The Cubs Addressed Their Last Big Question

It all makes the Orioles look bad, which isn’t fair. It was supposed to be easy enough for the Orioles to sign both Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler. Then, within a few days, the Gallardo talks nearly fell apart, and the Fowler talks did fall apart. Instead of the Orioles and Fowler having an agreement, it turns out Fowler wanted a one-year opt-out, which the Orioles wouldn’t give him. That’s a perfectly defensible stance, but here’s where we are now: Baltimore doesn’t have Dexter Fowler. Fowler has gone back to the Cubs, for a year and $13 million. It’s all been a pretty stunning turn of events, and the breakdown in the Baltimore talks has allowed the Cubs to answer the last big question they had.

For the Orioles, it’s a bad look, and it’s frustrating, because now they have to keep poking around to fill a hole they thought they’d fill. It’s probably somewhat bad for morale, and now you can likely expect the Orioles to get in contact with the Reds about Jay Bruce. It’s not the worst fallback in the world. Yet this is all really about the Cubs. The Cubs get to keep Fowler, if only for a year. It reduces the uncertainty for what’s pretty clearly a World Series favorite.

The Cubs actually made two moves, that are obviously linked. They signed Fowler, and while the deal comes with a mutual option for 2017, those are almost literally never picked up. And the Cubs also sent Chris Coghlan to the A’s, in exchange for Aaron Brooks. The Coghlan/Brooks move is interesting enough on its own, but we can just fold it in here. Coghlan wasn’t going to have a place in Chicago with Fowler back in the fold. Brooks could prove to be useful, this year and in several future years.

From the Oakland perspective, quickly, adding a year of Coghlan is about adding versatility. He’s a pretty decent hitter, at least against righties, and he’s capable of playing both the infield and the outfield, so he’s one of those guys you get to think of as a worse version of Ben Zobrist. The A’s roster picture looks to be complex, but there are serious questions about Coco Crisp, and about Billy Butler, and Eric Sogard hasn’t hit. Adding Coghlan sweeps more playing time to reliably adequate players, allowing the A’s to lift the floor. Brooks wasn’t and isn’t nothing, since the A’s don’t feature a ton of pitching depth, but Brooks was definitely on the outside of the rotation picture looking in. So they opted to make the exchange, in an effort to build a better 2016.

There are things for the Cubs to like about Brooks. There were things for the Cubs to like about Coghlan, but he was superfluous. Brooks has racked up barely any service time. He can be optioned to the minors, and in the minors he’s been a successful strike-thrower. There’s still work for Brooks to do if he wants to cement himself as a big-leaguer, but he owns a good changeup, and he’s maybe a tweak away from being Kyle Gibson, who owns an almost identical repertoire. Gibson himself is maybe a tweak away from being a No. 2, but Gibson now is a decent comp for Brooks, if he can locate a little bit better. Brooks slightly improves the Cubs’ future pitching situation, and he’s also more depth for the year ahead.

Let’s talk about that year ahead. And let’s talk about the bigger move, and its implications. The Cubs, as you well know, project to be perhaps the best team in baseball. It’s been that way for a while, and adding Jason Heyward provided a massive boost. Ever since the Cubs lost Fowler and added Heyward, there’s been speculation they could add a center fielder. Failing that, Heyward would move over to the middle, and the Cubs would trust in his adjustment. He’s still young, and he’s still plenty good.

As of this morning, Heyward looked to be the starter in center. And when we’ve talked about any potential Cubs weaknesses, people have looked to center field. Just based on positional adjustments and what Heyward has done in right, it objectively makes sense that Heyward could and would be fine in the middle, but then, you never really know how a move is going to go until it goes. Heyward hasn’t played that much center field. Maybe he’s unusually cut out for right. Maybe center would give him some fits; maybe it would have an effect on his hitting. Heyward’s always been a complicated player. Basically, there was some uncertainty around the Cubs making a huge splash and then asking that investment to try something new.

Now that’s history. Now it’s going to be Fowler in center, mostly, and Heyward back in right, mostly. Fowler isn’t considered to be a plus defensive center fielder, but he’s at least a proven center fielder, just as Heyward is a proven right fielder. The Cubs know what they’ll have in Fowler, and now they should have a better idea of what they’ll have in Heyward, since he gets to stay in his comfortable position. I have to say, I think Heyward could’ve managed center just fine, but this should improve the odds that Jason Heyward performs like Jason Heyward. There are fewer adjustments for him to make, this way, creating a clearer path to 5 WAR.

