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Rumor Thread 12/30: Castillo, Drew, Castro, Gomes, Cabrera, Zobrist, Smith, and more

Rumor Thread 12/30: Castillo, Drew, Castro, Gomes, Cabrera, Zobrist, Smith, and more

Update 17:10 PM: Mariners to acquire Seth Smith for RP Brandon Mauer
Update 10:30 AM: Rays sign Asdrubal Cabrera. Zobrist deal next?
Update 9:15 AM: Sherman states Cubs have interest in Drew to play 2B

It really isn't a busy enough day to start a thread but that could change soon. If so we will update this and make this into a running thread.  Keep hearing that the Cubs have the proverbial irons in the fire, one of which seems to be a potential deal with the Rangers, likely involving Welington Castillo.  It's tough to find a good one-for-one match so a trade may end up having multiple players on both sides.

And no, I don't know who is involved other than Castillo, but some names we have speculated on in the past include OF Leonys Martin and LHP Robbie Ross.  The deal could also include prospects on both sides, but if it does I doubt we're taking high level guys here, just names to balance out value for both teams.

The Rangers aren't the only team interested in Castillo but given the two teams good working relationship, there seems to be a good chance to get something hammered out here.

In other news, I've been told by two different contacts that the Cubs are indeed interested in Stephen Drew, but that it has nothing to do with Starlin Castro and that it would not be considered a major move for them.  That seems to be consistent with what we speculated on earlier today, that the Cubs may think Drew is a good fit for his clubhouse presence, defense, versatility in the infield, and solid approach at the plate.  I do not know if it is at all related to any other deals or any other roster moves the Cubs are considering at this point.

Starlin Castro moving to the U.S.?

Some good news for those worried about Starlin Castro.  It seems that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have talked to Castro and his agent recently said on MLB Network Radio that the 24 year old SS realizes he will have to make some changes, stay away from distractions, and is in the process of searching for a home in Arizona or possibly Florida.

Perhaps something good can come out of his after all. From everything we have heard, he's a good kid but maybe this was a bit of a wakeup call for him. It was his dad's cousin who was shot and killed in the most recent incident.  So while Castro was cleared of any wrongdoing and was not involved, he appears to be a target of sorts because of his status in what seems to be a small town.  It may not be fair, as Castro is doing what many people his age do, but keeping safe would seem to avoid that environment as much as possible.

Jonny Gomes still in the radar?

Chicagoland Sports did an interview with the Tribune's Mark Gonzalez. Among the more interesting tidbits is that Gonzales believes that the Cubs will sign Jonny Gomes sometime in January. Like us, he doesn't think the Cubs would be interested in either Colby Rasmus or Norichika Aoki.

Gonzales also mentioned the possibility of acquiring an outfielder via trade.

Catcher Framing

Scott Lindholm of Beyond the Box Score has some additional information on the Cubs new catching situation and projects that the Cubs may get as many as 200 additional strikes called vs. what they had with Welington Castillo last season.    The increase is because of both catcher's proficiency of getting strikes called that were actually outside the zone.

We've talked about how those strikes add up over time and eventually lead to walks and runs in the abstract.  They are also meaningful over the course of the game as it could be the difference between a pitcher being ahead 0-1 or behind 1-0.  Statistics show that the likelihood for success is far better if the pitcher can jump ahead early.

Whether that can balance an expected decrease in performance, especially when we talk about the difference between David Ross and Castillo, is unlikely.  But for the Cubs, controlling the strike zone is part of their overall plan and as Lindholm writes, if they are going to invest big in pitchers than it makes sense that they also give them every tool to give them the best chance to succeed.

Wrigleyville Nation

I did a podcast with the guys from Wrigleyville Nation.  We talked Castro, the offseason, prospects, and more.

Sherman states Cubs have interest in Drew to play 2B

Joel Sherman is the latest to report the Cubs interest in Stephen Drew but he adds a little detail. Sherman states that the interest from all teams, including the Cubs, is in having Drew play 2B. Now from what I understand, the Cubs wouldn't consider this to be a major move on their part, but if it is for a starting gig then I would have to disagree.

At the very least, even if it is just as a utility man/insurance policy it sends the signal that the Cubs have some concerns about Javier Baez's ability to start the season as their regular 2B. Arismendy Alcantara and Tommy La Stella appear to be more MLB ready, but also unknowns at this point, so Drew could be something of a security blanket for the Cubs.

The problem is Drew's asking price is not that of a reserve or insurance policy, he is asking for starter's money at $9-$10M per season. I don't think he gets that, but I do think someone will give him something above $5M, which still makes him pricey if a team is looking at him as an insurance policy. I would think an incentive-laden deal makes more sense considering Drew's big struggles in 2014.

Update 10:30 AM: Rays sign Asdrubal Cabrera. Zobrist deal next?

Well, this is interesting.

It is a bit unexpected unless the rumors are true that the Rays are looking to trade Zobrist before the new year. We don't think the Cubs are involved even though he would seem to be a perfect fit. Subsequent reports from Peter Gammons and other national media seem to indicate the Giants are the most likely landing place, but the Nationals may be involved as well. The Orioles are another team that has been mentioned as a possibility.

Of course, the hopeful Cubs fan in all of us will say the Cubs are being stealthy and lurking in the weeds, but all the information we have seems to indicate otherwise.  Needless to say, as a big Zobrist fan, I hope everybody is wrong.

Update 17:00 PM: Mariners to acquire Seth Smith for RP Brandon Maurer

The Padres are close to dealing one of their outfielders, as expected, and it will be Seth Smith heading to the Mariners.  The Padres have acquired Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Matt Kemp this offseason, squeezing the underrated Smith out of the picture.  

Smith may platoon with former Cub Justin Ruggiano.

The Padres get Brandon Maurer who struggled as a starter but came into his own in relief, posting a 2.17 ERA (2.99 FIP) and nearly doubling his K rate to 9.13 per 9IP while simultaneously cutting down his walks from 3.9 per 9IP to 1.2.

