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Sunday, July 23, 2017

What a difference a week makes

I was fortunate enough to witness in person the last game before the All Star Break, when Jon Lester gave up 10 runs (only 4 earned) and only got two outs in the first inning.

Since then:

7-1
.304/.355/.556, 6.38 R/G, 2.12 HR/G
3.63 (2.16 for SP)

And a big trade that brought a quality-controlled starter, who put up a game score of 83 in his first start. Lester has made two starts since the one I saw on July 9th, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, walking 1 and striking out 16 in 15 innings.

 

Andere Richtingen Posted: July 23, 2017 at 11:44 AM | 142 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:35 AM (#5498668)
Cubs in first place!
   2. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5498728)
As I was saying in my last blog post, this is pretty much the team we've been expecting/waiting for all season. Doesn't mean they're going to win 8 of 9 the rest of the year - and really if not for a fluke inning could have gone 9-0 since the break - but the offense is clicking and the starters are carrying their weight. The bullpen has started to shake a bit, but that's also what bullpens do. The Cubs made a 5.5 game lead vanish in less than a week and a half. Fun again.

Also, Willson is really starting to get a lot of attention. Playing like he has only makes it natural, but it's good to see him embracing that and the rest of the team following him. He's had an MVP month - .339/.397/.694 - and also has to get some credit for how the pitching has improved (as he also gets a little blame for how things went early; maybe it's just me, but he looks less jumpy behind the plate and the mound visits have gone way down).
   3. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:37 AM (#5498732)
From the last thread:

The Cubs are in a really weird position with Schwarber. His only real position is 1B, he's been injury prone, and a lot of the hubub about him is two years old now. It would be bad to trade him right now, I agree, but he's got nothing left to learn in AAA and no place to play in MLB in order to try to rescue his horrid start. The team is too close to a third straight playoff appearance to go goofing around with him in the outfield just for the sake of getting him reps, but past performance indicates that he's too good to just let rot on the bench. What is a team to do? Trade him at the nadir of his value? Let him rot on the bench? Stick him in the outfield and let him miss fly balls in hopes that he hits a few more 450 footers and entices an AL team or a team with no good 1B into paying full freight for him? Demote him to AAA and let him destroy inferior pitchers for the rest of the year?

How is he injury prone - he blew out his knee on a freak play once and that's it? I don't know why there's still this perception he's a train wreck in LF - he's not smooth but he gets the job done and IMO has improved as the year has gone on. Even his defensive numbers have stabilized - they made him look train wreck bad early (which I didn't agree with) but have stayed the same (IIRC, he was like a -5 in DRS the first month, he's at -4 for the year now).

Since coming back from AAA, he's at .237/.326/.553 with 12ks in 43PA. The BA is still lower than I'm sure the Cubs would like, but that bat overall is fine.
   4. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:55 AM (#5498741)
Willson starting again today. Really hard to sit his bat, but this is his 9th start in 11 days (1 day off and 1 off day) since the AB break. If the Cubs can't/don't/won't play Caratini*, they need to get a backup C soon.

Happ with another day off; he's been scuffling again lately: .233/.281/.300 since the break.

*For the record, I'm not going to criticize them too much if they really just don't think he's ready for the defensive/game calling piece.
   5. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:05 AM (#5498746)
You'd think at the very least they'd get Victor some chances in the blowouts or at the very least find some catcher that you trust to call the game.
   6. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:06 AM (#5498747)
and really if not for a fluke inning

Hmmmmm.... When I hear "fluke" in baseball, I think of something like a bad hop or some weird, inexplicable thing beyond anyone's control. They let the first 11 batters reach base against them. Fluke inning? More like an inning they played like utter garbage.

Went to last night's game. It was fun. One thing I really like seeing when at a game: really nice defense. And aside from the E on the first play, the Cubs gave several examples of nice defense. Quintana wasn't that sharp, but the Cards had an inning's worth of outs on the bases in Quintana's six innings of work. That'll help.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:17 AM (#5498755)
or at the very least find some catcher that you trust to call the game.

If it's that important, just call pitches from the bench. Hell, have Willson himself call them.

Also, was FINALLY able to login here after I posted this on the Link o'the Day thread: Why in the hell do we have to login separately to post here, and why in the hell does it only work about 10% of the time when I try to do so??
   8. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:26 AM (#5498760)
Willson starting again today. Really hard to sit his bat, but this is his 9th start in 11 days (1 day off and 1 off day) since the AB break. If the Cubs can't/don't/won't play Caratini*, they need to get a backup C soon.


I agree that Carantini should get more playing time, but today is Hendricks first start in a while. I don't balme Joe for putting the more experienced (I almost said veteran) guy back there.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5498771)
(I almost said veteran)

That's what makes this so ridiculous - Contreras was a rookie *last year*, and the same pitchers were b*tching about working with him *last year*. (If, of course, that is actually why he isn't getting to play.)
   10. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:52 AM (#5498787)
Hmmmmm.... When I hear "fluke" in baseball, I think of something like a bad hop or some weird, inexplicable thing beyond anyone's control. They let the first 11 batters reach base against them. Fluke inning? More like an inning they played like utter garbage.

I think any time you give up nine runs in one inning it's a fluke, even if you're the Baltimore Orioles. I am not surprised to see any one of Edwards, Rondon and Grimm crap the bed, but all three of them in one inning? That's fluky. The fact that the Cubs have had two innings this month where they gave up nine or more runs: fluky. To recognize the fluke status is not to dismiss the fact that the Cubs have some pitching issues.

