Cubs Notes: Garza, Wood, LaHair, Marshall

The Cubs agreed to send Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for Chris Volstad today. The Cubs take on nearly all of Zambrano’s salary, but in doing so they obtain Volstad, a valuable ground ball pitcher who has consistently made his starts since joining the Marlins’ rotation in 2008. He’s arbitration eligible this offseason and under team control through 2014. Before the trade, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined 720 WGN in Chicago for an extended interview. Here are some highlights:

  • Epstein said Matt Garza is a “top of the rotation type” starter. In general, players like Garza can become long-term assets by signing extensions or becoming trade chips, Epstein said. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com hears that the Cubs continue asking "for [the] moon" in trade talks about Garza (Twitter link).
  • Rules limiting amateur spending in the new collective bargaining agreement won’t necessarily slow the Cubs down. "It just means we have to be better and more accurate with our drafting than the competition," Epstein said.
  • Epstein said he'd be greatly disappointed if the Cubs don't re-sign Kerry Wood. Wood signed a below-market $1.5MM deal last offseason but is said to want a market value deal this winter.
  • The Cubs expect to start Bryan LaHair at first base. The 29-year-old posted a .331/.405/.664 line with 38 home runs at Triple-A in 2011. He also posted an .885 OPS in 69 plate appearances with the big league club.
  • Epstein addressed Zambrano, saying "change needs to happen and change will happen." Not long after the interview, the Cubs agreed to send the right-hander to Miami.
  • Epstein explained that some disappointing players can recover from poor seasons to produce again. "It's a game played by human beings and the ability to bounce back is very real," Epstein said.
  • The Cubs value Sean Marshall, but felt it made sense to trade him for players who can contribute beyond 2012 (Travis Wood and two prospects), especially since Marshall isn't likely to be tied to draft pick compensation next offseason.
  • The Cubs are "very committed" to Carlos Marmol as their closer.


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55 Comments on "Cubs Notes: Garza, Wood, LaHair, Marshall"


Cosmo3
3 years 7 months ago

Just realized this…With Aramis leaving this year, and Wood currently a FA, Zambrano was the last remaining Cub who was on that 2003 NLCS team. Funny to think about…

Ry.the_Stunner
3 years 7 months ago

Wood said he’ll either resign with the Cubs or retire.  So he won’t sign with another team.

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 7 months ago

wow it’s rare that a player just comes right out and says that he doesnt care about winning

3 years 7 months ago

Wood cares about the fans, not about winning. That’s why he left the Yankees last year for the Cubs in the first place. He loves this franchise.

3 years 7 months ago

To say that he doesnt care about winning is just idiotic. He cares about winning. I think you meant to say he doesn’t care about all the money. His family is here in Chicago and it’s not worth it for him to pitch for a year or 2 in another city. 

3 years 7 months ago

He also turned down a lot more money from the White Sox last year, so this is not just about location.  He’s the rare player who actually feels loyalty towards an organization and fanbase.

3 years 7 months ago

the rest of the cubs roster other than Castro and Dempster probably feel like they are on thin ice. Byrd is next to get dealt most likely..

Khabibulan
3 years 7 months ago

Marmol might be safe too.

3 years 7 months ago

i think he is something they should try to trade for sure. i dont think his value is going to be this high the rest of his career. opposing teams have figured him out… don’t swing and you will make it to 1st base

3 years 7 months ago

Agreed.

Cosmo3
3 years 7 months ago

Also glad to see they’ve got LaHair penciled in at first for this year. Perfect move for a rebuilding club. He could continue his new-found success and prove that last year was a break-out season, and the Cubs would suddenly have another big asset. Or he could regress to his old AAAA self, in which case it’s no skin off our nose in a lost season. 

disgustedcubfan
3 years 7 months ago

I agree. Expensive, veteran band aids must become extinct as the Cubs move forward.

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

The Zambrano trade reminds me of the John Rocker to Cleveland trade in 2001. One team feels they’re getting a plus performer on the cheap who just needs a change of scenery. The other feels that mediocrity was just one more stop on a never-ending spiral downward.

I think if you’ve been watching Chicago baseball the last three or so years, you can definitely see the logic in pawning off Zambrano for an ostensibly lesser, but far more predictable asset.

3 years 7 months ago

The Cubs are “very committed” to Carlos Marmol as their closer.
Well Cubs fans will be committed to the care of a Psychologist if that’s the case.

Orioles fans will be too, if Kevin Gregg winds up as our closer.

Between the Cubs, Astros, and Orioles it’s going to be a battle as to who stinks most or stinks less. Depending on your viewpoint. Rest assured with the current rosters, not one team of the bunch will be a threat to the rest of the division.

PS Can a team take a year Sabbatical to get themselves together?
Everyone of these teams are unwatchable!