So that big question about Heyward is no longer relevant. The Cubs don’t have a great glove in the middle now or anything, but they’re damn sure they’ll have a great glove in right. The overall defensive picture is improved, because Heyward should be Heyward, and now Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler will split time in left. They’re both going to play a little less than they might’ve been expected to a few days ago. But they will play, and if anything this gives the Cubs further protection since Schwarber is a small question mark, and Soler is a bigger question mark. They’ll be asked to do less, but they’ll still be around and hopefully developing.

For Soler, this is like an organizational compromise. He’s not going to be an everyday player, but he also hasn’t been traded. So for now the Cubs get to hang on to his promise and then later on they can re-visit his place in the system. If he gains value, he could be flipped for a longer-term center fielder. If he doesn’t gain value, well, that’s what happens, but at least he’s not a starter. It would’ve been difficult for the Cubs to willingly shed his potential, so this isn’t a bad path.

The Cubs get to keep Soler. They improved their starting-pitching depth. And most importantly, with Fowler coming back, the Cubs get to return Heyward to where Heyward can be Heyward. There’s less uncertainty on this roster than there was on the same roster a day ago, and for a team in the Cubs’ favored position, uncertainty is the enemy. Uncertainty is what threatens to drop the Cubs back to the pack. Certainty keeps the Cubs a step or two ahead. It’s not like the Cubs have figured out how to make baseball predictable or anything, but they’ve taken a step to make it less unpredictable, and the predictions we have see the Cubs as the best team in the league. You can understand why they want to lock that in.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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cabreraguy
Member
cabreraguy
3 months 4 days ago

Exactly what the Cubs could have wanted. However, you gotta feel wronged if you’re on O’s fan.

Curious Gorge
Member
Curious Gorge
3 months 4 days ago

The Os had all offseason to sign him and waited until ST has already started… they backed out of the Gallardo deal to get a better one. Here they wouldn’t give an opt-out and lost the deal. They played hardball one too many times and it burned them.

Richie
Member
Richie
3 months 4 days ago

Given how the Os project, Austin Jackson or even cobbling together a platoon is a better investment than an opt-outable Fowler.

ironfireman
Member
ironfireman
3 months 4 days ago

I don’t know why you’d pay Austin Jackson to be a corner outfielder.

bglick4
Member
bglick4
3 months 4 days ago

Never have I been more tempted to cheer for an injury or a bad season. Fowler seems like an otherwise decent guy, so I won’t, but I have to admit, if he has a bad year this year, I won’t be too sad. Good luck playing for a cursed team Dex.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

Sounds like an O’s fan—this is the epitome of sour grapes and horse’s @$$-edness. I like Buck and the O’s players, but their front office holds the patent on screwing up FA signings, trades and physicals…this has gone on for years now.

RoyalsFan#14321
Member
RoyalsFan#14321
3 months 3 days ago

What a terrible thing to think. Let alone share aloud with the rest of the world.

cubsfanzach
Member
cubsfanzach
3 months 4 days ago

Sorry for anyone who has dealt with my asking this on Cubs blogs, but can someone clarify the way mutual options work? My understanding was that, if Fowler opts out, the Cubs do not pay the buyout. So one version of this deal (the likely one), is Fowler receiving 8M this season, opting out, and forfeiting the buyout. Another (the one which is the basis of the 13M guarantee report), is Fowler receiving 8M this season, opting in, and the Cubs buying out their side of the option for 5M (and this is the only case where Fowler effectively receives 13M for 1 season)

Joe
Member
Joe
3 months 4 days ago

I could be wrong, but I believe he gets the buyout no matter who opts out.

macesq
Member
macesq
3 months 4 days ago

I’m seeing this a lot, but on what are folks basing this? Strikes me as unusual for a team to “buy out” a player declining an option, but I’ve never paid much attention to that before.

If the $5M only comes into the equation if Fowler opts in, seems like CHN would be wisest to accept for an extra $4M on top of that.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 months 4 days ago

The only thing I would base it on is that the deal, which is a good one for the Cubs under this construction, would be even more lopsided if the $5 million weren’t guaranteed.

ticars
Member
ticars
3 months 4 days ago

No, if the $5M were paid either way, then the opt out would pretty much guaranteed to be taken. If Fowler has a bad year, club opts out and pays him his $5M, Fowler can take a low contract elsewhere for his market value. If Fowler has a great year, he opts out takes the $5M and takes a huge contract elsewhere. If Fowler has a mediocre year, he opts out takes the $5M and signs another contract. That would essentially be a $13M 1 year deal (with $5M deferred).

The $5M is only paid if the Cubs opt out.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 months 3 days ago

Do you know this or think this? ESPN was reporting it as a one year, $13 million deal yesterday. The structure is silly, but I think that is what is going on here.

ticars
Member
ticars
3 months 3 days ago

In the ESPN article they specifically say the Cubs have a $5M buyout. It’s the way all options work, clubs buyout generally for a price. If the player opts out, he doesn’t get the club buyout.

