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Thursday, February 04, 2016

NBC/Calcaterra: Cubs sign Matt Murton

When you saw this link, you thought the database must have puked on itself and started pulling up articles from ten years ago. But no, this actually happened in the Year of Our Lord 2016.

I’m rooting for him.

But after the 2009 season he went to Japan and has been playing there ever since, all of it with the Hanshin Tigers. And he’s played really well there too. In 2010 he broke Ichiro’s single season hits record with 214 in a year in which he put up a line of .349/.395/.499. Over the course of his six seasons his line is .310/.352/.437. He fell off last season, however, posting a .691 OPS and seeing his OBP fall to .316.

PASTE Transcends Almost All Generations (Zeth) Posted: February 04, 2016 at 12:03 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, matt murton, no, really

Wrigleyville -THE BEST CUBS CATCHERS SINCE 1988

BP thinks Joe Girardi stunk.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2016 at 08:53 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, sabermetrics

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nick Cafardo: Rebuilt Cubs ready for the next step - The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe’s Sunday Notes.

Asked whether the Cubs had entered the final phase of the rebuild, Epstein answered no.

“I think you can get yourself in trouble if you think you’re taking that last step or two and building the perfect team. Often times it leaves you in a worse spot because it leaves you inflexible to react during the season and address weaknesses that crop up. We have some issues that we’re curious to see as guys respond to new roles,” he said.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 31, 2016 at 09:49 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, notes

Thursday, January 28, 2016

THE CASE FOR NOT EXTENDING THEO EPSTEIN

That was only a bit over four years ago, and Epstein has done a borderline miraculous job of running the Cubs over that span. So I understand why it caused waves, two weeks ago or so, when I suggested on Twitter that the Cubs might be wisest to shelve the much-discussed idea of extending Epstein’s contract beyond 2016, and to move on. As insane and radical as it sounds, though, I still think that. My goal today is to show you why.

—-

The Cubs are going to be very, very good over the next five years. Almost any credible executive can safely guide this team through the next phase of its growth, because the cornerstones (and for that matter, most of the capstones) are in place already. That doesn’t mean that Epstein has outlived his usefulness in Chicago, and the moves he makes between now and the end of the season (a big trade to supplement a World Series hopeful? The most challenging Draft of his tenure? One or two high-profile, or several medium-sized, Cuban amateur additions? Maybe all of the above) will be important. There might be no one better-suited to make them.

Epstein remains an excellent baseball executive, and if he’s here for five more years, the Cubs will profit from his presence. A section of the article on the DARPA model discussed “A special breed of leader,” and many of the attributes listed could be a specific description of Epstein. “They need to have deep technical or scientific knowledge,” the authors write, “be natural risk takers, and be thought leaders who can create a vision that inspires an entire community.” That’s Epstein in a nutshell. The Cubs are the league’s most aggressive, flexible, opportunistic and systematic organization right now, and they owe much of that to Epstein’s leadership.

—-

Epstein is a tremendous front-office talent, but he’d be a very expensive one to retain, and the groundwork he has laid ought to allow even slightly less talented replacements to thrive. It’s not that Epstein doesn’t deserve to enjoy his success, revel in it, or be praised for it long after he leaves. It’s just that the Cubs have a chance to be more than a great team. They have a chance to change baseball for the better, in many ways. Opening up the organization to an entirely new perspective, perhaps even from someone in another field of endeavor altogether, could foment that possibility. In my opinion, before they commit to the second five years with Epstein, the Cubs should seriously consider their alternatives, and be willing to take the risk of changing direction in search of the next mountaintop.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cubs project Kyle Schwarber to catch, play OF | MLB.com

He won’t win any Gold Gloves but he’s passable behind the plate. He should be catching.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2016 at 07:59 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-27-2016

Pittsburgh Press, January 27, 1916:

A cub bear sent to [Cubs owner] Charles Weeghman by a Montana fan, did not fancy being a baseball mascot, even for the Chicago Cubs. When the bear escaped from its crate, it was shot while in a tailor shop.

Please do not send unsolicited bears to your favorite sports team. It may seem like a good idea, but it is not.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 27, 2016 at 06:34 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dugout, history

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WaPo: Former NFL receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football

“If I could go back, I wouldn’t” play football, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a Steelers-themed project posted Tuesday. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”

Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 20, 2016 at 07:19 AM | 214 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Javier Baez embracing switch to center field | MLB.com

What are the Cubs planning?

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:36 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez

Jake Arrieta and Cubs Have Biggest Gap in Arbitration - The New York Times

MLB Trade Rumors projected Arrieta at $10.4 million.

After going 22-6 and helping the Cubs reach the NL Championship Series, Arrieta asked Friday for a raise from $3.63 million to $13 million. Chicago offered $7.5 million, leaving the sides $5.5 million apart.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:01 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, cubs, jake arrieta

Thursday, January 14, 2016

‘Schwarber ball’ moved from Wrigley Field scoreboard roof - Chicago Tribune

How could they do such a thing?

