Game Notes: Villaneuva, Wood, and some video on Rizzo

Game Notes: Villaneuva, Wood, and some video on Rizzo

Tough outing by Carlos Villanueva last night and he may be the odd man out when Matt Garza comes back, which is now close to becoming reality. The Cubs will try to bounce back with a win to take the series.

News and Notes...

  • In case you missed it yesterday, I pitched in some brief thoughts for Chicago Side on what to watch for the rest of the season with regards to Chicago baseball.  My answer was a bit abstract, I guess -- but it's just the way I watch baseball.
  • Have since heard from Tony Andracki of CSN, who was at the Kane County game, that Willson Contreras did not in fact try to trip a player because the player was already on the ground sliding home.  So as we speculated, the bad judgment was not on Contreras part, but instead a bad judgment call by the ump.
  • Carlos Villanueva is taking a good attitude toward a possible move to the pen, recognizing that his recent performances -- particularly last night, aren't helping his cause.  He's also a fan of Matt Garza, "I'm the 1st one who asks how he feels every day. He will improve our ballclub once he comes back.  If I worry about him coming back, if I worry about somebody else's performance ... then I'm not focused on the task at hand"  Garza, as we know, could be one rehab start away from a return to Wrigley and Villanueva appears like he's the odd man out right now.  I believe him when he says it's not about looking over his shoulder as a source of his current struggles.  Rather, we should just look at him as regressing back to the mean a little.  He was pitching well in terms of results, but peripherals suggested he was still the same pitcher -- which is  a solid starter whose ERA will likely hover around the 4 range.
  • Fangraphs wrote an article on Travis Wood with lots of great graphs on pitch location and data on pitch selection, but in the end the author doesn't really go out on a limb one way or another on his conclusion.  What's the fun in that?
  • A little bit of a buzz stirred up by a fan who saw Carlos Marmol in the lobby and overheard Marmol discussing trade possibilities and a desire to get a fresh start.  It's authenticity has been denied by much of the local media here, including Carrie Muskat, Paul Sullivan, and Patrick Mooney. My thoughts?  I have no way of knowing if it's true, but if it is, should we be surprised that Marmol is talking about trade scenarios?  We've known the Cubs have been trying to trade him since last summer and Marmol has known at least since the failed Dan Haren trade.  He's a relief pitcher on the last year of his contract on a losing team.  The writing is on the wall.  And as for Marmol's desire to leave the Cubs and get a fresh start, can you blame him?
  • Carlos Zambrano signed a minor league contract with the Phillies.
  • In case you missed it, Anthony Rizzo was on MLB Intentional Talk.  Here's the video of the interview...

Today's Lineup:

  1.  DeJesus CF
  2. Castro SS
  3. Rizzo 1B
  4. Soriano LF
  5. Schierholtz RF
  6. Valbuena 3B
  7. Navarro C
  8. Barney 2B
  9. Samardzija SP

What to Watch For:

Tom: I'm looking for Jeff Samardzija to bounce back after what was probably his worst start of the season.

John: I miss Luis Valbuena in the lineup.  There, I said it.  Who would have thought?




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    Not sure why Marmol would want to leave a fan base that boos him during introductions on Opening Day. Seems like just another entitled jock to me.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha. No kidding. Nicely played.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And not to mention a fan base that booed him when he gave up a HR with a 9 run lead.

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    If Marmol wants to be traded, there is an easy way to make that happen. PITCH BETTER!!! Frankly, I think Hoyer nailed it the other day. He was overused for the longest time, and he just isn't the same pitcher he was. His command and location simply aren't good enough to make up for a decline in stuff.

    John, I meant to ask you this in another thread, and I actually think it's worth an entire article of it's own as we get closer to the off-season, but below is a list of relievers, provided by MLB Trade Rumors, that will be free agents this winter. The bullpen is one place I think they will spend heavily. What names do you like?


    Grant Balfour (36)
    Rafael Betancourt (39) - $4.25MM mutual option with a $250K buyout
    Frank Francisco (34)
    Joel Hanrahan (32)
    Ryan Madson (33)
    Carlos Marmol (31)
    Joe Nathan (39) - $9MM club option with a $750K buyout, Nathan may void if he reaches GF targets
    Mariano Rivera (44)
    Fernando Rodney (37)

