The Southside Starts Suddenly!

We are now about 14 hours into the off-season (of course, it began for most teams about a month ago), and the White Sox have already made two moves: Re-signing Mark Kotsay and trading Chris Getz and Josh Fields for Mark Teahan (from the KCR; J.C. Bradburry covers this trade pretty well). It makes me wonder what kind of small-ish transactions are available to the Cubs right now. The Cubs world right now seems to be focused on Milton Bradley and blockbuster deals to move him, but what about something more simple? Other than re-signing Grabow, what kind of small moves could the Cubs make to streamline the roster?

As I investigate this line of questioning, let's post possibilities and suggestions in the comments section below.

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  1. Dave Cameron had a good post about this trade. I think I side a little bit more with Cameron on this one (basically saying Fields/Getz have more upside, while you've seen the best of Teahan) just because of Fields/Getz age.

    Although Kenny is showing some initiative, his statistical measures are questionable. Maybe a method behind his madness is freeing up a roster spot by doing a 2-for-1 trade. Only time will tell.

    Personally, the Cubs need to find someone for Bradley asap because that will determine what they need to do for the remainder of the offseason. Rumors of the Cubs re-acquiring DeRosa are buzzing, you have Castro in AA who had a pretty good year (so bringing him to spring training to take a look at him at 2B might be worth a shot). But CF remains a question mark. Sure, Reed Johnson is a serviceable CF defensively but he's a free agent (which the Cubs should resign at the minimum). And you need more power in the OF because a)you can't rely on Soriano to stay healthy and b)Fukudome doesn't have the power numbers but is a good defender in RF.

    Decisions, decisions...

  2. Part of me really wants to see the departure of Aaron Miles after he fell off the cliff this year, but the tragedy is that his value is rock-bottom right now -- i.e. worse than his gottee -- so trading him is out of the question. But what do the Cubs have in the minors to fill his gap (rather, his seat on the bench) at short if he continues to produce Terribleness?

    Well, Andres Blanco and Darwin Barney (no, I've never heard of him either) split time at short in Iowa. Their defense doesn't appear to be terrible, but their bats currently are. Actually, Barney did pretty well at AA, but is nowhere near ready for MLB duty (or, an MLB bench).

    Considering we've got a stud of health and excellence playing short right now (Theriot), I think letting Miles come to camp, potentially cutting him in favor of the way cheaper Blanco, is the best solution. Frankly, $2.2M is about right if he turns out to be league-average, but way too much if Blanco can suck less than him.

  3. I agree completely. I would like to see Castro in spring training this season to see what he can do on that level. If I was Lou (and Lord knows I'm not), I would like to have Blanco/Barney/Castro play it out in spring training (and whatever winter ball leagues they may (or may not) be in) and the "winner" gets the job. One problem with Castro is that he only played 33 games in AA last year so although his numbers are good, his sample size is small.

    2B is up for grabs. What do we have to lose by making it a "playoff" anyway? They should've released Miles months ago. I think you or I could play a better 2B and hit better than Miles.

    At this point, I'll take any of the three.

  4. Upon further investigation, I have notived Mile's BABIP is absurdly low and his sample size is probably too small, too. HOWEVER: He was signed after a (relatively) monster year in which his BABIP was way too high (Soriano/Bradley, cough cough).

    I'd prefer to keep Castro down, even if he is solid in Spring Training. I think he's got way more potential and I'd rather keep his contract on the burner so we can have him cheep through his absolute best years.

    At second base, I feel that Baker and Fontenot are almost equal -- in potential AND risk. I like the the whole, Disney-storyline, Theriot-Fontenot connection, but I'm worried he won't regress enough to help the Cubs win.

    According to Chris Dutton's xBABIP tool, found here:

    ...Despite his reduced line-drive% in 2009, Fontenot should still earn a BABIP around .317 -- i.e. 36 points higher than his total in 2009 (.281). Assuming all those 36 points go towards singles, his slash improves from (.236/.301/.377) to (.272/.337/.413) -- respectable for a 2B and MUCH closer to his high-BABIP 2008 slash (.305/.395/.524).

  5. If you do the same with Aaron Miles and his terrible BABIP (.213), his xBABIP (.313) only his improves his slash from (.185/.224/.242) to (.285/.324/.342). In other words, average OBP, poor SLG, and little-to-average defense.