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SenorGato    13,223

Names still pending, but looks like Randall Delgado+.

I did not think Delgado was possible, at all. He's got a very good arm, good performance in the minors, the Braves liked him enough to give him 91 innings this year at 21, he didn't embarrass himself, and now he should be a Cub by the end of the day.

Cubs fans were twats the whole time if you're wondering. This low self esteem group thought Dempster couldn't net a top 100 prospect (lists are a big thing on forums this year), and they walk away with a top 50 guy. I tried to tell these guys (there's two pieces of precedent going back just last year with Rasmus for Jackson and Wheeler for Beltran), but it matters not because everyone is happy right now.

Now they need to land some Hamels in the offseason and draft some Appel next June. Tss maybe Appel helps them get new computahs or sumthin. Good, big things are happening in Chicago muhfckas. **** the 4+ year plan that some like to insist they're on.

Edited by SenorGato

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SenorGato    13,223

I thought Theo was going to gift him to the Sox.

If by gift you meant Barnes + Cechinni, you might have been right. You might have been right. You might have been right.

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PFSIKH    101,506

I thought Theo was going to gift him to the Sox.

I know..WTF Theo?

Well, a Garza for BEckett trade should make up for it.

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SenorGato    13,223

I've never forgiven him for the '08 implosion against the Dodgers. Ever in the history of the world.

Edited by SenorGato

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slowmoe57    66,853

Going to my first game at Wrigley Aug 1st.

My wife also found on Groupon rooftop seats available for several games 99 bucks per ticket and that includes all you can eat and drink -- sounds like a good deal.

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NJ    132,734

Dempster can go fk a goat - or better yet I'd like a goat to fk him like he just fk'd the Cubs. Turned down the Braves trade so now we will get dickfist for him.

  • Upvote 1

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NJ    132,734

Seriously...Randall Delgado to rumors of Allen Webster...Dempster is hateable.

If they had played at Wrigley tonight, I'd have seriously considered going down to stand and boo the jerkoff.

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RutgersJetFan    84,004

Going to my first game at Wrigley Aug 1st.

My wife also found on Groupon rooftop seats available for several games 99 bucks per ticket and that includes all you can eat and drink -- sounds like a good deal.

The rooftops are a solid time. I'd lay off if it's a day game though, you'll be hot as balls with the way the weather's been here because those seats aren't covered, stick to something in the stadium. Should be fine for a night game though.

Edited by RutgersJetFan

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vanDoug    28,202

I'm happy with Theo so far. We have some good prospects. Ws will be tough for the rest of 2012 and in 2013, but the longer term future looks promising

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NJ    132,734

I'm happy with Theo so far. We have some good prospects. Ws will be tough for the rest of 2012 and in 2013, but the longer term future looks promising

Hey Doug - wat up?

I'm with you, things are looking up already.

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SenorGato    13,223

Man what a garbage season. Looks like the Cubs have the #2 pick all but locked up after this series with the Rockies. That obviously will give them the second highest cap for amateur talent next year. It will be the third straight year the Cubs pick in the top 10. They currently have three of the top 100 prospects in baseball (at least one top 30 and probably 2 top 50) at the top of the system, and only one of those players has even reached High A ball. After that there is a massive pool of developmental talent in the system built up from the past 2-3 drafts. In the past two drafts the Cubs have spent 20 million dollars, and overall their two year total in amateur spending is over 60 million in bonus money and the Soler deal. Basically, we're talking a farm system that is on the verge of jumping into one of the best in the game.

It's not just spending. The FO managed to turned Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson into the Braves' 3rd best SP prospect and former Yankees farmhand Arodys Vizcaino, a guy who was considered a top 50 prospect by Baseball America last year. Ryan Dempster landed the Cubs their current top 3B prospect, Christian Villanueva, who is not Josh Vitters. He's a 2013 breakout candidate in AA. Hell, the old FO turned AAA junk, a future closer (Chris Archer will walk people eventually - it's what he does), and a decent A ball SS prospect into Matt Garza, who will be one of the top arms on the trade market from ST into July next year.

