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   1. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 11:57 AM (#5252925)
Thanks for posting, Dan. I had started writing something, too, but there's plenty of overlap. My thoughts:

Main takeaway: the Cubs still have a 9 game lead on the Cards and 12 on the Pirates (all 3 teams are only 4-6 in their last 10), so it's still way too early to think about jumping off the ledge.

The obvious bright spot this week has been the immediate impact of Willson Contreras. I don't think anyone could have expected him to make this big of a splash, especially on a team this deep. I've been impressed with what I've seen of him defensively at all 3 positions he's played so far - C, 1B, LF - but still feel the biggest change of him making an impact in October is as the starting catcher. Rizzo has busted out of his May slump, enough so that he's in shouting distance of leading all Cubs regulars in each slash line (.283/.403/.562). Baez's defense and highlight plays at multiple positions continues to impress me. Almora's defense has lived up to billing, but it's also obvious that his bat still isn't quite there (and with his approach, it might never get there).

As a team, the Cubs are walking a lot less this month and striking out more; BB% has gone down each month: 13.7%, 10.2%, 9.5% and the K% has gone up 19%, 21.8%, 24.7%. Part of that was to be expected, part of that is injuries/depth guys playing. I'm still worried about Addison Russell's bat. Heyward had started off June much better, but he's also looked bad this stretch (though he had a good day yesterday).

There isn't much to say about the pitching staff that hasn't already been said. The bottom of the pen is still mix and match until the Cubs make a trade; Concepcion has already been demoted, and it looks like maybe Corey Black is taking his place.
   2. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 12:24 PM (#5252940)
Arrieta against the Reds tonight though. That's promising!
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 27, 2016 at 12:34 PM (#5252953)
Honestly, my biggest disappointment with this week - outside of the frustration while the games are actually going on - has been that this probably ends the comparisons with the 1927 Yankees and 1906-07 Cubs and shifts it to the 2016 Giants and Nationals. Winning the 2016 World Series is rightly the goal here, of course, but I'm a little disappointed that a run at 116 wins is probably off the table (that said, the Cubs' Pythag is right at 116 wins - although they're 5 games below that in actual record and it's hard to play 5 games over a Pythag that high over the rest of the season).

The bullpen does become a bit more worrisome when you're not blowing your opponents out of two-thirds of your games and your starting pitchers aren't routinely going 7 innings w/ sub-2.50 ERA's. But bullpens tend to shorten up come playoff time anyway and if the Cubs can acquire a front-end reliever (Andrew Miller would be my first choice) and Rondon and Strop stay healthy and effective, they're likely to have as good a back-end of the bullpen as anybody.

Meanwhile, roster decisions on the position-player side are suddenly going to get really interesting as guys start getting healthy.

Assuming everybody's available, I see something like this:

C: Contreras, Montero, Ross
IF: Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell, Bryant, Baez, LaStella
OF: Fowler, Heyward, Soler, Szczur, Almora

That's 14, which is probably at least one more than Maddon would prefer (14 position players + 5 starters = 6 relievers) and already drops Coghlan (who's fine, but is, essentially, a poor man's combination of LaStella and Soler). I'd guess Almora is the odd man out there and/or we start to see more minor injuries putting guys on the DL (e.g., I wouldn't be surprised to see Montero do another DL stint at some point, even if he doesn't suffer a new injury).

Tying into the shorter bullpen (and starting rotation) come playoff time, I could see all 14 of those guys making the playoff roster if they're all still around and healthy.
   4. zzz Posted: June 27, 2016 at 12:41 PM (#5252962)
The Braves have been marginally better than the Cubs the past three weeks. Ergo, don't get too worked up over any small sample stretch of the season.

For instance, the team with the most wins so far started the year 17-18.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM (#5252986)
Arrieta against the Reds tonight though. That's promising!


I think the obvious solution is that Mark Grace needs to sleep with an ugly woman ASAP.