    Right-handed relievers

    David Aardsma (32)
    Jeremy Accardo (32)
    Manny Acosta (33)
    Matt Albers (31)
    Scott Atchison (38)
    Luis Ayala (36)
    Matt Belisle (34) - $4.25MM mutual option with a $250K buyout
    Joaquin Benoit (36)
    Shawn Camp (38)
    Matt Capps (30)
    Joba Chamberlain (28)
    Jose Contreras (42)
    Manny Corpas (31)
    Jesse Crain (32)
    Joey Devine (30)
    Octavio Dotel (40)
    Chad Durbin (36) - club option
    Kyle Farnsworth (38)
    Jason Frasor (36)
    Chad Gaudin (31)
    Kevin Gregg (36)
    Matt Guerrier (35)
    LaTroy Hawkins (39)
    Clay Hensley (34)
    Casey Janssen (32) - $4MM club option
    Jesse Litsch (29)
    Matt Lindstrom (34) - $4MM club option
    Kameron Loe (32)
    Mark Lowe (31)
    Brandon Lyon (34)
    Nick Masset (32)
    Kyle McClellan (30)
    Peter Moylan (35)
    Edward Mujica (30)
    Pat Neshek (33)
    Juan Carlos Oviedo (30)
    Vicente Padilla (36)
    Chad Qualls (35)
    Ramon Ramirez (32)
    Jon Rauch (35)
    Joe Smith (30)
    Koji Uehara (39)
    Jose Valverde (36)
    Jose Veras (33) - $3.25MM club option with a $150K buyout
    Jamey Wright (39)

    Left-handed relievers

    Bill Bray (31)
    Craig Breslow (33)
    Tim Byrdak (40)
    Scott Downs (38)
    Pedro Feliciano (36)
    Mike Gonzalez (36)
    Rich Hill (34)
    J.P. Howell (31)
    Boone Logan (29)
    Javier Lopez (36)
    Eric O'Flaherty (29)
    Will Ohman (36)
    Hideki Okajima (38)
    Darren Oliver (43)
    Manny Parra (31)
    Oliver Perez (32)
    Rafael Perez (32)
    J.C. Romero (38)
    George Sherrill (37)
    Matt Thornton (37) - $6MM club option with a $1MM buyout

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't like signing bullpen guys for a lot of money. It would have to be an article I researched and see if I could find some bargains in the group.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm with you about not overpaying for bullpen help, but I just wanted to give you an idea for a future article. There's bound to be some bargains in there, and I'm not confident our system is going to give us the kind of help we need anytime soon. So I think they're going to be forced into going that route.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I like the idea. Seems like a fun thing to research. I'll wait for a bigger sample size to analyze, but will definitely do it and scour for bargains.

  • If we have to trust a chance encounter by a "fan" who tries to be a big shot by blabbing what he thinks he just heard, we are assuming a lot. And we are certainly disrespecting Marmol's privacy by passing the rumor along.
    Might as well dredge up libelous innuendo about players and wives in the '80s. It's just as pointless.
    I'd rather talk baseball.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Remember the fan who saw Theo at Starbucks?

  • Apples and oranges, Ray.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    How's that?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I'm in! Let's talk baseball.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks !
    Do you think Samardzija has something to prove if he's aiming to be the team's ace? What would you like to see him improve upon tonight?
    I vote for keeping the pitch count reasonable and not trying to strike everybody out. He overthrows sometimes.
    What do you think?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I agree, but I'd boil it down to command. He needs to hit his spots. If he does, he won't need to worry about strikeouts or pitch count.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm on this site 4x a day, year 'round. I hope everyone in our "family" considers John not only the best Cubs writer, but equally as classy. I'd be sick if John and Tom couldn't continue this site, but I can't help but think there is much more in store for he and Tom. I love the professionalism when the topic slides off of baseball, and he always calmly settles things.

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Wow thanks for the kind words.

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    Damn, Brett got hammered for that Marmol story. Wonder if that will impact his relationship with the club going forward.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I hope not, but most likely it will. Personally I had no problem with what he did and didn't think he needed to apologize(which he did). I really enjoy his site and this one. Both do a much better job than any of the local beat writers and I'm on both everyday fulfilling my desire for cubs info. Keep up the good work John and Tom!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Who cares. Brett is a tool.

  • how many outs is rizzo going to make on the bases ?

  • Uh-oh. David Price leaves game in 3rd inning with "an apparent injury".
    Hope he's ok.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Cynically, I'm glad this is happening *before* we cleaned out our minors to trade for him.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Velo has been down all year.

  • I hope Rizzo can spell "Samardzija" correctly now!

  • "Left triceps tightness". Hope it's minor and short-term. Scary.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Yeah, a triceps problem in his pitching arm in a season where velocity is down -- that doesn't sound real promising.

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    OT, but another Fangraphs article features Ronald Torreyes, as one of their "Fringe Five" prospects; prospects that are not top ones, but getting attention. In Torreyes's case, the 14-6 BB-K ratio at age of 20 in AA is certainly an eye-catcher.

    There's video, and the most noticeable thing is how small he is. He has 5 inches on Jose Altuve, but Torreyes is also so skinny; I can see why he gets short shrift from scouts, because how will he ever muscle up enough to play 2B?

    But he can put the bat on the ball, no question.....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He's not 5'9". That's a generous measurement on the part of MLB. He's 5'7" at best and maybe as low as 5'5". He does have an uncanny knack for making contact. Hopefully it's enough to get him to the big leagues. Hard not to root for him.

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    Hey, look, the Kevin Gregg we remember decided to show up.

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    Intentional Talk is a tough watch

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