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February 2012

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Morning News: Un-Romantic Valentine's Day Edition

Written by , Posted in General

¡Viva la (Free Agent) Revolución!  Prospective Cuban wunderkind Yoenis Cespedes signed a surprise deal Monday to play for the Oakland A’s.  That’s right–the A’s.  The Moneyball, work smarter not harder, stat-centric A’s broke out the checkbook for a player surrounded by big, looming questions.  Highly enticing questions, to be sure, but questions nonetheless.  Some of the highlights: how old is he really (?), how will he do against big league pitching (??), can his raw talent be refined (???), and seriously, how old is he????  But take a closer look at his four-year, $36M deal (back-loaded, no arbitration) and it looks like the A’s are betting he’ll perform, and that he can be the centerpiece of their collection of young talent that will put them back into the AL West competition within a couple years.  Here’s Jonah Keri’s reaction to Billy Beane’s uncharacteristic gamble.

¡La Revolución, Part Dos!  While the Cubs had an early interest in Cespedes, their focus seems to have shifted after the Marlins looked to be the early favorite to sign him–shifted onto fellow Cuban defector, Jorge Soler.  Now it looks like they might be the frontrunners to sign the young outfielder.  While he’s not being compared to Bo Jackson like Cespedes has been, Soler might be a real catch for the Cubs.  At least let’s hope he is, if the early reports of a $27M-something contract are true.  And as Dave van Dyck points out, if the Cubs do wind up signing Soler, they will have picked up two-thirds of the top talent coming out of Cuba this offseason (the other being pitcher Gerardo Concepcion).

Time to Pay Up  After months of glacially-paced negotiations, re-negotiations, and a couple stand-offs, the Cubs and Red Sox have submitted briefs stating their cases for compensation in the Theo Epstein transaction, and a decision is expected from commissioner Montgomery Burns Bud Selig soon, possibly even this week.  I keep hearing it might be Josh Vitters, but that might just be wishful thinking from Cubs fans who have grown tired of waiting for him to fulfill his potential.

Cold Stove  In even less-exciting news, the Cubs might be interested in another go-round with Ramon Ortiz.  Don’t get too worked up yet–it sounds like it will only be a minor league contract for the thirty-eight year-old pitcher.  Still, Theo and Jed appear to be addressing the lack of quality pitching available by going for quantity instead.

Retirement, Schmetirement  Speaking of old guys getting another shot, Randy Moss wants back into the NFL.  With the strong NFC Central North representation in our comments section, I don’t imagine he has a lot of fans around here.  But I’ll ask anyway: would you, under any circumstances, want him on your team next season?

One Man’s Garbage…  While it might not yet qualify as news, I suppose it’s not too early to weigh-in on the proposed deal to send Yankees flamethrower flameout A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh.  While the prospects going back to New York have yet to be determined, the deal calls for the Yankees to pick up the vast majority of the remaining $33M owed to Burnett.  I know Burnett doesn’t have many fans left, but I’m glad the Pirates are at least trying to do something.  I can’t remember the last time Pittsburgh brought in a notable name–and no, Bobby Hill doesn’t count.

  • Buddy

    Cespedes doesn’t make sense for many teams, but he does for Oakland. They’re so starved for offense, I can see why they rolled the dice. And it’s not like they gave him $100 million.  Oakland has a nice supply of young pitching, so maybe in two years they’ll be in the hunt for their division again.

  • Buddy

    Cespedes doesn’t make sense for many teams, but he does for Oakland. They’re so starved for offense, I can see why they rolled the dice. And it’s not like they gave him $100 million.  Oakland has a nice supply of young pitching, so maybe in two years they’ll be in the hunt for their division again.

  • Anonymous

    I think Billy Beane brought Cespedes in as a ploy to get that new stadium in San Jose where that dough is. All those corporate dollars. I can see it already, google buys the naming rights to the stadium

  • AC0000000

    I think Billy Beane brought Cespedes in as a ploy to get that new stadium in San Jose where that dough is. All those corporate dollars. I can see it already, google buys the naming rights to the stadium

  • Anonymous

    As for Randy Moss, he’s a piece of garbage. He’s got a bad attitude. The Packers won’t sign him. Let him go to the Bears and give their fans some more false hope. They’ll be good enough to keep Lovie on board for a few more years, but they’ll still suck.

  • AC0000000

    As for Randy Moss, he’s a piece of garbage. He’s got a bad attitude. The Packers won’t sign him. Let him go to the Bears and give their fans some more false hope. They’ll be good enough to keep Lovie on board for a few more years, but they’ll still suck.

  • Norm Bothwell

     I think Beane/A’s got him because it’s one of the few chances they can hit on an impact player for a cost that doesn’t cripple them. If he pans out, they have a stud in 2014 when they are hoping to be ready to compete. If they aren’t ready to compete, they have a great, cheap, trade chip. If he doesn’t pan out, o’well, it’s only $9M/year average.

    The timing of this Soler stuff is interesting since he can’t be signed yet. What’s to stop the Mystery Team from swooping in and offering a sweeter deal?

