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— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Now what?

I’m hungover and at work.  This is probably going to be an incoherent mess.  I probably will end up disagreeing with some or all of this, probably sooner than later.  However, might as well start thinking about how the Cubs are going to approach this offseason. 

The easy route is making some small changes around the edges - maybe splurge on a reliever or two, bring a couple more long shot rebound types - and talk about being healthier and improving from within.  There’s probably some merit to that, and it very well could work.  They could burn it all down - fire Maddon, make a couple big, splashy trades, and spend a ton of money in FA.  Maybe there’s some merit to that too, but that still would be an overreaction.  I expect them to do something in between (wow, really going out on a ledge here, aren’t I), but it still very likely will be more turnover than we’ve been used to lately.  So, let’s break it up by area.

Coaching Staff
I don’t think I’d be stunned if they fired Maddon now, but I’d be a little surprised.  Robothal has a piece today that feels like a little more than just pure speculation to me.  Maybe it’s just someone sending out feelers to gauge the reaction, maybe it’s nothing.  I think I’d like them to move on from Chili Davis; how much credit or blame should he really get though?  The offense is really the problem here, and it’s so incredibly damning to see how the Red Sox and Cubs went in opposite reactions based on him. 

Hitters
Absolutely, positively will be back: Baez, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Heyward (he’s not going anywhere, and I don’t see any way they get rid of him).  Will not be back: Russell, Murphy. After that, I think everything else is in play.  I have some hope they’ll get *something* for Russell (look at the Osuna deal).  I think moving any of Schwarber, Happ, or Almora would be also selling them at a lower point in their value; none of them really are guys who’ve shown they should clearly be every day regulars, although you could make an argument for giving each of them a chance to play more.  I do think the Cubs are going to go pretty hard after one of Machado or Harper - though I don’t necessarily seeing them being able to outbid the Phillies (so much damn money available) or the Yankees/Dodgers if they really want one of them.  If they do get one of them, it’ll mean at least one of those 3 young guys becomes expendable trade bait.  I keep going back and forth on which one of them I’d prefer the Cubs to go after, and I think today I’m thinking Harper (he’ll cost less) and just putting him in LF (bye bye Schwarber); I really don’t want to see a regular OF of Schwarber/Heyward/Harper.  If they went after Machado, they could move Bryant to LF fulltime (again, bye bye Schwarber) or move Javy back to 2b (the lesser of those two options).   

I think the Cubs need a new backup catcher.  I’m actually ok with Caratini, but they need someone that can give Contreras a lot more rest.  Whether that’s a coaching thing that Joe just won’t play him, or a real reason they don’t like him getting regular appearances, they can’t expect Willson to play this much again and be worth anything with his bat.  I still hope that for Contreras, he just needs more rest and he’ll be fine.  The Cubs need a fulltime 2b and CF, but it very well could be those spots continue to be a rotation of in house guys (Almora/Happ/Zobrist/Bote/Heyward).  I can live with that (and Heyward getting most of the starts in RF) if they add a big bat elsewhere.  However, I have a suspicion that Cubs add someone else from the outside to fill one of those spots.  I like the idea of Bote and Zobrist as bench regulars who each start a few times a week, but think the Cubs are better if neither are counted on to start 140ish times (Zobrst, just due to his age, can’t really be expected to be this good again in this much PT). 

Bottom line, I think the Cubs end up with 2 new starting position players and a different looking bench.

Pitchers
Pick up Hamels’s option is step 1.  Find some way to make Chatwood disappear is step 2.  I don’t see the Cubs spending much money here at all (biggest expenditure will probably how much of Chatwood’s deal they have to eat).  Rotation is then set with Montgomery and Mills are the long men/6th starter options (I think I want Mills on the roster all year next year).  They need to add more guys at the AAA level that could also fill in as starters (who knows what to expect from Azolay, but he’s going to make some starts next year if he’s healthy).  I would expect them to make another Morrow/Cishek range signing, maybe a lefty since Wilson is most likely gone.  You have a solid bullpen base with Morrow (for the times he’s healthy)/Strop/Edwards/Montgomery.  Bullpens are hard to predict, so I’d again expect them to approach it with quantity.  In addition to Wilson being gone, I’d also expect Duensing, Kintzler, and Garcia to be removed one way or another.  Anything else is TBD, and I don’t have any specific guys in mind (I would love for Maples to figure his #### out).

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 03, 2018 at 10:27 AM | 355 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 09, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5784905)
From Mooney today:

The mysterious circumstances surrounding Jim Hickey’s anticipated departure or reassignment and the prospect of a third different pitching coach in three years.

Whoever is the next pitching coach will have to connect with Darvish. And how Darvish performs in a rotation that should be the 2019 team’s biggest strength may clarify Maddon’s lame-duck status, because it’s easy to forget how freakishly talented this pitcher is.


What a weird story this is, and that nothing's happened yet.
   202. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5785019)
What the everliving what

Kris Bryant won the Rookie of the Year award in 2015, an MVP award the next season, and he will forever be remembered in Chicago for making the last play to clinch Game 7 of the Cubs' 2016 championship, grinning as he released the throw to first. At that time, it was easy to envision him spending his career with the franchise that had drafted him second overall in 2013.

But it's possible that the Cubs will trade him, perhaps as soon as this winter. As part of their early offseason discussions, sources say, the Cubs have indicated to other teams they are willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster, including Bryant, who struggled in 2018, batting .272 with 13 homers in 102 games. Bryant went on the disabled list twice with left shoulder trouble.

Past efforts to reach a long-term agreement with Bryant have not advanced -- the Cubs made a significant offer last winter, without a deal being concluded -- and the third baseman, who turns 27 in January, is about to get much more expensive as he moves toward free-agency eligibility after the 2021 season.


Olney

Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs 23m23 minutes ago

Story by @Buster_ESPN today. Certainly is more of a possibility then ever before:
   203. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:29 PM (#5785021)
Some extraordinarily minor minor league moves...

The Cubs re-signed Erick Leal, who I believe was once a darkhorse prospect back in the late 90s; Danny Hultzen, whose recovery from transplant surgery to replace his left shoulder with a porterhouse steak will continue; Gioskar Amaya, who continues to pursue the zonk dream of being a true super-utility player that can play catcher; and Roberto Caro, about whom I've got nothing clever to say.
   204. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5785023)
Got to get those prospects, man!
   205. McCoy Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5785025)

The Cubs re-signed Erick Leal, who I believe was once a darkhorse prospect back in the late 90s


What? That's a long time to be in the minors. Is his nickname Crash?
   206. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5785027)
What? That's a long time to be in the minors. Is his nickname Crash?


