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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Perry: It’s time for Cubs to lock up Jeff Samardzija

And life after lock up to follow…

For his career, the 29-year-old has pitched to a 97 ERA+ in 189 games, 66 of which have been starts. Since becoming a full-time member of the rotation prior to the 2012 season, Samardzija has logged an ERA of 4.10 in 388 1/3 innings, and he’s recorded more than three times as many strikeouts as unintentional walks.

Beyond that, Samardzija last season showed signs of skills growth. To wit, he maintained strong strikeout percentages while also cutting down on fly balls, showing stronger ground-ball tendencies and also increasing his rate of infield po-ups. In other words, Samardzija is beginning to do what aces do: miss bats while also skewing toward “benign” contact when they don’t miss bats. His 4.34 ERA from last season was largely a consequence of spotty defense behind him and simple bad luck. That is, the peripherals—and, by implication, his abilities—are much stronger than his ERA would suggest. It says here that the 2014 season will prove that.

All of this is no accident, as Samardzija boasts a mid-90s fastball and sinker, a hard slider and a splitter that functions as his change-of-pace offering. In other words, he has the full starter’s repertoire, his fastball is a weapon, and his slider is a true out pitch. To boot, Samardzija has been a thoroughly clean injury history, seemingly despite his halting transition from reliever to starter, which is a usage pattern that’s put many a young hurler under the scalpel. In a related matter, Samardzija last season also flashed the ability to handle a number-one starter’s workload.

...So why not trade him? If some team offers the Cubs an undeniably generous return package, then of course they should accept. However, the Cubs could probably stand to curry some favor with the fan base. Rank-and-file fans certainly underestimate how long it takes to see a deep rebuild through from start to finish, but their impatience matters, being as they are paying customers. The Cubs almost certainly aren’t going to contend before 2016, but Samardzija can still be a very valuable contributor by the time the team is ready to matter. Signing the organizational lifer—and native of Northwest Indiana and Notre Dame product—to a long-term extension would be a “dog whistle” of sorts to restless Cubs partisans that says, yes, the Ricketts family is now readying the team to challenge for the NL Central flag in the reasonably near future. It would also suggest that the team’s caretakers are invested in making that happen.

Sure, it’s possible that Samardzija’s demands will out-strip the Cubs’ valuations of his future, but, as Heyman has reported, there’s will and willingness on both sides.

Repoz Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:57 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4665898)
Samardzija’s #1 most similar player at the moment is Charlie Puleo, which is one of the more comical most similars I've seen. I guess Puleo had the same fastball-sinker-slider-change repertoire as Samardzija, only he threw the fastball at 85 and the slider-sinker-change were more variations of the same tumbling junk than discrete pitches. And he never struck anyone out. But they're both guys with around 600 IP in around 70 starts with an ERA around 4.20, so the robot doing SQL queries at BBRef has decided that they're similar.
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4665904)
Similarity scores are based solely on statistics and position - they're for Hall of Fame arguments, not anything else. The idea is that if a guy's statistics are similar to a bunch of Hall of Famers, there's a good chance they're a Hall of Famer, and if their statistics are similar to a bunch of non-Hall of Famers, they probably shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.
   3. zonk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4665922)
No.

First of all, the transition from RP to SP likely saved him a fair bit of wear and tear.

Second, yeah - the peripherals are nice - but the guy wants ace money and he's nowhere near an ace.

So, sure - extend him... but I wouldn't go higher than 4/40.... MAYBE 4/45. We're talking about a 29 yo with a career ERA+ of 97.
   4. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4665968)
For the past year or so, it seems that the Cubs have been going hard after Samardzija for an extension, but he has been resisting.
   5. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4665971)
It’s time for Cubs to lock up Jeff Samardzija

Did he take the Buick without asking again?
   6. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4665973)
He's a bum in OOTP14. Just sayin.
   7. SteveM. Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:43 AM (#4666022)
I say extend him because I am tired of the Cubs acting like they are the Marlins. Spend the effing money Ricketts (assuming that the debt load isn't so crushing that in fact the family is broke). I am getting damn tired of the endless rebuild whose target date for competing keeps getting pushed back. It isn't like there is a ton of pitching talent in the Cubs system (and no, Kyle Hendricks, he of the sub 90 fastball, doesn't count).
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4666282)
he maintained strong strikeout percentages while also cutting down on fly balls, showing stronger ground-ball tendencies and also increasing his rate of infield po-ups. In other words, Samardzija is beginning to do what aces do: miss bats while also skewing toward “benign” contact when they don’t miss bats.