    • Anonymous

      Quite true on Soler, but if the Cubs in fact agreed with him for $27.5 million, I think the odds of another team besting that are very slim.  It would be an overpay, but one that makes sense to me.

  • Norm Bothwell

     I think Beane/A’s got him because it’s one of the few chances they can hit on an impact player for a cost that doesn’t cripple them. If he pans out, they have a stud in 2014 when they are hoping to be ready to compete. If they aren’t ready to compete, they have a great, cheap, trade chip. If he doesn’t pan out, o’well, it’s only $9M/year average.

    The timing of this Soler stuff is interesting since he can’t be signed yet. What’s to stop the Mystery Team from swooping in and offering a sweeter deal?

    • Noah_I

      Quite true on Soler, but if the Cubs in fact agreed with him for $27.5 million, I think the odds of another team besting that are very slim.  It would be an overpay, but one that makes sense to me.

  • Doug S.

    Roberto Duran said it best “No moss, no moss”

  • Doug S.

    Roberto Duran said it best “No moss, no moss”

  • “Still, Theo and Jed appear to be addressing the lack of quality pitching available by going for quantity instead.” ~JJ
    ^ this week’s swizzie

    • Jedi

      Seriously, at this rate each starter will have 15-20 innings to prove themselves in Spring Training.

      Ortiz
      Sonnanstine
      Volstad
      Wood
      Wells
      Jackson
      McNutt
      Lopez
      Rhee
      Rusin
      Samardzija?
      Carpenter?

      And Garza, Dempster, and Maholm all need to get a few innings in too.

      • Anonymous

        You’re not going to see many of them legitimately be competing for a role in the opening day rotation, though.  Aside from the three you noted who have spots taken, I really think the only ones who even have a chance of being seriously considered as a starter when the season starts are Wood, Volstad, Wells and Shark.  I’m not sure Shark will be seriously considered.  Everyone else will be pretty quickly back in Minor League camp (McNutt, Rhee, Rubin), be pretty clearly set for the bullpen (Carpenter) or either only have an option on the Cubs as the “long man” or as depth at AAA (Sonnanstine, Lopez, Ortiz). 

        I also think the Cubs should shy away on deciding who will make the team based on spring training statistics.  Sample sizes are tiny and it’s an extreme hitters league.  The tough decisions really need to be based on who actually looks better, not just in games but also in their side sessions.  There really should only be a few spots that the Cubs don’t know how they are going to fill at this point, and those should be at the back end of the bullpen or bench.  Allowing players to win roles in spring training is, unfortunately, how you end up with David Patton on the active roster in an irrational attempt to not give him back to his prior team. 

      • Dude.  Jedi is just pointing out the fact that we have a whole pile of starters to run out there, and a finite number of innings.  

      • Anonymous

        I understand that, but was merely stating that the finite number of innings and large number of pitchers invited to spring training isn’t a problem (although admittedly in a long winded way).  There’s minor league camp for a reason.  Every team in baseball invites something like 20-25 pitchers to start spring training with the Big League Club.  As long as your starters are stretched out for opening day, it doesn’t really matter.

      • Jedi

        It’ll be a problem if Ortiz, Lopez, Sonnanstine, or any of the miLB guys look really good and/or Wells, Volstad, Wood look bad/mediocre.  The Cubs aren’t monetarily committed to Wells, Volstad, or Wood in a way that would preclude them from moving, waiving, or demoting those guys (as the case may be for each one).  MOST teams start Spring Training with a spot or two in the rotation and 3 or 4 legit options to fill it.  The Cubs have tiers of options; and when the ESPN isn’t even projecting Wells to break camp with a rotation spot secured (they’ve tabbed Volstad and Wells) it tells you how “in flux” the Cubs situation really is.

        The point Jeremiah made in his post was that we aren’t lacking for options, we’re lacking for GOOD options.  The point I’m making is that at some point we have so many mediocre options, we won’t necessarily be able to give them all a fair shake.

  • “Still, Theo and Jed appear to be addressing the lack of quality pitching available by going for quantity instead.” ~JJ
    ^ this week’s swizzie

    • Jedi

      Seriously, at this rate each starter will have 15-20 innings to prove themselves in Spring Training.

      Ortiz
      Sonnanstine
      Volstad
      Wood
      Wells
      Jackson
      McNutt
      Lopez
      Rhee
      Rusin
      Samardzija?
      Carpenter?

      And Garza, Dempster, and Maholm all need to get a few innings in too.

      • Noah_I

        You’re not going to see many of them legitimately be competing for a role in the opening day rotation, though.  Aside from the three you noted who have spots taken, I really think the only ones who even have a chance of being seriously considered as a starter when the season starts are Wood, Volstad, Wells and Shark.  I’m not sure Shark will be seriously considered.  Everyone else will be pretty quickly back in Minor League camp (McNutt, Rhee, Rubin), be pretty clearly set for the bullpen (Carpenter) or either only have an option on the Cubs as the “long man” or as depth at AAA (Sonnanstine, Lopez, Ortiz). 