I don't expect a very good team next year, but I do expect them to aggressively pursue young, maybe struggling but talented arms from teams who might be wiling to sell off. I'm thinking someone like a Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, Brian Matusz, Phil Hughes (yes, Phil Hughes - the AL East to NL Central transition has been kind to pitchers), Andrew Miller, Wade Davis...Someone who an adjustment here or there could become a very good starting pitcher for the next 4-5 years. Take a look at Liriano, Marcum, McCarthy, and Matsuzaka amongst the other FA SPs who can be bought a little low on. Pursue BJ Upton in FA to lock up CF for a few years while Almora works his way through the minors. Try to trade DeJesus to someone like the Nationals who need a solid CF and OBP guy, then turn around and sign Shane Victorino for a year or two to plug the OF up. Try to pry Nolan Arenado from the Rockies.

Just because it's gotten this bad I've actually...roughly something like this:

C: Possibly a FA (Russell Martin) for a year or two if Wellington Castillo is traded, which is a possibility

1B - Rizzo

2B - Barney

SS - Castro

3B - Arenado

RF - Victorino

CF - Upton

LF - Soriano

Garza

Samardzija

Masterson/Porcello

Liriano

McCarthy/Matsuzaka/Wood/Hopefully more depth is there

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SenorGato    13,223

Oh and there's always this:

Castro in the first half: 85 games, 12 bb, 61 k

Castro in the second half: 71 games, 23 bb, 36 k

ISO up to a career high .150. 14 HRs, 12 3Bs, and 26 2Bs...Defense at SS plays...Guy is just an awesome talent.

Rizzo also came up and posted a .342 wOBA.

Edited by SenorGato

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SenorGato    13,223

Some options for the black hole that is CF on the roster:

BJ Upton

Curtis Granderson (if option isn't picked up)

Shane Victorino

Pagan

Sizemore (probably not CF?)

Jacoby Ellsbury

Peter Bourjos

Chris Young

Angel Pagan

Melky Cabrera (probably a corner but maybe the small confines of Wrigley and shifts help the Cubs squeeze some extra value out of signing him)

Craig Gentry

Leonys Martin

Colby Rasmus

Some 3B options:

Right Now

Vitters

Valbuena

Stewart

Jeff Keppinger

Stephen Drew

Kevin Youklis

Lonnie Chisenhall

Mark Reynolds - My choice amongst the FAs.

Castellanos (would be in AA)

Arenado _ Actually think this one is possible.

Mike Olt

Jed Gyorko

Matt Davidson

Edited by SenorGato

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NJ    132,734

Some options for the black hole that is CF on the roster:

BJ Upton

Curtis Granderson (if option isn't picked up)

Shane Victorino

Pagan

Sizemore (probably not CF?)

Jacoby Ellsbury

Peter Bourjos

Chris Young

Angel Pagan

Melky Cabrera (probably a corner but maybe the small confines of Wrigley and shifts help the Cubs squeeze some extra value out of signing him)

Craig Gentry

Leonys Martin

Colby Rasmus

Some 3B options:

Right Now

Vitters

Valbuena

Stewart

Jeff Keppinger

Stephen Drew

Kevin Youklis

Lonnie Chisenhall

Mark Reynolds - My choice amongst the FAs.

Castellanos (would be in AA)

Arenado _ Actually think this one is possible.

Mike Olt

Jed Gyorko

Matt Davidson

I'm really hoping Villanueva develops for the hot corner, Cat Man. The kids got speed (32sb in 11 and 15 this season after bulking up) and 17/15 dingers in the same time frame.

They just announced that they're moving the A ball team from Peoria to the ball park about 20 minutes from my house. Will be very cool to watch some of this talent come up.