   6. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: June 27, 2016 at 01:52 PM (#5253064)
I shouldn't have to tell the stat-heads on here that OF defense is worth less than anywhere else on the field. Addison Russell (or maybe Baez) is an above average player because of his defense. Heyward has been a bad hitter with good D in a position where good D is the norm and bad D doesn't hurt very much. That said, it does look like his O is turning around. He used to ground out a lot, and now he lines out a lot. I wonder if he could benefit from some type of tweak that brings his average launch angle up so some of those liners can leave the yard.

Coghlan has done great specifically with regard to his walk rate. I wish Szczur would have gotten more of an audition -- one PH AB a game doesn't seems to be a winning formula for him. I was expecting Soler to break out this year, and now with all of the other OF options it looks like he may not have anywhere to play regularly when he comes back.

Imagine if you were the GM of this team trying to project next year's starting OF as this year's trade deadline approaches. You have Fowler, Heyward, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Almora, Coghlan, Szczur all as ML-quality options (8 guys!). Maybe one of those guys can be put into another position and another can stay as a backup, but certainly at least one of your big names will have to leave and could potentially hurt you down the road -- and it can't be Heyward because of his contract.
   7. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 02:21 PM (#5253106)
Joel Peralta is getting the call for Concepcion. He's this year's version of Rafael Soriano; well, the first half version. Joe Nathan appears sets to be the 2nd half version.

I don't expect either of those guys to work out.
   8. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 02:26 PM (#5253117)
Imagine if you were the GM of this team trying to project next year's starting OF as this year's trade deadline approaches. You have Fowler, Heyward, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Almora, Coghlan, Szczur all as ML-quality options (8 guys!). Maybe one of those guys can be put into another position and another can stay as a backup, but certainly at least one of your big names will have to leave and could potentially hurt you down the road -- and it can't be Heyward because of his contract.

Fowler will leave in FA. I'm sticking with the idea that Soler will be traded this year for pitching. Almora, if he can hit enough, can maybe make Szczur expendable (and while I'm rooting for him, I'm not at all convinced he should be playing more; in fact I'm convinced his upside is 4th OFer - a start here or there wouldn't be bad, but perhaps Maddon is getting everything he can out of him playing him this way), but Almora still has work to do, IMO. Coghlan is a nice bench piece, but his presence isn't bumping anyone else off the team. Baez has to hit enough to make Bryant a fulltime OF, I'm not positive that will happen and still think he's a supersub moreso than starting IF. This is a long way of saying these things have a way of sorting themselves out over time; while I'm on the record about dealing Soler, I don't want him dealt for the sake of being dealt, it's just he's the guy they could stand to lose the most that still has some value. I also trust Maddon to figure out the playing time and alignments that would hopefully bring the best out of these options.
   9. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 02:30 PM (#5253123)
Assuming everybody's available, I see something like this:

C: Contreras, Montero, Ross
IF: Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell, Bryant, Baez, LaStella
OF: Fowler, Heyward, Soler, Szczur, Almora

That's 14, which is probably at least one more than Maddon would prefer (14 position players + 5 starters = 6 relievers) and already drops Coghlan (who's fine, but is, essentially, a poor man's combination of LaStella and Soler). I'd guess Almora is the odd man out there and/or we start to see more minor injuries putting guys on the DL (e.g., I wouldn't be surprised to see Montero do another DL stint at some point, even if he doesn't suffer a new injury).


I'm fickle when it comes to the bench guys, but I think Andere's convinced me Coghlan is here to stay. There's definitely a scenario where both Szczur and Almora are on the playoff roster (that involves a Soler trade). I also said before, I think the catcher situation will sort itself out - Contreras will either be too good and Montero doesn't make that roster or is DL'd or Contreras will have not done enough to earn that job. I bring up the postseason roster just because there will be injuries, etc, that will open plenty of PT the rest of the season so as long as Richard or Federowicz don't reappear I hope to not find myself ######## too much about the 25 man makeup until October.
   10. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 02:35 PM (#5253128)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 11m11 minutes ago
Contreras in LF, Heyward in CF, Coghlan in RF. Soler out for early work under the watch of Maddon.


