A bitter sweet surrender. Rockies 7 Cubs 5

A bitter sweet surrender. Rockies 7 Cubs 5

The Cubs finally showed some life, some fight, and some timely hitting. Of course, this was in the last inning of the last game of a three-day stinkfist against the Rockies. But hey, it clearly was effort. The Cubs solidified their hold on the #2 pick (and yes, the whole whopping extra 1.whatever million dollars that goes with it.) with another loss to a less than impressive Colorado Rockies, falling 7-5 Wednesday afternoon. The Rockies teed off on dead pitcher walking Chris Volstad right from the hop with a 3 run homer from Jordan Pacheco. Brett Jackson would single in Luis V to make it 3-1 but DJ Lemahieu would funnel his power of Greyskull into a Volstad fastball and send it over the left field fence. The Cubs would be down 7-3 in the 9th before stringing 3 hits in the only show of offense, with Soriano’s double setting up the tying runs in scoring position with no outs. But a Castro K, a Vitters K, and an Anthony Recker groundout would finish the sweep of the Cubs, who are still winless on the road against the entire NL west. Let’s get outta this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.

 

O’DEATH, WON’T YOU SPARE ME OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR.

 

Chris Volstad continues to pound nails into his own casket. He played with his food from the moment he took the bump. 10 hits leading to 7 runs in 3 innings of what I guess we’ll call “work”.  As a person who was never impressed with Volstad, there was part of me who was afraid that after Samardzija was shut down, that Volstad might shine in a rotation filled with minor leaguers. I have no fear of that anymore. That he can’t stand out compared to two pitchers picked off the waiver wire says all you need to know. Dolis, Cabrera, and Chapman mopped up quite well if you want to feel good about that? Well I offered.

 

AND IN THE END, THE LOVE YOU TAKE IS EQUAL TO THE LOVE YOU MAKE.

 

I like the decision to leave Vitters (and Recker for that matter) in to hit in the 9th. Usually, the “competitiveness” kicks in and you go with someone with more experience. I wish Vitters had taken advantage of it. But Betancourt was throwing peas! Even Castro couldn’t catch up with it. Here’s hoping Sveum continues to find “situations” in these last couple of games for rookies like Vitters and Jackson to succeed. Might be nothing more than a gesture at this point. But we’re looking for small wins right now.

 

STUD TERKEL

 

One bright spot was Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo got on base all five times he went to bat. He also homered to right center, and had a key opposite field hit in the 9th. Rizzo looks poised for a huge leap next year. Of course, I thought the exact same thing about Eric Hosmer. And his season was disappointing. Yet another reason to find good veteran bench presence in the off-season. If Jim Thome were like, 38 instead of the 57 he currently is, he’d be ideal. Someone that Rizzo can talk to everyday. I have no idea who it is, but add him to the wish list…

 

The way the Cubs play their final series on the road starting tomorrow in Arizona. Thank the lord. I would like to think they can take one of the three in the desert, but this team is so lethargic on the road I’m not holding my breath. Their best chance is probably tomorrow, when Travis Wood pitches against Ian Kennedy. Until then.

 Boxscore

 

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  • Only another week of this team.....thank God.

    I just picked a bad week to give up drinking.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    You should drink now. Only 6 days left in the season. Then you can quit until April.

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    Well, he's tellin' us this and he's tellin' us that
    Changes it ev'ry day, says, it doesn't matter
    Bases are loaded and Casey's at bat
    Playin' it play by play, time to change the batter

    And we don't need the ladies cryin'
    'Cause the story's sad, aha
    Rocky Mountain way
    Is better than the way we had

    We have the second overall pick and the money that comes with it. These losses will not be wasted by this front office the way meaningless games were won by the last regime.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No Cub win is, or ever has been, meaningless.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Not a lock yet -- but pretty close. We're getting what we need for the rebuild; now we just hope Theo is the right guy.

  • The Cubs haven't won a road game against a West division team all season. How's that for a stat?

  • Bright side too is Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, and Jaye Chapman completely shut down an offense that kept landing roundhouses all series.