This is great but the entire ML has been doing this over the last 2-3 seasons.
   9. zonk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4666353)
He's a bum in OOTP14. Just sayin.


Though, he makes for an awesome trade chit... I've been able to bundle him with Scott Hairston and Ian Stewart to get Jurickson Profar from the Rangers, with a handful of minor league flotsam to the Cardinals for Oscar Taveras, and straight up to the Mets for Zack Wheeler.
   10. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:40 PM (#4666373)
Samardzija’s #1 most similar player at the moment is Charlie Puleo, which is one of the more comical most similars I've seen.

Charlie Puleo, Met fan memories, Charlie Puleo threw a shutout on May 11, 1982, the bMet announcers immediately thereafter and for most of the rest of the season referred to him for most of the year as the Mets "most consistent" starter. I was in HS then and wasn't quite familiar with whatever definiton of "most consistent" they were using.

Near the end of the year he had a stretch of starts where he gave up 4 or 5 runs seemingly every start-and the announcers who had called him the "most consistent" started saying, "he's been a bit inconsistent of late"- again I was a mere teenager and was quite unfamilar with whatever definiton of "inconsistent" they were using.

Now, 30 years later I have long since realized that most baseball announcers are drooling morons so I'm no longer bothered (as much) by such things.
   11. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4666450)
I'm the Bill Veeck of OOTP. I constantly sign and trade players away and rarely keep players for more than a season or two. Though Mike Moustakas is an absolute beast who has had the rare privilege of being on my team for 3 seasons now and counting. A guy by the name of Roderick Shoulder, who I just discovered is a real Cubs minor league player, is also an absolute beast in my game and I turned the NL into a DH league just so I could play him and a Japanese player named Toru Hada at the same time. All three of them have been on my team for three seasons now which is very very uncommon for me. Castro is/was a bust who I packed off to the Yankees for some pitcher who I don't think made the transition as well as I hoped. I've also had Taveras on my team for a season but sent packing as well as since he had the audacity to put up something like a 107 OPS+ for me. Basic OOTP doesn't really make you pay for your sins.
   12. zonk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:40 PM (#4666466)
Heh... with OOTP15 coming in a month or so, I decided to start one last dynasty without any of my usual house rules. No mercy on 'rebuilding' teams stupid enough to trade me prospect for established regular. Constant Alex Anthrodopolopodopous waiver wire trolling - then trading away the claims. Signing 'remaindered' FAs to one year deals knowing that the AI will almost always give you something of value for a guy working one a one-year deal.

After year one, by the July 31 deadline -- I had traded away every single player who started the year on the Cubs 40 man roster except Castro, Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Wellington Castillo. I had imported via trade: Oscar Taveras, Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Taijun Walker, Tyler Skaggs -- basically, half the preseason top 10 prospects. I had 17 of the top 50 prospects and 29 of the top 100. My entire farm system -- from AAA to shortseason A, setting aside just Mesa/R -- has no player on any roster with a total rating below 40 and in most places, I'm using legitimate B prospects as utility guys.

I was .500 in 2014 -- and then also imported a few more top 10s (Byron Buxton, Jameson Taillon).

I'm about halfway through 2015 -- en route to 100 wins -- and with a payroll ranked 29th in the league (Rizzo has turned into an MVP candidate - but I locked him up to a 4/14 deal in 2012 -- he, Castro, Arodys Vizcaino, and Dylan Bundy -- who had a major league deal upon signing -- are the only guys making more than minimum).

I just locked up Profar -- who's probably the best 2B in my league already -- to a nifty 5/30 extension, locked up Bundy -- the reigning CYA -- to a 4/21 and am close to extending Taveras (who's challenging for the triple crown).

My biggest decision right now is whether to trade Brian Goodwin and a few prospects for Mike Stanton because I could use a RH power bat.

