Through Both Lenses: Cubs Trade Talk and YOUK!

Posted: June 29, 2012 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Columns, Sports, Through Both Lenses
Tags: , , , , , , ,

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.
email: mr@99sportsproblems.com
twitter: @MRubio52

“In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.”

Robert Green Ingersoll

I think my fellow Cubs fans forgot. I really do. What TheoCo (Thanks Tony) meant to this organization was a complete overhaul of a broken system that included a faulty way of thinking. Ingrained in our brains is this desire to compete every year, we have in the cortex of our primal baseball brain an instinct to extrapolate results into something larger. We want to so desperately believe in symbolism, in curses, in acquiring free agents to constantly compete, above all we want to believe that every year is the year.

For awhile under the Hendry regime, we were afforded that luxury. For all the criticism that was levied against Hendry, you couldn’t say he didn’t know how to construct a team that could compete for one season.

One season. The old mantra. All we need to do is win one, the ends of bad contracts will just be victory laps. It’s different now, folks. We signed up for a different deal, a completely new way of thinking for us. We are still so very early in a complete make over of a franchise, and yet, we are antsy. Early on, before Travis Wood flashed brilliance and when the bullpen was a sieve, we wondered why Marshall was traded. Later, when the offense stalled and the Cubs were pissing away Dempster’s brilliance, we wondered why Rizzo wasn’t called up.

A myriad of offseason moves by TheoCo were predictably met with “Thanks for nothing, Theo.” Well, hold on to your asses because a bad team is probably going to get worse by the trade deadline. This is fine, this is all part of a rebuild. You know, that thing we all signed up for.

Now, in this section I will be looking at players who are likely to be traded. I will also list teams where I think it makes sense to move them. Trades, however, are weird as hell. There’s a lot of moving parts to them, and really, this is more of a list to watch out for than a list of impending moves.

Let’s take a look at some prime trade candidates.

Matt Garza

Garza is having an awful career year. He is posting career lows in H/9, BB/9, obviously WHIP, and a career high in SO/BB ratio. The problem with Garza is his rather perplexing propensity to just give up the long ball. He’s doubling up his HR/9 rate from last year. He’s given up 12 so far in 2012, he gave up 14 HR’s all of 2011. Garza seems like a prime candidate for an AL East team that is looking to add a piece. He’s already enjoyed success in the division and his ERA is screaming for a regression to the mean. Meaning I think his surface numbers will start matching his peripheral numbers very soon. Garza is not an ace, nor will he ever be one, but he is a solid 2, and I can see a team selling off some pieces to rent him.

Moe’s watch list: Yankees, Red Sox, and the dark horse Orioles.

Ryan Dempster

Dempster is having a plain ole outstanding career year at 35. Age is a factor in this deal because teams will be wary of his numbers considering he’s never been close to this good. Almost every number in his slash line is a career best. He did hit a bit of a rough patch, but it looked corrected in June as he threw 22 scoreless innings. Then he got hurt…which sucks for his trade value. I would put him on yellow alert for a trade mainly because I don’t know if Theo will like the packages he’s offered. I can see either the Tigers or the White Sox moving to get him, and that silliness about switching from the NL to the AL is overblown sometimes. I think Dempster found a zone, albeit only for this year. His stuff is good enough to thrive in the AL. Just don’t expect a King’s Ransom for Demp.

Moe’s watch list: Tigers, White Sox, Dodgers, and Arizona.

Bullpen

I would be shocked if anyone came calling for the ‘pen mates. There isn’t anything of value here. Marmol is doing his Rob Dibble impersonation, and anyone else of note is awful. This is an atrocious bullpen, there are no pieces that you can move here. Once again, if Theo manages to get ANYTHING for Marmol, it’s a win.

