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Monday, September 16, 2019

Approaching the Finish Line

Walks asked for an end-of-season thread, and here it is.

The weekend Pirates series was a red-hot mess: a sweep where the Cubs scored more runs (47) than in any three-game series in the modern era. They broke their all-time team record for HR in a season as well. But every rainbow has a brown lining: Anthony Rizzo turned his ankle yesterday, so his future at this point is unknown. An MRI is scheduled for today.

The Cubs have gained ground, now two back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and one and a half back of the Nationals for the top Wild Card spot. Seven of the remaining games are against the Cardinals, so the Cubs really have a chance to prove themselves here, one way or the other.

Enjoy it!

Andere Richtingen Posted: September 16, 2019 at 08:31 AM | 137 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Andere Richtingen Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:09 PM (#5883040)
I think having a lot of really good players and no great ones is a better way to have a winning team than to have that same total production wrapped up more in one or two great players. Basically, it’s safer.

But one of the reasons I wasn’t so high on the Cubs this year was that “so who are the stars?” question. More on the starting pitching side, really, which ended up maybe a bit better than I expected after last year.

Regarding Bryant, I dunno, it’s hard to put an ‘eek’ anywhere near a .903 OPS. I wonder if people’s perceptions of him (mine included, to be honest) would be different if he didn’t hit so high in the order. I guess we’ve all been waiting for that break-out monster year where he puts up ridiculous numbers, but I don’t think that’s fair, and it might just happen. Last year’s injury was bad.

There were holes after last year, and they weren’t aggressively filled. Same situation going into this off-season.
   102. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 25, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5883057)
So now there's rumors the Angels might fire Ausmus to go after Maddon. That's after him previously being mentioned as a replacement in SD and Philly. I guess that means there's a chance Maddon might not come back even if the Cubs wanted him to - either by losing a bidding war or him just choosing he'd rather be elsewhere. I really don't care how much a manager costs (only reason to care at all is if the team used his salary as a reason not to fire him or to go cheap on the replacement coach - basically what the Bulls' MO has been for the last 20 years) and for a team like the Cubs it shouldn't be a dent in the overall baseball ops budget.

---

I think the eek on Bryant is fair because the overall production has fallen off so much - a good chunk of the WAR decline is defense and another chuck is baserunning. Personally, it's not where he hits in the order, it's the fact that he's just been flat out worse the last 2 years. I readily admit a lot (most?) of that is the injury issues though.
   103. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 25, 2019 at 08:23 PM (#5883110)
Theo, asked about Maddon's grasping-at-straws theory that the players' lack of going out after games has contributed to the poor road record:

"My first thought, and I ran this by him, is 'I'm not sure that theory is worth anything, but why don't the two of us go test it out?'"
   104. Walt Davis Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:02 PM (#5883150)
How bad did you expect Lester to be? He's been pretty terrible this year.

He's got a 99 ERA+. Last year he had a 4.39 FIP, this year it's 4.35. He's given up a lot of hits but his K and BB rates are at his career averages. He's had major blow-ups obviously but his numbers are also somewhat inflated by those games where Joe just left him out there to die. That one start on Aug 6 against the A's -- 4 IP, 11 R 9 ER -- when Joe not only left him out there to give up a full 8 runs in the 2nd but another 3 in the 4th along costs him .4 runs of ERA.

A 35-year-old pitcher who gives you 30 starts and a 99 ERA+ with no substantial drop in results from 2 years earlier and no substantial drop in performance (FIP, etc.) from 1 year earlier -- I'll take that for sure. Lester did give up a bunch of UER this year -- but he did so in 2017 and 2014 too.

Hamels is similar. He's old and didn't fall apart until he got hurt. He was getting lucky early then got shelled. His FIP last year was 4.49; this year 4.22 (some of that is DH to no DH). His ERA+ the last three years was 115, 120 now 114.

As I sort of suggested -- usually any solid but not great pitching season is a mix of really good starts and getting shelled, with a few so-so starts tossed in. For a 4/5 starter, you hope maybe half the starts are really good; for a #3, maybe 60-65%. That's basically what Lester and Hamels gave us except rather than the bad starts being sprinkled throughout, they were clustered. That clustering may or may not be a danger sign (and may or may not have been extra costly).

