Now that the big party of the winter is over, the Winter Meetings, there’s still something left to be done for the Cubs. You never return beer after all, so they’re basically at the stage where you sit around with a few buddies and drink until sunrise. Though that’s not usually all that enjoyable. This could be.
The rumors still persist that the Cubs could move Soler or Baez for either more pitching or a center fielder or both. The two teams you hear are the same ones that we’ve always heard, and that’s Tampa and Atlanta, though they’re probably talking to a lot of teams.
When it comes to the Rays, my feeling can be summed up like this…
The two names that are always said to be coming back in any deal with the Rays are Jake Odorizzi or Matt Moore. And quite frankly, neither blows my skirt up (though I should mention I wear lead skirts to build up my calfs). Odorizzi isn’t all that much different that Hendricks, where his best pitch is his change, he struck out a lot of hitters two years ago but not last year, doesn’t get a lot of grounders and I don’t know that I’m looking for fly-ball pitchers even with Hayward out there when Schwarber still is and Soler might be if Baez was the trade chip.
Matt Moore is a victim of his hype, because even before his injury he just wasn’t all that good. Despite being a lefty who could actually throw reasonably hard, he’s never come close to striking out a hitter per inning and he walks a ton of hitters, piercing over four per nine innings three times. His best season was worth 2.7 WAR, and Hendricks was better than that in his first full season last year. This just isn’t an upgrade. It’s barely better than Hammel put up last year and that’s with his disastrous second half.
It seems the fans, and possibly the front office though I tend to doubt it, are spooked by Hendricks’s playoff starts and end to the season (minus that shutout against the Royals, I’m guessing). Odorizzi has room to grow at 25 but Hendricks doesn’t at 26? Hendricks even struck out hitters at a better rate. As a 5th starter… well, teams will be tossing out a lot worse ones and I can’t fathom it’s worth Baez or Soler, even if you can’t figure out how to get Baez at-bats (injuries almost always solve this somehow, and an injury anywhere on the diamond basically gets Baez on the field regularly).
The only name coming out of Atlanta is Julio Teheran, who was bas last year and wasn’t even all that good the years before. Again, his two good years of 2013 and 2014 were worth 2.5 WAR and 3.2 WAR, which is exactly what Hendricks gave the Cubs last year. Maybe they’re convinced that’s as good as Hendricks will ever be, but I wonder about that. Ender Inciarte’s name has come up as well, but I can’t see the Cubs giving up assets for a glove-only centerfielder and there’s nothing to suggest he’ll ever hit that well.
Cleveland’s collection of staters I could probably get behind, but it seems like they’re not intent go giving up from the strength of their teams for non-guaranteed bats like Baez or Soler.
-Not that I need reminders of how good we have it right now, but looking across town always lets me know for sure. I’m not a Sox hater, I’m a Sox-indifferent. But man, yesterday was good stuff in the schadenfreude category.
Trying to hail the acquisition of a 30-year old third baseman, after the one they already acquired in Brett “I Love Limp Bizkit” Lawrie, as a monumental pickup was funny enough. And then Frank Thomas went on the Score and basically hit all the meatball Sox fan talking points:
Old school baseball? Check
Fire and Passion? Check
Referencing the attention on the Cubs as reasoning? Check.
Don’t believe in WAR? Check.
The psychosis runs deep over there.