First mention of Soler I've seen in a while.
   11. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 27, 2016 at 03:51 PM (#5253220)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 2m2 minutes ago
Tim Federowicz cleared waivers, headed to Iowa


Shocking.

I also saw something about TLS headed to Iowa for rehab soon.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 27, 2016 at 04:03 PM (#5253232)
Joel Peralta is getting the call for Concepcion.


Older than me!

Joe Nathan appears sets to be the 2nd half version.


Even olderer than me!
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 27, 2016 at 04:55 PM (#5253303)
Well, to clarify, I think Coghlan is getting this much PT because he has more or less picked up where he left off last year (OPS+ of 109 since he was picked up). The risk of his acquisition for the Cubs was that they simply cannot afford to play the Oakland version of Coghlan with any regularity, and they don't have room on the roster for a position player who hits like a pitcher. The risk that he reverts to that player again is still there, and if it happens, I think the Cubs are going to eat the millions and dump him, somehow or someway. As long as he plays anything like he has the last couple of weeks, I think he stays.

My original point was that the Cubs acquired him assuming that he was going to be useful and that he was going to play with some regularity. I don't think they had really thought out the alternative.
   14. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 27, 2016 at 05:59 PM (#5253376)
Imagine if you were the GM of this team trying to project next year's starting OF as this year's trade deadline approaches. You have Fowler, Heyward, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Almora, Coghlan, Szczur all as ML-quality options (8 guys!). Maybe one of those guys can be put into another position

I'm thinking maybe Bryant is the guy who can put into another position.
   15. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: June 27, 2016 at 07:03 PM (#5253416)
I think Szczur's upside is 5th OF. Realistically he's a DFA shuttle guy, a 5th OF for a second division team. He has a career OPS+ of 85, despite 45% of his career PAs coming vs. LHP. DRS and UZR don't like his defense all that much, particularly in CF. He's never lit the world on fire in the upper minors, posting wRC+s in the 100-teens as a repeater who's old for his level. He's Almora without the defense or upside.

If the Cubs decide Almora needs to work on his approach or get regular reps, Szczur might survive the return of various position players. But I don't think he makes the postseason roster.
   16. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 27, 2016 at 07:13 PM (#5253428)
I think Szczur's upside is 5th OF. Realistically he's a DFA shuttle guy, a 5th OF for a second division team.

I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but yeah, he's likely playing over his head.

I think the Cubs are going to play this hand until everybody's cards are face up though.
   17. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: June 27, 2016 at 07:39 PM (#5253450)
I think the Cubs are going to play this hand until everybody's cards are face up though.


I'm pretty strongly in the Szczur's no good camp. Sczczur is behind Fowler, Heyward, Soler, Schwarber, and Almora in the OF. Coghlan, too. You'd rather get Baez, LaStella starts at 3B than give any regular ABs to Szczur. That makes him, like, the 27th or 28th man on the roster? That said, just because you're not going to be heartbroken losing him doesn't mean that you'd risk it to get ML ABs for Murton or John Andreoli or Kawasaki.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: June 28, 2016 at 02:40 AM (#5253649)
Bits and pieces:

The bullpen has 4 good pitchers 4? I'm starting to worry it's 1.

All of the Cubs big money acquisitions have been working out. True but the concern with big money acquisitions is usually after year 1. By that standard, Heyward remains a major concern while Zobrist has been better than expected and Lackey has been excellent (and is only signed for 1 more year anyway).

Maddon needs to stop using Grimm so much. His ERA is above 6 and he’s second in appearances. Yeah, I thought he had too little faith in Grimm last year so was glad to see him have faith in him this year. Then the wheels came off. But he needs a 7th inning guy. Could be Wood.

The obvious bright spot this week has been the immediate impact of Willson Contreras. And kudos to whoever predicted/speculated that he'd hit well enough to get put into LF.

