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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Looking Forward

It’s about time I posted a new thread, even if I can’t think of a lot of new things to say at the moment.  I’ve always been a glass half full guy when it comes to the current day Cubs, so it’s pretty easy to look at the first half and see plenty of reasons to hope for improvement - the SP can’t be this bad, Rizzo and Bryant will definitely be better, plus the Maddon Cubs always seem to be more of a second half team.  The areas most likely to regress may include the overall bullpen effectiveness, Javy’s performance, FIP luck, but I think if the improvement happens it’ll more the make up for those declines.

I think the trade deadline will be interesting to watch, as I would expect the Cubs to make some sort of move.  It might not be for someone like Britton or Hand, though those would be nice; if I had to guess we’ll see another Montgomery type deal plus a Leonys Martin one in August. 

The Brewers and Cardinals look a bit vulnerable right now, so it would be nice for the Cubs to put a little distance between them over the next few weeks.  Cubs played the Cards a bunch, so they can take care of that part themselves; the Brewers get a bunch of games against the Dodgers, plus Nats and Giants so there may be an opening there.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 18, 2018 at 05:07 PM | 197 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 18, 2018 at 05:22 PM (#5712187)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 16m16 minutes ago

Cardinals-Cubs probables: Thursday: Kyle Hendricks vs. Carlos Martinez; Friday: Jon Lester vs. Jack Flaherty; Sat, Gm 1: Mike Montgomery or Tyler Chatwood vs. RHP Luke Weaver
Sat, Gm 2:Mike Montgomery or Tyler Chatwood vs. RHP John Gant; Sun: LHP Jose Quintana Miles Mikolas


Cubs will have to start someone else Monday against the DBacks, so it'll be interesting who they go with.
   2. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 18, 2018 at 05:49 PM (#5712197)
From FG's trade value series:

Much of the comment regarding Gary Sanchez from yesterday applies here to Contreras. Like Sanchez, Contreras is a dynamic young hitter who plays a premium position and has all the tools to catch but hasn’t mastered the softer skills. Framing metrics don’t tell the whole story here, but Contreras has gone from fringey to well below average by that measure this year and that has coincided with all the Cubs’ starting pitchers regressing at the same time. We can’t say for sure these are connected or necessarily say anything about Contreras, but it generally lines up with the profile he’s had for a while, which is that of an offensive catcher. As with Sanchez, it’s hard to walk away from this rare set of tools and performance — especially in light of Contreras’s youth — but there’s another catcher coming up on the list whom teams will target if they want the no-doubt slam-dunk best catcher in baseball.


I've begun wondering about his framing recently, as I find myself complaining quite a bit about inconsistent zones in Cubs game; so many times the other teams are getting calls that the Cubs clearly aren't (thanks to the Kzone always being there, it's a lot easy to see this real time). Caratini probably doesn't rate as good at it either, and Gimenez is a catcher in name only, so it's hard to really tell this year how much is Contreras and how much is the Cubs' pitchers wildness.
   3. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 18, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5712199)
There can be a chicken and egg scenario with pitch framing. Chatwood's collapse can hardly be blamed on framing and, if anything, his wildness means he's not getting any calls and will drag Willson's numbers down with him. I would be interested in a breakdown of borderline calls by starting pitcher.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: July 19, 2018 at 12:28 AM (#5712387)
Age by age comparison, when both in MLB ... Javy Baez vs. Sammy Sosa (ages 24-25 are 93-94, the beginning of sillyball)

OPS+
21 52 92
22 102 59
23 94 98
24 102 112
25 131 127

K% (lg avg 21.1 vs 16.3 ... that's for all of Sammy's career)
41.5 25.9
30.0 29.0
24.0 21.7
28.4 21.1
24.9 20.1

HR%
3.9 2.6
1.3 3.0
3.1 2.8
4.5 5.2
5.2 5.5

HR/FB
18.0 8.5
3.4 11.4
10.2 8.4
16.0 13.9
15.4 15.7

BABIP
248 292
412 258
336 311
345 285
343 329

WAA (to partially control for varying PAs)
-1.7 -1.5
0.3 -0.5
1.8 -0.3
1.3 2.1
2.6 2.4

Obviously the year's not over so some of Javy's rate stats will probably come down but then his WAA/WAR will keep going up. He's on pace for about 6 WAR and Sosa didn't hit that until 1998 (age 29), Sosa didn't hit 5 WAR until 1996.

Of course what made Sosa super-special was the 2nd jump he took, up to about a 20% HR/FB.

Soriano might seem a more obvious comp but he didn't get playing time until age 25. But yes, his age 26 looks a lot like Javy's 25 except Soriano played terrible defense (6.1 oWAR, 4.8 WAR). And of course Soriano never took that second leap that Sosa did so he's probably a better example of what Javy's future could look like if this season is an indicator.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5712480)
Interesting comp.

In 95, Sosa had a one year jump in BB% to 9.2% that might have been a foreshadowing of the next BB% jump in 2008 (10% or above the rest of his time with the Cubs). Javy is basically in the 3% range these past years (last year was 5.9 but half of those were IBB), so Sosa was still ahead of Javy there the entire time. As people constantly harp on about, if his pitch recognition/selection improves just a little it'll make a huge difference. If he can sustain where he is now or close to it, it's not going to bother me that much even if I have a inkling of hope he could still be better.
   6. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5712532)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 4m4 minutes ago

Orioles GM Dan Duquette on MLB radio just said his next efforts will be to move the Zach Britton trade market forward . Sources point to the Chicago Cubs as a main player if they are convinced he is healthy.


Indians just traded Mejia (#5 prospect in MLB per Law) for Brad Hand. I have a feeling Britton still isn't going to be cheap, and I'd hate to give up something significant for another rental.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5712545)
As Han Solo said, I've got a bad feeling about this.

Although I guess the Cubs don't really have any more great prospects to throw at #MoarReleevurz.
   8. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5712620)
Indians just traded Mejia (#5 prospect in MLB per Law) for Brad Hand. I have a feeling Britton still isn't going to be cheap, and I'd hate to give up something significant for another rental.


