Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Gonfalon Cubs > Discussion
Gonfalon Cubs
— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spring Training

It’s kind of hard to remember a less inspiring - or maybe I should say a more uninspiring - offseason for the Cubs in some time.  Sure, there were many, many, MANY years where we knew going into the season they would be bad - or even worse, unwatchable; some of those years the Cubs were trying to sell that they were going to be good or there was a longer rebuild coming; we’ve also gone through plenty of offseason off-field drama.  There was just something this year that seemed to bug me more.  Maybe it’s being spoiled since they won the World Series.  Maybe it’s the fact that they’re still good, but last year ended so unfun.  Maybe it’s them just sitting on their hands instead of actively trying to improve.  The Russell and Joe Ricketts stuff also didn’t help.  It’s probably just a combination of all of them.  I also am already tired of Maddon’s sayings and don’t really care what this year’s theme is. 

I’m still going to spring training again this year, probably more out of habit (and cause my son loves it so much) that actual excitement for the season the start.  I listened to Theo’s press conference yesterday, and I actually think he did a really good job answering the various offseason questions (though there just isn’t a good answer for the not spending more question).  I think the Cubs potentially could be really good again this year - I don’t see how they fall to .500 without major injuries like PETCOA is projecting.  I’d be more excited if the Cubs used the excuse of finally launching their own RSN to make another big payroll splash. 

Regardless, figured I might as well put up a new thread and I’ll post various ST news and notes as they pop up.  I plan to do my annual predictions thread closer to the start of the season.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 10:21 AM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5814855)
“I think we’ve been really clear this winter about sort of the landscape we’re operating in,” Epstein said, “and the different areas that we can improve the team and the different resources available to us and how we’d have to be sort of creative and value-based and try to tackle all areas that we could in an artful way. This probably wasn’t going to be a winter where we threw money at problems.

“I’m not going to talk about any specific free agent or class of free agents, but I think you can sort of extrapolate the approach we’ve taken so far this winter is probably, going forward, what’s most realistic for us.”

“A big part of our success this year is going to be the fact that we own each moment,” Maddon said. “And if you take the word ‘now’ and turn it around, it becomes ‘won.’”
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 13, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5814882)
“And if you take the word ‘now’ and turn it around, it becomes ‘won.’”
Oh, FFS. I might fire him just for that.
   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5814884)
I guess it's good to know he's not senile yet. Silver lining and all.
   4. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 13, 2019 at 11:35 AM (#5814885)
Oh, FFS. I might fire him just for that.

It sure sounds like he's ready for that motivational speaker career to start up.

Maddon as contractual lame duck continues to strike me as odd.
   5. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5814906)
Because he's a lame duck, there's a non-zero chance the Cubs could fire him during the year, right? I can't imagine (or don't want to) what it would take, but I guess it's a possibility I hadn't considered before.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 13, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5814909)
I can't imagine (or don't want to) what it would take
Two months of performance similar to the last month of last year?
   7. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5814972)
Some various prospect notes.

-FG's top prospects: Amaya 73, Hoerner 105, Ademan 119
-Sickels' top prospect (now at The Athletic): Amaya 89, Hoerner 95, plus Cole Roederer, OF, and Yovanny Cruz, RHP as sleepers.
-Alzolay already hurt, and 2 weeks behind schedule.
   8. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5814974)
Paul Sullivan @PWSullivan 1h1 hour ago

Ryan Dempster hopes to take his talk show to the Cubs' new TV network


####, cancel the network already.
   9. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5815027)
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 1m1 minute ago

Bote will work at SS behind Baez while Russell suspended. Descalso could get majority of time at 2B vs. RHP with Zobrist, Happ and Bote in mix


I have no idea why you'd rather have Descalso against RHP ahead of Zobrist. Descalso also has a slight reverse platoon split anyway (that was even more pronounced last year).
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5815045)
PECOTA projections updated; Cubs now last in the NL Central with the 3rd worst defense in the NL. Hmmm....
   11. Meatwad Posted: February 13, 2019 at 06:40 PM (#5815114)
Now that is comical. It will be fun watching them eat #### over that.
   12. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: February 13, 2019 at 07:16 PM (#5815122)
PECOTA projections updated; Cubs now last in the NL Central with the 3rd worst defense in the NL. Hmmm....


97 wins for Cleveland? For a team projecting to start Roberto Perez, Jake Bauers, Jason Kipnis, Jordan Luplow, Leonys Martin, and Tyler Naquin?
   13. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 13, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5815123)
That’s a lot of games against the Twins, Tigers, White Sox, and Royals. But yeah...
   14. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 13, 2019 at 11:27 PM (#5815165)
The Cubs opened camp hoping to add another reliever who would fit within their budget and landed Xavier Cedeño with a $900,000 non-guaranteed deal.


Already better than duensing.

....

