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offseason news thread

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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#21 » by Kizz Fastfists » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:31 pm

There were conflicting reports about Zimmerman. I'm going to guess they were never talking about him, but about A.J. Cole and Lucas Giolito. There have also been some rumors about Jason Heyward, but those only make sense if they believe he can play CF at a high level. Can we just skip ahead a few weeks to the Winter Meetings and get things rolling please?

Russell Martin is the rumor that makes the most sense. Theo overpaid Varitek for years in Boston and Martin is the exact same type of catcher. So I can see Theo wanting him to be his catching for a the next 5 years or so. Theo was still playing Varited over $10M/yr at age 36 and paid him good money until he was 40. Martin does all the things well that don't show up in a box score. Pitch framing, game calling, etc. The core concept of the moneyball theory is to find market inefficiencies and exploit them. If other teams are just looking at batting statistics, runners thrown out, balls blocked and ignoring framing and other subtle things that could be an inefficiency to exploit. To put it in perspective if you used pitch framing in an rWAR calculation where 10 runs equals one win Martin would have been worth 2 more WAR last year based on his framing and Castillo would have been worth 2 less wins. So that is a 4 win swing that could could have in their team WAR calculator that other teams do not have.

There have also been some rumors about he Phillies being interested in Welly. Sandberg supposedly liked him when he managed him in the minors. The Phillies are one of the least saber minded teams in baseball and if they want Welly as the 2nd or 3rd piece in a Hamels deal then signing Martin makes even more sense. Sign Martin for your catcher. Then send a package along the lines of Alcantara, McKinney, Welly and Pierce Johnson to the Phillies for Hamels. Throw in a Lester signing and the Cubs could be in good shape heading into next season.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#22 » by karch34 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:02 am

Good points. I do think Martin is the most likely signing. I also think the only chance for 2 big name pitchers is if a Hamels trade happens. I think the fact you'd be looking at 6 years for guys 30 or older is a big risk and unlikely that you'd see 2 get signed. While Hamels isn't young either, less years and likely a better $ per year (based on what Lester, Scherzer, etc will get) does mitigate some of the risk.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#23 » by karch34 » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:41 pm

Cubs trade Vizcaino for IF Tommy La Stella and the Braves #4 slot for international signing bonus.

Interesting deal. Gives us slots 2-4. Don't know much about La Stella. The bonuse slot is likely the bigger part of the deal.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#24 » by Kizz Fastfists » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:31 pm

The Cubs gave the Braves international money. The Braves gained $832K in signing cap. The Cubs went so far over budget last year that their pool has virtually no value to them this year as they can't offer anyone over a $250K signing bonus. They are likely to do the same thing next year, especially if the Cuban defector Moncado is is in that class instead of the current one. This is viewed by the font office as a market inefficiency to exploit by signing several of the top players in a specific draft class and being left out the next year. So instead of getting 1 of the top 30 every year along with some lesser prospects you get 4-5 of the top 20 one year along with others in the top 100 then virtually nothing the next year.

This move was for La Stella and gives the Cubs a high OBP 2B so they can trade Castro. Baez will start the year at SS, La Stella at 2B and Valbuena at 3B. Bryant takes over 3B 3-4 weeks into the season after they secure the extra year of control and Valbuena and La Stella platoon until Russell gets called up and Baez goes back to 2B. It could be Baez that is moved instead of Castro, but it's the same result with Castro starting at SS then going to 2B instead of Baez.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#25 » by karch34 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:21 am

Thanks Kizz. I saw a little more after the initial tweets and it makes more sense now. Seems like we got a good top of the order type player.

Saw Hoyer said it's not a precursor to any more, but it almost has to be unless they look at converting Baez or Bryant to LF, I would imagine.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#26 » by GYBE » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:25 am

You guys are seriously overrating La Stella if you think his acquisition means they're trading away a core player.