Although I guess the Cubs don't really have any more great prospects to throw at #MoarReleevurz.


Yeah. That's the thing - unless it's an Almora, a Happ, or a Schwarber - there's not really anything in the system (or multiple anythings) I would particularly fret losing.

I don't particularly wish for the Cubs to chase Britton, but if the cost is pick 3 or whatever from Bote, Tseng, Underwood, probably even Caratini, even my boy Trevor Clifton (who, BTW, has been pretty decent at Iowa), Burks - even Alzolay or maybe even Little (who continues to look as rough as ever) or Lange (who looks decent, but not a world beater).... fine.

No way to any of the usual Schwarbs/Happ/Almora suspects though.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5712628)
pick 3 or whatever from Bote, Tseng, Underwood, probably even Caratini, even my boy Trevor Clifton (who, BTW, has been pretty decent at Iowa), Burks - even Alzolay or maybe even Little (who continues to look as rough as ever) or Lange (who looks decent, but not a world beater).... fine.
Whoah, whoah...three?? I'd be fine giving up one of those guys, maybe two of the less promising/further away ones. But three for a rental RP? No way.
   10. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5712632)
Looking a bit more -

I can't see any way the Orioles would even make the laughable suggestion of HAS (can we shorten things in such a manner for the next couple weeks?). Rust, yada yada... but hard for me to actually see Britton fetching - so maybe the Cubs would be able to swing something if they wish.

MLBTR says the Cubs are also asking about Nathan Eovaldi... he looks like another 'meh' that I just cannot see costing much.
   11. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5712636)
Whoah, whoah...three?? I'd be fine giving up one of those guys, maybe two of the less promising/further away ones. But three for a rental RP? No way.


Yeah, I retract - not because I wouldn't do that for two years ago Britton (even as a rental) - but he looks pretty pedestrian to me.

So pick one. And take most of them off the list.
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5712643)
Amaya doesn't have the prestige yet, but he looks like the next blue chipper. I'd hate to move Alzolay when his value is at a low point. It doesn't help that the people the Cubs are rumored to be after aren't sure things either, so while I'm not saying anyone in the minors in untouchable I'd probably dislike losing either of them right now.

Guys like Bote or Tseng or Underwood who seem to be just guys, I don't know that I'd miss them (Bote is fine Happ insurance in case he's part of a bigger deal).
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5712645)
The Indians not only picked up Hand but Adam Cimber as well, who has had a nice year in heavy usage. Hand is also signed through 2020 at a reasonable rate, with a $10 million option in 2021. The Indians bullpen has been an absolute disaster and it's a serious threat to their success this year -- on paper at least, Hand and Cimber make a big difference.

The Cubs could use some bullpen help but they aren't in nearly as desperate a situation as Cleveland. Britton is more expensive and he's a FA after this season, and after his arm injury last season and subsequent achilles injury he has not been the same. His velocity is down. The Cubs could definitely use rotation help though, and if there's a serious expenditure of young talent, I would expect it to go to that.
   14. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5712655)
Right - is Britton any better than Justin Wilson right now? He's better than Duensing (I might be a better LOOGY than him today, and I'm not a lefty), but unless Montgomery is staying in the rotation it isn't crazy to think the Cubs might have too many LH RP if they added Britton.

IOW, the Cubs have a number of guys right now that probably could do what Britton is doing today but none of them - or Britton - are a sure thing. I don't see a real need with the pen unless you're getting a sure thing; otherwise you keep sorting through the Rosario/Bass/Hancock/Ferrell/Norwood and maybe Maples group to see which guy holds up/has the right type of stuff for a playoff matchup.

Morrow/Edwards/Cishek/Strop is a solid top 4, with some combo of Montgomery/Wilson/Rosario/guys above (RBHFNM, plus maybe Butler or even Underwood) filling out a postseason bullpen. I'll take someone that immediately belongs in the first group, I don't see a big need to add another name to the 2nd bucket.
   15. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5712656)
Amaya doesn't have the prestige yet, but he looks like the next blue chipper. I'd hate to move Alzolay when his value is at a low point. It doesn't help that the people the Cubs are rumored to be after aren't sure things either, so while I'm not saying anyone in the minors in untouchable I'd probably dislike losing either of them right now.


My brain really needs a good de-defragging -- lots of old flotsam clogging up the biological harddrive.

When you said Amaya, my first impulse was "Wait... Gioskar? Is he even still in the system?".... then I remembered that you're certainly talking about Miguel.

FTR - yes, Gioskar is still in the system. He's hitting .183 as a 25 yo as Tennessee and moved to 1B (after moving from 3B to 2B to the Cubs trying to convert him to catcher, though I vaguely recall he his hurt his knee or something at some point).
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5712657)
I'd much rather see what a deGrom deal would look like anyway. Then I'm definitely cool with HAS*+any combo/quantity of the minor league guys (knowing that is wishful thinking).

*Ok, maybe I'm still too emotionally attached to Schwarber and would rather not move Russell, so just HA
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5712658)
Wait... Gioskar?

The answer to that question is almost always yes, except in this case.
   18. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5712663)
The answer to that question is almost always yes, except in this case.


Hey - you know my love for minor league super utility flotsam... I was so excited when the Cubs moved him to catcher - finally, a true 8 position utility player!
   19. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5712695)
Contreras gets the first game back off (is he going to start the other 4 this series?), so does Javy. Time to start the rumor that they're both still hung over from the All Star game.

Rizzo
Bryant
Heyward
Zobrist
Happ
Schwarber
Russell
Caratini
Hendricks

This lineup would look so, so strange if it was the first Cubs game you were seeing this season.
   20. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:19 PM (#5712706)
Time to start the rumor that they're both still hung over from the All Star game.

...headed to the Mets.
   21. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5712720)
I missed this the other day, but this piece on Contreras in The Athletic ($) is fantastic:

But there’s one area where Contreras is lagging behind other catchers. According to Baseball Prospectus’ advanced framing statistic, Adjusted Framing Runs Above Average, Contreras is dead last in baseball (98th) with a -10.2 FRAA_ADJ. Essentially, when it comes to getting close calls on balls and strikes, the way a catcher receives the ball can impact what the umpire calls.