I'm not one to just blindly try to mock projections, but I just don't understand that defensive one for the Cubs at all. I know they emphasize framing more than anyone and they really hate Willson's framing but how in the world is the defense ever possibly going to be anywhere near that bad? Schwarber playing SS and CF at the same time?
   15. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5815260)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 20m20 minutes ago

Ian Clarkin – the lefty pitcher the Cubs twice claimed off waivers from the White Sox this offseason – said: “I’ve never been to Chicago.”
   16. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 15, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5815710)
   17. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 15, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5815758)
I think that Russell press conference was a disaster. I didn't really expect him to be comfortable there or talk explicitly about what's happened and what he's learned. But #### like this just tells me he doesn't get it AT ALL. Brainlessly repeating a couple talking points is garbage. Any optimism I felt about how the Cubs were dealing with this based on Theo's comments the other day are out the window. Sure, there's a slim chance he's been much more open and less brain dense* behind the scenes, but part of this is supposed to be him being able to discuss this publicly on some level.

I also find it interesting to see which writers seem to have been convinced by this performance.

*I think it wouldn't be a stretch to even interpret his comments as a "I didn't even know what I was doing was wrong" which, I mean...
   18. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 18, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5816116)
This is worth reading.

I'll repeat what I said about it in that thread: 1) The tone of the article is overwrought compared to the actual results of their analysis, and 2) the results of the analysis make sense to me. However, I would have thought there to be a bit more predicted daylight between the Brewers/Cardinals and Cubs than a couple of wins.

In any case, I am not expecting a whole hell of a lot from the 2019 Cubs -- they could be quite good again, or they could still pull out a postseason appearance in a weak division, or they might be .500ish and boring and frustrating, or they could win 70-something games. We will see what we get -- 2015-18 was a hell of a ride.
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 18, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5816118)
And the Addison Russell thing. I took the attitude that the facts have not been disclosed, so I have reserved judgment. But the way the Cubs and Russell are handling this makes me suspect the worst. They're failing miserably at trying to spin this -- I guess the Ricketts are being consistent about not spending money, as they clearly hired the cheapest crisis management consultant in the Yellow Pages, or are winging it themselves.
   20. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 18, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5816136)
You really think both the Cards and Brewers are multiple games better than the Cubs? Obviously the Cubs finishing within a few games either side of .500 is possible, I don't see it. In fact, I think for that to happen a lot has to go wrong for the Cubs. I'm not seeing this huge pitching/defensive drop-off that would be required to get there and I think the offense will (and should) be better than last year.

The bullpen is worrying, but all bullpens (except the Yankees) are. I don't think it's bad enough to torpedo the season; I fear that it will remain enough of a question mark that the Cubs will once again waste valuable prospect currency to stabilize it (instead of just spending money this offseason).
   21. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 18, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5816141)
Doesn't sound like Ricketts' press conference is going much better than Russell's.

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale 7m7 minutes ago

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts on why the Cubs didn't spend more money this offseason on the free-agent market: "Pretty easy. We don’t have any more.''


Bullshit.
   22. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 18, 2019 at 02:57 PM (#5816185)
You really think both the Cards and Brewers are multiple games better than the Cubs? Obviously the Cubs finishing within a few games either side of .500 is possible, I don't see it. In fact, I think for that to happen a lot has to go wrong for the Cubs. I'm not seeing this huge pitching/defensive drop-off that would be required to get there and I think the offense will (and should) be better than last year.

The bullpen is worrying, but all bullpens (except the Yankees) are. I don't think it's bad enough to torpedo the season; I fear that it will remain enough of a question mark that the Cubs will once again waste valuable prospect currency to stabilize it (instead of just spending money this offseason).


I think it's more likely that the Cubs are in the mid-90s than mid-70s, but think the bullseye prediction in the middle of that range (Fangraphs has them at 88; Fivethirtyeight has them at 84 -- let's split the difference with 86) feels about right. I see decline in pretty much every sector, on average. I do expect rebounds from Bryant and Rizzo, which will be big, but the rest of the offense -- not so sure. They shouldn't be as bad as they were late last season, but they were really bad. The Cubs have a competent set of pitchers but no real stars at this point -- Hendricks led the team with 3.2 WAR and no one else exceeded 2, and I'm not sure where the big bounce back is going to come from. Defensively, I'm not really sure about where that stands, but I don't see why it should be better.
   23. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 18, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5816211)
I think it’s pretty easy to see the pitching decline. Last season Lester posted a 129 ERA+ in 181 2/3 IP but no peripherals to match. Hamels posted a 182 ERA+ in 76 1/3 IP. Hey, Chatwood’s 81 ERA+ In 103 2/3 is gone and Darvish is theoretically healthy.

The bullpen (which accounted for 588 IP) was amazing last year and bound to regress.

In short, it’s hard for me to see how the pitching isn’t worse. OTOH if Baez can approximate his 2018, Bryant and Rizzo get back to career norms, and somebody like Bote or Happ can take a step forward they could score a bajillion runs.