I think the Padres did very well here in getting a 24 year old promising bullpen arm in exchange for a 32 year old platoon outfielder who up until last year essentially performed like a 4th OFer. Even more impressive is that they had no room for him and everyone knew they were looking to trade an outfielder. For those thinking the Cubs would bid on Smith, this helps explain why maybe they didn't. It wouldn't seem to make a lot of sense to give up a young, talented, inexpensive RP for a player who may only be a marginal upgrade -- if he is an upgrade at all, over Chris Coghlan.

The Padres may try to convert Maurer back to a starter and if they can do that successfully, it could wind up being quite a steal. Maurer can reach the mid 90s with his fastball and has one of the more promising curveballs to go with an average or better slider and change.

Nothing against Smith but the more I think about this the more I think the Mariners got absolutely hoodwinked here

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  • Drew interest makes me believe Valbuna is on the block or they are losing faith in Baez and need a bridge to Russell.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    It would be nice to see Bryant take over 3B, making Valbuena expendable. That would move Olt off 3B as well. Can Olt play LF? I know he is back up at 1B. If so Olt could compete with Lake for LF time. Rather than sign another veteran like Gomes who is on downside of career, try some in house options. Lake is having strong winter and Olt had better second half of season.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Russell wouldn't be playing Baez's 2B position anyway, so I don't see this as losing faith in Baez AND needing a bridge to Russell. Perhaps the former, but not the latter.

  • Thanks John !

    I know we all appreciate the work you put into these articles and the website to keep everyone informed.

    Now please go walk the dog so the Cubs can trade Castillo tonight !!

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    Haha! Thanks.

    The pooch is asleep and she pretty much sleeps through the night, so Cubs are going to have to either wait until tomorrow or make one anyway. I was around for the Lester signing, Montero trade, plus Hammel and Ross...so maybe the curse is fading?

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    The Cubs are interested in Stephen Drew.
    In unrelated news, Tommy LaStella is searching for apartments in Des Moines on Craigs List

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Actually it affects Baez more since he is the de facto backup SS. Drew's infield versatility makes it easier to hang on to La Stella.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Not going to happen. Baez will be there to open the season again even if he shreds ST. I can't see giving up the OBP for slugging when there's plenty more of that on the 25 man. Bring up Baez and Bryant at the same time if he can put it together. I don't think that Maddon will embarass Javy like that because it could hurt him more in the bigger picture. I also think that the FO would really prefer him to build his value back near the level it was the last time he was called up.
    Last thought....
    If Ross is coming back in any deal, i will

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    Oops. Hit the post button, sorry!
    Anyway, about Ross coming back, I would consider it a win simply because they are dealing from the surplus finally, and starting to balance out the lineup. And he seems to be a stud for the LOOGY/ mop up with a shot at setting the table for Rondon/Motte. I kinda like the r/l/r of Ramirez or Strop/Ross/Rondon or Motte. That seems pretty solid. Many options to shut the door. Me likes.
    Thoughts? Rebuttals? I welcome all.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    Agree, bring up Bryant.

  • It's nice to see that Starlin sees and realizes what's going on around him. I'm sure it's really rough on him, but if wants a career in MLB, he really does need to pay attention to his situation.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Completely agree.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I can somewhat relate, but to a lesser degree. A couple of days before leaving Chicago for a job with the Federal Government in DC in 1989, my GF and I had a last hurrah with a friend of mine. Less than 2 weeks later, he got busted after an ongoing investigation for bank robbery! Talk about shocking!!! Had he been busted while we were hanging out, well, I'm sure it would not have had a positive affect on my career....

  • In reply to giamby:

    Wow!

    Yeah, that would not have been good. Looks like you left at the right time.

  • In reply to giamby:

    That's crazy. But just a thought.... if you were hanging out with him a couple of weeks before indictments were handed down, how much surveillance footage is there on you? Seems creepy, right?

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    I went to college with someone who I read about years later in the papers decapitated his boss I believe at a convenience store And he couldn't have been a nicer guy, go figure. Big dude and dumb as a rock.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    If anyone wants to lookup story online his name is Mike Bethke.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Honestly, this is all way off topic. It's all pretty random and creepy stuff, but i think that the work that these guys put into this site deserves more than random conversation at 2am. I think that we should show some respect.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    There is zero lack of respect in these postings. Sidebars are often the most entertaining part of message boards, its offseason we are just killing time nowadays anyway until spring training and the regular season start. And it also ties into how a normal well behaved person like Castro can be at the wrong place at the wrong time without doing any wrongdoing himself.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    Dk why i can't reply to Behn's comment, but anyway,....
    Thing is, you're posting content to unrelated Cubs news. While it may be a similar storyline to what's happening with Castro, it involves no Cubs employees. Maybe it's just me, but I come here for Cubs news. Period. Please forgive me for making a random statement to someone else's post, in which you have since turned into debate/justification for posting unrelated content.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    Had I not felt comfortable with anything that I stated, I wouldn't have said it. I just feel lucky, and it is "random and creepy". I was merely trying to give a real life, though much smaller in nature, example of some of the heady things that Castro might be going through. Of course my experience doesn't compare to his and I won't say anything more about the subject.

  • In reply to giamby:

    Agreed. He may be young and we all know back when we were younger we could somehow regularly manage to find 'trouble' even when not really trying,... but the decision to move to the US where he can avoid some of that trouble is probably the right thing to do for Mr. Castro.

  • The psychological impact alone that Montero and Ross are going to have on the team is worth the cost! I'd imagine that a lot of the pitchers, especially the younger guys already feel like better pitchers without having thrown a pitch in 2015. Conversely, I bet Montero and Ross are chomping at the bit to work with Arrieta and Hendricks as well!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I think it does help to have a certain comfort level.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think that the end of year meeting with the pitchers were a precursor for what is happening?I mean, not saying that Castillo is a bad guy in any way, but with the pitching staffs that the FO have put together consistently through losing years is pretty remarkable in itself. Couple that with a catcher who seemingly can't frame a low pitch, and voila! That hurts when your staff consists of ground ball pitchers, right? I'm actually looking forward to seeing EJax work with Montero. Maybe that 3rd starter is in-house.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    I don't know if the meetings had anything to do with it or not, to be honest. I do know the Cubs like Castillo and tried hard to work with him on the nuances of the game. Because of his work ethic and makeup, I think there is a good chance he figures it out someday but the addition of Lester and the Cubs transitioning into a contender means the Cubs can't take that chance in the short term. And you are right, he is not a bad guy, in fact, he is considered to be a great guy, which makes trading him all the more difficult.