Of course, the fluke cited for the Friday game doesn't explain the loss, as Moses' statement kind of suggests. Edwards blew a one run lead all by himself -- Rondon and Grimm coughing up six more just put it out of reach. The loss itself can't be dismissed as a fluke.

It was certainly nice last night to see Edwards and Rondon not pick up where they left off in that disaster.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5498796)
That's what makes this so ridiculous - Contreras was a rookie *last year*, and the same pitchers were b*tching about working with him *last year*. (If, of course, that is actually why he isn't getting to play.)

And the Cubs brought Contreras around sort of slowly last year too*, and again, he was much more highly thought of/regarded than Caratini (especially defensively). In all seriousness, what is Caratini's future and upside? He's not rated highly on any prospect listings**, so it's not like there's something other people seem to see that the Cubs are missing. For whatever reason, the Cubs - and I don't mean just the SP - don't seem comfortable with Caratini behind the plate. I'm sure they're working with him prepping for some starts. But a more seasoned backup type would be nice (the Cubs have been linked to Avila and now interestingly, LeCroy; interesting because both are essentially starting catchers and not your career backup types - yes, I know Avila has been a backup).

Of course, we're just asking for a start here and there, but I do think the Cubs overall lacklusterness in the first half makes than a little more hesitant to give the guy who might be carrying the team a breather because it's harder to put long term over short team at the moment. Had Montero just kept his mouth shut we're not even having this conversation.

*Not this slowly, but he didn't start until he'd been up several days; he also started on fire and sort of forced their hand too (and as much as Ross was ok last year, Willson also was clearly a superior option almost immediately and it seemed like the Cubs spent most of the season grooming him to be the FT catcher come playoff time).

**9th on the Cubs today after the system has been gutted, not in top 10 for C per BA.
   12. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5498799)
I understand wanting to give Hendricks the best possible chance to have a good welcome back start -- but he's far and away the best Cub SP* at holding runners and as professor brainiac, you'd think he'd be the ideal guy to pair with Caratini... Not that getting your backup C into the mix regularly requires a regular pairing, but longer term - with Lester and Jake issue - I think the Hendricks/Caratini pairing is the logical one.

*setting aside Quintana, whom I don't know that I've seen enough to develop an opinion one way or another.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5498806)
For whatever reason, the Cubs - and I don't mean just the SP - don't seem comfortable with Caratini behind the plate.

Yes, but don't you still have to then ask if that reason is, well, reasonable?
   14. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5498818)
Yes, but don't you still have to then ask if that reason is, well, reasonable?

Of course. Isn't it reasonable that perhaps he's not good enough yet? He's not here because he forced the issue as much as Montero forced the issue. For the most part, the Cubs have been right on with playing kids and when to play them, I can appeal to authority here while still saying it's worrisome how much Contreras is playing.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5498827)
That's what makes this so ridiculous - Contreras was a rookie *last year*, and the same pitchers were b*tching about working with him *last year*.

They've ####### about it this year too.

Montero has caught a large majority of Hendricks' starts this year, presumably because Hendricks does a decent job of holding runners, unlike most of the other starters. Hendricks said good things last year about throwing to Contreras, if I recall correctly. I am sure he would be fine throwing to Caratini, but I can also understand not having him throw to a new guy in his first game in over a month.

I think Caratini's disuse is more about Maddon than it is the pitchers complaining about it.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5498831)
I think Caratini's disuse is more about Maddon than it is the pitchers complaining about it.

So then we're back to "Did he take a dump on Maddon's desk?"

He certainly hasn't had enough PT to show that he isn't good enough to play at all.
   17. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5498839)
Yes, but don't you still have to then ask if that reason is, well, reasonable?

It's definitely reasonable. Contreras is tied for second in MLB for overall WAR and defensively as well. If I'm a Cubs SP then hell yeah I want Contreras starting behind the plate every game.

And on a needed off-day, I can't blame them for wanting something better than a brand new rookie who isn't that great of a prospect. As I said, I think this is more about Maddon than it is the pitchers complaining (any SP knows that you need to pitch to the backup catcher fairly often), and I would have liked to see Caratini get more starts, but the Cubs want to get Contreras in the lineup every day for obvious reasons.
   18. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:30 PM (#5498852)
So then we're back to "Did he take a dump on Maddon's desk?"

He certainly hasn't had enough PT to show that he isn't good enough to play at all.


But clearly he's not as good as Contreras, and the PT is too precious to use trying to find out how good Caratini is. You can play Contreras at a less demanding position and start Caratini, and Maddon has, but that means someone else (Schwarber, Baez, Almora, Rizzo, Jay, Heyward) isn't playing.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5498879)
the Cubs want to get Contreras in the lineup every day for obvious reasons.

Right, but this whole discussion is based on the premise that it isn't possible to have both of (1) Contreras plays every day and (2) Contreras gets enough rest to finish the season and go into the postseason at full strength or close to it. That seems reasonable enough. So, from there your options are (a) play Contreras every day but sometimes at a less demanding position, sitting someone else; (b) give Contreras some days off and play Caratini; or (c) give Contreras some days off and give up something for a different backup C. You say that Maddon has done (a), but it's only been a couple of times, right? And (a) is also suboptimal as you point out. As I said a couple days ago, I'd be ok with (c) if the cost is minimal for an Avila-type player. But I don't think Caratini has done anything at all to indicate that (b) is the worst option of the three, especially if (c) comes at any significant cost. Maybe that's only because Caratini hasn't been allowed to play enough to show that (b) is the worst option, but definitionally, Joe or anyone else wouldn't have any way of knowing that at this point.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:49 PM (#5498882)
Also - how long until the "can they talk Rossy out of retirement?" stories start popping up?
   21. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 01:20 PM (#5498910)
Maybe that's only because Caratini hasn't been allowed to play enough to show that (b) is the worst option, but definitionally, Joe or anyone else wouldn't have any way of knowing that at this point.