My lineup is

C Gary Sanchez
1B Rizzo
2B Profar
SS Castro
3B Kaleb Cowart
LF Brett Jackson
CF Brian Goodwin
RF Oscar Taverez

With Blake Swihart, Arismendy Alancatara, Drew Robinson (rangers speedster), Jaff Decker, and Eugeny Beltre on the bench.

My rotation is
SP Bundy
SP Taijun Walker
SP Tyler Skaggs
SP Matt Barnes
SP Zach Lee (Martin Perez is out for the year with TJ surgery)

My bullpen has Rex Brothers, Mark Montgomery, Scott Elbert, Arodys Vizcaino, Jsomethingorother Familia (from the Mets), Bruce Rondon, and Marcus Strohman.... all of whom have K/9 rates above 10.0

I don't know what Theo's problem is.... This #### is easy.
   13. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4666471)
I traded Rizzo either during the 2013 season or right afterwards and the guy has turned into a perennial MVP candidate year after year. He's putting up OPS+ numbers in 150 to 180 range every year. Of course he hit something like 98 for me.
   14. jingoist Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4666473)
I've seen this guy pitch and he definitely needs to be locked up for the good of everyone concerned
   15. zonk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4666476)
I think one highly "overpowered" feature in OOTP is the use of coaches and the "player development" budget... I'm spending 30 million on "player development" (league average is 9 million)... I also created full college and HS feeder leagues -- so every June when those seasons end, new coaches become available. I've got "outstanding" or better coaches at all levels of my system.... This tends or at least seems to really positively impact prospect development. I've had a few guys flame out -- but not many. I also only trade for prospects with at least "average" personalities (i.e., preferring the 'good work ethic, etc' types) and I also stay away from any prospects with 'fragile' or worse health histories. Add all that together -- and it means that an inordinate number of my prospects pan out, while I tend to trade the busts quickly before the rest of the league recognizes them as such.

Right now, it looks like the only deal I'm going to get burned on is a recent move for Byron Buxton... He's struggling to get out of A ball - and I gave up a lot (of blocked prospects, but still) to get him.
   16. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4666494)
In OOTP it's pretty funny the way, if you're playing exploitatively as detailed in this thread, after about the first five years you're supplying the talent for half the league and if you look up the top 20 in WAR in a given season, 13 of them are guys that were in your system at some point (7 of whom are still on your 129-33 team). That and your A-ball team putting up ridiculous .900+ winning percentages.
   17. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4666500)
It would seem to me that the trading problem should be easy to fix. I don't know why it is a perennial problem. I also don't know why there isn't an auto-manage the minor leagues setting. Especially for when minor league players have to go on and off the DL.
   18. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4666525)
You can have the AI sort your minor league system anytime you like, but it is atrociously bad at it.

I think the developers regard the ease of exploiting the AI in trades as a "if you don't like it, don't do it" problem. I can't disagree. I would definitely like, however, to see trading become more deep and interactive. As things are if you make an offer that's fairly close to the yes/no line the other GM will make you wait a few days before responding--but it doesn't feel realistic anyway, because you can easily tinker around with the trade and end up knowing he's going to accept the offer.

It would be a big step forward if the AI would make you (counter)offers that aren't completely absurd, and do more in response to turning down a trade than "this offer is close to being OK, just throw in one of the five biggest stars on your team and it's a done deal!"
   19. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 10:37 PM (#4666538)
That's the problem. There is no single button push that can have the AI deal with all the DL moves for minor leaguers.

I don't see why the developers would not find the trading system to be a problem. Perhaps in the first version but there have been 15 versions of the game and they have attempted to tweak the system. Trading is a major part of the game of baseball and for OOTP. To ignore it or to leave as badly done as it is is like Nintendo botching the second level of Mario Bros. and just leaving the problem as is for all future Mario Bros. games. It is a foolish thing to do.
   20. zonk Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4666554)
That's the problem. There is no single button push that can have the AI deal with all the DL moves for minor leaguers.


There is - 'Automanage minor leagues' - I guess you have to keep hitting it every game pause, but when you do, it automatically minor league DLs hurt players, deals with promotions/demotions, etc... like Zeth said, though, it sucks - at least, it doesn't 'protect' your top prospects, etc properly. I manage my minors manually.