    There are some guys you are glad to get rid of and some you are sad to see go. Beef falls in the latter category for me. I will root for him any time he isn't playing the Cubs. And if he does break out, then I will cringe a little, but overall I will be excited for him.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    "There are some guys you are glad to get rid of and some you are sad to see go. Beef falls in the latter category for me. I will root for him any time he isn't playing the Cubs. And if he does break out, then I will cringe a little, but overall I will be excited for him."

    Couldn't agree more. I understand they feel they have upgraded the catching position as a whole, and based on their criteria, I would agree. But I like Welly and am sorry to see him moving on. I hope he has great success wherever he ends up

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Ditto. And I know some (many?) will disagree when I say I think he will become acceptable in the areas where he is deficient. Through hard work and desire he improved greatly in blocking pitches. I have read here that with pitch framing you are pretty much what you are and I am not claiming to know better; but I disagree and think Castillo will be acceptable in this area as well.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I can certainly see better pitch framing making a difference for someone like Hendricks, maybe ev en for E Jax. Its Monteros offensive production I like just as much, especially if he plays 110-120 games as a platoon player.

  • Regarding pitch framing: there's a terrific article at Fangraphs suggesting that framing, if anything, is even more important than we think. Not only does a good framer get more called strikes, but a pitcher will actually adjust his approach if he knows his catcher is an adept framer. Having such a catcher allows the pitcher to enlarge the strike zone and deliberately throw several inches off the plate. What's especially relevant about the article is it analyzes the pitching approach of Matt Garza after he went from the Cubs (Wellington Castillo) to the Brewers (Jonathan Lucroy). The article's at http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/matt-garza-understands-his-catchers/

  • In reply to October:

    Indeed, an excellent read. Thank You!
    I feel this adds to my belief that the move to Montero/Ross will have a "tumble down" effect on the whole staff.
    from the article:
    But if we take the experimental restraints off the pitchers and let this scenario evolve like it would in the real world, Lucroy wouldn’t just get better calls on the same pitches, he would guide his pitcher to throw pitches farther and farther away from the center of the strike zone, even if he’s essentially calling the same pitches. Call it “second-order framing.”

    The pitcher, at some point in time, develops an opinion about his catcher’s ability to frame pitches (his reputation) and also observes the actual, tangible results (his statistics). If you’re throwing to someone you think is a bad framer, you would presumably throw the ball closer to the zone than if you were throwing to someone you think is an excellent framer. Now of course, no pitcher has the kind of pinpoint control to consistently hit their target on the nose, but on average, a pitcher who is throwing the ball three inches outside will throw the ball farther outside than someone aiming one inch outside.

  • In reply to October:

    I still think 1 important thing about Castillo that is being forgotten is about how good he was at blocking pitches. He was one of the better catchers at it, and it gives his pitchers complete confidence to bury a breaker with 2 strikes and a runner on. I think this is going to have more of an impact than people recognize, and an area where Castillo was better than Montero.

    I do like that Montero hits LH and does have a good approach, so in many ways he's a better fit than Castillo.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    This I agree with which is why the Montero /Castillo combo wrorks best for me. Since it certainly is not about me. I will support whatever the outcome.

  • Sometimes talent has to be lead

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Agreed. Good to surround them with good people who have been their before.

  • It will be a time for adjustment if Castro moves, but this sounds very promising.

  • After your Leonys Martin post yesterday, I checked out his stats and was impressed. What sort of player would need to be packaged with Castillo to get a trade with Texas done?

    Considering the alternatives on the market and our question marks in the OF, I would be happy picking Martin and Gomes. AA could still get time as a sub, it would take some pressure off Soler and Bryant, and give us a solid CF.

  • In reply to carmonfanzone:

    Carmon Fanzone! I believe I referenced him a couple of years ago.

  • I commented on last article, John what's your take on Bonifacio? Why is there no interest from the Cubs? Do you think that there's a chance the cubs resign him?
    In my opinion, he's a way better option than Drew. If Valbuena is moved or if he stays, he's a perfect fit. He's way more versatile than Drew, and well anybody on the roster currently. He dominated at Wrigley. He's an insurance option at almost every position, plus he hits great at the top of the order, steals bases, cheap. After what he did for the Cubs last year, why wouldn't they pick him back up? He fits what they are looking for, Maddon would love having him, he'd be like a Zobrist to Maddon. The guy is still a bargain and very undervalued just like Valbuena. What's your thoughts?

  • In reply to WJL3:

    Maybe if he is around late and the Cubs still don't have a CF? I think they want to go in a different direction, not that Bonifacio is a bad guy and he is a decent player but he seems to have a hard time sustaining a high level of performance over an extended period.

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    In reply to WJL3:

    Maybe they feel AA is the same guy, only younger, less expensive and with more pop

  • There is no need for drew, we have signed the veterans we need already.. so if you want another veteran then get an outfielder and possibly leadoff hitter. . I would rather have them keep valbuena and the back up utility infielder and bridge for bryant if he doesn't move to the ourfielder.. th ey have plenty of backup in infield between la Stella Alcantara valbuena there is no need for drew

  • In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    With the addition of LaStella I think that the FO has essentially commited AA to the OF. Not that he can't play 2nd, but I think that if Javy can't cut the mustard, LaStella is the bridge for Russell, with Drew on a two year deal. Bryant will be up soon enough to cover the 3 run dingers.

  • Are the Cubs really losing faith in Baez already? Haven't heard much about his play in winter ball. Any updates?