On Darvish -- he was a good pitcher who got hurt. My "hope" for such a pitcher is that he return to something close to his previous level, often after a few rough starts at the beginning. The way he bounced back was kinda unexpected but he did what I hoped for. That said, we (very much including me) have over-stated the miracle. For 2014-17, his walk rate was 2.9 (lots of missed time in those years); this year 2.8.

For all three, the weird thing wasn't so much the overall results, it was the bi-polar pattern of those results.

On Bryant ... Last year was "eek eek". This year, I could put him with Q in the "not so bad" category I suppose. Obviously I was hoping he'd return to 5-6 WAR. But a simple Marcel on his 2016-18 WAR would project him to a 132 OPS+ and 4.3 WAR -- 130, 3.5 is in that ballpark especially since the WAR is only that low because Rfield is killing him on defense (4.7 oWAR). We basically got what we might have expected from him on offense. Of course Marcel etc don't know what to do with injuries but neither do we. Coming into the year, we had to wonder what long-term effect the injury might have, whether the offensive drop last year was just injury. So the "hope" is neither of those remains a problem, the "expectation" is that only one of them is a problem. We got the latter.

It certainly affects my longer-term expectations for Bryant which I expressed a couple of posts ago. We can call those "eek" if you want. That speaks to our lack of "stars." Rizzo at this point is probably just a "good" player (11 WAR over the last 3 years) who's turning 30; Bryant might have slipped to "good." Contreras is a "star hitter" for a C but his defense and the limited PT of Cs keeps him from being a "star star." Javy the excellent defensive SS is a bit of a "quiet star" ... or at least as quiet as a guy as flashy as Javy can be. His raw offensive numbers are not that far off last year's but with everybody else hitting more HRs and higher ISO, holding steady and even dropping a little is worse than it looks.

To be clear, I have zero complaints about any of those guys. But I suspect we're looking at 15 WAR per year, not 18 WAR per year.

Hamels has been here before. In fact last year, in the 5 starts just before we acquired him (!!!), he gave up 29 runs, 25 earned in 22 innings. Over his last 8 starts of 2017 he had a 6.12 ERA.
   105. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:04 PM (#5883151)
Last week was maddening, but this Pirates series has been embarrassing.

They'll barely finish over .500 at this rate.
   106. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 25, 2019 at 10:06 PM (#5883153)
I'm actually more upset about how they've played in this series than they did last week. Last week, it just seemed like a case where nothing went their way. But at least they looked like they cared.
   107. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 25, 2019 at 11:11 PM (#5883168)
Last time the Cubs had a losing streak this long the starting lineup included guys like Darwin Barney, Ian Stewart, Geovanny Soto, Bryan LaHair, Tony Campana, David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, and Alfonso Soriano. The starting rotation was Jeff Samardjzia, Pat Maholm, Travis Wood, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza.
   108. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 25, 2019 at 11:23 PM (#5883170)
A 35-year-old pitcher who gives you 30 starts and a 99 ERA+ with no substantial drop in results from 2 years earlier and no substantial drop in performance (FIP, etc.) from 1 year earlier -- I'll take that for sure.
If he's your fourth or fifth starter, sure. If you're paying him like an ace and relying on him to be at least an above-average #3, not so much. I also think you're hand-waving away some major red flags, foremost his extreme hittability. It leads to a lot of jams, and he's going to be less and less able to get out of them.
   109. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:08 AM (#5883193)
(Hands over head)

Coming in peace. Just as a fan wanted to write that I feel for this bunch who are serious diehards which is to be respected and admired and the team of choice did not reciprocate. Rough times.

Sorry

   110. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:51 AM (#5883195)
If he's your fourth or fifth starter, sure. If you're paying him like an ace and relying on him to be at least an above-average #3, not so much.

1. Money under the bridge my friend.

2. Nobody expected him to be good this deep into the contract. As you well know, that's not how these contracts are priced.

3. If you're basing your 2019 expectations on 2012-14 performance, you're doing it wrong.

4. I really don't know what to say. He put up a 4.10 FIP in 2017. He put up a 4.39 FIP in 2018. He was turning 35. Did you really expect something substantially better than a 4.35 FIP in 2019? Are you deeply disappointed that his ERA was a smidgen above his FIP?