Mordecai. I should have specified - 1890s. He's been around a long time.
   207. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 09, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5785031)
FWIW - Leal, who is either Venezuelan or Colombian, I believe - and actually won't turn 24 until March was the return for Tony Campana.
   208. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 09, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5785058)
Sharma today:
Probably one of the more surprising developments for the Cubs this past week was that it’s becoming more and more likely that pitching coach Jim Hickey will not return in 2019. With Hickey on his way out and erstwhile hitting coach Chili Davis already gone, the Cubs are now a facing a season in which they’ll have a new hitting and pitching coach for the third consecutive year.


This uncertainty after the changes a few years in a row doesn't exactly reflect positively on the FO.

Earlier in the offseason, there were radio talks of an extension with Kris Bryant having been discussed in the recent past. The timeline of these discussions were a bit unclear, but regardless, Epstein and company have approached every young player with upside about a contract extension in offseasons past and been rebuffed. Epstein broached this topic in Carlsbad.

“We’ve never really discussed that stuff publicly,” Epstein said. “I won’t talk about any one player specifically, but I will say that in recent years we’ve very quietly made runs at some of our players to get a long-term extension done. We haven’t been able to. That doesn’t mean we won’t, but it’s proven more difficult than we expected in some cases. If appropriate going forward, we’ll take another run at it. But I think it can also sometimes be a distraction. And right now, we’re so focused on trying to get a lot of players right on the field.”


He then goes on the say that sources think that maybe Contreras was distracted this season after passing on an extension last year.
   209. Red Voodooin Posted: November 09, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5785100)
This off-season has started off really ... weird. Both the Dodgers and the Cubs crying poverty, or at the very least planting stories about their financial inflexibility and now all of a sudden the Cubs are shopping Bryant? Of course this could be total non-news, but it still is odd for it to come out right now.

I wonder if "sign this extension or we'll trade you" is gonna be a thing with big market teams?? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
   210. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 09, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5785105)
Theo did give his talent vs. production speech early in the offseason. I took it as an indication they would shop some popular-ish players. I did not think Bryant would be one of them. And I do not think they will trade him.

One the one hand, it's an unsurprising response when the team doesn't have much payroll space to work with in the offseason. OTOH, the Cubs don't exactly have glaring holes now that Hamels is returning. Sure, they need bullpen help like basically everybody does.
   211. Quaker Posted: November 09, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5785232)
To me, if you're going to trade away one of the real stars, Rizzo makes more sense than Bryant. That could open 1B for Schwarber and alleviate the concerns of those who don't think Kyle can handle LF.

Maybe the Cubs really are more interested in spending on 2019 free agents (Arenado) than 2018's class as Morosi's (#177) article claimed.

With or (most likely) without Bryce/Manny, this is shaping up to be an exciting offseason.

What teams could even offer a haul worthy of three years of Bryant?
   212. Walt Davis Posted: November 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM (#5785610)
Marwin Gonzalez.

Sign him and LeMahieu and Theo can un-do 2 of his 3 worst transaction. :-) (I don't think we're getting Torres back unless that's who we're trading Bryant for.)

I'm sure nobody, least of all me, ever expected Marwin to become such a good player, but to lose a guy who became a useful MLer through the rule 5 draft in the offseason before losing 197 games across two seasons is a bit embarrassing. I shudder to think what stud we used that 40-man spot on.

(Playing 20/20 hindsight games, if we keep Marwin, we never sign Zo, freeing up that money for a stud closer so we never trade for Chapman but still win the series, we trade Torres for Quintana allowing us to trade Eloy Jimenez for Cody Allen before the 2018 season ... hmmmm ... 20/20 hindsight usually works better than that. I blame Theo.)

LeMahieu was in the awesome challenge trade of Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart. Alas, I was definitely of the opinion that LeMahieu couldn't hit but that's why I'm not paid millions per year to run the Cubs. OK, not the only reason.
   213. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 12, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5785933)
I'm still not convinced LeMahieu can hit outside Colorado; he has a career OPS+ of 92 and has only been above that twice - once he was at 93 and one year he was 128 (2016, and he only had a .747 OPS on the road but 1.064 at home).

----

Theo has mostly talked down the Bryant stuff. But just for shits and giggles, here's a paragraph from Jim Bowden on the situation (basic summary of his piece is that as a GM he always listened to anyone on any player, which is fine):

So where could those types of trades be? Would the Yankees trade Aaron Judge straight up for Bryant? Probably not. How about a package of Miguel Andújar, Justus Sheffield and Estevan Florial for him? With the financial savings, the Cubs could perhaps chase another big-time free agent like Bryce Harper. Would the Nationals consider giving up top outfield prospect Victor Robles and third baseman Anthony Rendon? The latter is a free agent after next season. Would the Giants trade them Madison Bumgarner? How about the Rockies, who are facing their final year of control of Nolan Arenado? Would they trade him for Bryant, allowing the Cubs to try to extend Arenado instead, while the Rockies would have an extra two years of control of Bryant?


He's just all over the place there.
   214. Quaker Posted: November 12, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5786010)
I would think it would have to Arenado plus a decent amount. NA is more expensive and projected for one fewer win than Bryant.

I assume nothing will actually happen w/Bryant this offseason.
   215. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 12, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5786098)
Royals probably won't trade Merrifield, which fine, but I think were I a Royals fan I'd be annoyed.
   216. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5786120)
Royals probably won't trade Merrifield, which fine, but I think were I a Royals fan I'd be annoyed.
Eh, I probably wouldn’t care a whit.
   217. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 13, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5786465)
Olney standing by his story:
Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN 3h3 hours ago

Still waiting for someone to dispel the information in the piece, that the Cubs have communicated to other teams they are prepared to listen to offers for Bryant -- and that's a shift from previous offseasons, not some general GM operating philosophy.


I guess Theo's denial wassn't strong enough for Olney, which honestly I can see:
“I answered a general question about whether we have untouchables,” Epstein said Friday, via the Chicago Tribune. “Like most every organization, we will listen to anything, but that’s just an operating philosophy.

“We are lucky to have some impact players, and we are looking to add to them, not subtract.”