I think that's overstating it. I mean, he's been in the system a few years, he caught different guys in ST (though admittedly not as much as Contreras or Montero), and they know what he's done at AAA this year. The bat would seem to be at least backup level, but that doesn't seem to be why he isn't playing.

We know how much emphasis the Cubs place defensively on catchers - it's one of the reasons they didn't like Welington Castillo when it seemed his bat was plenty good enough. I'm just accepting the fact that they don't think he's ready right now. Again, if the Cubs were up 10 games like last year, I'm sure we'd see more experimenting.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5498924)
it's one of the reasons they didn't like Welington Castillo when it seemed his bat was plenty good enough

It was more that he didn't have enough l's in his name. They've shown a clear preference for taking the over on that from their inappropriately l'ed catchers.
   23. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 24, 2017 at 01:49 PM (#5498932)
I think for now, Contreras is thriving playing every day. He's young, and clearly, he has a lot of energy. He leads the team in WAR over the last 14 days, which happens to correspond to the team going 8-1, and moving from 5.5 games behind into a tie for first place. So we can't argue with the results. Naturally, I am also concerned about the sustainability of this, and at some point Maddon needs to let up. But I also understand why he has continued to play him almost every day, given the circumstances of where they were two weeks ago, and where they are today. And while Caratini was off to a great year in Iowa and has a lot of promise, he's not quite the player Contreras emerged as in the minors in 2015-16. If he were the 2016 version of Contreras unable to find PT on this roster, I would feel a bit differently.

I don't think the price for Avila (currently 5th in MLB among catchers in WAR) is going to be "minimal." His defense is highly regarded and he has a career wOBA of .335 -- guys like that don't grow on trees. For reasons already explained, depending on the price and other matters, I think it would be very helpful to add him to the roster. But that probably won't happen. And if it doesn't, then I am guessing they will pick up a different second catcher, likely a veteran. I am okay with this too, again, depending on what it costs. Or they might keep Caratini as the backup, in which case I expect Maddon to give him a start a week or something. That could be okay too. But I don't want Contreras starting 60 of the next 65 games. And I think it works well all around if the Cubs can acquire a backup catcher who plays good defense and can hit a bit. I don't have specific facts to back this up, but Caratini has played plenty (in the minors) and apparently the Cubs don't think he's ready. I don't think an extra start behind the plate a week is going to tell us much. Tied for first place in late July, I'd rather go with a better known quantity.
   24. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 01:54 PM (#5498937)
BTW, I looked up Montero's numbers in Toronto - holy ####, maybe the Cubs dropped him at the perfect time: only 22PA, but .045/.160/.045. However, he appears to have a real CS - he threw up Justin Upton trying to steal 2b (I only know what the box score tells me, maybe Upton fell down or something).
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2017 at 02:01 PM (#5498938)
Speaking of departed players, it's funny, when the offense was really struggling in the first half and it seemed like they just couldn't string together any hits, they could have used a high-BA hitter who puts the ball in play a lot. A guy like, maybe...2017 Starlin Castro.

Not saying that they should get Castro back, of course, or anyone else for the offense at this point. Just thought it was kind of funny how that worked out.
   26. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 02:29 PM (#5498956)
Castro just went back on the DL, I think he had a recurrence of a hamstring problem. Yeah, running good Castro would have been a nice fit, but you know, I wouldn't change anything about that one...

I am happy he's been better this year.
   27. Brian C Posted: July 24, 2017 at 03:13 PM (#5498981)
Maybe that's only because Caratini hasn't been allowed to play enough to show that (b) is the worst option, but definitionally, Joe or anyone else wouldn't have any way of knowing that at this point.

Did Caratini just fall out of the sky, or what? Do we really have so little faith in the Cubs' scouting abilities that we think they don't have a decent handle on whether the starting C with their own AAA affiliate for most of the year is good enough to play in the bigs?

Perhaps just a bit of patience is in order? I think it's pretty clear that the Cubs will have a different backup C very soon, one way or the other. At that point, the problem will presumably solve itself and this little two-week stretch won't mean much.
   28. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5499013)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 3m3 minutes ago

#Cubs starters in 10 games since All-Star break:
2.39 ERA, 60.1 IP, 43 Hits, 11 BB, 57 K, 9 HR, 0.895 WHIP, .197 opp BA
   29. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5499030)
So Pena went down for Hendricks, and I don't think he pitched since he came back. The Cubs probably could use the bat on the bench more than another arm in the pen, especially since Caratini isn't going to PH anyway. So it would have to be Grimm, who once again appears to be very hittable. Hopefully the Cubs are more comfortable having Montgomery in the pen as a long guy to make this move, sooner rather than later.

EDIT: Grimm in July: 8IP (6 games), 11h, 8BB, 6Ks, 10.13 ERA; only 1 appearance w/o giving up a run. Add it today's 1.2IP, 1h, 1r, 1bb, 3k and he's just worthless right now.
   30. Brian C Posted: July 24, 2017 at 04:30 PM (#5499036)
Even when Grimm was good, he was a guy who lived on the edge to a large degree. It seems like guys who strike out but also walk a lot of batters typically don't have a very graceful fall once their stuff drops off even just the tiniest bit.