Orsulakfan
Member
Orsulakfan
3 months 3 days ago

I am confused as well. My understanding of how these things have worked in the past is that the buy-out is only if the club declines the option. So Fowler has a $8 million contract, and gets the $5 million if the Cubs decline the option. Normally this would seem unlikely – the Cubs could just accept the option and then leave it to Fowler to decline it, and save themselves $5 million. But I think then they would not be able to get a QO… ? That may be the thing here.

Otherwise, Fowler is really signing a bad contract.

Zonk
Member
Member
Zonk
3 months 4 days ago

When the Cubs traded Coghlan, everyone thought something was up….my initial thought was Austin Jackson. But Fowler? Wow.

Theo is a BOSS

Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
Member
Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
3 months 4 days ago

:)

bglick4
Member
bglick4
3 months 4 days ago

I hope he gets hit by a truck. Not really, but yes. Maybe just a small truck.

Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock
3 months 4 days ago

At first I thought you were a disappointed Baltimore fan, but only a White Sox fan would be this open about wishing violence. Go back to your hood and stay there.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

bglick4 = richard cranium….and yes, it probably is a White Sox fan.

RoyalsFan#14321
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RoyalsFan#14321
3 months 3 days ago

And here, we foolishly thought that requiring site login would get rid of this garbage.

tfil05
Member
tfil05
3 months 4 days ago

Anyone see the downside in taking the bat out of Schwarbers hands more because of this? That or stifling Solers development and/or trade value due to less at-bats? Apart from this, great move by the Cubs and another black eye on the O’s handling of free agents.

deb81162
Member
deb81162
3 months 4 days ago

NOPE!!!! Schwarber will play against all RHP and Soler will play against all LHP. Schwarber hit .143 against LHP.

tfil05
Member
tfil05
3 months 4 days ago

Didn’t realize his splits were that bad. But still, if you don’t give him the reps against LHP he’ll never improve. He also didn’t seem to have a problem hitting LHP in the minors, so it could just be he needs time to adjust.

Richie
Member
Richie
3 months 4 days ago

Of course it’s a downside, and an obvious one, too. Unless you’re giving up on him, Soler needs way more than short-side-of-the-platoon at bats, nor do you platoon a young hitter as good as Schwarber. But since I didn’t like the idea of Heyward switching to center, nor Schwarber playing the outfield regularly, I still like the move.

And what with injuries, Soler may still get some 400+ ABs. I guy this young and promising, you’d like that to be the AB floor rather than ceiling. But oh well.

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 4 days ago

I definitely see what you are saying but also these guys are going to need days off and Schwarber will probably play maybe 20-30 games at catcher this year. Throw in the likelihood of any one of them getting injured even for short periods of time and I think you are still likely to get 400 or PA for Soler and Schwarber.

hebrew
Member
Member
hebrew
3 months 4 days ago

How on earth do you see Schwarber losing ABs to Dexter Fowler? Simply because of defense? there’s no way they force Schwarber into a platoon this early in his career.

why would you torpedo your best power hitter for the playoffs? so you can have a slightly negative fielder play CF?

I cannot imagine a situation in which Fowler takes playing time from Schwarber. Soler? Sure. but not the fat catcher.

tfil05
Member
tfil05
3 months 4 days ago

Well I’m sure that it will at least take away a few at-bats. It could even turn into a straight-up Schwarber/Soler platoon considering they are re-signing Fowler to play significant time (at least that is my assumption). He will most likely be replaced late in games for defensive reasons already. And if it doesn’t affect Scwarbers number of at-bats, it will most definitely affect Soler’s.

Sleepy
Member
Sleepy
3 months 4 days ago

Alright, let’s assume that LF/CF/RF all get 700 PAs over the course of the season. Barring injuries (and not including the handful of DH PAs available to NL teams), that’s 2,100 PAs to split among four dudes…

Fowler – 600
Heyward – 600
Schwarber – 500
Soler – 400

Fowler & Heyward get a couple days off, and Schwarber gets more PAs than Soler as the long end of the platoon advantage.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

Nice breakdown and maybe even drop Fowler down to 550? If there is a MLB manager out there who is better at and enjoys manipulating his roster ala Bobby Fischer or Boris Spassky more than Maddon I’m not sure who it would be.

Joe likes options more than Gordon Gecko.

Seamaholic
Member
Seamaholic
3 months 4 days ago

Coghlan was actually the better player by fWAR last year, and in considerably fewer plate appearances. They’re the same age and have the same one year of control.

