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   1. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 04, 2010 at 03:36 PM (#3608013)
If anyone thought the Cubs had a chance I’d say even those pie-in-the-sky fans have come to realize that this season is dead for the Cubs (ed. note: told ya so).

I hate to harp on this, but even though I could not have been more wrong about the details, I was right overall. This season has sucked, from start to finish. And I'm sorry for anyone that was optimistic.

I think most Cub fans were ready to accept Starlin as a 80 to 90 OPS+ type player his rookie season and then he comes out with this red hot month and jacks his OPS+ up to around 105.

I think this undersells him even. He's been absolutely phenomenal. Yes, there's plenty of room for improvement. But I think he's far exceeded any reasonable expectations for his situation.

A definite choice for RF next year (ed. note: his line is very Soriano-ish).

Seriously, compare their lines this season. I don't mind paying a couple million for that at all, so I'm not complaining. I, for one, expected nothing interesting out of Colvin. Glad to be wrong on this one though.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cubs eating his salary next year and trading him.

I've starting thinking about what the Cubs should do this offseason (don't worry, I'll spare the details now), but I think there are two things that are, without a doubt, set in stone certainties: 1) Zambrano will be traded (and the Cubs will eat a lot of his salary). 2) Fukudome is traded (and once again the Cubs will eat a lot of his salary). I think there's a lot of different ways things can go, but I am as sure as I can be about those two.

It is a shame that Hendry did not trade him this month because I don’t Silva will ever again have as high of a trade value as he did in this month (ed. note: and now the DL, ugh).

Do we know whether or not he even tried?
   2. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2010 at 04:10 PM (#3608051)
You would think that if he did try there would have been at least a rumor of it but I don't think we heard anything at all about Silva possibly getting traded.
   3. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 04, 2010 at 05:53 PM (#3608158)
Zambrano is officially back in the rotation. If the Cubs are smart, they'll just shut up about him and leave him alone there the rest of the year. If they say anything about him, it should be about how much he's changed, how much he's committed, and how he's going above and beyond to be a great teammate. Even if it's not completely true.

But they're clueless. So I expect him to be demoted to the pen again, and suspended and/or sent home before the season is over. Their stupidity is so predictable, I'm already not even upset about it.
   4. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2010 at 07:09 PM (#3608230)
I agree.
   5. Brian C Posted: August 04, 2010 at 07:35 PM (#3608266)
The funny (in a morbid way) thing about it is, if they are intent on trading Zambrano in the offseason, they'll work to make sure he screws up again. The Sosa example is, again, instructive here; having most likely already made the decision to trade him, which was justifiable, they made sure everyone in the world knew that he cut out early on the last day of the season, which further set back his trade value after what was already a bad year. I guess the reason for this was to make trading him more palatable from a PR standpoint, but of course that's really stupid.

Of course, Hendry now finds himself in a situation where he might need - or at least want - to unload contracts this offseason for both Zambrano and Fukudome, with Soriano's contract an ongoing problem to be worked around. Meanwhile, the team is still on track for 90 losses or thereabouts, and Marlon Byrd of all people appears to be one of the primary sources for OBP on next year's team. Yes, I'm thrilled that Ricketts is giving Hendry another year to work things out.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: August 04, 2010 at 07:43 PM (#3608278)
I don't see any point in trading Fukudome -- he's good as a 4th OF, can play CF if necessary and I don't see him being given a starting spot on any other team. He's a grossly overpaid 4th OF of course but we might as well pay him $14.5 M to be our 4th OF than pay $11-12 M for him to be somebody else's 4th OF in hopes we'll find somebody better with the $3 M we save. Sure, see if somebody will actually give you something worthwhile for him but I can't think of what team would want him that badly.

Which, of course, doesn't rule out the Cubs trading him out of spite.

PS: and as I enjoy pointing out, Colvin's line is also rather Heyward-esque. :-) I'd say there's obviously no way we can expect Colvin to maintain a 270 ISO but then I'd have said there's no way he'd ever post a 270 ISO to begin with. And he hasn't been a Wrigley creation: 271/333/519 at home; 246/308/542 on the road. He Ks way too much and his on-contact numbers aren't sustainable but he's already been much better than I ever expected.
   7. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2010 at 08:24 PM (#3608334)
I don't think the cubs will have to eat that much salary to move fukudome. It might be that high if they want a decent prospect but I can easily see the cubs eating around half the contract or so and taking somebody elses contact to be a bench player.

it will be interesting to how the ricketts handle the zambrano situation. They might not want to go down the trib road of handling trades.
   8. Brian C Posted: August 04, 2010 at 08:42 PM (#3608367)
Which, of course, doesn't rule out the Cubs trading him out of spite.