Jim Furtado Posted: January 14, 2016 at 06:56 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Friday, January 08, 2016

Manny on PEDs, Hall: ‘Sometimes you think you’re doing right, but you’re not’ | Chicago Sun-Times

Why would players already talented enough to play at high levels in the majors, already capable of making millions in the game, capable of lasting a decade or longer in the majors, take performance enhancers? Take the chance?

After all, those are the players in question when it comes to the Hall of Fame debate – exemplified most by Bonds and Clemens if you believe the timelines of their alleged uses.

“Life is like that. You make mistakes,” Ramirez said. “Everybody makes mistakes. We’re humans. You’ve made mistakes; I’ve made mistakes. Everybody.

“Like I say with some of my friends, I could tell you, `Look at that guy: He’s a cheater, he uses steroids.’ Maybe you smoke weed. Maybe you do cocaine. Maybe you cheat on your wife. Maybe you’re a drunkard. It’s the same.

“Nobody’s perfect.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 08, 2016 at 07:05 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, indians, manny ramirez, red sox

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-5-2016

Washington Times, January 5, 1916:

Charlie Weeghman, the Chicago Federal League magnate, is expected to close his deal for the Cubs today, paying in the neighborhood of $500,000 for the club.
...
“It’s up to Weeghman now to pay his money and take the club,” said [Newark Pepper owner Harry] Sinclair, when asked for a statement.

The Chicago restaurateur is expected to return home tomorrow or Saturday in possession of the controlling interest in the Cubs.

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 5, 1916:

The St. Louis Browns were sold [yesterday] to James W. Garneau, Philip C. Ball and Otto F. Stifel, a trio of St. Louis millionaires. The price was $525,000.
...
“I’m going to give St. Louis a winning club,” said Garneau [last night]. “I don’t care what it costs. The Browns are going to mean something in baseball.”

It would still be a few decades before the Browns won their pennant, but they went 79-75 in 1916, so Garneau wasn’t lying. St. Louis got its winning club.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 05, 2016 at 08:01 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: browns, cubs, dugout, federal league, history

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cubs 2016 ZiPS Projections

Welcome your new insect overlords

Walt Davis Posted: January 02, 2016 at 03:28 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cubs Project To Have Top Pitching Staff in Baseball According To Steamer

1. Cubs
Projected rotation: Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks
Projected combined WAR: 17.4

2. Mets 3. Nationals 4. Indians 5. Dodgers

Voodoo... Posted: December 23, 2015 at 12:01 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, projections


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Designs Imagine A Classier Wrigleyville

But the dank, Moe! The dank!

Major changes are in the works for Wrigleyville, the North Side neighborhood directly surrounding Wrigley Field.
From the looks of new renderings of the project, the neighborhood is slated for a makeover that could turn it from douche-vortex epicenter into a classed-up retail destination. Or it could become douchier than ever.
The mixed-use retail destination and $100 million hotel planned for the corner of Clark and Addison streets, known as Addison Park, is over seven years in the making. It includes 170,000 square feet of retail space, 148 apartment units and a pricey hotel meant to cater to diehard baseball fans. And with the Cubs’ recent winning streak, there could be no better time to revamp their home turf, along with the massive renovations underway on the field.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 22, 2015 at 01:53 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, wrigleyville

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ten most notable MLB storylines to watch in 2016

This never would have happened if baseball had a salary cap.

The current deal between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association expires in 347 days, and there are plenty of issues that must be resolved by the time the current deal runs out next Dec. 1, including the length of the schedule, draft-pick compensation and qualifying offers, and roster size.

The players are making more than ever and so are the owners, apparently, so for now, there is little indication that a work stoppage might be on the horizon. But there is one situation worth watching in particular: The growing discontent of small-market owners over what they perceive to be increasing disparity between themselves and the big-market teams.

This clash has the potential to be cancerous, as history shows. It was the fight between big-market and small-market teams that effectively led to the devastating players’ strike of 1994-1995, and some increased revenue-sharing that followed in subsequent collective bargaining agreements.

Small-market teams are certainly capable of profiting very well under the current system, by drawing revenue from baseball’s central revenue stream as well as handouts from the most well-to-do teams and maintaining a modest budgets. The Marlins are the best example of this.

But for some owners, the frustration over the perceived disparity seems to be shifting from an issue of money to a question of on-field competitiveness. Some leaders of small-market teams feel that not only should they have a chance to contend against teams like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, but that for the sake of the larger business of baseball, it’s better that they have a legitimate shot—and that their ability to compete is waning because of the cost of retaining stars like David Price.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Levine: Theo Epstein Putting Stock In Jorge Soler’s Future

Unless the very best pitcher or center fielder in the game becomes available, Jorge Soler will be the Chicago Cubs’ starting right fielder next April. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein admitted the interest in Soler on the open market place, but stressed his value to the Cubs as a guest on The 670 Score.

