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Thursday, December 08, 2016

Cubs roster update - post Winter Meetings

Not surprisingly, the Cubs have been relatively quiet so far this offseason.  After a couple moves, I thought it’d be worth putting the current projected 25 man roster on paper to see where things stand.

C: Contreras, Montero
1b: Rizzo
2b: Zobrist, Baez
SS: Russell
3b: Bryant
OF: Heyward, Schwarber, Almora, Jay

SP: Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks, Lackey, Montgomery
CL: Davis
RP: Rondon, Strop, Edwards, Grimm, Uehara

I see those 22 as locks.  Maybe Duensing is a lock, but I don’t think $2mil is a guarantee.  Maybe Zazstryzny earns a spot, too, but he’s pretty far from a guarantee.  The Cubs are short an IF, and I’d think LaStella would have the inside track, but he also isn’t a lock.  Szczur is out of options, but he might not have a spot unless Almora tanks ST.  Other people on the current 40 man with shots and option include Leathersich, Pena, and Candelario.  I think the Cubs are going to continue downplaying the chances of another big move, but I feel (hope?) there’s still another big splash to be made.  As of now, the payroll is projected to be lower than last year, and I wouldn’t think it’d stay that way (though perhaps that means a bigger midseason trade).

Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 08, 2016 at 05:09 PM | 80 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2016 at 05:39 PM (#5365265)
FWIW, I don't think the Uehara signing is sufficiently confirmed.
   2. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 08, 2016 at 05:47 PM (#5365267)
Fair enough. I saw your Muskrat tweet, but there were a few other people who had confirmed. Well, said the deal wasn't done, so I guess that's true.
   3. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2016 at 05:52 PM (#5365272)
It's probably done, but it sounds like if it is it will involve Uehara flying back to the US for a physical, so it might take a couple of days.
   4. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 08, 2016 at 06:36 PM (#5365291)
Anyway, I agree with the status of the roster as you describe it, assuming the Uehara signing is complete. While Uehara's track record against LHB is clear, he is a right-handed pitcher, and the Cubs would not have a single lefty in the bullpen, which would be interesting. Of course, if the Cubs acquire a starter Montgomery would move back into the bullpen. Which I would like to see happen. Otherwise, Duensing or Zastryzny are probably next in line, maybe Peña.

The positions are strong, and the organization has familiar players to fill the 24th and 25th positions. And if not, they are replaceable.
   5. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 08, 2016 at 07:00 PM (#5365299)
Heyman says Koji deal is done.
   6. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2016 at 07:13 PM (#5365305)
With Koji, the Cubs now have 3 of the last 4 pitchers to record the last out in a World Series. Source: something I heard on the radio.
   7. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 08, 2016 at 07:33 PM (#5365312)
The one they're missing is Madison Bumgarner. The one before him that they're missing is Sergio Romo.
   8. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2016 at 07:36 PM (#5365314)
Sergio Romo is a free agent. Bring him in!

Brad Lidge is also available.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 08, 2016 at 09:07 PM (#5365336)
The one they're missing is Madison Bumgarner.

I'm reluctant to trade Schwarber, but...
   10. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 09, 2016 at 09:56 AM (#5365494)
And it looks like the Cardinals are on the verge of signing Fowler, for something along the lines of 5yrs/$80-90M.
   11. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 09:58 AM (#5365497)
I'm really happy Sex Fowler is getting paid. But that's a huge contract for a 30yr coming off a career year. Why'd it have to be StLou?
   12. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 09, 2016 at 10:23 AM (#5365520)
I'm really happy Sex Fowler is getting paid.

As typos go, this is A+ stuff.

I think Dexter's bat will age fairly well but I'm not so sure about his legs.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 09, 2016 at 10:31 AM (#5365525)
So yeah, I guess my 3/$45M offer wouldn't have gotten it done.
   14. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 11:01 AM (#5365562)
As typos go, this is A+ stuff.

It was actually one of the Cubs beat writers (I want to say Miles) that had the typo earlier in the season. I even made it part of my handle for a while.

So yeah, I guess my 3/$45M offer wouldn't have gotten it done.