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    In reply to Jackhizzle:

    I really don't think the Cubs have lost faith in Baez. I think they have decided that they want to compete, maybe even contend, in 2015 and there is a distinct possibility that Baez will not be able to contribute much this year. They are hedging their bets. They are acquiring talent that is relatively cheap and no on long term contracts so when/if Baez is ready they can simply pull him up and, at worst, trade/release those that aren't good enough after the season. I would say the Cubs have lost faith in Baez when they sign a 6 year $90M contract (or something like that) with a middle infielder. 1 and 2 year contracts aren't going to block anyone. It gives them MLB production while Baez works out the kinks in AAA.

    Just for clarification, I believe Baez has all three "option" years left because he went from a non-roster player to a 25-man roster player and did not spend any time in the minor leagues AFTER his promotion. Is that correct or is it way off base?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I actually don't think they've lost faith at all but I do think his call up was designed to help him identify what he needs to improve. I'd still be surprised if he started the year in AAA but it could happen and the Cubs are preparing themselves for that. Adding LaStella and any other infielder does is take the pressure off of Russell to come up too early. I've heard report after report that he should he should be up mid year this year but maybe best case scenario he doesn't come up. This is not a team that rushes guys without a purpose, like with Baez, and all things considered I think they's like Russell in the minors one more year or at least most of one. The tinkering of this lineup sure looks like they're trying to give Joe Maddon every possible option in putting together lineups that will help him win.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    I strongly agree that they pulled him up expressly to fail and teach him that he can't just survive on "tools." Maybe I am just looking for things to justify my own beliefs but all the moves they have made this off-season (with the exception of Lester) look to me like they are no longer in the "we have to fill out a 25 man roster with these guys eventually" to "Let's get some guys in here that will fill the gaps until our prospects come up." La Stella is under team control for 6 years. If Baez completely bombs then we still have plenty of time to get another player up and running with La Stella holding the fort. In Montero we have a veteran catcher who is under team control for 3 years. In 3 years we will likely have a good idea if Schwarber, Caratini, or Zagunis will be able to stick at catcher, or we might have someone else too. Montero is expensive for his offensive production but may be able to provide veteran leadership and additional training as our young guys come up.

    Again, I don't think any moves this offseason have shown lack of faith in any of our prospects. With the exception of Lester we have acquired "bridge" players who can play MLB ball but their contract lengths/terms indicate that they are not likely to "block" any of our prospects when they become ready to produce. By most accounts the weakness of the Cubs system is TOR starting pitching. Notice the only player on the Cubs Roster with more than 3-years committed to him?

  • Like Angel Pagan, Mark DeRosa and a host of others, getting rid of Valbuena will prove to be another Cub bad mistake, especially when all they'll have to show for it is a washed up Stephen Drew at double or more the cost.

  • In reply to Alan:

    Yeah, I liked Pagan. Don't know why they let him go. I also agree that they should keep Valbuena.

  • In reply to Alan:

    Y ou u are right do not trade valbuena! EHICH IT DOESNT Look Like They Will Do Because Other Teams Do not Know His value apparently, so I'm fine with keeping him

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    In reply to Maddon4Mayor2015:

    I think other teams know the value of Valbuena, but he is not equally valuable to all teams. He checks a lot of boxes on our club (takes walks, has some power, defensive versatility, LH bat) but other teams may have other boxes that need to be checked. In short, it is possible for a player to have more value to one team than another.

    I doubt that the FO is trying to "get rid of" Valbuena. However, in the right deal, a trade may not be bad.

    As for DeRosa, I am happy we traded him. In that deal we acquired an A-ball pitcher who has turned out pretty well and still getting better...for the Rays. Trading DeRosa wasn't the problem. Trading Chris Archer was the problem.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Valbuena is valuable to a team that is looking to upgrade 2B/3B offense or platoon him, he is one notch above a super utility player w/o the experience of playing OF. He is a contributor. Looking at the landscape I could see Oakland, Yankees, Giants, KC, Toronto using him but he is not a centerpiece.

    We know some of the rookies are going to struggle, Bryant could struggle so the Cubs are smartly developing depth the problem is Valbuena might lose value and the Cubs need a CF'er who bats LH and gets on base, and would really like more solid options at a LH reliever.

    Archer was one that got away, but we got Hendricks, Ramirez, and Grimm and Edwards back and even got Dempster back for a day and his brain.

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    In reply to rnemanich:

    As I said, the FO isn't looking to "get rid of him" but want solid value in return. If we don't get solid value then we are better off keeping him. Even if we "lose value" on him playing for us it is still possible he will be more valuable to us than another team.

    I know it is not central to your point, but Hendricks was a trade for Dempster, nothing to do with Archer.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yes i know it was Archer (and Chineros, and Hak Ju Lee and Sam Fuld) for Garza where we then turned that into Ramirez, Grimm, Olt and Edwards while Dempster was Hendricks and Villaneuva I was just mixing the thought that we got all these arms and 3B from the Rangers. What will be interesting is comparing WAR's between Edwards and Archer.

  • In reply to Alan:

    Agreed about both Pagan and De Rosa,.... When Pagan has been able to stay healthy, he's been a more than fine CF with decent defense and good speed on the basepaths. As it turns out the Cubs did trade De Rosa at pretty much his peak value, but they were just not able to replace his production and versatility the next couple of season.

    Valbuena may be a valuable trade piece,.... but at least for this year I think he more is valuable as a roster piece while we figure out how good/bad Bryant, Russell, La Stella, Baez and Alcantara are going to be is IF pieces.

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    In reply to Alan:

    How in the world was getting rid of Mark DeRosa a mistake? After leaving the Cubs, DeRosa (whom I have heard was a thorn in Piniella's side) quickly went into decline and ultimately became completely useless, in part due to injury and, I suspect, tougher steroid rules. (Sorry, career journeymen don't magically find their power stroke in their mid 30's. See Byrd, marlon and Pierzynski, AJ)
    DeRosa left the Cubs after the 2008 season and by 2010 was as useless as could be. Trading him brought Chris Archer in return, which would have been a steal in itself, but Archer was traded for Garza, who was eventually traded for Olt, Edwards, Ramirez and Grimm.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Does that mean that DeRosa was not as "gritty" as we once thought?

