News and Notes: Cubs getting attention from national media...and starting pitchers

There has been some exciting stuff cropping up lately and as usual, it has to do with the Cubs future -- but now suddenly that future doesn't seem so far away.

  • Nate Schierholtz has cleared waivers and will be a free agent by Friday, according to Mark Gonzalez.  I presume this means he will not be outrighted to Iowa as is his choice.  Several teams looking for an outfielder could take a flyer on Schierholtz and hope he regains his 2013 form.
  • Jake Arrieta is open to a contract extension, according to Gordon Wittenmeyer, and is willing to override the desires of Scott Boras in order to make it happen.  Arrieta said he is not looking for astronomical money, just what's fair.  Of course, deciding what's fair can be tricky too.  Arrieta is clearly the Cubs best pitcher right now, but he also has had just one good season.  There isn't a huge track record at this point.
  • We have talked about and lauded this rebuilding program for the last 3 years now, but after an offseason in which writers kept questioning the Cubs spending habits, it appears the tide is beginning to turn.  It's nice to read that the national media is seeing what is going on here.   Rany Jazerli of Grantland writes about how the Cubs built reverse to conventional thinking.  That is, they built with hitters rather than pitching.  And now that that hitting is either in the big leagues (Castro, Rizzo, Alcantara, Baez) or on the cusp of it (Soler, Bryant), the attention turns to starting pitching.  He notes that the Cubs are in prime position to add this offseason.  
  • We have heard whispers that many of Jon Lester's teammates believe he will sign with the Cubs this offseason.  We have also heard how David Price thinks it would be great to bring a winner to Chicago.  Now former Cub prospect Chris Archer gets into the act, "When you have a pitcher like David Price saying he wouldn't mind getting traded over to the Cubs right now, knowing what they have in store for the future and knowing the management that they have there and what they're willing to do to win, I think that says a lot," Rays pitcher Chris Archer said during Tuesday morning's edition of Kap and Haugh. "And I think that the Cubs are going to be a surprise this offseason because there are guys, there are top-10 players, starting pitchers especially who want to go pitch there."  Archer also said that players want to play for creative management such as the one here in Chicago or the one he currently plays for in Tampa Bay.  He also said he "wouldn't be shocked" if David Price signed with the Cubs.  It's all happening, people!  It's all happening!
  • A nice article on Cubs newcomer Bill McKinney on about how he is acclimating quickly to the Florida State League.
  • As Cubs Den continues to grow and pick up new readers, I thought it'd be a good idea to link our commenting policy.  As always, I want to thank this great community for their contributions.  I am not exaggerating when I say I get letters complimenting our commenters on a regular basis.

Today's Lineup

Junior Lake makes an appearance while Justin Ruggiano recovers from a minor injury.  Ruggiano said he is available to come off the bench and could have started.

  1. Coghlan RF
  2. Baez 2B
  3. Rizzo 1B
  4. Castro SS
  5. Valbuena 3B
  6. Alcantara CF
  7. Baker C
  8. Lake LF
  9. Wada P



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  • Lester this offseason, Price next... sweet.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    All part of the plan. Mwwahaaha!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You suppose that's what Jed and Theo are saying from the luxury box as their plan for dominance takes flight.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    LoL! Was thinking that while reading your comment.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And a sweet plan that would be.....Lester, Price, Arrieta, Wood, and Hendricks with the elite eight.....this blue Kool-Aid is tasting better and better all the time.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Very interesting that the players themselves are noticing what's going on with this organization, and in a positive way. I hear no negatives about Jed/Theo with the exception of some low-into fans and some writers who make it their business to stir the pot.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That would be a pretty good looking Cubs rotation in 2016. Heck, I will be thrilled with Lester in 2015. I would be a bit concerned if we strike out on Lester though. It sounds like his family is drawn to Boston.

  • Exciting times to a Cubs fan. Next year may finally only be a year away..

  • What sort of contract do you think that the Cubs would be willing to offer Arrietta? I assume that Theo would rather see at least another year of him, but maybe it's better to take advantage of Jake's eagerness for security.

  • Should they spend big money on a FA pitcher because they think
    they can make the playoffs in 2015 or just to show the fans they are
    willing to spend the money

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I certainly think we can compete in 2015. The linuep from May onwards could feature Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Mendy, Soler, and Bryant, there's still the possibility of Olt rebounding too. We could have Lester and Arrieta in the top of the rotation, Hendricks and several other options for the back. It won't be the best rotation in baseball, but I think it could win.

    Sure there are things that would have to go right in order for this to all happen, but I think next year is the year everything starts to come together.

  • Wow, great stuff by Archer.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Sounds like The One That Got Away wants to come home.

  • Looking at the lineup, I really wish the Cubs had someone to hit behind Castro. Think he would see a lot better pitches.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I was wondering why Rizzo and Castro don't switch spots? I haven't done much research but it seems to me like Rizzo has better power numbers, and it would keep them from pitching around Castro as much, since they already pitch around Rizzo and half the time he hits the ball out of the park anyway.