---

More Theo quotes from last week:
“Everyone who was around the team, from the players themselves to you guys (in the media) to the fans, we all know that the takeaway from that season wasn’t the positives,” Epstein said. “It wasn’t the 95 wins. It wasn’t how together the players managed to be — and that takes some doing — that was a really together, connected clubhouse. It wasn’t the fine, outstanding individual seasons that many of our players enjoyed. It wasn’t battling through a gauntlet of 42 games in 43 days. All those things were realities, but those aren’t the takeaways from the season.

“The takeaways are that we got caught from behind and we had opportunities to put that division away and to make another postseason run. For myriad reasons, it didn’t happen, so we damn well better be honest with ourselves about the reasons why it didn’t happen and find ways to fix it. Or else what the hell are we doing here?

“So, yeah, we’re not going to sit here and celebrate 95 wins. We’re going to be pissed off about the way the season ended. It doesn’t matter if I’m pissed off. Our players are pissed off. And they know that they have an opportunity to be part of something special. They basically built it. They helped build it. And we want to take full advantage of it because you can’t take anything for granted in this game.”

Epstein snapped his fingers and kept talking: “You look up and it goes really fast. Teams don’t stay together forever and we need to find a way to take advantage of this great opportunity that we have. That doesn’t make anyone around here Vince Lombardi. It makes us Cubs. This has been a real winning group the last four years. That was a low moment for us – 95 wins or not – and we don’t want to live through that again.”


I don't know how he says that and then comes back next year with virtually the same team. I don't think that means trading Bryant, but I do think it means there's some moves, or big move, still coming.
   218. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 13, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5786596)
I don't know how he says that and then comes back next year with virtually the same team. I don't think that means trading Bryant, but I do think it means there's some moves, or big move, still coming.

I am kind of with you. I think the Olney story is legit and the Cubs really are looking to surprise by trading away somebody surprising.

The rotation seems pretty set* so I suppose that means bringing in an impact bat. Bryant makes a smidgen of sense insofar as trading him away for something pre-arbitration would give the Cubs short term savings to spend on a Donaldson or whatever. Alternatively, the Cubs might trade guys to clear the outfield glut but it's hard to see how that results in a genuine impact move.**

*Unless they find somebody to take most of Darvish's contract but doing that move now would be the ultimate selling low if the Cubs believe what they are saying about his health. Just putting him on the market would make any buyer suspicious of that.

**Although they could potentially package a young OF to get somebody to eat Chatwood's contract. I don't like deals which result in a net outflow of talent even if the Cubs are putting the savings to work on the FA market.
   219. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 13, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5786608)
The real problem with trading almost anyone of value is that other than Baez - you're talking about a bit of a trough in value at the moment.

I'm sure any team would be happy to acquire Bryant... but no team is going to walk into that trade negotiation pretending it's the winter of 2016-2017. Happ, Almora, Schwarber, to say nothing of Russell.... I'd be loathe to move any of them just because I don't think the return will have the upside running them out there again might have.
   220. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 13, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5786758)
You can talk about decreased value for Schwarber (well, his value has always been less than we'd hoped and I have to think it hasn't gotten any higher since the ACL; maybe his value just is what it's always going to be), Happ (last year's K rate, even though it got better as the year went on), and Russell, but I'm not sure how it would really apply to Almora (did he ever really have that much?) or Bryant (in spite of the injury, which again, no surgery). It's really hard to trade a guy at the height of their value - at least when you're winning/competing.

I've been thinking more about those Bowden proposals, and the only one there that I'd think about as listed is Rendon/Robles. I also think that the Nats wouldn't really do that either, which is why it seems like the best one. The Rockies would have to throw more in to make the Arrenado one work because of the control left, but sure, maybe there's something there. IOW, the Cubs have to be getting a star back, plus maybe more depending on the contract. It's just so unlikely, unless the Cubs felt like that *had* to trade Bryant and I don't think they do.

---

So trying to think who could go, and I am still where I was when I wrote the blog post. I still see no way they move Rizzo, Baez (although to be honest, if there's anyone who might be at the peak of their value), or Bryant. I'm sure they'd love to move Heyward, but not sure how they would (Heyward/Bryant for Arrenado?). So maybe Contreras - try to package him with something else for Realmuto? That'd be a pretty big move.

Roation - they could move Quintana; he has some value still and is cheap. They could move Hendricks. They wouldn't move Lester, and probably can't/shouldn't move Darvish. They'd love to dump Chatwood, I bet.
   221. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 14, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5787489)
This makes a ton of sense, and is probably long overdue. I'm sure people will complain though...

---

Nothing on the Hickey will he be back or not news. What a weird story.
   222. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5787519)
So what used to be the 400 level behind home plate will now be closed-off club seats, if I'm reading that correctly? And you won't be able to get from the right-field side of the upper deck to the left-field side.

Good grief.
   223. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 14, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5787526)
So what used to be the 400 level behind home plate will now be closed-off club seats, if I'm reading that correctly? And you won't be able to get from the right-field side of the upper deck to the left-field side.

Good grief.


That's not how I'm reading it.

Another significant change will be to the upper deck, which will be extended to include outdoor concourses with new concessions. The new left-field outdoor concourse is scheduled to be ready by the home opener on April 8. The right-field concourse is expected to be ready in May. Also, Rice said there will be a 60 percent increase in restroom fixtures in the upper level.

The concession area under the press box and the outdoor patio directly behind that will become part of the Catalina Club, a new premium suite not available to general admission ticket holders. The club’s name comes from the spring training home of the Cubs from most of 1921 through 1951 on Santa Catalina Island in California.


Just those overcrowded stands and the little outdoor area. Probably will actually help with congestion around that area.
   224. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5787546)
he has a career OPS+ of 92 and has only been above that twice

I meant as in I never thought he'd hit above a 70 OPS+ or whatever -- I recall I (or maybe it was good old Harveys) suggested he'd hit like a 12-year-old. A 92 OPS+ is perfectly fine for a solid defensive 2B and that's all I meant by LeMahieu "hitting."
   225. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 14, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5787552)
I'm trying to bait someone else, not you, Walt.

---

From here:

Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs' No. 6
The Cubs' 2018 first-rounder's inexperience has been a non-factor in the AFL, where he's hit .321 and looked like a player straight out of Double-A, and one possibly even on the cusp of the Majors. That's not to say that Hoerner will springboard up the ladder in such fashion in 2019 -- but he certainly could. At the plate, he has a knack for barreling the ball to all fields, can handle velocity and adjust to secondaries, and he has more juice in his bat than you'd expect. His arm stroke is a little stiff at shortstop, but it plays up because he creatively finds ways to achieve a good slot, has sound footwork and consistently follows his throws with his body. He's a very, very solid ballplayer.
   226. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 14, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5787556)
From what I've heard and read - Hoerner sounds like he's got an excellent shot at being a better Ryan Theriot.