    It's either that or they just got tired. Maybe the Cubs rope-a-doped them for the final few innings.

  • The bright side is that Caldwell has totally lost his mind and thinks he's Joe Walsh....

    That was a pretty good performance by the bullpen. In fact, they've had a lot of them. But I don't know how well you can judge 'em based on the fact that they've been doing them in blowouts while the Cubs are 38 games back.... All three are probably in the mix for a pen spot next year, but what would you guess John, maybe one makes it next year with the big club?

  • In reply to felzz:

    I'd say at least 2 and all 3 will likely pitch at some point in 2013. Coincidentally, Sveum named those 3 guys specifically as pitchers who have impressed him. I don't see the Cubs adding a lot of established arms in the bullpen. We may see another Camp and/or Corpas type added, but no way they spend big on the pen, so I expect all 3 to have a shot to win jobs in ST.

  • Well 6 games left and a 3 game lead on those pesky Rockies . Be nice to sit at 2 and have a choice between Appel, Meadows , Stanek or whover blows up between now and draft . 2012 Cubs world series consolation .

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    You mock the million like it's no big deal. The #1 team in the draft gets about $12 million to spend on its first 10 picks. That million is then roughly 8% of what the best team in the draft gets. That's not insignificant.

  • I think one side has underplayed the difference between the two picks while the other side has overplayed it. The difference between picking 2nd or 3rd is not meaningless, but it's no windfall either.

    Historically there hasn't been much difference in terms of WAR between the 2,3, and 4 picks (in fact, the value of the #2 pick has been roughly equal to the #4 pick.)

    The difference between picking 2,3, or 4 is almost negligible in that first round, so it basically comes down to a gamble that you get a bonus player later in the draft with that extra money...but a million dollar player is basically a low 1st round to early 2nd round player. The odds are stacked against a player chosen at that level in terms of being a big difference-maker at the big league level. Look through the draft's history and see how many significant impact players were chosen after the 20th pick of the first round. It's pretty rare.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have the ability to take that risk than not take it and I'd rather have the 2 pick than the 3, but I certainly wouldn't pass up an opportunity to pick up young, MLB ready talent now for the chance to maybe take a historically high risk gamble later. It just isn't going to pay off all that often.

    At this point in the season, because the Cubs will "win" the tie breaker for having lost the season series to the Rockies, the Rockies would have to fall behind the Cubs in terms of record, not just tie them. This means the Cubs would have to gain 4 games in the last 6 games of the season. For example, it would take the Cubs going 5-1 the rest of the year while the Rockies go 1-5 for the Cubs to drop to the 3rd pick. At this time of the year it doesn't matter to me if the Cubs finish 3-3, which would eliminate the Rockies from any chance of getting that 2nd pick, so I'm fine if that happens. Those extra 2 or 3 wins at this point in the season aren't worth losing that slight advantage that the #2 pick affords them over the #3 pick...but really, it's not worth getting excited as if the Cub won some kind of lottery either. It's more like they won an extra lottery ticket.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There are 4 distinct advantages to the 2 slot over the 3. You've hit on 2 of them. The third is that we would draft before Colorado in the next 39 Rounds as well. That sounds insignificant (and may be), but I've been in enough fantasy football drafts to know that the guy before me would often take the guy I wanted.

    International spending is also keyed on record. We don't know the number yet, but that might be 800 K more for the next Aroldis Chapman or Jorge Soler. Or packages of a few similar but lesser types.

  • In reply to tim815:

    All the things you mention have some value, and there is no question it's better to pick 2nd, all things being equal. But I do think it's been overvalued here of late. Those things still don't add up to the windfall some are making it out to be. Great that we got it. I'm a huge draft guy, have been following it closely for 30+ years now, so I know it well. In fact, I've written specifically about all of these advantages with the new CBA as early as November of last year.

    One of the flip sides I didn't mention, however, is that one of advantages is tenuous. You may have to spend all or most of that extra slot money on that 2nd pick. We saw Houston low ball Appel, the consensus #1 pick, in order to take Correa and leave some money for McCullers. I think that's what some people find exciting, that kind of financial flexibility. But we saw that the next pick, Buxton (also rated higher than Correa, btw), didn't leave Minnesota with that kind of flexibility. They got all that extra money, but they had to use it all on the one player anyway, a player who may or may not be better than the guy selected right after him (Mike Zunino).

