Tagged: Ryan Harvey

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

The Cubs are finally beginning to invest some real money into player development now that the Ricketts family has taken over as owners.  This is exciting news for me as a Cubs fan.  If you don’t think player development matters take a look at the New York Yankees.  Derek Jeter was a 1st round draft pick in 1992.  Mariano Rivera was signed as an amateur free agent in 1990.  Andy Pettitte was drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 draft.  Bernie Williams was signed as an amateur free agent in 1985.  Jorge Posada was drafted in the 24th round of the 1990 draft.  Those players helped form a dynasty in the mid to late 90s. 
 
The Cincinnati Reds are another example of player development paying off without the luxury of a large payroll for expensive free agents that your big market franchises have.  All Star first basemanJoey Votto, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft.  Jay Bruce was drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft.  Drew Stubbs was a 1st round pick in 2006.  Homer Bailey was a 1st round pick in the 2004 draft.  Johnny Cueto was signed as an amateur free agent in 2004 and Aroldis Chapman was singed as an amateur free agent in 2010.  These players were instrumental in helping the Reds to the playoffs in 2010 and should provide the Reds with a bright future.  The Reds also acquired some quality players through trades in Edinson VolquezBrandon Phillips and Scott Rolen
 
The Cubs have done so-so in the last 10 years in the amateur draft.  In 2001, we drafted Mark Prior in the 1st round, Ryan Theriot in the 3rd round, Sergio Mitre in the 7th round and Geovany Soto in the 11th round.  2002 wasn’t as kind though, but we did manage to draft Randy Wells as a catcher in the 38th round.  In 2003 Ryan Harvey was our 1st round pick and unfortunately he never worked out for us.  We also drafted Jake Fox in the 3rd round, Sean Marshall in the 6th round, Casey McGehee in the 10th round and Tim Lincecum in the 48th round but obviously he didn’t sign with us.  In 2004 our draft didn’t work out too well.  We drafted Mark Pawelek in the 1st round in 2005, but he never panned out.  In 2006 we drafted pretty well.  Tyler Colvin in the 1st, Jeff Samardzija in the 5th, Jeremy Papelbon in the 19th (Jonathan’s brother) and a few others that are still in our system working their way up.  2008 and 2009 seem to be decent drafts for us too, but time will tell.  Most importantly we need to draft well, sign amateur free agents like Carlos Marmol (1999) and develop these players better than we have done in the past.  Combine all of that with the ability to spend a lot of money and the Cubs will hopefully start winning on a regular basis and finally bring home a World Series Championship.

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MY THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

This Albert Pujols deal is getting interesting.  I was listening to talk sports radio this morning and they were focusing on the idea that the Cards trade Pujols.  I don’t see that happening.  I believe the Cards will be able to sign him after the season if they are willing to meet most of his demands.  If for some reason he does not sign with the Cards then I see him signing with a National League.  I cannot imagine Albert going to the AL and having to be a DH even in the later stages of his career.  He’s too competitive and wants to be on the field at all times.

The Cubs’ Marlon Byrd is working with Victor Conte.  Remember him?  The guy from Balco labs that did jail time.  Byrd said he is not doing anything illegal and I believe him, but couldn’t he have found someone else?!?!  Sorry Marlon, but Conte isn’t someone I would want to be associated with. 

Jeff Samardzija is going to be a reliever this season.  No question about it.  The Cubs have enough guys competing for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation so Jeff will pitch out of the pen.  At least he knows what his role will be this season.  He’s out of options so if he doesn’t pitch well he may not stay with the Cubs. 

The Cubs traded minor league infielder, Tony Thomas, for 26 year old Robert Coello.  The former Red Sox minor league will probably start the year in Iowa and be called up in case of injury.  I believe he will be used as a starter in Iowa to start the season, but is also capable of coming out of the pen.  Personally, I didn’t care for this trade.

Josh Vitters needs to have a breakout season in 2011 or I fear he may become the next Ryan Harvey.  I will be keeping an eye on him and I really hope he stays healthy and hits like he’s capable of.

Finally, Keith Moreland will be taking the place of Ron Santo in the radio booth.  I am happy for Keith and believe he will do a great job. 

BREAKING DOWN THE TRADE FOR GARZA

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!