The Cubs traded a marginal asset for another marginal asset. La Stella is a bench player. Steamer projects him for 0.9 WAR in 400 PA's next season. He's slightly below-average defensively and has zero power. He's simply a backup infielder, which is needed with Logan Watkins being the best option there before this deal. Vizcaino's value has plummeted because he still hasn't gotten his control back from TJ surgery. If La Stella had serious value, it would have cost a lot more to acquire him.

He's going to be 26 when next season starts. Guys that have just made the majors at that age very rarely turn out to be anything worthwhile. He's like Ryan Theriot (without the great 2008 season) with much less defensive value because he's limited to 2nd base. If he starts for an extended period, something has gone horribly wrong.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#27 » by Jeffster81 » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:19 am

TLS is closer to being a Todd Walker than he is a Ryan Theriot. TLS has hit everywhere he's been (except MLB, but SSS there), Theriot has not. I don't think TLS is "just" a bench player, but he will have to improve his defense and versatility if he wants to make the roster.

Considering how much Jed likes this kid, TLS will be given a chance to win not just a spot on the roster but as a starter. I do believe TLS will hit. It will not surprise me at all if TLS is the starter with Baez at AAA working on the holes in his swing.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#28 » by GYBE » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:37 pm

I don't think Baez will be sent to Iowa unless he continues to hit like last year for the first few months of the season. By that point, Addison might be ready anyways.

Everyone in our infield is/was a top 20 prospect in baseball with superstar potential. La Stella is just a guy. Even if he is Todd Walker, that should not be good enough to start on this team of potential stars.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#29 » by GYBE » Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:59 pm

So we lost out on Russell Martin. Blue Jays got him for 5/82.

I really, really think he would be a Cub if no one was willing to go 5 years. Sucks.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#30 » by Kizz Fastfists » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:16 pm

Cards add Jason Heyward. Cubs miss on Martin. I guess the thing we don't know is how in they really were on Martin. Theo and Hoyer have made some comments in the past would imply they weren't thrilled about the idea of signing any player that cost a draft pick. So they might not have been in on Martin as has been suggested. I really like the idea of Martin, but it's time to move on. If they really did want Martin I'm surprised they wouldn't go the 5th year. As long as Theo kept Varitek around, with a similar skill set, five years would have put Martin at the same age as Varitek's last $10M+ season.

Lester was always believed to be the top priority so we'll see how that goes over the next week or so. There is also Scherzer that could be in play. Then the trade market. We still have at least another month before everything is all sorted out. A lot can happen during that time.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#31 » by karch34 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:28 am

I would've liked Martin, but at the same time that's a lot of coin over 5 years for a 32 year old catcher. Granted we'd be paying with the understanding that the last few years are going to be Soriano-esqe and it's for the leadership now.

Too bad we didn't get him, but Lester and the big time pitchers are still in play, so not too upset or worried this early in the offseason.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#32 » by GYBE » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:48 am

I'm upset. I've been reading up on pitch-framing and really think we need an upgrade at catcher. Castillo was graded as he 2nd-worst pitch framer in the league last year. Look at this pitch.

Image

It's a strike right down the middle, but Castillo's terrible framing turns it into a ball.

Image

I think the best option now might be trading for Miguel Montero. It's not ideal, since it will cost us talent and he's slipped offensively, but I really think we need to do better than Castillo. Russell Martin is absolutely elite in pitch-framing and would have been a fantastic addition.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#33 » by Kizz Fastfists » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:01 am

The difference in pitch framing from Martin to Castillo was 35 runs last year. That would be the same as upgrading EJax to Bartolo Colon. It would have been a HUGE upgrade to the pitching staff. When fangraphs catches up and starts using pitch framing in their WAR calculations Castillo will lose 2.5 WAR a year from framing while Martin will gain around 2 WAR. This contract will be considered good value even at the end when you take framing into the equation. Fangraphs has Martin as worth $50M over the last two years WITHOUT his framing. Add in the framing and he's been worth $65M over the last two years. There is almost no way he doesn't provide more value than that contract, assuming he can average 100 games a season and provide close to his career average offense, even his 2013 offense would keep his value in the $100M range over the next 5 years.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#34 » by karch34 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:07 pm