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SenorGato    13,223

Yeah I liked Villanueva more than Olt to start with between the two top Rangers 3B prospects. He's got a pretty sick glove at 3B too, and his approach is pretty solid as far as taking pitches and walks is concerned. He's a very athletic guy who some were saying tried to fill out too quickly this year so I'm hoping he's on a good conditioning program with the Cubs. He's definitely one of the best breakout candidates in the system.

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SenorGato    13,223

Heard the Cubs would be very in on Wright if he became available.

SP talents I think the Cubs should look at this offseason either through trade or FA:

Zack Greinke

Francisco Liriano

Brandon McCarthy

Rick Porcello

Brian Matusz

Phil Hughes

Justin Masterson

Daniel Hudson

Tyler Skaggs

Trevor Bauer

Pat Corbin

Derek Holland

Martin Perez

Andrew Miller

Jon Lester

Randall Delgado

Brett Anderson

Anthony Bass

Tyler Chatwood

Drew Pomeranz

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SenorGato    13,223

Keith Law and John Sickels have the Cubs system ranked 5th and 10th respectively.

Another thing I'm happy to see is that the Cubs fans who said the Cubs were going to keep tanking are totally wrong. Right now the team projects to about 75-77 wins with a real shot at .500, and there seems to be more promise than usual that ST will bring about significant transactions (Soriano and Garza for trade, Bourn is still a FA). Personally I lean towards keeping Garza and dealing one of Soriano and DeJesus.

Should be a much watchable season than last year, easily. They could sell at the deadline and still be less annoying than last year.

I think Scott Feldman will be the surprisingly good pitcher on the staff this year. Brandon McCarthy lite was what I was saying before FanGraphs said it.

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SenorGato    13,223

I know everyone is excited to find out that the Cubs had 4 top 100 and one guy just outside the top 100 for Keith Law:

Baez:

Baez might have the best bat speed in the minors, and he certainly has the angriest swing, often reminiscent of John Belushi’s samurai character from “Saturday Night Live.” (Of course, when Baez was born, Belushi had been dead for a decade, so perhaps I need a more contemporary reference.)

His hands are explosive, and the bat speed is so good that he’s already got plus-plus raw power and can drive the ball out to the opposite field like he’s tying his shoes. He’s also one of the least patient hitters in the minors, approaching each pitch in fourth gear, swinging and missing because he doesn’t shorten up or otherwise adjust his swing to the situation. In the field, he’s quieted doubts about his ability to stay at shortstop; he has the agility and instincts for it, as well as a plus arm, so the only major issue is whether he eventually outgrows the position.

He’s one of the highest-beta prospects on this list — he could be a 30-homer shortstop, or he could stall out in Double-A because pitchers exploit him and he can’t adjust. I’m willing, for now, to bet on the former.

Almora:

The joke in scouting circles last spring was that Cubs President Theo Epstein didn’t just want to draft Almora, he wanted to adopt him. Almora is a natural center fielder who has outstanding instincts, especially when reading the ball off the bat, so even though he’s an average runner he plays with plus range and has an above-average arm.

Almora starts his swing with a high leg kick but gets his foot down in time, with a very steady, controlled swing that has plenty of hip rotation for power without sacrificing his ability to square up the ball for solid contact. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and doesn’t swing and miss much, even with the wood bat. His lack of patience in his pro debut (two walks in 145 plate appearances) was something of a surprise, although he might have just wanted to fit in with all of the Cubs’ other hitting prospects.

His ceiling is as a high-average hitter with plus defense in center and 20 home runs, although he’s going to have to show he can take a pitch now and then to get there.

I still find it funny how many people really hang on those two walks in rookie ball as if that’s going to carry over. I’ll eat three THOUSAND kittens over the course of the next 100 years if he puts up 2% walk rate next year. Might be my favorite prospect in all of baseball, and will definitely have it once Taveras gets called up.

