11/21 Winter League updates

* Luis Valbuena went 2-for-3, scored two runs and drove in another in Lara’s 7-2 victory over Zulia in Venezuela. Valbuena, who has only played second base, is now batting .346.

* Junior Lake hit a double and drove in two runs in Estrellas’ 4-2 win over Licey in the Dominican Republic.

* Christian Villanueva had one hit and one RBIs in Obregon’s 10-3 loss to Los Mochis in Mexico.


Interesting that Valbuena’s playing a lot of second this winter. Could be a sign that the Cubs are considering moving him to second and clearing the way for Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva, and Kris Bryant at third. As for Darwin Barney, I wouldn’t mind if he stays on as a bench player or righty/lefty platoon with Valbuena, but I’m guessing they’re just as likely to non-tender him and go their separate ways.

Any other non tenders you see? I have seen Barney mentioned as a possible non tender a couple other places and agree.

Maybe Daniel Bard, just because he’s not looking good this winter and there will probably be other options out of the bullpen this spring. I think Donnie Murphy hit well enough last season to tender him a contract, but not well enough that he will get a big raise. If he is tendered a contract, he’s got a spot on the bench as a backup infielder/power bat. Of course Samardzija, Wood, Schierholtz, and Russell will get contracts and should get a couple million each. Any one of them could be traded this winter, but I think Wood and Russell are the safest to return next season. Valbuena and Strop should each get tendered contracts and will probably get less than $2 million each, which makes them good bargains. Lastly, unless he’s too hurt to play, Mat Gamel should get a contract because it won’t be more than a million and he would provide depth in case something happens to Rizzo.

Another thing to consider re trading Samardzija, with Prince Fielder now traded out of Detroit, the Tigers might have enough money to extend Max Scherzer, which would take him off the trading block for this offseason. That means Samardzija’s trade value should go up just a bit, as there is probably one less quality starter on the trading block now. So teams that lose out on David Price or don’t want to give up the multiple quality prospects that he will cost might turn their attention to Samardzija and give up something decent for him. With the Winter Meetings less than three weeks away, it should be interesting to see what develops between now and then.

It would really be interesting to see what Samardizja would bring in a trade. I like the D-Backs scenario as they are interested in Schierholtz as well. So it makes me wonder what the return would be on a Samardizja, Schierholtz and possibly Barney trade. I know the D Backs have a good 2nd Baseman, but don’t know their back up situation.

Archie Bradley, a RHP, is the D-Backs top prospect, but he’s also the #7 prospect in all of baseball (according to mlb.com), so he might be off limits to other teams. They do have a few more decently-rated pitching prospects, led by RHP fireballer Braden Shipley and LHP David Holmberg (#10 LHP prospect in baseball according to mlb.com). Holmberg is closer to the majors, having pitched in AA last season, while Shipley was the 15th pick in last year’s draft, so he’s probably a couple years away still. Either one would be a good start in a return package for Samardzija & Schierholtz, both would be even better.

There has to be something going on behind the scenes. There was supposed to be coaching staff news and yet there has not been. The meetings they just had should be laying groundwork for deals. Might there possibly be something going on? As far as Barney goes,a bench player he is not. Valbuena would be more valuable there. But a toss in to help a trade go thru he is. Offensively Valbuena was better last year. Thats why i think Valbuena is getting 2nd base time. Now is Valbuena a everyday 2nd basemen,i dont think so,but dangling Barney may finish the deal with a team that does not need that much offense from there 2nd basemen but can save a run or two with the glove. Plus if Barney improves offensively it could be a good trade for someone. Either way Barney is a hard nose ball player and i commend that.

So many thoughts or options here. A thought is, Management might be depending on Olt to be the 2014 3rd Baseman. If so, that leads to options, Valbuena the back up 2b & 3b? Watkins and Valbuena both LH hitters compete for the 2B job? Does Barney get another shot at 2B and Watkins back to AAA?
If Olt does not come through, Valbuena at 3B and a platoon of Watkins/Barney?
If Murphy is still around, add him into any scenario, he can play SS as well.

“What I look for every day is beauty, meaning and joy and if I can find beauty, meaning and joy then that’s a good day”. Blessings to Michael Weiner and comfort to his family in his loss.

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