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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Will Cubs stay quiet or pull off surprise at winter meetings? | Chicago Sun-Times

The Cubs are among those teams heading to this week’s winter meetings shopping for free agent relievers. And how Cecil’s signing and other market factors – such as a healthy trade market and newly struck changes to revenue-sharing and luxury-tax rules – affect the prices could affect how aggressive and active the Cubs choose to be.

“I don’t think any one signing is going to have [a market-setting] impact,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Brett Cecil’s a very, very good left-handed reliever. In general, the lack of starting pitching in the market has something to do with the interest in the relievers, and the way the postseason played out. What everyone saw was some really good bullpens heavily utilized, and I think that’s something that’s been a big focus.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2016 at 08:50 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Cubs sign outfielder Jay to 1-year contract

Now they just have to sign free agent Matt Holliday to have the Cardinals’ 2015 starting outfield.

With incumbent center fielder Dexter Fowler weighing his options in free agency, the Cubs plucked another player off the open market, agreeing with veteran Jon Jay on a one-year contract worth $8 million.

salvomania Posted: December 03, 2016 at 11:25 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon jay

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cubs’ Theo Epstein’s Draft strategy paying off | MLB.com

Missing with the very top picks gets you fired.

Having acquired pitchers Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint in previous trades, Atlanta now has three of the first 16 players taken in the 2014 Draft. That’s impressive. But I’m pretty sure every executive would rather have Trea Turner (drafted 13th from North Carolina State, by the Padres), Schwarber or Conforto.

One of Joe Maddon’s operating principles is “Do Simple Better.” Epstein did that when he went with Bryant and Schwarber over college arms and high school bats, and the Cubs won a World Series because of it.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2016 at 02:16 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, draft, theo epstein

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

2017 ZiPS Projections – Chicago Cubs | FanGraphs Baseball

Where will the Cubs trade Jeimer Candelario?

Bench/Prospects
Third-base prospect Jeimer Candelario (2.4 zWAR) didn’t experience much success in his brief exposure to the majors at the beginning of July, but he’s already projected to play like an average major leaguer and his top historical comp is Edwin Encarnacion. He and outfielder Albert Almora (1.8) represent the best of the club’s young depth, while Chesny Young (1.0) appears to be a possible fixture among the Fringe Five. The depth is less robust among the team’s pitchers. Only 27-year-old Jake Buchanan (121.1 IP, 0.7 zWAR), for example, receives a projection of better than half a win.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2016 at 07:43 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, projections, zips

Monday, November 28, 2016

Even With Theo Cubs Won’t Have Easy Time Building Dynasty

It is certainly easy to understand why the Cubs can be expected to win multiple World Series titles over the next few years. Seven of the eight projected starters in next year’s everyday lineup are 27 or younger, causing the oddsmakers to universally install the Cubs as favorite to win it all again in 2017.
...
“There’s an intensity about Theo Epstein, and the way he pushes his employees,” said Hazen, who worked under Epstein in the Red Sox’s front office. “He demands excellence from them, and challenges everything, no matter how small. Nothing is unimportant to Theo. No detail is unimportant. I think that’s a really positive attribute that he has.

“He isn’t going to allow anybody in that organization to have a letdown next season or any other season. They may not win the World Series every year but that’s always going to be his goal and it’s always going to be a possibility in the Cubs’ situation right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2016 at 06:41 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dynasties

Friday, November 25, 2016

Rumors And Rumblings - Pitch Framing Gets You Paid

What can the Cubs get for Soler?

While there is a lineup spot open for Bird in New York, it seems that outfielder Jorge Soler is not a fit with the Chicago Cubs.

Soler’s best chance for playing time in 2017 is likely to be the short side of a platoon in left field with left-handed-hitting Kyle Schwarber. Jason Heyward and Albert Almora Jr. are likely to platoon in center field while Ben Zobrist would be the everyday right fielder and Matt Szczur would serve as the fifth outfielder.

If the Cubs end up re-signing center fielder Dexter Fowler for a second straight offseason, Soler could be totally squeezed out.

That is why many people around the game believe the Cubs will trade Soler this winter to bolster their organizational pitching depth.

“He’s still a guy you can dream on,” a scout from an AL team said about the 24-year-old Soler. “He’s got big-time talent. He just needs a chance to play. I think a lot of teams would be interested in a player with that kind of upside.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2016 at 08:15 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, notes

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cubs could add pitching in Kyle Schwarber deal | MLB.com

Is that the royal we?

