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Cubs Newsbeat

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist were forced to swap positions (and gloves) for a single play | MLB.com

This was much ado about nothing.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2016 at 09:07 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Theo Epstein Agrees To 5-Year Extension With Cubs

They’ve always said it was inevitable, but the later in the season it got, a little doubt started to creep in.

Chairman Tom Ricketts and president Theo Epstein hammered out a new deal that will keep Epstein in charge of the Cubs’ baseball operations for five more years. Epstein’s contract had been set to expire at season’s end.

The deal surpasses the $8 million annually that Dodgers baseball czar Andrew Friedman garnered in fall 2014 to become their president of baseball operations, sources said. Friedman’s deal had been an industry standard.

Worth every penny.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Kyle Hendricks extends mastery, Kris Bryant tops 100 RBIs in Cubs’ 100th win - Chicago Tribune

Cubs win 100th game.

“It’s not too often you get this much talent in one room on one team,” said Bryant, who was a rookie on last year’s Cubs team that won 97 games. “We need to realize what we have here and be grateful for it. I certainly am. I couldn’t have pictured a better two years in the big leagues.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 27, 2016 at 09:00 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Theo Epstein has Cubs looking like a winner

Of course, Ben Cherington showed patience, which got him booted.

Despite the success, Epstein admits he made mistakes near the end of his Red Sox tenure.

“I got in too much of a rush to build an uber-team and got too aggressive in free agency rather than relying on the things we did well as an organization — scouting, player development, and trying to find undervalued players.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2016 at 08:18 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general managers, red sox, theo epstein

Monday, September 19, 2016


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stephen Colbert goes incognito at Cubs game as hot dog vendor - Chicago Tribune

How much did he make in tips?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 18, 2016 at 11:12 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Theo Epstein of Chicago Cubs sits in Wrigley Field bleachers, wears comical disguise

He’s no Bobby Valentine.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2016 at 08:11 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Friday, September 16, 2016

Party’s still on! Cubs clinch NL Central title

The Brewers spoiled the Cubs’ party plans on Thursday, but just before midnight, Chicago was able to celebrate. The Cubs lost, 5-4, to the Brewers after pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett smacked a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. A few hours later, fans were cheering in Wrigleyville. The Cubs were the National League Central champions for the first time since 2008.

The Cubs claimed the division title after the Giants beat the Cardinals, 6-2, in San Francisco late Thursday. Chicago manager Joe Maddon had already left the ballpark, and the players did not plan on sticking around for the outcome of the game, especially with a 1:20 p.m. CT start on Friday. Last year, the Cubs secured a postseason berth as one of the NL Wild Card teams after the Giants lost on the West Coast.

First step completed…


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wrigleyville - Baseball Prospectus

Statcasting the Cubs.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 09:52 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, sabermetrics, statcast

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Anyone see this coming from Kyle Hendricks? | Sports on Earth

A funny thing happened on the way to mediocrity.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2016 at 07:09 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kyle hendricks

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cubs back Arrieta to win series vs. Astros | MLB.com

The Cubs magic number is five!

Jim Furtado Posted: September 12, 2016 at 07:06 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez delivers the bad news for Joe Maddon - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

Joe Maddon is the best.

“Perfect example was last year,” Martinez said. “Anthony Rizzo says, ‘I want to play 162 games.’ All of a sudden we get to the playoffs and he said, ‘Man, I was tired.’ So I tell him, ‘Hey, take your days off. That’s why we’re in the position we’re in. Take them. Relax.’”

Rizzo talked his way into the lineup on Wednesday, but you can bet he’ll get a day off soon. Maddon usually has good reasons ready for the tough conversations. Last week he thought Rizzo’s bat looked a little slow – until he hit three home runs in two days. But a slow start to this weekend for the Cubs first baseman could possibly see him on the bench come Monday in St. Louis after the team takes a late Sunday night flight. There’s Maddon’s opening.

“We always get blowback from guys that want to play,” the manager said. “Part of our game is not walking or running away from difficult conversations. You have to have them. If you try to be disingenuous and create all these weird excuses why you’re doing something, that will never play.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2016 at 09:26 AM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dave martinez, joe maddon

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Rumors & Rumblings: Bryant is scouts’ pick for NL MVP

Somebody is going to be very disappointed this off-season.

Right fielder Jose Bautista reportedly was seeking a five-year, $125 million contract extension from the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training.

The talks went nowhere and Bautista will become a free agent in November coming off an injury-ravaged season. He is hitting .227 with 17 home runs with a .793 OPS in 91 games following a six-year run where he hit a combined 227 homers and was selected to the All-Star Game each year.

