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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Cubs Newsbeat

Monday, November 30, 2015

GM Jed Hoyer: Chicago Cubs not close but moves are coming - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

Hoyer couldn’t pin down whether the Cubs would add via trade or free agency, calling both markets “developing.” Several free agents have signed contracts, including pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who agreed on a deal with Detroit over the weekend. The big question for the Cubs has been whether to spend a limited increase in their budget mostly on one player or to spread it around to various needs, which include center field and starting pitching.

“Those are the philosophical questions we’ve all been having over the last couple of months,” Hoyer said. “There’s good with both. Elite players can change a team.”

The “elite” players on the market who the Cubs have been tied to include pitcher David Price and outfielder Jason Heyward, but Hoyer indicated it’s the smaller moves that are sometimes just as important. The Cubs have signed or picked up several relievers over the last few weeks but still haven’t made the one or two big moves many are expecting.

“Depth is underrated, especially in the winter,” Hoyer explained. “Everyone will write out lineups in the offseason and they don’t focus on bench, they don’t focus on the bullpen, they don’t focus on guys in Triple-A that are going up and down. Over the course of six months, those are the little moves that make a huge difference.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2015 at 03:37 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency, jed hoyer

Monday, November 16, 2015

Despite Risks, Cubs Eyeing Own TV Network

Can I still watch “Family Matters” reruns before games?

The Cubs are making $60 million to $70 million per season under their current TV contracts, a figure that is below market compared to other big markets like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Philadelphia. However, the deal is still around the back end of the top-third in all of baseball. The Cardinals’ new billion dollar contract, which doesn’t kick in for a few more years, is set to pay the Cardinals an average sum roughly equivalent to that which the Cubs currently receive. A new television deal might solve some of the Cubs’ pre-existing problems, but it is those problems themselves that are keeping payroll down, not the Cubs’ current television contract.

The Cubs will wait a few more years before inking their deal. According to recent quotes from business operations president Crane Kenney, the Cubs will indeed start their own network in 2020, and believe the club can carry a network by themselves. There is some risk in waiting for 2020 to start their own network. For several years there has been a fear of the cable bubble bursting, and while the Dodgers might have set the mark a bit too high, teams that have negotiated deals since that time have still made out well. The Cubs could choose to renegotiate with Comcast, and much like the Cardinals deal, hedge their bets a bit on the future of cable television. Their current tack indicates that they still believe there will be a heavy market for their broadcasts in four years.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 16, 2015 at 11:01 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, media, regional sports networks, television

Friday, November 13, 2015

The mystery of 600 abandoned Chris Denorfia bobbleheads

Free agent outfielder Chris Denorfia, most recently of the Cubs, previously spent four-plus seasons as a member of the Fightin’ Padres of San Diego. During his Padres tenure, Denoria was, according to inviolable custom, rendered in the timeless medium of the bobblehead. That’s standard enough fare thus far, but this, people, is where the script gets flipped. From NBC-7 San Diego ...

Several roommates were miffed when 600 bobbleheads bearing the face of a former Padres player mysteriously turned up near their doorstep in University City, San Diego.

Now they’re resorting to handing them out as party favors.

Meatwad wont hit were you tell him Posted: November 13, 2015 at 04:57 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: chris denorfia, christmas presents, cubs, padres

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Lessons learned, Chicago Cubs ready to move forward

Guiding the future by the past, Hoyer said he took away a couple of things from the Cubs’ season and postseason.

“To me, it underscores two things: the value of winning your division,” he said. “We won the one-game (wild-card) playoff. The nature of that game, it makes you want to win your division and get right to your five-game series.

“The second take-away is you have to get there every year or almost every year because what you really want is to be that team, the hottest team. The Royals got really hot after they were almost eliminated by the Astros, and they rolled through people.

“You make it every year, and you have much better odds of being that hot team that can sustain three series.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 10:34 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jed hoyer, theo epstein

Offseason plotting for Cubs and White Sox picks up steam at GM meetings - Chicago Tribune

The White Sox have a lot of work to do.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 07:15 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, white sox

Friday, November 06, 2015

Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects

More hitters are on the way, from Double-A Southern League batting champion Willson Contreras and Tennessee teammates Albert Almora and Billy McKinney to shortstop Gleyber Torres. The team took Ian Happ, another advanced hitter, at the top of the 2015 draft.

zonk Posted: November 06, 2015 at 09:19 AM | 122 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, prospects

Milwaukee - Baseball Prospectus: NL CENTRAL’S TOP-50 PROSPECTS

Baseball Prospectus breaks down the Top 50 by division.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 07:47 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, cubs, pirates, prospects, reds

Friday, October 30, 2015

Wrigley rooftop owners want judge to reconsider case against Cubs - Chicago Tribune

Does this claim have any merit?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 30, 2015 at 06:05 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Notes: Mets, Cubs, Mounds, Manager Musings, more | FanGraphs Baseball

An interesting note.

