Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Joe Maddon’s circle of trust shrinking as Cubs struggle

So, how long before he has twenty pitchers on his roster and only uses three of them?

MILWAUKEE—For contending teams, September often can be about finding out who you can trust in big moments—and who you can’t. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon might be able to use Tuesday’s ugly 11-1 blowout loss to the Milwaukee Brewers for the latter category as his circle of trust might be shrinking right now.

Let’s start on the mound, where he’s still searching for plus and minus relievers—those guy who can keep a game close in which the Cubs are trailing, and of course those who can hold a lead as well.

“We self-destructed, pitching-wise,” Maddon said of Tuesday’s game.

QLE Posted: September 05, 2018 at 08:26 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, joe maddon, pitching

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 05, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5738938)
That small circle still, for some reason, seems to include Brandon Kintzler.
   2. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 05, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5738973)
This is a ridiculous headline and article. Yes, yesterday's game was ugly. Which makes two ugly losses by the Cubs in their last 20 games. This is the first series the Cubs have lost since late July and they have the best record in the National League. And specific to the relievers used in yesterday's game, none of them will be on the Cubs playoff roster (and Montgomery isn't going to start a playoff game, either, although I expect he'll be on the roster as a reliever) and frankly none of them were expected to be on the Cubs playoff roster as of the All-Star Break (Kintzler wasn't on the team yet and it was already apparent by then that this was a lost season for Brian Duensing; the rest of yesterday's relievers were September call-ups). The only burning bullpen question for the Cubs is whether Brandon Morrow can come back and be effective.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5739003)
The only burning bullpen question for the Cubs is whether Brandon Morrow can come back and be effective.
Pretty sure that question burned to the ground weeks ago.
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 05, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5739061)
I forgot about Morrow.

Between him and the sucky-injured duo of Chatwood and Darvish, this has to be the worst off-season collection of pitching pick-ups by the Cubs, right?
   5. McCoy Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5739074)
Every body on the pitching got injured in 1985 as well.

   6. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5739076)
Are they really struggling? Seems like they are on the verge of a division title. They are 6-4 in their last 10. The Brew Crew is coming on strong hot on their heels but the Cubs are still 2/3 favorites or thereabouts to win the division. [edit: Fangraphs has them at 85% to win the division]
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:18 PM (#5739080)
Between him and the sucky-injured duo of Chatwood and Darvish, this has to be the worst off-season collection of pitching pick-ups by the Cubs, right?
The 1996-97 offseason was probably not quite as bad, but pretty craptastic:

12/9/96: Signed Terry Mulholland as a free agent. Mulholland would go 6-13 in '97 for the Cubs, albeit with a 106 ERA+ but a 4.85 FIP, before being traded to SF later that year.

12/10/96: Signed Mel Rojas as a free agent. Rojas would post a 5.24 FIP in '97 before being traded to the Mets.

12/13/96: Signed Kevin Tapani as a free agent. Tapani was good in '97 with a 3.77 FIP, good for a 127 ERA+ in the Steroid Era (That Actually Had Nothing to Do with Steroids, according to the other thread). But he followed it up with four more years of 90-93 ERA+.

12/17/96: Selected Miguel Batista off waivers from the Florida Marlins. Batista would go 0-5, 5.70 ERA, 5.12 FIP, 76 ERA+ for the Cubs in '97, his only year with the team.

   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5739087)
Or 1990-91:

11/21/90: Signed Danny Jackson as a free agent. Jackson would put up a 58 ERA+ in 1991 in 17 games, followed by an 86 in 1992 before being traded to Pittsburgh.

12/17/90: Signed Dave Smith as a free agent. Smith famously would go 0-6 with a 6.00 ERA (65 ERA+) in 1991. He was somehow effective in 14 innings in 1992 while striking out only 3 batters, and then his career was over.

1/12/91: Signed Scott May as a free agent. May would pitch two innings for the Cubs and give up 4 earned runs.

   9. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5739092)
Much as Mel "Blow-has" was a dark mark on the 96-97 -- Tapani was a solid signing.

90-91, though.... yeah. Both Smith and Jackson were utter garbage.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5739106)
Tapani was a solid signing.
I must to disagree. As I said, he was good in '97, but:

1998: 4.85 ERA, 219 IP, 244 hits, 136 Ks (!!), 90 ERA+, 4.60 FIP - but a deceptive 19-9 record.
1999: 4.83 ERA, 93 ERA+, 4.02 FIP, 6-12.
2000: 5.01 ERA, 91 ERA+, 4.77 FIP, 8-12.
2001: 4.49 ERA, 92 ERA+, 3.97 FIP, 9-14.