EDIT: I realize Chatwood is not yet gone but most of his leash sure is.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2019 at 04:57 PM (#5816221)
EDIT: I realize Chatwood is not yet gone but most of his leash sure is.
You got my hopes up for a second there - I haven't followed the news much since right around Nov. 9, 2016, and so I was thinking maybe I missed the headlines about the rocket into the sun.
   25. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 18, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5816229)
STEAMER has the Cubs rotation down for 12.4 WAR, which last year was around 12.9 (quick and dirty - this all is quick and dirty - and I didn't pull out Monty's RP or add in all the various spot starters - just gonna put them all at 0).

Lester 2 - not gonna argue that one; he was garbage for lot last year and lucky the rest of the time. Could easily be worse than this projection; he very easily could be the Cubs 5th (or even 6th) best starter this year.
Hendricks 2.6 - last 3 years are 5.4, 3.5, 3.5. I'm taking the over here, easily. There was a lot of talk of mechanic issues early, and he was better later.
Quintana 2.6 - That would be a nice rebound for him as he hasn't been the same here. There's some reason for optimism, but won't count on it.
Hamels 2.4 - Obviously won't be as good as he was last year for the Cubs (2.5 in his brief window), plus older now so injury/age are a concern. I still am optimistic that he can be effective.
Darvish 2.6 - Here's the big question, but if he's healthy...

So yes, risk, but I still wouldn't really expect an overall dropoff (even if there also isn't any real breakout potential). Bullpens are bullpens, so I can't even begin to have a strong feel one way or the other (and as good as they were last year, it's not like anyone was confident in them at any point).

Defensively, I'm not really sure about where that stands, but I don't see why it should be better.

My point is that I don't see why it should be *worse* which at least is what BPro is projecting (and it probably has to be considered in the other ones at least on the pitching side). One, it will be better if Bryant/Russell are healthy (Descalso is also a much better util IF defender than Happ or TLS). The more time Almora can be in CF, the better, too. Whether or not Willy ever grades out as a decent framer, he probably can't be as bad/worse the more he plays.

Mid-80s still would surprise me just because they still were a 94 win pythag team last year with everything that did go wrong.
   26. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 18, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5816234)
Are you using fWAR? That’s based entirely off peripherals; in contrast to bWAR.

For example the Cubs had 588 IP from a bullpen with the second best ERA in baseball which garnered them all of 4.0 fWAR because the actual runs prevented were not supported by their peripherals.

And the fact their ERA was unsupported by their peripherals does not bode well for 2019.
   27. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 18, 2019 at 05:53 PM (#5816237)
I'm assuming the projections STEAMER has are fWAR, right? The actuals were bWAR - looks like 9.4fWAR for the same folks. So the projections overall for the SP are better than the 2018 performance? Interesting.

---

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 2h2 hours ago

Maddon reviewed Contreras’ 2018 schedule, said he started only four consecutive games once. Said fatigue was more mental than physical.


I hope that's just a quick and dirty comment from Joe, because I'm disappointed otherwise - I mean, he only started 123 out of his 138 games but caught in 133. Another way to look at it is that Contreras was 3rd on the team in PA.
   28. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 18, 2019 at 05:58 PM (#5816242)
I ask because the only place I know to find Steamer is on Fangraphs. If Steamer has its own method I wouldn’t know.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5816478)
Oh, and then there's this re: Russell:

Russell, who has two children, says he’s in a healthy, happy relationship now with his girlfriend, who’s pregnant.
Are you ####### kidding me??
   30. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: February 19, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5816567)
EDIT: I realize Chatwood is not yet gone but most of his leash sure is.

You got my hopes up for a second there - I haven't followed the news much since right around Nov. 9, 2016, and so I was thinking maybe I missed the headlines about the rocket into the sun.


I kind of feel like Pops needs some kind of punishment for doing that, too.... maybe a week in the Machine of Unspeakable Doom
   31. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 19, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5816580)
As if watching Chatwood last season wasn't punishment enough.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5816583)
maybe a week in the Machine of Unspeakable Doom
How about a week in a relationship with Russell?
   33. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 19, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5816599)
Well, I've been medically sterilized...
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 19, 2019 at 04:58 PM (#5816605)
Eh, given ol' Addison's track record, that's probably no match for him.
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 20, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5816766)
ZIPS is a bit more optimistic about the Cubs than the other projection systems (16.6 WAR for the top 5 SP). Thus, as it aligns with my feelings, I declare it the most accurate projection I've seen. He obviously is totally right about the OF, but none of these projections seem overly optimistic to me and I can see quite a few easily being eclipsed. He also is of course right about the lack of depth beyond the 25 man roster (there are plenty of arms to throw at the pen). I keep meaning to say it, but I am honestly surprised the Cubs haven't even added a NRI or minor league signing backup C option (as there are quite a few out there); I would have thought they'd want someone at least for camp.
   36. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 20, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5816954)
Tony Andracki @TonyAndracki23

Maddon said he's trying to come up with "series by series" lineups to integrate players more compared to daily lineups.

