Goatriders of the Apocalypse

One trade makes sense for the Cubs.

In terms of how the 2010 roster is built, I'd say the Cubs have a surplus of one thing, and are at the same time missing one prominent piece of the puzzle.

We have too many starting pitchers. Case in point: Z is in the 'pen. We've got a guy in Iowa doing everything he can to earn his way into the rotation (Andrew Cashner), and our mop-up/LOOGY/set-up man has starting experience as well (Sean Marshall). So we're, what, eight deep?

And normally that's all well and good, except the Cubs are lacking a right-handed power reliever (how 'bout a big WHOOPS for trading away Mike Wuertz for next to nothing?).

So first, you gotta ask: which starters could be moved?

I mean, theoretically we could trade anyone without a no-trade clause. But I don't think there are many teams out there that want to take on an extra $30 million in guaranteed dollars. So that eliminates Dempster (owed $12.5m this year, $13.5m next year, and has a player option which you can assume he'll take for $14m in 2012), and of course, Carlos Zambrano (owed nearly $18m for each of '10, '11 and '12).

If the Cubs' window is indeed closing on this group of veterans (and I think we all agree that it appears to be doing so), then it would be stupid of the team to trade a younger pitcher for an older reliever just so they could feel marginally better about this year. So it's probably not in the team's best interest to trade Wells or Gorzelanny.

That leaves two candidates for the Cubs' trading block, effective immediately:

1) Ted Lilly - owed $12 million for 2010, FA in 2011
2) Carlos Silva - owed $8 million in 2010, $6 million in 2011, and a $2 million buyout in 2012

Given their recent performances, I think it's difficult to say which contract is more valuable. I suppose y'all can argue about that in the comments.

Now that we've got guys we're willing to move, we need to identify a reasonable target. Given the performance from their starting rotation so far this year, and the fact that they have a pretty decent team aside from the back of their rotation, I think the Colorado Rockies are a good trade target.

Furthermore, and most importantly for the Cubs, the Rockies have a surplus of decent, hard-throwing, right-handed relief pitching. Even if we assume they want to hold on to their closer, Huston Street, they've got two well-paid righties in the 'pen beyond him:

1) Rafael Betancourt - owed $3.775 million in each of '10 and '11
2) Manny Corpas - owed $2.75m and $3.5m in '10 and '11 respectively

How about Carlos Silva, Jeff Gray, and $5 million, for Rafael Betancourt?

I like the basic outline of

I like the basic outline of the deal, but I don't think Betencourt has much left in the tank. He's already 35 and has not played well this year at all.

He's got a 92.4mph average

He's got a 92.4mph average fastball, which is actually up slightly this year. And in 11.2 IP so far this year he has 14 strikeouts, with only one unintentional walk.

great idea

Like the first commenter, I like the idea of a trade and I don't think Silva will ever have higher trade-value.

I don't get it... We should

I don't get it... We should trade one of the very few tradeable pieces on the club for a borderline reliever who may or may not make this team slightly less pitiful this year? Then maybe we can have a .500-.510 season instead of a .480 season?

Nah, if we start trading people, something like this should be the plan

Fire Hendry - this is the first step as nothing which follows should be left in the hands of Jimmy. The last thing we need are more relievers with zero control or midget middle infielders; the only thing Hendry seems capable of trading for. Who cares who replaces him really, but personally kind of like the idea of DePodesta. I actually still believe the Mad Dog "internship" might have been done with this being the eventual plan, and you cant take that from me!

Fire Lou - He just doesn't care, its as clear as day. I know Ryno is the choice of many here, but at least look into Torey Lovullo as well. Either will be infinitely better for the young kids that should be playing for us this year and moving forward

Let DePo/whoever and Ryno/Torey bring in their own coaching staff they think will best serve the kids that the club will be playing

Silva + Cash to Mets for David Murphy
--- Cheap, stopgap 1B for next couple seasons. We wont get much of anything for Silva anyway, so... (Zambrano goes back to rotation)

Lilly + Fontenot + Cash to Rockies for pure prospects
--- Not sure what we can get in return, but hopefully we can get something fairly good (give Cashner his call, and stick with him for better or worse - we are in rebuild mode!)