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    I'd love to know which top 10 pitcher's that Chris Archer was talking about. We probably know 2 of them are Lester and Price. But the other 8 pitchers wanting to come here are a mystery.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    He may have been referring to Price and Lester. I read his comments to be that there are some players in the top 10 not 10 of them.

    But who knows...there will be more. Anyone with an ounce of competitiveness wants to win (except Carmelo) This town is going to be a madhouse when it happens. Can't see why the elite would not want to be part of it.

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    Just here to show some female love. Read your posts (and most comments) every day!!! Keep up the good work boys.

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    In reply to Yatwo:


  • In reply to Yatwo:


  • So, this is not really related to the game today, but it is an important note for the game tomorrow:

    If you're going to the game tomorrow and want a chance to dump a bucket of ice water on Theo Epstein and a couple of Cubs players, be sure to donate to support ALS research. Its pretty cool that the Cubs are doing it this way, and giving fans a chance to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge:

  • Baez hits his first ball into the bleachers!!!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    ...and Rizzo goes back-to-back!!!

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Just 8 behind Castro for second on the team... I give it a week.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Actually he missed the bleachers and hit Waveland:-)

  • Javy being Javy

  • In reply to mjvz:

    ...and Rizzo being Rizzo

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    You are like 1 second quicker on the draw than me tonight. I better not do anything to make you angry enough where we have to duel.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Rizzo being Rizzo

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    welcome to the future, folks

  • In reply to SKMD:

    What? This is the future?!? I was hoping for flying cars...or at the very least a hover board like Michael J. Fox! What a letdown. ;-)

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Having all almost all art, music, literature and information just a few keystrokes away on the Internet isn't a bad replacement for hover boards though. heheheh

  • Why doesn't Baez's strike out/wild pitch where he got on first count towards hid OBP?

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    In reply to Oneear:

    Because a K is considered an out. Basically, all the numbers have to add up. The number of K's by pitchers has to equal the number of K's by batters. And it would be tricky to keep track of which K's didn't result in outs. Also, it is not considered a skill to get to first on a K (though I suppose it could be).

  • In reply to Oneear:

    Think the sense is that you have to earn your way on. Getting on on an error or fielders choice doesn't count either.

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    How far did Javy's homer go? It looked like it went way down the street. It was hard to tell. Nice to see.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:


  • In reply to Bobloblaw:

    If it went toward Peoria it would be a foul ball.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I don't know but it was crushed. It could have kept rolling.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    On radio Pat said 430 ft.

  • I don't think the Cubs are picking in the Top 5 in next years draft !!
    Future is so bright, I need to wear shades. LOL

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I agree. We are just too darn good. I don't think Theo is too concerned where we draft next year. It does not matter anyway, we are going to get the best college bat next year too.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Somehow - I think we'll learn to live with that outcome if it means the 'kids' are learning how to win this season.

  • I predict that Javy will be the next one to hit the Wrigley Field scoreboard, maybe more than once!

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    In reply to JD808:

    The "Next one"? It's never been done.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I think Robert Redford did it.

  • In reply to Oneear:


  • In reply to SKMD:

    I seem to recall Sammy hitting the camera well next to it, but no one has ever hit the scoreboard in a game.

    Which is just kind of crazy when you consider the number of games played there over 100 years and with the number of games with where the wind blows out.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Yeah he did - I was at that game, it was during the 2003 playoffs.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Rizzo about hit one into the bleachers below the scoreboard. Never seen anyone get close to hitting it.

    Longest I've ever seen was Kingman's 3rd house down Kenmore in the 23-22 game. Titanic blast plus lots of wind aiding it.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Actually it has. Of all people Jerry Grote hit it when he was with the Mets in the early 70s. Glenallen Hill just missed it to the right.

  • I m sorry I love len kasper but that weak argument about rizzo having low rbi totals because the guys in front are not getting on base is bad. Then says castro is getting his rbi because rizzo is in front. I'm sorry but if you are going to say rizzo is not getting enough chances then you have to say castro is not getting the same chances. This is not to bash rizzo or take anything away from him.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Its not all that weak an argument actually. Rizzo has the highest OBP on the team. He gets on in front of Castro, and Castro drives him in. Castro is getting quantifiable better chances to drive in runs.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    It's also important to note that, on occasion, Castro will have the guys in front of Rizzo also on base, and often in better scoring position if Rizzo manages to advance them.

  • In reply to Henry Loose:

    I understand all of your points but to say that castro is only driving in rizzo mostly does not sound right. Rizzo gets his opportunities to drive in runs as well, castro leads off a lot of innings as well. This is not a knock on rizzo I agree he does not get some opportunities as some of the other hitters in the league but that should go for castro as well. It should not be a weak excuse like rizzo has no one in front of him but castro gets his rbi's from rizzo.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Except that it shouldn't and doesn't. Rizzo has the 13th best OBP in all of baseball. He is tied for 6th in the league in terms of runs scored with 77. Even if you subtract his 27 home runs, he still is at 50 runs scored by being driven in by somebody else, still good for top 100 in terms of runs scored (not adjusting every other player's runs total by subtracting their home runs). The facts and statistics support Kasper's statement. Rizzo has less RBIs than he should because the players hitting before him have an average OBP that is less than ideal. Castro has more RBIs than he should because the players hitting before him have an average OBP that is more than ideal. Rizzo is that difference.

