I decided to take the holidays off. Sorry I didn’t let you know before hand.
In an attempt to clear salary, the Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub. Another trade is in place that would send Jason Marquis to the Rockies for pitcher Luis Vizcaino.
I really like the Marquis trade for both teams. The Cubs will throw in 1 million and take on the entire 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino. So, it is a net dump of about 5 million. Dropping that 5 million will bring the Cubs’ payroll down to about 132 million. The final payroll will be in the 140-145 million dollar range. That leaves 8 to 13 million to spend; enough to sign a big bat for right field. Guys like Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, and Bobby Abreu can be squeezed into the payroll now. Vizcaino provides depth. If he bounces back to form, it will give the Cubs another solid arm for the late innings. If not, then the Cubs can just release him. This is a solid trade for them.
The Rockies got a good deal, too. They receive a quality starting pitcher to slot into their rotation. He comes cheaply, too; only 5 million in net gain. They could’ve signed a guy like Tim Redding instead and gotten similar production, but Redding will probably require a 2 year deal at around the 5 million Marquis gets. So they get similar production and cut off a year. Good job by the Rox.
I’ll be honest by saying that I completely hate the DeRosa trade for the Cubs. This is a fantastic move by the Indians. The 3 prospects the Cubs have coming their way aren’t much at all. Jeff Stevens has some nice potential as a relief pitcher, but he isn’t any better than Jose Ceda, the player they sent to the Marlins in the Kevin Gregg trade. Yes, Gregg will be an important piece to the team by setting up for Carlos Marmol, but he is no where near as valuable as Mark DeRosa. Still, Stevens is a solid piece that could develop and give the Cubs some help in the pen. He has fantastic stuff. John Gaub also has good stuff; he struck out 100 batters in only 64 innings. He is a relief prospect at best, though. Good middle relievers are necessary to any team hoping to compete; Stevens and Gaub at least have the stuff to become very good ones. Plus, they are under control for 6 years as opposed to DeRosa’s 1 year under contract. The other prospect, Chris Archer, is more of a throw-in than a solid piece.
To help offset the move, the Cubs signed Aaron Miles for 2 years, 4.9 million. He is a solid middle infielder, and should keep the second base position respectable. He and Mike Fontenot could form a nice platoon at the bottom of the Cubs lineup.
I guess that this return isn’t terrible, but I expected more if the team were to trade DeRo. The trade may work out in the long run, but I don’t understand why the Cubs are going to hurt their team this year. It doesn’t make any sense at all unless…
Jake Peavy is the next move. Dumping the 5.5 million owed to DeRosa and the 9.9 million owed to Marquis opens up a lot of money. However, the Cubs will pay 1 million of Marquis’ contract and they take on the 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino as well as signing Miles for 2.2 million in the first year. So, these two trades dump a net total of about 9 million. Payroll is reduced all the way down to 128 million. This leaves the Cubs with 12 to 17 million to spend. I know that it’s unlikely that they can fit both a right fielder like Milton Bradley and Jake Peavy into the payroll, but it sure is possible. Hopefully, the Tribune company would be willing to extend payroll to about 150 million to accommodate these moves, if it allows Peavy to come to town. All they have to do is sign Bradley for 2 years, 20 million. Then, take on Jake Peavy’s contract of 11 million per year. It could fit. If not, then just backload Bradley’s contract. They’ll have to let Rich Harden leave after ’09, but that’s OK if Peavy is brought in. Of course, even if all of these finances are possible, the Cubs need to work out a trade. I think that they have the pieces after the DeRosa move. It could be a 3 team trade that looks like this…
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Garret Olson, Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
A trade similar to this one was accepted by Kevin Towers, but Jim Hendry declined because he couldn’t get ownership approval. Who knows, maybe now that Marquis and DeRosa are gone the trade could come back to life. It’s doubtful, but that is the only reason I can see for trading Mark DeRosa. Maybe they just needed to clear all of his salary. I don’t know.
By the way, DeRosa deleted everything he wrote on his MLBlog, The Pulse. It will now focus solely on the Indians.
By my calculations, the Mets have around 12 million left to spend after signing Francisco Rodriguez and trading for JJ Putz. With that 12 million, they would like to sign a starting pitcher. Below are some names that they could consider.