I was still kinda hoping the Cubs would jump in when the rumored offers were 4/$60mil.
   15. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 09, 2016 at 11:23 AM (#5365597)
Dang it, I remember that now.
   16. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 11:56 AM (#5365643)
I guess Maddon has speculated some about having Schwarber lead off now. Obviously, we all put too much emphasis on batting order, but as much as that makes some sense, I feel like it'd be quite a drastic change to have such a poor (well, maybe that's too strong, but he's never really going to be a plus) baserunner. There obviously aren't any obvious traditional leadoff options, unless Heyward can get on base at his 14/15 .350 level. Bryant is probably the best baserunner on the team, but he's got too much power to come up after the pitcher. That leads me to Zobrist.

The way things look today, I think I'd like to see something like Zobrist/Rizzo/Bryant/Schwarber/Russell/Contreras/Baez/Almora vs lefties and Zobrist/Rizzo/Bryant/Schwarber/Russell/Contreras/Heyward/Jay against righties. But even those aren't going to be consistent, because I don't think there's any straight-up platoons. I think they should seriously think about only playing Heyward against RHP until he's shown he's straightened everything out; Jay hits lefties just fine, and it's not enough PT to just play Almora vs LHP; Baez is probably going to get more ABs than any of the Cs/CFs, and probably Heyward.

Maybe Jay is a lead-off options on days he plays. I tried to get a R/L pattern going where possible, so that meant putting Bryant between Rizzo and Schwarber. Days Montero* starts, you probably don't put him/Heyward next to each other.

I guess what I'm realizing here is that the Cubs probably won't have a standard lineup, and guys are going to be all over the order just as much as they'll play around the field.

*I pray to every holy being that we don't see Montero become Lester's personal catcher. I'd rather not he be Arrieta's catcher either, but I'd rather he regularly catch Jake than Lester.
   17. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 09, 2016 at 12:48 PM (#5365686)
I guess Maddon has speculated some about having Schwarber lead off now. Obviously, we all put too much emphasis on batting order, but as much as that makes some sense, I feel like it'd be quite a drastic change to have such a poor (well, maybe that's too strong, but he's never really going to be a plus) baserunner.

He put up 2.5 BsR in 2015 in 273 PAs. Last year Fowler put up 6.2 in 555 PAs. Zobrist hasn't put up 2.5 BsR since he was in his 20s. Sure, that's a small sample, but so far he has not been a bad baserunner at all. And I also realize that Schwarber's not a fast runner, and who knows how his injury might continue to affect him, but I think he's actually a good baserunner at this point if he's healthy. But how much does it matter? It's not something we've seen much of from the Cubs, but the Angels used the lumbering Brian Downing as a leadoff man for years, with quite a bit of success despite his station-to-station approach on the bases.

Also, in the past Maddon has batted pitchers eighth quite a bit -- I won't be surprised to see Almora/Jay hitting ninth next year.

I'm not arguing that this is a great idea or even a good one, I just don't think it's a bad idea. It's not like they were constantly asking Bryant to hit behind the runner or take pitches or bunt when they had Fowler leading off last year, or plan to in the future. On the other hand, I think Maddon really likes having a power hitter leading off, something he got used to with Desmond Jennings. And as you say, this is Maddon. We might see 150 different lineups next year. I expect to see Bryant and Rizzo as regulars in a couple of lineup spots, but otherwise it's going to be where the dice fall on any given day.
   18. Voodoo Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:14 PM (#5365703)
I pray to every holy being that we don't see Montero become Lester's personal catcher.


Montero is not good at controlling the running game. I can't imagine that he'd be a paired with Lester.
   19. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:29 PM (#5365712)
He put up 2.5 BsR in 2015 in 273 PAs. Last year Fowler put up 6.2 in 555 PAs. Zobrist hasn't put up 2.5 BsR since he was in his 20s. Sure, that's a small sample, but so far he has not been a bad baserunner at all.

I'm happy to see I might be wrong. It's hard to really remember Schwarber on the bases, and the limited version in the WS is too fresh in my mind; then again, he did swipe 2nd once that series. Zobrist seems like a guy who does everything right though, so my thoughts are more in the take the extra base variety, as opposed to stealing or hit/run. Zobrist isn't young either, so he could very easily slow down. It just *seemed* like the Cubs got a number of runs out of Fowler/Bryant and their speed/baserunning than I've seen in quite a while.

I admittedly am overthinking this.
   20. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:31 PM (#5365715)
Montero is not good at controlling the running game. I can't imagine that he'd be a paired with Lester.