  • In reply to seankl:

    Castro has a guy with a 379 OBP hitting ahead of him in the lineup. The guys in front of Rizzo? Cubs leadoff hitters this season with a .299 OBP, second place hitters with a .328.

    That is not a weak argument. It doesn't tell the whole story but it is definitely relevant.

  • Not Cubs related, but top Twins prospect Byron Buxton was carted off the field in an ambulance tonight after colliding with his RF's knee while diving for a ball. Scary stuff. Hope he is okay. That guy is so exciting to watch.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I hope he is ok. Was it a head/neck type injury?

  • In reply to couch:

    Knee to his head.

  • In reply to couch:

    Just reported he is in the hospital with a concussion. He was unconscious on the field for 10 minutes. But apparently he is up and alert and doing as well as can be hoped given the circumstances.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Concussion are still very scary. But better than a spinal cord injury. Hope for the best for him. Some bad luck for the Twins though. Didn't Sano have TJS this year too?

  • Almora with a walk off single in the 9th.

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    As far as I know nobody but possibly Roberto Clemente ever hit the scoreboard during a game.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    Sam Snead hit the scoreboard with an 8 iron, but no one has hit it with a baseball during a game.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    I believe Clemente was close but hit it to the right center field side of the scoreboard. Sort of the equivalent of where Sosa's was in left center field bleachers but a bit higher than Sammy's.

  • In reply to Ironman McGinnity:

    I was at a game (many moons ago) vs. the Braves and I recall Orlando Cepeda doing just that.

  • That was a great article from Grantland, but it is all information the CubsDen community has been privy on for some time. Still, it is great to see the rest of the baseball world start to see things our way!

  • 3rd straight game without an error for the Cubs. And Castro is playing some dang good baseball. Hitting the ball, playing good defense, hustling down the line.

  • Has anybody heard of the japanese pitcher phenom, Shohei Otani? Any idea of when he will come over to the states? Really hoping the Cubs can sign this stud.

  • In reply to SpencerGoCubs:

    19yo 6'7" rh. Likley wont be posted for 4-5 years. Many in the Nippon league think if he comes to MLB in the next 3-4 years his contract will exceed Tanakas.

  • Hey John, thanks for showing us readers some appreciation! its really nice and refreshing to actually find writers who will take the time to engage with their readers in the comments section. I don't see that anywhere else. Thanks!

  • I visited my in Portland. He's a Cardinals fan. Myself, have been rooting for the Cubs for 51 years and counting. He even noticed the Cubs are going to be a good team in the next couple of year. I've met a few Cubs fans since the move out here to Oregon. They all say we're gonna have a heck of a team. SOON. I'm getting a tad giddy!

  • Didn't know his name at first but did research on him (about a month or two ago), and he is EXACTLY what the Cubs need. I know the phrase "exactly" gets tossed around a lot, but this is a perfect placement for that word.

    The kid is 6'3" and 190 lbs (he might have to beef up a bit), and is only 20 years old. He would have gone to the MLB had he not gotten picked first overall in Japan.

    His fastball lies between mid-upper 90's and can go as high as 98-99. His verstatility (can play OF as well as pitch, and he is a decent hitter as well) is parallel to the ole' Babe Ruth (not trying to make comparisons here).

    His numbers this year?

    On the mound (18 starts): 9-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 118 IP with 138 K's (10.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9)
    At the plate (64 games, 157 AB): 19 runs 6 HR 24 RBI with a .274 AVG .331 OBP .484 SLG and .815 OPS.

    Stellar numbers. Unfortunately, due to the new rule intact, he is not eligible to pitch in the MLB until 2020 (if I'm not mistaken), meaning he would be 25-26 years old and basically right in his prime. Assuming he reaches his prime/peak by then, he could command the highest salary ever for an international player (more-so than Darvish/Tanaka/etc.)

    It's a dream, but it makes sense.

  • He is going to be the real deal come that time. Would love to have him but maybe by 2020 we can dish out big money for him. Hopefully by then we will have a world series ring under our belt also ;)

  • In reply to SpencerGoCubs:

    He'll get posted before his 9 years of service time necessary to become a Japanese free agent. Not aware of any new rules that would alter that. Up to Nippon Ham to decide when to monetize their asset by posting. As with Darvish & Tanaka, likely after 5, 6 or 7 years of service. He's in his 2nd year now.

    I've mentioned this a few times, but Maeda is likely to be posted this year. Good, not great. Probably a 3. Not a bad back up plan if Lester & Masterson get too expensive.

    But with all the new depth, which John nicely covered the last two days, we might not need another 3 or 4 starter...

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    I sure hope we can get Lester, for a plethora of reasons. But I wouldn't want Masterson unless he was near free. Yeah, he had a good start last night, but he's a clunker. Not waiting to happen, is happening. His stuff is weak and really hittable, and he's only getting older.

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