View From The Bleachers

May 29, 2013

To Trade or Not To Trade

Filed under: Featured,General — Noah Eisner @ 6:00 am

For the fourth season in a row, the Cubs will be sellers at the trade deadline. This year, however, the Cubs don’t have just one or two pieces that other teams could value. I have started thinking that the Cubs’ front office has noticed two market inefficiencies they think they can take advantage of: (1) the otherwise unwanted starting pitchers who are willing to sign less expensive, short term contracts; and (2) good fielding, left handed hitting outfielders who could be the strong side of a platoon. These, combined with Jim Hendry’s last big move, have left the Cubs with five eminently tradeable assets this season:

Pitchers
Matt Garza, 2 GS, 9 IP, 4.00 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 4.18 xFIP, 12.0 K/9, 7.0 BB/9, 44.4% GB rate
Scott Feldman, 9 GS, 54.2 IP, 2.80 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 4.02 xFIP, 7.24 K/9, 3.13 BB/9, 50% GB rate
Carlos Villanueva, 10 G, 8 GS, 3.72 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 3.89 xFIP, 6.31 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 45.2% GB rate

Hitters
David DeJesus, 171 PAs, .277/.345/.471, .355 wOBA, 124 wRC+, 8.8% BB rate, 13.5% K rate
Nate Schierholtz, 148 PAs, .288/.320/.496, .348 wOBA, 119 wRC+, 4.1% BB rate, 12.8% K rate

In case you are wondering why some players aren’t noted, I’ll hit on the most commonly tossed about names not present on the list: Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, and Darwin Barney. Regarding the first two, these are not players who the Cubs will likely get to choose whether or not they can trade for reasonable return. I just do not think the Cubs are going to get serious offers for either in July (and potentially no offers for Marmol), so I did not include them. Regarding Barney, I just don’t think the Cubs are really considering actively shopping the slick fielding second baseman at this time.

Regarding the players I did list, I think the Cubs should trade only two of this season. And both of these players have something a half season’s worth of numbers cannot make up for: reputation. A player with a longer reputation as a successful player will pull more in a trade than someone who may have just arrived to that status. This makes sense, becuase you’d presume a player with that reputation is less likely to just be experience a hot half season. And a team is more likely to receive a return in excess of the traded player’s value for someone with that sort of reputation.

On that note, I think the Cubs should be actively looking to trade Garza and DeJesus. Garza could be the big prize here. While I’ve come to view Garza as a more of a 3 in a good rotation who had one really fantastic year in 2011, it’s clear that others in baseball still see the pitcher with top of the rotation upside who performed extremely well in playoff situations with the Rays.  Garza could add a prospect who would slide in as the fifth best in the Cubs system behind the current big three of Soler, Baez, and Almora, and the number 2 pick in this year’s draft.

DeJesus is what he is: a left handed hitting outfielder who shouldn’t start against same handed pitching, but is well above average as the strong half of a platoon, a plus defender in either corner, and adequate in center. His long reputation for putting up solid numbers in that role should lead to a solid return, although I wouldn’t count on anyone who would make the organizational Top 10 at the end of the season.

Feldman, Villanueva and Schierholtz are another story. Despite doing the exact opposite this year, Feldman has long been known as a guy whose results never met his talent. He has also had injury trouble in the past. Villanueva is viewed as a swingman type, and Major League teams haven’t really figured out how to make the best use out of multi-inning relievers. And this season is Schierholtz’s first extended shot at a starting role.

In my opinion, the Cubs should extend Feldman to what should be a team friendly deal, keep Villanueva until at least this season, and bring Schierholtz back via arbitration in 2014.

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Noah Eisner is a Chicago attorney living in the western suburbs with his wife and son (and impending daughter). When he isn’t practicing law or entertaining a toddler, Noah follows Cubs baseball with a focus on the farm system and sabermetric analysis. His Cubs-related ramblings can be followed on Twitter @Noah_Eisner.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    I have Schierholtz arbitrating lead-off against lefty arbitrators.