“There’s so many factors that go into how that is judged,” catching coach Mike Borzello said. “Whether it be strictly the technique, relationship with umpires or pitchers he’s catching. When you incorporate all those things. You have to sit down and kind of tackle each different point with him and get him to understand certain things.”

Borzello said Contreras is getting more familiar with his pitchers after the team added numerous new arms in the offseason, so that isn’t as much of an issue as it was early in the year. But the other two aspects, his receiving technique and relationship with umpires, are what he and Contreras focus on now.

“We’re trying to get him to do things that help him grade out better in this day and age of catching,” Borzello said. “We’re just looking at other catchers that grade out at the top and seeing how much he can incorporate those techniques into his game.”


This is mostly about framing, but Borzello is quoted extensively so it's totally worth reading.
   22. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5712744)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 5s6 seconds ago

Almora, Edwards and Bass are activated. Bote and Zastryzny sent down, Morrow to DL with right biceps inflammation, retroactive to July 16.


I guess Morrow's fragility might make the Cubs feel a stronger need for another bullpen arm.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5712745)
Morrow to DL with right biceps inflammation
What, did he take off his shirt?
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5712749)
Untied his shoe?
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5712753)
Wiped his ass a little too vigorously after taking a dump?
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5712754)
The more mundane the activity, the more severe the injury, right? Also, the injury body part wouldn't be directly related to the injury. So...what's the most severe injury he could suffer while doing the most mundane activity?

Decapitate himself while trimming a toe nail?
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5712762)
Died in a bizarre gardening accident.
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 05:39 PM (#5712767)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 5m5 minutes ago

#Cubs prospect Nico Hoerner, this year's top draft pick, injured his left elbow diving for a ball with Class-A South Bend and will head to Arizona for a rehab assignment. While visiting Wrigley, Hoerner says no baseball activities for 4-to-6 weeks.


Maybe that's how Morrow got hurt - it happened when Hoerner dove for that ball.
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5712768)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 3m3 minutes ago

Joe Maddon had no update on Yu Darvish and his progress. Pitching coach Jim Hickey said @670TheScore /@mullyhanley today that Darvish is weeks away from a return.


20% chance he doesn't pitch again this year?

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 6m6 minutes ago

Cubs Joe Maddon resting All Stars Willson Contreras and Javier Baez . Wanted them to have the two full days off after the event.


So not hung over, still drunk. Got it.
   30. Brian C Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:07 PM (#5712917)
20% chance he doesn't pitch again this year?

More than that, I'd reckon. "Weeks away" in this context means "we don't know and honestly we've almost given up on caring."

I say 75% chance he's done.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5712959)
Source: #Cubs get Jesse Chavez from #Rangers for a minor-league pitcher (do not yet know name).


Robothal.

Ok? Is duensing going away for a while? Or is Morrow more hurt than they're saying, not that he's a replacement for him.
   32. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5712962)
He has more WAR this year than in his career. So...

The #Cubs tonight acquired RHP Jesse Chavez from the Texas Rangers for minor league LHP Tyler Thomas. pic.twitter.com/wEYDm0cfvq


Official.

GOOD: Chavez has thrown the fourth most innings of any reliever this season, rarely walks anybody, and has a good ground ball rate.

BAD: Chavez has thrown the fourth most innings of any reliever this season, rarely strikes out anybody, and has a bad hard-hit rate.
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 10:57 PM (#5712963)
Is duensing going away for a while?
Hopefully they've found him a new home on a farm where he can run free. But Chavez is RH, right? So my guess would be that Norwood is heading back to Iowa. Because, handedness, ya know.
   34. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5712966)
Right, I just mean it's less flexibility cause it's another guy without options. Also, not sure he's really better than guys like Bass or Hancock, etc.
   35. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5712969)
IDK... Chavez is sort of a perfect veteran reliever - plus, he's also done some swing work in the past so if the rotation is going to continue to struggle, he's a guy who can eat innings.

Still - Thomas has posted pretty nifty numbers (81 Ks/14 BBs in 75 IP at South Bend). Of course, I think he was college senior when drafted last year (7th rounder), so he should be posting nice numbers at low A ball.

Fairly even trade, I guess.
   36. Voodoo Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5712970)
Maybe they targeted him because they can stretch him out as a starter in a pinch? He started 21 games last year (though he was awful).
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:15 PM (#5712971)
Or is Morrow more hurt than they're saying,
Morrow sneezed earlier tonight, necessitating Tommy John.
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:26 PM (#5712972)
Chavez is sort of a perfect veteran reliever - plus, he's also done some swing work in the past so if the rotation is going to continue to struggle, he's a guy who can eat innings.


I mean, sure, the Cubs are capable of winning games 9-6, but that doesn't seem like the best plan going forward. His career ERA as a starter is 4.45; his ERA as a starter last year was 5.24. Chavez seems like he's thisclose to being a textbook example of a replacement-level pitcher. Sure, there's some chance that he'll out-pitch Anthony Bass and Tyler Chatwood for the rest of the season, but there's almost as much (if not slightly more) chance that he won't. What's the point? This feels like making a move just for the sake of making a move.
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:33 PM (#5712974)
Brandon Morrow had an MRI on his forearm / biceps today . He said there was “stuff in there “ but nothing that needed a long term shutdown .


#Cubs closer Brandon Morrow got an MRI today on right biceps: “I seem to rotate injuries. I never hurt the same place twice. This is a new one, but it’s manageable. We have a good idea of how to proceed and I’m hopeful that it’s just a muscle strain that can clear up.”


Totally agree, Kiko.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: July 19, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5712981)
His career ERA as a starter is 4.45; his ERA as a starter last year was 5.24

By 6th starter standards, that's pretty good. Heck, Chavez might start Monday (somebody has to), even if it ends up a bullpen game.