AFCFAN06
3 years 7 months ago

nice deal for cubs atleast they got someone who can contribute in 12 other than so sorry prospect

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

i’d like to see marmol moved at the deadline, he’s bound to bounce back with the new regime, that had to have been a question they asked their potential pitching coaches, “hey, what would YOU do to help marmol???”
he can strike guys out like crazy when he’s on, if he can hold together in what’s bound to be limited save chances, he could bring back a good haul.

as for wood, just give him a 2 yeah $9M contract and call it a day, it’s not that difficult guys.

Cosmo3
3 years 7 months ago

Seriously, there’d be no excuse for fumbling the ball with Wood over paying his market value. Especially considering the multi-million dollar discount he gave them last year (Not to mention the fact they’re paying Zambrano 15 mil to play for another team)

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

i thought it was more of a formality at first but as time goes on it makes you wonder.

3 years 7 months ago

i can’t see the cubs giving wood a multi year deal. Maybe something like 1 year $3.5M. With his arm and age you can’t go more than 1 year

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

kerry could have his choice of teams @ 2 years $9M, i’d say that’s pretty fair for both ends. although i guess this is the argument they’re having as well, given how long it’s taken to get him signed.

Guest
3 years 7 months ago

what im curious about is they are commited to marmol as their closer….i guess more blown saves are on the horizon

3 years 7 months ago

i know Theo said he likes LaHair, but don’t be surprised if Carlos Pena comes back. If not, he will be playing for the Cardinals or Brewers.

NomarGarciaparra
3 years 7 months ago

Speaking of the Cubs, what ever happened to the Epstein compensation? Did I miss it or has it just not happened yet?

jb226
3 years 7 months ago

The Red Sox have used all of that leverage their fans claimed they had to negotiate… well, Epstein said he wouldn’t poach any more staff for a few years after he took most of what he wanted.  Beyond that, no, nothing has been agreed upon.  I get the distinct impression the Cubs are stalling until Selig steps in, since he isn’t likely to give the Sox anything of significant value.

optionn
3 years 7 months ago

Epstein has done typical moves since he took over.  He made the predictable moves of firing Quade and unloading Zambrano.  He must smooth talk owners into thinking those young guys in the farm system is what really wins ball games in the big leagues.  Why do people think this guy is any good?  He does absolutely nothing that would be called bold or innovative.

cbrookhouzen
3 years 7 months ago

The typical and predictable moves would have been to keep Quade for another year and cut Zambrano after saying he couldn’t find any takers.  Instead he is trying to install a new culture in Chicago and has rid the Cubs of there biggest headache in Zambrano while saving close to $3M along with bringing in a SP candidate on a cheap contract.

We think Theo is good because he has won 2 WS titles while turning Boston into a power-house through adept drafting, player development, and a culture of winning.

I would call trading Marshall who has 1 year left on his contract for a young, LHP starter – Wood along with 2 minor league prospects bold.  He is also trying to finally add balance to the Cubs lineup by actually giving his manager left-handed batters.

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

typical moves are an upgrade over the usual hendry moves to claw at a division title with a team that’d just lose in the division series. we’re trying to get some sustainability up in this ‘itch.

Retnan
3 years 7 months ago

It will be sad to see the Cubs play  some piece of crud at first base while Fielder goes to the stinking nats or some other crud team.

3 years 7 months ago

“I continue to believe TheoJed are not nearly as wild about Jackson as the previous Hendry administration was.”
you believe but never ever elaborate

jeffreyeah
3 years 7 months ago

Except that Jackson is a center fielder and twice as valuable as a first base prospect.

nycub
3 years 7 months ago

How many spaces did you learn to put after the period?

3 years 7 months ago

Who would then close?

asovermann
3 years 7 months ago

At that time maybe… Now its pretty much Hak Ju and garbage

Jon Melton
3 years 7 months ago

Who knows what theyll get  but hes no torp,  hes a good 2 or 3.  But Epstein is doing what everyone is maximizing value

3 years 7 months ago

Except the Rays had a ton of pitching already. The Cubs are trying to trade their only quality pitcher.

Cosmo3
3 years 7 months ago

I didn’t think one way or the other. Not making a statement or point, just throwing out a fun fact

Khabibulan
3 years 7 months ago

Wood?

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 7 months ago

on that team, does it even matter?

3 years 7 months ago

well you need to be winning late in the game to use a closer.. so it doesnt really matter

Rangersfan32
3 years 7 months ago

Who cares? Trade every valuable asset the team has. Marmol has some good value as would fetch the Cubs a solid deal I’d think. Besides, if the Rays have shown us anything, it’s that you can create a pretty good bullpen with a bunch of rejects and has-beens.