You're much more confident than I am with Lester not being adamant about this. I can't recall Contreras catching him at all, but vaguely remember him throwing to Montero once or twice (I could be wrong, or thinking about 2015). Arrieta threw to both, but at least Arrieta can field his position.
   21. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:45 PM (#5365734)
It just *seemed* like the Cubs got a number of runs out of Fowler/Bryant and their speed/baserunning than I've seen in quite a while.

They did. Fowler's 6.2 BsR was 12th in baseball, and Bryant's 7.3 was 8th. Which means Schwarber's 2.5 in 2015 (in just 273 PAs) was actually pretty good. He only stole three bases that year so the BsR must have come mostly from taking extra bases and effectively advancing on batted balls. Again, small sample size, but it's contrary to any assertion that he is bad at base running.
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5365741)
I guess Maddon has speculated some about having Schwarber lead off now. Obviously, we all put too much emphasis on batting order, but as much as that makes some sense, I feel like it'd be quite a drastic change to have such a poor (well, maybe that's too strong, but he's never really going to be a plus) baserunner.

Jed Hoyer was talking about this in an interview with Spiegel & Goff this morning on The Score. Hoyer was up for the idea. He said it gives more PA to the best hitters an a first inning lineup of Schwarb-Bryant-Rizzo would really hurt some opposing starting pitchers.
   23. Voodoo Posted: December 09, 2016 at 01:54 PM (#5365746)
Arrieta threw to both, but at least Arrieta can field his position.


I seem to recall there being some "issue" late in the season when they were testing Arrieta and Contreras as battery-mates, as if they were having a tough time getting on the same page. Jake didn't seem thrilled with Willson's Yadi-like mound visit routine or something... Does this ring a bell to anyone?

Contreras feels like a natural behind the plate and I expect his game calling skills to advance pretty rapidly. Nevertheless, I have a hunch that Miggy will be Jake's personal catcher.
   24. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 09, 2016 at 02:07 PM (#5365754)
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers will play at Wrigley in June.
   25. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 09, 2016 at 02:10 PM (#5365756)
I seem to recall there being some "issue" late in the season when they were testing Arrieta and Contreras as battery-mates, as if they were having a tough time getting on the same page. Jake didn't seem thrilled with Willson's Yadi-like mound visit routine or something... Does this ring a bell to anyone?

Yes. Montero caught the last 3 or so Arrieta starts in the regular season, then caught Jake in the NLDS and NLCS (one start each). We talked quite a bit about here, hoping Contreras would catch him in the WS, which is what ended up happening.

Nevertheless, I have a hunch that Miggy will be Jake's personal catcher.

I'm predicting Schwarber doesn't catch at all, but we'll see. I think Contreras is going to catch about 60% of the time, give or take, he'll always catch Hendricks. That's 40% or so for Montero (depending on DL time), and he'll probably get one pitcher that he always catches; I agree it'll probably be Arrieta. Maybe it's unfounded, but I fear that Lester will push to pitch to Montero as well, leaving Contreras Lackey/Montgomery (or TBD), but both guys can catch those few depending on the other team's SP handedness and hopefully both catchers catch all of the pitchers (unlike Lester throwing like 99% of his pitches to Ross the past few seasons). I hope Joe has already begun prepping Lester to throw to Contreras.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 09, 2016 at 02:19 PM (#5365765)
Again, small sample size, but it's contrary to any assertion that he is bad at base running.

Nobody with something like that on their chin can be any good at baserunning.
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 09, 2016 at 02:30 PM (#5365787)
That's what they said about Scott Spiezio!
   28. Voodoo Posted: December 09, 2016 at 02:32 PM (#5365791)
I think Contreras is going to catch about 60% of the time


I think I'll take the over on this, unless injuries make giving Contreras 25 or so starts in the OF a viable option. I also don't think Schwarber will catch at all.
   29. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 10, 2016 at 05:46 PM (#5366268)
I heard on MLB radio a couple of hours ago that the Cubs are working to sign Tyson Ross.

I am shocked, shocked I tell you.
   30. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 12, 2016 at 03:20 PM (#5367070)
No Ross signing yet. And now rumors of the Cubs interest in Justin Wilson.
   31. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 12, 2016 at 05:43 PM (#5367188)
I heard on MLB radio a couple of hours ago that the Cubs are working to sign Tyson Ross.

I am shocked, shocked I tell you.