Earlier this week, I asked Kris Bryant how he evolved as a hitter throughout the course of this season. The rookie sensation told me that he got more comfortable facing big league pitching – “the sharpness of the sliders, the movement on the fastballs” – but that’s about it. He elaborated that he’ll “look back at some things” in the offseason and “learn from what worked for me, and what didn’t work for me.”

Needless to say, a lot worked. Bryant put up an .858 OPS and set a Cubs rookie record by clubbing 26 home runs. He does need to smooth out a few rough edges – the slugger fanned 199 times – but that shouldn’t be a problem. According to club president Theo Epstein, Bryant has displayed an aptitude for making adjustments.

“The guy doesn’t have many weaknesses,” Epstein said the day after his team was eliminated in the NLCS. “But (the Mets) attacked him a lot with right-on-right changeups, and the numbers show that maybe he hasn’t adjusted to that pitch yet. They got him out a few times with it. He made a great adjustment in his last at bat of the 2015 season. He took a right-on-right changeup and hit it 410 feet for a home run.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2015 at 09:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, notes

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Expect arms race for Cubs in the hunt for more Octobers | Chicago Sun-Times

It’s already next year at Wrigley.

Specifically, it’s on the front office to – as Theo Epstein has repeatedly said – “not screw it up.”

And mostly that’s about building enough starting pitching depth to keep climbing the NL Central ladder and to better withstand a team like the Mets next time they see October.

It’s the obvious, highest priority of the offseason for a front office that already was far down the road in planning and targets even before Jason Hammel was shelled in the first inning and booed off the field in Wednesday’s elimination game at Wrigley Field.

“It’s something we can attack with a vengeance this off-season,” said team president Epstein during a media session Thursday in which he outlined needs and goals looking ahead at 2016.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pursuing free-agent starters more complicated than some believe for Cubs - Chicago Tribune

“Free-agent pitching is a necessary evil at times, and it’s only evil because it’s inherently risky,” Epstein said Thursday at Wrigley Field. “It’s necessary because you can make such an impact with your starting staff right away. We did it last year. We’re glad we did. We’ll take a hard look at all the free agent starters, and we’ll have to balance our short-term interests, our long-term interests, our financial picture, and our roster and payroll strategy.

“I won’t rule anything out. I won’t rule anything in, except to say whether it’s through trade or free agency, we would like to add at least one quality starting pitcher this winter.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency


A look at how the final NLCS game would have been written up in 1908.

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2015 at 08:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, parody

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NYTimes: Mets-Cubs Game 4 Recap

This is a non-pareil recap by a fine gent from the second oldest surviving newspaper in the city so nice they named it twice.

The New York Metropolitans claimed decisive possession of the National League base-ball pennant on enemy turf here at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, sweeping the Sisyphean Chicago Cubs in four games to earn their ducats to next week’s World Series championship.

The Metropolitans — also known as the “Mets” — sent six safely across the plate before the third inning, mostly as a result of the derring-do of their Bunyanesque first-sacker, Lucas Duda. The mighty Californian smote a home run and a double to tally five of those six runs before the Cubs seemed to comprehend that a game concerning their possible erasure from the 2015 field was well underway.

The ignominious rout of the valiant but overmatched hometown squad turned the deafening cheers of the Chicago multitudes into plaintive keens, for now their agonizing wait for another championship — the last in 1908, during the presidency of the rough-riding Theodore Roosevelt — must continue.

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 22, 2015 at 09:21 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, nlcs, ye olde past-time

Did ‘Cub-Fan, Bud-Man’ Harry Caray really drink all those beers?

Unfortunately, Harry would still have to wait.

“People assumed that Harry was still drinking, because what he would do was he’d put a real Budweiser bottle in front and then we’d put non-alcoholic O’Doul’s into his glass,” Dutchie Caray told USA TODAY Sports. “He didn’t want people to know that he wasn’t still drinking Bud, because that didn’t fit his image.”

As the Cubs face a 2-0 deficit in the National League Championship Series, it might be exactly what the long-suffering fan base needs to hear. After all, is rallying against the New York Mets to win the NLCS and then win their first World Series title since 1908 any less improbable than Harry Caray giving up alcohol?

“He asked the doctor, ‘When can I have another drink?’ ” Dutchie Caray said. “The doctor said, ‘When the Cubs win the World Series.’ “

Jim Furtado Posted: October 22, 2015 at 07:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, harry caray

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why Wrigley’s Ballhawks Are an Endangered Species - WSJ

“That goofy message board,” said Buhrke, a 69-year-old ballhawk who has collected around 1,800 balls in 55 years of waiting for them to clear the top of the bleachers. He pointed to the video board above left center field. “That monstrosity. All the hitters seem to be aiming at it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 08:03 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, wrigley field

This year, youth is served in baseball postseason - The Boston Globe

I didn’t remember Brown being so high on a prospect list so I looked it up. Yep, Baseball America had him as the 4th best prospect in baseball in 2011. He was also 15th in 2010. Shocking.