Sandberg is in the booth now, it's still impossible to imagine him as a guy getting up into his late 50s, even when I see him on TV talking and even though I'm 39 myself.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2017 at 04:32 PM (#5499040)
Zobrist is so, so bad right now. He had a .432 OPS in June, when his wrist was sort of bothering him before he went on the DL. In July, he has a .593OPS coming into today's 0 for 2 (1bb) so far today. I was saying he looked done when he had a .717OPS in April
   32. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:05 AM (#5499295)
Zobrist is so, so bad right now. He had a .432 OPS in June, when his wrist was sort of bothering him before he went on the DL. In July, he has a .593OPS coming into today's 0 for 2 (1bb) so far today. I was saying he looked done when he had a .717OPS in April.

And at the same time, Baez is hot: .353/.377/.569 in July. I don't know what's due to nagging injuries, age, the combination, or something else, but Zobrist is not getting it done, and it seems like shifting a bit of the PT balance between the two to Javi's side would be a good idea. A day or two off per week might help Zobrist get back on track. Zobrist has already sealed a big place in every Cub fan's heart, so anything he does from here on out is gravy -- why grind him down to a nub?
   33. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:44 AM (#5499344)
Heyward and Schwarber getting the day off today against a lefty, which is appropriate. Baez at 2b, Almora in CF, Happ in LF, and Zobrist in RF. I've talk about how bad Zobrist has been, but he's been even worse as a righty hitter this year (some of that was the wrist injury, but still): .125/.210/.336; he's also leading off today.
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:56 AM (#5499352)
I've talk about how bad Zobrist has been, but he's been even worse as a righty hitter this year (some of that was the wrist injury, but still): .125/.210/.336; he's also leading off today.

Can we all agree that this just *might* be a pretty good day to at least put Contreras in the OF and switch-hitter Caratini behind the plate?
   35. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5499363)
Now that you suggest it, absolutely. Though, I bet Lackey would be the most vocal about having to pitch to the rookie. Which would make me want to do it even more...

...btw, the Verlander rumors aren't dying. He seems more gettable than Darvish, assuming the Cubs swallow some money. Would they send Lackey back to Detroit to keep the money closer to even this year?
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5499377)
Though, I bet Lackey would be the most vocal about having to pitch to the rookie. Which would make me want to do it even more...

That would have to be the most horse-toothed battery in history. Anyone else notice that Caratini has a bit of a horse mouth? Not as much as Lackey, of course, but few do. They should do it for that reason alone.
   37. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5499385)
With Lackey pitching and the wind blowing out, I think you want your best defensive OF out there. I'd actually prefer to rest Zobrist and play Heyward in RF. Oddly, Heyward has done fine against LHP this season.
   38. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5499386)
Would they send Lackey back to Detroit to keep the money closer to even this year?

If they acquire another starter there's no reason to hang onto Lackey.
   39. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5499389)
With Lackey pitching and the wind blowing out, I think you want your best defensive OF out there.

With Lackey pitching and the wind blowing out, there might not be much the outfielders can do - you can't position them on Waveland and Sheffield.
   40. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 25, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5499392)

...btw, the Verlander rumors aren't dying. He seems more gettable than Darvish, assuming the Cubs swallow some money. Would they send Lackey back to Detroit to keep the money closer to even this year?


Now that I think about it, Detroit is also the home of Avila who has also been connected to the Cubs. I have a lot of difficulty pinning down Avila's trade value but it wouldn't surprise me to see Detroit make them a package to save some face with their fans by trading Verlander and his contract and actually getting talent in return.
   41. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5499394)
The more I think about it, the less I like any attempt to get Avila. Oh, his performance is fine - great even. But that's the problem. He's playing like a starter & the Cubs already have one of them behind the plate. He'll cost too much given how the Cubs would use him. If they really do feel they need a veteran backup, then get someone who'll cost what a backup costs.
   42. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:04 PM (#5499395)
Also, IIRC Lackey and Hendricks were the two pitchers who voiced the most support for Contreras last season, when others seemed less than happy about his antsy presence behind the plate.

Regarding Verlander, I am finding it hard to see how a trade is going to happen considering what the Cubs have to offer. If the Cubs were to get Verlander and Avila, what would have to go back in return?
   43. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:05 PM (#5499398)
If they really do feel they need a veteran backup, then get someone who'll cost what a backup costs.

Hell, Henry Blanco is already right there on the bench, isn't he? Paul Bako and Koyie Hill are probably available too.
   44. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5499402)
Regarding Verlander, I am finding it hard to see how a trade is going to happen considering what the Cubs have to offer. If the Cubs were to get Verlander and Avila, what would have to go back in return?

Caratini and eating Verlander's salary? Is it crazy to think that would be enough? I just can't gauge Avila's value.

He's playing like a starter & the Cubs already have one of them behind the plate. He'll cost too much given how the Cubs would use him. If they really do feel they need a veteran backup, then get someone who'll cost what a backup costs.

I am in complete agreement. My reasoning is totally based on the idea that he can be had as part of a package and if [BIG IF] Detroit likes Caratini and the Cubs aren't willing to let him caddy for Contreras then this might be the most efficient use of their resources.
   45. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:07 PM (#5499403)
With Lackey pitching and the wind blowing out, there might not be much the outfielders can do - you can't position them on Waveland and Sheffield.

Don't give Maddon any ideas.
   46. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5499411)
Caratini and eating Verlander's salary? Is it crazy to think that would be enough? I just can't gauge Avila's value.

I'm guessing the Tigers still expect some sort of package to give up Verlander. I guess I could see Caratini/Candelario/assorted A level types/Lackey and his salary being a decent package from the Cubs' side for Verlander/Avila.

I am in complete agreement. My reasoning is totally based on the idea that he can be had as part of a package and if [BIG IF] Detroit likes Caratini and the Cubs aren't willing to let him caddy for Contreras then this might be the most efficient use of their resources.