  • Bones

    kyuji fujikawa needs TJ surgrey. Horrible news.

  • BLPCB

    10M down the drain. Just lovely.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Impressive acronym.

  • BLPCB

    That’s not an acronym. That’s how you say D’OH! in Japanese.

  • Seymour Butts

    Well reasoned counselor, but who gets traded may surprise you. Soriano is attractive IF an AL team finds need of a DH. Injuries create unanticipated holes and the market for some of the others may take us to unanticipated trading partners.
    I tried to make that sound like a fortune cookie, How did I do?

  • Seymour Butts

    愚かなアメリカ人は、藤川は銀行に行く。

  • BLPCB

    Stupid Americans, go to the bank to Fujikawa.

  • BLPCB

    I give you a 78%. C+.

    I still think we will find someone to trade Soriano to. I still think the Tigers are an attractive destination. They need one more arm IMO, and since they are going for broke right now, we should be able to pawn off Soriano on them as well. The way the Marlins did to them when they wanted Cabrera. Cabrera has totally been worth the quadruple barrel cost it took to get him. Give up a really good package of players, take on Willis, and give new contracts to both players. Cabrera got a 150M contract, and it cost 40M to get Willis as well. Cabrera should have a quarter billion dollar contract. The Tigers are lucky that they have him for another 44M after this year through 2015. He should be making more than A-Rod. He is the best hitter in the game right now. He’s flirting with another triple crown, and possibly hitting .400.

  • Seymour Butts

    Wow, 3 minutes to translate that. Are you sure you have a job?

  • BLPCB

    It’s called google translate

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Are you saying the Tigers need one more arm?

  • Chuck

    This is Chuck. Why in the name of all that is holy do I need yet another password to post on this site? Are you trying to drive people away? Does this site really need commenter security this badly? Is commenter identity theft really such a problem?

    I already have to remember enough other usernames and passwords for work and other, more important, sites (hard to believe) that I have a notebook to keep track of them. Do I really need to keep track of another one?

    GAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

  • BLPCB

    Yes, they have all the offense in the world, but I think another solid starter would put them over the top. Soriano would just be the cherry on top.

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    It took way more time and effort to post this rant than it would have to create a simple password. Be happy, Chuck. It’s better for the heart.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    You’re doing passwords wrong. The preferred method to do passwords is to write them on a piece of paper which is taped to the keyboard. For added security, do passwords by taping them to the underside of the keyboard.

  • Chuck

    That would not work. I have several passwords for work (they can’t be the same, the computer knows) and several others for various websites for online bill paying. Most every site has different username and password requirements (not to mention which ones are already taken) so the same username and password won’t work on every one. Also, my wife set up some of these and now I have to deal with them. BTW: It is rather stupid to use the same username and password for every account you have.

    Lizzie: I believe it is better for me to vent rather than stew in my own juices. Once I vent, I move on.

  • Chuck

    I believe CAP’s job is to reply to every comment on VFTB.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    You’re going to need a bigger keyboard.

  • Jedi

    You’ve been pimping the ‘Soriano to the Tigers’ trade forever.

  • Chuck

    I have said this before and I will say it again. If the Cubs can’t get a Grade B prospect for any of the players they trade, don’t make the trade unless the player in question is blocking a younger player who has the chance to be better. Period. The Cubs have the financial wherewithal to avoid just dumping players to save a buck or two. If the trade partner (assuming it is a playoff contender) can’t justify parting with a guy who won’t be in the majors for a year or two for a legitimate shot at the playoffs, then too bad for them.

    This is not a salary capped sport and the Cubs are not the Royals. Clearing salary for the sake of clearing salary has no benefit in and of itself. If this was the NBA, you could talk me into it.

    BTW: On pace for 65 wins. At least we aren’t Miami.

