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   1. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: July 21, 2016 at 01:32 PM (#5269057)
I'm rather shocked at how quickly Montero has indeed gone from a pricey, but cromulent placeholder till something better comes along to a "geez, we still got 22 mil and 2 years left AFTER this year?"

I suppose service times and existing contracts being what they are, the Cubs can certainly waste 11 mil on a backup catcher...

I really think it's been the wheels coming off Grimm that hurt the pen most - Rondon wasn't gonna be perfect all year, Strop is what he is - usually a nasty customer, occasionally a nasty experience. Grimm falling apart plus Wretched being even more wretched than usual seemed to have a domino effect.

The big chicken/egg question is whether the early season rotation dominance simply covered up a leaky pen, or, the sudden and resounding rotation collapse was just a domino effect on a pen that couldn't shift into high gear quick enough.

I guess I would still struggle to call the pen a weakness -- most of the metrics seem to put them at about average, maybe a bit below - but that's including the recent stretch of awfulness.

Overall, it's certainly not and was never gonna be a Royals/Yankees best pen in the game - but I do think it's a legit top 10 unit overall... and absolutely, Monty should help.

I guess the big question is whether there's one more coming or not... I wish we had another or so to find out - I suppose there's still 10 games to go, but if Edwards really did find his control in Chicago - then I'm suddenly a lot less interested in spending on another reliever (even just lottery tickets) and I'd probably be comfortable just nibbling around to see if Soler could actually bring back a legit front-half SP. Not saying I'd necessarily be fervently pursuing that... just saying that I'd make it known that was the sort of deal most piquing my interest.
   2. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: July 21, 2016 at 03:06 PM (#5269196)
Miguel Montero has to be hurt.

Or done. He's a catcher, wouldn't be that surprising. I still hope he's the odd man out come playoff roster time. But Contreras needs to be catching more, and given some chances to catch Arrietta (though to be fair, getting Arrieta on track would be the higher short term priority).

"geez, we still got 22 mil and 2 years left AFTER this year?"

Thank god you're wrong. He's a FA after next year. But he is making $14mil next season.

I'd probably be comfortable just nibbling around to see if Soler could actually bring back a legit front-half SP.

I don't think he's going to get you that on his own. We seem to all agree Schwarber for Miller isn't happening. Is there a chance the Yanks eventually settle on Soler/something for Miller? Or do you even consider Soler for Chapman? I think that's probably closer to Soler's value.
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 21, 2016 at 04:03 PM (#5269253)
I guess I would still struggle to call the pen a weakness


I think in absolute terms, the bullpen is arguably fine now, with Montgomery. Rondon is probably an above-average closer. Strop can make us nervous at times, which means he's just like 90% of relievers in that regard: he's at least an average 8th-inning guy. Edwards seems legit; Wood is pretty good as a bridge guy. Warren, Cahill, Patton are fine as the back end of a major-league bullpen. And now Montgomery seems like a good lefty option.

In relative terms, though, if you walk through every position on the Cubs, the bullpen kind of sticks out. Among position players, when Fowler's back, the Cubs have All-Stars at 5 positions (not all of them deserved it, but they're all legitimately above average at their position). A Jason Heyward who hits for his career norms is probably borderline All-Star caliber, and so far, so good with Willson Contreras at C (where David Ross seems like a perfectly cromulent backup). And, of course, you have Baez, who, with his defense, is probably an above average infielder at any of 2B, SS, and probably 3B.

Which just leaves LF as a hole, which can either be filled by Soler coming back and hitting up to his potential, or by moving Bryant or Zobrist out there and making Baez a starting IF.

With the nice stretch out of the gate for the second half, we're back to nothing to complain about yet with the starting pitching.

Which leaves the bullpen. You can pretty much always improve the 7th man in your bullpen. I might do Soler for Miller - my willingness to do that comes and goes w/ the performance of the Cubs; but I'd be hesitant to go much higher. And I'd still prefer to avoid Chapman for personal reasons (and the fact that he's a free agent this offseason, but really, it's the personal stuff).

I'd probably be comfortable just nibbling around to see if Soler could actually bring back a legit front-half SP.


I wouldn't mind this - and would be willing to sweeten the pot beyond Soler. Starting pitcher isn't an obvious hole right now, but using a 6-man rotation to save some bullets for the postseason and picking up some Hammel insurance would be valuable for 2016 on top, of course, of the value of having another good young starting pitcher in future years.
   4. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: July 21, 2016 at 04:19 PM (#5269261)
A Jason Heyward who hits for his career norms is probably borderline All-Star caliber,

I don't think we're going to see that Heyward this year. .234/.325/.323 on the year now. Since a little bounceback in June (.257/.336/.386*), he's been pretty bad in July again (.232/.328/.321). I was willing to write off the early parts of a combo of slow start/wrist injury. So either his wrist is still hurt, or this is just a lost year for him at the plate. He could still contribute, but he is the worst or 2nd worst hitter in the lineup everyday. His defense/baserunning is as advertised, but I'm no longer expecting anything from him offensively this year.