Weird series of deals. I get that it’s cleaner to move Heyward to right, but value-wise this is arguably a downgrade for more money, unless Brooks turns out to be useful or they trade Soler or Schwarber.

hebrew
Member
Member
hebrew
3 months 4 days ago

i’m with you, man. I don’t get why everyone is gaga over this deal. Fowler was barely an average CF last year, so I don’t even feel like this is a big defensive upgrade.

Fowler was a 110 wRC+ last year. Schwarber was 131. How the hell can you justify sitting the latter in favor of the former, unless the former is playing Maysian defense in center?

Brett W
Member
Brett W
3 months 4 days ago

Cubs are better protected on outfield defense now. Coghlan and Fowler have roughly similar value but get it in different ways, and Fowler is a better fit for the roster.

macesq
Member
macesq
3 months 4 days ago

+1

Youngster playing time discussion aside, it seems like they’ve turned Coghlan and a few $M into a slightly more versatile 4th OF (though one whose CF defensive acumen is far from a sure thing) and Brooks. Fine enough move, but small beans. Jackson may have been a better fit, though.

RookiesLTD
Member
RookiesLTD
3 months 4 days ago

Yesterday the Cubs had 4 outfielders, one of which could play CF. Today the Cubs have 4 outfielders, one of which could play CF and another that has played CF his whole career. There was no backup for CF as of yesterday, today there is.

macesq
Member
macesq
3 months 4 days ago

Fowler is 49/51 in CF UZR/150 going back to his first full-time season (2009) in a pool of all players with >2000 innings in CF. 50/51 in DRS. 49/51 in ARM, 49/51 in RngR, and 51/51 in ErrR.

But, fair point: can’t deny that he has played CF his whole career.

RookiesLTD
Member
RookiesLTD
3 months 4 days ago

Heyward goes to the DL:

Coghlan on the team = Matt Szczur in center

Dexter on the team = Jorge Soler in right

I’ll take the team with Dex.

RookiesLTD
Member
RookiesLTD
3 months 4 days ago

Also I think, that those stats could be a bit skewed as he played in two of the biggest CF’s in baseball. Last year at Wrigley he was…below average, but not as badly as years prior. I don’t claim to know defensive stats all that well. But looking at the stats last year out of 23 qualified CF’s he was middling. And yes I realize that 1 years stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but maybe its indicative of my first point.

The Dude of NY
Member
The Dude of NY
3 months 4 days ago

Coghlan was horrible against LHP last year, with a 0 wRC+ (!). Granted that was a small sample size, but it is telling that Maddon used him more or less strictly as a platoon. The Cubs were already week against LHP last season, so losing Fowler, who is better against LHP was less than optimal.

ironfireman
Member
ironfireman
3 months 4 days ago

Fowler makes an already flexible Cubs team super duper flexible.
The Cubs OF was too left handed. Heyward, Schwarb, Coghlan – the only RH was Soler – who is still raw, had some injuries, and is a bad outfielder.
Fowler is a switch hitter but has a 121 wRC+ vs Lefties .839 OPS
Schwarber isn’t going to miss many games. He’ll get 500+ Abs. Soler will miss the most, but with Maddon who knows?
This move just adds more balnce, depth, runs, & defense to the team that was arguably already the best.

Garys of Olde
Member
Member
Garys of Olde
3 months 4 days ago

This is it for me. Outfield flexibility and depth just improved greatly. We already have infield depth (his name is Ben). A baseball season is long.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

One more thing on Coghlan–he griped in the media late last year about lack of playing time..it didn’t go over all that well. Add to that the bad kharma with the leg whip against Kang and you have possible addition by subtraction.

Coghlan played pretty darn well for the Cubs–big hits–dependable D at 2b and check the Fangraphs defender article from a couple month ago–he was something like 2nd for NL left fielders–very surprising…but alas–he no longer fit.

Youppi!
Member
Member
Youppi!
3 months 4 days ago

what i like here is that Fowler turned down a lot of money to play for a team he wanted to play for that has a legitimate chance to win it all this year. the Orioles have no chance. sure, he’s losing a bit of expected money if he had just taken the QO but he’ll enter a different market next year. i suspect his 13m plus the next contract will be greater than 33 over the same 3 years. it could be a lot of fun being a Cub this year.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 4 days ago

What?

He turned down the qualifying offer from the Cubs that was for more money. If you think he chose to take less money this off-season to play for a team he “wanted to play for” it would appear you are gravely mistaken.

It looks more like Fowler’s agent underestimated the value of the draft pick, and cost his client money. If Fowler actually got more money offered to him, he would have taken it – fact is, 33 million over 3 years isn’t really a better return than the qualifying offer.