It will be interesting to see how Bautista’s market plays out this winter. A source with knowledge of the situation says Bautista has not softened his stance on giving the Blue Jays a potential hometown discount and wants to see what offers are out there.

Executives and scouts aren’t sure what kind of deal Bautista will get.

“I know it’s not going to be five and 125,” an executive from an NL team said. “Beyond that, I really don’t know. That’s a tough one. I don’t see him going back to Toronto. I think that ship has sailed, especially since he is having leg issues now and Toronto plays on artificial turf. I say he winds up in the American League where DHing is an option.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 07, 2016 at 01:25 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cubs, jose bautista, mets, notes, phillies

Monday, September 05, 2016

Being anomaly in changing game hasn’t affected Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks - Chicago Tribune

“The game has taken such a turn to power pitching that I guess my pitching style is more of an anomaly in the game today,” Hendricks said. “But there are also a lot of guys that pitch like me. We never get much recognition, obviously.

“It’s always the power pitchers with the power stuff that are going to get the headlines. There are a lot of guys out there that can flat-out pitch, make pitches, change speeds, because if you can do it and do it well, you can have a lot of success at this level. But obviously the hype just comes with the stuff.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 05, 2016 at 11:18 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, September 04, 2016

How Joe Maddon’s Cubs experiment is changing baseball | New York Post

This is the most important factor by far.

2. There are more pitchers. Teams now routinely carry 12 and sometimes even 13. That limits positional maneuverability for a manager, unless he has player(s) who can make it feel like he has more than 25 players available by being able to capably move around.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2016 at 12:18 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Thursday, September 01, 2016

ESPN:Will Kris Bryant be the first true utility player to win MVP?

When you’re hitting over .300, leading the league in homers, and a lock to knock in 100 runs, you’re going to be in the heart of the MVP discussion. At 24 years old, Kris Bryant has put up these numbers going into the final month of the regular season, not only making his case for top value in 2016, but also making it known that he could be this productive for the next decade.

Yet when you try and check his defensive box, you can’t. Bryant is one of the best “super-utility” players of this era, playing multiple positions, each requiring a different skill set and preparation. It has made him an irreplaceable asset in the Chicago Cubs’ machine and set the tone for all of baseball to take notice of the power of versatility. Bryant is a utility player who isn’t just there to give better players a day off. He’s a fixture in one of the best lineups in Major League Baseball.

Meatwad Posted: September 01, 2016 at 12:18 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, mvp, utility infielders

Monday, August 29, 2016

Cubs star Kris Bryant has a chance to be a very unique MVP | FOX Sports

Has anyone else tried to quantify the value of position flexibility? I’ve investigated the topic a little myself for my WAR system for the simulation league I play in. Despite some effort I’ve always ended up using WAR without any additional adjustment.

But while Bryant is only in his second season and Musial is a Hall of Famer, the two could end up sharing a unique distinction.

Musial is the only player to win an MVP award after a season in which he started 30 games in both the infield and outfield, according to STATS LLC.

Bryant could become the second.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 29, 2016 at 10:14 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: awards and honors, cubs, kris bryant, mvp, stan musial

Cubs wear onesies on trip from Los Angeles - Chicago Tribune

Fashion mavens they were not.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 29, 2016 at 07:10 AM | 101 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Strained relations? Irate Hammel not happy with Maddon | Chicago Sun-Times

Want to say on the mound longer? Pitch better.

He was visibly angry when Maddon approached the mound to remove him, sought answers during a closed-door meeting with the manager after the game and didn’t hide his irritation talking to media afterward.

“I didn’t even pitch today in my mind. I barely threw 40 pitches,” said Hammel, who actually threw 39, and kept his postgame answers to even fewer syllables. “It was a side day for me pretty much.”

As recently as Friday, Maddon was asked about the future of his rotation in the context of the team putting newcomer Mike Montgomery in the mix for next year and understanding all five starters from this year would be back – if the Cubs pick up Hammel’s option.

Maddon deferred to the front office.

But it’s becoming clear where Hammel stands in the Cubs’ plans beyond this season.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 28, 2016 at 09:10 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason hammel

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hardly a Hard Day’s Night for the Cubs on Beatles Night at Dodger Stadium - Chicago Tribune

Joe Maddon and David Ross visited Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in his TV booth before Friday’s game to wish him well and give him some going away gifts.

Among the presents was the numbers 6 and 7 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard, and a variety of T-shirts from the vintage Maddon collection, including the ubiquitous “Try Not To Suck” T.