    Is Correa and McCullers better than Appel and whomever they would have taken at slot with their supplemental pick? Only time will tell. It was a clever maneuver, but it doesn't mean that it will turn out better for them..

    Talking about this as some kind of definitive win just rings hollow with me. You've given yourself slightly better odds by moving up one slot, let's not make it out to be more than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    "let's not make it out to be more than that." Well stated, John.

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    That's one way of gaming the system. The Cubs showed the other way with Duane Underwood. He wasn't an easy sign. A signing bonus of $1.05 million vs. a slot of $769k. That extra $250k was earned by signing players cheap in later rounds relative to their slot values. A team picking later in the draft would have had a much lower chance of actually signing him -- because it would have been more difficult to cobble together enough money to go over $1 million. If the Cubs had pulled the same trick with the #2 pick, they may have had around $2 million, which either goes to a better prospect than Underwood, or $1 mil goes to Underwood and $1 mil makes a run at Wiseman. There are just infinite options made possible -- when you have financial flexibility in this system.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Absolutely and my guess is the Cubs will take that type of strategy again and see if they can't get another player who slips a little bit. Maybe this time they get that Wiseman or Hickman type player if they create that kind of flexibility. Ultimately they may have a choice,though, do they take a lesser ranked player to agree to a lower slot to create that room? Or do they take an Appel or a Stanek, who may ask for full slot and leave them with a little less? My feeling is if they think there's a true impact player at the top, they have to take him even if it means less financial flexibility. A MLB draft can be made successful by landing one impact guy. On the other hand, if they don't see much difference between, let's say Stanek and Manaea, but Manea is willing to sign for less, then you make that move to create flexibility. It's a risk either way

    Last year the Cubs thought Almora was a player they needed to take even though they knew full well it would cost overslot to sign him and hamstring them with someone like Wiseman at a lower slot. Would it have been better to take David Dahl, for example, if it meant also getting Wiseman? I don't really know. It certainly would have been a big gamble for them considering how much they valued Almora.

    Last year the Cubs took the guys they truly wanted early in the draft. They picked guys that were arguably first round talents in Almora, Johnson, Blackburn, Underwood, and even 4th rd. pick Conway had some first round feelers before getting hurt. O'Neil in the 3rd was also going to be a bit of a tougher sign. In other words, they went in hard early and often for the guys they wanted last year. It'll be interesting to see if they try the same strategy next year or if they go for an easier sign early to get a tougher sign later in the draft. I think they'd only do that if the guys they wanted early were off the board but if there's a guy they really want still on the board, they'll grab him and not worry about a late round overslot type.

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    Here's the key article: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/draft-preview/2012/2613426.html

    Misread that a bit. So $2 mil from the #2 vs #6 is high, but notice that the slot value drops by $50k for the #2 pick. (Even 2 vs. 3, it's a difference of $12k.) This kind of stuff adds up pretty quickly. And at the end of the day, it is a big difference to making offers to guys like Underwood.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't disagree except with the word choice of "big". It's better to have the 2nd pick no doubt, but "big difference"? I don't think I'd describe it that way. Getting the 2nd pick over the 3rd will help, but the odds are it won't drastically change the course of the Cubs rebuilding process.