I've been impressed with what I've seen of him defensively at all 3 positions he's played so far - C, 1B, LF I guess I only saw a few plays but I'm not impressed with his LF. Now, by standards of C with 7 career OF starts, none since 2013 (which may have been what you meant) then he's been much better than I expected.

Short-term OF wrangling and related stuff I guess:

Report I saw today said LaStella will be back this weekend. Since Almora has options, I assume he'll go down although they may DFA Szczur. I think they like Szczur and will try to keep him but if Bryant and Contreras are going to continue to take some RHB OF time and Soler is anywhere near ready, there's little role for Almora or Szczur to fill regardless.

Given everything that's gone on, I think Coghlan is a better fit for the team right now than Soler. Pre-Fowler, I'm pretty sure Coghlan would have been getting a good chunk of PT (some RF starts, Schwarber starts at C, rest Schwarber before/after starts at C). Then when Fowler was signed, he made no sense as 4th/5th OF with 3 LHB starting OF. Schwarber's injury re-opened that spot.

Meanwhile Soler's season has kinda been cursed. He lost a mostly starting gig when Fowler re-signed, got it back when Schwarber got hurt, didn't hit then got hurt, has seen Baez emerge as a strong defender meaning RHB OF PA for Bryant, Contreras has hit and started getting LF PT, Coghlan has been solid (very strange slash line), Almora hasn't sucked.

Anyway, assuming nobody gets hurt and Soler and Fowler are back reasonably soon, they'll have a nasty roster crunch. Contreras hitting means the 3rd C is here to stay (unless Montero hits the DL again ... see first assumption). Coghlan makes Kiko's 14 into 15. Almora optioned and Szczur DFA'd gets it down to 13 with 12 pitchers. Maddon clearly prefers 13 pitchers and with the bullpen struggles it's hard for me to see him being happy at 12 for very long, especially if we really are going with 6 starters ... but obviously he'll live with it until something gets sorted on the position player side.

So ... Montero to the DL ... Coghlan stinks between now and Soler's return and gets DFA'd ... somebody else pulls up lame. I assume they'll try to hold onto everybody (except probably Szczur) until the AS break which will also give the entire pen a rest allowing them to live at 12 pitchers for a bit longer if they have to. I've got to think that somebody will be gone (or DL'd) by the 20th.

Which still doesn't really solve things for Soler. Baez with Bryant to LF is the #1 RHB-heavy lineup right now. Joe will be working Coghlan and LaStella into the lineup against RHP. If Montero is not DL'd, Contreras might still get 1 start a week in LF. Soler will get some starts in LF and RF against LHP but it's hard for me to see him getting much PT vs. RHP.

Obviously it's possible that the Cubs do consider Coghlan just a 1-month stopgap and will drop him as soon as Soler returns (or he stinks over the next few weeks).

In the longer-term for the OF, the first key question is how well Schwarber's rehab goes and whether the injury craters his defense. If things don't go well, I wouldn't be surprised to see Fowler back to be the primary LF (or even 2017 in CF). Depends on years/$$ obviously. The second key question is whether Almora hits at AAA and in Sept. If not, I wouldn't be shocked to see Fowler back as CF -- if the Cubs think they've improved his defensive issues, it makes plenty of sense. Things could be worse obviously and Maddon would still have plenty of combinations to play with but I don't think the Cubs plan on going into 2017 with an all-glove CF.

I agree Javy's long-term future is a super-sub, at least as long as Zobrist's defense remains acceptable (and it's been better than that).