I don't know what red flags you think I'm "waving away." I was discussing my expectations for 2019 and his subsequent 2019 performance. I expected a league-average-ish SP, I got a league-average-ish SP. Nothing more complicated than that. FWIW, ZiPS put him at a 108 OPS+. If you want to start talking about 2020 expectations, we can start talking about 2020 expectations. Or if you'd like my opinion on the structure of the 2019 Cubs payroll, I'm happy to oblige but I'm gonna start with all that money spent on the bullpen, not Lester.

To this point the Cubs have gotten 13.5 bWAR for their $155 M. Maybe he gives us 1 WAR next year and we'll end up paying about $10-11 per WAR -- not good, not a disaster. But the disappointments in that string were 2015 and especially 2017 when he would have been expected to give us more production.

ZiPS did pretty good on Cub starters: Hamels 115, Darvish 118, Lester 108 are very good projections. Hendricks at 115 isn't too bad (balances the Lester over-projection) ... Q at 120 was rather optimistic.

If you're wondering, fWAR puts it at 16.5 WAR, including 2.5 this year (and 2.9 in 2017). That's pretty much exactly what we paid for and a rather good pitcher in 2019 ... and should be a reasonable projection for 2020.
   111. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5883354)
1. Money under the bridge my friend.

2. Nobody expected him to be good this deep into the contract. As you well know, that's not how these contracts are priced.


Very true, and big picture, he's been about as good as we realistically could have expected. However, the part I'd still quibble with in your initial post is this:

A 35-year-old pitcher who gives you 30 starts and a 99 ERA+ with no substantial drop in results from 2 years earlier and no substantial drop in performance (FIP, etc.) from 1 year earlier -- I'll take that for sure. Lester did give up a bunch of UER this year -- but he did so in 2017 and 2014 too.

Hamels is similar. He's old and didn't fall apart until he got hurt. He was getting lucky early then got shelled. His FIP last year was 4.49; this year 4.22 (some of that is DH to no DH). His ERA+ the last three years was 115, 120 now 114.

As I sort of suggested -- usually any solid but not great pitching season is a mix of really good starts and getting shelled, with a few so-so starts tossed in. For a 4/5 starter, you hope maybe half the starts are really good; for a #3, maybe 60-65%. That's basically what Lester and Hamels gave us except rather than the bad starts being sprinkled throughout, they were clustered. That clustering may or may not be a danger sign (and may or may not have been extra costly).


It's the 4/5 part that still bugs me, and maybe it's more of a Theo problem than a my expectation problem, but they paid those 4/5 starters a combined $47.5mil this year (and the 6th starter $12.5mil to stay in the pen cause they don't trust him). So the Cubs, at least, had to have been expecting more out of them. Considering their "budget" crunch, that turns out to be a really big problem getting so little for that much investment. Add to that the problem of no real internal alternates (again, another Theo problem), so those 4/5 starters are going to stay in the rotation whether or not they should (some of that is a Joe problem) - and I think that's where the clustering of suck matters even more.

Another problem I sort of have with the generalities of the #3/4/5 starters discussion is that always include the shitty, non-competitive teams as well as the good ones. In a competitive year, you kinda need/expect some of those more depth pieces to be better than league average if your team is going to overall be better than average too.
   112. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5883364)
I was discussing my expectations for 2019 and his subsequent 2019 performance. I expected a league-average-ish SP, I got a league-average-ish SP. Nothing more complicated than that. FWIW, ZiPS put him at a 108 OPS+. If you want to start talking about 2020 expectations, we can start talking about 2020 expectations.
Yeah, fair point, I was subconsciously recontextualizing what you were saying.

But also, seconding what Moses said above.
   113. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5883366)
(Hands over head)

Coming in peace. Just as a fan wanted to write that I feel for this bunch who are serious diehards which is to be respected and admired and the team of choice did not reciprocate. Rough times.

Sorry
Thanks. September is a lot more fun when your team only loses a couple games a year.
   114. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5883423)
uh
   115. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5883428)
Man. I can't even imagine the equine-strength painkillers he must have been on to play on that.
   116. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5883615)
After the St. Louis series, I didn't expect them to lose-out. I figured they'd do what they've done all season long: alternate between good and bad stretches, hovering around 10 games over .500, just like they've done since mid/late-May.

Looks like they're gonna lose-out after all.
   117. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5883643)
So it begins.
As Epstein inspects every aspect of his front office and tries to build the next great Cubs team, he won’t be counting on new money from the Marquee Sports Network, the cable channel the team is launching with Sinclair Broadcast Group in February 2020.