It’s not like Fowler always wanted to stay with the Cubs and took less money to prove that. He screwed up.

chaokang
Member
chaokang
3 months 4 days ago

The O’s are the 2014 O’s except for the fact that Machado and Wieters may stay healthy, Davis is on adderall, and Chen is replaced by Gallardo. How do they have no chance?

The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
Member
The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
3 months 4 days ago

The myopia is strong with this one.

JediHoyer
Member
JediHoyer
3 months 4 days ago

Didnt steve pierce hit like 30 homers with an almost .900 ops that year? Hardy looks pretty done, the pitching sucks as they need bounce back years from all of them. Like their bullpen though.

bglick4
Member
bglick4
3 months 4 days ago

The Cubs were cursed, now they have Oriole Magic working against them as well. They may lose 100 games.

Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock
3 months 4 days ago

No dumb fuck, the Orioles have Oriole Magic working against them. How about trying to operate like a Major League organization instead of the shitshow/dumpster fire that they are? Don’t get mad at the Cubs, your team fucked this up.

RoyalsFan#14321
Member
RoyalsFan#14321
3 months 3 days ago

Oh my gosh. C’mon buddy. You’re better than this.

sturock
Member
sturock
3 months 4 days ago

I don’t know about the Dexter Fowler deal, but I do know this: there has never been a baseball team more hyped than the 2016 Chicago Cubs. Let’s see what actually happens once the games start.

Curious Gorge
Member
Curious Gorge
3 months 4 days ago

too bad I can’t use some of my iOS emojis here…

RyanL
Member
RyanL
3 months 4 days ago

Were you not here for the 2015 Nationals? It was a daily occurrence of posts that claimed The Nats starting rotation would break some new record as a collective staff. That was hype. No one is even really talking about The Cubs.

Durling Heath
Member
Durling Heath
3 months 4 days ago

Apparently you were in a coma last offseason when every single outlet and pundit handed all the preseason hardware to the Nats.

JayT
Member
JayT
3 months 4 days ago

With the way Maddon likes to move people around the diamond I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Heyward still ends up playing a good amount of center, and he has basically a four man outfield with Schwarber getting some time at catcher and DH. It wouldn’t surprise me if Schwarber, Soler, and Fowler all ended up with ~500 plate appearances.

Todd Doug
Member
Todd Doug
3 months 4 days ago

As a Cards fan, I sincerely hope the curse is real because that looks like the only thing that will stop these Cubs.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 4 days ago

It’s baseball. The Cubs rotation still has questions, and lacks depth. Their bullpen certainly isn’t lights out either. I don’t quite understand the drooling over the Cubs. They’re a good team, but considering them great seems like one heck of a reach.

The Dude of NY
Member
The Dude of NY
3 months 4 days ago

I disagree with you on pitching. Last year they’re pitching staff had the best FIP in MLB and the 3rd best ERA. While there will obviously be some regression from Arrieta, they’ve added Lackey. They have 7 MLB caliber SPs. According to Steamer, they’re projected to have the 3rd best SP in 2016 and the 6th best bullpen in MLB.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 4 days ago

Some regression seems like an understatement in regards to Arrieta – they needed one of the best, and luckiest, halves in baseball from Arrieta last year just to make the playoffs; albeit in a very tough division.

Lackey has thrown 2500 innings in his career; while he was great last year, that signing just doesn’t feel right. He’s an aging pitcher.

Lester also isn’t getting any younger.

Good for Steamer, but I certainly don’t always agree with their projections. There are questions throughout that staff; Arrieta’s innings increase is certainly alarming as well heading into this year.

The Dude of NY
Member
The Dude of NY
3 months 4 days ago

All of those are true. But the same can be said about any pitching staff in MLB. Pitchers get injured really often. They have high upside and good depth.
Also, your luck point is well, wrong. The Cubs had a better 3rd order W% last year then the Pirates or Cardinals. So the Cubs, as a team, were unlucky, even if Arrieta was lucky.

scotch pilgrim
Member
scotch pilgrim
3 months 4 days ago

They finished 13 games ahead of the Giants, I don’t think Arrietta pitching like 2014 Arrietta means they miss the playoffs. Maybe they don’t win the WC game, but their hitting won the NLDS, so I don’t know how much Arrietta luck they needed to make the playoffs.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 2 days ago

@ rational fan” Arrieta has had other seasons with even lower HR/FB% and his babip was about the same (for the season) in 2013 and 2014 as in 2015.

Did he have some good fortune the last couple months of 2015? Certainly and none of us expect him to repeat what he did…but for you to sort of allude to luck being a prime factor is inaccurate. You can find many incredible seasons from great players and it’s not unusual to see skewed numbers of some sort.

You seem to have a Cub ax to grind–they won 97 last year– that was the 3rd best record in baseball…that’s more than a good team and look what they’ve added….and i’d still like to see you defend your no rotation depth statement as well.