This was basically my working assumption. It's pretty apparent that Fukudome's actual trade value isn't very high, or else he'd already be gone.

PS: and as I enjoy pointing out, Colvin's line is also rather Heyward-esque. :-)

Also true ... it's just too bad that his age isn't also Heyward-esque. That said, Soriano didn't hit much in the majors until he was 26 so Colvin has that in his favor.
   9. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 04, 2010 at 09:16 PM (#3608409)
I think most Cub fans were ready to accept Starlin as a 80 to 90 OPS+ type player his rookie season and then he comes out with this red hot month and jacks his OPS+ up to around 105.

I think this undersells him even. He's been absolutely phenomenal. Yes, there's plenty of room for improvement. But I think he's far exceeded any reasonable expectations for his situation.


Absolutely (the latter). Anytime a 20 YO can be a league average hitter, it's a very good sign. But a 20 YO SS?. Not to get too far ahead, but Bill James wrote something about Ryne Sandberg in the NBJHBA, to the effect of "Given his performance as a rookie, what were the chances he'd develop into a HOFer?" His answer was (I think) 25%. Well, as a rookie, Sandberg was a 22 YO 3B who hit a 90 OPS+. Castro right now is a 20 YO SS hitting a 106 OPS+ (plus 4-5 today). That's huge. Yes, it's only 300 PA, and if he were to get 687 like Sandberg got in 1982 he could be at 90 or below, but still, a 20 YO SS batting at well above league average rates?
   10. Brian C Posted: August 04, 2010 at 09:30 PM (#3608428)
Castro sure looks like he's going to be an impressive hitter. He's not taking a ton of walks, but he's taken some, and he's also not flailing at pitches he can't handle. I'm not an expert, obviously, but his approach seems quite advanced for a guy his age and position. Plus, as far as power goes, besides the three homers it also seems like he's hit more than his share off the wall. His double today, for example, and a couple weeks ago he actually hit one off the bottom of the basket. Those 20 doubles and 5 triples he's hit have definitely not all been squirters down the line.
   11. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: August 04, 2010 at 09:37 PM (#3608435)
He's leading the team in triples and is 3rd in doubles. When a player turns 23-24, many of those doubles and triples turn into HRs. I'm trying not to get too excited, but Castro and Soto are starting to look like 2 guys to build a franchise around.
   12. Brian C Posted: August 04, 2010 at 10:15 PM (#3608472)
Still not sure about Soto, but I'm a lot more sure than I was two months ago. At the very least, he's the only reliable OBP that the Cubs have in their lineup for now.
   13. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2010 at 10:54 PM (#3608511)
I think this offseason is going to be crucial for colvin and next season will be pivotal for him. I hope the cubs come up with a good game plan for him this winter. Right now I would say he is on the cusp between starter and 4th outfielder.

anywho what is the word on jay jackson? And how did diamond look? Any shot at back of the rotation next year?
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 04, 2010 at 11:35 PM (#3608555)
Anytime a 20 YO can be a league average hitter, it's a very good sign. But a 20 YO SS?. Not to get too far ahead, but Bill James wrote something about Ryne Sandberg in the NBJHBA, to the effect of "Given his performance as a rookie, what were the chances he'd develop into a HOFer?" His answer was (I think) 25%. Well, as a rookie, Sandberg was a 22 YO 3B who hit a 90 OPS+.

I think that was about Sosa who was called up at 19?

The 2010 Cubs have had a lot of pleasant surprises from the young, cost controlled side of things. Wells, Colvin, Castro, and Soto are all under club control for a while and all of them are going to project better in 2011 than they did to start 2010. That's a start at turning things around. So, no, I don't consider 2010 to be that disappointing.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: August 05, 2010 at 04:26 AM (#3608850)
The 2010 Cubs have had a lot of pleasant surprises from the young, cost controlled side of things. Wells, Colvin, Castro, and Soto are all under club control for a while and all of them are going to project better in 2011 than they did to start 2010.

