This Week’s Transactions

A couple days ago the Cubs traded Sean Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood and two unknown minor leaguers. They also re-signed Reed Johnson for what is thought to be just a bit over $1 million. Last night they signed former Rockies closer Manuel Corpas to a 1-year deal. The dollar amount is still unknown, but I’d guess it’s $1 million. Corpas missed all of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery at the end of the 2010 season.

Marshall was set to earn $3.1 million next year while Wood makes the league minimum. The combined salary between Johnson and Corpas is probably about $2.2 million. The combined total the Cubs added this week was $2.7 million so they saved a little money.

They traded away a guy who is projected to be worth 2 WAR in Marshall, acquired a pitcher projected to be worth about 2 to 2.5 WAR in Travis Wood (Oliver, Fans). CAIRO projects .6 in just over 100 innings. Increase the innings and you end up at roughly 1 WAR. Reed Johnson, as a back-up, can probably be counted on for about .5 WAR. CAIRO projects exactly that. CAIRO also projects Corpas will be worth .5 WAR.

The Cubs added somewhere between 2 and 3.5 WAR. They did so while spending less and gaining multiple years of club control. The Cubs aren’t any worse after this week like many have suspected. They’re at least as good (or bad) and probably a little better. They’re certainly better in the future.

Theo talked specifically about this and we’ll get to that in a little bit. First, the Marshall trade to the Reds has become officially official. The Cubs acquired for Marshall, along with Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronaldo Torreyes. We discussed this in the last thread and I’ll post some of those comments here. If you followed the comments in the last thread you can just click here to bypass it.

DJ: Sappelt doesnt seem like much and Torreyes is years away. About what you would expect

mb21: Torreyes absolute raked in the MWL at the age of 18:…/…

He hit .356/.398/.457. He doesn’t have much power, but as a middle infielder at his age and at that level that’s damn good.

Sappelt has hit pretty well in the minors through age 24: .309/.362/.459. He can play all 3 outfield spots. He got a little over 100 PA with the Reds last season.

Sappelt has an .838 OPS in AAA (IL). League average over those 2 years is about .730 so he’s hit really well for a center fielder. Not a guy with a lot of upside though.

From the Baseball America chat on the 2012 top Reds prospects:

Harry (NJ): Does the “little red machine”, aka Ron Torreyes, get consideration in your top 30?

J.J. Cooper: You can’t help but love Torreyes. His size will always be a question, but man he can hit, and he’s solid defensively. If everything breaks right, he’s an everyday second baseman. If it doesn’t there are plenty of scouts who think he could handle SS and 3B well enough to be a useful utilityman.

mb21: Sappelt’s wRC+ at each level

wRC+: 114, 102, 114, 49, 91, 157, 132, 127
PA: 279, 331, 271, 76, 77, 372, 115, 336

118 PA MLB level, 63 wRC+, +4.7 UZR, .3 WAR

The only time in the minors he’s been below average is when he had less than 80 PA. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes Campana’s spot on the roster.

JMan (on Travis Wood): I think Law said if he changes his pitching approach there is potential to be a #3. I think he mentioned ditching his 4-seamer…basically going to back to throwing the pitches he did in 2010.

DJ: here’s food for thought

When Castro was 18 he was in RK ball and posted a .823 OPS
Torreyes was 18 in A ball posting a .855.

Now, Castro had/has a much more projectable frame to develop and got promoted straight to high A where he really took off but its promising.

Smokestack Lightning: Given the extreme volatility inherent to reliever production, I’m still having a hard time believing the Cubs got what they did for a pitcher at the doorstep of 30 who may or may not give the Reds 70 good innings and then require many millions thereafter.

Even if at best Wood, Sappelt, and Torreyes become merely serviceable big league players, this is a rather large win.

bubbles: Keith law likes the deal quite a bit…/…

8volumesthick: I like these minor leaguers. They probably won’t be stars but really useful. Torreyes struck out in only 7% of his PA’s as an 18 year old in A ball. That’s alot of contact.

RC: The new Cubs plan:

Theo had some interesting things to say. He explains the Marshall trade and then talks a bit about Matt Garza.

“Matt Garza is the type of pitcher you want to build around,” Epstein said Friday. “He’s a proven top-of-the-rotation guy, a proven performer in the playoffs. I think last year he had his best season, all things being equal.

“It’s hard to find top-of-the-rotation guys, so if you have them, and if there’s way to keep them around, that’s always compelling for the club. With that said, we’ve been honest. We are in a mode where we have to listen on everybody. And if there’s a way to improve the long-term outlook for this club in a significant manner, we can’t look past opportunities.”

Gordo mentioned online how the Cubs are weighing their options with Garza. Should they trade him or give him a contract extension? This is perhaps the one decision that will tell us how quickly the new front office believes they can turn things around. Garza just turned 28 years old and has two years of club control remaining. He’ll enter free agency as it is right now at the age of 30, which is still relatively young. It’s past his prime, but if he stays healthy he’ll earn a big payday.

The fact the Cubs are even discussing which alternative is better tells us that competing this year or next is out of the question. I think we already knew that. A year ago I looked at how much it would cost the Cubs to buyout Garza’s arbitration eligible years. At the time we had him projected to be worth 8.7 WAR over those years. Factoring in the discount for arbitration eligible years that was a 3-year contract for $25-29 million. He had his best season last year so we can increase that.

Oliver provides a 6-year forecast, which begins with 3.9 WAR in 2012. Oliver unfortunately does not include much of any decline in playing time, which is a significant reason why players get worse as they age. Oliver projects 202 IP in 2012 and 198 IP in 2017. That’s unreasonable. I could understand how a projection might have similar playing time from age 28 to 30, but after that it’s going down. Oliver has 3.9 in 2012, 3.7 in 2013 and 3.6 in 2014. I’m going to begin to reduce by .5 after that. Here’s what we get for 5 years.

2012: 3.9 WAR
2013: 3.7
2014: 3.6
2015: 3.1
2016: 2.6

2012 and 2013 are arbitration eligible years so there is a discount. It’s factored in below.

Year WAR per win $WAR Discount
2012 3.9 $5.00 $19.50 $11.70
2013 3.7 $5.25 $19.43 $15.54
2014 3.6 $5.51 $19.85 $19.85
2015 3.1 $5.79 $17.94 $17.94
2016 2.6 $6.08 $15.80 $15.80
Total 16.9 $5.53 $92.51 $80.83

Considering the risk of a 5-year deal you can subtract another 10% and you get a 5-year deal for $72 million. I don’t think anybody here would be too upset with that kind of a deal for Garza. He’s worth it. The question is whether or not the Cubs think Garza can be a significant contributor to a contending team or if they think what he brings in return will offer more production in those later years.

“We aren’t in a situation where we have to do anything with Garza,” Epstein said. “But generally we are in the business right now of taking our short-term assets and turning them into long-term assets. In the case of Sean Marshall, that ended up happening in a trade. We turned a short-term asset in Marshall into what we hope will be three long-term assets (in Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes).”

“In the case of Matt Garza, perhaps nothing happens, or perhaps we can turn him into a long-term asset by extending him on a deal that makes sense for everybody,” he said. “We’ll listen, because there’s always an active trade market for top-of-the-rotation guys with multiple years of control.”

I love the way this front office thinks.

Favorite tweet of the day comes from Baseball America’s Ben Badler: “Any trade involving Ronald Torreyes is Ben Badler approved. Guy is 5-foot-nothing and all he does is hit.”