“The new TV deal, at least for the first few years, basically means the exact same thing for us as the old deal,” Epstein said this week in Pittsburgh. “The first few years will basically replicate the old deal, and then with potential for real growth down the line.”

---

Kenney pointed out that the Cubs have one of the top payrolls in baseball this year and reminded listeners that the Ricketts family has also financed the $1 billion Wrigley Field redevelopment. In terms of luxury-tax accounting, the Cubs’ payroll is in the neighborhood of $240 million this season, according to RosterResource.com.

“I don’t anticipate us having any real big changes on the downside to our baseball spending going forward because of the network,” Kenney said.


In case you forgot, this is what was said in May:
Not only that, but Kenney said the Cubs’ payroll should immediately see a boost. After this season, there should be money for Theo Epstein and his staff to sign free agents or their own players to big-money extensions. That’s good news for the baseball operations department, which dealt with a well-publicized budget crunch this past winter.

“Those additional resources are available immediately next year,” Kenney said. “The team has a rights fee significantly higher than what they’re receiving today, so that’s from the start. Then there’s the question on the network side of what profits are enjoyed, if any, (so) they could also be used for investment in the team or other assets around the ballpark or other interests of the (Ricketts) family. That’s probably a little further down the road. But from the team’s perspective, the rights agreement that they’ve got in place with (Marquee) will give them more resources next year than they had today.”
   118. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 27, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5883647)
“I don’t anticipate us having any real big changes on the downside to our baseball spending going forward because of the network,” Kenney said.
Well, at least he used "spending" rather than "spend" for the noun.
   119. bfan Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5883752)
there should be money for Theo Epstein and his staff to sign free agents


Aren't the last 3 big spends for FA they have made Heyward; Darvish and Kimbrell? How is that a positive way forward?
   120. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:29 PM (#5883765)
No, they also signed Zobrist (same year as Heyward) and Lester (year before, but the $s are much more in line with Darvish and Heyward than Kimbrel).

We've had this discussion a few times. I think both Lester and Zobrist signings worked out just fine; they maybe didn't provide a ton of excess value but the Cubs got their money's worth (and probably would say the intangible type stuff make them more of a win).

Darvish is still early enough, and this year ended on a positive enough note that I'm at least comfortable saying that's not definitely a bad signing as of yet. Plenty of time to go wrong (and they obviously didn't get anything near their money's worth last season).

Kimbrel was an utter failure this year, but also that's only 1 out of 3 years. It probably won't work out, but there's still a chance it's less than terrible. If you're gonna include Kimbrel level signings, you also should throw in Chatwood too (also bad, but more recent than Heyward).

Heyward's contract has been a disaster, not matter how close to average his bat was this year.

If you're argument is Theo should never sign a big name FA, it's hard to argue with that. At the same time, there aren't a ton of other ways to improve this Cubs team. And he was really even limited from signing midlevel deals last offseason, and he's had a higher hit rate on those (but also plenty of misses).
   121. bfan Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5883768)
If you're argument is Theo should never sign a big name FA, it's hard to argue with that. At the same time, there aren't a ton of other ways to improve this Cubs team. And he was really even limited from signing midlevel deals last offseason, and he's had a higher hit rate on those (but also plenty of misses).


I feel like an unrepeatable but helpful way forward is "luck out on international free agents". I do not know whether it was luck or not, but the braves are basically driven now by 2 international signings (Acuna and Albies) who were not the heralded can't miss guys that Kevin Maitan (the next Miguel Cabrera; yeah right) and others were. Maybe the answer is to signs gobs of them, and hope the law of large numbers works in your favorite such that if 10% turn out great, and you sign 20, you can get 2.
   122. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5883772)
Maybe the answer is to signs gobs of them, and hope the law of large numbers works in your favorite such that if 10% turn out great, and you sign 20, you can get 2.


Well, they have had some amazing int'l signings in the past; unfortunately the best ones didn't play for the Cubs this year (Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, and Jorge Soler). They have always spent the max they could (and incurred penalties), but since those are capped having money to spend isn't the issue (they've also been in on the various posting of Japanese players over the year, but never won any of those). Also, that takes some time, so even if they signed the best ones this year those guys likely aren't helping this "core" any time soon.
   123. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:33 PM (#5883822)
Couple random thoughts -

-It's hard not to be a little worried about Quintana now. Maybe it's just a bad month, but it was a BAD month - 18.2IP, 11.09ERA, 37H/3HR, 15/5 k/bb. I've always said he was kinda like a poor man's Lester, but I wasn't expecting he'd become current day poor man's Lester so fast. His option still is obvious to pick up, but if he's going to be unreliable too...