So lineups may not be more stable but players will be able to project out a little more then normal this year.


I'm not gonna jump to conclusions here, but this sounds a bit too managery for me, and not in a good way. I take it to mean the players were vocal about their PT and knowing in advance when they'd play, but this doesn't sound like a real solution. Or at least not one that seems like it makes a lot of sense if you think about it.
   37. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: February 21, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5817082)
That was my interpretation, too, Moses. I just picture the worst of Maddon, where it seemed like he was doing things just for the sake of doing things.
   38. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 21, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5817088)
I guess that's the real risk of Maddon being a lame duck. I'd like to think it won't matter, but Maddon might feel more of a need to prove himself - to either the Cubs or his next employer.
   39. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 22, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5817410)
MLB Pipeline/Callis ranking of Cubs top 30 prospects.
   40. Spahn Insane Posted: February 22, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5817429)
Interesting that Callis says Riley Thompson has the best fastball in the system. I've seen a handful of his college appearances in person, and man--he indeed throws hard, but with no idea where it's going. He's an interesting project, but I'm not expecting anything. He wasn't even usually among the first go-to options out of Louisville's pen, given his poor command.

EDIT: Actually, it's even more interesting that Callis rates Thompson's curve as on par with Alzolay's for the best in the system. I'm racking my brain trying to think whether I've ever actually seen him throw a curve, let alone for a strike.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 22, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5817454)
Spahn comes out of hibernation! Good to see you - I hope all is well.
   42. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 22, 2019 at 05:38 PM (#5817470)
Brailyn Marquez can touch 99? Is that legit?
   43. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 25, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5817847)
Bumgarner beaned Bote in the back of his head yesterday, and Bote left the game. No official word if he doesn't not have a concussion or not yet.

---

Russell played yesterday, and this is from Sharma:

But Russell once again showed why despite all the talk of personal growth over the offseason, he either doesn’t seem to fully grasp the gravity of his situation or he’s not adept at talking about it.

“I think the tough stuff is pretty much out of the way,” Russell said. “There’s still some room for growth and that’s what I’m looking forward to. That’s what I’m pushing for.”

To be fair, this answer was in response to a reporter saying, “It’s a beautiful thing to just be a ballplayer, isn’t it?” So it’s important to remember it’s spring training for reporters too.

And perhaps by “tough stuff,” Russell just meant the media obligations from his press conference 10 days ago. Still, he shouldn’t act as though all his difficulties are behind him. The task ahead of him remains daunting.

Off-the-cuff comments like these explain why Russell’s previous meeting with the media seemed so rehearsed and robotic. Because despite the fact that he faced four questions and spent fewer than two minutes speaking with the press Sunday afternoon, Russell said something that could be interpreted as him not quite getting it.


---

Happ played 2b the other day too - I don't think he played any 2b even in ST last year (bref says 3 innings at 2b last year).
   44. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 25, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5817860)
Off-the-cuff comments like these explain why Russell’s previous meeting with the media seemed so rehearsed and robotic. Because despite the fact that he faced four questions and spent fewer than two minutes speaking with the press Sunday afternoon, Russell said something that could be interpreted as him not quite getting it.
I'm gonna go with "Russell really doesn't get it."
   45. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 25, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5817895)
Oh, he absolutely has no clue. Considering how sincere Theo sounded talking about Russell earlier in ST, I wonder if he's thinking the same thing or not.
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 25, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5817968)
The Athletic has a piece today having a bunch of writers talk about the most memorable game they ever covered. Job Greenberg wrote about Game 7 of the WS, but TJ Quinn wrote about the "Bartman" game, and holy #### is it a bunch of bullshit that pisses me off. So just posting it here to get it off my chest.

I know, from having lived among them for six years, that Chicago Cubs fans will always choose folklore over reality.

I know they believed that the 1969 collapse wasn’t the result of a lousy September; it was because a black cat strolled past Ron Santo in the on-deck circle at Shea Stadium. They didn’t go a lifetime without a pennant because of bad baseball decisions; it was because Billy Sianis, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, put a curse on the team when he and his goat were turned away from Wrigley in ‘45. Somehow, feeling cursed takes the sting out of being a loser.


Oh #### off, trading in lame, hackneyed stereotypes. You know why anyone ever talked about that ####? ######## like him constantly saying it was happening.

This is where my years of experience among Chicagoans, learning their language and their ways, tells me what is coming. Gonzalez will not be blamed; it will all fall on that hapless young man. I turn to a colleague and, I swear, I say, “I’m going to go find the guy. The Cubs are going to lose.” She notes the score: They are still leading 3-1 with five outs to go. “I’m telling you,” I say, “something has changed and they’re going to lose.”


Nah, you ######## let Gonzalez off the hook, and put the target on Bartman.

The next morning, I’m in my hotel room. The phone rings at 7 a.m. It is one of my closest friends, a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. I can hear that she is outdoors, but she is whispering. “I’m in front of his house,” she says. “We got a call last night. His name is Steven Bartman. I have to knock on his door. I feel sick.” Go on and knock, I say. The world is going to find out who he is, anyway.


