league team and the high minors, it's gonna be some time before we start benefitting from it. Considering the payroll is relatively low now, and there's still some notable holes, I'd expect a handful of short/moderate type deals (1-2 years) the next month or so; guys that could help in 21 but could also be flipped if things go bad. Unfortunately, the Cubs haven't had a high success rate with those guys lately, so I'm not exactly optimistic they will spend that money smartly and ID the right type of guys that'll bring back more prospects during the year.

If I had to guess/predict, I still would bet on Bryant being traded and that the Cubs will extend Javy. I could see them going either way with Rizzo, but am leaning toward extending. I'd also be shocked if they shopped Hendricks, but he'd bring back a pretty nice prospect haul also (though probably more during the year than now). Contreras would also bring back a lot, and considering age/position and where the Cubs appear to be now, I think they'd be better off trading him now rather than later (obviously the fan in my doesn't want them to trade any of these guys) even if Hoyer tried to shoot down those rumors today*. I'll be rooting really hard for Kimbrel to be fixed as a closer - teams always overpay for that type of guy; hell, trade him in April if he has a couple good weeks in the role.

*Hoyer isn't as polished or smooth as Epstein, and not nearly as good of a liar. Him claiming today the Darvish deal had nothing to do with money was the type of bald-faced lie Theo would manage to spin much better.
   68. Brian C Posted: December 30, 2020 at 03:23 PM (#5996659)
Theo was polished for sure, but still not a great liar, and I don't think he could have wriggled out of the payroll thing either.

Trading Rizzo away would be a real shame. He plainly wants to stay with the Cubs, and he seems like a guy who will have value even after he grows into his pure walks/homers phase. And I don't see him getting enough back in a trade for it to really be worth getting rid of a guy who's still good and everyone loves.

But more than anything, you know what this whole conversation has making me think about? Just how time flies. It's been nearly a decade since Hendry was fired. This will be Rizzo's 10th season with the Cubs. It's been as long since the Cubs acquired Rizzo, as the time between the Rizzo trade and when the Cubs still had Joe Girardi playing for them. Where'd all that time go?
   69. bfan Posted: December 30, 2020 at 04:27 PM (#5996688)
I still would bet on Bryant being traded


so Bryant's value is whatever comeback year he has above his $21 million salary for this year, and a draft choice back when he walks? That can't be worth much, can it?
   70. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 05:32 PM (#5996708)
Updating:

1. Unit
2. Wood
3. Pedro
4. Ryan
5.
6. Lincecum
7. Koufax
8.
9.
10. Santana

5 is a famous reliever but not Rivera, Gossage or Wagner; 8 is probably best known as a reliever but only crossed 1000 IP due to some starting seasons. #9 probably should have been a pretty easy one -- think young Ryan or young Unit.

I'm not sure I ever realized Lincecum was that high on the K/9 list and, even if I did, I probably would have guessed that the final years dragged him down substantially.
   71. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5996711)
Here's an unexpected K/9 factoid

Bumgarner 8.70
Odorizzi 8.59
Clemens 8.55
Hamels 8.53

Clemens currently 38th on the all-time list; Schilling 35th. Freaking Lance Lynn has K'd 8.9. Kyle Hendricks is in the top 100 all-time, more K/9 than Gossage or Gooden or Gibson. Rate stats always turn up silly results but, as we all know, Ks have really exploded.
   72. BillWallace Posted: December 30, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5996719)
#8 isn't all that hard really


I'm guessing you're talking about the guy with 9.01 who he said he wasn't sure if is still active.
The guy with 8.91 he labeled as #8 is far more obscure, at least as far as being on a career leaderboard.
   73. JJ1986 Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:00 PM (#5996723)
I think one of them is Sam McDowell.
   74. JJ1986 Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:03 PM (#5996725)
I didn't double-check this, but I believe Wagner would be #1 if you gave him 97 K-less innings.
   75. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:10 PM (#5996727)
#63-64 ... to me, "finished product" doesn't necessarily mean "everybody knew was MLB-ready on draft day"; it's more a retrospective assessment of the _development_ that was actually needed. Bryant walked off the college field and immediately hit 336/390/688 across A-/A. He then hit 355/458/702 at AA which should have been followed by a promotion to MLB but the Cubs had to play their games. So he "slumped" to 295/418/619 at AAA.