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    I've mostly stayed out of the religious war that is draft status vs. winning, but I would say, given how bad our system was when Theo/Jed arrived, that a better chance at one more high-ceiling player is important. Not an organization-changer, but as we have all bemoaned at one point or another, the prospect cupboard was pretty bare at the start of the season. We've started to see some restocking, but it appears that once the Cubs start getting competitive, sustaining success will get much harder, since the draft and the international pool money will go down. So it's important to squeeze every bit of value out of sucking that we can. Hopefully it will set us up, so by the time we need to suck again, they will have revisited the CBA.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    I've been trying to find some middle ground in all this but to no avail. When it comes to picking 2nd or 3rd, it seems some think it's a huge difference or they think it makes no difference at all. To me the answer is somewhere in between, but it appears most are firmly set on one side or the other. I'm happy with the 2nd pick if the Cubs get it, it does make a difference but it doesn't strike me as game changer.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, it *could* be a game changer if it allows the Cubs to get prospect A over prospect B and prospect A evolves into an appreciably better major leaguer than prospect B. But we won't know the result of that for 5-8 years. So straight up it's the difference between a lottery ticket and a slightly better lottery ticket. Seen that way, it's probably not that big a deal. To me it's all about the extra money. If that allows one or two additional high-ceiling prospects to enter the system (between the draft and international signings) that you wouldn't get with the 3rd pick, then I'm all for it. Then you're talking a couple of extra lottery tickets on top of the slightly better odds one you'll pick at #2. I don't know if it's worth actively rooting for, but there it is.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    True, but the *could* game works both ways. Sometimes prospect B is better too (i.e. 2006 when Tampa got Longoria at #3 while the Rockies picked Craig Reynolds at #2).

    To the main point, that's exactly what I'm saying. It's a lottery ticket with slightly better odds, so I'll take it and the extra smaller lottery ticket or two that comes with it, but I hope we don't build a rebuilding plan that depends on sustaining a losing culture.

    Here's the bright side now..You can root for the Rockies to go 3-3 and that will clinch the 2nd pick too. Everybody wins!

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    So, clearly this has spiraled out of control -- a holy war as Kevin puts it. And positions are being needlessly, hardened, and I fully admit to falling into this. But, really, where this started was those of us who have fully bought into the rebuild saying essentially what you've said above: on average, the #2 slot is better than the #3 slot, and thus -- to maximize the rebuild -- we wanted the Cubs to have it, given that the season was lost, anyway.

    Then people on the site came back at us and said, literally, there is no difference between pick two and pick three. And, so, we came back and said, no, no, pick two is better than pick three, here's why. And, in trying to defend the thought that the two pick is better than the three pick, suddenly it becomes that we *have* to get that pick to compete, which was never the argument, just that we'd be slightly better, and we want the Cubs to be the very best they possibly can be following the rebuild. And, yes, in frustration the value was made more than it actually is.

    But I continue to believe, if the option for the Cubs is finishing out of the playoffs and losing 120 games to get the #1 pick or finishing out of the playoffs and losing 100 games and getting the #2 pick, I'd rather lose 120 games to rebuild the minors the best we can to make a real push.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I just can't bring myself to hope & root for the Cubs to lose. Draft picks be damned! MLB is full of All Stars, GG's, SS, Triple Crowns, etc.. that were not a #1 pick, or even first rounders for that matter. Not trying to debate the merits of picking 2nd vs 3rd....

    I want Theo & Co to find the "Mike Trouts" in the late 1st roiund vs. losing and picking 1st or 2nd...........

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'm with you, Mr. Daddy. You sound like an informed, intelligent Cub fan.

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    The personal insults are getting old, quickly. If you can make an argument other than: "Go Cubs! Win Cubs!" then you can call other people stupid.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't know how you see any personal insults in my reply to HoosierDaddy.

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    You wanna play this game? Fine with me. Buckle up.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Mike Trout is such a six sigma event he doesn't belong in this conversation. He's the best player drafted since A-Rod over a decade ago, and A-Rod WAS #1 overall. A player that good will probably never again go that late in the draft. Or anywhere but #1.

  • We're all Cubs fans, we all want them to get better...

    My suggestion is that we put a moratorium on the subject until the Cubs pick is decided, which could happen as soon as tonight.

    Once the pick is set, we can start examining what the Cubs can do, but I think right now, the only thing this debate is doing is creating acrimony between readers with different opinions.

    One solution...all the Rockies have to do is win 2 out of their last 5 for the Cubs to get the 2nd pick. We can all root for the Rockies to win 2 while the Cubs sweep the last 5!

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree to this. In fact, I agree not to discuss the draft until the World Series is over.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Excellent comment, as usual, John. Thank you.

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