See? Way to try and absolve yourself of your role in that garbage. (This is not to say Bartman wasn't treated horribly by lots of people, at Wrigley - the 30 for 30 they made about it made that all very clear.)
   47. Meatwad Posted: February 25, 2019 at 10:59 PM (#5818155)
Seems like he took the lazy way out and has no idea that actual cubs fans are not idiots. I hope the cubs fans on the site are making it known how dumb he is.
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 26, 2019 at 03:59 PM (#5818451)
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 4m4 minutes ago

Yu Darvish's first inning of the spring featured 19 pitches (10 strikes). He sat around 94-96 with his fastball. One swing and miss. Two walks. Two flyouts and one infield popout.

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 1m1 minute ago

Control problems end Darvish's outing with one out in 2nd.


Sahadev Sharma @sahadevsharma 33m33 minutes ago

Bryant's spring so far: 5 PAs and he's gone homer, single, walk, walk, walk.


Bob Nightengale @BNightengale 16m16 minutes ago

Addison Russell, playing his game in front of #Cubs fans since Sept. 16, receives mostly cheers from the crowd.

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale 14m14 minutes ago

Addison Russell, who's suspended until May 3 for violating #MLB's domestic violence, is scheduled to spend most of April in Arizona before reporting to Triple-A Iowa the final week of April .


   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 27, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5818686)
Darvish really is more comfortable in his second spring with the Cubs. At the very least, Darvish is comfortable with the reporters covering the Cubs. He smiled widely while speaking in English and he cracked numerous jokes during his conversation with reporters Tuesday before heading over to speak with the Japanese media.

Why did he ditch his interpreter this season?

“I think, you know, interpreter is expensive for the organization,” Darvish said.

As everyone laughed at his joke, one reporter wondered aloud where the organization put that extra money. Darvish didn’t have an answer to that one. But it’s probably safe to assume the money saved doesn’t equal the annual cost of Bryce Harper’s beard softener.


Too soon, Yu.

Randy Miller @RandyJMiller

For what it’s worth, my source who is close to Bryce Harper tells me #Dodgers and #Cubs were 1st choices all along and he prefers not to sign with #Phillies. I’ve been hearing all winter that Harper does not want to play for Gabe Kapler due to analytics and quirky personality

3:39 PM - Feb 26, 2019


I don't know about the "analytics" part, and Joe's pretty quirky too. But I always kinda though he really wanted to play here. So, yeah, Yu, bad time to make that joke.

---

Also, I'm kinda glad Bryant is speaking out a little here (and showing any sort of personality is good - he also did claim he'd talk to Yadi about the boring St. Louis comments that were harmless)

“It’s awful,” Bryant said. “So awful. It’s going to happen this year and it happens every year. I could understand it if you go out and have a rough spring training where you don’t look ready. But there’s certain people who put the time and the effort into the offseason so that they do show up to spring training and they prove that they’re ready to go. I feel like you should be rewarded for that.”


That was about Vlad Jr and the service time shenanigans.

Gordon Wittenmyer @GDubCub 1h1 hour ago

Bryant on ‘small-market’ Padres mega-signing of Machado; Rox megadeal with Arenado: “Everybody has money. We’re not stupid. We see the prices of the tickets, the price of memorabilia, everything – TV deals. There’s a lot of money in this game.”


Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 2h2 hours ago

Cubs Kris Bryant open to long term contract . “ We have not heard from them ( Cubs) about that so far this off season “

Gordon Wittenmyer @GDubCub 1h1 hour ago

Bryant on willingness to listen to extension offer:
“I’ve said I will listen to anything they have to say. I’d be silly not to. I’d be dumb not to hear anything they had to offer. But right now it seems to be they’re not willing to do that … And that’s OK, too.”


Giving him the Arenado deal (or something close to it, adjusted for the fact KB isn't a FA this season) wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Also, considering a bunch of other guys are starting to bite on extensions, how about the Cubs get at least someone to sign something - Hendricks or Contreras or Baez or even Schwarber. Hell, sign 'em all.

   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 27, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5818793)
Contreras already has more homers this spring (2) than all of the 2nd half last year (0*).

*citation needed
   51. Spahn Insane Posted: February 27, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5818801)
Too soon, Yu.

See, as for me? I think that's hilarious. Darvish seems to have a droll sense of humor that I'm quite fond of. (I'm thinking back to his deadpan about hesitating to sign with the Cubs 'cause he doesn't like Theo Epstein, or something....) Not like the Cubs' purported lack of payroll flexibility (and its apparent effect on the team's ability to add impact players) hasn't been analyzed to death elsewhere.

I'm really rooting for Yu to have a big year.
   52. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 27, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5818818)
Oh, it's definitely funny. I too root for Yu. Just, Harper is still out there, so it's still early for the players to be dunking on the lying owners.