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    In reply to Cphil:

    lol. Apparently not. At the time, I was close friends with someone who had someone on the inside. Most of what he told me came to fruition, so I trust what he said.
    He told me that Piniella and DeRosa were like oil and water and that when Lou started to move DeRosa around, Mark first cried to Lou, and later the media, that Hendry had signed him to be the "starting second baseman" and not the utility man.
    There are other things I have heard about him as well that have turned me off, and he may not have been the solid clubhouse guy that the fans were led to believe
    The way I see it, you get a uniform and a handsome paycheck. Shut the hell up and do what you're told.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    There's always more behind the scenes than we realize. Sometimes the difference between a guy we think is a good guy and a guy we think is a problem is that the good guy has better PR and more skilled at cultivating a public image.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    ...and! and! and! (sounding like an anxious (insert reasonable adjective here) and (like the ball player that desperately wants to be chosen (pick ME! pick ME!) because he wants to finally add something to this blog that hopes to be judged as clever) ... IIRC, per many others on this blog, didn't Mark bring (begin sarcastic font) more than a little grit to the ball park that everyone just seemed to fawn over (que Rick Springfield's JESSIE'S GIRL)?

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    In reply to Alan:

    Losing Pagan pissed me off though, and he is one of my favorite players in the game today.
    Hendry traded the switch hitting Pagan for two minor leaguers nobody had ever heard of and then said he needed to find and OF that could play center and right, hit LH, with a good arm, a little speed and a little punch. Then he went out and spent $48mil on Fukudome two weeks after trading Pagan. Ugh!

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Loved Pagan. I thought picking him up was a find, then we gave him away.

    As far as Valbuena, he had a better year, but he is far from a star. Time for Bryant at 3B.

  • Seriously, I honestly didn't mean to incite chaos or censorship in any way, towards anyone. I apologize for any inconvenience. I just feel that Cubs Den is a superior site for baseball conversation, and prefer to avoid the rest. My apologies to anyone I may have offended.

  • In reply to Lance Urbi:

    No worries. I understand your point and that you come here for Cubs news. I also understand this is something of a community and people will stray off topic. I am okay with that. The only thing that we frown upon is anti-social type behavior and personal attacks on other readers. Thankfully, I don't really need to worry too much about that here. I was okay with Behn sharing a story and I am okay with your opinion that you found that story creepy. I think both of you were respectful about it. I didn't see either as anti-social behavior or a personal attack on anyone.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    well put John, but I have a question. Around my part of the woods, anything having to do with the lil obnoxious red colored birds fits into the anti social behavior type of thing. Can we ban any talk of them. It is warfare down here in central Illinois.

  • It is becoming more likely that Baez starts the season in Iowa and that is a good option at this point. Another 300 PAs at AAA would be a good idea and are essential to his development. .. it took Rizzo a trip to Des Moines after his cup of coffee to get his plate discipline in check and Javy's strikeout rate has been an issue ever since his time with the Smokies. He has to be at no worse than 25% to be back on track and he is nowhere close to ready yet.

    With that said, it appears Drew may be a fallback option given the youth in the infield but he would need to e signed at an incentive laden contract to make the move worthwhile. Last season's results point to a player who might be washed up.

  • Was Damen Miller concidered a good pitch framer?

  • In reply to CubsBuck22:

    My guess is that he was but they don't have that kind of data going back that far. Also knew how to handle pitchers well and call a good game, that much we know.

  • Let us start John about the 200 strikes over 1463 IP, or the movement of 0.1367 towards the Cubs way per inning, or that is 1.234 strikes per game. Often a game comes down to simply a strike one way or another. My guess is this moves the bar for a few pitchers more than others, namely pitchers who work the edges, Lester and Hendricks more so than Arrieta and Hammels. So with them getting 60 starts this is actually more than 1.2 strikes per game and possibly 2 or 3 since they don't pitch 9 innings.

    As for Drew, I am inclined looking at his valuation dive that the Cubs are negotiating a minor league/major league contract, if he makes the club he gets $XM and if not the option is to go to AAA and being sold on the idea of not hurting the 40 man now.

    Again Theo Hoyer have many ways about them and one is that they need more, more depth, more options and more talent. Drew could satisfy some of that.

    Other thoughts could be that Valbuena is a regrettable target to a bigger deal that involves more important pieces, (CF'er who has OBP and bats LH, and even a LH reliever) packages with Cubs Overstock of a catcher and bottom of the rotation SP'ers.

  • If we take this information from Scott Lindholm regarding additional strikes over the course of the year due to proper pitch framing, I would imagine this will have a direct effect on Schwarber's development and training program. If you look at the managers within the Cub's system, there seems to be a bent toward catchers (coincidental). I would assume Buddy Bailey will be discussing the finer points of pitch framing with Schwarber on a daily basis. Schwarber will never be a "gun'em down" catcher but can be a cerebral catcher who makes the most out of his tools a la Jason Varitek.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I think his personality is a lot like Varitek's and if they can translate that to his leadership on the field and if he doesn't hurt them too much on defense, then the Cubs will have struck gold, especially given what Schwarber could give on offense.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Also Mark Johnson moves to High A to continue work with Caratini, Remillard and Brockemeyer. As a former catcher, I can say my experience with pitch framing sometimes is a function of not only hand / glove orientation, getting your hand in position quickly so you are not moving when you catch it, but also keen observation of the umpire on that day - where they stand behind you so you have a sense of their line of sight, getting a good feel for how they call it in the first and the overall rapport you have with them.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Gator you touched on so much nuances a catcher must do in his crouch and set up. I once compared it to a line cook at an old fancy restaurant where there were twenty dinners going at once. Atlanta in the '90's really had this down, as does StL and SF, statistics show that Milw has it down as well. We are talking about humans, and humans have tendencies or patterns so getting the ump to move one inch and get the calls is strike zone dominance.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    It is also where the catcher sets their crouch that also is important with regards to sightlines. If you consciously move up just slightly, especially on pitches where you know you want to go lower in the zone, then the ump has to adjust because they didn't move. If pitchers can hit the mitt, then life is easy for framing because the catcher can shift their bodies to make it look like the pitch is on their inside. Carlos Marmol has to be a pitch-framing nightmare.