In 95, Sosa had a one year jump in BB% to 9.2% that might have been a foreshadowing of the next BB% jump in 2008 (10% or above the rest of his time with the Cubs). Javy is basically in the 3% range these past years (last year was 5.9 but half of those were IBB), so Sosa was still ahead of Javy there the entire time.

Power and walk rate tend to move together. If Javy gets his HR/FB up to 20% as Sosa did, he'll most likely see a nice jump in BB% too just because pitchers are being much more careful (and also happier to hand out a IBB). But yes, Javy is a hacker extraordinaire, much moreso than Sosa -- guys are already trying to pitch around him plenty, he just won't let them -- and I doubt his unintentional BB rate will ever improve substantially. Like you I still hold out some small hope. He seems to get it every once in a while -- sometimes after wailing and flailing at one a foot outside, he seems to remember that maybe that's not such a great idea, takes a quite close pitch on the next one for a ball, then hangs in with a tough PA until he gets one he can hit. Of course there are still a LOT of times that he'll wail and flail at 2-3 straight.

Like Soriano, I don't know why anybody ever throws Javy a strike, especially a fastball for a strike. I'm just happy that they do.
   41. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 20, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5713007)
Chavez is sort of a perfect veteran reliever

I don't know what this means.

I'm not against the acquisition of Chavez, especially not knowing what the Cubs gave up. But he's a crappy pitcher having a good year.
   42. Meatwad Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5713055)
They didnt give up much. Random minor league pitcher.
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 21, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5713455)
#Cubs activate Jesse Chavez, promote Dillon Maples and add Luke Farrell as the 26th man for today's doubleheader at Wrigley. James Norwood has been optioned to Iowa and Anthony Bass is going on the DL with a back injury.


Bryant and Contreras sitting first game today. Plus it's raining. Could be a long interesting day. I expect the Cubs to bounce back just fine, bit chatwood is pitching game 1.
   44. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 21, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5713540)
Anthony Rizzo has started and hit leadoff 21 times in his career.

He has hit .342/.440/.740 with 16 runs, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 6 HR, 13 walks, 12 strikeouts & 2 HBP in those 21 games. #Cubs


He's hitting leadoff again in game 2. Just leave him there until he starts hitting a bunch of homers again.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: July 21, 2018 at 07:45 PM (#5713586)
He has hit .342/.440/.740

Sosa 2001: 328/437/737 with 146 R and 64 HR in 160 games. :-)
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5713983)
Rizzo is hitting .556/.658/.815 in the 8 games since he went back to leadoff. No homeruns though.

Russell has cooled off a bit lately, only hitting .219/.296/.313 in July with no homeruns; that's brought his season OPS+ down to 92 (now the only regular below 100).

Heyward's useful streak is still continuing. Since coming off the DL (5/18), he's hitting .313/.369/.462.
   47. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5714004)
Heyward's useful streak is still continuing. Since coming off the DL (5/18), he's hitting .313/.369/.462.


You know... it's probably worth noting that after this season, Heyward's annual salary dips down to 20 mil. He's at 1.7 WAR - maybe he can get that into 2.5 range or so?

Don't look now, but there's a possibility that he goes into next year earning roughly what he's worth.
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5714013)
Slow the #### down, man. He's not even had half a season of success yet. Baby steps.
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 23, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5714128)
2016 Cubs through 98 games:
59-39
2018 Cubs through 98 games:
58-40
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5714303)
Against a LHP

Rizzo
Bryant
Almora
Baez
Contreras
Russell
Zobrist RF
Happ LF
Farrell
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5714305)
Michael Cerami @Michael_Cerami 6m6 minutes ago

Over his last 87 plate appearances, Happ has an absolutely ridiculous .348/.483/.536 slash line (177 wRC+), with a 20.7% walk rate and 26.5% strikeout rate. Yo.


He's been doing it pretty quietly. The K rate decline is extremely promising, but so is his walk rate.
   52. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5714366)
My mother was still complaining about Happ this weekend; not realizing how good his season numbers are. That dude turned around his season pretty damn quickly.

I still have the feeling he will be traded for Chris Archer or somebody like that.
   53. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5714374)
My mother was still complaining about Happ this weekend; not realizing how good his season numbers are. That dude turned around his season pretty damn quickly.


"But every time I see him he gets an out!"
   54. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:51 PM (#5714506)
Don't look now, but there's a possibility that he goes into next year earning roughly what he's worth.

Can we offer him the opt-out right now? :-)

Over his last 87 plate appearances

We can push this farther back. Seems he and Heyward found the same magic elixir. Starting May 18 (practically his OPS low-point), he's hit 273/432/490 in 183 PA with a 3.8% HR/PA rate, a crazy 21.9% walk rate and a good ol' 30% K-rate. If you want to cherry-pick the nit-picking, from May 18 to June 22 (the period before those 87 PA) it was an odd but still solid 203/385/446. He's taking TTO to Dunnian extremes ... and alas, his defense may be Dunnian as well but maybe we just need to cut down on those CF starts. (RTZ puts him at -6 in CF and -4 in LF this year after rating him excellent last year; Rdrs puts him at -6 in CF but 0 in LF after rating him solidly average last year.)

FWIW, Dunn's Rfields were -5 at 22, -1 at 23, -4 at 24 then he went off a Rfield cliff at 25. Playing mostly LF so, yes, that's still 4-5 runs per full season worse in dWAR terms than Happ's career to date.
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 05:42 AM (#5714677)
Christopher Kamka @ckamka 6h6 hours ago

Max velocity by #Cubs position player pitchers this season
84.8 Chris Gimenez
78.8 Ian Happ
78.1 Tommy La Stella
69.7 Victor Caratini
62.0 Anthony Rizzo


I was already convinced Ferrell isn't good enough, guess it's time to accept how much they need more pitching.
   56. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 08:21 AM (#5714699)
Bernie Miklasz @miklasz 1h1 hour ago

NL Central records since May 7:

@Cubs 42-26
@Brewers 37-30
@Reds 36-30
@Pirates 33-33
@Cardinals 30-38
   57. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:13 AM (#5714714)
I was already convinced Ferrell isn't good enough, guess it's time to accept how much they need more pitching.