Soler:

Soler signed before the new CBA rules on enriching owners at the expense of impoverished Latin American kids went into effect, signing with the Cubs for a $6 million bonus and $24 million in salary over nine years, although he can opt out of the deal if he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.

He’s a wiry, athletic outfielder with explosive hands at the plate, starting them high and deep but getting them moving so quickly that he has no trouble catching up to good velocity. He doesn’t look like a typical power hitter, but he’s got the quick-twitch muscles to be able to rotate the bat through the zone and drive the ball out to left-center like an older or more physical player would. On defense, he might be playable in center for now but the Cubs have him in right, which would be his long-term position regardless.

Soler only played 34 games last summer after signing, but it’s a point in his favor that he struck out just 19 times even though he hadn’t faced live pitching on a regular basis in nearly two years. At just 21 this year, he should be able to get to Double-A with the upside of an above-average regular in right who should peak in the 25-30 home run range.

Vizcaino:

Vizcaino entered 2012 with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow, and in March he underwent surgery to repair it, ending his season before it began, although he did find himself part of a midyear trade from the Braves to the Cubs in exchange for Paul Maholm.

When healthy, Vizcaino has electric stuff, a top-of-the-rotation arsenal with a lightning-quick arm, needing work on command and refinement on his changeup a little further to reach that potential -- and, of course, to stay healthy.

Before the surgery, Vizcaino would work at 92-96 as a starter and hit 98 when he worked in relief for Atlanta late in 2011. The pitch doesn't sink but does have late life up in the zone. He has a hard curveball that works at near-slider velocity with hard two-plane break and good depth. The changeup has good arm speed, and improving it is a question of feel, something he'll get with reps. His arm works well aside from a lack of extension out front, and he gets on top of the ball enough to get that depth on the breaking ball.

The Cubs will likely bring him back slowly this year, so if he appears in the majors at all in 2013, I'd speculate that it would be in relief, with a rotation spot by mid-2014 a more realistic goal.

Candelario:

He's an offensive third baseman with great rhythm at the plate and a smooth swing, showing just enough to make you think he can stay at third base. I'd just like to see the offensive skill set translate into a little more performance before buying in all the way, because the defense will never be a plus. If you squint, you might see a Pablo Sandoval future here.

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SenorGato    13,223

The Cubs have been reading the sh*t ton of posts SenorGato makes instead of having some kind of life:
 

Manager Dale Sveum said Baez, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, will play at shortstop and second base in spring training games.

 

http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybaseball/players/playerpage/1894628/javier-baez

 

RH Robbie Cano biiiiiitches. 

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NJ    132,734
We might have the literal home run with this guy, Catman. I'm hoping they stick him in the Midwest League by me so I can catch a bunch of plate appearances for $6 before his ante goes up large.  
 
                                                     Cubs rightly impressed by Soler
022513-MLB-Soler-Power-PI-AA_20130225105
Outfielder Jorge Soler is in his first Cubs spring training camp.
 
kenRosenthal_20091212214730_0_0.JPG
 
 
 
MESA, AR

Veteran outfielder Darnell McDonald calls him “King James.” As in LeBron James. As in the former hoops prodigy turned NBA legend.

So, to the Chicago Cubs official who asked me with a smile, “Don’t crank up the hype machine too far,” I can offer only one possible response:

 

 

 

Your own players are doing the cranking!

“He’s legit, a physical specimen, impressive bat speed — and a rocket arm, too,” outfielder Scott Hairston says.

And left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who knows something about phenoms — remember his two homers and MVP performance in the 1999 Futures Game at Fenway Park? — sounds equally excited.

“He’s going to be something,” Soriano says.

The player in question, outfielder Jorge Soler, turns 21 on Monday. Recently, club president Theo Epstein said to one of the Cubs’ veterans, “Not bad for a 20-year-old, huh?”

Twenty?” the player replied. “I thought he was 25!”

Soler looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. The surprising thing is, he acts the part, too, displaying uncommon maturity — not just with his offensive approach, but also his defense and baserunning.