It’s also why we propose something that will probably be considered akin to blasphemy on the North Side—the Cubs should at least consider exploring trades for Schwarber this offseason. Why? Because the Legend of Schwarber is at an all-time high, and the Value of Schwarber may never catch up.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 23, 2016 at 06:43 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle schwarber

Monday, November 14, 2016

Anthony Rizzo Wins Platinum Glove as *THE* Best Defender in the NL

Anthony Rizzo did lead all MLB first basemen in defensive runs saved (11) and was third in UZR, but obviously doesn’t come close to any of the leaders in overall defensive runs saved or other metrics … after all, that’s why he’s playing first base. To be certain, each of his teammates Addison Russell, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist were higher rated overall defensive players in 2016.

What a dumb award.

Voodoo Posted: November 14, 2016 at 12:19 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, gold gloves

Friday, November 11, 2016

Theo Epstein has ‘no doubt’ Jason Heyward will fix offense in offseason - Chicago Tribune

Epstein said at the general managers meetings this week he has “no doubt (Heyward) will address it” and praised the way he handled the season-long slump.

“He never backed down from his struggles, and a lot of players with the performance he had after signing a big contract would have found their way to the disabled list or found their way to avoid the big moment,” Epstein said. “Instead, he was fully engaged with his teammates and even assumed the leadership position at the very end. So that bodes extremely well for the future.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2016 at 08:02 PM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward, theo epstein

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Cubs focusing more on finding the next great closer than Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen | CSN Chicago

Well then.

Chapman is looking for $100 million, said one plugged-in agent posted up at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa during the general manager meetings. If Chapman’s camp can draw the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers into a bidding war, then maybe the 100-mph closer gets a five-year deal and doubles the $50 million guaranteed the Philadelphia Phillies would regret giving Jonathan Papelbon after the 2011 season.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2016 at 11:24 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, November 07, 2016

Theo Epstein actually ate a goat, because of course he did

That expert’s name is Stephanie Izard, and after winning the fourth season of Top Chef, she opened a Chicago restaurant called The Girl and the Goat. She serves a number of goat-focused dishes there, like goat empanadas and goat carpaccio, and she also offers entire goat legs for pre-order. There’s no one better they could have found to roast a whole goat for them in Chicago.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 07, 2016 at 07:47 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Benevolence or stupidity? Cubs pay Hammels to go away

For a paltry 12 million, the Cubs could have had a really good long man/spot starte; or they could have signed and traded him. But they paid 2 million to let him walk.  Hammels stands to make millions from this move as he becomes one of the best starters on the market.

charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: November 06, 2016 at 09:34 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Cubs Joe Maddon’s style unique, unprecedented | MLB.com

Joe Maddon was in charge of the Angels’ instructional league program one fall three decades ago when he heard Gene Mauch‘s gravelly voice behind him.

“I don’t know how you’re doing it, son,” Mauch said. “But you’ve created a great environment here.”

To this day, Maddon considers it maybe the greatest compliment he has ever received, because Mauch was a legendary tough guy—taciturn, demanding and frugal with praise. He also had one of the greatest baseball minds ever, someone who’d studied the game from every angle. For Maddon to have caught his eye speaks volumes about where the young instructor’s career was headed.

We can definitely see that now.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2016 at 01:44 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Chicago Cubs: What’s in future after World Series win? | SI.com

The Cubs may be just getting started, as they’re exceptionally well-built for the long haul. Counting Willson Contreras (instead of Miguel Montero) as their starting catcher, they have every member of their starting lineup under club control through at least 2019 except for Fowler. First baseman Anthony Rizzo is locked into a very affordable deal that includes options for 2020 and ‘21, second baseman/leftfielder Ben Zobrist and rightfielder Jason Heyward are on board via more expensive ones, and the rest—including Contreras, infielder Javier Baez, third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Addison Russell and catcher/leftfielder Kyle Schwarber—are at least a year away from arbitration eligibility. That’s an outstanding foundation upon which to build.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2016 at 06:17 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Friday, November 04, 2016

A Night To Remember

Series of fan and player photos from game seven.  I love this stuff.


The Cubs Just Ended Baseball’s Analytics War

It’s never, ever been about being right. It’s always about being better. It’s tough to get better if you believe you have all the answers. By questioning everything, including what you believe to be true, you remain open to change and improvement. Theo has always gotten this.

Baseball has been solved, and the solution is simple: There is no solution. It’s when you think you’ve got the game figured out that it bites you in the ass. There is always more information to be had, and more information is always useful. The battle was never between the quants and the gut-instinct types, it was between the curious and the incurious. The curious have won. Like Japanese soldiers hiding in the mountains of the Philippines for 30 years after World War II, there will still be pockets of resistance for some time in the form of small-town columnists desperate to serve up clickbait with an anti-analytics screed. But make no mistake: The war is over.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2016 at 08:28 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, cubs

Steve Bartman ‘overjoyed’ by Cubs’ World Series win, won’t crash victory parade

Completely unexpected.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2016 at 08:09 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

At Last - The New Yorker

Roger Angell’s take.