I swear that someone must be hacking into a multitude of baseball stats databases because I have no idea where those 11.2 K/9 come from. I don't think I've seen him strike out anybody but pitchers - and it shocks me that he Ks anyone.
   58. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5714742)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 25m25 minutes ago

#Cubs have talked to #Orioles about starting pitchers (Bundy, Gausman) as well as Britton, sources tell The Athletic. As of last night, did not seem as engaged on Britton as other clubs, according to one source. Again: Situation is fluid, subject to change.


He earlier agreed with a Bowder tweet that the Astros and Yankees were "leading" for Britton, with the Red Sox and Brewers also chasing.
   59. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5714803)
I swear that someone must be hacking into a multitude of baseball stats databases because I have no idea where those 11.2 K/9 come from. I don't think I've seen him strike out anybody but pitchers - and it shocks me that he Ks anyone.

He relies on high riding fastballs, which isn't going to fly in the majors unless you can match it with some quality off-speed stuff. But it will get him a lot of strikeouts (8.5 K/9IP in >500 minor league IP). He has a good slider, but for both pitches he lacks the command necessary to be successful. You can be fooled when he has stretches of dominance, successfully locating both pitches, but he has too many bad days where he can't properly locate either pitch. At this point I don't think he belongs on a good major league team, even as a fifth starter.
   60. Brian C Posted: July 24, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5714805)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 25m25 minutes ago

#Cubs have talked to #Orioles about starting pitchers (Bundy, Gausman) as well as Britton, sources tell The Athletic. As of last night, did not seem as engaged on Britton as other clubs, according to one source. Again: Situation is fluid, subject to change.

Getting on my high horse again ... but just look at how ridiculous this tweet is. "Maybe the Cubs want him, maybe they don't, but regardless, it may change anyway."

Trade rumor reporting has to be the most worthless enterprise on earth.
   61. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5714810)
Trade rumor reporting has to be the most worthless enterprise on earth.
Come on, not as long as political "analysis" on 24-hour networks is still a thing.
   62. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5714812)
I wonder what Bundy costs... can I transfer my Teheran fetish to him?

   63. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5714814)
Sure, you have my permission.

Bundy could be a decent acquisition, but that seems like the type of deal more likely to pay off in future years rather than this one.
   64. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5714846)
Yeah, I'm not sure Bundy is a guy you can remotely count on for the stretch run. I have remained intrigued by him even through all his injuries. I am happy to see him succeed. But.
   65. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5714853)
Sadly, though - the Cubs don't really have the chips to get someone they can really count on (not without breaking up the roster at least).

They'll be counting on Quintana, Lester, and Hendricks (and maybe hoping for some Darvish)... Bundy just needs to not walk the world at the back end of the rotation.
   66. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5714932)
I think the Cubs could actually get Bundy or Gausman, but I agree: Is this what the Cubs want/need right now to get them over the top in 2018? I'm not sure it's worth further depletion of the farm system, or Ian Happ, to get one of those two guys. I would prefer to play out the hand as dealt.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5715276)
Shades of 2015 as Wood and Wada and Beeler and Richard stunk it up, resulting in a deal for the last 11 starts of Dan Haren's career, thankfully totally cromulent starts (95 ERA+, probably about 85 FIP+). Never say never but neither Ivan Pineyro nor Elliot Soto have made the majors yet. Now if one of the other SP would just go all 2015 Arrieta on the league ...
   68. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2018 at 07:16 PM (#5715289)
Anyway, we're just gonna have to slug our way to a title this year then let Joe freak out in the playoffs and not let a SP past the 4th and have Duensing pitching with a playoff game on the line. And we're doing a fine job of that, first in R, H and BB (the latter must be a fairly rare combo), position players averaging a 110 OPS+ and have 10 WAA (2.5 ahead of the Braves). Scoring 0.2/g more than the Braves, 0.7/g more than league average. Hopefully Rizzo and Bryant will return to form which would offset any regression we might see elsewhere.

For all our groaning, rWAA still puts our SP a smidgen above average and the pen is doing quite well. (fWAR will be far less kind to the pitching.) Among positions, we're #1 at C, #2 at 2B, #1 at SS (go figure), #2 in LF, #3 in CF, #2 in RF ... note the only really, really good OF season in the NL is Cain. I think that gives us the best IF (incl C) and 2nd best OF. Coming into the season, who thought 1B and 3B would be our weakest spots?

Just cuz it's amazing: Randy Rosario, 2.03 ERA, 5.09 FIP
   69. Meatwad Posted: July 24, 2018 at 08:32 PM (#5715334)
Cubs activated eddie butler and optioned farrell.
   70. Brian C Posted: July 24, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5715426)
So not to be alarmist or anything, but it's a concern that Kris Bryant's arm has fallen off, right? Apparently he's getting a few days off while the Cubs see how he responds to the Gorilla Glue teams doctors used to reattach it to his shoulder.
   71. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2018 at 03:08 AM (#5715452)
Brian, it's never too early to panic! That's the whole point of panic! So let me PANIC!!

A dismembered arm would seem to rule out 3B and RF. There have been many LFs with noodle arms and even more 1Bs. So a package of Rizzo and Schwarber for All-Star reliever Joe Jimenez, All-Star starter Jordan Zimmermann** and top young 3B Jaimer Candelario will solve all of our problems! Get it done Thed!

** Actually having a strong season and maybe healthy ... for now!!!! (It's never too early to panic! That's the whole point of panic!)
   72. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 05:19 AM (#5715454)
Yeah, this new Bryant stuff is troubling, but at the same time it's incredibly obvious he's not healthy. Reading between the lines, this sounds like the type of thing that will end up either needing surgery or a lot of rest, neither of which is likely to happen until the offseason.

Also worrying:
Joe Maddon's update on #Cubs closer Brandon Morrow (right biceps inflammation), who's eligible to be activated from the 10-day disabled list on July 28: “Nothing new. He’s not ready yet. No finish line yet.”