---

Willson's HR was not a cheapy. Maybe that's why the Cubs let Chavez go?
   53. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 28, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5819276)
   54. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: February 28, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5819286)
ZIPS projected standings are up at FG, and see the NL Central as

Cubs 88-74
Cards 86-72
Brewers 83-79
Reds 81-81
Pirates 78-84

As I said before, that probably aligns most closely with my current gut feeling heading into the season. At least the order and spread; I'm still thinking the Cubs clear 90 wins again.
   55. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 01, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5819607)
Tyler Chatwood: 3 IP, 0 BB today.

Last time he had 3+ IP and no walks in a regular season game?

8/9/2016 - 6.2 IP, 0 BB
#Cubs
   56. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 04, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5820001)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 33m33 minutes ago

As expected, Joe Maddon announces Jon Lester will be the Opening Day starter for the Cubs.


Guess I didn't realize it was expected. Just like I said last year, if he's the Cubs best SP this year they're in trouble. Best case scenario (and that includes best case for Lester), is that Lester is their 3rd or 4th best starter.
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 04, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5820120)
The Cubs restructured Brach’s contract after the standard medical review, sources told The Athletic, setting this year’s base salary at $1.65 million with roster bonuses tied to his time on the active 25-man roster. One day is worth $350,000 – and there is the potential to earn $500,000 more if he is active for 150 days this season.

The 2020 club option is valued at $5 million or a $100,000 buyout, according to sources familiar with Brach’s deal, while next year’s player option is filed at $1.35 million.


Hmmm, that's a bit lower than what had been rumored.
   58. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 04, 2019 at 04:43 PM (#5820127)
I wonder if the medical review revealed that he had a brad brach.
   59. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 05, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5820320)
Major League Baseball recently outlined some rule changes on technology use and replay systems, demanding all TV monitors available to players and coaches be placed on an eight-second delay during games.

The rule is meant to prevent sign stealing. But it also means most relievers will be unable to watch games live at Wrigley Field, where the bullpens are fully enclosed and situated under the bleachers.

Cubs relievers usually watch the monitors instead of sitting in two rows of folding chairs behind the tinted glass window looking onto the field.

“It’s really tough for us out there because we can’t really see outside the bullpen as it is, especially a night game,” Cubs reliever Steve Cishek said. “So we rely on watching the game on TV without a delay.

“It’s going to be a huge adjustment. It sounds ridiculous, but it is. It’s not like we can cheat. They bug our phones anyways, so we can’t call down (and relay signs to the dugout). We like watching the game on TV, so you can see the strike zone. With a delay, it’s not the same.


---

Morrow isn't scheduled to start throwing until end of March. Maybe we should just be pleasantly surprised if he pitches at all this year (which, yet again, means the Cubs not really trying to do anything with the pen this offseason harder to understand as it now means they're very likely to have to make a trade and waste the little prospect capital they have).
   60. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 05, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5820335)
But it also means most relievers will be unable to watch games live at Wrigley Field, where the bullpens are fully enclosed and situated under the bleachers.
Move the bullpens back onto the field!
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 05, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5820387)
That article mentioned that Rahm (not sure exactly why he's getting the blame, but sure) rejected some other proposal that would have meant a bigger opening for the guys to watch the game. We did a tour last year and went into the bullpen, and it's a cool view, but the area is pretty small to watch that way. Then again, I do think it's weird to be sitting in there watching the game on a TV anyway.
   62. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 05, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5820396)
It'll be funny when a Cub hits a home run and the bullpen gets up and starts dancing - for the next batter.
   63. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 05, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5820464)
I admire the passion and hustle and all that jazz, but it's still spring training.
   64. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 05, 2019 at 05:18 PM (#5820534)
ESPN projections from Bradford Doolittle:

5. Chicago Cubs
Projected record: 93-69 (Change from final 2018: -1)

Neutral RS: 824 | Neutral RA: 702

Unit ranks: Hitters (3) | Fielders (1) | Starters (13) | Relievers (17)

When considering hitting, fielding and baserunning, the Cubs and Red Sox run pretty close in terms of having the best set of position players in the majors. Because of Chicago's relative lack of activity this winter, and its wildly inconsistent offensive showing from last season, I think people have forgotten just how much talent the Cubs have from a position-by-position standpoint. And while the rotation might be a concern in terms of age and depth, the fact of the matter is that Chicago's defense could help paper over an uptick in balls in play from its pitching staff. My biggest concern about the roster is in the back of the bullpen, especially since Brandon Morrow continues to be a major health question mark. But if the Cubs' relief staff comes together, the hand-wringing over the team's winter could prove to be much ado about nothing.
   65. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 06, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5820663)
Probably aren't many surprises in store for the Opening Day roster, so not worth a whole new post. I still figure the next one I do will be bad predictions for the year.