That's not a slight - a better Theriot is a pretty good return on a 24th overall pick.
   227. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2018 at 05:49 PM (#5787567)
and one possibly even on the cusp of the Majors. That's not to say that Hoerner will springboard up the ladder in such fashion in 2019 -- but he certainly could.

Not with Theo at the helm. If he is all that I would say that you shouldn't expect him until the second week of April 2020.
   228. Red Voodooin Posted: November 14, 2018 at 06:27 PM (#5787589)
From what I've heard and read - Hoerner sounds like he's got an excellent shot at being a better Ryan Theriot.

That's not a slight


Ha! How the #### is that not a slight?
   229. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2018 at 06:32 PM (#5787590)
Theriot for his career was a .496 win average player. A better version is an above average middle infielder. That's pretty darn good.
   230. Red Voodooin Posted: November 14, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5787593)
Theriot for his career was a .496 win average player. A better version is an above average middle infielder. That's pretty darn good.


I know but I hate him.

And I can't really even remember why. Did he talk #### about the Cubs when he joined the Cardinals and poached a ring?
   231. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 15, 2018 at 06:39 PM (#5788149)
Jesse Rogers @ESPNChiCubs 12m12 minutes ago

Baez finishes 2nd in MVP voting. No first place votes but 19, 2nd place votes. Rizzo got an 8th, 9th, and 10th place vote.


He was on every ballot. Wasn't lower than 5th on any of them. Awesome year.
   232. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2018 at 06:39 PM (#5788880)
If he is all that I would say that you shouldn't expect him until the second week of April 2020.

Now, now, he didn't make us wait for Schwarber and he even somehow let Edwards sneak over the super-2 line. More seriously, if Hoerner continues to improve and the Cubs have some MI injuries, he'll be up in a manner similar to Schwarber/Bote (not the same quality of prospect I know) ... I guess assuming the Cubs don't have somebody better stashed at AAA.
   233. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2018 at 07:44 PM (#5788897)
In honor of Javy's 2nd place finish, let's update a comparison I made around mid-season ... Javy ages 23-25 vs Sosa 23-25. Obviously Sammy had a lot more ML playing time at ages 21-22. Age 22 was that kinda lost season for Javy when his sister died in the spring then he got hurt. Ages 21 and especially 22 were terrible for Sosa so other than the fact he was in the majors, we're not biasing the comparison too much. Javy has a 210 PA advantage over these ages (partly the 94 strike) so some of the counts are less impressive than they seem.

280/320/494 274/321/486
OPS+ 109 115
HR 71 66
RBI 245 188
SB 43/15 73/31
Rbat 19 22
base/dp +8 -3
WAR 12.3 8.5
WAA 7.3 4.3
BABIP 343 305
HR% 4.4 4.8
K% 26 21
BB% 4.6 5.9
HR/FB 14.6 13.4

Sosa took a big step at 24 -- 112 OPS+, 33 HR, 93 RBI, added 80+ points of ISO. He consolidated and improved in his age 25 season. His big jump came at age 29. Javy took a step up in 2017, mainly adding 50 points of ISO then added another 50 points of ISO at 25. Hopefully he can consolidate that next year although we should probably expect some drop in ISO. Impressively, there was no BABIP strike underlying this year's breakout.

The WAR gap is less about defense than you might think -- TZ loved Sosa in those years so he has 2.5 dWAR which is excellent for a RF and just 2.2 dWAR behind Javy.

Anyway, that seems pretty promising. Not that we can expect Javy to make the later leap that Sosa made but Sosa ages 26-28 would be an excellent outcome for Javy -- 13 WAR, excellent defense, good baserunning, 112 HRs, better walk rate, 115 OPS+ thanks to a terrible 1997. And Javy was 4 in 1997 so that's well behind him! If Javy could continue that through his early 30s, that's a very nice career.
   234. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 20, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5789706)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 12m12 minutes ago

#Padres, in process of cleaning up their 40-man roster, are talking about moving RHPs Colton Brewer and Rowan Wick in separate deals, sources tell The Athletic. #Cubs, #RedSox among teams SD is engaged with.


Cubs 40 man is at 39, I believe, with a few guys worth protecting. Only thing I've read on it, this is more zonk's cup of tea (especially the regretting losing guys part).
   235. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 20, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5789762)
Cubs 40 man is at 39, I believe, with a few guys worth protecting. Only thing I've read on it, this is more zonk's cup of tea (especially the regretting losing guys part).


FWIW, a BCB list of guys to think about protecting, as well.

In any case, per Moses' list -- Field and Reinheimer are org fodder. Zero reason to protect them. Taylor Davis might be a step above that if only because he'd be a not awful backup C on a rebuilding team without anyone else and has apparently earned a bit of a "Crash" parallel. IOW - a nice guy to have at AAA if you don't have a real catching prospect. Vasto is mainly just a lefty.... a well-traveled one who supposedly has decent enough stuff, but no great loss. Webster, Norwood, and Hancock are all guys approaching their late 20s who are nothing more than shuttle/injury insurance types. No reason to hang onto them.

The BCB list is for the minor league phases of the rule 5 - none of these guys are at any real risk to get scooped up in the MLB portion, but of the ones I'd hate to see go in the minor league phase? Rob Z is worth hanging onto.... Chesney Young is versatile - hasn't hit, no - but I'd rather have him around as a 4A utility guy than flotsam like Freeman. Galindo is still pretty young and has a pulse. Keep him, too.
   236. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 20, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5789765)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 17m17 minutes ago

INF Jack Reinheimer claimed off waivers by Rangers.


That's one more spot. On the Rangers side, Eddie Butler cleared waivers and was sent to AAA.
   237. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 20, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5789776)
Meh, have fun, Texas... Reinheimer's main skill is that he's younger than Freeman.

   238. Spahn Insane Posted: November 20, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5789779)
Reinheimer's main skill is that he's younger than Freeman.