The Law of Conservation of Rosses. Think they'll make him shave his head and get behind the plate when Lester pitches?
   32. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: December 12, 2016 at 07:02 PM (#5367259)
Justin Wilson? Wasn't he that Cajun chef who had a TV show back in the day?

Cayenne peppah, ohn-yohn....
   33. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2016 at 09:44 AM (#5367442)
I think Wilson would be a nice addition. Right now the lefty bullpen candidates consist of Duensing, Zastryzny, maybe Montgomery if he doesn't start.

A bullpen of Wade, Strop, Rondon, Uehara, Edwards Jr, Wilson, and one or two other guys would look pretty strong.
   34. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2016 at 09:45 AM (#5367443)
Speaking of Uehara... still no confirmation of that having been completed.
   35. zonk Posted: December 13, 2016 at 10:10 AM (#5367461)
One potential issue with Wilson -- well, not an "issue", just something to keep in mind... I think he's got pretty pronounced reverse splits -- so he's not all that effective against LHBs.

He's still a perfectly cromulent reliever, I guess -- call him the Travis Wood replacement without the desire to start... but he doesn't excite me like a real LOOGY would.
   36. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 13, 2016 at 12:04 PM (#5367547)
One potential issue with Wilson -- well, not an "issue", just something to keep in mind... I think he's got pretty pronounced reverse splits -- so he's not all that effective against LHBs.

Well, true, but I also neglected to mention Uehara having an even more convincing reverse split, so it balances out. I believe the Cubs are signing him with that in mind. Anyway, right now it looks like the bullpen options against LHB consist of a RHP with a reverse split (Uehara, assuming that is happening), and then some fairly cannon-foddery types.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2016 at 12:11 PM (#5367555)
he doesn't excite me like a real LOOGY would.

You need to get out more.
   38. zonk Posted: December 13, 2016 at 04:16 PM (#5367787)
he doesn't excite me like a real LOOGY would.

You need to get out more.


I have grown fat(ter) and complacent feasting on championship laurels, so I would argue that getting out more is the last thing I want to do.

Having tasted the sweet meats of a title, I now wish that the delicious morsels in ever more tantalizing and delicate flavors be delivered to me.

*Clap Clap* Thedly! Fetch me a LOOGY so that I might taste a Matt Carpenter Ohfer.
   39. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 13, 2016 at 04:24 PM (#5367797)
You really want to wax rhapsodic about the flavor of a LOOGY?
   40. Addison Russell T. Davies (chris h.) Posted: December 13, 2016 at 05:42 PM (#5367860)
*Clap Clap* Thedly! Fetch me a LOOGY so that I might taste a Matt Carpenter Ohfer.

I think I love you.
   41. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 13, 2016 at 05:59 PM (#5367868)
You mean the Matt Carpenter that went .116/.187/.188 with 24Ks* in 75PAs against the Cubs in 2016?

*Only 108 total, so almost 25% of his Ks came against the Cubs.
   42. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: December 13, 2016 at 09:57 PM (#5367962)
Wow. Guess I hadn't noticed Carpenter was that helpless against the Cubs this year. Maybe that's because every time I watched him against someone else (and I watch a fair bit of Cardinal baseball even when they're not playing the Cubs, their being our rival and all), it seemed like he was hitting a game-tying homer in the 9th or something. He seems like the most consistently deadly Cardinals player these days.
   43. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2016 at 10:13 AM (#5368080)
Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 39m39 minutes ago
#Cubs reportedly have deal with Koji Uehara. No confirmation yet from team but hearing 1 year/$6 million is correct


That's a bit higher than what was reported from Japan last week.
   44. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 14, 2016 at 10:31 AM (#5368099)
Yeah, $1.5mil more. I also saw that supposedly Uehara had at least one other higher offer.
   45. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 14, 2016 at 03:53 PM (#5368346)
Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeyman 42s42 seconds ago
Koji Uehara gets 8 round-trip business class tickets to/from Japan in his cubs deal (in addition to the $6M, of course)
   46. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2016 at 04:02 PM (#5368365)
Koji Uehara gets 8 round-trip business class tickets to/from Japan in his cubs deal (in addition to the $6M, of course)

These types of perks have always struck me as kind of bizarre. Both Uehara and the Cubs have more than enough money to pay for as much business-class travel between the U.S. and Japan as Uehara could reasonably do during the season (and in the offseason, for that matter). Either don't include it or include it and don't put an arbitrary limit on it (except for maybe limiting it to his immediate family or something, so he can't try to fly an entire village over to see a game or something. Although I bet that would be a fun game to be at.
   47. Brian C Posted: December 14, 2016 at 04:13 PM (#5368376)
I dunno, seems reasonable to me. I make enough to pay for all the bottled water I would reasonably want to drink at work during the week, but the water cooler provided is still an appreciated perk.