  • Drew is gonna wait a long time to get $9 mil. He spent last season waiting and waiting. He should hire a new agent.

    I see Drew as a bench guy, a step above Herrerra. Maybe he earns the starting role, forcing all the kids to unseat him, but that's a lot of talent there.

    $3 mil plus incentives, tops. He did nothing to merit more than this over the last few years, especially last year.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Agreed. And I hope the Cubs are simply showing interest as a courtesy to Boras, because the team has no need for Stephen Drew. Signing him would be a total waste of money.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Bingo. BoreUs is Bryants and Almoras agent also. We,ll have to deal with him in the near future, and listening on Drew and even Scherzer is likely a down payment on future contracts with our youngsters.

  • One thing that strikes me with the interest in Drew is that there is now a pattern of the Cubs going after guys this off-season that have a W.S. ring or two. I remember reading an article on players that win have a tendency to keep winning. Kind of an inertia effect. Can't remember who wrote the article but was in the past 6 months.

  • John, are you aware of any research out there on the pitch type and how often it's called a strike when out of the zone?

    And/or the catcher's target, where the pitch was actually thrown and how that may impact strike calls?

    I only ask because I feel like these are variables that I haven't seen accounted for in the research. I'd assume a guy with pitches that have more movement (a Shark or Arrieta, for instance) is more difficult to frame than a guy like Hendricks with more vanilla stuff.

    But catchers don't have the same pitchers throwing to them, so a catcher that has pitchers with less pure stuff may put up better framing numbers than if that same catcher was catching guys with less stuff.

    I think there's pitch FX data on pitch type, amount of break, etc., but I just haven't seen any research that accounts for that, only "Ball was here, called a strike; ball was here, called a ball".

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Forgot to include the 2nd part, but the catcher's target and where the pitch was actually thrown would help try and control for command. It makes sense that pitchers with worse command are more difficult to frame than pitchers with better command. But I haven't seen any framing research that controls for that.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Not sure if he's published it yet or not but I know Harry had a data set that was going to allow him to address this.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I don't know of any but I imagine you are correct here in that a number of things affect framing with pitch type being among them. Seems logical to assume that a hard slider such as Strop's or prime Marmol is harder to frame then a 4 seamer with no movement, to use an extreme example. Harry Pavlidis would be a good guy to ask.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Weren't Marmol/Strop's sliders not usually strikes, or even particularly close. They were/are "swing and miss" pitches, weren't they? If that is the case then "pitch framing" wouldn't come into play.

    I am really curious to see what happens this year with Hendricks, Wood and even EJax. Guys that don't have the best stuff so a call "stolen" here and there can make a difference.

    I remember Charlie O'Brien (I think) would sometimes actually set up OUTSIDE the strike zone knowing that Maddux and Glavine knew where to put the pitch. Then, when it was thrown he would move his glove to catch it and the umpire would see his glove moving TOWARD the middle of the strike zone and would call it a strike. He might even continue his glove movement after he caught it for a split second making the pitch look even more like a strike. In that way he was able to expand the strike zone a couple inches. First of all, does that sound accurate and would that be considered pitch framing?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Not usually, but some were strikes and others close enough to frame. At any rate, it was a comparison made in the abstract, to make an extreme example to make a point.

    As for O'Brien, I could buy that. If there is a good enough relationship and trust on both ends of the battery, you could pull that off. Any thing that can potentially deceive both the hitter and the umpire is potentially an advantage.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I think sometimes deceiving the umpire is more valuable than deceiving the hitter. If I can expand the zone a couple inches I might manage to get a guy to swing at a pitch he can't hit with any authority and induce "weak contact."

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Good observation about Maddux and Glavin. The biggest issue with them was how they seemed to have the umpires brainwashed into thinking everything they threw was a strike. They were excellent in throwing the ball exactly where they wanted but that often meant throwing the pitch 2 to 4 inches off the plate where the catcher was set up and the ump would call it a strike. Frustrating.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Marmol, yes, his slider was rarely a strike. Strop actually gets quite a few strikes called on his silder, with Pedro its all about command.

  • I just had a thought. (major achievement this time of year)

    There are several teams carrying too many outfielders. The only team you hear about carrying too many infielders is the Cubs, but they are in the enviable position of having most of those infielders being top-level prospects loaded with minor league options.

    So why grab Stephen Drew?

    Well... it takes another infielder off the market, that's for sure. I guess you call it "cornering the market", and creating a distinct advantage in the trade market.

    Here's the other thing: why don't we seem to be reeling in that veteran outfielder in any kind of a hurry? Well, we don't have to be in a hurry. In fact, we could probably wait until April 1 to grab the right guy out of the surplus available, namely from the Dodgers or Padres. They are kind of screwed, they have no advantage whatsoever, each carrying 4 or 5 starting outfielders, plus a couple more guys who may be better than their veterans. While I don't love all the choices of players they are carrying, they will basically be easy pickings at the end of spring training. Quite possibly this is how we open up the opportunity to dump Edwin. Or... there may be plenty of opportunities for multi-team deals, if we have our eye on somebody else, like a Zobrist, and the Rays and Cubs could each reel in the players they really want in the exchange.

    The downside? We just have to keep waiting.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Hmmm, I concur

  • John, don't know if you read/ discussed fangraph's article:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/community/the-cubs-the-red-sox-and-a-blank-check/

    about Cubs/ Redsox article of blowing through draft limits and taking penalties, curious as to your thoughts. Have a hard time reading Cubs den articles from cell phone as browser closes unexpectedly before I can read-thx!

  • In reply to jptopdog:

    We did use that in a previous news and notes piece, but thanks for posting. Certainly an interesting idea.