Derek Lowe. He seems like their top target. The only question is if they can afford Lowe. His price seems to be dropping now that the Yankees and Phillies are out, but I’m still not convinced that he will get less than 14 million per year. The Reds Sox and Braves make a whole lot of sense even though they haven’t made it public. The only way I see Lowe in a Mets uniform is if they make a trade or two to clear some salary. The problem is, they don’t have any expendable pieces.
Oliver Perez. To me, a return of Oliver Perez is the most likely possibility for the Mets. I don’t think that they can afford Lowe, and I can’t find our any other good suitors for Ollie other than the Mets. I guess the Dodgers could make an inquiry, but they seems more willing to sign a starter like Randy Johnson to a short term deal. Perez is the best option available to the Mets unless they do somehow bring in Lowe. Again, that’s not likely.
Randy Wolf. He makes sense because he is a left handed starter that could come on a 1 year deal. Wolf was very solid last year, and could be a really nice pick-up if he stays healthy. Wolf has got some upside, and I would be willing to take him on if Lowe or Perez cannot be signed.
Jon Garland. You could make the argument that he makes more sense than Wolf. Garland is younger, more durable, and has a better track record. However, Wolf was better last year, has more strike-outs, and is a lefty. I think it will pretty much come down to whomever will come cheaper for a shorter term. Garland would make a solid aquisition to the Mets’ pitching staff.
Jason Marquis. The Cubs have made it known that he is available, and they would probably even toss in some money. Marquis is from New York, will come on a 1 year deal, and is pretty much just as good as Wolf and Garland. If the Cubs bring his salary down to, say 7 million, a deal could be possible.
So, if I was the Mets’ GM Omar Minaya, I would go hard after Lowe and Perez. If both players were pushed out of my budget, I would aquire Wolf, Garland, or Marquis. Since they all are similar pitchers, I would just take on the cheapest one. The remaining money could be used on a cheap fifth starter candidate like Pedro Martinez or Bartolo Colon. You can never have too much pitching depth.
The framework of a trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs is in place. It would be a complicated 4-team trade, but apparently it makes sense to the GMs. The Cubs, Padres, Phillies, and Orioles would be the 4 teams. The Phillies and Orioles are satisfied by their part of the deal. The only part left of the trade would be whom the Cubs send to the Padres. I’m not sure on this, but guessing a trade would look like this.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Garret Olson, Jason Donald, Ronny Cedeno, Sean Marshall
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
- Phillies get: Mark DeRosa
- Cubs lose: Mark DeRosa, Josh Vitters, Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Sean Marshall
- Padres lose: Jake Peavy
- Orioles lose: Garret Olson
- Phillies lose: Jason Donald
It looks like a trade like this could be completed, but first the Cubs will need to clear salary by trading Jason Marquis. It looks like all they have to do is pull the trigger on a Marquis trade and they’ll be able to make this huge, blockbuster trade. Overcourse, this deal needs to make sense for all teams.
The Cubs would be aquiring Jake Peavy. Adding him to setup a rotation of Peavy – Carlos Zambrano – Rich Harden – Ryan Dempster – and Ted Lilly would make the Cubs the unquestioned best team in the MLB. Yes, their whole entire farm system is getting traded away, but I think it’s definately worth it. Vitters, Pie, Cedeno, and Marshall all are blocked, anyway. It hurts losing DeRosa, but you have to give something to get something.
This looks like a pretty solid deal for the Padres, too. The get a great
prospect in Josh Vitters to take over at third base in the future. They can shop Kevin Kouzmanoff until Vitters hits the big leagues. The Pads can take their time, because he is at least 2 years away from prime-time ball. Jason Donald is a solid shortstop prospect; he adequately replaces Khalil Greene. Cedeno provides depth. Garret Olson and Sean Marshall are by no means top notch pitching prospects, but they add depth to the back of the Padres’ rotation. Because of PETCO Park, it will be easy to find pitching. This is arguably just as good as the Braves’ offer of Yunel Escobar, Goyrks Hernandez, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Charlie Morton. It is just a more crafty way of doing it. I like this trade for the Padres, even though I admit they could do better if they wait until the trade deadline.
It’s a no-brainer for the Orioles to make the trade. Garret Olson doesn’t have the same upside as Felix Pie. They have both been awful in the MLB, but Pie has been given less of a chance. I know that they both look like busts right now, but Pie has a much better chance at becoming a quality player than Olson does. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen Pie play so many times while watching the Cubs. It appears that the Orioles also like the idea of swaping Olson out for Pie, and I agree with them.