That's why it's called a "perk" - it's not vital - or even really all that consequential - but still nice to have.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2016 at 05:00 PM (#5368410)
Well right, but would it not be weird if your company also limited you to 8 glasses of water a week or something?

EDIT: Wow, when I'm writing quickly and off the cuff, I use "or something" way too much. Duly noted.
   49. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 14, 2016 at 05:04 PM (#5368413)
As someone whose company provides unlimited free pop (and la croix - blech), and who thinks that he drinks too much of it, I'd probably be thrilled if my company would put a cap on it.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2016 at 05:13 PM (#5368422)
I feel like there might be other potential solutions there.
   51. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 14, 2016 at 05:20 PM (#5368428)
Nope. There isn't.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2016 at 05:35 PM (#5368438)
Hey Moses, someone from your HR department just called me. She said that there is now going to be a strict two-pop-per-day limit. She also said not to ask any questions around the office or you'd be fired. I wouldn't mess with that if I were you.
   53. Brian C Posted: December 14, 2016 at 07:27 PM (#5368503)
Well right, but would it not be weird if your company also limited you to 8 glasses of water a week or something?

I mean, I can kind of see how the business-class tickets to Japan would be an expense even a rich organization like the Cubs might want to rein in just a tad.
   54. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2016 at 07:47 PM (#5368519)
I just ran it through Orbitz, and if you want a round trip nonstop ticket to Narita from O'Hare on Friday for the weekend, it will set you back 22 grand. So eight of those is not chump change.

Wait, business class, not first class. Those are $8700 each. Not so bad.
   55. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2016 at 07:50 PM (#5368523)
I flew business class intercontinental once, 15 years ago. I really wish they would have given me the cash and let me buy a coach ticket.
   56. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 14, 2016 at 08:48 PM (#5368550)
Wow, that's insanely expensive for a flight (although if you were looking for this weekend, I'm sure it's less if you plan in advance). Nonetheless, I think our local nine can afford it.
   57. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 15, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5368982)
10 years ago, it cost almost $6k for a business trip flight to/from Narita. I'm surprised it hasn't gone up more.

If he had a better agent, it would be first class tickets. But those business class seats were nice for that long of a flight.
   58. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 15, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5368983)
Hey Moses, someone from your HR department just called me. She said that there is now going to be a strict two-pop-per-day limit. She also said not to ask any questions around the office or you'd be fired. I wouldn't mess with that if I were you.

I understand. HR is a difficult, thankless job.
   59. zonk Posted: December 15, 2016 at 02:42 PM (#5369014)
As someone whose company provides unlimited free pop (and la croix - blech


I made an exception for Ron Swanson, but sorry Moses... I do not have room for two exceptions. This marks you as a terrible person.
   60. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 16, 2016 at 11:11 AM (#5369520)
I see the dope has destroyed your taste buds.
   61. Styles P. Deadball Posted: December 16, 2016 at 11:52 AM (#5369573)
As someone who drinks metric s^*t-tons of La Croix (because it keeps me from drinking 8 pops a day), I have no problem with people who find it awful.