  • Great article John and thanks for the updates!
    I keep hoping when I return to the browser that I see Zobrist and Cubs headlining an article! Maybe it's just me being a Cubs fan, and I'm sure other team fans say this, but Zobrist is just too perfect of fit for the Cubs, he always has been!
    Side note:
    Stephen Drew is asking for more than Asdrubal Cabrera got, he will probably get it or the same deal. That's just wasted money, I'd rather they give Valbuena a raise lol

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    Seems my assumption about Baez is correct. He may be headed to Iowa to work on a his ability to identify pitches that he can in fact handle. Here's the part that most here will hate. I think he gets traded before the start of the 2016 season starts.

    I just don't get as mesmerized by how far he can hit the ball when he constantly slaps you in the face with a reality check and his swing and miss batting style. That and you combine the fact that the Cubs can in fact afford to lose him in their future lineup. We would still have Bryant, Soler, Rizzo, and Russell in the middle of the lineup.
    In my little world the Cubs will be looking to add this year at the trading deadline and Baez will be part of a package to acquire a certain pitcher that eats cheese-steak sandwiches on a regular basis.

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    If you don't get mesmerized by how far Baez hits a ball, then why, exactly, do you think the Phillies would be willing to trade Hamels for a package built around Baez? He'd better really tear up AAA, if that's where he's headed. I really doubt Hamels will be a Cub.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Why is it Cubs fans are always waiting for the next bad thing to happen? I wonder if other fans have these same issues. Are there any shrinks around, maybe there's a diagnosis for this condition, maybe a pill you can take, or maybe we just need to win the World Series...

  • In reply to WJL3:

    In the case of Baez, I guess the thought is that maybe the bad thing has already happened, due to his very alarming contact rate to go with an extremely problematic walk rate. The worry is that MLB pitchers will start pitching to Javy in places where the best bat speed in the world can't convert those pitches into offense.

    There's a lot (LOT) of not-bad things, however. Even Bryant's K-rate is sustainable if he keeps walking. Soler, Russell, and Schwarber have a very nice hit tool and contact rate to go along with super fun power.

    If 4 of these 5 hit and even the middle of their projections, to go along with the established ability of Rizzo and Castro, there is nothing to fear - unless you're an opposing pitcher.

    Javy was always spoken of as the most likely to bust. Nothing has changed about that analysis.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    With Baez, it's all about the perceived odds that he'll be the monster hitter his tools could enable him to be. One GM may think he's a huge risk while another gambles he'll progress quickly.
    In the meantime, the Cubs FO has made acquisitions that keep the position manned whether Baez makes it or not. Unless someone blows them away with an offer, they'll keep working with Baez to see if he makes it.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    That's my thought also. Since this team isn't built around Baez alone, I don't see why we need to take on all the risk just to see if he becomes that HOF'er some fans already have him pegged to be. But there is a serious thirst out there for power hitters and there will be a GM more willing to take on said risk.

    This is not an idea that I am just willing to give up on a guy because I'm willing to trade him. Some here only look at what is being given up and not at the gains that are made in such a deal. If you have it in your head that Baez will indeed hit his ceiling then not matter what is said you will always feel that trading Baez is just bad in every way.

    I just see things differently. There is a better solution out there and it's just a matter of time before a GM out there gives in to our price. This becomes even more evident if Baez goes to Iowa and hits 30 HR's. I still see him as a guy with a 30%+ K rate and only about a 6% BB rate. This just doesn't work with the team strategy.

    I know people will now say that Bryant, or Soler or pick a name will strike out close to 30% also. The difference is that their BB rate will be higher and they will also have a higher BABIP because they will put the ball in play a whole lot more.

    Just the ways I sees it

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    Really? I live in the Bay Area and find the Giants fans to be the most pessimistic bunch I've ever seen. Cub fans, in contrast, are amazingly optimistic. Every prospect will hit his ceiling! We can't trade a single one because he likely going to be great. I love the optimism of Cubs fans.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Apparently you're still not over the Cubs not trading for Hamels.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Ha! No, I'm over it. I don't see it happening. For me, it was built around the Cubs trading Baez, and I see that as unlikely now. So what I'm hoping for instead is that Baez adjusts and follows a path similar to Rizzo.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I think they have asked for more than Baez...a lot more.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe you're right, John.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. Are you trying to pick an argument? If the Cubs could get Hamels for a package built around Baez then was all for it. If they have to build a package around some of the other top prospects then I oppose it. Booby said he was hoping the Cubs trade Baez for Hamels. Like you said, I suspect they are asking for a lot more than that. Are you following me?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    "Bobby."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    LOL. I've been called a "Boob" many a time. hahahaha

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I absolutely respect your opinion. But I feel the total opposite about Giants fans.I live in Walnut Creek.
    Personally, I feel like most Giants fans are bandwagon-hopping, fairweather and uneducated fans.
    However, I feel like most A's fans are die-hard. Dedicated and part of a super passionate fan-base. There's a lot of pride and pain in those folks.
    The A's fanbase is super pessimistic. Sometimes they should be. The Giants are cocky optimists wearing Buster Posey footy pamajas as part of a nightly routine.

    Cubs fans...Optimists? Hell yeah, we agree there. We're absolutely optimistic. Especially right now and who could blame us?!
    Best farm system in the game in a major market? Outstanding.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eric Foster:

    I could be wrong about the Giants fans. It is just my perspective. But whenever I listen to KNBR or read the comment section in the Chronicle I'm always taken back by how negative everyone is. It seems that all the fans think Sabean is an idiot, to the point where in one interview he felt compelled to say, "Listen, I know what I am doing." At least they're pessimistic during the season, and it turns me off. It is different in the playoffs, once the team gets rolling. And I contrast that with the posters on Cubs Den who have fully bought into the "plan" and contented themselves for three years with following the minor leagues, optimistic that management was doing the right thing and the team was headed in the right direction. For many, many reasons Cub fans deserve a winner. And I think the future looks bright. It is a good time to be a Cubs fan!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I could very well be as wrong too.
    I also have Giants friends fans who aren't in that negative cliche I described earlier. I'll have to check out the Chronicle comments!
    I may have judged based on a small sample size.
    Either way, go Cubs!!