So he's got even more future negative value?
   239. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5789799)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 32s32 seconds ago

Cubs claim LHP Ian Clarkin off waivers from White Sox.
   240. Zonk is One Individual Posted: November 20, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5789809)
Clarkin is moderately interesting in that he's still very, very young -- 23 or 24 IIRC -- and he's a former first rounder (Yankees, IIRC, I think he was a toss-in the Todd Frazier deal).

Of course, there's not much in his minor league track record that screams "PROTECT ME!!!" -- he busted out of the gate pretty well, but I think he missed a year or so (TJ surgery maybe? Don't recall).

Anyway, I think that's a nice snag. Him, I'd probably spend a 40 man spot on. His more recent track record is nothing to write home about, but he's probably got the pedigree and throws with the proper arm that I would imagine some team might at least see if they can stash him as a bullpen mop-up guy.

Good pickup.
   241. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 20, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5789837)
Chicago Cubs @Cubs 2m2 minutes ago

Jim Hickey has stepped down as #Cubs pitching coach for personal reasons


Was the delay because they were trying to convince him to stay? Hoping whatever the personal reasons were resolved? The Cubs said they're searching for a replacement. I feel like this is a much bigger loss than Chili, even if there were still questions on the pitching side that weren't "fixed" by replacing Bosio.

If the Cubs don't keep Maddon next year, there could be new hitting/coaches yet again. That's not exactly a sign of a stable org, though it could also be overblown.
   242. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5789980)
Cleaning up the rest of the 40 man moves:

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 16h16 hours ago

Cubs acquire pitcher Rowan Wick from Padres for infielder Jason Vosler. Wick will be added to 40-man roster.


Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 15h15 hours ago

Along with the Clarkin addition and trade for Wick, Cubs have added lefty Justin Steele to the 40-man. Johnny Field and Jerry Vasto cleared waivers and are outrighted to Iowa.


40 man is at 39. So, anyone they didn't protect that they should have?
   243. Red Voodooin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5790000)
Bosio seemed like a really good pitching coach -- I wonder if a reunion is possible or was Bosio's faux pas a crime worthy of the career death penalty?
   244. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5790023)
Wasn't Bosio's exit due to a personality clash? I can't imagine they would look more kindly on his personality than they did a year ago.
   245. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5790027)
Was the delay because they were trying to convince him to stay?

My wild guess is that management said they would keep him but were going to start getting hands-on with the meddling in Hickey's area.

I feel like this is a much bigger loss than Chili, even if there were still questions on the pitching side that weren't "fixed" by replacing Bosio.

Like Davis, Hickey's tenure seemed to show big shifts in how the pitchers approached their jobs. Unlike Davis, the staff as a whole exceeded expectations. I suppose there are negatives you can lay at Hickey's feet (Edwards, Chatwood, maaaaaybe Darvish, Lester's peripherals were alarming, Hendricks started poorly and it's possible his improvement came from ignoring Hickey).
   246. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5790039)
Wasn't Bosio's exit due to a personality clash? I can't imagine they would look more kindly on his personality than they did a year ago.

I think so. Mooney's piece today:

When the Cubs hired Hickey 13 months ago, they made it clear that catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello and advance scouting coordinator Tommy Hottovy would remain integral parts of the team’s pitching infrastructure. Hickey would be a trusted sounding board for Maddon, a smooth transition from the sharper edges of Chris Bosio’s personality and some of the creative tension that led to a 2016 World Series title.


So maybe the meddling played a role.
   247. Red Voodooin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5790043)
But that creative tension ... led to a 2016 World Series title!!!!
   248. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5790045)
Mooney badly needs to be edited much better. Half of every one of his pieces just contains the same unnecessary...stuff.

This is from that same piece which is supposedly about what Hickey's exit means - he never actually explained anything about why it happened, what's next, or what it means.
   249. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:39 PM (#5790270)
The Hickey year started rather poorly, ended rather well. In the first "half" they walked 4.2/9 with a K/BB just under 2 (not good in today's game); in the second half, they walked 3.2/9 with a K/BB of 2.47. Some of that was Chatwood's absence of course. HR/9 also dropped from 1.0 to .9. (Hmmm, b-r team splits don't give FIP.) Alas, BABIP and ERA went up in the 2nd half, go figure.
   250. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 22, 2018 at 04:20 AM (#5790306)
Creative tension is the new market inefficiency.
   251. Brian C Posted: November 23, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5790419)
That's not how I'm reading it.

"Another significant change will be to the upper deck, which will be extended to include outdoor concourses with new concessions. The new left-field outdoor concourse is scheduled to be ready by the home opener on April 8. The right-field concourse is expected to be ready in May. Also, Rice said there will be a 60 percent increase in restroom fixtures in the upper level.

The concession area under the press box and the outdoor patio directly behind that will become part of the Catalina Club, a new premium suite not available to general admission ticket holders. The club’s name comes from the spring training home of the Cubs from most of 1921 through 1951 on Santa Catalina Island in California."

Just those overcrowded stands and the little outdoor area. Probably will actually help with congestion around that area.

I just doubled back to this, but I still think it's at least an open question. The seat map you linked to shows (what is currently) the 400s behind home plate in red, which is the Catalina Club color. And the Catalina Club will be a restricted area. So...?
   252. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 26, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5791213)
Heh

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 38s39 seconds ago

White Sox reclaim LHP Ian Clarkin off waivers from Cubs. Cubs 40-man roster now at 38.


---

Szym has his elegy for the Cubs up. They seem to be written more for the non-diehard, but the interesting part in there is how ZIPS sees KB the next 3 years. If that's all he is, I'm going to be pretty bummed.

---

Hmm, you might be right Brian. Yet I'd be surprised if that's what happens.
   253. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 27, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5791531)
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan 3m3 minutes ago

Sources: Right-hander Jesse Chavez and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a two-year deal in the $8 million range. @Feinsand had the sides close on a deal.


I have really mixed feelings on this one. There's a really good chance his good stretch with the Cubs last year was just that - a good stretch. But he was unbelievably good in just about every way. This isn't that expensive, though the risk is that it also could turn out to be another Duensing type deal with just wasted and untradable money. Good for him though, he hasn't really made that much in his career.
   254. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 27, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5791569)
I have really mixed feelings on this one. There's a really good chance his good stretch with the Cubs last year was just that - a good stretch. But he was unbelievably good in just about every way. This isn't that expensive, though the risk is that it also could turn out to be another Duensing type deal with just wasted and untradable money. Good for him though, he hasn't really made that much in his career.