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

What evidence do you have that Epstein & Co. don’t value Jackson highly? He’s a high OBP, up-the-middle talent… those are two things Epstein is known to covet.

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

So you think they don’t believe in him because they want him to play more than 48 games at AAA before they promise him a full-time job?

Two things you should consider:
1) Keeping him in the minors to start the year delays his arbitration/free agency clock, which makes him a Cub for an extra year. That’s not a small thing to throw away.
2) Even if they do plan to use him, anointing him the 2012 CF in advance would damage their attempts to get value for Marlon Byrd in a trade.

I think you’re jumping to a lot of conclusions, quite possibly as a knee-jerk reaction to having “drank the Kool-Aid” a few times in the past yourself.

Supposing you have inside info on a front office’ opinion on a top prospect simply because they’re not promoting on the schedule some other teams would use is just silly.

BlueCatuli
3 years 7 months ago

What are scouts saying? You’re going to have to provide some sort of backup. The only scouting reports I find say Jackson is a five tool player that doesn’t have one exceptional tool. They say he’ll be an above average major leaguer, but won’t be a star unless one tool begins to stand out above the rest. Anything to the contrary that would clarify this would greatly appreciated.

vonhayesdays
3 years 7 months ago

i find it good not to drink the kool aid with alot of teams so called cant miss prospects 

pitchthek
3 years 7 months ago

Not really sure Archer should be considered garbage…

3 years 7 months ago

just because they are both big white lefty first baseman that wear the same jersey number doesn’t mean they are the same player. Hoffpauir didn’t have the same numbers as LaHair. LaHair can drive the ball into the gaps for doubles, something Micah couldn’t do. 

cubfan4life
3 years 7 months ago

LaHair would be fine to start at 1B. Why shell out another contract for someone who they dont need in a rebuilding year. Now while im sure youll see them bring in one or two guys on Minor-League deals, especially someone who is right handed, i dont see them giving out a major league contract for a first baseman. See what youve got in LaHair. He could be one of those late bloomers and if not then you saved the cash for next year. Youre already paying Carlos Pena 5M from last years deal so why bring in another FA to chew up more money when their impact would be minimal at best.

rickjimbo
3 years 7 months ago

I was wondering this myself.

Triple Hawpes Brewed
3 years 7 months ago

Go Braves

WrigleyTerror37
3 years 7 months ago

try carpenter or cashner.

jayrig5
3 years 7 months ago

Eh. I know what you’re saying, but compared to Papelbon/Bell deals this offseason, Marmol was a bargain signing.  I don’t think he makes too much to be traded at all, I just think they’d be selling low on him coming off of last season.  I also think he can get better, because his issues seemed to be almost entirely mechanical, and Theo has hinted at that as well.

His arm angle flattened out considerably, and he lost a ton of break on his slider; this didn’t help his control at all, which I’m guessing was the intention of Mark “I’m Only a Pitching Coach Because of My Awesome Moustache” Riggins.  Rather, he just became a lot less deceptive.  His slider wasn’t really a pitch he threw for strikes before, it just had so much hard break that hitters couldn’t recognize it or hit it.  When it flattens out, it becomes much easier to judge and hit.  So before, when Marmol put up his 17 K/9, the slider would look like a strike and then dive, causing a swing and miss, or it would look like a ball and then break into the zone, locking people up.  (Or it would be wildly out of the zone; he obviously walked a bunch of guys too.)  But the mechanical change messed with that deception, since a flatter slider is both easier to judge and to hit.  And he didn’t locate his fastball any better either.  

So I’m assuming all of those things are fixable, as long as the new coaching staff is more competent than I am.  I’d say that seems likely, but it apparently wasn’t the case last year.

Khabibulan
3 years 7 months ago

Cashner to close? I don’t see why they would do that if he was in the rotation last year. I meant K Wood by the way.

cubfan4life
3 years 7 months ago

Marmol needs to get back to his mechanics from 2010. He is never going to be a guy with pinpoint control. Its just not who he is and changing his mechanics to try and give him more control last year was kind of like cutting off the nose to spite the face. He was thinking way too much about his mechanics and everything went downhill. When he is on he has a top 5 pitch in baseball with that slider. Let him rebuild his value with a strong first half and i could see him being a deadline move to a contender with a shaky back end of the pen (Anaheim, Tampa, Minnesota, Dodgers, Rockies, and possibly Arizona could all have a need for him come July)

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

Nope. Not even a little.

Unless you’re the type who loses sleep over whether they win 68 or 74 games.

asovermann
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah only his 87 walks 10 HBP and 18 wild pitches are! His 5.9 BB/9 or his allowing 147 hits in 147 innings or his 4.42 era in AA either. Numbers of a very great prospect there.