I agree that they have yet to prove greatness–but they look better than good at this point.

sourbob
Member
sourbob
3 months 4 days ago

The Cubs rotation lacks depth? Well, okay. I mean, if one of their top five goes down, they only have Adam Warren, Travis Wood, and Aaron Brooks to fill in. And Trevor Cahill. And Wada. And Pierce Johnson. And Clayton Richard.

I can see having issues with several of those guys. The back half of that list may not inspire, but adding Lackey, Warren, and Brooks and Johnson coming up a level pushes those guys and the Dallas Beelers and the Eric Jokisch types of the world down about four rungs. So no, outside of maybe Warren they don’t have anyone especially exciting in reserve… but depth? They’ve got it in spades, now.

RookiesLTD
Member
RookiesLTD
3 months 4 days ago

I agree with your statement, but Wada is pitching in Japan.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

The Cub rotation lacks depth? Wow. You sound like a Cardinal fan. There wasn’t a whole lot of luck in what Arrieta accomplished–so don’t cheapen it. No one including me thinks he can repeat it, but check out his 2014 2nd half…this guy has found it. Lester didn’t have a particularly good year in 2015–that won’t happen again in 2016. Lackey is united with his pals Lester and Ross and with fellow Texan Arrieta…Maddon will monitor his IP very carefully. Kyle Hendrick was a terrific pitcher last year and he’s getting better…Hammel had back to back killer first halves–one was stopped by a trade and one by injury…he will also be terrific…and then there’s Warren…and several former starters in the pen (Wood–Cahill–Richard)…saying they have no depth is decidedly irrational. I will agree though that wish for the sake of everything holy that the hype would let up a little..it’s impossible to live up to.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 3 days ago

“There wasn’t a whole lot of luck in what Arrieta accomplished–so don’t cheapen it.”

Say what?

In his historic second half, he had a 205 BABIP and 88% LOB. That’s not a whole lot of luck? Interesting. That doesn’t even count his crazy low HR/FB rate.

milogoestocollege
Member
milogoestocollege
3 months 4 days ago

It looks like Donald Trump was finally right about something. The Ricketts family did have something to hide.

Dr Hocker
Member
Dr Hocker
3 months 3 days ago

Finally right?

domxbomb
Member
domxbomb
3 months 4 days ago

There’s no guarantee that the QO is going away next year… why does Fowler think his market will be much different and spurn his Oriole multi year guarantee? Playing for a winner certainly makes up some… so why not accept the QO? His agent probably told him not to, just a terrible misread of the current market environment

Easyenough
Member
Member
Easyenough
3 months 4 days ago

With the option, maybe the Cubs can’t make the QO? Also, Cubs won’t offer him a $16m+ QO.

RookiesLTD
Member
RookiesLTD
3 months 4 days ago

I don’t disagree with your last sentence about this year. However next years class of free agents should be much thinner than this years. I guess he’s betting on someone overpaying next year. If that happens, we’ll see.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 4 days ago

It will be a much weaker FA market. Also, the LT threshold will likely increase by a lot bringing more of the big market teams back into the market. He probably takes out insurance to protect against an injury

RyanL
Member
RyanL
3 months 4 days ago

Glad to hear The Cubs finally got their last piece. A truly complete team that is this year’s favorite to run away with the division, the pennant, and the World Series title. I think it’s high time to award them the coveted “Offseason Championship” title. Easily the best team in the Major Leagues. Really anything less than a WS sweep at this point would be considered a failure, nay, an insult to the city of Chicago. I hope none of these talented youngsters let the soul crushing weight of an entire city’s expectations get them down, I really think they need to just go out there and have some fun.

No pressure though.

Sincerely,

A Cardinals Fan.

xoxoxoxoxox

Roger21
Member
Roger21
3 months 4 days ago

The depth charts yesterday had Fowler projected to put up 0.6 WAR as a full time OFer with the Orioles. Today, they have him projected to put up 2.6 WAR as a full time OFer with the Cubs.

Are the positional differences between playing CF in Wrigley and playing a corner OF spot in Camden Yards really that big? Or is Fowler’s swing especially well-suited to Wrigley for some reason?

Durling Heath
Member
Durling Heath
3 months 4 days ago

In a word: yes. Playing CF even semi-capably does wonders for one’s WAR.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 4 days ago

It adds about 1 WAR going from RF to CF. That does not explain the 2 WAR jump. Funny math there I think if correct.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 months 4 days ago

As an Orioles fan, the only thing about this that disappoints me is the possibility that the team wouldn’t have signed Gallardo if it wasn’t counting on a Fowler deal as well, as I would have preferred keeping both draft picks. Signing David Murphy without losing a pick suits me fine.

jdbolick
Member
Member
3 months 4 days ago

Or Venable. Giving Fowler an opt-out while surrendering the 28th pick to sign him would have been insane.