-Cubs might still decide to keep Phelps on his team option, but it got more expensive the other day:

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal Jan 10

David Phelps deal with #BlueJays, per source: One year, $2.5M with club option. Option worth $1M if Phelps appears in fewer than 30G, $3M if between 30 and 39, $5M if between 40 and 49, $7M if more than 50 and fewer than 40 games finished, $8M if more than 50 and more than 40 GF.

Cubs Prospects - Bryan Smith @cubprospects Sep 25

With his appearance tonight, David Phelps 2020 option increases from $3 million to $5 million. He has bonuses on top of that every time he makes another five appearances, from 25-70 games. There is no buyout required to deny the team option.


He's pitched in 5 games during the current losing streak. Not that I'm blaming him, per se, but that there didn't seem to be any FO pressure on Joe to not use him to save $ for next year (or if there was, Joe ignored it).
   124. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5883824)
-It's hard not to be a little worried about Quintana now. Maybe it's just a bad month, but it was a BAD month - 18.2IP, 11.09ERA, 37H/3HR, 15/5 k/bb.
He only has a 95 ERA+ on the year, with a big spike in H/9. He hasn't been close to the pitcher he was with the Sox in either of his full seasons with the Cubs.
   125. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 27, 2019 at 06:16 PM (#5883829)
-It's hard not to be a little worried about Quintana now. Maybe it's just a bad month, but it was a BAD month - 18.2IP, 11.09ERA, 37H/3HR, 15/5 k/bb. I've always said he was kinda like a poor man's Lester, but I wasn't expecting he'd become current day poor man's Lester so fast. His option still is obvious to pick up, but if he's going to be unreliable too...

Going by Fangraphs, 38.1% of the balls hit against Quintana were hard hit. His career average (including 2018) is 30.9%. His previous high (set in 2018) was 33.1%. So he really got hit hard. His line drive % was also a personal high, 24.6%.

As for ERA+ - prior to this year, 7% of his runs allowed were unearned. This year, 11% were unearned. Give him his normal rate of UER, and his ERA becomes 4.89. That would be the worst of the 32 NL pitchers who qualify for the ERA title. Then again, even with his actual ERA, he ranks 31st of those 32 (just ahead of him is Jon Lester at #30). In part this just tells us that the actual bad starting pitchers don't qualify for the ERA title.

He rates at a pitcher WAR of 1.2 and -0.2 WAA for the year. He turns 31 in January.

The option for him is worth $11.5 million with a $1 million buyout. (shrugs). Maybe they shouldn't pick up his option. What else is out there for starting pitching?

I'll say this for Quintana: the most underrated feature for a starting pitcher is durability, and he's got that down.
   126. Brian C Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5883837)
Looking back at the Quintana trade thread, it looks like Mike Emeigh really nailed it:

If you really look at it closely (which I did when the Pirates were rumored to be after him in the off-season) he's closer to [being a mid-rotation starter] than to [being a near-ace] right now, and I see a lot of caveat emptor signs here.

His HR rate and walk rate this season are the highest of his career (to be fair, so is his strikeout rate). He's averaging fewer than 6 IP per start for the first time in his career - and he's got a fairly consistent pattern of fading in August and (to a lesser extent) in September. June and July are easily his best months, August and September are typically his worst.

I think the Cubs overpaid, quite honestly; his margin for error was IMO pretty small and he might be on the wrong side of it now.

Maybe it might be best if the FO puts a moratorium on acquiring pitchers who have recently seen their performance dip. I mean, if they're going to buy high anyway.
   127. Quaker Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:29 PM (#5883856)
In terms of post-World Series moves you'd like to have a do-over on, opting for Quintana over Verlander has to be #1 in my opinion.

If Russell for Machado was really on the table last year, that might be #2. That trade likely wins the Cubs the division and very possibly keeps LAD out of the playoffs altogether.