Anyhow, looks like this will be how it shakes out:

C: Contreras, Caratini (I'll keep saying I'm surprised they didn't get a veteran backup/NRI/minor league deal guy)
IF: Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, Descalso, Bote. Russell is on the suspended list, and it's likely that Bote goes back to AAA when Russell is back (save an injury).
OF: Schwarber, Almora, Heyward, Happ, Zobrist. They've talked about Happ playing more 2b, but he's still probably the 4th guy on that depth chart even when Russell is gone.
SP: Lester, Hendricks, Hamels, Darvish, Quintana. That's my guess at the order of the rotation to start, since they've named Laster the Opening Day guy. They could line it up differently if they care about starting someone besides Quintana in the home opener. I would be surprised if they skipped anyone, even with all the early off days.
RP: Strop, Cishek, Montgomery, Edwards, Chatwood, Kintzler, Duensing, Brach. All those guys have major league deals, so unless they start Duensing on the DL or just release him (I'm fine with either), Cedeno probably doesn't break with the team (he's also had some wrist issues anyway). I think eventually Cedeno will be the LOOGY ahead of Duensing, I just assume the Cubs will give Duensing another chance to prove he's done (he's done). When/if Morrow comes back, it'll complicate things more (I'd guess Kintzler would be the odd man out unless he has a major rebound). The pen can be good, but it will be bad when it has Duensing/Chatwood/Kintzler in it at the same time.
   66. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 06, 2019 at 06:07 PM (#5820857)
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 9m9 minutes ago

Another solid outing from Tyler Chatwood: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Created 7 outs via grounders, including two inning-ending GIDPs.


Against the Royals. Plus, he's not starting, so these probably aren't against major league hitters. Well, guys wearing major league uniforms this year.
   67. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 06, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5820859)
670 The Score @670TheScore 5h5 hours ago

Joe Maddon on Addison Russell's personal progress, from what he can tell: "He's been a model citizen here."

Maddon added that's from what he has seen and heard, noting Russell isn't reporting to him about personal rehabilitation but rather others.


I'm not gonna take Joe's word on this (beyond believing him that Russell hasn't abused his current pregnant gf in front of Joe). In fact, Joe probably should have passed on answering the question. But that wouldn't be Joe.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 08, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5821301)
FG on Rowan Wick, and The Athletic on Dakota Mekkes. Those guys, plus Maples, might be the main guys riding the Iowa shuttle this year.
   69. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 08, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5821371)
Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 10m10 minutes ago

Yu Darvish, smiling and laughing after today's simulated game, says he would like to face the Rangers during the season-opening series in Texas: "I want to hit a couple guys. Gallo and Odor."
   70. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 08, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5821408)
Last year it felt like there was a lot of negativity surrounding Darvish almost immediately. Perhaps I am simply mis-remembering but this spring feels different for him.
   71. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 08, 2019 at 07:03 PM (#5821427)
I think so too. Not sure why, at least not this time last year. Joe agrees:

Joe Maddon on Yu Darvish: "He’s been almost a different person this year. Definitely the self-confidence level seems to be soaring a bit right now. I just think the familiarity with the whole group matters to him. Plus he’s healthy."
   72. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 08, 2019 at 08:10 PM (#5821437)
I am hoping the difference in his personality is that last thing.
   73. Red Voodooin Posted: March 09, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5821532)
Prospect Swap: Cubs Re-acquire Donnie Dewees From Royals For Stephen Ridings

Ridings just seems like a lottery ticket arm a long way from being anything, and Dewees has a ceiling of being a scrappy utility player with his slaptastic high-contact way. Incidentally, the guy the Cubs received when they traded Dewees away was Alec Mills, who seems to have some shot of being useful (or at least not entirely useless) someday.
   74. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5821816)
Duensing appears to be in mid-season suck form, giving up back to back HRs yesterday (one to a lefty even). Cedeno is officially hurt and won't be ready for opening day, so we'll have a couple of weeks to be annoyed by Duensing's precense on the roster.
   75. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 11, 2019 at 04:58 PM (#5821942)
I am disappointed to note that Luke Hagerty hasn't had a spring traning appearance so far this year. I don't have high hopes for that acquisition but I like the guy's story and he's 37 years old. It's not like he's going to have a ton of time to grow into a role. We are only at the halfway point (give or take) so hopefully he can get into the action and show us something.
   76. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 11, 2019 at 05:29 PM (#5821953)
Yeah, that was a great story and would love to see him get a call up at some point.
   77. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 12, 2019 at 07:43 PM (#5822254)
Maddon: Pedro Strop dealing with mild right hamstring strain. Had MRI on Monday. Still able to play catch, but likely will be held off a mound for the next week. Not ruled out for Opening Day yet.

Joe Maddon on Pedro Strop's hamstring issue: “According to this MRI, it was like barely noticeable, so we don’t think it’s going to be anything horribly long. But we don’t know for sure. We’d like to think we’re going to be able to get him ready for the beginning of the season."