Richie
Member
Richie
3 months 4 days ago

Muy ‘++++’s. The Gallardo signing I’m OK with, as you do have to fill innings. But where the Os project right now, no you don’t give up $$$$ and a draft pick for a guy who can opt out on you if he does have a good year. A debatable signing without the opt out, with it, just senseless.

Brians Sticky Sock
Member
Brians Sticky Sock
3 months 4 days ago

For what it’s worth, I’m a Cubs fan and I agree it would have been insane to give up a draft pick to sign Fowler and then lose him after a year.

RoyalsFan#14321
Member
RoyalsFan#14321
3 months 3 days ago

Or in other words… exactly what the Cubs did?

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 4 days ago

Well, Duquette said he didn’t have an agreement, but not sure he knew the Cubs were in the running there so might have thought Fowler had nowhere to go.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 4 days ago

I think the Orioles could be better off with Bruce. Not sure what they have to offer to get him, but the Reds seem more interested in dumping his salary. He has only a 1 yr commitment (option for 2017 I believe), won’t cost a 1st round pick, and if he hits the way he did for the first 4 months last year he will be a huge addition. Might have to share a bit of DH time with Trumbo to keep the knee healthy, so they lose a bit on defense, but thats worth it if he hits

OrangeJoos
Member
OrangeJoos
3 months 4 days ago

The other day the A’s system was given not much more than a “meh” with Aaron Brooks part of it, we even got rated C- to the Angels getting a B-. fast forward a week and Brooks is now a Kyle Gibson and Coghlan is deemed overcrowding our roster.

First of Brooks was behind Doubront, Alvarez and Parker and probably well behind Manaea and Dillon Overton so he was excessive surplus to requirements.

Second Coghlan means Fuld and Sogard are also no longer needed on the MLB roster replaced by a better more productive player.

I like how we are positioned this year, more so than last year, a core group of relievers that throw hard and some with point to prove like RJ Alvarez who I am hearing is impressing in his spring showings to date. Offensively I feel Valencia, Coghlan, Davis, Alonso and Lowrie improve the team as a core group with power, hitting, versatility and OBP skills.

Jason G
Member
Jason G
3 months 3 days ago

Happy to see an A’s comment on this thread. I think as always the A’s are in a decent position to contend given the relatively large number of holes in (or at least questions around) the contending teams in the division. I think it’s interesting that the review of the A’s offseason had no mention of the acquisition of Khris Davis, even though adding a guy who hit 27 homers in limited time last year has the potential to improve the lineup immensely. And this was a team, I pointed out many times last year, that for the bulk of the season outscored their opponents. They tanked a bit at the end when they were pretty far behind and injury-laden, but they still had the run profile of a 77-win team. If the D-backs are a contender, so are the A’s (said ever-so-slightly sarcastically).

ticars
Member
ticars
3 months 4 days ago

If you’re Fowler, how do you not fire your agent after this? In the very best case scenario (at least financially), he cost him nearly $3M. And for that to be the case, Fowler’s career would have to essentially end this year.

Worst case scenario, Fowler plays well and his agent cost him $7.8M by not taking the Cub’s QO.

Jason G
Member
Jason G
3 months 3 days ago

He thought he could get more. The market for outfielders (after Heyward) was weaker than expected. A bunch of guys are still sitting at home.

ticars
Member
ticars
3 months 3 days ago

That’s precisely my point, he misjudged the market terribly. That’s precisely his agents job.

Zeezil
Member
Zeezil
3 months 4 days ago

Perhaps a dumb question here, but do the Cubs have to forfeit a pick? I’m guessing not but I’m not sure of the reasoning. Seems like once the QO has been declined and the player is a FA, each should team should be on a (relatively) level playing field in terms of signing that player and giving up a pick, including the player’s former team.

tfil05
Member
tfil05
3 months 4 days ago

The QO is designed as compensation for teams when their players sign with another team. Why would you penalize a team that simply re-signs one of their players?

Jason G
Member
Jason G
3 months 3 days ago

I wouldn’t say it’s a dumb question per se, but the salient fact is that there are two sides to the rule. Teams give up a pick for signing a guy from another team, and the team the guy leaves gets a compensation pick at the end of the first round. The Cubs gave up their first and second round picks for signing Lackey and Heyward. Thus, what would happen would be that the Cubs would give up their third round pick for having signed Dexter Fowler away from themselves, then they would receive a compensatory pick at the end of the first round for having had Dexter Fowler signed away from themselves by themselves, which is of course silly and will not happen (not that silly things inherently can’t be part of the rules, such as, arguably, the whole QO system altogether).