Just an update:
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 11h11 hours ago

Joe Maddon says Yu Darvish threw about 16 pitches today in the bullpen: "It went well. There was no real horrible discomfort." #Cubs will re-evaluate tomorrow.
   73. Brian C Posted: July 25, 2018 at 07:20 AM (#5715462)
"There was no real horrible discomfort." OK.

Things are probably not good when it's hard to tell the difference between Joe Maddon giving an injury update and Dick Cheney talking about interrogation techniques.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5715482)
"His arm didn't fall off like Morrow's did, and it's not spurting blood like Bryant's, so we'll call that a win"
   75. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5715534)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 9m9 minutes ago

Cubs pitching coachJim Hickey @mullyhanley this morning @670TheScore . Not counting on Brandon Morrow coming off of the DL this weekend . Hickey said there is still soreness in triceps that Morrow is dealing with .


Bruce's tweets are usually littered with typos and mistakes and I didn't hear the interview, but...he's officially on the DL for a BICEPS issues, not TRICEPS; so is it both or just something else entirely they're not disclosing?

UPDATE:
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 4m4 minutes ago

Cubs Jim Hickey talked about Morrow biceps injury but said triceps injury by mistake during interview @mullyhanley / @670TheScore
   76. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5715538)
Rizzo
Almora
Zobrist 2b
Contreras
Russell
Schwarber LF
Happ
Lester
TLS 3b

I like hitting the pitcher 8th with Rizzo at leadoff. I don't like that Baez is likely sitting because he's a little hurt after leaving early last night. That's a pretty short bench today, Lester might have to drive in some runs himself.
   77. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5715647)
Joe Maddon doesn't know if Kris Bryant will be in tomorrow's lineup, either, and says #Cubs can't rule out the idea of a DL stint to rest his shoulder: "Everything's in play right now."


Put him on the DL already and call up Bote. Stop playing shorthanded unnecessarily.

Joe Maddon says Yu Darvish could throw off a mound this weekend in St. Louis.
   78. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 25, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5715650)
Put him on the DL already and call up Bote. Stop playing shorthanded unnecessarily.


Especially since we're now, apparently, earmarking one of those bench bats for the bullpen.
   79. Voodoo Posted: July 25, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5715678)
ZONK:Sadly, though - the Cubs don't really have the chips to get someone they can really count on (not without breaking up the roster at least).

ANDERE:I'm not sure it's worth further depletion of the farm system, or Ian Happ, to get one of those two guys. I would prefer to play out the hand as dealt.


WALT:Anyway, we're just gonna have to slug our way to a title this year


This is basically where my head is at, but I remain conflicted. The Cubs have a uniquely great lineup because of the depth, if not a historically great offense because with Bryant and Rizzo not being top 20ish hitter this year.

But it really feels like we need another starter. Montgomery is likely in the rotation for the foreseeable future and as of today would basically be the 4th starter in the playoffs. If Yu is able to pitch again this year, I have a strong feeling he is going to be a shell of his former self. He'll have a chance to make amends in future years, but 2018 seems like a lost season for him. Jake is having a decent, but not amazing, season for the Phillies, being very similar in value so far as he was for the Cubs last year. His K rate is down, and we'd all be very concerned about him falling off a cliff at some point in his contract, and of course its too early to say if the Cubs made the right choice when they called heads for Yu rather than tails for Jake ... but damn it, I'd feel so much better about our chances in October with Lester/Hendricks/Jake/Q/Monty than what we likely will have.

I can't help but be disappointed with Quintana, a little over a year after we acquired him. I dunno, a 110 ERA+ is perfectly fine for a 3/4 starter, but I expected more and of course we paid a king's ransom for him; Eloy is crushing it at AAA and would probably already be in a major league lineup if he wasn't on a team that is completely out of it. As opposed to the Gleyber trade, it feels like the Cubs could have got to the NLCS last year without Quintana (he was awful in the playoffs) --granted it was a different kind of trade, not a rental, but its hard not to imagine what Eloy might have fetched if they had held onto him for another year. I guess then they would have had to sign another starter in the offseason in that event and it might have been someone like Alex Cobb (doing terrible).

Anyway, I'm far too emotionally invested in 8/10th of our "lineup" to want to see them moved, Heyward isn't going anywhere and it is fun to root for him, and I just don't see how flipping Happ is going to be the right play for 2018. He alone isn't going to bring in a difference maker for October like a DeGrom, and he's almost certainly too valuable to flip for someone that we only "hope" can be better than Chatwood/broken Yu/Monty.

I think we win the division even if we stand pat and I'm sure we'll accumulate a couple more random arms like Chavez and hope to catch lightning in a bottle, but largely I think what we see now will be what we see in September and October.
   80. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5715681)
The Cubs have a uniquely great lineup because of the depth, if not a historically great offense because with Bryant and Rizzo not being top 20ish hitter this year.
And yet somehow this feels a lot like yet another one of those periods where they decide to score 5 runs in a week.
   81. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5715892)
Last year, the offense was pretty inconsistent because it felt like there were long stretches when they would only score when they homered. The homers are way down this year, but the overall offense is better, but when they have games where they don't score/score 1 or 2 like this current stretch, it's because they're not hitting homers. So maybe it's a pick your poison sort of thing and we just seem to be overly sensitive to these mini-scoring droughts? I dunno.

---

Lester with 7Ks and 0BB, and all 7Ks came on a swing and miss strike 3, which is pretty encouraging. Javy looked pretty bad trying to run today, they have to put one of him or Bryant on the DL because they can't keep playing with this short of a bench. They just can't.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2018 at 07:15 PM (#5715947)
To be clear, when I said we're gonna have to slug our way to a title, I didn't necessarily mean we'd just stick with what we've got. A 5th starter who doesn't stink would be useful (although that might be Butler or Chatwood) but you usually don't need to give up anything of much value for one of those. Or, if they're willing to stick with Chatwood and given Morrow's situation, a reliever is a bit of a necessity as well (I prefer a LHR).