Yeah, probably. They could find a decent FA guy (or try and keep Avila if they want), if they went that route.

Now that I think about it, the Cubs have also been linked to LuCroy and Darvish; the problem with that package is the Rangers probably would want a different prospect than Jeimer since they have Gallo for one of the corner IF spots (and he's the best/closest guy left in the Cubs system.
   47. Brian C Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5499504)
Unfortunately Trevor Clifton has regressed and no longer looks like a future star, so that's one less trade chit. Shoulda sold high on him when they had the chance!!
   48. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 04:45 PM (#5499666)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 4m4 minutes ago

#Cubs starters in 11 games since All-Star break:
2.48 ERA, 65.1 IP, 48 Hits, 13 BB, 62 K, 9 HR, 0.934 WHIP, 7 HBP (4 by Lackey today)


Also, 0 runs in the first inning.
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:27 PM (#5499696)
FWIW:

The Cubs are not as high on Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila as some reports indicate. The Cubs are also not prioritizing Jonathan Lucroy, sources said, because the Texas Rangers catcher needs to play regularly to be effective and would ideally go to a situation where he could showcase what made him a two-time All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers and recoup some free-agent value after a disappointing walk year (.632 OPS).

Leading up to the July 31 deadline, the Cubs are actively looking at backup plans where rookie catcher Victor Caratini would return to Triple-A Iowa – where he hit .341 in 69 games before Miguel Montero’s classic rant – and become a September call-up.

If the Cubs stay focused on a veteran backup who will only play once a week, A.J. Ellis could make sense. The price would be less than $1 million in salary and wouldn’t cost a top-tier prospect. The Miami Marlins are sellers and Ellis – who used to be Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher – knows the pitching infrastructure Cubs catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello helped design after their time together around Brad Ausmus with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
   50. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 25, 2017 at 05:53 PM (#5499727)
Interesting, from Sherman:

The Cubs and White Sox not only pulled off a huge intra-city trade involving Jose Quintana, but kept it quiet until it was announced.

But the silence was even more impressive than that. The clubs actually agreed on the swap several days earlier than the official date of the deal, July 13 – the last off-day of the All-Star break. However, White Sox officials needed a few days to convince owner Jerry Reinsdorf that this was the best package they would receive and – as important – that a deal of this magnitude should be consummated with a team in the same city.
   51. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 25, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5499744)
Ellis isn't Rossy, but he's quite Ross-y if you look at his career numbers.
   52. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:16 PM (#5499814)
Sorry, late again. All the way back to #3 ... I agree I think the Cubs expect Schwarber to post a solid BA, that K-rate makes it very unlikely he ever will. He hit only 246 in 2015 and sits at 210 for his (regular season) career. He could pull off the Thome miracle or mimic Bryant (though he has cut his K-rate dramatically) but I'd be thrilled if Schwarber could be a 250/350/500 hitter along the lines of what he's done since coming back.

Not a fan of a potential Verlander trade just because I don't think he'll be worth that contract. But Candelario and Caratini don't concern me much.

I agree we either need to let Caratini play at least once a week (or twice if there's no off-day) to rest Contreras ... or go get a backup C the Cubs are comfy with. I would happily steal Chirinos from the Rangers rather than worry about Lucroy.

Mainly though just let this team ride it out. If we can land a "reliable" reliever (maybe esp a LHP) or two, I'll be a bit happier. But I don't know there's any trade we can make to close the talent gap with the Dodgers so, if we can hold onto first, it's gonna take a fair bit of luck to make it to the Series again. Obviously if a cheap deal can be had for a good CF or a more expensive deal for a longer-term SP solution then fine. But we've got little left to trade and I hope better uses for 2/$56 than Verlander.

It's a good roster, especially on the position player side. I posted in another thread that the Cubs can field a starting lineup of players all under 28 that have put up 9 WAA already this year, many of them in 3/4 time play as Schwarber and Zobrist have eaten up PAs at replacement level (a perfectly sensible decision at the time). With Baez, Happ, Jay and (kinda) Almora all player reasonably well, it's hard enough finding PT for one of Schwarber/Zobrist much less both of them. Platoon however you want across the OF but just leave Rizzo-Baez-Russell-Bryant in (nearly) everyday.
   53. madvillain Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:32 PM (#5499822)
But the silence was even more impressive than that. The clubs actually agreed on the swap several days earlier than the official date of the deal, July 13 – the last off-day of the All-Star break. However, White Sox officials needed a few days to convince owner Jerry Reinsdorf that this was the best package they would receive and – as important – that a deal of this magnitude should be consummated with a team in the same city.


That doesn't make any sense. How the hell is Hahn even negotiating without the full backing of his owner? Does he call back two days later and having wasted everybody's time he just texts Theo saying "sorry Jerry won't go for it [sad emoji]".

I'm open to explanations of how a GM does business without the owner in the loop on a trade of this magnitude but none of the local guys picked up anything like this. Of course the owner has final say but a three day "negotiation" seems ludicrous given all the variables and how guys have to pass physicals and possibly even be pulled from games.
   54. Brian C Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:49 PM (#5499844)
Funny, I read that without blinking, at least in terms of plausibility. It seems very believable that Reinsdorf would dick around for a few days hoping for something better to materialize, especially when the Cubs are involved.
   55. Brian C Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:53 PM (#5499846)
I'm not sold on the ability of "the local guys" to sniff a deal out, either. Surely we all remember how they completely missed Hendry's firing. The Chicago media is basically a crew of stenographers and assorted blowhards - the quality of actual journalism is piss poor.
   56. Meatwad Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:49 PM (#5499871)
Eh it could be worse. At least for those willing to pay the athletic exists.
   57. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5500004)
That doesn't make any sense. How the hell is Hahn even negotiating without the full backing of his owner? Does he call back two days later and having wasted everybody's time he just texts Theo saying "sorry Jerry won't go for it [sad emoji]".