I'd argue not just paying Chapman might be #3 (or maybe even #2.) Instead, the Cubs sacrificed Soler, who's turned into a good player, for one good season of Davis, then wasted $$ on Morrow and might have inked another bad deal with Kimbrel. The combined commitments for 4.5 years Kimbrel & Morrow are only ~$25MM less than what 5 years of Chapman cost the Yankees. Admittedly, there should probably be some small inflation adjustment from the 2016 to subsequent offseason.
   128. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:08 PM (#5883884)
Instead, the Cubs sacrificed Soler, who's turned into a good player, for one good season of Davis

This doesn't bother me. First, Soler has himself only had one good season. He was terrible in 2017 - earning a trip to the minors. Last year, he was a part-time player who posted a season of 0.0 WAA.

He's had a breakout campaign in 2019, leading the AL with 45 homers. But given his defensive liabilities and his middling batting average, that translates to just 1.0 WAA. By that stat, it's the 7th worst season ever by a guy with 45 HR. Hey - it's still a good season, don't get me wrong, but this season has got to be as good as he gets, and it's still just 1.0 WAA. (looks it up) -- Huh. Wade Davis had 1.1 WAA in his season with the Cubs.

He's 27 years old and it's his first good season. How long will he maintain this level? This a fluke season or a new level or just a career year? I don't see him doing this again - and that's even before looking at his injury history.

Also, the Cubs don't really have a place for him. They have Heyward at RF and Schwarber in LF. Soler has been better than either this year, but not prior to now. Really, back in 2016, the Cubs had four guys in their system who were basically the same guy: Schwarber, Soler, Eloy Jiminez, and Ryan Vogelbach. They can all slug, none are good at defense, and none have great batting averages (all but Eloy can draw walks). They really couldn't play them all. They kept Schwarber. Soler's having the best season of them all, but Schwarber has been better overall since 2016, even with not living up to people's highest hopes.
   129. Quaker Posted: September 27, 2019 at 11:36 PM (#5883931)
I didn't mean to say that Soler was a huge loss. To me, the bigger problem with not paying Chapman is that the Cubs went on to spend 3/4 of his salary for .5 good seasons from Morrow and .5 bad seasons of Kimbrel with 2 more to go. If you just give Aroldis his money, you'd have gotten 3 years of 50IP w/a ERAs/FIPs generally in the mid-2's (5.3 fWAR to date). It would be one thing if the Cubs had an organizational against spending big on closers that precluded them from paying up for Chapman. As it turned out, they wound up investing (nearly) as much money for (likely--maybe Kimbrel is great next year) much worse performance.

Also if you retain Chapman following 2016, Soler's still available as a trade chip to fill other holes going forward. Maybe the Sox take Soler + Cease or something if you still have to make the Q trade.
   130. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 28, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5883990)
Today is the anniversary or perhaps the greatest homer in Cubs history.
   131. Buck Coats Posted: September 28, 2019 at 05:56 PM (#5884089)
deleted Snark at Robothal not realizing his tweet was from back in January
   132. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 28, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5884101)
Joe Maddon is scheduled to meet with Theo Epstein after Saturday night’s game in St. Louis, where the manager’s job status should finally be clarified.

Will drinks be involved?

“Probably, yeah,” Maddon said. “Not that I need any more of those.”
   133. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 28, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5884108)
Also if you retain Chapman following 2016, Soler's still available as a trade chip to fill other holes going forward. Maybe the Sox take Soler + Cease or something if you still have to make the Q trade.


I doubt it. At the time of the trade, Eloy was a 20 YO, top 10 prospect. Soler was a 25 YO, injury plagued, in the middle of a horrible season.
   134. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 29, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5884322)
Sharma:
Joe and Theo got together last night, split a bottle of wine in Theo's hotel room and came to the conclusion that their five year run together had come to an end.
   135. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 29, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5884360)
Question: why hasn't Jason Heyward played since the 25th? I know that Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant all have season-ending injuries (that may or may not have been season-ending if the end of the season actually mattered). But I kind of stopped paying attention to the Cubs right around the time Heyward stopped playing. Did he also get hurt?
   136. WKRP in Cincinnatus Posted: September 29, 2019 at 02:48 PM (#5884365)
“It’s not you. It’s me.” - Theo
   137. Brian C Posted: September 29, 2019 at 11:53 PM (#5884511)
RE: Heyward, I haven't heard of an injury, and BRef doesn't list one. I dunno.
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