Total contract was 5 years, $23.75 million, which was big money in those days. I wouldn't call that "solid" production for that $.
   11. DCA Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5739125)
Per B-R, Tapani was 7.3 WAR, 0.9 WAA for 97-2001. He was above-average! Even just 98-2001, he was basically average, -0.2 or -0.3 WAA.

I suppose you could knock him for durability (his main calling card pre-1997) but on a per-inning basis he performed as advertised.
   12. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: September 05, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5739127)
Total contract was 5 years, $23.75 million, which was big money in those days. I wouldn't call that "solid" production for that $.


7.3 WAR over those 5 years... not sure what WAR/$ calculations were in those days - but I suspect the Cubs came out OK. I mean - if you look at the Cub rotations over the course that contract - you're basically talking Steve Trachsel for a couple seasons at the start, Kerry Wood when he wasn't injured in the middle, and Jon Lieber at the tail end..... and then a whhhhoooolllleeee lot of people like Ruben Quevedo, Andrew Lorraine, Geremi Gonzalez, and the like.

EDIT: Coke
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5739132)
Per B-R, Tapani was 7.3 WAR, 0.9 WAA for 97-2001. He was above-average! Even just 98-2001, he was basically average, -0.2 or -0.3 WAA.
I guess I forget just how abysmal the pitching numbers looked across the board in the Definitely-Not-Steroids Era.
   14. Brian C Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5739137)
What I will say about Tapani is that he pitched a lot of innings that were probably better than anyone else the Cubs would have found to take his place in those days.

Those 1999-2000 teams especially - great googly-moogly, did they have terrible pitching. Yes, Tapani was super mediocre, but he put up 330 IP in those two years with a 92 ERA+, when the staff as a whole was at around 87. If only they had more Tapanis, is what I say - he was their solid #2 starter in 1999 and fighting with a recovering Kerry Wood for that spot in 2000.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5739141)
If only they had more Tapanis, is what I say - he was their solid #2 starter in 1999 and fighting with a recovering Kerry Wood for that spot in 2000.
Yeah, I suppose I'd be happy with a solid #2 any day of the week.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5739145)
Dismayed at BRipElRoyFace's flagrant intellectual dishonesty displayed in posts #s 7 and 10. Oh, sure, Kevin Tapani's 19-9 record was "deceptive," but Terry Mullholand's 6-13 record and 106 ERA+ craptastic. Shame!
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5739146)
Ah Kevin Tapani, the slightly poorer man's Rick Reed.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5739149)
Dismayed at BRipElRoyFace's flagrant intellectual dishonesty displayed in posts #s 7 and 10. Oh, sure, Kevin Tapani's 19-9 record was "deceptive," but Terry Mullholand's 6-13 record and 106 ERA+ craptastic. Shame!
Hey now, there was an "albeit" in there before the 106 ERA+!
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:20 PM (#5739157)
90-91, though.... yeah. Both Smith and Jackson were utter garbage.
They also traded Mitch Williams to the Phillies on April 7, 1991 (so, not technically offseason) for Chuck McElroy and Bob Scanlan. Williams, of course, had his issues with the Phillies but was actually pretty good in two out of his three years there (during the regular season, at least). McElroy was excellent in '91 (199 ERA+) but then declined to 102 and 87 the next two years and was traded to the Reds. Scanlan posted ERA+ of 100, 126 and 87 in three years for the Cubs.
   20. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5739182)
Post #8:

You forgot about George Bell. Jackson, Smith & Bell were going to lead the Cubs to a division title!

Really, Theo'n'Co. haven't done great with free agents in general with the Cubs. Yea, they got Lester. The Lackey signing worked as well as anyone could reasonably hope. But Edwin Jackson was supposed to be a reliable innings eater. Jason Heyward was supposed to be ..... not this. This off-season's batch - well, it's early still. But boy have they ever not worked out this year.

How'd Theo do signing free agents in Boston? I know he bombed with Carl Crawford, but that's just one signing. What were his other big signings>
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:48 PM (#5739185)
You forgot about George Bell.
No, the question was pitcher-specific. And hey, they turned him into Sammy Sosa. And then Sammy Sosa, plus some definitely-not-steroids, turned into SAMMY SOSA!
   22. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: September 05, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5739188)
He'll always have Ben Zobrist ;-) (mostly!)... RE-signing Dexter worked, too.

