If you’ve read any of my posts over the last month or two you would know that I wanted the Cubs to trade for Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Garza. Well, the Red Sox made a deal for Gonzalez trading away their top pitching prospect Casey Kelly. It was a great trade for both teams in my opinion and I only wish the Cubs would have made the deal. During the winter meetings in December, we discoverd that the Cubs and Rays had talked about a potential deal for Garza. Immediately I was excited. I wanted Garza bad! The only thing I didn’t want the Cubs to do is overpay. Well, the trade saw the Cubs send 5 players to the Rays for Garza and two other players. Here’s my “expert” analysis!
Garza will be under team control until 2013. He’s due a raise this year via arbitration. It’s been estimated to be around $5-6 million a year. He just turned 27 in November and isn’t in his prime yet. He had a 15-10 record in 2010 with a 3.91 ERA in the AL East. He’s going to be be with the Cubs for a few years at least and should do well in the National League. He makes the Cubs rotation significantly better and is a good start to improving the Cubs for the future. Remember, we have a ton of money coming off the books at the end of this season. Can you say, SPENDING SPREE?
Chris Archer pitched great for the Cubs in single A and double A in 2010. He’s 22 and some say has the making of a top of the rotation starting pitcher. However, we didn’t draft him. We got him in the Mark DeRosa trade after the 2008 season. At the point in his career, Archer had never posted an ERA below under 4.29 in the minors and his career minor league record was 5 wins and 18 losses. Losing Archer doesn’t bother me too much, but I hated to lose him after the success he had in 2010.
Hak-Ju Lee is a 20 year old shortstop from Korea. He’s got the making a leadoff hitting, slick fielding future All Star! This loss really hurts me, but we have Castro at short and you must trade talent to get talent.
Brandon Guyer, who turns 25 later this month, has the potential to be a solid outfielder in the major leagues. However, we already have Tyler Colvin in RF and 22 year old Brett Jackson working his way up the minors. Losing Guyer wasn’t that huge of a loss.
Robinson Chirinos is a 26 year old catcher that hit the cover off the ball in 2010. But remember, he did this playing against younger players and this wasn’t his first time playing for double A Tennessee. He spent parts of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons with the double A affiliate too. I’m glad we were able to package him along in this deal. I hope he does well.
Sam Fuld is a 29 year old outfielder that is a 4th outfielder at best. The Cubs received outfielder, Fernando Perez, from the Rays in the 8 player deal and he pretty much is a 4th outfielder at best as well.
The other player involved was left handed pitcher, Zach Rosscup who turns 23 in June. He’s pitched well in rookie ball for the Rays and could be the difference maker in this trade.
Overall, we gave up a lot of talent for Garza. I hated to do so, but we kept Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Chris Carpenter. And just because a guy has potential doesn’t mean he’s going to be successful in the major leagues. Remember Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Sean Gallagher and Ryan Harvey are just a few prospects that the Cubs were hoping would become stars. So, while we traded away talent none of them have a proven resume like Garza does. I give Jim Hendry credit for trading for a young and talented pitcher. Remember, pitching wins championships and I think this is a good move for the future of the Cubs.
BOTTOM LINE: THIS WAS NOT A GREAT TRADE, BUT A GOOD ONE FOR THE CUBS!
I just received a phone call from my buddy Dave from Denver. He says, “Have you heard the news?” I said, “No, what news?” Well, I go to my computer and pull up MLB Trade Rumors only to discover that the Cubs and Rays are close to a deal involving Matt Garza. Now, I’ve obsessed about Garza earlier this offseason. I want him, but I don’t want to overpay! It looks like we are trading away at least 4 minor leaguers! Outfielder Brandon Guyer, that’s okay with me. Catcher Robinson Chirinos, I can live with this one. RHP Chris Archer, this one kind of stings. And shortstop Hak-Ju Lee……..OUCH!!!!!!!!! Losing Lee in this potential trade hurts. I truly believe he is a future leadoff hitter and excellent defensive shortstop. Heck, there may be more players involved in the deal and it’s not finalized just yet. As long as we don’t give up Brett Jackson or Chris Carpenter too! Anyway, at least Jim is making a move. I just hope he doesn’t trade away too much talent.
Okay, since the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre there’s been a lot of speculation that Michael Young would be on the trade market. I don’t know if he is, but I think the Cubs should take a look at making a deal for him. He could play second base next year and provide us with another good bat. The last time we got an infielder from Texas was when we signed free agent Mark DeRosa. That worked out okay and I think Young would too.
The Cubs have already discussed a deal with the Rangers for corner infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Darren O’Day. Why not throw Young into the mix and make it a big deal? If Hendry has proven anything in his time as GM for the Cubs, it’s his ability to make good trades. Remember, that’s how we got D. Lee and Ramirez!
Looking closer at Young, he’s 34 years old and won’t be a free agent until after the 2013 season. He’s due $16 million each of the next three years. That’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played second base in several years and who is in his mid 30s. So, who would we trade in a deal for Young that the Rangers would want?????
My first guess would be Alfonso Soriano. He could play outfield or more than likely be a DH. With his fielding abilities I think he’s better suited to be a DH and just focus on hitting. He’s signed through 2014 at $18 million each year. If we traded him in a deal for Young we would have to compensate the Rangers some to cover his salary.