I remain reasonably unworried about Russell -- he's a 22-year-old, good defensive SS putting up a 94 OPS+. What's the worst-case scenario here -- Orlando Cabrera? He was league average through age 30 on a 84 OPS+. JJ Hardy who put up OPS+ of 86 and 75 at 22-23, looked pretty toasty at one point, and still put up 24 WAR, 9 WAA through age 30? He's never going to be the same type of offensive player that Larkin was but Larkin put up a 95 OPS+ in a quarter-season at 22 and followed it with a 76 in about 500 PA at 23. I've noted similarities to Jose Valentin before and he didn't even get to be full-time until 26 and had a very nice career. We're nowhere near Ozzie Guillen, Rey Ordonez, Rey Sanchez levels of offense. We are admittedly closer to Andrelton Simmons' level of offense than I'd like.
   19. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 28, 2016 at 08:24 AM (#5253667)
Oh - after 6-8 tries, I'm finally able to post here!

Anyhow -- question for the group: At what point do we start getting concerned about Jake Arrieta? We all knew that he was going to decline after that absurd second half last year. We all knew that some regression was going to happen.

But what we're seeing lately isn't exactly regression. His control is shot. He has 40 walks in 2016 so far. He had 41 in 2014. He's tied for fifth in the NL with most walks allowed. Last year he had the 10th fewest BB/9IP in the NL. He's averaging He's giving up more than his share of fouls and throwing a lot of pitches. In six of his last dozen outings, he's lasted 5 IP exactly. He's thrown about 98 pitches per outing in those brief starts. He's still striking guys out. He's still keeping the ball in the park. But he's off - and it's been about 2 months of it.

You can dig into the numbers at Fangraphs and see some interesting things. Last year one of his best weapons was his cutter. According to their numbers, last year his Cutter was worth 23.5 runs above average. It was neck-and-neck with his fastball for his most effective pitch (23.7 RAA for his fastball). Given that he threw his cutter 29.1% of the time and his fastball 50.7% of the time, his cutter was his best weapon overall.

But not this year. First, he's not throwing it nearly as often: just 20.2% of the time - with his fastball increasing to 63.7% of his pitches. And now his cutter is worth just 3.3 RAA, barely a sixth of his fastball's 18.8 RAA.
   20. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: June 28, 2016 at 08:45 AM (#5253672)
I'd be more worried if Arrieta was getting knocked around a bit more -- as you say, he's still K'ing guys regularly and when he's on, he's still flat nasty.

I do have to wonder if missing Montero has hurt him (i.e., maybe Montero's pitch-framing really IS worth a catcher who can't hit and can't throw). I will say that after thinking I was an idiot for being in the "wait and see" extension camp, I now find myself back in it.
   21. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 28, 2016 at 01:42 PM (#5253960)
The bullpen has 4 good pitchers 4? I'm starting to worry it's 1.


I don't fully trust Cahill, and Strop is always going to have bad outings (likely the reason he'll never be seen as a 9th inning guy), but Wood has been impressive. I agree that none of that should stop the Cubs from thinking their number 1 priority is anything other than another top bullpen arm. Again, adding Miller (or Chapman) just slides all of those guys down a slot and has the calming effect (on me) of making the whole pen seem better.

Yeah, I thought he had too little faith in Grimm last year so was glad to see him have faith in him this year. Then the wheels came off.

Agreed, same here. It's a shame both him and Ramirez tailed off the way they did. Guess that's what happens to RP though.

Since Almora has options, I assume he'll go down although they may DFA Szczur. I think they like Szczur and will try to keep him but if Bryant and Contreras are going to continue to take some RHB OF time and Soler is anywhere near ready, there's little role for Almora or Szczur to fill regardless.

Part of the initial appeal of Szczur was having another true CF on the roster. I don't think he's going anywhere until Fowler comes back. When LaStella comes back, Almora definitely goes down, IMO. I don't know what they'll do if Soler comes back before Fowler (Baez hasn't played out there in forever now). When they have to bring back Warren to start, either Edwards or Patton goes down.

Which still doesn't really solve things for Soler. Baez with Bryant to LF is the #1 RHB-heavy lineup right now. Joe will be working Coghlan and LaStella into the lineup against RHP. If Montero is not DL'd, Contreras might still get 1 start a week in LF. Soler will get some starts in LF and RF against LHP but it's hard for me to see him getting much PT vs. RHP.