I get (and share) the gut reaction disappointment that he's not coming back, but, per Baseball-Reference, Jesse Chavez was exactly replacement level prior to last season. And it's not like he's a young guy who has a bright future. Jesse Chavez is 35 years old and earned exactly 0.0 WAR over the first 10 seasons of his big-league career. Even including last season, Brian Duensing has a lower career ERA / higher ERA+ (4.19, 99 vs. 4.45, 92).

Absolutely, good for him for getting that kind of money and it's not like the Cubs couldn't afford it, but, honestly, I wouldn't take an even-money bet on Chavez having a better 2019 than Duensing by whatever metric you want to use to measure it (ERA, ERA+, WAR, etc.). (To be clear, I wouldn't take the other end of that bet, either.)
   255. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 28, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5791937)
Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 10m10 minutes ago

Cubs have acquired infielder Ronald Torreyes from the Yankees for a PTBNL or cash considerations. Torreyes was originally acquired by the Cubs from the Reds in 2011 in the Sean Marshall trade. He was eventually moved to Houston for IFA signing bonus slots.


40 man now at 39 again. He's the new Mike Freeman I reckon.
   256. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 28, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5791993)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 50m50 minutes ago

Cubs sign left-hander Kyle Ryan to major league deal. 40-man roster full.
   257. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 29, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5792282)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 19m19 minutes ago

Sources: The Cubs are planning to add Terrmel Sledge to Joe Maddon’s staff as the assistant hitting coach. Sledge worked in the Cubs’ farm system (2015) and as a Double-A hitting coach for the Dodgers (2016-18). After his big-league career, Sledge played with Yu Darvish in Japan.


Ok. Still no pitching coach yet.
   258. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 29, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5792283)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 17m17 minutes ago

Tommy La Stella traded to Angels for player to be named later or cash consideration. 40-man at 39.


End of an era.

Hope this isn't just another cost move, though as a specialist his role was likely to be diminished more next year (assuming Zobrist isn't a FT starter). Perhaps even Torres can replicate his PH duties (higher OPS+ than TLS last year).
   259. Red Voodooin Posted: November 29, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5792286)
Tommy rebounded quite admirably from going AWOL rather than going to Iowa in 2016, which was a bad look. But he kept at it, and I'll remember his tenure fondly.
   260. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5792591)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 27m27 minutes ago

Cubs likely to tender Addison Russell a contract . He still has 29 days of a suspension to serve at beginning of the season . He is not paid until after May 3.


Feels more like speculation to me than news, he's the only beat writer I've seen say that so far today. I'd guess he's tendered a contract, too.
   261. Quaker Posted: November 30, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5792603)
If it turns out the Mets are really getting $60M from the M's in addition to Seattle's taking Bruce & Swarzak, I wish the Cubs could have done something like Chatwood (roughly the $$ equivalent of Bruce) + Russell + ??? for Diaz/Cano. That's probably unrealistic, but man, would I love to have Diaz.

It seems like relief pitching will be a real focus for the Cubs this offseason according to yesterday's The Athletic chat.
   262. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5792606)
#MoarReleevurz!!
   263. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5792608)
Oh yeah, that would have been a nice trade. Cano would be a great fit, plus the money makes it work (Cubs could have also probably thrown in Duensing or Kintzler too in that sort of deal). I mentioned trying to sway Cano and Heyward before, but obviously that wouldn't make sense for the M's.

The White Sox just picked up Alex Colome. Gotta think the idea is for them to flip him at a later point, but he also would have been an interesting option, possibly better than any of the FA.

I think I'm convinced I want a McCutchen signing, and not just because I'd really like rooting for him.
   264. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5792609)
   265. Quaker Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5792610)
Cubs are officially tendering Russell a contract.
   266. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5792611)
Hmm...er...ugh...hmm...uh

Yeah, that kind of sums up what I think. It's hard to know what's right here. I guess what matters is what's right for his wife and family, and this might fit that bill. I don't know -- I am not going to make a judgment.
   267. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5792612)
Hmm...er...ugh...hmm...uh
Hmm indeed. I'm not quite sure what my initial reaction is. Some stream of consciousness thoughts:

I generally think just releasing a (lawyer-)written statement as an "apology" is weak, but as written statements go, these are definitely better than the standard.

Russell is still really, really young in life terms, and probably even more so in maturity terms, having lived his entire life as a hotshot baseball player. Of course that excuses absolutely none of his behavior, but it does make it plausible that this could have been a wake-up call that he had severely f*cked up and needs to do some serious work on himself. Sadly, it seems like most of these stories don't lead to the redemption of a man who changed for the better, but is it too soon to write him off? Maybe.

I dunno. I do think he is going to need to engage with this and take accountability beyond a one-time written statement. He should be willing to talk openly about this all year and beyond. No hiding behind "I just want to focus on the season" or whatever.
   268. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5792615)
I also wonder if there will be some sort of formal or informal mentoring/monitoring from his presumably upstanding teammates. Now would be a great chance for Heyward or Zobrist or Rizzo or whoever to step up and be a positive influence beyond the clubhouse.
   269. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:27 PM (#5792616)
Like, unless the Cubs were just going to cut him - and let's be honest, that probably was never on the table - this was always going to be what happens. They could still trade him, or release him, but it's in their best on-field interests for it to play out this way. Even if they want to trade him, they'll want to make it seem like they don't have to trade him; this also helps any team planning/hoping to acquire him.

I mean, this is perfectly fine, from Theo:
While this decision leaves the door open for Addison to later make an impact for us on the field, it does not represent the finish line nor rubber-stamp his future as a Cub. It does however reflect our support for him as long as he continues to make progress.

Putting on my completely cynical hat, there's plenty of wiggle room in there for anything that the Cubs decide to do with him going forward. It kicks the ball further down the field, and the further away the date the Cubs actually say he's going to play for them the better it is for their image/reducing any negative PR/feedback. I still am already cringing at the thought of the ovation he's likely to get him first appearance (a la Patrick Kane or anyone else coming back from this sort of thing), and kinda sick thinking about it. If nothing else, Theo is really ####### slick, and well, quite frankly, that might be the biggest reason this doesn't exactly feel completely sincere to me.

I also am not fully convinced by Russell's statement/"apology". Doesn't feel "authentic", but I'll admit that's a horrible standard to use.
   270. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5792618)
I still am already cringing at the thought of the ovation he's likely to get him first appearance (a la Patrick Kane or anyone else coming back from this sort of thing), and kinda sick thinking about it.
Likewise. But then again, I cheered along with everyone else when Chapman finished off a game in 2016, so it's not like I have the moral high ground.
   271. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5792619)
I also am not fully convinced by Russell's statement/"apology". Doesn't feel "authentic", but I'll admit that's a horrible standard to use.