But yeah... Thed should probably not sign free agents ever again.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 05, 2018 at 05:04 PM (#5739197)
I'm not sure it's quite fair to evaluate management or an individual GM in terms of big-name free agent signings, given that probably 80% or more of those contracts have turned out terribly for the teams in, say, the last 25 years or so.

The trend toward giving premium marquee free agents ridiculously long contracts that were structured to pay the most as the player hits the worst of the decline finally reached the tipping point last year, but from probably the mid-'90s up until then, really the only reliably "smart" decision a GM could make was not to play in that market at all (the Global Thermonuclear War principle). Other than that, beyond the obvious (e.g., signing younger players is smarter than signing older players), isn't it pretty much just good luck if GM A's big-name signing is one of the few who stays healthy for the whole contract and ages well, and bad luck if GM B's big-name signing pulls a Carl Crawford and completely forgets how to play baseball?

I'm just typing out loud here and no doubt expressing my thoughts poorly, but see if you can find something there.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: September 05, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5739201)
Oh no doubt. Some of those signings are also more the purview of ownership even some other stakeholder. There was an eye-opening inside look at the Diamondbacks Grienke signing linked here a few years ago. Dave Stewart wasn't even in the picture during negotations - when it came to things like this he wasn't just outranked by the team president or owner but even by the director of marketing, who, after all, is in a better position to guess how a good player might affect profitability.

The other thing people do is overestimate their ability to guess at the skills and tendencies of a GM after just a few years. You'll hear that "GM X is good at drafting but sucks at trading" or whatever and I just don't think we're actually describing real abilities. These guys only make a handful of major decisions in a year, and the results of those have more to do with luck than skill. You look at guys like Beane and Cashman, guys in charge for 20 years, and it becomes basically impossible to generalize about their GM abilities or even their tendencies.
   25. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 05, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5739204)
He'll always have Ben Zobrist ;-) (mostly!)... RE-signing Dexter worked, too.

But yeah... Thed should probably not sign free agents ever again.


Jon Lester has worked out pretty well too.
   26. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: September 05, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5739395)
Impeach the Cubs now!
   27. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: September 06, 2018 at 12:00 AM (#5739515)
90-91, though.... yeah. Both Smith and Jackson were utter garbage.


Bell was no great shakes. But he did net them Sammy Sosa, so...

edit: Nevermind.
   28. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 06, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5739593)
This headline sounds like a Maggie Haberman article.

"Joe Maddon is increasingly isolated, described by aides as adopting a bunker mentality"

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Phil Birnbaum
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (November 2018)
(526 - 11:17pm, Nov 20)
Last: Davo and his Moose Tacos

NewsblogOT - November* 2018 College Football thread
(316 - 11:12pm, Nov 20)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogDeadline to set 40-man rosters tonight (11-20)
(4 - 10:47pm, Nov 20)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Sox TherapyLet’s Get Off-Seasoning!
(12 - 10:43pm, Nov 20)
Last: Mike Webber

NewsblogCalcaterra - Adrián Beltré Retires, is a Slam Dunk Hall of Famer
(22 - 10:42pm, Nov 20)
Last: Rally

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)
(2671 - 10:23pm, Nov 20)
Last: PJ Martinez

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 2018 Discussion
(9 - 9:02pm, Nov 20)
Last: Master of the Horse

NewsblogThe View is Always Better When You're the Lead Dog
(8 - 8:23pm, Nov 20)
Last: Sweatpants

NewsblogOT - 2018 NFL thread
(94 - 8:07pm, Nov 20)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogAmazon bids for Disney’s 22 regional sports networks, including YES Network, sources say
(39 - 8:02pm, Nov 20)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogThe Sky Is Falling, Baseball Is Dying, and the Roof May Leak
(22 - 7:29pm, Nov 20)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogDrafting High School Pitchers Is a Major Problem for MLB, Health of Young Prospects
(8 - 7:17pm, Nov 20)
Last: cardsfanboy

Newsblog2019 BBWAA HALL OF FAME BALLOT
(63 - 6:54pm, Nov 20)
Last: SoSH U at work

Hall of Merit2019 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(196 - 6:44pm, Nov 20)
Last: bachslunch

NewsblogOpening Day possible for Pedroia, who doesn't need offseason surgery
(3 - 6:13pm, Nov 20)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Page rendered in 0.3281 seconds
46 querie(s) executed