But we just don't have the pieces to make a big trade so no top-line SP is walking in the door and, once we've accepted that, there's no reason for anything like a Happ-Happ trade just to push us a little closer to the division title while still leaving us with a rotation that strikes no fear in another playoff team's heart.

I am curious about Jordan Zimmermann. He is looking really good this year and the Tigers would love to get out from that contract (2/$50 left ... ouch!) so it wouldn't cost any talent and they'd still have to eat some money. It's just 68 innings and barely over 5 IP/start but his peripherals are back to his career averages -- the K-rate is up nearly 3 over the last two years. I liked him back when he was an FA ... which clearly didn't work out for the Tigers ... and obviously I'd need my scouts to check him out, need to see the medicals, etc. I know that given the years and money, he doesn't really fit in the Cubs' plans and he'd be just another fragile pitcher added to the mix.

Really not a successful offseason for Theo. It's just year 1 of 3+ so still time for things to work out but so far it's $45 M for 160 innings (and counting we hope) and 1.7 bWAR (Chatwood and Morrow getting credit for ERA<FIP). On Jake, I was conflicted at the time but his K-rate is down by 2 and his FIP looks plenty mediocre so I don't think we'd be substantially better off with him around. And knowing Joe, a healthy Arrieta probably just pushes Monty to the pen so we'd still be putting up with Chatwood.

EDIT: Forgot ... Cishek was an excellent addition.
   83. Quaker Posted: July 25, 2018 at 08:20 PM (#5715981)
Seems like in retrospect Verlander instead of (or in addition to) Quintana would have been the play last summer.

If the Cubs end of season numbers look generally how they look now, what do they do in the offseason? Still chase Harper and then try to trade one of Happ/Schwarber/Almora for pitching? Make some moves on the margins and just run it back? Something else?

If the prospect costs were minimal, I'd be pretty happy to add JA Happ. I wouldn't touch any of the young guys on the ML roster to bring in him though.
   84. Voodoo Posted: July 25, 2018 at 09:02 PM (#5716001)
Between Harper slumping and Heyward earning his keep, my hard-on for a Harper signing (omg he named his dog Wrigley!!!) has really dwindled.

In hindsight, Verlander would have been a no-brainer. I'm pretty sure we paid the Tigers about as much for Justin Wilson as the Astros paid them for JV ($$ not withstanding) Sighhhhhh...
   85. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5716018)
Even if Harper settles for something way under what Boras will want, there's still about an 85% chance it ends up being a bad deal. Stay away.
   86. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 25, 2018 at 09:55 PM (#5716049)
it feels like the Cubs could have got to the NLCS last year without Quintana (he was awful in the playoffs)


Quintana's start in the NLDS was 5.2 innings in which he allowed 1 (unearned) run on 2 hits with 1 walk and 7 K's in a 2-1 Cubs' win over Max Scherzer (Game 3). He struggled in the NLCS just like everybody else, but if the Cubs lost Game 3 of the NLDS, they wouldn't have made the NLCS.
   87. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 25, 2018 at 10:00 PM (#5716053)
In hindsight, Verlander would have been a no-brainer. I'm pretty sure we paid the Tigers about as much for Justin Wilson as the Astros paid them for JV ($$ not withstanding) Sighhhhhh...


Given what Gerrit Cole has done this year, not to mention what they're getting out of Charlie Morton, I think it's reasonable to wonder whether the Justin Verlander the Cubs might have acquired would have looked more like the 2017 Tigers' version of Justin Verlander (ERA+ of 119) which is exactly what the Cubs got out of Jose Quintana (seriously, his ERA+ as a Cub in 2017 was 119 - I actually didn't realize they were identical when I started typing this comment).
   88. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2018 at 10:36 PM (#5716073)
1. Harper ... here's where we seriously discuss Bryant's health. I (now, a little late) realize/remember that it's the non-throwing shoulder but if it is hurt badly enough to require surgery, all the diving around 3B is still probably not a great idea while I don't think it would interfere with (or get aggravated by) OF play. If a move of Bryant to the OF is warranted or at least worth considering for his long-term health, then Machado moves to #1 on the wish list. Anyway, previously I didn't think Machado fit well on the team but Bryant's injury has shifted me more towards Harper and Machado being equal options. (I think the most likely scenario is neither.)

2. Happ/Schwarber/Almora ... I know the Cubs still don't act this way, but they really can't trade Almora (barring a return of a good CF). Maybe they think much more of Happ in CF than the fancy stats do or maybe they aren't concerned about Heyward's apparent defensive decline but Almora is certainly the only one I trust to provide solid defense in CF. I wouldn't want to see OFs of Schwarber/Happ/Harper, Schwarber/Heyward/Harper, Harper/Happ/Heyward or other combos very often if I was a pitcher. I'm far from convinced Almora is worthy of being a 650 PA CF in the absolute sense but I'm increasingly convinced he should be one for the Cubs given their options.

3. We've noted before that the top 9 position players are under team control for at least the next 3 years (and none of them will be all that old even after those 3 years) while the SPs and (most of?) the important relievers are under control for at least the next 2 years. Payroll will go up as the young guys move through arb. It's going to be difficult to add expensive solutions without substantially increasing payroll or forcing a trade. It's hard to add a sufficient number of more expensive wins than you're trading away younger, cheaper wins to be worth it. Other than a 2-month rental, I think we're pretty much stuck with what we've got for a while.

4. I don't know that I have any evidence of this but it has always seemed to me that rather than sign Harper then trade somebody, you'll be better off trading somebody then seeing if you can sign Harper. Once a Schwarber/Happ becomes obviously doubly redundant, other teams have leverage in dealing for them. This may be doubly so in the Cubs' case given the depth -- worst case scenario, you trade Schwarber, miss out on Harper and have to start Happ and maybe sign a Jon Jay type. (Not that I'm suggesting Schwarber/Harper is the only or preferred way to go, just an example.)