*It looked better than that at one point, but it's still WELL below his career numbers before this year: .268/.353/.431.

I might do Soler for Miller - my willingness to do that comes and goes w/ the performance of the Cubs; but I'd be hesitant to go much higher.

I think the things everyone keeps saying about us overrating Schwarber is probably true about Soler. He can't stay healthy, and his bat just isn't as good. Plus, he's not as cheap.
   5. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: July 21, 2016 at 04:24 PM (#5269265)
At this point, Heyward's end-of-the-year line is inevitably going to look ugly. There's just not enough time left for it to look otherwise.

Fortunately, sitting on the lead we're sitting on - I will gladly and happily settle for a hot fall.

If he can put up a September/October that is even, say, 275/360/450 -- I would gladly call the year a success.
   6. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 21, 2016 at 04:30 PM (#5269270)
I think the things everyone keeps saying about us overrating Schwarber is probably true about Soler. He can't stay healthy, and his bat just isn't as good. Plus, he's not as cheap.


You're right. But (a) as good as Andrew Miller is, he's still a guy that's going to pitch maybe 30 innings this regular season and 10 more this postseason for the Cubs, and (b) I still remember the 2014 version of Jorge Soler - patient, great approach, hit the ball hard every damn time he made contact, good arm in RF. I miss that version of Soler (to be entirely fair, of course, that's about the only thing about the 2014 Cubs that I miss - very glad that 2014 Javy Baez hasn't returned, for example)
   7. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 21, 2016 at 05:22 PM (#5269293)
Probably the top bugaboo of baseball analysis is evaluating a bullpen based on small sample sizes. The Cubs bullpen has been terrific this season. Few runs have scored against them, and they have done a fine job of stranding runners. They've had a few bad weeks, but I wouldn't draw too many conclusions about that.

When you look at the actual relief pitchers, you don't see perennially great relievers on the Cubs. But those types are pretty rare overall. The lack of a strong lefty in the bullpen was an obvious and real issue that was solved. I think the bullpen is quite strong now.

I am on board wanting a front-line starting pitcher as well. I'm okay with Soler being involved in that, but I don't see the math working out. The Cubs will have to dip into the blue chip vault for that.

   8. Meatwad Posted: July 21, 2016 at 06:41 PM (#5269342)
Just for you moses I will try to live blog parts of tonights sb cubs game, that is if I do t have to refresh all the time to post.
   9. Meatwad Posted: July 21, 2016 at 07:20 PM (#5269355)
Marti,ez with a nice throw from right to get a runner going first to third on a single.
   10. Meatwad Posted: July 21, 2016 at 07:57 PM (#5269374)
Another great throw by by martinez, tbis time to nail a runner at home. Single into mid,right guy running from second was a dead duck at the plate wasnt even close. Great accurate arm.
   11. Meatwad Posted: July 21, 2016 at 08:02 PM (#5269375)
And luck would have it his family is,on its first visit from cuba at the park. He is due up in the 5th. Sadly they are getting no hit so far.
   12. Meatwad Posted: July 21, 2016 at 09:14 PM (#5269425)
Well thats as good as the highlites get. Dewees played a pretty good cf tonight but the bats were very quiet.
   13. Red Voodooin Posted: July 22, 2016 at 06:18 PM (#5270010)
Fowler returns from the DL; Almora back to Iowa along with Patton, with Montgomery added to the active roster
   14. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 22, 2016 at 08:25 PM (#5270046)
Fowler returns from the DL; Almora back to Iowa along with Patton, with Montgomery added to the active roster


I'm comfortable with the idea that Almora and Szczur provide broadly similar skill sets and Almora still has options. But I'd prefer to see both of them on the roster.

I also get sending Patton back to Iowa. He's hasn't pitched since July 9th and his last 5 appearances were in 10-2, 14-3, and 12-6 losses and an 11-inning and 14-inning game. But that's an argument for the Cubs having one relief pitcher too many, not for replacing Patton w/ somebody else.

And how in the f*** is Clayton Richard still on the 25-man roster!?

I realize this is nitpicking the 23rd, 24th, and 25th men on the 25-man roster, but I would have preferred Richard being DFA'd and Patton sent down, keeping both Almora and Szczur on the big-league roster.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 23, 2016 at 10:23 AM (#5270156)
And how in the f*** is Clayton Richard still on the 25-man roster!?

You sort of suggested it yourself: I think he would have to pass through waivers to be DFA'd. The Cubs have five lefty relievers on the 40-man: Wood, Montgomery, Richard, Gerardo Concepcion and Giovanni Soto. I'd rather have Richard available than the latter two, and I do think if Richard were DFA'd he'd be picked up by someone pretty quick.

Now, whether it makes sense to be concerned about that when it means Richard just sitting there doing nothing on the 25-man roster, I am not sure: even with just Richard and Wood as lefty relievers, I think the Cubs have played seven games since Richard came back and he has thrown one inning (a pretty decent one). Now with Montgomery in the bullpen, one way or another things would have to go very wrong for Richard to get much use at all.

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