It also makes sense for the Phillies. Mark DeRosa was a great player last year. He was a
huge reason why the Cubs won 97 games, and it would hurt them lose DeRo, but it seems the Cubs are open to this trade. The Phillies are reportedly really high on Donald, but it just seems like they would trade him for DeRosa in a heartbeat. Donald is blocked, and DeRo makes more sense than anyone else on the free agent market. He can play second base until Chase Utley returns from his injury, and then he can move to left field, replacing Pat Burrell. Eric Bruntlett, Greg Dobbs, and Geoff Jenkins would play left field or second base until Utley returns. This would be a great idea for Philly. The only problem is that they’re making it a lot harder to get back to the World Series by assisting the Cubs in aquiring Peavy.
So I think this huge, blockbuster, 4-team trade would make a lot of sense for all the clubs involved, but one little snag in negotiations could ruin the whole thing. I hope it happens!
Lou Pinella says that he will move Kosuke Fukudome to center field next year; he’ll platoon with Reed Johnson. This implies many things. Jim Edmonds won’t be back, Felix Pie will again ride the bench, and the Cubs are in the market for a powerful, right field, lefty bat. They are expected to have about 20 million to spend in the offseason. That might not be enough to resign Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster as well as a big lefty bat. The Cubs might be doing some serious backloading again. If they can squeeze him in, then Bobby Abreu would make a ton of sense. If Brian Giles would accept a trade to the Cubs, they would love him at only 9 million on a one year deal. Jason Marquis will have to be moved to clear salary. I could see them sign Abreu, Dempster, and Wood if they backload each deal and trade Marquis. Another idea: let Wood walk. They could then turn Carlos Marmol into the closer. After that, they might be able to trade Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Jason Marquis to the Royals for Ron Mahay. The Royals are adding a great center field prospect in exchange for taking on Marquis salary and Mahay. Have Mahay set-up for Marmol. This idea could work too. These are just some random ideas for the Cubs.
There have been rumors going around that the Cubs will consider trading Derrek Lee this offseason. Their reasoning is that it would open up more money to spend on a left handed bat. For example: The Cubs trade Lee to the Giants for Randy Winn and salary. Then they sign Adam Dunn to a big deal and tell him to play first base. They’d add power with Dunn and Winn, but would lose a lot of defense by subtracting Lee and moving Kosuke Fukudome to the bench. I think it would be an expensive way to get maybe an extra 1-2 wins. When you win your division by 8 games and the team 8 games behind you is losing their top two pitchers, 1-2 games doesn’t mean much. Plus the’re ruining the club house chemistry that was so good all year long by trading one of the leaders, Lee. If I was Jim Hendry, I would just try to resign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Use the money on those guys, while backloading contracts. Trade Jason Marquis and all of the salary possible. Move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, sign a middle reliever to replace him in the ‘pen, and then explore a trade for Randy Winn or Brian Giles. I would definatly not trade Derrek Lee.
It has been stated that the Cubs would like to add another left-handed bat to their lineup. There are several positions I could see this bat coming from if they aren’t afraid to bench Kosuke Fukudome or move him to center field. First of all, there are the never dying Brian Roberts rumors. I don’t think they’ll have enough to get him without Sean Gallagher, whom got traded to the A’s in the Rich Harden deal. Maybe Sean Marshall, Donald Veal, Jose Ceda, Ronny Cedeno, and Mike Fontenot could do the trick. I wouldn’t do that if I was the Cubs or the Oriols, though. They could pursue Rafeal Furcal, just like they did back in 2006. Then move Ryan Theriot to second base, Mark DeRosa to right, and Kosuke Fukudome to center. If that doesn’t work, then go after Bobby Abreu. He brings a solid OBP to the Cubs. If they strike-out on him, they could try to maneuver a trade for Brian Giles. Ronny Cedeno and Jose Ceda could interest the Padres, who once had Ceda on their team. Milton Bradley could be signed if they want to spend some serious dough. If they’re not horrified about the idea of Raul Ibanez’s defense in right field, (which I am) then why not go after him? I don’t really like any of these ideas, because it would just keep the payroll going up, up, up. I’d rather have them lock up Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, sign a middle reliever, move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, and trade Jason Marquis. Also, give the center field job to Felix Pie and platoon Fukudome with Reed Johnson. Rich Harden could be signed to a long term deal as well. I think people are making too big of a deal out of three October games.
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