Friday, December 23, 2011

Cubs take big haul for Marshall

Of course, we all love Sean Marshall, mostly due to his greatness, but the Cubs are having a rebuilding year and he only had one year left with the contract. It's not impossible for the Cubs to get him back for 2013 at this point; we'll just have to wait and see.

In return the Cubs have Travis Wood. He is a backend starter who will cost negligable money for several years. He's not good in the traditional sense, but he has value. He won't be used as a playoff starter most likely, but he doesn't suck and will give us a chance to win. He doesn't suck and is favorable to most 5th starters. Travis Wood by himself for 4 years will exceed the value of Marshall in one year.

I finally got the names of the minor leaguers. The best way to describe them is a Starlin Castro type at the plate, but better defensively. They have somewhere around 10 HR potential, but they are high average and obp types. They are also good defensively. They will wear pitchers down with a lot of long at bats, and keep our pitchers fresh with good defense. Ronald Torreyes is a second baseman, and Dave Sappelt can play center. Sappelt could conceivably start 2012 at the big league level, while Torreyes is farther away.

Some of you might be thinking, you can't win championships with these low power guys. That may be true if the entire team was of this manor. However, they are just part of the dream. Get 6 of them for cheap, then load up on two legitimate bats, and you have a winner.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The latest synopsis (Dec 2011)

Collection of rumors and surmizations: Soriano gone, Zambrano stay, Pena replaced by Anthony Rizzo, Garza likely to be traded. Soto is a maybe, but I think not after his down year. Samardzija to become a starter. Sean Marshall might get traded. Byrd gone. These people rumored to get traded might not happen until mid season.

In the bank: Ian Stewart replacing Aramis Ramirez. David Dejesus in to play RF.

At this point, the best guess at the outfield picture is Tony Campana in center, DeJesus and Byrd in right and left. That would be a tremendous defensive outfield, and an OK hitting one. Tony Campana saved 10 runs in about 30 games worth of fielding according to UZR.

With Ian Steward replacing Ramirez and Castro improving the infield defense will also be a strength. Rizzo is also an excellent defender, as is Darwin Barney. This is once again a just ok group of hitters. Platooning Baker in against lefties will help. Dewitt might periodically spell Barney vs righties also.

I think this would be one of the best fielding teams around if they decide to stick with Campana. Defense goes farther than people realize. It has a trickle down effect of helping pitchers play better than they really are.

In the bullpen Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol are quite effective. Marcus Mateo also has promise. James Russel and Marshall (if he stays) are great from the left side. There are a few other names in contention that might be surprise contributors. Grabow is gone!!!!

Starters (highly up in the air right now) looking like Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells. It looks like a list of losers honestly, but I really have high hopes for all these people to varying degrees, with the biggest breakout surprise going to Samardzija. Dempster and even Zambrano are solid bounce back candidates. I could see this staff having an ERA below 3.90 with a shot to be much better.

The Cubs GM has suggested he doesn't want to take away the chance of a surprise contention. For this reason I think most of the trade pieces will go mid season instead of this off season. The most likely exception is Garza, as I believe the Blue Jays really want him.