Obviously it's possible that the Cubs do consider Coghlan just a 1-month stopgap and will drop him as soon as Soler returns (or he stinks over the next few weeks).


The other option is leaving Soler in AAA. Does LaStella have options? With Coghlan back and Baez's defense shining everywhere, I could see LaStella being the guy squeezed. If he doesn't have options, I'm sure someone would give the Cubs something useful (a live arm, even further away) back for him. I'd also hope Szczur has showed enough that he could fetch something too if he has to go.

---

I hadn't considered the possibility of Fowler coming back again next year, but you make some good points on why the Cubs could consider it. I do think he's much more likely to get a decent long term offer this year than last though, even with draft pick comp. So unless he wants to leave more money on the table, I'm still guessing for now he's gone.
   22. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 28, 2016 at 01:45 PM (#5253965)
Anyhow -- question for the group: At what point do we start getting concerned about Jake Arrieta? We all knew that he was going to decline after that absurd second half last year. We all knew that some regression was going to happen.

I've been concerned for a little while now. Not so much that he's less good than last year; like you said, that was always going to be the reality. He just has to work so damn hard now. He's throwing so many pitches, struggling to put guys away, and he's not going deep into games. You talk about the FG stuff; my own opinion/biased view is that guys are laying off that cutter that drops out of the zone; last year, they'd either strike out on it or pounded it into the ground. This year, they're taking it for balls or fouling it off.
   23. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: June 28, 2016 at 02:27 PM (#5254017)
I've been concerned for a little while now. Not so much that he's less good than last year; like you said, that was always going to be the reality. He just has to work so damn hard now. He's throwing so many pitches, struggling to put guys away, and he's not going deep into games. You talk about the FG stuff; my own opinion/biased view is that guys are laying off that cutter that drops out of the zone; last year, they'd either strike out on it or pounded it into the ground. This year, they're taking it for balls or fouling it off.


6 of his 16 starts have been just 5 IP. He's not giving up more runs, just not going nearly as deep into games.
   24. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 28, 2016 at 02:35 PM (#5254024)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales
Soler, Almora Jr., and Baez out for early BP under supervision of Mallee.


LaStella hit a HR in his rehab start last night.

----

From Cubs Den: Vogelbach went 5 for 7 with 2 doubles and his 15th HR of the season. Vogelbach is hitting .313/.428/.565 on the year. He has a 16.3% walk rate vs. just a 20.3% K rate. If only the NL had the DH... Also, Candelario has been good since his promotion to AAA (.349/.475/.619 in 80PA; he actually really struggled at AA before his bump: .219/.324/.367) and same for Happ since his promotion to AA (11 for 17 with 2HRs so far).
   25. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 28, 2016 at 02:40 PM (#5254032)
6 of his 16 starts have been just 5 IP. He's not giving up more runs, just not going nearly as deep into games.

Right, and like others have said, the walks are way up.

----

Finally looking it up, he's really not throwing that many more P/PA this year vs last (4.0 vs 3.94), but his strike% has dropped 65.2% vs 63.5%. However, his foul balls/strike has gone down and nothing else they track seems to line up with my impression. Perhaps it's just I'm wrong, or it's not a good comp because it's his full year number last year and not him at his best vs. him at his worst this year. I dunno.
   26. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 29, 2016 at 11:51 AM (#5254809)
Mark Gonzales ‏@MDGonzales 6m6 minutes ago
Soler will accompany Cubs to NY (so no rehab assignment yet), La Stella still with Iowa on rehab assignment (so no roster move Thursday).
   27. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: June 29, 2016 at 12:04 PM (#5254840)
Article on Arrieta's recent problems.

Joe Maddon has emphasized nothing was wrong physically with Arrieta and his velocity is fine, indicating instead that it was a feel and rhythm issue. So what’s pitching coach Chris Bosio think?