Fukudome + Cash to Nats or M's for pure prospects
--- Not sure why Wash wants him, but they seem to be interested to some extent. Either way, find someone to take him - its a fantastic opportunity to A) empty a spot for Colvin and B) inject more prospects in our system

Sean Marshall to Highest Bidder for pure prospects
--- Someone will bite and he might be our best bet to get a nice return because of his low salary, optional control and ability shown for multiple roles. (Call up Stevens or someone to take his place. Doesn't really matter at this point though...)

Put Grabow on the market, and leave him there. No one will bite, but just in case some idiot comes along...

Then we will need to wait and see if Lee shows any signs of rebound before we can trade him; no one in their right mind would take him now. If he doesn't rebound, we're screwed. We wont be able to offer him arbitration if he gets status because he will likely accept.

We cant trade Dempster, Zambrano and Soriano for obvious reasons. We probably don't want to trade Ramirez as 3B will be harder to fill with a stop-gap and his salary + lack of production doesn't make him trade bait anyway. (no, Vitters again sucked at A this year and is not ready at all, if he even sticks at 3rd anyway) We just signed Byrd to the pretty big contract, don't have an immediate realistic CF option anyway and should instead look to trade him mid-point next season for prospects. We should trade Theriot if a good offer comes along though, using Baker at 2B in the meantime.

Just hoping this club gets better and somehow becomes a contender is spinning the wheels, and any trade/move made in that effort is counterproductive. But sitting back and waiting for the contracts to work their way off the books is foolish as well, and this is an ideal time to start infusing both the majors and minors with younger players and prospects by unloading the few players we might be able to get something for.

You're falling into a common

You're falling into a common trap, my friend. You're asking for too much for the crap we have on hand.

Would you be surprised if Carlos Silva gave up nine runs in three innings in his next start? Would it shock you if he all of a sudden just completely fell off the wagon, and failed to pitch a decent game again this year? Look at the man's history. He's had a past of being absolutely worthless.

So what makes you think the Mets are going to give up a valuable young player for a pitcher that could be worthless tomorrow?

And I don't quite understand what you mean by "pure prospects." What team would give up any prospect with any value for overpayed veterans and/or replacement-level 27-year olds? You're crazy, dude.

Betancourt does have a high ERA. But he's also got a live fastball, a solid strikeout rate, and not many walks. He could be a huge help to this team, one that sorely needs a power righty. The NL is wide open this year; why not take a shot if it makes sense to do so?

That's my opinion, anyway.

Nah, youre taking it

Nah, youre taking it completely wrong...

On Silva - nope, not at all. In fact, I was the one posting his "first 6 of 2008" numbers the other day; numbers that look identical to his "first 6 of 2010" before he became one of the worst starters in the history of the game for the next 22 starts.

But, think you are big-time overvaluing Murphy as well. Who is really going to trade anything of real value for a 29 year old well-well-well-below average hitting 1B who has been deemed 4A by the Mets? Especially when someone like Garko is on the market? It wouldn't be asking much at all for Omar to trade a bench/platoon type for a starter on a hot streak if we act fairly fast.

As far as "pure prospects" - meaning not 25-27 year olds. Outside Murphy (since we cant expect anything for Silva anyway) to replace Lee for a couple seasons (as well as provide some, albeit crappy, flexibility), we should be targeting prospects with upside that are a couple years away still. Get um young, ideally they turn into something. It doesn't mean "fantastic prospects" in any way though, and it seems you took it that way...

And to finish this sentence from you:
"Betancourt does have a high ERA. But he's also got a live fastball" ...and would provide no real value to us!

We are not one reliever from competing, and the trickle moves (minus starter who has been doing good, Zambrano out of the pen, new Reliever into the pen) really does nothing more then put us right back to where we are today with just more stability in our current level of suckatude. It will mean zero dividends for our 2012+ seasons though, and those are the ones we should be focusing on.

Because, really, what about this team says "competitor"? What about them says they can go something like the 74-52 that it will likely take to get into the playoffs? So why would we trade solely for the here and now when tomorrow is the only thing we realistically have to look forward to?

And that's the thing - it will take something at least close to a 74-52 run to make the playoffs, no matter how wishful our thinking. 89 Wins would have only gotten the W/C once the last 5 seasons. And no, we should not expect the Cards to win that many fewer then 90; not in this division...

