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Monday, January 23, 2017

OTP 23 Jan. 2017: Theo Epstein on baseball, politics and what he may do next

Theo globally, act locally:

“The reality is these days so much of the most important work in society is done by these non-profits, most of which don’t get real government funding, so it’s really important to identify the most impactful non-profits in your community, especially in a city like Chicago right now that is battling so many critical challenges and support them,” Epstein said. “Baseball is just bread and circus. What we do, we just entertain the masses.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: January 23, 2017 at 07:37 AM | 276 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, politics, theo epstein

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cubs honored by President Obama at White House | MLB.com

It was a true love fest.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2017 at 06:49 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, world series

Sunday, January 15, 2017

OTP 16 Jan. 2017: The ‘honor’ Trumps politics in scheduling Cubs’ White House visit

Seems like the obvious story this week:

President Obama, a White Sox fan, extended invitations to his other hometown baseball team via Twitter and a phone call to Maddon to visit the White House to celebrate their first championship in 108 years before the president leaves office.

Already gathered in town this weekend for Cubs Convention, the Cubs plan to fly to Washington for the visit Monday, just a few days before Trump’s inauguration.

Given the Rickettses’ ties to Trump, there was some initial doubt whether the Cubs would make the trip before the administration change. Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts has been selected by Trump to be his deputy commerce secretary.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: January 15, 2017 at 10:17 PM | 2387 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, politics, world series champions

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Joe Maddon focuses on one word for Chicago Cubs’ 2017 message - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

The word is not “sandwich”.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 12, 2017 at 09:29 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Fantasy Focus - Breaking Down Javy Baez

This is a big year for Baez. Can he stop laying off these pitches?

Major league hitters need to take advantage of a pitcher’s mistake, and Baez is more than capable of this. But over 12 percent of the pitches he saw last year were in the red box low and away from the strike zone. Until he stops bailing and wailing at pitches, this will not change. Baez is young enough to adjust and can learn to lay off these pitches, but his resulting whiff-per-swing percentages show why he is seeing this many pitches in the location identified:

Jim Furtado Posted: January 07, 2017 at 09:20 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, javier baez

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

How Do Cubs Handle Their Catching Situation Next Season?

Kyle Schwarber, who was set to catch every fifth day with Jason Hammel last year prior to shredding his knee, could eventually be an option to take time behind the plate as well. But the Cubs have announced no official plans for Schwarber in 2017 as far as catching goes, and at this point it would be hard to imagine him doing anything more than serving as a solid third catcher that fills in when need be.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 04, 2017 at 11:40 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Masterpiece Fall Classic

We’re supposed to see a gassed reliever on the mound, and so that’s what we see. If the velocity readings are 100 and 101, then we look for something else. “Here’s the thing,” Alex Rodriguez said later during the rain delay. “When you’re fatigued, you don’t lose miles per hour, per se. But what you do lose is command and movement.” But Chapman didn’t lose movement. He didn’t lose command (arguably, he doesn’t need command anyway). If you didn’t see Guyer’s ball split the gap and you didn’t know you were supposed to see a gassed reliever on the mound, you’d never guess Chapman was anything less than dominant.

So why did Rajai Davis homer?

Look again at the velocities of Chapman’s first 13 pitches. None of them starts with an 8. He threw 13 consecutive fastballs. Guyer finally caught up to the seventh, and Davis finally caught up to his seventh. Chapman’s fastball is so dominant that he can throw it right down the middle, but only when there is the threat of a slider to keep hitters at least somewhat surprised. “When Chapman is ahead in a count and he throws a pitch down the middle, batters’ isolated power—slugging percentage minus batting average—is .036. When batters are ahead, it’s .300,” we wrote before the Series, and with his refusal to throw a slider, Chapman was giving hitters the same predictable pattern. Chapman’s fastball here, so hard, so historic, so dominant, might have been more effective if he had been gassed and recognized it—and if he had therefore been forced to act like a normal pitcher and mix in a breaking ball.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: December 28, 2016 at 01:34 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, indians, world series

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How the Cubs’ $184 million man Jason Heyward is fixing himself

With the offseason underway, Heyward is looking to get his swing back on track. The 27-year-old showed off some of the changes he’s been working on thus far, and it looks like Heyward could feature a much different stance next year.
...
Will it work? We have no idea. The offseason is a time for optimism. You always want to believe a player is in the best shape of their life, or that a new pitch will help that questionable starter turn into an ace.

It’s the same thing here. We won’t know whether these changes are effective until Heyward uses them against legitimate competition. With that said, this is a good thing. Heyward is working hard to put 2016 behind him and get back to being an effective player at the plate. Even if it doesn’t fully work out, it’s not like things can get any worse, right?

Video in the linked article. No word on whether he’s working with a coach or on his own.

Greg Pope Posted: December 21, 2016 at 06:34 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward, vortex of suck

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pat Hughes CD Commemorates 2016 Cubs World Series March

Makes a great gift!

CHICAGO CUBS radio play-by-play voice PAT HUGHES has released a CD with the story of the CUBS’ 2016 championship season.  “THE CHICAGO CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES” is available online through the team’s flagship, CBS RADIO Sports WSCR-A (670 THE SCORE)/CHICAGO, at cbschicago.com/cubscd or via HUGHES’ baseballvoices.com.

The CD includes over 70 minutes of material, including clips from the regular season through the Series.  HUGHES is releasing the CD as a special edition of his “BASEBALL VOICES” CD series, which has included 14 editions on 15 legendary baseball announcers thus far.

Bote Man Posted: December 19, 2016 at 11:56 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: audio, cubs, world series

Friday, December 16, 2016

ESPN: Aroldis Chapman: Joe Maddon misused me during the playoffs

“There were couple of games, but the one I can point to is Game 6,” Chapman said when asked for specifics for his criticism. “The game was open and I don’t think he needed to [leave] me in the ninth. The important game was going to be Game 7 because we had that game almost won. The next day I came in tired.”

Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: December 16, 2016 at 02:53 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: aroldis chapman, cubs, joe maddon, world series

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Pros And Cons Of Superteams In Major League Baseball

Even if we disagree about superteams, I hope we can all agree about the value of superfly.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 15, 2016 at 10:04 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

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

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