  • selfish request.. draft prospect thread?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I think we can look more at the draft and prospects in general in between Hot Stove and Spring Training. If we find a way to fit it in earlier we will. Hopefully Hot Stove is over in a week or two and we can get back to analysis. It's fun, but after awhile I'd rather talk about the current team/organization.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    thats cool.. I was just wondering what peoplel thought about a few guys. I can waitz

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Let me know who you are interested in and I will see what I can find out. Might be a while though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    SS Dasby Swanson from Vanderbilt.. he is the most intriguing

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Will do. Mike Moody is out there too so he may be able to see him live, but I will seek out some professional opinion, of course.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    http://www.commentsyard.com/cy/01/8316_original.gif

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I will have some stuff soon too.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    http://www.commentsyard.com/cy/01/8316_original.gif

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    This Drew stuff just doesn't make sense to me. He hit .167 last year and was a decent defender but not a game changer. Now I know he held out till June so he might have had bad timing. Still his best season the last 5 years he hit .253 with 13 HR with a .333 OBP. Last year Valbuena hit .249 with 16 HR and a .341 OBP. So why pay 5 million more a year for the same production and a player a 2 years older? And that is the best case scenario for Drew he has also had years where he did nothing on offense. If Baez and LaStella aren't the answer play Valbuena at second. Signing Drew doesn't seem like a Jed and Theo move. It wastes resources.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    he is most likely a bench player.. Baez might not start the year with the cubs.. maybe Valbuena is being shopped?? lot of different scenarios to consider.. Not sure why this is causing such hoopla.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    The Cubs do have interest, but not at the level he is looking for right now. Possible that he gets a decent deal from a team who needs a veteran starter. Cubs probably more just keeping tabs and waiting to see if he falls through the cracks. More an opportunistic type signing to me.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That is the only scenario that makes sense to me. I don't think they would ever offer him more than they are paying Valbuena now. So if his market doesn't develop the Cubs swoop in? That makes more sense. Boras doesn't usually back down so I bet some team with more money to spend and hole at 2B signs him. Maybe the Jays?

  • I'm really excited to see Hendricks and montero combo.

  • Doesn't who is at the plate have a little to do with pitch framing and ball/strikes too?

    If Miguel Cabrera takes a close strike the ump may give him the benefit of the doubt due to him obviously having a pretty good idea of the strike zone.

    Alfonso Soriano on the other hand may not get that call.

    Make sense?

  • In reply to NickelBagofFunk:

    probably but I'd wager the saber nerds have said that's been included in their mathematical determinations.

  • OT, but I read something on ESPN today that made me completely okay with the Lester contract. Lester did not attempt to pick off a single runner all season. I love it. Baseball is so much more fun to watch with no throws to 1B.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    So - you're actually a softball fan?

    IMO the battle between a pitcher/catcher and base runner can be one of the more exciting parts of the game. Holding the runner close to prevent a potential steal, and/or taking the extra base is an important part of the game. Also increasing the chance for a double play.

    Sorry you don't enjoy one the more exciting/important parts of the game.

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    In reply to Letsplay2:

    Being born and raised as a catcher, I totally agree with you! LOL

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I'm having trouble visualizing being "born a catcher". :)

  • In reply to Letsplay2:

    I enjoy sitting beyond first in line with the runner, pitcher and 1b. Great game within the game.

  • I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but here's an interesting article on team win-loss projections for the NL. They have the Cubs at 83 wins.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-team-projections-and-you-national-league/

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    In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    i'd bet the over on that. The cubs were a game or two under .500 from june 1 onwards last year, and that included the period where they lost Shark and went into a tailspin for a week. Fangraphs' own projections based on runs scored says they should have been at least a 79 win team last year. Subtract the zero offense from Barney and put in a league average 2b, plug in Bryant for most of the year and Soler for the whole year, give Wood a dead cat bounce, add in the catching upgrades and the new manager - and seriously you're only looking at 83 wins? I'd put it at 86-87..

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    FYI, these are the same projections they've had since the Winter Meetings. The only thing new here is they added this polling element.

  • http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-best-pitches-of-2014-by-whiffs/

    Strop has the nastiest slider.. no, really!

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    John, do the Cubs have any interest in Venable?

  • In reply to Ray:

    Not that I am aware of. I don't think he plays CF well enough to be an everyday guy there. Just don't think he gives them enough of what they are looking for, guess is they take a pass, but I do not know.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am also not sure Padres trade him. They have 3 RH hitting OF'ers and Venable gives them a LH bat who can sub at all 3 positions.

  • With all of Padres effort they still are 5 games Steamer projection behind SF and this one is a -.5, so they need to pick up a couple more to compete with LAD and SF

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    In reply to rnemanich:

    And that why we plays the game

  • John, what's your thoughts on signing Franklin Gutierrez to a minor contract with invite to spring training? I heard he's playing in Mexico and is doing well. He was one of the best defensive CF in the game a couple of years ago. I do understand about his illness, but there's a chance it could really payoff!

  • In reply to Jer Bear:

    I guess I'd be okay with it. Can't hurt, but looks like he might be done at this point.

  • What do you think about Chad Billingsley? Same approach.

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    In reply to Jer Bear:

    I would love him on a incentive laden 1-2 year deal

    He can't be any worse then Scott baker

  • Zobrist makes a lot of sense because it gives Maddon a known entity. Maddon, to be successful needs as many knowns as possible.

    For Montero and Ross, I would love to see the games split at 120/42. I just feel catchers are at their best at about +\- 120 games caught on the year. That gives Ross 30+ Lester starts and a few more to keep Montero fresh and handle days after night games and travel days etc.

    I wonder if there is data to support or debunk that theory on optimal amount of games played vs peak performance? Piazza is a total anomaly.

  • In reply to Gator:

    Looks like one year of Zobrist is going to be too expensive for the Cubs. Everyone wants Zobrist per MLBTR.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I'm not convinced that Ross is here to catch every game Lester pitches. Montero's our starting catcher and should be in the lineup against RHP as much as possible. If Lester makes 20+ starts against a RHP than Montero should catch those games. I don't know much about optimal catcher splits but I think your numbers look fine.

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