 

 

We’re talking about a kid who didn’t play a game between the 2010 World Junior Championships and his debut in the Cubs’ system last summer, a gap of approximately two years.

During that time, Soler defected from Cuba, established residency in Haiti and received clearance from the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, enabling him to sign with a major-league club.

The Cubs went all-in on him, eager to land a major foreign talent before new restrictions on international spending took effect. Their winning bid for Soler — $30 million over nine years — was a record for a 20-year-old.

At the time, the Cubs had seen Soler only at junior international tournaments and at their own academy in the Dominican Republic. But if Soler, a right-handed hitter, becomes the next Giancarlo Stanton, the deal actually could prove a bargain. A major bargain.

Soler, outfielder Alberto Almora, right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and of course, first baseman Anthony Rizzo – all possess impact talent, and all have entered the organization in the approximately 16 months since the Epstein/Jed Hoyer regime took control.

Slowly but surely, the Cubs are coming around.

 

The success of Rizzo last season gave the rebuilding program immediate credibility. Cubs fans, though, are rightly wary of any top prospect, given the organization’s history with the Corey Pattersons of the world.

Soler’s professional resume consists of only 149 plate appearances between rookie ball and low A (and, ahem, a .338 batting average, .398 on-base percentage and .513 slugging average in 88 plate appearances at low A). He will start the season at a higher level of A ball, and his ETA as a regular at Wrigley Field, if everything goes well, is probably no earlier than 2015.

Until then, all the usual caveats about prospects apply. Still, the Cubs can’t help but like what they see.

Last Thursday, Soler hit a home run in the first at-bat of his first intrasquad game off the Cubs’ minor-league pitcher of the year, Nick Struck. But it was his second at-bat that the Cubs’ coaches are still talking about. Soler got down 0-2 in the count and then laid off some tough pitches, working a walk.

“He’s disciplined beyond his age,” Cubs hitting coach James Rowson says. “He’s kind of ahead of the game. He’s out there taking aggressive hacks. But he’s swinging at good pitches, laying off some tough breaking balls early in camp. He’s exciting, fun to watch.”

In his first Cactus League game on Saturday, Soler hit a hard ground ball down the third-base line for an RBI double. His swing looks somewhat familiar; he has adopted Soriano as a mentor — and Soriano’s bat waggle as part of the timing mechanism in his load.

Soler, though, could develop into a more patient hitter and better defender than Soriano ever was.

The Cubs were aware of Soler’s plate discipline; he drew walks and showed a feel for the strike zone even as a young amateur. But they didn’t realize they were getting a player who is so dedicated to developing his all-around game.

 

.

 

“What has been really impressive, all last year and so far in camp, is how into defense and baserunning he is,” Epstein says. “He shows a really good first step in the outfield, takes good routes and has a plus arm with a lot of accuracy and carry. He also has showed a real interest in stolen bases. He was almost perfect last year (12 for 13).”

The great ones play with an edge. Soler displays that type of confidence, too.

“You joke with him, ‘Are you afraid to steal third?’ And he laughs at you,” says Dave McKay, the Cubs’ first base coach and outfield instructor. “He’s not afraid to play.”

The Cubs actually tried Soler in center field last fall in the Instructional League, and he handled himself well, Epstein says. Almora, however, is the center fielder of the future. Soler’s long-term position is right.

“The way he moves, catches the ball, it’s just like a veteran guy,” McKay says. “And he does the right things. He comes up, his throws are low, hard, accurate, straight. He doesn’t overthrow.”

To think, everything is new to Soler. As Epstein points out, this is the kid’s first spring training, his first time in the US in February. Yet, he impresses the Cubs not only with his poise but also his personality.

I’m trying not to crank up the hype machine, I really am. But if the Cubs’ people can’t help themselves, why should I?

“He has a chance to be a beast,” Rowson says. “This guy is a monster.”

 
Edited by NJ

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