I feel like we hear about this sort of thing all the time, in just about every major sport. The teams basically agree to a deal and the owner kills it. I'm sure that for the teams where they need the owners ok, both sides know that going into the discussion (IOW, Theo knew Hahn had to get Jerry's ok).

a three day "negotiation" seems ludicrous given all the variables and how guys have to pass physicals and possibly even be pulled from games.

Well, this was over the All Star break, and prospects were pulled from games. Other stories said the physicals went down Tuesday and the deal was announced Wednesday (or maybe it was Wed/Thu, I can't recall). I bet it really was more than three days, as in the Cubs and Sox probably talked about this off and on for some time. Theo said the Cubs checked in on Sale in the offseason and the Sox asked for Bryant+.
   58. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5500241)
Brett Anderson DFA. Good riddance.
   59. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5500263)
Caratini starts today! Lucky Arrieta. Willson gets the day completely off:
Heyward
Bryant
Rizzo
Zobrist
Schwarber (DH)
Happ (CF)
Jay (LF)
Russell
Caratini
   60. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 26, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5500289)
It kinda goes without saying that Schwarber is the DH. It would actually be pretty funny if he was in the field & someone else DH-ing.
   61. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 26, 2017 at 05:36 PM (#5500310)
Well, in theory Contreras could DH so the Cubs keep his bat in the lineup but give him a mini-break.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 11:50 PM (#5501309)
Real first place and still guaranteed to be there no matter what happens tomorrow. Thanks to the Brewers getting shellacked a couple of times and the reborn Cubs' offense, we've even got the best run differential in the NLC (low hurdle).
   63. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:16 AM (#5501386)
As of last night, Bruce Levine says the Verlander talks are dead. I don't think Chicago has the chits to get anyone else notable so I expect we'll see them add a veteran catcher and that's it.
   64. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:35 AM (#5501392)
As of last night, Bruce Levine says the Verlander talks are dead. I don't think Chicago has the chits to get anyone else notable so I expect we'll see them add a veteran catcher and that's it.

And I'm fine with that. Amazing how much better I feel about the roster generally with the Quintana addition and the rest of the rotation not sucking all of a sudden.
   65. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5501393)
So with that--what do you reckon's a fair price for Avila, if the Cubs are still after him?
   66. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5501394)
Brett Anderson DFA. Good riddance.

Think I put the over/under for Anderson starts at 10. Under.
   67. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:38 AM (#5501395)
Yeah, probably a good thing....

Also a good thing that the wins are all coming with a new high water mark on the season. Lots of baseball left and I wouldn't say that I'm optimistic about October chances, but I'm feeling more and more confidant that at least we'll be in the game.
   68. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:50 AM (#5501402)
Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka 11h11 hours ago

Kyle Schwarber in 15 games since returning from Iowa (57 PA):
.280/.368/.680, 5 HR, 8 RBI #Cubs


His season OBP has ballooned to .308, and has moved him past Russell (.302) and Baez (.305) with Heyward (.318) and Zobrist! (.313) up next.

Christopher Kamka‏ @ckamka Jul 26

#Cubs starters since All-Star break (12 GS):
2.50 ERA in 72.0 IP, 0.903 WHIP

Jake Arrieta in July (5 GS):
2.25 ERA in 32.0 IP, 0.844 WHIP


I'm not going to do the math, but add last night's Lester 7IP/2ER/4H/1BB/6K start to that one part. Also, 0 first inning runs.

Willson in July: .351/.415/.689, and since May 9th: .304/.368/.574 (he was at .209/.280/.330 going into that game, which was the low point of his season).
   69. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:11 AM (#5501418)
Schedule for the rest of the year looks pretty sweet. Only 3 games against currect first place teams (WSN at home) compared to 16 games against currect last place teams. breakdown:

1st - 3
2nd - 17 (includes 4 against ATL who are 4 below .500. 10 against MIL is the key)
3rd - 9
4th - 10
5th - 16
   70. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:18 AM (#5501426)
And I'm fine with that. Amazing how much better I feel about the roster generally with the Quintana addition and the rest of the rotation not sucking all of a sudden.

Me too. I don't see much of a point in spending to upgrade our fifth starter. So any pitcher that doesn't make the Cubs a better playoff team probably isn't worth the price.

So with that--what do you reckon's a fair price for Avila, if the Cubs are still after him?

He's getting traded so the only issue is what anyone else will pony up in the next three days. There are some catcher-needy teams in the playoff hunt (BOS, CLE, ARI, COL), so I'm not sure it's in the Cubs' interest to be that high bidder for Avila by himself. The Cubs may be better off with Lucroy provided he doesn't throw a fit at being a backup... which he might with free agency coming up.
   71. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5501432)
I'm not going to do the math, but add last night's Lester 7IP/2ER/4H/1BB/6K start to that one part.

You know things are going well for the rotation when a start like that actually *raises* the rotation's collective ERA by a hair over that stretch. (I didn't do the updated math either, but I know 2 ER in 7 IP is a 2.57 ERA, so it'll bump that 2.50 up slightly.)
   72. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5501434)
So with that--what do you reckon's a fair price for Avila, if the Cubs are still after him?

Lucas Duda was just traded for an AA reliever ranked as TB's 30th best prospect. No way any of the backup catcher options cost much more than that. Surely there's someone that might need a 40 man roster spot soon that has no shot at making the team next year, right?