And don't forget Marmol and Marshall. (And Gorz but we didn't develop him ... and I keep waiting for him to get that walk rate down. And DeWitt now).

And I recall being pretty roundly chided here a few weeks back for suggesting the Cubs farm system had been doing a perfectly good job the last few years.

Anyway, the Cubs do actually have a decent amount of young talent around. Too bad they've got so much money tied up in clunky, long-term contracts and the FA market the next couple of years is nothing special.

On Castro the question is whether he can stick at SS. TZ and Dial have him at -10 but UZR at +2.7. Obviously the bat needs to develop a lot more to be a star at 2B/3B/CF than it does at SS. Nice to see the low K-rate but he does need a few more walks.

On Soto, I'll toss out the same warning I did after his 2008 season -- the on-contact numbers are probably still unsustain
   16. McCoy Posted: August 05, 2010 at 04:34 AM (#3608854)
And I recall being pretty roundly chided here a few weeks back for suggesting the Cubs farm system had been doing a perfectly good job the last few years.

I think for the most part that was Brian C who believes the Cubs should have the world's greatest farm system.


Anyway, the Cubs do actually have a decent amount of young talent around. Too bad they've got so much money tied up in clunky, long-term contracts and the FA market the next couple of years is nothing special.


But they really don't have a lot of money tied up in long term contracts. Next year they have a bunch but unless they seriously cut back on the budget they will have plenty to spend. Then after 2011 they will have just three big contracts left and then after 2012 just one. It is virtually impossible for the Cubs to get hit with a budget crunch over the next three years or so unless they go hogwild again like they did circa 2007.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: August 05, 2010 at 10:56 AM (#3608890)
But Marmol (and Marshall) is an FA after 2012; Soto the year after that.

My point was that the Cubs have a pretty nice, cheap core right now. If they could surround that young, cheap core with $100-$120 M of talent over the next two years, including a real star or two, they'd have a real shot over the next few years. Instead they've got a lot of money tied up in Soriano, ARam, Z and Fukudome. So they won't be able to add major talent over the next 1-2 years. By the time the dust settles, their young, cheap core won't be so young or cheap (Soto is 27, it's not even clear you want to keep him past 2013).

And I'd guess the Cubs have the least spending room this offseason of any of the big budget teams. After arb, they probably have $20-25 to spend for 2011 and only about $35-40 the year after that (half of that eaten up by whoever they might sign this offseason). Can't check them all, but in contrast the Red Sox will have about $60 M this year and $80 M next. The White Sox might be in worse shape for 2011 (interesting decision on Jenks) but better shape in 2012. Thankfully the Cards gave Lohse that ridiculous contract and have to pay $7 billion a year to Albert.

Then there's the Phillies. They're screwed. Amaro may be worse than Hendry. According to Cots, the Phils payroll this season is $139 ... they're already on the hook next year for $144. They have no arb cases of note but they can't afford to add anybody. That is one old, expensive, better win it all in 2011 team right there. But even they have $55 M coming off the books for 2012.

It is however moot because there really aren't many true stars available on the FA market the next couple of years. There's Lee and Dunn this year, Fielder and Gonzalez the next and you can only sign one 1B (and hard to imagine the Cubs being high bidder on Lee). Seriously, the best available OF in 2012 will be the 36-year-old Drew or the 35-year-old Beltran. Milwaukee's talking extension with Weeks apparently so the best available 2B is Kelly Johnson. The best available 3B will be ... wait for it ... Aramis Ramirez (Blake, DeRosa, Encarnacion and Dobbs). Buehrle is the only starter of note for 2012 (2nd best looks like Edwin Jackson).

Teams are really doing a better job of tying up young talent.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 05, 2010 at 11:33 AM (#3608899)
Having a good farm system is great except:

Players developmental cycles vary widely. If took Rickie Weeks 5 years to get to where the club thought he should be

Develop BOTH pitchers and position players. Milwaukee absolutely stinks at finding and generating pitchers. The farm system has churned out a decent position player a year for something like 5 years running and it ain't done that much good

Have the right guy in the clubhouse. Ned was good at helping young guys learn the ropes but lost their respect by playing favorites and clearly choking in close games. The snickers of "Nervous Ned" were none too subtle in 2008 even with the team playing well. Macha lurches in the other direction. Ken has done a fair amount of smart things but has the personality of a wirebrush across your naked crotch. And sans a LaRussa resume the players seem to be tuning him out.
   19. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: August 05, 2010 at 03:02 PM (#3609030)
I think for the most part that was Brian C who believes the Cubs should have the world's greatest farm system.