No doubt the Cubs minors staff worked with Bryant on hitting and taught him a couple of refinements but, in hindsight, it's clear his bat required virtually no development and he very likely could have handled MLB pitching the day he was drafted. He might well have needed some work on his defense when drafted but it doesn't seem like he needed a lot since the glove was fine 1.5 years after drafted.

You're right that Schwarber was a stretch and the Cubs no doubt knew he needed defensive development to become a C. I suspect they were surprised by how good his bat was but he too walked out of college and hit 344/428/634 across 3 levels of A; then 320/438/579 at AA; a brief stint in the majors during an interleague stretch; then 333/403/633 in a brief AAA stint. His bat needed no development -- whether he could handle MLB pitching or not, it was pretty clear his bat didn't need more time in the minors.

That was not true for Happ who in the minors, by top prospects standards, was low BA, moderate power, good BBs ... but that's also exactly the sort of hitter he's been in the majors so it's hard to say the Cubs added much to what he brought with him although he has (usually) hit for more power in the majors than the minors.

I agree that Baez and Contreras are big development successes though it would have been nice if somebody had explained to Javy that swinging at crap doesn't help. :-) Almora though was a "failure" -- some of those minor league walk rates are just criminal (14 in 529 PA at A+/AA; 9 in 336 at AAA). He was a very good defender for which I assume they deserve some credit.
   76. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:53 PM (#5996739)
On the Cubs' grand plan:

I'm still not sure if it's "give it a go in 21 then go into full rebuild -- trading guys at the deadline if 2021 isn't working" or we're at the start of a fire sale. Might depend on what's on offer for Contreras and Hendricks. As I've said, the inclusion of Davies has me leaning towards the first.

Especially having just traded Caratini, it would be hard to trade Contreras. No way Amaya is ready for a 100-120 start MLB season, at the very least they'd need to grab a decent vet off the FA market to be the #1 guy this year and #2 guy next year.

I also suspect at least one of Bryant, Baez, Rizzo will be extended. But my "worry" is that if it was Baez, they'd have gotten this done already. After the 2020 debacle, I can see that you'd like to see the bat rebound before committing (and setting the cost of that commitment) but if the bat looks good at the AS break, Javy's then just 3 months from FA. It currently is a big market for SS next year so Javy has extra incentive to come to an agreement ... but on the off chance the Cubs are looking for a bigger, quicker rebound than I think, they might be eyeing one of the other SS who might provide more reliable offense. But basically the 2019-20 offseason seems like when this deal would have gotten done if it was gonna get done.

Rizzo ... my objective side knows it all depends on the money and, at least a bit, the chances of a NL DH. (He's still solid defensively but you can't rely on that staying the case for too much longer, so it would be nice to have the option available.) I'm probably over-reacting but, destpite the overall solid production, we have seen some extended scary-bad stretches the last few seasons so I am worried about a cliff dive (or a quick decline to Schwarber at 1B). He'll be turning 32 in 2022 so what are we thinking? A Hosmer-esque 5/$90?

B-R comps are often off the mark but Rizzo's look reasonable. At young ages, his most similar was Mayberry (who was very good young), Hrbek during his prime (again a very good player), then Derrek Lee at 29-30. Lee was fine from ages 31-35 -- 120 OPS+, 13/4 WAR/WAA -- but very little at 34-35 and didn't play at 36. Really the only players in his top 10 you have any real desire for ages 35-36 are Will Clark and maybe Konerko. So maybe 3/$60-65 plus an option?

It's hard to see Bryant having a lot of trade value right now given how terrible 2020 was. You'd find takers but who would give you much of anything back. Hope he rebounds to at least a 3-4 WAR player then, if in sell mode, shift him at the deadline -- you might actually get more for him in that scenario. (Or will a crazy 14-team playoff scenario mean nobody's really all that desperate to upgrade at the deadline?)