Me too. I don't see much of a point in spending to upgrade our fifth starter. So any pitcher that doesn't make the Cubs a better playoff team probably isn't worth the price.

In spite of my arguing here and the other thread for the Verlander trade*, I mostly agree. There isn't an obvious guy out there that the Cubs can get with the prospects they have left and not include someone from the 25 man. If they can get Darvish for cheap**, he's the one guy that most likely would slot into the playoff rotation. The only counter is that the starter than doesn't make the rotation would make a pretty decent long man in the pen.

*With the caveat being if the Cubs were convinced he still had something left. And because it's just as much for next year's team as this year's.
**The newest rumors are saying he's going to be moved.
***It's also hard to make a trade for a SP without also shipping Lackey out.
   73. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:29 AM (#5501436)
The Cubs may be better off with Lucroy provided he doesn't throw a fit at being a backup... which he might with free agency coming up.

I can't imagine he'd be too happy about that, plus he bats righthanded; Avila offers you some platoon flexibility being a lefty hitter. But point taken that if other contenders are looking to trade for Avila as a starter, it's unlikely the Cubs will be the highest bidder for him, especially given the current state of their farm system.
   74. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5501440)
Lucas Duda was just traded for an AA reliever ranked as TB's 30th best prospect. No way any of the backup catcher options cost much more than that.

I'd agree with this ordinarily--but as I pointed out in the Duda trade thread, Duda is a FA-to-be 1B over 30 whose value is entirely tied up in his bat (which is good but not elite). That really isn't worth that much in trade, especially as a rental, and lumping Avila into the "backup catcher" pile seems inapt for purposes of discussion of his trade value, since he's a hell of a lot better (especially at this year's level of performance) than what one normally thinks of as a backup catcher, even if that's how the Cubs would use him. This year, Avila's been a better hitter than Duda *plus* good defense behind the plate.
   75. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:38 AM (#5501445)
As for Darvish, I doubt he'll come cheap, and he's been terrible lately. Pass. (Plus, the Cubs are one of the teams on his no-trade list.)
   76. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5501453)
I'd agree with this ordinarily--but as I pointed out in the Duda trade thread, Duda is a FA-to-be 1B over 30 whose value is entirely tied up in his bat (which is good but not elite). That really isn't worth that much in trade, especially as a rental, and lumping Avila into the "backup catcher" pile seems inapt for purposes of discussion of his trade value, since he's a hell of a lot better (especially at this year's level of performance) than what one normally thinks of as a backup catcher, even if that's how the Cubs would use him. This year, Avila's been a better hitter than Duda *plus* good defense behind the plate.

It's not just Duda, JD Martinez went really cheap too. Both Avila and Lucroy all also FAs, which depresses their value some. Avila has been a backup the last few years, and is hot this year, so I don't know if that really increases his value all that much (and he's still really in a job sharing platoon with (the other) McCann).

What other playoff race team is looking at him as a starter? Is Boston looking at him? TB? AZ? COL? Every other team in the running has a clear starting catcher.
   77. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:57 AM (#5501456)
Today, FG argues the Nats need a new starting C, but not sure if they think that.
   78. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:58 AM (#5501458)
What other playoff race team is looking at him as a starter? Is Boston looking at him? TB? AZ? COL? Every other team in the running has a clear starting catcher.

No idea whether they're pursuing Avila or not, but he'd be an upgrade for Cleveland. (They extended Perez recently, for reasons that aren't clear to me, so perhaps they don't agree with me.) They've got two main catchers, both of whom hit righthanded, and badly.
   79. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 28, 2017 at 11:25 AM (#5501482)
So with that--what do you reckon's a fair price for Avila, if the Cubs are still after him?

Avila is a rental backup catcher. A pretty good rental backup catcher, but a rental backup catcher nonetheless. Lottery-ticket live arm sounds about right.
   80. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 28, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5501487)
lumping Avila into the "backup catcher" pile seems inapt for purposes of discussion of his trade value, since he's a hell of a lot better (especially at this year's level of performance) than what one normally thinks of as a backup catcher, even if that's how the Cubs would use him.

Just saw this...I would disagree. If we're talking about fair trade value in terms of what would be a fair price for the Cubs to pay, the marginal utility they would get from Avila is an apt starting point (Apt, I say!). Of course, that might not match Detroit's perceived fair value, but that's irrelevant to fair value from our perspective.
   81. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5501521)
No idea whether they're pursuing Avila or not, but he'd be an upgrade for Cleveland. (They extended Perez recently, for reasons that aren't clear to me, so perhaps they don't agree with me.) They've got two main catchers, both of whom hit righthanded, and badly.

Did something happen to Yan Gomes again? I mean, I see both him and Perez aren't hitting, so maybe.
   82. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:19 PM (#5501528)
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal 5m5 minutes ago

Sources: #Cubs still looking for backup catcher, but #Tigers’ Avila not current priority. One of names on list. Seeking defense-first type.


Hmmm...only other names I've actually seen mentioned besides him and Lucroy were AJ Ellis and Rene Rivera. They can prioritize defense if they want, but can they also try to find someone who isn't a completely zero offensively?
   83. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5501540)
Did something happen to Yan Gomes again?

Yes. From where I sit, he appears to have suffered a catastrophic failure to become something other than a craptastic major league hitter.

If either Gomes or Perez is a real hitter, both have kept it pretty well hidden of late.
   84. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:35 PM (#5501541)
They can prioritize defense if they want, but can they also try to find someone who isn't a completely zero offensively?

The Triumphant Return of Grandpa Rossy™. Mark it down.
   85. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:36 PM (#5501542)
Did something happen to Yan Gomes again?