Not to rehash, but you're really misrepresenting his argument.

The 2010 Cubs have had a lot of pleasant surprises from the young, cost controlled side of things. Wells, Colvin, Castro, and Soto are all under club control for a while and all of them are going to project better in 2011 than they did to start 2010. That's a start at turning things around. So, no, I don't consider 2010 to be that disappointing.

Well, while I agree with your overall point, I do think you're in the minority as seeing this year as a positive.

On Castro the question is whether he can stick at SS. TZ and Dial have him at -10 but UZR at +2.7. Obviously the bat needs to develop a lot more to be a star at 2B/3B/CF than it does at SS. Nice to see the low K-rate but he does need a few more walks.

Couple of good posts here, but I don't think a half season of conflicting defensive data tells us anything about him long term. I think it's safe the say he has the tools to be a good defensive SS, now it's learning to use them. So I don't think saying whether he can stick or not is fair to him at this point. I can say without a hint of doubt that he's going to get every opportunity to stick at SS for a long, long time.

the personality of a wirebrush across your naked crotch

Vivid.
   20. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 05, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3609062)
Hey, I just said it wasn't that disappointing. Still somewhat disappointing but I feel better about 2011 and 2012 than I did back in April.
   21. Brian C Posted: August 05, 2010 at 04:46 PM (#3609108)
I haven't seen any reason to question Castro's long-term future at SS. He looks a little raw right now but again, he's not even 20 and a half yet, and came into the season with a grand total of 127 games above rookie ball under his belt.
   22. McCoy Posted: August 12, 2010 at 01:22 AM (#3614312)
2007 seems so far away now doesn't it?

Fontenot is gone. The Cubs keep shaving payroll. Hopefully they don't simply cut back on payroll next year.
   23. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: August 14, 2010 at 11:14 PM (#3616594)
Perusing BB REF:

By WAR, Ronny Cedeno's ahead of Starlin Castro and Kosuke's ahead of Colvin (in the same number of PAs). And the Cubs have 4 of the bottom 25 players: Ramirez, Theriot, Hill and, the worst of the bunch, Nady.

Even with the errors, I'm a believer in Castro's defense, so I think WAR's wrong about Castro. I can see the Kosuke > Colvin thing. And it's no surprise that those four players have more than offset the good that Soto or Byrd have provided.
   24. McCoy Posted: September 01, 2010 at 03:40 AM (#3631439)
Well, with things being busy for me and the Cubs being pathetic I don't plan on doing a August recap. I don't know if there is any point to it. I don't think anyone cares.
   25. McCoy Posted: September 04, 2010 at 04:28 PM (#3633526)
Don't look now but Fukudome is red hot over the last month. In August his line was .365/.467/.651 in 15 starts and 75 PA. Meanwhile Colvin put up a .215/.271/.367 in 17 starts and 85 PA. If Fukudome keeps this up it is going to make for a very interesting dilemma for Hendry this offseason.

Aramis very quietly put together a good August with a line of .301/.356/.505 with 5 homers. It looks like whatever plagued him early in the season is over and Aramis is back to his old self. Which should comfort many fans this offseason. I think we can rely on Aramis to be an above average offensive producer next year.

DeWitt and Castro are both looking good right now and looking great when you factor in their pay. I'd like to see Soto stay healthy but that is something we may never see. If that is true the Cubs need a better backup than Hill this offseason. I know the Cubs don't have any other real options behind the plate besides Soto but perhaps the Cubs need to think about moving Soto to first base. I hear Kendall will be available next season. Kidding, kidding. It just seems to me that if you can keep Soto healthy and he put ups a 125 OPS+ or greater for 150 or more games that trumps a 120 OPS+ over 120 or so games.
   26. McCoy Posted: September 04, 2010 at 04:29 PM (#3633527)
On the pitching side Carlos Zambrano looks good and Dempster quietly had a good month in August. Who would have guessed that the Dempster contract wouldn't turn into a lemon? Besides those two the Cubs pitching staff was horrible in August.

Should have traded Silva when they had the chance.

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