On Monday, the Phillies announced that they’ve outrighted outfielder Domonic Brown off their 40-man roster. The move wasn’t shocking – in his age 27 season, Brown hit .228/.284/.349 with just five homers in 63 games. Yet in another context, the decision to give Brown the right to declare free agency represented a shock, given that Brown – as Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia remembers – once possessed “untouchable” prospect status as a consensus top-five prospect in all of baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 09:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, phillies, red sox, youth

Klapisch: Mets’ magical ride almost complete - Sports -

Maddon knows he’s hoping for a miracle. If the Cubs can rough up Matz, they can turn the rotation over with Jon Lester in Game 5 and Jake Arrieta waiting in Game 6. Maddon says, “I like those odds” but he knows the Cubs will have to make history to get there.

How can they? They can’t even keep Murphy in the park. He slugged his fifth HR in the last five post-season games, too tough for any scouting report. Not even Murphy’s teammates are able to understand it.

“The guys in the dugout, they’re baseball guys, they’re like “who is this guy?” “ Collins said with a laugh.

Same question applies to the Mets, unstoppable, just nine innings away from the World Series. Who are these guys? Really, who?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 09:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, playoffs

Cubs season comes down to Jason Hammel’s start | Chicago Sun-Times

As they say, it’s one game at a time.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 121 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, playoffs

Mets 5, Cubs 2: N.L.C.S. Game 3 Highlights - The New York Times

One Theo team came back from a 3-0 deficit. Can another?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 08:38 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Joe Maddon plays theme music from Rocky |

I wonder how many of his players have watched the movie?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2015 at 07:09 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, playoffs

Monday, October 19, 2015

Punchless Chicago Cubs fading fast in NLCS

They aren’t out but they are groggy.

His team hadn’t lost a single game he’d started in all that time, regular season or postseason. And it hadn’t lost a road game he’d started since June 26. So when Arrieta was asked if this game surprised even him, his answer was short but not so sweet.

“I didn’t pitch well,” he said. “So yeah.”

His teammates rallied around him, of course. Said the right things. Said them with total conviction.

“I’m not shocked,” Ross said. “It’s baseball.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 19, 2015 at 06:30 AM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Two Aces Down, Two More to Go in the Mets’ Path - The New York Times

How can anyone miss this game?

“Part of it is his crossfire,” said Dan Haren, the veteran Cubs starter, describing Arrieta’s delivery. “He’s stepping across his body, so immediately it’s going to be really hard on righties. It’s like Jered Weaver in his prime, where it’s impossible for a right-hander to see it — and he throws 96 and gets two-seam run on it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jake arrieta, mets

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta looks to rediscover dominance and even NLCS

“He’s not going to be perfect every time,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “But I like the idea that he’s got a little extra rest going into this start. I’m anticipating a lot of what we’ve seen the last couple of months.”

Arrieta, one of the top Cy Young contenders in the National League this year, admitted on his side day after the Cardinals start that the adrenaline high and energy drain of the day leading up to that start may have contributed to the command issues.

“Early in the day, you’re trying to conserve energy, but almost anytime you start to think about the game – your approach, the way you’re going to attack that lineup – you’re starting to expend some energy,” Arrieta said. “And I would catch myself — heart rate starting to go up – even when I was just kind of hanging out. Those are things you learn how to control.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2015 at 08:56 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jake arrieta, mets, noah syndergaard

Berg: Matt Harvey returned to Gotham’s good graces with a dominant Game 1 start

This is always how it was supposed to be for Matt Harvey and the New York Mets: Before Jacob deGrom emerged as the team’s ace this season, before Noah Syndergaard left Valhalla to blaze 100-mph fastballs past mortal hitters, before local kid Steven Matz became one of the club’s most popular players with his stunning debut, Harvey was the guy inked in for the Game 1 start of every postseason series in his tenure in Queens.

And the truth is, he should remain that guy: None of Harvey’s teammates can yet match him for Major League success. Among all Major Leaguers with at least 300 innings pitched since the start of the 2012 season, Harvey’s 2.53 ERA and 2.65 FIP ranks him behind only Clayton Kershaw, a tick above even the similarly excellent deGrom in both stats.

There’s plenty of postseason left, and worlds of time for Harvey to find himself at the center of more drama. But from the way he shined in the spotlight on Saturday, and from everything he said and did before, during and after the game, Harvey implied he has no intentions of standing by while his teammates push forward this October.

It takes more than a single strong playoff start to secure Batman status, but Harvey, by pitching so well in Game 1, ensured he’ll have at least another chance to do that.


JE (Jason) Posted: October 18, 2015 at 01:37 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, matt harvey, mets, nlcs

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