It's an acquired taste. Even now, I only kind of like a few flavors of the stuff. I just prefer it to being 250 lbs.
   62. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:06 PM (#5369585)
I am a fellow pop lover - I used to go through probably a six-pack of Cherry Coke a day back in college. Of course, after 30 the ol' metabolism can't support that kind of habit, but unfortunately I loathe the taste of Diet Coke, Coke Zero, those kinds of things. Several years ago I decided to lose about 20-25 pounds, so I gave up pop (among other things) cold turkey for a few months. When I came back to it, I started drinking Zevia, which is a zero-calorie cola sweetened with stevia. You can get it at pretty much any grocery store these days. It's a workable compromise. Definitely not as good as the real thing, but unlike the diet stuff, it tastes decent, at least the cola flavor - I find the cherry cola flavor tastes more artificial.
   63. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:08 PM (#5369587)
LaCroix? Dude. I can't believe there's any debate on the point that that stuff's freaking vile. (Well, the missus likes it, but that's just further evidence of her questionable taste.)
   64. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:22 PM (#5369603)
I just drink coffee. My teeth and urine are yellower for it but I don't have to buy new work clothes.
   65. K-BAR, J-BAR (trhn) Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:30 PM (#5369612)
#59 is making me question my assumptions. I thought #61 was sort of universal: no one actually likes La Croix, but there's a slice of humanity that drinks it because they don't hate it quite that much.
   66. Addison Russell T. Davies (chris h.) Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:36 PM (#5369616)
I'm a caffeine-free Diet Coke guy. I started drinking Tab (ugh) in high school, and when Diet Coke was introduced, I jumped on that ####. I'm so used to the taste now that I can't drink regular Coke; it tastes like liquid sugar. Even Coke Zero seems too sweet, oddly enough.

My current client is...a very well-known fast food chain. They have fountain drink machines in all the break rooms, and we're welcome to drink as much as we want. I stop at a Speedway gas station right by my house on the way to their office and buy a 52-oz CFDC. I then use that cup during the day for refills at the fountain drink machine, and one last time just before I leave so I have it for the drive home.

Shut up. I know I have a problem.
   67. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:43 PM (#5369623)
There are whole debates among people younger than you guys as to the best LaCroix flavors (Buzzfeed quiz!). That's an argument continuously occurring in offices across this country.

I personally find the stuff disgusting.
   68. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 16, 2016 at 12:49 PM (#5369632)
Andrew Marchand
Aroldis Chapman said Joe Maddon used him wrong during the playoffs. He specifically mentioned that he didn't think he should have pitched during the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series, because the Cubs were up seven runs. Chapman already had thrown in the seventh and the eighth. With the game in hand, he didn't think he should have been in there. He said he was tired in Game 7. Chapman nearly cost the Cubs the Series by giving up a game-tying homer to Rajai Davis in the eighth inning of Game 7. Chapman made his comments on a conference call announcing his new five year deal.

Aroldis Chapman on Joe Maddon's playoff managing: "Personally, I don't agree with the way he used me, but he is the manager and he has the strategy. My job is to be ready, to be ready to pitch, however that is, however many innings that is, I need to be ready for that. I need to go in and do my job."

Did Aroldis Chapman ever tell Cubs manager Joe Maddon his feelings? "I never told him about my opinion with the way he was using me," Chapman said. "The way I feel as baseball players we are warriors. Our job is to be ready to do what we need to do on the field. They send me out there to pitch, I'm going to go out there and pitch. If I'm healthy, I'm going to go out there and pitch. If I'm tired, I'm going to put that aside and just get through it. It is kind of like a warrior, they send you somewhere and you have to go there and your mentality is you have to go there and do your job."
   69. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 16, 2016 at 01:37 PM (#5369666)
Aroldis Chapman criticizes how Joe Maddon used him in the postseason.

"There were couple of games, but the one I can point to is Game 6," Chapman said when asked for specifics for his criticism. "The game was open and I don't think he needed to [leave] me in the ninth. The important game was going to be Game 7 because we had that game almost won. The next day I came in tired."


.....he isn't wrong.....
   70. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 17, 2016 at 08:30 AM (#5370030)
LaCroix is the flavored unsweetened soda water, right? I hate that stuff. I drink a lot of plain soda water, and there is nothing worse than picking up a bottle, taking a swig, and realizing it tastes like perfume or something.
   71. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: December 17, 2016 at 12:34 PM (#5370084)
Yeah, that's the stuff. Tastes like carbonated oxygen with a whiff of artificial flavoring.

Of course, I don't like soda water either.
   72. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: December 20, 2016 at 05:14 PM (#5371647)
Beginning Thursday night, CSN Chicago will replay all 11 playoff wins, part of a programming block that will run through the day after Christmas, featuring sit-down interviews with Cubs personnel, a look back at the championship parade and Grant Park rally and fresh content on CSNChicago.com.
   73. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: January 04, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5377585)
It's been pretty quiet for a while.

TR Sullivan ‏@Sullivan_Ranger 21m21 minutes ago
Rangers really like Tyson Ross and are being aggressive in trying to get a deal done, sources say. Talks are definitely heating up
   74. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5377699)
Man, I keep forgetting GC even exists. I'd missed the Uehera thing completely. That's one thing off my mind then.