And I agree that even if in fire sale mode, Hendricks might not be dealt. He's cheap and popular and the Cubs have nearly always made sure they had at least one genuine AS quality player around to keep the fans happy. But he is currently their most valuable asset (maybe Willson) because of that contract.
   77. Walt Davis Posted: December 30, 2020 at 06:56 PM (#5996741)
Yes McDowell is #9. That leaves the big-name reliever at #5 and the SHOCKER! at #8.

The ???? guy I'm not sure is active is Liriano.

EDIT: I'll try to remember to check sometime later (my) today and reveal the last two if not guessed by then.
   78. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 30, 2020 at 07:06 PM (#5996744)
Ah, McDowell is the guy I thought was #8. B-R rounds his K/9 to 8.9, so I assumed he was the 8.91 guy. So, no, I don't know who #8 is.
   79. Brian C Posted: December 30, 2020 at 08:02 PM (#5996765)
#63-64 ... to me, "finished product" doesn't necessarily mean "everybody knew was MLB-ready on draft day"; it's more a retrospective assessment of the _development_ that was actually needed. Bryant walked off the college field and immediately hit 336/390/688 across A-/A. He then hit 355/458/702 at AA which should have been followed by a promotion to MLB but the Cubs had to play their games. So he "slumped" to 295/418/619 at AAA.

The problem with this logic, though, is that it's, as you acknowledge, entirely retrospective. "He was successful in college and kept being successful as he progressed through the minors" and so therefore, there's no development aspect. But obviously guys are successful at low levels and then hit a wall all the time, and it's not like college pitching and rookie-league pitching is the same as AA-pitching, much less MLB pitching. I'm sure some players are just so naturally talented that they'll succeed no matter the coaching or development ... but at the same time, the Cubs went literally more than a decade without developing a single position player prospect even as good as Starlin Castro, much less Bryant, which would be impossible to do even by accident if there were a lot of guys who were "finished products" even as you define them.

So while it may be a different kind of developmental challenge to maintain the kind of success through the system that Bryant had, as opposed to molding an unpolished guy with raw tools into a good player, I refuse to believe that it's as easy as "draft them and then enjoy your success" for anyone but the most exceptional generational talents.
   80. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2020 at 05:33 PM (#5996925)
The problem with this logic, though, is that it's, as you acknowledge, entirely retrospective.

Not really a problem. All draft and development outcomes are judged retrospectively. And I don't see how else you'd ever hope to separate "drafted well" from "developed well."

But we're also not talking regular developmment curves in these examples. Bryant was probably MLB-ready on the day he was drafted and certainly within a year of being drafted. Schwarber was in the majors within a year of being drafted. No team develops players that quickly. Possibly nobody realized how ready they were but those guys were at/near MLB-quality on the day they were drafted. That impression is buttressed by the retrospective fact that they destroyed pitching at every level they did play at without so much as a hiccup.

If there's a college hitter who does well at A ball in half-year 1, struggles then sorts it out at A+ in year 2, struggles then sorts it out at AA in year 3 ... then you're probably seeing a talented player who's also being developed in the minors. Bryant especially was "what the hell is this kid doing at this level?"

There are other examples of course. The A's gave Huston Street 26 innings in the minors in the year he was drafted (1.38 ERA) but he was on the opening day 2005 roster and threw 78 innints of 1.72 ERA. Clearly not a development success. Obviously they coached him. They might have given him a bit of extra bit on a breaking ball or a more consistent release point or worked on his pickoff move but it's silly to think any substantial minor league development went on. For those years, the Cubs targeted guys who (they hoped) needed minimal development because that fit their organizational plan -- and as Zonk points out, they did quite miserably after the first round, whether you want to put that down to bad drafting or bad developpment or some combo.

You also seem to be confusing "finished product" with "superstar." Schwarber was (likely) never a generational talent but he was at or near a MLB-quality hitter on the day he was drafted. Robin Yount (arguably a "generational talent" depending on whether you meant league-wide generational or team-level generational) needed 3.5 to 5.5 years in the majors before developing into an excellent hitter but he was an average MLBer right away. Claudell Washington didn't even play HS baseball (he was scouted in a sandlot game), signed as an undrafted FA, was in the majors exactly 2 years after signing -- I don't know what we call that ... maybe he was a generational talent that never fully clicked.