Maybe he has woes.
   86. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 12:41 PM (#5501548)
If we're talking about fair trade value in terms of what would be a fair price for the Cubs to pay, the marginal utility they would get from Avila is an apt starting point (Apt, I say!).

That's true strictly from the Cubs' perspective, but I was mostly signing onto Moses's point that other teams might see him as an everyday upgrade (and thus perhaps a greater marginal gain from his services to those teams than the Cubs would realize), from which it follows that they'd probably be willing to pay a higher price for him than the Cubs would (leaving aside the Cubs' current dearth of tradeworthy prospects). In which case it might not be worth the Cubs' while, but we'll see how it plays out.
   87. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 28, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5501566)
Schedule for the rest of the year looks pretty sweet. Only 3 games against currect first place teams (WSN at home) compared to 16 games against currect last place teams. breakdown:

1st - 3
2nd - 17 (includes 4 against ATL who are 4 below .500. 10 against MIL is the key)
3rd - 9
4th - 10
5th - 16


Well, if we're gonna try it like that - let's get more precise.

So far, the Cubs have played 101 games. Average winning percentage of the opposing teams: .491.

They have 61 more games to play. Average winning percentage of the upcoming opposing teams: .481.

Also, they've done most of their interleague games, playing all vs. the Yanks, Red Sox, & Orioles (3 games each) and all 4 vs. the White Sox. They've played 2 of their four versus Tampa & have a 3-game set against Toronto.
   88. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 28, 2017 at 01:21 PM (#5501570)
Avila is a rental backup catcher.

He's posted 2.1 WAR so far this year. That's sixth most in all baseball by people who have appeared as a catcher in a majority of their games

Is that flukishly high? Sure. Is it partially a result of only being asked to catch some of his teams games? Sure. But he's played in 75 games and has 2.1 WAR through 100 games. That ain't backup.

He also ranks 6th in WAA among those who have played catcher in at least half their apperances. And ranks 5th in oWAR. He has "only" 0.2 dWAR but .... he ain't playing like a backup catcher.
   89. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 28, 2017 at 01:45 PM (#5501587)
Right, but unless the Cubs intend to bench Willson or move him to the outfielld, Avila is a backup catcher for the Cubs' purposes, and they should only make an offer based on that. Of course, that might not be enough of an offer.
   90. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5501645)
Right, but unless the Cubs intend to bench Willson or move him to the outfielld, Avila is a backup catcher for the Cubs' purposes, and they should only make an offer based on that. Of course, that might not be enough of an offer.

Thaaat's my point. Especially with a depleted farm system, the Cubs aren't well-positioned to bid for a prospective backup C who other suitors see as an upgrade as a starting C.
   91. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:54 PM (#5501685)
   92. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5501688)
Cubs going all defense with the lineup tonight (against a LHP): Jay/Bryant/Rizzo/Contreras/Heyward/Almora/Russell/Baez/Quintana
   93. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 28, 2017 at 04:04 PM (#5501701)
Kyle Hendricks seems like the least likely person in all of MLB to try that.
   94. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 28, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5501724)
   95. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 04:43 PM (#5501735)
Lots of baseball left and I wouldn't say that I'm optimistic about October chances, but I'm feeling more and more confidant that at least we'll be in the game.

Going back to this, since I've been thinking about it off and on. I'm not sure, in spite of how good that the Dodgers have been this year, that the Cubs making a run would be that surprising. For one, this is still a really talented team - a lot of top end talent and lots of versatile pieces. I'm not going to say they have experience like it's a positive or something that is more important than talent, but it does mean we know they've been through about as bleak of moments as possible and battled back.

If things stayed about where they are now - and it's pretty safe to pencil in the Dodgers and Nats as winners of their divisions - if the Cubs win the division (which is still their most likely path to the playoffs) - it's more than likely they're playing the Nats in the NLDS. I quite frankly really like the Cubs' chances against them (and said the same thing last year). Then, well, anything goes, right?
   96. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 28, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5501813)
"We tried to put beer in it"
   97. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:18 PM (#5502015)
@ckamka: #Cubs starting pitching in 14 games since all-star break:
2.54 ERA, 85.0 IP, 58 Hits, 77 K, 19 BB, 0.906 WHIP
10 quality starts


2 straight games that ERA has gone up. Unacceptable.
   98. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2017 at 08:45 PM (#5502912)
@Ken_Rosenthal: Sources: #Cubs working hard to land #Tigers’ Justin Wilson. At least one team involved thinks CHC will be landing spot. Others involved.


@TommyBirch: So, to recap, Mark Zagunis and Jeimer Candelario both not in the starting lineup tonight. #Cubs


Those 2 for Wilson and Avila?
   99. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2017 at 08:56 PM (#5502916)
@Joelsherman1: Hearing same as @Ken_Rosenthal that #Cubs closing in on Justin Wilson. Heard Tigers like 3b Jeimer Candelario.
   100. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 30, 2017 at 11:24 PM (#5502957)
@Ken_Rosenthal: Source: #Cubs, if deal is completed, will get Justin Wilson and Alex Avila from #Tigers for Jeimer Candelario and at least one other. Close.


I think this is fine. Wilson under control for another year. Pen would be stronger. I'd like that playoff roster, one that doesn't include Toilet Manservant and has 3 plus plus relievers (Davis, Wilson, Edwards) and other decent options (rondon, strop, Monty, and I guess Koji and Duensing). Avila also helps the bench and gives Joe lots of mix and match options (I reckon TLS is the bat taking lackeys spot with the rest of the roster as is). I'll take my chances with that group.
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