Getting back to the Davis and O’Day deal, I read that the Rangers wanted minor league catcher Robinson Chirinos. I say let’s trade him! He’s got Soto, Hill and Castillo in front of him. No sense wasting his talent in the minors.
So, adding these two potential deals together means the Rangers trading us Davis, O’Day and Young for Soriano, cash, Chirinos and maybe another player or two. I don’t think this deal will happen. Plus, I believe the Cubs are set on having DeWitt at second base for the time being. My only other guess is that they are waiting for Hak-Ju Lee to take over shortstop and Castro to move to second in the near future. If this is true, and works out, then I’m okay with having DeWitt at second for now.
I still keep reading that we have an interest in Matt Garza and Fausto Carmona. Well, I have wanted the Cubs to trade for Garza ever since the winter meetings. But after second thoughts, I think it’s best we hold on to our young talent. That goes for Carmona too! We have a bunch of young players that are close to making it to the big leagues.
While I like the idea of getting Young, Garza and Carmona, I feel they would cost us too much. However, I think we can get Davis and O’Day for a fair price. So, go ahead Jim and make a deal. It’s been a quiet winter and I know you are not finished dealing yet.
Okay, I know everyone has their own “expert” opinions. Well, I have mine too! Here’s my projected position players, bench players, starting rotation and bullpen for the Cubs in 2011. Feel free to share your ideas and/or thoughts.
Starting Lineup Bench players
C-Geovany Soto (R) C-Koyie Hill (S)
1B-Carlos Pena (L) IF-Jeff Baker (R)
2B-Blake DeWitt (L) IF-Darwin Barney (R)
3B-Aramis Ramirez (R) OF-Kosuke Fukudome (L)
SS-Starlin Castro (R)
LF-Alfonso Soriano (R)
CF-Marlon Byrd (R)
RF-Tyler Colvin (L)
Starting Rotation Bullpen
Carlos Zambrano (R) Carlos Marmol (R) Closer
Ryan Dempster (R) Kerry Wood (R) Setup
Tom Gorzelanny (L) Sean Marshall (L) Setup
Randy Wells (R) John Grabow (L)
Carlos Silva (R) Andrew Cashner (R)
Well, I’ve listed only 22 players so there are three slots still open. Here’s a list of players that will be on the verge on making the team in spring training or getting called up early in the season.
Justin Berg (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP), John Gaub (LHP), Scott Maine (LHP), James Russell (LHP), Jeff Samardzija (RHP), Jeff Stevens (RHP), Wellington Castillo-C, Sam Fuld-OF.
And here’s my sleepers.
Alberto Carbrera (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Brian Schlitter (RHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Chris Archer (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Kyle Smit (RHP), David Cales (RHP), Robinson Chirinos-C, Brett Jackson-OF, Brandon Guyer-OF, Bryan LaHair-1B.
I’ve left some players off the list such as SS Hak-Ju Lee and CI Josh Vitters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get called up later in the season as well as several other minor leaguers.
Overall, I believe our future is very bright. We are getting younger and more athletic. We have some really good arms in our system to be excited about and some position players that can flat out hit the ball. 2011 is almost here and things are looking brighter!
The Cubs have seven players that are arbitration eligible this year according to my count. One of the guys is our catcher, Geovany Soto. The last two seasons we’ve paid him $575,000 each year. In his first full season, 2008, we paid him $401,00. So, it’s obvious that he’s going to get a pay raise one way or another in 2011. I would prefer the Cubs avoid any nasty arbitration hearing and go ahead and extend Soto now.
There is no doubt that when healthy and focused Soto is one of the better offensive catchers in the National League. I think his defensive skills are adequate at this point in his career, but there is always room for improvement.
Overall, I believe Soto will be the Cubs catcher for the next 5 years and possibly more. We do have Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo who are excellent backup catchers, but not everyday players in my opinion. We also have 26 year old Robinson Chirinos working his way up the system. However, I have read that the Cubs are considering trading him. If that happens, it only assures that Soto is our catcher of the immediate future. So, that’s why I say we avoid arbitration and sign Soto to a multiyear deal now. It makes sense to me, but I’m not a baseball expert……just a fan!
I keep reading on various websites that the Cubs are still interested in a deal with the Texas Rangers for Chris Davis. While I am vaguely familiar with him I wanted to know a little more. So, here’s what I got.
Davis is a corner infielder capable of playing both firstbase and thirdbase. That’s interesting, considering Ramirez will be a free agent after 2011 and so will newly acquired Carlos Pena.
He’s will turn 25 next March so, he’s still relatively young. That’s another good thing. When I looked at his minor league stats it’s obvious he has power and he’s capable of hitting for a higher average than he has shown in the big leagues. Unfortunately, he does stikeout a lot. Too much if you ask me. However, if the Cubs were to reunite him with Rudy Jaramillo maybe things would work out in the Cubs favor. We just signed Pena and there’s talk that Rudy is going to help him so, why not help Davis as well.
From what I understand, the Rangers are wanting catcher Robinson Chirinos in a deal. I think that’s fine. We have Soto, Wellington Castillo and Koyie Hill at the catcher position right now. I am guessing Castillo will start the season in Triple A Iowa and get called up as soon as Hill or Soto get hurt…..not that I’m wanting that to happen because I don’t. Anway, I say pull the trigger and get Davis. We can use his lefthanded power off the bench to backup Pena and Ramirez or let him play at Triple A Iowa until we need him.