Strasburg had 57 innings of minor-league ball before putting up a 139 ERA+ while K'ing 12.2 per 9 ... you really think that was "development" rather than a "finished product?" That was service time games. David Price had 110 innings across 3 levels and made his debut at season's end. Kevin Gausman had 15 innings the year he was drafted and 46 the next year before making his debut less than a year after being drafted. He did get smacked around and sent back down for another 35 innings. The next year, with a total of about 150 minor-league innings under his belt, he put up a 110 ERA+ in the majors.

You may also be equating "coaching" with "developing." As I said, no doubt the Cub minor-league hitting coaches gave Bryant a few tips, helped him work on this or that and surely worked with him on defensive footwork, etc. That's "refinement", it's not taking a guy who can't hit ML pitching and turning him into a 140 OPS+ hitter.

With the exception of generational talents (Yount, Griffey, ARod, maybe Claudell), any HS draftee needs development. Many college draftees do not -- and MLB is hoping that colleges will take on more of the development in place of the disbanded low minors. You obviously can't ID those players on draft day with 100% accuracy but it's pretty easy to identify them in retrospect.

You can also just use the simple notion that "development" takes time. Bryant needed no time to make the majors. Schwarber needed no time to make the majors. On the other hand, Schwarber clearly did need time to develop into a ML catcher, time the Cubs decided not to give him because, shazam, they had a ML hitter on their hands at a time they could really use one. Maybe Kevin Gausman needed more development time ... but the actual Kevin Gausman was not a product of development. Maybe if Yount had been given more minor-league development, he'd have become a productive hitter sooner; maybe if Claudell had, his success would have been more sustainable; but their ML performances were not the product of minor-league development.

If you're still not convinced (I don't blame you), let's take Addison Russell. Russell was a HS draftee and so surely needed development to become ML-ready ... development work performed by the Oakland A's organization. The Cubs traded for him, gave him 250 minor-league PAs then in the majors. Nobody would claim that as a success for the Cubs' minor-league development staff. Everybody knew the Cubs got a (near) MLB-ready prospect in that deal. When the White Sox traded for Yoan Moncada, everybody knew he was close (he'd already debuted) after just 854 minor-league PAs. Jorge Soler got less than 600 PA in the minors before he was in the majors. If the Oakland A's low minors, Red Sox low minors, Cuban leagues, etc. can occasionally produce a ML-ready player at 20-22, why can't a college. And in any of those cases, it's clear that the development credit due to the Cubs, White Sox, etc. is zero to minimal.

So sure, somebody deserves credit for developing Kris Bryant -- it just ain't the Chicago Cubs any more than they deserve credit for developing Addison Russell. "The Cubs don't deserve credit for developing Addison Russell" would not be a controversial statement to anybody; why should "the Cubs don't deserve credit for developing Kris Bryant" be any more controversial?
   81. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2020 at 05:33 PM (#5996926)
#5 is Trevor Hoffman. I never would have guessed his K-rate was that high, much higher than Mo's.

#8 is the immortal Joaquin Benoit.
   82. Howie Menckel Posted: December 31, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5996931)
I don't think it's to the level of Mets immolation type of despair, but I do think that it has to feel a bit like betrayal or at least a kick to the stomach.

there's a 20-year ironclad moratorium after a championship season that bans fans kvetching/mewling about their team's future on non team-specific websites. it's all there in writing and everything. granted, it won't be so long before there will be kids entering kindergarten in Chicago who weren't even alive the last time the Cubs won a World Series. but still.

it's a small tradeoff, to be sure - but a price that nonetheless must be paid. think of it as showing proper respect to "real" long-suffering fans.

:)
   83. JJ1986 Posted: December 31, 2020 at 07:56 PM (#5996945)
I have no memory of Benoit as a starter. That must have been before the halcyon days of Danks, Volquez and Diamond.
   84. Walt Davis Posted: January 01, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#5997014)
On Benoit, he did have an outstanding run as a reliever: 7 seasons, 427 IP, 166 ERA+. Capped off by an odd 2016 in which he pitched poorly for the Ms in the first half, got dealt to Toronto where he put up a 1135 ERA+ for the rest of the season (1 R in 23.2 IP).

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