Was Maddon hoping the legendary Scully would say “try not to suck” on the air for perhaps the first time in his career?

“It would definitely put a spike in the sales,” Maddon said.

After thinking about it for a second, Maddon decided such language was “not in (Scully’s) bailiwick.”

No matter.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 27, 2016 at 11:06 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, joe maddon, vin scully

Monday, August 22, 2016

A real vacation might benefit Jason Heyward more

If I were Joe Maddon, I would have made Jason Heyward take advantage of it while the Cubs were there. A day hike among a riot of wildflowers. A whitewater rafting trip. Some time atop a mountain that no hitting guru could scale. Maybe a tour of the state’s burgeoning herbal industry.

Instead, the manager kept his struggling hitter in the dugout for the three-game series against the Rockies in Denver. Actually, describing Heyward as “struggling’’ might imply that he has known something besides struggle this season, that there have been hills to go with the valleys. But his season started out at rock bottom and has hugged the ground ever since. The guy with the eight-year, $184 million contract is hitting .225, which works out to about $10 million each time he has had success at the plate. Or something like that.

It’s why Maddon finally acknowledged the obvious and gave Heyward some rest starting Thursday against Milwaukee, “rest” being a euphemism for a benching. But I wonder why Maddon didn’t take it a step further in typical out-of-the-box fashion. Not a trip to the bench but a vacation in the mountains.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2016 at 10:45 AM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, hot takes, jason heyward

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cameron: Kris Bryant may be the best all-around player in the National League

Kris Bryant isn’t Mike Trout, of course. No one is. But if you look at the numbers over the last year, you might be surprised how close it is.

Is Kris Bryant the best position player in baseball not named Mike Trout?

Voodoo Posted: August 20, 2016 at 04:48 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant, mvp

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spin (rate) zone: Mike Montgomery is a real numbers guy

“We were in the bullpen together and he’s really into it,” Montgomery told me of Zych. “We just talked a lot about it and I went to a website called Brooks Baseball. I guess it’s pretty accurate. We would just look at it and I’d check it out after every time I pitched. And we talked about what the numbers would teach us about our own stuff. I can throw these pitches in these locations because it’s really hard to hit. And learning about movement on the pitches and stuff like that.”

Most major league pitchers are more into Brooks & Dunn than Brooks Baseball, but Montgomery has found the information useful and it led to further curiosity.

While watching a broadcast toward the end of last season, Montgomery saw something that said his fastball had a low spin rate. He immediately thought that was a bad thing and assumed he needed to try and fix that. After doing more research, he understood that it wasn’t necessarily going to hurt him if he had a lower spin rate, it just meant he’d have to get outs in different ways.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Montgomery said. “It just means that I’m not going to rely on swing and miss [with my fastball] as much as I am weak contact. It’s just understanding how that’s used.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2016 at 11:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brooks baseball, cubs, mariners, mike montgomery, stats

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tommy La Stella wants to play for only the Chicago Cubs

Read the whole article. It’s majors or bust. If I were the team, I’d leave him home where he’s comfortable.

The Cubs placed infielder Tommy La Stella on the inactive list Tuesday as he contemplates retirement if he can’t play for the big league team.

In fact, La Stella, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on July 29, said the Cubs are the only team he wants to play for as his priorities have changed over the last year.

“I’m a baseball player by profession. My identity is not tied up in that,” La Stella said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon.

“That’s not who I am as a person. I don’t need to make every life move centered around my profession, because that’s not who I am. I kind of disassociated with that identity. It felt a lot better to me going out there playing because that’s what I felt in me, not because I felt obligated to do it. It was a lot more enjoyable this year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2016 at 09:02 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, tommy la stella

Tommy La Stella has failed to report to Triple-A for 11 days

Des Moines is lovely this time of year.

Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A by the Cubs on July 29. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella has options left so, despite the fact that he has been an effective player this year, it made sense to send him down. Sorry, baseball is not a pure meritocracy. Sometimes the politics of contracts, options and service time play into such decisions.

At the time, Joe Maddon mentioned to the media that La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. It’s a bit unusual to hear that said publicly, but it’s understandable that a guy who has spent his whole life trying to make the big leagues doesn’t like it when he’s asked to leave. Indeed, you probably want guys to be at least a bit miffed when they get sent down and you hope they use it as motivation to work hard and get back up.

La Stella, however, is still taking it hard. Players have 72 hours to report to the minors when so designated. La Stella has not reported to Des Moines going on 11 days now. He’s back home in New Jersey, still working out and talking to Cubs on a regular basis, but he’s not reporting to Triple-A.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2016 at 08:32 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, tommy la stella

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