Since it's been slow, any thoughts on Red Sox getting Ramirez and supposedly Sandoval hurting their chances for Lester?
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#35 » by Kizz Fastfists » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:12 pm

I think it helps their chances with Lester if anything. Money isn't an issue for the Red Sox. By signing both Panda and HanRam it opens up a lot of options for them. Napoli is only signed through 2015 so they can keep Bogaertz as a utility guy knowing it is unlikely that HanRam plays 130 games so between SS, 3B, 2B and some OF Bogaertz could get 100ish games. Then in 2016 he takes over at SS with HanRam going to 3B and Panda 1B. They could also be setting themselves up to trade Bogaertz to the Phillies in a deal for Hamels. Panda, HanRam, Hamels and Lester sounds like a good off-season. I think they would still need another pitcher, i.e. Liriano, but they would be moving in the right direction.

They can also have HanRam penciled in at LF which would keep Bogaertz at SS. They have opened up a lot of options. They still need to add starting pitching. Even re-signing Lester and trading for Hamels would basically be a push since they had Lester and Lackey last year. They need to add at least three quality starting pitchers they could afford to add Lester, Hamels and Shields which would at least make them look like playoff contenders on paper. I think the Red Sox are going to take the opposite approach of the Cubs and trade off some of their top prospects for proven players while bringing in aging veterans. The contract lengths are not bad at all. I want to dislike the moves due to the defensive issues, but they are solid contracts. However, if the Red Sox can't fix their rotation it won't really matter.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#36 » by karch34 » Tue Nov 25, 2014 6:57 pm

I'm inclined to agree. $ isn't a concern and it does open up options for Hamels as well.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#37 » by Jeffster81 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:20 am

If getting Panda and Hanley help Boston in getting Lester, they would have gotten him(Lester) already. It doesn't hurt their chances but I don't think it necessary helps them either. Not to mention Lester is most definitely NOT a fan of Hanley Ramirez going back to their days in the Red Sox farm system. So I'm not sure how excited he would be about being his teammate. With that said, I still think it's Red Sox/Cubs 50/50 right now. He knows Boston, but the guy who drafted him and the young star player that Lester took under his wing while with Boston are both in Chicago. It the deals are close, he is going back to Boston.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#38 » by Kizz Fastfists » Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:47 am

He knows Boston, but he did already sell his home there. So he might have moved on already and just be using them to run his asking price with the Cubs, Cards, Braves and/or Giants. I think if he had a real preference he would have signed with that team already. Keep in mind his family lives in Atlanta year round so signing there he would see his wife and kids more during the season. They scare me more than Boston at this point. I'm not sure you can see Lester that the Cubs are in a better position to win than the Braves right now and I'd give them the edge on location and other non baseball things. Again, if he were set on playing in Atlanta I think he would have already signed.

However, if the money ends up being close I would think the best team, which I'd assume he'd rank as the Cardinals and Red Sox, could get an edge or proximity to the family could give Atlanta the edge. The Cubs probably have to be the highest bidder. Even then his wife could push him into signing with Atlanta if she wants him around more during the season. We are talking about a player that has already made over $30M so with a half way decent investment plan his family is in good shape. So leaving a few million on the table might not be as important to his wife as having him around more with two kids.
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#39 » by hermes » Mon Dec 8, 2014 1:50 am

ryan dempster retired and he's in the front office now - good for him
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Re: offseason news thread 

Post#40 » by karch34 » Mon Dec 8, 2014 5:50 pm

Reports are we signed Jason Hammel to a 2/$18 mill contract.

I like it. We weren't likely to get two big name pitchers, but Hammel was solid under Bosio and the money and years are decent.

Hope he became good friends with Lester while in Oakland.

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