  • Jedi

    Seriously? You chide Seymour as if we should all assume that you know how to use Google translate – even though you routinely ask for information solved by the simplest Google search queries possible.

  • Jedi

    Wake me when the venting stops and the moving on starts?

  • BLPCB

    I didn’t even know google translate existed. I googled it and found out about google translate.

  • BLPCB

    That was back when I felt that they needed another bat. Now I think that they need another pitcher, and we should make Soriano a condition for said pitcher. Bundling goods. In order to get what you want, you have to acquire something you might not want. Like when they got Cabrera. They had to take Willis as well.

  • Jedi

    The Cubs don’t have a ‘Cabrera’ to trade, and they don’t have a ‘Willis’ they need to unload. So your trade makes no sense.

  • Jedi

    So you think Seymour knows Japanese?

  • Eddie Von White

    In spite of being cranky and cantankerous, you know how to make me laugh.

  • Chuck

    Chuck gently stroking Jedi’s beard: “Wake up sleepy head. It’s time to get up.”

  • BLPCB

    The concept of bundling goods still works here. It can’t hurt to try anyways. Do you not agree that the Tigers are a potential trading partner for an arm? I just threw the suggestion out there because Detroit is going for broke right now. I never said it would be a deal-breaker, just something to possibly look into

  • BLPCB

    Nein

  • Jedi

    No, I don’t believe that the Tigers necessarily need an arm. I’d be pretty happy with 4 starters and rolling the dice on Porcello every 5 days. Especially in that division.

  • BLPCB

    But what about come October? They might have enough to get in, but would it be enough to win?

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Are you saying the Tigers needed one more bat?

  • BLPCB

    You are 2x my age. You can read.

  • Noah_I

    Trading Garza and DeJesus, at the least, would not be about clearing salary. It would be about trading assets that are no longer going to be under contract next season.

  • Jedi

    If you’re half his age, you should be able to do simple Google searches.

  • Seymour Butts

    Nope, I know google translate.

  • BLPCB

    If people just google something everytime they have a question, conversations would be pretty hard to come by.

  • Jedi

    I’m sure we wouldn’t run out of conversations if we stopped addressing your ignorance.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    I have successfully inferred that the Tigers needed one more bat and may now need one more arm. I haven’t figured out where this is going yet, but I’m thinking it may have something to do with Jim Abbott.

  • Eddie Von White

    The trash got burned again.

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    Me too! But them he started gently stroking Jedi and I had to leave the room.

  • Eddie Von White

    Awkward…

  • BLPCB

    YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!

  • Eddie Von White

    Wow

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Looks a lot like a password error…you may have affixed your passwords to your shift and vowel buttons. I’d recommend relocating your passwords to the underside of your keyboard to remedy this issue.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    CAPS you need to stop watching the Sox broadcasts.

  • BLPCB

    I watch them once in a blue moon. Besides, I love that call from Hawk. That and HE GAWN! are my favorites.

  • Norm

    Trade anyone that won’t be here next year for someone that will. Simple as that. If a B prospect is all they can get, so be it. What’s the point in keeping someone who won’t be around in 2014?

  • BLPCB

    Exactly how I feel

  • sir arthur

    Simple — Tigers MIGHT need a RH bat late in the season so Soriano fits, plus they don’t have to play him in the field (Is it my imagination that he has played pretty well out there the last 2 years?) and EVERY contender is looking for pitching in the 2nd half – starting and relief. Ergo…Package deal including Alfonso, Garza, and Marmol might NOT be out of the question. Could be tough to close the deal since Detroit already has a “Marmol” named Valverde, but the demand could be there for those guys as this could be the “Year of the Tiger”. (It certainly isn’t the Year of DETROIT!). We must get something in return and Schierholz and Sweeney clones named Dierks and Kelly won’t cut it.

  • BLPCB

    All right, who’s trying to impersonate me?

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