The odds he wrote the statement are practically nil. There is no point in parsing these things to divine the individual's personal feelings. It's a statement made in self-interest, not a soliloquy.
   272. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5792621)
Likewise. But then again, I cheered along with everyone else when Chapman finished off a game in 2016, so it's not like I have the moral high ground.

Oh, absolutely. There probably isn't a real difference between that and everyone giving him that extra first cheer when he made his first appearance, but it feels different.

Cubs also emailed both those statements out to anyone who gets emails from them, so at least kudos for that and not just putting out a statement and letting it spread however on its own. I also don't really care for the various media heads complimenting the Cubs on how they're handling this, even if that's hypocritical of me as I parse everything.

The odds he wrote the statement are practically nil. There is no point in parsing these things to divine the individual's personal feelings. It's a statement made in self-interest, not a soliloquy.

Exactly. Which is why it doesn't really count as an apology, to me. The only apology that really matters isn't a public one anyway, and one we'll never be privy to.
   273. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5792624)
The only apology that really matters isn't a public one anyway, and one we'll never be privy to.
Eh, I get what you're saying, and of course that's the only apology that really matters, but I don't think I'd take it that far. An apology to the fans does matter. He's benefited tremendously from being in a line of work that is very public, and in which many strangers invest in him, to whatever extent, emotionally and (indirectly) financially. They have a legitimate interest in being able to do so with a clear conscience.
   274. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5792639)
Of course, I'm not saying he shouldn't publicly apologize. But he should publicly apologize, and not just hide behind these statements. I'm saying in the more macro sense - I'm not comfortable judging him or his sincerity, yet that's exactly what I'm doing and continue to do as a fan whether I stick by the Cubs should get rid of him stance or I accept that he's done whatever the Cubs wanted him to do to stay on the team. It's easier to not think about it, and I think the Cubs are counting on that with how they're handling this. That might be right, or wrong, I don't know. I just don't like having to think about it when I follow the team.

Of course, it's stuff like this that are just part of the (predictable) cycle:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman 29m29 minutes ago

what Addison Russell did was horrible. his statement is appropriately strong. he apologized to his former wife Melissa (and others), took responsibility for his actions, admitted he is in the early stage of a process to become a better person and committed himself to doing that.
   275. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5792648)
Craig Mish @CraigMish 50m50 minutes ago

I’m unclear what level of interest the Cubs have in Realmuto but they do. Sources have indicated to me they could move on from Contreras as well.


I threw this out there as an off the wall possibility earlier this very page.
   276. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5792649)
Sources have indicated to me they could move on from Contreras as well.
Whoah. Seems like that would be a major overreaction to an admittedly crappy half-season. Maybe it's just because we've been talking about Russell, but I wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes.
   277. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5792650)
I could see how Willson could rub teammates the wrong way. He seems like he settled down, but the whiny pitchers may also not like throwing to him. Realumuto is an obvious upgrade though, even if Willson bounced back. So it's 2 seasons of control for 4 and/or maybe they think Realmuto is more open to signing an extension.

I just wonder what the deal would be beyond Willson, and that's the main reason to be weary. Straight up, I could get behind, which is obviously why it wouldn't happen.
   278. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 30, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5792654)
Realumuto is an obvious upgrade though, even if Willson bounced back.


I don't know that he's an "obvious upgrade" if "Willson bounce[s] back". Realmuto's 2018 (131 OPS+, 4.3 WAR) was as out-of-place relative to his previous seasons as Contreras's was (92, 2.8), just in the opposite direction. In 2017, Contreras out-OPS+'d Realmuto 118-112 and out-WARed him (BB-Ref version) 4.0 to 3.6 (in 150 fewer plate appearances). Obviously the "if Willson bounced back" is doing a lot of the work there but I'd be pretty surprised if the Cubs acquired Realmuto mostly because the marginal gain for the Cubs from such a trade would be so much lower than for so many other teams that I assume somebody would offer the Marlins more.
   279. Brian C Posted: November 30, 2018 at 07:12 PM (#5792669)
Eh, I get what you're saying, and of course that's the only apology that really matters, but I don't think I'd take it that far. An apology to the fans does matter. He's benefited tremendously from being in a line of work that is very public, and in which many strangers invest in him, to whatever extent, emotionally and (indirectly) financially. They have a legitimate interest in being able to do so with a clear conscience.

I don't agree with this, and in a way I think it's more cynical than what the Cubs are being accused by some of doing.

First off, people's consciences are their own problems. If they can't figure out how to root for a baseball team without realizing that some guys on the team might not be the best dudes ... well, that's not something Addison Russell can fix.

Secondly, suppose Russell does publicly apologize. How in the world can anyone possibly know how sincere that apology is? Hell, his own wife is probably wrestling with that question on a regular basis, and she's closer to the situation than anyone. And even if she's not specifically, that's absolutely a common state-of-mind for abuse victims, who almost always get the "oh I'm so sorry, please forgive me" before they're hit again.

So what's the public apology for, really? Well, what more can it be, except for show? It's so that fans can, like you say, continue on with "a clear conscience." But that's just another way of saying that the guy has to hit his marks in a stage show so that fans can go on ignoring the situation like they did before. I mean, what could be more awful in this context than fans saying, "Addison, you made ME feel bad by hitting someone, now say something nice to make it better?"
   280. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 07:26 PM (#5792677)
I see your point, but that’s a really cynical take on it.
   281. Brian C Posted: November 30, 2018 at 08:19 PM (#5792692)
How so? You said yourself the public apology was to make the fans feel better about themselves.
   282. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5792705)
The more cynical the take, the more it's probably right, hate to say.

Torreyes non-tendered, as were pitchers Justin Hancock and Allen Webster. Cubs 40-man roster at 36.

   283. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:10 PM (#5792706)
I don't know that he's an "obvious upgrade" if "Willson bounce[s] back". Realmuto's 2018 (131 OPS+, 4.3 WAR) was as out-of-place relative to his previous seasons as Contreras's was (92, 2.8), just in the opposite direction. In 2017, Contreras out-OPS+'d Realmuto 118-112 and out-WARed him (BB-Ref version) 4.0 to 3.6 (in 150 fewer plate appearances). Obviously the "if Willson bounced back" is doing a lot of the work there but I'd be pretty surprised if the Cubs acquired Realmuto mostly because the marginal gain for the Cubs from such a trade would be so much lower than for so many other teams that I assume somebody would offer the Marlins more.