Quieter scenes remain from this famous evening. There was an instant where we saw, amid a row of standees, Jack Epstein held in the right arm of his dad, Theo, the Cubs’ president (and the inventor and curator of this team), his arm around his dad’s neck and everyone’s eyes fixed on the doings below. Later, Manager Terry Francona’s post-season interview in the silent Cleveland clubhouse was a model of grace and generosity, but standard for him. I also caught a very late parting glimpse of Joe Maddon visiting a trio of broadcasters—with the now empty stands as backdrop—accompanied by his wife, Jaye Sousoures. He introduced her formally to each of them but kept hold of her other hand or linked arm all the while. The season was over at last.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2016 at 07:59 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, indians, world series

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Game 7 most watched baseball game since 1991

Game 7 was watched by 40.045 million last night on Fox — the best any baseball game has done since 1991.

Last night’s Game 7, which lasted 290 minutes including a 17-minute rain delay, also was up 70% in viewership compared with the most recent World Series Game 7 broadcast, in which the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals on October 29, 2014.

Baseball is dying.


Congratulations! The Royals are sending pizzas to the Chicago Cubs front office

It’s a tradition like no other. OK, maybe not at the level of The Masters, but this is certainly very cool.

After the Royals won last year’s World Series, the San Francisco Giants sent 25 pizzas to the Royals. The Giants were the defending World Series champions and they had received pizzas the year before from the Boston Red Sox, who won the title in 2013.

So the Royals are paying it forward.

Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president of publicity said the team is sending Giordano’s deep dish pizza to the Cubs front office. It’ll be deep dish, naturally. Cook said the pizza feast will be enough to feed 150 people, but wasn’t sure how many pizzas that will be.

Zach Posted: November 03, 2016 at 11:58 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, royals, traditions, world series

Ben Zobrist named World Series MVP after go-ahead double in Game 7 - Chicago Tribune

Back-to-back championships for Zobrist.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2016 at 06:21 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, cubs

Method to Cubs’ Joe Maddon’s madness - Chicago Tribune

The Cubs bats picked Maddon up. They turned his decision to pitch Chapman in the previous game a footnote.

Maddon called on closer Aroldis Chapman with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning with a three-run lead, but Chapman - who had thrown four innings and 62 pitches in two previous games - surrendered three consecutive hits, including a game-tying home run by Rajai Davis.

“Chappy is our guy in that moment,” Maddon explained. “We narrowed it down to four outs. If you want to really complete the thought process, their guys are really rested, and we hit them. Whereas Chappy had just pitched (Tuesday), and I felt very confident because he felt great going into the game.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2016 at 06:18 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Cubs’ David Ross goes out with a bomb—and a World Series title | Chicago Sun-Times

When he took the pitch off his mask and stumbled around, I thought he had suffered a concussion. It was surprising when they didn’t come out to check on him. Then he hit a home run.

Unbelievable.

“Win a World Series in your last year when you know you’re going out and you’re a backup catcher,’’ Ross said, “and these guys treat me the way they do and the city shows me the love it has shown me and you’re a part of one of the greatest games in the history of baseball and breaking the longest curse in all of baseball, what words do you have for that? It’s so emotional.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2016 at 06:14 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross

Theo Epstein adds to Hall of Fame resume | MLB.com

Theo has brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.

“I’m truly just honored to be part of Major League Baseball,” Epstein said after the hug broke up. “I grew up a fan, loving the game, and not being good enough to play, so to be part of a Major League Baseball is incredible. To have the privilege of working with two organizations like this is something I never thought I’d have, and to be a part of winning World Series in both places is something I will always treasure and won’t take for granted. It means the world to me.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2016 at 06:01 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, red sox, world series

Cubs win World Series after 108 years waiting | MLB.com

The Indians made it tough, erasing a 5-1 lead in Game 7 and tying it on Rajai Davis’ eighth-inning home run. A 17-minute rain delay before the 10th inning saved the day. Outfielder Jason Heyward called the Cubs hitters into the weight room, and general manager Jed Hoyer watched as the players regrouped.

“I think the rain delay was the best thing that ever happened to us, to be honest,” Hoyer said. “We went down to the rain room, talked a little bit. [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] and I saw all the hitters were huddled in the weight room during the delay and kind of getting pumped up. I felt great and thought, ‘We were going to win this inning and we’re world champions.’ Maybe after 108 years, you get some divine intervention?”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2016 at 05:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, indians, world series

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