Ugh

Thirty seven year old 'rookie' lefty Luke Hagerty has been slowed by a flexor strain in his pitching arm but intends to start throwing again this weekend at Cubs camp. He was originally drafted by the Cubs in 2002 and is attempting a comeback. His goal... http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-41057593-4
   78. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 13, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5822450)
Athletic piece on Haggerty.

---

Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 6m6 minutes ago

Pedro Strop on hamstring strain” if you ask me now I will say 99.9 percent I will be ready for opening day’

Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney 5m5 minutes ago

Pedro Strop is laughing, smiling and downplaying any issues with his hamstring: "I'll be ready for Day 1, 100 percent."


No rounding inside quotes, Patrick.

---

Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales 15h15 hours ago

The woes of Tyler Chatwood have resurfaced. Two walks sandwich a hit to load the bases in the second. Chatwood induces a comebacker to the mound, but his high throw gets past Caratini for two runs. Christian Colon follows with two-run single.

Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 15h15 hours ago

Tyler Chatwood's line: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R/2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 47 pitches (20 strikes). The two unearned runs, of course, came via his own throwing error. Four swings and misses -- all by Jesse Winker.


Almost reassuring that he still sucks.

---

Len Kasper @LenKasper 15h15 hours ago

Reds just played a 4-man outfield against Kris Bryant, who slapped a line shot single into center, where nobody was playing. I assume this will be a thing during the regular season. Pretty fascinating.


I'm not anti-shifting, per se, but also don't really enjoy seeing these types of shifts.
   79. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 13, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5822459)
Small Robothal note:

The Red Sox still might move a catcher, and the Brewers face a decision on Erik Kratz, who is the likely odd man out behind Yasmani Grandal and Manny Piña. The danger with releasing Kratz is that he might get picked up by the rival Cubs, who are seeking to add catching depth.
   80. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 13, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5822546)
Bruce Levine @MLBBruceLevine 18m18 minutes ago

Joe Maddon said the Cubs are considering deals and waiver moves for the bullpen.He said Craig Kimbrel”s name did not come up in his meetings.


Guessing LOOGY here.
   81. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 13, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5822555)
Wow, Eric Kratz and a LOOGY...it’s not too late for the Cubs to totally redeem this offseason!
   82. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 15, 2019 at 05:23 PM (#5823086)
Jordan Bastian @MLBastian 6m6 minutes ago

Asked what options exist for last bench spot if Descalso isn't ready for Opening Day, Maddon mentioned NRI utility man Cristhian Adames. Entered today hitting .438/1.316 in 15 spring games.

Maddon: "We have not arrived at that yet. I mean, it's just kind of wide open."


Morrow, Strop, and Brach all may also not be ready for Opening Day (both Strop and Brach said they will). Possible replacements like Cedeno and Barnette are also hurt/behind schedule.
   83. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 20, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5823973)
Chicago Sports @ChicagoSports 2h2 hours ago

Yu Darvish downplayed the severity of a blister on his right ring finger.

“I should be good for the next outing,” said Darvish, who likely will pitch Sunday for the Cubs if the blister heals properly.


If he does pitch Sunday, I'll be there. I hope it really is nothing, cause if anyone can use a good start out of the gate it's probably him.

Maddon hasn’t officially named the rotation order after Opening Day starter Jon Lester. But he acknowledged it’d be difficult to reconfigure the spring training order – Lester has been followed by Darvish, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks and José Quintana – this close to the start of the season.


I'm fine with that order, not that it really matters are this point. It also means I'll see Lester and Hamels; here's hoping my curse of Lester absolutely shitting the bed when I'm there in person ended last year.
   84. Meatwad Posted: March 23, 2019 at 08:41 PM (#5824897)
Happ optioned to Triple A.
   85. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 24, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5824946)
On my way to Peoria for today's game, after seeing Lester and Cishek get lit up last night (the curse of Lester with me there continues).

The Happ thing is a little surprising, but probably the right move. Almost surprised it didn't happen last year, so that probably made him more confident this year. They haven't said who will get his roster spot yet, though it might be a waiver claim.

Also

Cubs have signed lefty Tim Collins, optioned to AAA, to make room on 40-man, Duensing has been DFA'd. Duensing could still remain with org if he clears waivers, which is likely since he's making $3.5m.


Called it. Now:

Pretty informative session w Maddon. Said he'd like to have two lefties in bullpen to start the season. So I'd expect Kyle Ryan or Randy Rosario to make team. A vet catcher added to the org makes sense too, but Maddon said no chance they carry three on MLB team.


Sounds like strop and descalso should be ok to start the year.

   86. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: March 26, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5825494)
On plane leaving PHX now, and will write up a longer thing tomorrow, but this is outstanding news:

Breakdown of the Kyle Hendricks contract, according to a source familiar with the deal:

2019: $7.405 million
2020: $12 million
2021: $14 million
2022: $14 million
2023: $14 million
2024: $16 million vesting option or $1.5 million buyout.


More extensions please.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Infinite Yost (Voxter)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.6359 seconds
59 querie(s) executed