Moe’s watch list: lol

Darwin Barney

Prominent show fan Tom Mleko hates Darwin Barney. Well, perhaps hate is too strong of a word. He might just loathe him. I enjoy statistics, I really do. I wanted to be in SABR once (that dream is fading away). Darwin Barney’s statistics are not good, except for his WAR number. For some reason, the defensive component of WAR has Darwin Barney 4th in the NL in WAR (according to BBR anyway). That’s beyond mind-boggling. Darwin does some nice things on the field, but not enough to warrant such a high-ranking. I do think a few components of WAR are broken, and for the while I’m using a weird hybrid of scout categories and raw numbers to determine player value, but that’s another topic for another day. For now, understand Barney can help a big league club in contention by being a super utility guy. He plays solid defense and isn’t completely inept with the bat, he’s simply below average.

Moe’s watch list: Honestly, the only team I have a strong feeling about is the Tigers. This one is wide open.

Bryan LaHair

He’s been awful in June. The strikeout rate is a concern, and May is probably a better indicator of what type of player he is. LaHair is an interesting cat, he is still slugging .500+ even with an awful month. His BABIP has been corrected and pitchers are adjusting to him, he needs to adjust back. A cool down is to be expected, but a meltdown is unacceptable. I believe in his bat, but I don’t think he’s on the next Cubs contender.

Moe’s watch list: I’m going with the Dodgers on this one. If Loney can’t get his head out of his ass they will be looking to add a 1B down the stretch, I think. LaHair might be best available if he can bounce back.

Alfonso Soriano

We know what he is, so let me say a few things about Sori. He’s a butcher afield and inconsistent at best at the plate. He strikes out on bad pitches, and he’s really easy to hate because he can be a hot dog.

I don’t hate him, in fact, I’ve grown to appreciate the professionalism he’s displayed in spurts on the field, and consistently off it. He had the balls to confront Z. He put in work to become a bad OF this year, a marked improvement over the shitty tag he earned in the past. He didn’t run out a liner, he got paid a lot of money, I get it. I just don’t hate him. He’s a symbol of another regime, but I won’t hold that against him. He can contribute to a team, but it would have to be an AL team.

Moe’s watch list: Orioles. It makes sense, you can trot Johnson to left and find somewhere for Endy to go.

Roundup

You’ll notice I left Starlin off the list. I don’t see anyone coming to the Cubs with a compelling enough offer to take Starlin. Remember, he’s 22, younger than Rizzo, Jackson, Szczur and most exciting Cubs prospects. He’s shown great improvement in the field, and I think once he can take the offensive load off his shoulders, his approach will improve.

This team is a good bet to lose 100. Real good bet to be the worst team in Cubs history. I’m cool with that. Maybe 2 guys get traded off from this list, that would also be a victory depending on the haul they bring back. Stop worrying about surface things like W-L record this year, look deeper Cub fans.

Youk and the White Sox

To round all this out, I want to say that I like the Youkilis deal. The White Sox gave up a bad pitcher and a utility guy to take a flyer on an established Vet who is having a bad year. Almost zero risk, and the pay off is potentially huge. I think he’s a good candidate to bounce back because of a change of scenery, I feel that he wore out his welcome in Boston. As a hitter he sees a lot of pitches, which in turn wears down starting pitchers. Youk, Dunn, and Konerko is a pretty good threesome of hitters with a good approach. Konerko is getting recognized for his tremendous approach this year. It’s something else to watch. He never deviates from what he’s looking for. He’s turned into a great hitter to study.

Dunn has hit a rough patch and will likely turn in a Dave Kingman-esque season. Currently he’s at a .215 AVG. It would be glorious to see him stay there and hit 50 HR’s. Dunn is one of my favorite players, mainly because there’s no hidden tricks with him. He’s a big guy that’s up there to hit a fucking bomb. That’s it.

The White Sox are going to hang around, Cleveland isn’t going to win this division, and the Tigers need to make moves. The deadline will be interesting on both sides of town, albeit for very different reasons.

Exciting times my friends, exciting times.

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