Orsulakfan
Member
Orsulakfan
3 months 4 days ago

I am not sure how this makes the Orioles look bad, exactly, unless they have more leaks in their front office than the average team. If anyone looks bad, I would think it would be Fowler, if he backed out of a deal after a point at which most players would not. But, given that he had not signed a contract, he is entitled to do what he did.

Now was it a smart choice? He will get $13 million in guaranteed money and a chance to try the market again next year, whereas with Baltimore he had $33 million in guaranteed money. On the surface of it, that doesn’t seem like a good gamble, especially since I think he could lose atbats in the 4-man (not counting Zobrist and Baez) rotation the Cubs are likely to employ.

But maybe it just came down to playing where he was more comfortable, and playing a position (CF) that he prefers. Perhaps he felt that the Cubs have a better chance of being a champion. I think the Orioles have a good chance in the AL on here (although I know most on here do not), especially if Fowler had been in the mix, but certainly the Cubs are stacked.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000
3 months 4 days ago

I’m a Cubs fan. I’ve been to Baltimore once. Saw an afternoon game against Toronto (Kelvim Escobar’s MLB debut) in Camden. Other than being ungodly warm in the stands, my experience was very pleasant. So I’m not taking anything away from Baltimore or the Orioles. But Chicago is an amazing summer city. Wrigley, when the team is good, is electric. He was there last year to watch the team around him grow up, and experience the park being rebuilt as well. The Cubs have a fun clubhouse and he enjoyed his time. It’s not hard to see why he came back… and that’s not saying anything negative about Baltimore. He chose the experience over the money.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 3 days ago

Are these Cub fans just delusional?

Fowler came back because he had ZERO other options.

3 years and 33 million is less in expected money than what he feels he’ll get taking the one year offer for 13 million. He is betting that he can get more than 2 years, 20 million next year.

He didn’t come back because of the “electric atmosphere at Wrigley” (one of the most openly racist fans in baseball in the outfield), or any of this other nonsense Cub fans are trying to sell. The guy turned down 15.8 million and was forced to take less money because he misjudged his market. No one else was offering a contract with more potential earnings than the Cubs.

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 3 days ago

Well he clearly didn’t have “ZERO” other options because as you said he turned down 3 years and $33 million. He may feel he is getting the best deal this way and that may be the case but he misjudged his market before and he will be getting the qualifying offer again in a year. I think the vast majority of players in baseball would take 3/$33 over 1/$13 because of the risk involved. He is betting on himself and it very well could work but the Cubs got a great deal and his familiarity with the team and playing for a good club probably had at least something to do with it.

Rational Fan
Member
Rational Fan
3 months 3 days ago

He won’t be getting a qualifying offer next year for a few reasons:

1. Now he understands the markets value a bit more, and the offer will go up next year. That would give him 29ish million for 2 years, if the Cubs offered him a qualifying offer, which is much better than the 3 years, 33 million. He would accept the offer next year.

2. The qualifying offer probably won’t even exist in it’s current form.

3. The vast majority would not take 3/33 at 30 years old over 1/13 with the ability to hit the market again next year. In fact, the majority would not; especially with the CBA coming up, and QO being changed or taken off the table potentially making him worth much more next year than he was this year with the draft pick attached.

IF PLAYING FOR THE CUBS MATTERED TO FOWLER HE WOULD HAVE SIGNED THE QUALIFYING OFFER. This isn’t difficult to understand.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000
3 months 1 day ago

Why are Sox fans always angry?

jhalpin23
Member
Member
jhalpin23
3 months 3 days ago

You’re right it’s not difficult to understand, I am in no way saying that Fowler solely wanted to play for the Cubs at any price (And neither is anyone else I’m betting, but getting to stay in a place you like that is one of the better teams in baseball is probably a plus). He didn’t take the qualifying offer because he thought he would get a better deal, I thought he would too but the market wasn’t paying for non-elite position players. The thing you are missing is the risk involved in taking the one year deal is either injury or playing poorly, that’s why the majority of people in his position take the longer contracts. If that wasn’t the case why wouldn’t all of these guys just take one year deals all the time?

If he plays well he will get the qualifying offer and another 3 or 4 year deal next off season and it will have payed off. If he doesn’t play well or gets injured he won’t get a qualifying offer and will be left in a worse position. My bet is he plays well enough to make more money in the long run but that isn’t a guarantee and is why guys take longer contracts.

I know you aren’t a fan of the Cubs and that’s fine but pretending everyone else is crazy biased and you are the only “rational fan” is laughable.

cornflake5000
Member
cornflake5000
3 months 2 days ago

You said it perfectly.

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