I'm not going to fight this that much, but they're pretty close in age and I think it's easier to see realmuto as staying at his level than Willy jumping back up. I'd be happy to be wrong though and it's not like I'm hoping this deal happens. It's just one that kinda makes sense in context even though it's not obvious or really necessary.
   284. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:15 PM (#5792708)
Many of us often are critical of players and executives who fail to take responsibility for off-field transgressions. Addison Russell’s statement is encouraging, and Theo Epstein’s is even better - a model for how a team should deal with a player who commits domestic violence.

I know people will draw the comparison to the Chiefs cutting Kareem Hunt, and that is fair. But no two situations are exactly alike. Hunt lied to his team, and got caught. What is admirable about the Cubs in this case is their commitment to being part of a solution.


Robothal. This I what I'm talking about. I mean, Russell lied to the Cubs and everyone, right? He categorically denied everything. These talking heads are stupid.
   285. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5792710)
Torreyes non-tendered


WTF? Why did they trade for him 2 days ago?
   286. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5792711)
These talking heads ate stupid.
And then shat it out all over the (virtual) page.
   287. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 30, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5792712)
They were leaning the other way on Russell?

Also, Contreras’s pitch framing numbers suck. The Cubs seem to put stock in those.
   288. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 01, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5792869)
How about Contreras and Russell for realmuto and Castro?
   289. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 01, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5792875)
I wouldn’t complain.
   290. Red Voodooin Posted: December 03, 2018 at 10:57 PM (#5793631)
Well this is fun. Joe Maddon's son popping off on social media about his dad's contract situation.
   291. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5793705)
Robothal:
The Cubs, in search of a David Ross-type veteran presence, showed strong interest in Brian McCann before the free-agent catcher returned to the Braves on a one-year, $2 million contract, sources said.

McCann, 34, would have been an ideal fit – extremely likable, but edgy and demanding enough to draw the best out of his teammates. The Cubs need that kind of fire, perhaps even more than they did when Ross joined the team before the 2015 season.

Ross’ presence alone carried weight – he had won a World Series with Jon Lester in Boston, while the Cubs’ youngsters had yet to win anything. The Cubs also had awarded Ross a two-year contract, giving him the comfort to call out teammates when necessary.

The team is different now; many of the Cubs’ youngsters contributed to the team’s Series title in ‘16, and have played together for several seasons. The example the Cubs need might be someone like free-agent outfielder Adam Jones, though it’s doubtful they could guarantee him enough playing time.


The Ross obsession isn't just local. Sure, McCann at $2mil would have been nice. And a veteran backup catcher makes sense. But what's with this Adam Jones stuff?
   292. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5793716)
Ross’ presence alone carried weight – he had won a World Series with Jon Lester in Boston, while the Cubs’ youngsters had yet to win anything.
Oh, FFS. Robothal, you're better than this.
   293. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5793725)
I'm starting to think he's not. There's this, and that Russell business.
   294. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5793729)
Ross’ presence alone carried weight – he had won a World Series with Jon Lester in Boston, while the Cubs’ youngsters had yet to win anything....

The team is different now; many of the Cubs’ youngsters contributed to the team’s Series title in ‘16, and have played together for several seasons. The example the Cubs need might be someone like free-agent outfielder Adam Jones, though it’s doubtful they could guarantee him enough playing time.


So, it was important for the Cubs to get a player (or players, since, you know, they acquired Jon Lester at the same time) who had won a World Series. But, having won a World Series two years ago, the Cubs roster is littered with players who have, in fact, won a World Series. So now, the "example the Cubs need" is a guy who has never played in a World Series? Huh?

This view of the Cubs as some sort of under-achieving failure is just weird.
   295. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5793732)
This is rapidly shaping up as the most annoying offseason in a long time.
   296. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5793740)
I'm starting to think he's not.
I just hope, and have to assume, that Thed is/are. I thought Heyward had the veteran presence/motivational speaker thing covered anyway.
   297. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5793748)
Well, it can be something besides that for Thed. The people actually talking to Robothal (assuming it's not Jed or Theo directly) could be interpreting what Thed are looking for one way or through their own prism; Robothal can be adding his own commentary/existing narrative to the actual rumors he's getting or even combining 2 things into one (like "we need a veteran catcher" and "we miss some of the things Ross did").
   298. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5793754)
Well, someone's gotta be accountable for it! I thought we were supposed to be well beyond the "veteranny goodness in the clubhouse" bit.
   299. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: December 05, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5794110)
Disappointing note in yet another incredibly under-edited* Mooney column without any substance (title: Are the Cubs lurking in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes? answer: the column doesn't say):

Agents and rival teams also get the sense the Cubs are feeling a budget crunch. It’s not exactly a well-kept secret. They unloaded Drew Smyly’s contract in a salary-dump trade with the Texas Rangers so they could pick up Cole Hamels’ $20 million option in early November. A source also confirmed the Cubs couldn’t close a deal with super-utility pitcher Jesse Chavez, who loved the entire Wrigley Field experience but recently accepted a two-year, $8 million offer from the Rangers.


The "agents and rival teams" part isn't new. The implication here clearly is the Cubs couldn't (wouldn't?) meet Chavez's 2/$8mil deal.

*I mean, come on, wtf:
It’s also harder to see Harper playing the role of Ben Zobrist, who stayed in contact with the Cubs that offseason because he wanted to play for Maddon, return to his Illinois roots and make history in Chicago. Zobrist ultimately turned down $60 million guaranteed from the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, signed a four-year, $56 million contract and delivered a World Series MVP performance. That perfect storm also required the Cubs flipping Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees, the only team willing to absorb his salary obligations at the time ($38 million) and give up a useful pitcher (Adam Warren).
   300. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 05, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5794118)
So, it was important for the Cubs to get a player (or players, since, you know, they acquired Jon Lester at the same time) who had won a World Series. But, having won a World Series two years ago, the Cubs roster is littered with players who have, in fact, won a World Series. So now, the "example the Cubs need" is a guy who has never played in a World Series? Huh?

This view of the Cubs as some sort of under-achieving failure is just weird.


The Cubs must have been pretty hot after McCann but got handcuffed when the bidding went up to $2 million/1 year.
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