“Jake and I talked about it yesterday, I brought up some data actually and showed him exactly what’s going on,” Bosio said in an interview Wednesday morning with Brian Hanley and Zach Zaidman on 670. “I’d rather not (get specific), but it’s been addressed. It’s something we’re going to be working on on the side here in about an hour-and-a-half. It’s something that’s definitely fixable. He’s aware of it, and I’m aware of it and now we go attack it, get a game plan and set the stage for his start coming up in New York.

“It’s something that has to do mechanically, mentally and those things are fixable things. It’s a mental approach, which you talk about, you address it, you accept it and then you move forward and get a game plan.
   28. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: June 29, 2016 at 04:38 PM (#5255120)
   29. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2016 at 10:31 PM (#5257965)
I do think [Fowler] is much more likely to get a decent long term offer this year than last though, even with draft pick comp. So unless he wants to leave more money on the table, I'm still guessing for now he's gone.

Agreed, he should do fine this offseason (barring a crappy 2nd half) and so the $/years may not work out for the Cubs. I don't know if there are any other viable CF on the market next offseason and the Cubs could always go back to the plan for Heyward in CF most of the time. It's not likely to be a major issue.

   30. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 03, 2016 at 10:36 PM (#5257969)
Agreed, he should do fine this offseason (barring a crappy 2nd half) and so the $/years may not work out for the Cubs. I don't know if there are any other viable CF on the market next offseason and the Cubs could always go back to the plan for Heyward in CF most of the time. It's not likely to be a major issue.

I was assuming they were just going to put Almora in CF. It's an offensive downgrade, but then again they'll have Schwarber come back & I assume Heyward will be better offensively next year.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: July 04, 2016 at 12:42 AM (#5257990)
I think that's the most likely outcome and, if he keeps hitting anything remotely like his current numbers, that's what they'll do. But if his major/minors hitting suffers a big enough drop -- to say an 80-85 OPS+ -- then I don't think that will be their #1 plan. Of course as long as Contreras keeps hitting like Johnny Bench, I'm not too worried about next year's offense even if we do have two OF and a SS with OPS+ below 90. :-)

With Coghlan back and Baez's defense shining everywhere, I could see LaStella being the guy squeezed.

This is where it's hard to tell what the Cubs really believe about each player. But LaStella is putting up a 133 OPS+ after hitting just fine as a PH/backup 2B/3B last year. The Cubs know his track record of course but with them, he's shown good plate discipline (with the Braves too) and respectable power and above-average production (in a measly 165 PA). Coghlan has done basically the same thing in 2015-16 in more PA and hit well in 2014 too. If I had to choose between him and Coghlan, I think I'd take LaStella but my gut tells me the Cubs take Coghlan. And, with the Cubs' flexibility, they essentially fill the same role (with Zobrist or Bryant going to the OF). Note I think their preference is to hold onto both but they may not have that luxury.

The emergence of Contreras and Maddon's willingness to put him in LF has been the wild card I didn't expect and am still not sure what it means for the Cubs' likely roster moves.

Getting back to Fowler, I should clarify that I think the Cubs would have to and might consider bringing him back on a multi-year contract. Obviously a repeat of a 1-year contract would be ideal from the Cubs' perspective but don't think that will happen either. That's where the issues of Almora's bat and Schwarber's rehab come into play. I can see Fowler starting most of the time in CF in 2017 then, if Schwarber can't hack it, taking over in LF; or if he can, Fowler shifts to 4th OF. I don't imagine Fowler would be too happy about that but last season was his first above 565 PA and that's what he's on pace for this year and the Cubs should be able to find him 450+ PA as a 4th OF. It takes a few coincidences for it to make sense for the Cubs and the Cubs won't really know how Schwarber's rehab has gone until they get him out in LF next spring so it's unlikely.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: July 04, 2016 at 01:10 AM (#5257996)

"I'm a little disappointed that a run at 116 wins is probably off the table"

good call
   33. zzz Posted: July 04, 2016 at 01:26 AM (#5257999)
The Cubs are 5-10 since Fowler went down.

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