PS: My other point on slugging to a title is that if we don't have the chips to land a top SP or even top reliever, then anybody we can add doesn't change the equation very much. Sure, having an extra game out of every 5 that we might have a shot at winning while scoring fewer than 6 runs would be nice but we're still probably gonna need to score at least 4.5 so we're still relying on the offense to carry us.
   89. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2018 at 10:50 PM (#5716084)
Yikes, I had no idea how true that statement was. I might have mis-counted a bit here or there but I get the Cubs at 21-40 when scoring fewer than 6 runs. We're only 5-4 when scoring exactly 5. I'll admit I have no idea what to expect based on standard run distributions but that seems not good to me.

Maybe not as scary as it seems. We are, give or take, 500 when scoring 3 to 6 runs which is probably what you'd expect in a (roughly) 4.5 run environment. Heaps of wins when scoring 7+, heaps of losses when scoring fewer than 3 which is as expected. Still, nearly a 333 team when scoring fewer than 6 SOUNDS really, really bad.
   90. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 25, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5716095)
Heaps of wins when scoring 7+, heaps of losses when scoring fewer than 3 which is as expected. Still, nearly a 333 team when scoring fewer than 6 SOUNDS really, really bad.


Anecdotally, I feel like this has gotten a little better lately, but the big problem the team had earlier in the season was a decided lack of games scoring 4 or 5 runs. I remember at some point seeing a graphic that said the Cubs had the largest gap in runs scored in wins and losses (I think the numbers rounded to 7 runs per game in wins and less than 2 in losses).
   91. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:14 AM (#5716121)
As I sorta noted despite my own PANIC, it's generally the case (I'm WAGging) that you're gonna lose nearly all your <3 games, win nearly all of your 7+ games, and finish 500 in your 3-6 games. (Obviously RA plays a role too. :-) The key from an RS perspective is to make sure you have a lot more 7+ than <3.

So the Cubs have scored 7+ in 34 of 101 games, 3-6 in 34 games, leaving 33 for <3. Hmmm...that was more even than I expected.

Obviously since we're way over 500, we're winning more in at least one of those clumps than an average team would. In fact, we are 34-0 when scoring 7+ which must be better than average even if not by much. We are 18-16 when scoring 3-6 leaving 6-26 when scoring <3 which might be a win or two better than an average team. I'll add another WAG then that we're maybe 6 games better than expected in 7+, 1 better in 3-6 and maybe 1 better in <3.

I'm PI-less so I don't know if there's any way to get league rates -- the "run support" split is just for SPs and doesn't give team W-L and might only count runs while they are in the game.
   92. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2018 at 05:15 AM (#5716140)
1. Harper ... here's where we seriously discuss Bryant's health. I (now, a little late) realize/remember that it's the non-throwing shoulder but if it is hurt badly enough to require surgery, all the diving around 3B is still probably not a great idea while I don't think it would interfere with (or get aggravated by) OF play. If a move of Bryant to the OF is warranted or at least worth considering for his long-term health, then Machado moves to #1 on the wish list. Anyway, previously I didn't think Machado fit well on the team but Bryant's injury has shifted me more towards Harper and Machado being equal options. (I think the most likely scenario is neither.)

FWIW, if we take Bryant at his word, he supposedly hurt his shoulder on a slide. So perhaps this could be a consideration depending on the type of surgery I'm assuming he'll inevitably get. If nothing else, Bryant would have an easier path the All Star game as an OF.

I am pretty sure I'm 100% behind the idea of Machado over Harper, and then let Joe make the PT and positions work.

Happ/Schwarber/Almora ... I know the Cubs still don't act this way, but they really can't trade Almora (barring a return of a good CF). Maybe they think much more of Happ in CF than the fancy stats do or maybe they aren't concerned about Heyward's apparent defensive decline but Almora is certainly the only one I trust to provide solid defense in CF. I wouldn't want to see OFs of Schwarber/Happ/Harper, Schwarber/Heyward/Harper, Harper/Happ/Heyward or other combos very often if I was a pitcher. I'm far from convinced Almora is worthy of being a 650 PA CF in the absolute sense but I'm increasingly convinced he should be one for the Cubs given their options.

Totally agree.

Now, the one option that really hasn't been talked about here is trading Russell instead of one of the OF. If you're signing Harper, you move Happ back to 2b and slide Javy to SS fulltime. If you're signing Machado, well, you could do a number of things there.

---

While those thoughts do float around, obviously this year is the bigger concern. I guess because we all seem to agree there isn't really an obvious trade solution, best I can do is just hope things internally work out.
   93. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5716264)
The #Cubs today placed 3B Kris Bryant on the 10-day DL (retroactive to July 24) with left shoulder inflammation and recalled INF David Bote from @IowaCubs.


Inevitable.

Bote at 2b today, so Baez also not 100%.
   94. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5716273)
55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 05:42 AM (#5714677)

72. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2018 at 05:19 AM (#5715454)

92. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2018 at 05:15 AM (#5716140)
Insomnia gradually getting worse?
   95. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5716310)
Hey - when I close my eyes at night - I see blood spurting out of Bryant's shoulder, Baez's knee, Darvish's arm, and nothing BUT a pool of blood wearing a Morrow jersey.

Makes me sleepless, too.

I blame many of you.
   96. Neil M Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5716317)
#95

Try to focus on Chatwood.
   97. Zonk was SHOCKED by #6! Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5716336)
So my choices are sleeplessness or restless, nightmare-laden that lasts forever but leaves me feeling completely unrested?

Yeesh.

I think I should just drink more.
   98. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5716491)
Insomnia gradually getting worse?

I'm across the pond, mate.

----

Cubs might be close to trading for Hamels.
   99. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5716495)
Sherman:

Between rest of salary this yr plus buyout on 2019 option, Hamels owed roughly $14.2M. Hear that if deal with #Cubs goes thru they will pick up about $4M and give up secondary prospects. But NO deal is in place yet, Cubs just more involved than other suitors.
   100. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 26, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5716498)
As long as Hamels replaces Chatwood in the rotation, I'm good with this, but it's very much a "meh" kind of deal. I'm still holding out hope for a deGrom deal: go big or go home, I say!
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