So what's the trade value of each player the already have? I'm stealing this idea from our friends over at Royals Review (They said it was OK). As we head into the Winter Meetings next week, it's probably best to take stock of the value of what the Cubs already have. So here's my take on the trade value of each player on the Cubs 40-man roster. Obviously every team is going to value each player differently and your opinion of some players is likely to differ from mine. That's fine. Some of us are going to judge players like Andrew Friedman, some of us will be Billy Beane and a few others will be Ruben Amaro Jr. We just won't know who is who for years later.
Also, all these ranking assume that the team acquiring the player picks up the whole of their contract. Obviously if the Cubs have to send money along with the player, the team getting the player is trading for the money as much as the player.
The Cubs 40 man roster currently sits at 39.
39. Edwin Jackson: I don't seriously have to explain this one, do I? With two years and $26 million owed, no one is going to give the Cubs anything for Jackson even if the Cubs offered to toss in $25 million. They'd just wait to see if the Cubs released him. Yes, his FIP indicates he was a better pitcher than his ERA shows, he was still just "very bad" instead of the "worst pitcher of all time." The only way the Cubs trade Jackson is if they are willing to take an even worse contract back, like B.J. Upton or Ubaldo Jimenez.
38 to 36. Felix Doubront, Joseph Ortiz and Donn Roach. Seriously. No one is going to give the Cubs something for the guys they just picked up for nothing.
35 to 34. Rafael Lopez and John Baker. Unless someone wants to make a reliever out of Baker. Both will likely be gone if the Cubs find a different catcher in the trade market.
33. Blake Parker. I like him, but he's the type of right-handed middle reliever that everybody's already got one of.
32. Zac Rosscup. See Blake Parker, except left-handed.
31. Ryan Sweeney. A 30 year-old outfielder who has had injury issues and hasn't really had a good season since 2011. He's also owed $2 million for next year, assuming a team exercises the $500k buyout of his 2016 contract. He really shouldn't play center field anymore either. At least he bats left-handed.
30. Jacob Turner. Hey, didn't you just say the Cubs couldn't get anything for someone they just picked up for nothing? Well, Turner was a special case of a player who ran out of options too soon. But we know what the Marlins got from the Cubs for Turner and his value has not increased since then.
29. Dallas Beeler. See Blake Parker, except that he can start. Again, I like him, but he's not all that uncommon.
28. Eric Jokisch. See Dallas Beeler, except left-handed.
27. Travis Wood. He ranks here only because he's starting to make real money. The Cubs were considering non-tendering him rather than go to arbitration and pay him around $5.5 million. He's a better pitcher than he was last season and he's not as good as he was in 2013. But if the Cubs are hesitant to pay him that much money, no other team is going to want to either.
26. Christian Villanueva. He's a good glove and has some power potential, but has yet to demonstrate that he can hit at the major league level. I can see some team wanting him as a throw-in, but he wouldn't command much on his own.
25 and 24. Logan Watkins and Matt Szczur. Both are young and fast and considered good gloves. Watkins is left-handed. Neither has demonstrated the ability to hit at the major league level yet. They are cheap, so they have that in their favor.
23. Dan Straily. I struggled where to put Straily. He was terrible last season, but he's only one year removed from a decent season with Oakland. He's still young and cheap. No one would give up a lot for him, but teams would be interested if he's available.
22. Junior Lake. This one is really tough. Some teams might rank him higher than this based on his upside. Others would note that he's a terrible ballplayer and not want him at any price. Personally, I'd rank him below Blake Parker, but he's the type of shiny object that if a racoon were ever named a major league GM, they might give up something decent for him. And it only takes one Ruben Amaro to want him.
21. Mike Olt. Pretty much the same deal as Lake, but he had a better reputation coming up through the minors.
20. Brian Schlitter. Teams are always looking for workhorse relievers, but Schlitter will have to have a longer track record before he would command much more than a C prospect.
19. Tsuyoshi Wada. I'm having a hard time figuring out what Wada's value is. If you want to argue that it's a bit higher or lower, that's fine with me. He had a good season in 2014 and was promising on the major league level. But he is 34 and the Cubs thought twice before offering him $4 million of 2015. He's still in small sample size territory. His value would skyrocket at the trade deadline if he repeats what he did down the stretch in 2014.
18 and 17. Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano. Both are fourth outfielders on the wrong side of 30 coming off really good seasons. Neither one makes much though. They'd both command a lot more at the trade deadline then they would over the winter, as long as they maintain the level of play they showed in 2014. That's not a given for either player.
16. Welington Castillo. If the Cubs are looking to replace him, other teams aren't going to give up a lot to get him. But he's still young, cheap, has power and is a catcher. Someone would give up something to get him.
15. Tommy La Stella. Here's someone we know exactly what his trade value is. A high-risk, high-upside reliever.
14. Luis Valbuena. He's versatile, cheap and he's shown some power over the past two seasons. He's the type of player a lot of teams could use, which will drive his price up.
13. Kyle Hendricks. Some might think his value is higher, but even with how well he pitched last season and all the buzz he got, the scouting reports on his stuff haven't changed. The industry will still see him as a back-end starter until he can prove otherwise for longer than half a season. But he is a cheap starting pitcher. Teams want that, even if the upside isn't high.
12. C.J. Edwards. He will need to prove he can start in the majors to become a really valuable trade piece. But lots of teams would gamble on the stuff.
11 to 7. Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Wesley Wright. I'm just going to toss the bullpen together in one package. They're all impressive, cheap, right-handed relievers. (Except Wright, who's a lefty) Every team is going to have their own opinion on which one they like best. In truth, Wright probably has the lowest value because he makes the most and is the oldest. Ramirez probably has the most because he's tied for the youngest and has the best chance of converting to a starter. But teams are always looking for power bullpen arms, and the Cubs have several.
6. Arismendy Alcantara. He didn't have a great rookie season, but Alcantara is only 22 and he did demonstrate that power/speed combination that had everyone excited about him in the minors. He also did pretty well playing center field considering that he had never done so before.
5. Javier Baez. The strikeouts dimmed his star a bit. Teams would still line up to bid on him if the Cubs made him available for trade.
4. Jake Arrieta. The downside on Arrieta is that he turns 29 in March and can become a free agent in 2018. The upside is that he probably really is as good as he showed last season and he gets paid like back-end starter.
3. Starlin Castro. He doesn't turn 25 until March. He turned in the best OPS+ of his career last year. And he's signed to an extremely team-friendly contract through 2020. We're all aware of the limitations of Castro, but there are a lot of teams that would die for a shortstop as good as Castro.
2. Jorge Soler. A budding superstar under team control through 2020. Teams would pay a fortune for that.
Sidenote: Kris Bryant and Addison Russell aren't on the 40-man roster. But put them right here.
1. Anthony Rizzo. In an era of diminished power, Rizzo finished second in the NL in home runs last season. He was also 4th in OBP and 4th in SLG. He's still only 25 years old. But beyond his value as a player, he's signed to a ridiculously team-friendly contract through 2021. Rizzo not only has the highest trade value of any Cub, his trade value is certainly among the top ten in baseball.