I've been thinking about the roster issues which goes all the way back to the top, mainly on the position player side, mainly for the OF/IF and Zobrist/Baez playing time issues. Assuming no catching for Schwarber we're left with several issues/questions. There will of course be injuries along the way and things won't work out so smoothly but you never know who is going to be injured and you certainly don't want to be hoping somebody gets injured in order for some other player to get more playing time. In no particular order ... but kinda cascading from one to the next.

1. Playing time for Almora ... I assume Jay did not sign for the Cubs to get 40 starts ... and the Cubs didn't spend $8 M on him for 40 starts. Jay doesn't make sense as a regular sub for the LHBs Heyward and Schwarber. If Jay gets about 80 starts, almost all in CF, that leaves 80 for Almora. That might be enough playing time but ...

1a. That locks Heyward into RF for at least the 120 starts against RHP (and maybe another 20 vs LHP). Assuming Schwarber gets at least the 120 starts in LF vs RHP (and maybe 20 against LHP) ... Zobrist starts in one of the OF spots but only for the 40 against LHP.

1b. Therefore Zobrist gets at least 80 starts at 2B limiting Baez to 80 starts at 2B. Note Javy would get all 40 starts against LHP so there's no "sneak him into the lineup while shifting Bryant to the OF vs LHP". He'll pick up 10-20 SS starts and maybe 10 3B starts. I think Baez both deserves and needs more PT to have a chance to develop into a stud.

1c. So in this scenario, do we cut Zobrist's PT? Jay's PT? Almora's PT? Or limit Javy to 100-110 starts?

2. Part of 1 really ... even assuming Almora on the roster, the Cubs are stuck starting at least one of Schwarber/Heyward in each LHP start unless the 12th position player is a RHB. It's not necessarily a disaster, I think the Cubs want to give Schwarber a chance to prove himself against LHP.

2a. Szczur fits the bill but this would give the Cubs a roster with 7 players (incl Bryant and Zobrist) capable of playing 3 OF position but only 4 capable of playing 2B/SS/3B. That can work (it did whenever LaStella was hurt last year) but better balance would be nice.

2b. But LaStella isn't a RHB. I know it seems strange to suggest the Cubs get a RHB backup IF when BRB are all RHB but I'm thinking it allows moving Bryant to the OF against LHP. That suggests it should be a decent-hitting RHB (or switch of course) IF ... not a clue who fits that description other than Sean Rodriguez who's already signed and the Cubs would have been a bad fit for his playing time desires anyway.

3. Leading me to think that maybe Almora will/should start the year in AAA (barring an amazing spring or injuries) and we get that RHB IF (finding a good home for LaStella). That gives us something like:

CF: Jay 80 vs RHP, Heyward 40 vs RHP, Szczur 40 vs LHP
LF: Schwarber 120 vs RHP, Zobrist 40 vs LHP
RF: Heyward 80 vs RHP, Zobrist 40 vs RHP (when JH in CF), Bryant 40 vs LHP
2B: Baez 60 vs RHP, 40 vs LHP, Zobrist 60 vs RHP
3B: Bryant 120 vs RHP, mystery IF 40 vs LHP (or IF at 2B and Baez at 3B)
SS: Russell 140-150, Baez 10-20

That gives Bryant everyday, Zobrist/Russell 140, Baez/Heyward/Schwarber 120, Jay 80, Szczur/IF 40. That doesn't give time to Schwarber against LHP but that's easily enough done by taking starts away from the RH IF (and maybe a few from Baez/Zobrist/Russell to keep the IF fresh). It does fully limit Heyward to a strict platoon which I don't think he or the Cubs want (but will eventually happen anyway if the bat doesn't rebound fully). Personally I bring Zobrist down to 120 and Baez up to 140 (or 130 each). There are also of course a handful of DH starts to help Schwarber's PT.

The "problem" is Zobrist (OK, it's Heyward but whatcha gonna do). It's easy to pencil him in for 40 starts in the OF vs LHP (or he goes to 2B, Baez to 3B and Bryant to OF). After that, every start against RHP comes at the expense of one of Jay, Heyward, Schwarber, Baez or Bryant. I've listed those in the rough order of who I think ideally should lose that playing time although I waver on the ordering of Schwarber and Baez. Jay's obviously not somebody the Cubs are worried about long-term but I do assume he's expecting about 80 starts and the Cubs are expecting him for about 80 starts. Besides, if Zobrist takes starts from Jay, that involves Heyward to CF and do the Cubs want Heyward in CF for more than maybe 40 starts? 80 starts? If they did, why did they sign Jay?