Trading is next to impossible, I think, for an AI to "get".... The AI is using values - and if I offer up a legitimately plus SP, a legitimate 4th OF, and a couple decent prospects -- no player with less than 100 MLB PAs is untouchable. Honestly, if you employ a modicum of 'house rules' - it's not that hard to play it more or less straight up. Personally, I just employ the following:

1) No trading vets for prospects to any team under .500
2) No trading of players claimed off waivers until 30 days after the claim
3) Trades can only be initiated via the "Shop a Player" function - players can be added, but the original offer/response must be included
4) One trade per month - excepting "response" trades (i.e., when the AI offers a deal and we haggle)
5) No trades can include AI money inbound (seriously - the AI gives away money like candy... if they've got cash, they give it away for free).

BTW - just finished my 2015 season and won the WS... quite an exciting playoffs - I don't play out every game regular season, I usually manage key series individually, etc and only manage game to game in the playoffs. Was down 3-1 to the Dodgers in the NLCS -- Dylan Bundy pitched 9 scoreless against Greinke. Game 6 was 0-0 until the 14th when the Dodgers pushed across a scratch run on a Castro throwing error. Got a walk and a scratch hit with two-outs in the bottom half -- and Julio Morban (on the playoff roster only because Brian Goodwin tore a hamstring in the last week of the regular season, and the last guy on my bench) hits a 2 out, 2 strike 3 run walk-off homer - off a lefty no less - to win it. Game 7 saw my closer Rex Brothers get hurt after the first batter in a 7-5 game, his replacement Mark Montgomery promptly cough up a 2 run lead... only to have Brett Jackson win it in the 10th with a 2 out RBI triple.

The WS was almost as good -- blew a 2 game lead, won it in a game 7 slugfest.... Bundy got chased in the 2nd inning - I'm down 6-0, but ended up winning 18-12. Yeah - the wind was apparently blowing out. Profar drove in what - at least in the OOTP universe - was a WS record 7 runs while Rizzo and Taveras each hit a pair of HRs. It was bizarro Cubs -- where everything comes up Milhouse...

Now - I have to figure out what to do with my organization.... I've got easily 20 guys eligible for the Rule 5 who ought to be taken and limited room for them. Time to recharge the lower levels with teenagers!

   21. McCoy Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4666595)
Yes, I know there is an automanage minor leagues. My complaint is there is no single one time option to let the AI manage something as simple and basic as the minor league DL.

If a person can come up with house rules why can't a game designer implement them? Your house rules would be extremely easy to implement.
   22. Conor Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4666640)
One issue I have (and maybe there is a way around it, I don't know) is that I usually let the AI manage the minor league system, for better or worse, and deal with promotions etc. I have a guy in A ball who is clearly way to good for the league; I keep trying to promote him to AA but then he gets sent right back down to A ball by the AI. I don't know if there is a way to basically tell the AI to let me handle specific promotions/demotions, but it would make things a lot easier for me.
   23. zonk Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4666647)
I don't know if there is a way to basically tell the AI to let me handle specific promotions/demotions, but it would make things a lot easier for me.


Not exactly as you describe - but there is an inverse of this.... If you open the individual player profile, select Action, and then "Set Game Strategy" -- there's a checkbox to disable/override Automate Minor League promotion/demotion... This will lock the player into the minor league team you manually move him to... You can also use this feature to force start a player a specific position or to keep the AI from moving a guy you're grooming as a SP into the bullpen (or vice versa) or alternately, move/teach a player to play a new position. I use the latter a lot to create "utility players"/give my bundles of prospects more flexibility. Obviously, you have to monitor -- it does have a negative impact on development if you keep trying to force a natural 3B to learn 2B and he just doesn't seem to be picking it up...
   24. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4666651)
One issue I have (and maybe there is a way around it, I don't know) is that I usually let the AI manage the minor league system, for better or worse, and deal with promotions etc. I have a guy in A ball who is clearly way to good for the league; I keep trying to promote him to AA but then he gets sent right back down to A ball by the AI. I don't know if there is a way to basically tell the AI to let me handle specific promotions/demotions, but it would make things a lot easier for me.
Click on the player, then go to Action>Transaction>Disable AI Demotion/Promotion.
   25. Conor Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4666688)
Nice, thanks a lot guys.

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