        I also think the Cubs should shy away on deciding who will make the team based on spring training statistics.  Sample sizes are tiny and it’s an extreme hitters league.  The tough decisions really need to be based on who actually looks better, not just in games but also in their side sessions.  There really should only be a few spots that the Cubs don’t know how they are going to fill at this point, and those should be at the back end of the bullpen or bench.  Allowing players to win roles in spring training is, unfortunately, how you end up with David Patton on the active roster in an irrational attempt to not give him back to his prior team. 

      • Dude.  Jedi is just pointing out the fact that we have a whole pile of starters to run out there, and a finite number of innings.  

      • Noah_I

        I understand that, but was merely stating that the finite number of innings and large number of pitchers invited to spring training isn’t a problem (although admittedly in a long winded way).  There’s minor league camp for a reason.  Every team in baseball invites something like 20-25 pitchers to start spring training with the Big League Club.  As long as your starters are stretched out for opening day, it doesn’t really matter.

      • Jedi

        It’ll be a problem if Ortiz, Lopez, Sonnanstine, or any of the miLB guys look really good and/or Wells, Volstad, Wood look bad/mediocre.  The Cubs aren’t monetarily committed to Wells, Volstad, or Wood in a way that would preclude them from moving, waiving, or demoting those guys (as the case may be for each one).  MOST teams start Spring Training with a spot or two in the rotation and 3 or 4 legit options to fill it.  The Cubs have tiers of options; and when the ESPN isn’t even projecting Wells to break camp with a rotation spot secured (they’ve tabbed Volstad and Wells) it tells you how “in flux” the Cubs situation really is.

        The point Jeremiah made in his post was that we aren’t lacking for options, we’re lacking for GOOD options.  The point I’m making is that at some point we have so many mediocre options, we won’t necessarily be able to give them all a fair shake.

  • Doc Raker

    Pittsburgh did bring in Raul Mondesi years back, that was something. Remember how that worked out? He was a sullen petulant underperforming primadonna that they sent out of town half way threw the season. It was amusing.
    * With the Cubs going Cuban this offseason maybe they should go back to those hideous uniforms that spelled out CUBS in cursive but looked like it spelled CUBA.

    • Joe Aiello

      They also brough in Derrek Lee

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Good call–I forgot about them getting Lee at the deadline.  I spose the difference is that any trade for Burnett will mean a significant investment on their part.  And like the A’s deal for Cespedes, it seems like the Pirates are ready to break away from their established patterns for building their team.

      • Joe Aiello

        The problem for them is that when they have spent or made moves, there doesn’t seem to be an overall big picture plan involved.

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Indeed.  It would make more sense for a lot of other teams.  Not sure what the Pirates are hoping to accomplish.  I guess that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Doc Raker

    Pittsburgh did bring in Raul Mondesi years back, that was something. Remember how that worked out? He was a sullen petulant underperforming primadonna that they sent out of town half way threw the season. It was amusing.
    * With the Cubs going Cuban this offseason maybe they should go back to those hideous uniforms that spelled out CUBS in cursive but looked like it spelled CUBA.

    • Joe Aiello

      They also brough in Derrek Lee

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Good call–I forgot about them getting Lee at the deadline.  I spose the difference is that any trade for Burnett will mean a significant investment on their part.  And like the A’s deal for Cespedes, it seems like the Pirates are ready to break away from their established patterns for building their team.

      • Joe Aiello

        The problem for them is that when they have spent or made moves, there doesn’t seem to be an overall big picture plan involved.

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        Indeed.  It would make more sense for a lot of other teams.  Not sure what the Pirates are hoping to accomplish.  I guess that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Doc Raker

    I would most certainly not want Randy Moss on the Chicago Cubs next year, or the Chicago Blackhawks for that matter since those are my teams.

  • Doc Raker

    I would most certainly not want Randy Moss on the Chicago Cubs next year, or the Chicago Blackhawks for that matter since those are my teams.

  • Gymjok

    I had the Cubs getting Cespedes thinking they would outbid the Marlins, Tigers, White Sox etc..
    Never heard anything about the A’s being interested. They really came out of left field(or center) on this one.

  • Gymjok

    I had the Cubs getting Cespedes thinking they would outbid the Marlins, Tigers, White Sox etc..
    Never heard anything about the A’s being interested. They really came out of left field(or center) on this one.

  • cap’n obvious

    the Blackhawks might be better with Randy Moss.  Man, they suck lately.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Bigtime.  You’ll notice I didn’t mention their losing streak above–I’m really hoping they can break it tonight.

  • cap’n obvious

    the Blackhawks might be better with Randy Moss.  Man, they suck lately.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Bigtime.  You’ll notice I didn’t mention their losing streak above–I’m really hoping they can break it tonight.

  • Doc Raker

    Blackhawks will be alright, a little bit of dolldrums this time of season. They will turn around.

  • Doc Raker

    Blackhawks will be alright, a little bit of dolldrums this time of season. They will turn around.