If it is Almora over Szczur then I want to see Almora get more than just 40 starts vs LHP. That brings up back to Jay. If CF is 80/80 AA/JJ then there's no PT for Heyward in CF which means no OF time for Zobrist against RHP which means Zobrist gets at least 80 starts at 2B which means Javy's limited to 100-110.

Jay and Szczur are the guys whose PT we're least concerned with. If Heyward still can't hit, then he should be next on the list. Would the Cubs be willing to do their best to cut bait after only 1.5 seasons? If his bat rebounds to at least 100 OPS+ territory, then Zobrist needs to follow Jay/Szczur on the PT limitation list.

Too many good players is always a nice problem to have.
   75. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: January 04, 2017 at 11:52 PM (#5377746)
The "problem" is Zobrist (OK, it's Heyward but whatcha gonna do). It's easy to pencil him in for 40 starts in the OF vs LHP (or he goes to 2B, Baez to 3B and Bryant to OF). After that, every start against RHP comes at the expense of one of Jay, Heyward, Schwarber, Baez or Bryant. I've listed those in the rough order of who I think ideally should lose that playing time although I waver on the ordering of Schwarber and Baez.

If Schwarber can catch 20 games -- a big if, I know -- that would help solve the "problem" a bit.
   76. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: January 05, 2017 at 11:08 AM (#5377912)
Jay doesn't make sense as a regular sub for the LHBs Heyward and Schwarber.

Jay actually doesn't have much of a platoon split; for his career the only difference is no power against LHP (.352OBP against both RHP and LHP). So while he's not obviously a regular sub for Heyward and Schwarber, he's certainly capable of being one.

Leading me to think that maybe Almora will/should start the year in AAA (barring an amazing spring or injuries) and we get that RHB IF

Yeah, I've recently started thinking Almora in AAA is a real possibility. He really only was an injury replacement last year, and didn't come up to stay until after the rosters expanded. He made the postseason roster as more of a specialist (defense, baserunning), since he's better at that than Szczur. Obviously he can earn his spot, and Maddon does seem high on him; at the same time, Maddon was pretty high on Baez, too, and that didn't keep Javy from starting the year in AAA.

I see your point on the RHB IF, and there isn't an obvious answer. TLS and Szczur have to go somewhere though; I believe both are out of options (even if TLS isn't, well, I wouldn't expect him to accept it).
   77. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: January 05, 2017 at 03:43 PM (#5378159)
Heyman goes into a little more detail about the Cubs going after Ross, stating the Cubs want to use a 6 man rotation at parts during the season. It definitely has its advantages, but the Cubs barely have a 5th starter now - depending on your optimism with Montgomery - and there's isn't an obvious internal 6th man guy (again, depending on how you feel about Zaztraznzzzy).
   78. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5378164)
Agreed TLS and Szczur have to go somewhere and I'd like to find loving, caring homes for them, maybe of course with the Cubs.

It's a fair point that if the Cubs have no choice but to start a LHB OF against LHP then Jay might get some of those starts due to a mild platoon split. Also agreed that if Schwarber catches 20-30 games, the PT issue is pretty trivial -- pretty much just an Almora, Jay, Szczur thing.

Anyway, I'm pretty confident that the Cubs are as high on Baez as I am and will find some way to get him a good dose of PT. And they're obviously high on Schwarber so he'll get PT. My main concern is that Almora gets enough PT but I'm OK if that PT comes in AAA at least for the first half. He may never be anything but a 4th/5th OF but I'd like to see him get the chance to develop into more.
   79. Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist Posted: January 24, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5388945)
Brett Anderson is having a physical today. Cubs are in agreement with him on a $3.5mil deal, with incentive. Seems like a decent enough gamble, though considering his injury history it'd be foolish to really expect that much out of him.
   80. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: February 05, 2017 at 12:08 AM (#5395910)
Cubs have also just signed Williams Perez to a minor league deal.

I'm not a Cubs fan, but this caught my eye because he's on my list of 2017 breakout candidates. Here's hoping he gets a shot!

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