So if Murphy's not that good,

So if Murphy's not that good, why do we want him over a guy like Hoffpauir?

Replacement-level minor leaguers are just that -- replacement-level. A dime a dozen. We have plenty of .260/.330/.390 hitters in Iowa, and any of them could stand at first and catch balls thrown to them.

What we don't have is a strike-throwing power reliever. This is exactly why the team has Zambrano in the bullpen. "Until we find someone on the trade market," Hendry has said, "we're gonna keep Z in the pen."

Well Jim, I've found your guy. Rafael Betancourt is a superfluous piece in the Rockie pen, he's right-handed, throws hard and throws strikes.

You're right that we're not one reliever away from competing. But with six .300-hitters and a bunch of guys in the rotation that keep throwing quality starts, I don't think we're THAT far away either. I wonder where we'd be on July 1 if we added one missing piece and managed our current talent a bit better.

in reply...

"So if Murphy's not that good, why do we want him over a guy like Hoffpauir?"

Because Hoff can barley play a corner OF sport where Murphy can play anywhere on the field when need be. He has played each OF spot as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd recently in the minors. He's an ideal stopgap for a club rebuilding with possible holes/depth issues everywhere.

"What we don't have is a strike-throwing power reliever."

And what good will one do us? Just so we can make-believe we are somehow a team that has a prayer of doing anything?

Besides, like I said, removing a starter who has been doing good for a reliever means we haven't improved our team at all, one bit.

"But with six .300-hitters and a bunch of guys in the rotation that keep throwing quality starts, I don't think we're THAT far away either."

I'll tell you how far away we are - 74-52 (.587 w%) away.

Now I dont think you feel we are a 95 Win type team, but that is the pace we would need to go on at this point. And remember, we have already thrown about 5 (or more) wins away. If you thought we were a 85 Win team over the offseason, your total should now be adjusted down to 80. And 80 Wins is sub-500...

Here's my list of 10 moves to

Here's my list of 10 moves to make right now:

1. Fire Hendry. Name Randy Bush interim GM and Maddux Asst GM
2. Fire Lou. Name Brenly interim Mgr for remainder of year, with a guarantee that he will A: get serious consideration for the permanent spot over the winter and B: if he chooses, he can go back to the booth.
3. Send Colvin to Iowa for 2-4 weeks. He needs AB's until Step 4 happens
4. Trade Fukudome to Seattle for anything they offer. The Cubs are going to pay him either way so any medium-level prospect they get back will be fine
5. Release Nady and recall Tracy. Tracy is more versatile and a better pinch-hitter.
6. Trade Lilly for whatever you can get.
7. Ditto Silva
8. Ditto Theriot. Play Fontenot/Baker at 2B for the rest of the year.
9. Put Zambrano back in the rotation. His attitude may improve as might his performance. Someone may just be dumb enough to want him in July.
10. Call up Cashner to join the rotation

Personally, the only Cubs on the current 25 man ML roster I'd want to keep are Castro, Colvin, Wells, Soto, Marshall, Byrd, Hill, and Marmol. 2010 is over. It was over before the season started. This team, as constructed, is no better than a .500 team. 2011 has a bit of promise so get started now building a contender.

I'm not sure Colvin could

I'm not sure Colvin could hold down the every day job, so I'd hesitate before dumping Fukudome.

So keep everyone we have,

So keep everyone we have, cross our fingers we go on a miracle 74-52 run, and then cross our fingers we can get lucky in the playoffs? Then hope that all our current prospects pan out because we added no new kids to our system for our rebuild period?

Fukudome is not part of the future, so what's the point in keeping him today when he might bring prospects that could actually help us when we actually need it? Colvin/Fuld/Hoff/whoever can stop-gap it for the rest of the year, with Colvin getting most of the play since he is the only with a possibility of a real future ahead of him.

That is, if we are rebuilding - which was the intent of his post (much like mine above)

I disagree. I think Colvin

I disagree. I think Colvin can handle the everyday workload. That said, this season was over before it started and because most of us agree that Fukudome is not part of the future, why not find out for sure about Colvin? Get him 350-400 AB's for the rest of this year. That's a large enough sample size to determine his ability. The M's are a perfect fit for Fukudome and if the Cubs were offered a couple of middling AA prospects, the deal should be a no-brainer.

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