McCoy Posted: December 20, 2015 at 06:57 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, soler

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Will Chicago Cubs’ historic combo of young talent produce a dynasty? | FOX Sports

How many teams since 1950 have had three position players under 28 years old, each with greater than 5.0 WAR? Only 16. The 2016 Cubs are projected to be another, the first since the 2009 Rays. This is rare territory, in which the combination of youth and incredible talent occurs. Based on the evidence here, expectations for the Cubs are probably right where it should be heading into the 2016 season: they just added one of the top 15 players in baseball to a strong, young core that already included two other players that ranked among baseball’s best. Before that happened, they got Ben Zobrist, another player with a proven track record.

How much more can a 97-win team improve itself? We might not think very much, but it’s happening in front of our eyes. That’s domination of the market, and it’s no doubt scary for everyone who has to face them next year. Most of all, though, it’s rare: the whisperings of a potential dynasty built on the work of good scouting, and a few cool December nights in Nashville.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2015 at 11:49 AM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, sabermetrics

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cubs president Epstein the architect behind MLB’s newest juggernaut | FOX Sports

I remember Theo Epstein wandering through the lobby at the 2012 general managers’ meetings in Indian Wells, Calif., looking uncomfortable, muttering something to the effect of, “I’m irrelevant.”

And I remember thinking, and maybe even replying, “Not for long.”

This was coming. We all knew it was coming. The Cubs were far from a quick fix, losing 101, 96 and 89 games in their first three seasons under Epstein as president of baseball operations and Jed Hoyer as GM. But the team reached the National League Championship Series last season, a year ahead of schedule. And now, goodness, Epstein is unleashing the monster.

First, right-hander John Lackey. Then, infielder Ben Zobrist. And on Friday afternoon, outfielder Jason Heyward for eight years, $184 million and two opt-out clauses, after either year three or year four if he exceeds certain plate-appearance thresholds, according to a major-league source.

Epstein and Hoyer also have added lesser pieces—right-handed swing man Adam Warren and infielder Brendan Ryan in a trade for second baseman Starlin Castro, right-hander Trevor Cahill, lefty reliever Rex Brothers. And the Cubs still figure to trade for another starting pitcher and perhaps find a center fielder who would allow Heyward to remain in right.

All these additions, to a team that won 97 games last season. Stunning. Just stunning.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2015 at 05:46 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

IT’S THE CUBS’ WORLD NOW

Not to spoil the ending, but:

But the Cardinals aren’t doomed. They still have a solid lineup, a solid rotation and a solid bullpen, and you’d have to think they’ll add somebody. But for years, some fans have claimed, wrongly, that Cardinals-Cubs isn’t a real rivalry because the Cards have always been so much better than the Cubs. This, not coincidentally, is the same thing Yankees fans used to say about the Red Sox, before Epstein took over there as well. Now, some have said, in the wake of the Cubs’ signing of Heyward, that this ratchets up the rivalry.

But if anything, I believe it dampens it. Even before Friday, the Cubs were a better team than the Cardinals in just about every way. Now that the Cubs took the Cardinals’ best player, the gap between these teams have widened. If anyone needs to prove this is a rivalry, it’s the fading Cardinals.

Moses Taylor, Optimist Posted: December 11, 2015 at 04:22 PM | 99 comment(s)
  Beats: best fans in baseball, cardinals, cubs, free agents, theo epstein

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Jack Curry on Twitter: “To get Starlin Castro from the Cubs, the Yankees parted with Adam Warren and a player to be named.”

Update:

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2015 at 08:10 PM | 162 comment(s)
  Beats: adam warren, cubs, starlin castro, trade rumors, yankees

Ben Zobrist may be joining Cubs | MLB.com

Said to be four-years for $56 million.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2015 at 07:50 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, cubs, free agents

Card tricks: After getting John Lackey, Cubs target Jason Heyward | Chicago Sun-Times

The Cubs get him; the Cardinals don’t get him. The Cubs can then package Soler to get someone like Shelby Miller.

After landing starter John Lackey for a fraction of the cost, the Cubs are focusing the money they saved on trying to get top free-agent outfielder Jason Heyward, sources say.

And getting Heyward — or a Plan B option such as free agent Alex Gordon or Carlos Gomez (in a trade) — would possibly mean Soler is the next domino to fall in the off-season plans.

Heyward, 26, is said to be seeking at least eight years and expected to command $20 million or more per year.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2015 at 08:49 AM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agents, jason heyward

Monday, December 07, 2015

Cubs, Trevor Cahill agree to 1-year deal

The Chicago Cubs continue to stockpile relievers that could create a surplus and help their chances to trade for a starting pitcher.

The Cubs and Trevor Cahill have agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.25 million contract. After struggling with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves over the past 1 ½ season, Cahill resurrected his career with the Cubs in September, posting a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances while striking out 22 and walking only five in 17 innings while regaining effectiveness of his sinker.

Cahill, 27, is expected to be used as a reliever but could be stretched out to start and give the Cubs insurance in their rotation. Cahill started his career as an All-Star starter with the Oakland Athletics before he was traded to the Diamondbacks, but he was 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA in 2014 and was dealt to the Braves, who released him after he had a 7.52 ERA in 15 starts in 2015.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 07, 2015 at 04:49 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, trevor cahill

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