How the Cubs Will Be Good In 2020

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: David Ross #3 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: David Ross #3 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Indians .

Throughout my 40+ years of fandom, I've carried some unusual quirks. I used my favorite Billy Buck baseball card as a bookmark and slept with my glove that Ivan DeJesus signed just for me under my pillow. I sat in my underwear with 2000 baseball cards looking for that guy who hit 1.000 with more than 1 AB (I can't recall finding one), and will never, ever forget my marvel at seeing the number 52 under the HR column of Mr. George Foster. That was an amazing feat for that era, and I should say something here about PED's, but I want to keep it clean.

And I would sing. I even wrote my own fight songs, composing tunes of Cubs' seasons past, present, and future.

"The Cubs done great in '78.

And they're doing fine in '79." 

I suppose I was ever the optimist, even back in that lean period. And quite the prognosticator as well...

"Hit the floor in '84." 

I guess the reason I'm thinking this is to convince myself yet again that I will always love baseball and my Chicago Cubs. Always. Whether down 9-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth, 5 games out with only 6 to play, or 1 game away from elimination with  3 to go (and the last 2 in Cleveland), we have a chance. We got this! That wind might be blowing out.

I've forced myself to adopt this mindset heading into the 2020 season. I've grown and matured, but that little boy sitting in his underwear atop his mountain of baseball cards will never leave me. At least I hope not.

With these warm, fuzzy feelings in mind, I'll try my best to take an optimistic look at the 2020 roster and season. I'm old-school in many ways, and I've always kept a roster hand-written on paper. I write the sure things in ink and pencil in the unknowns in, well, pencil. I honestly just started to compose my latest incarnation and realized I may need a bigger pencil. I've also always had a template: 1B down to C, 5 SP's, and a bench and bullpen that has necessarily changed in structure over the years. I'm still learning to refer to the DL as the IL, listing players as "UT" rather than "IF" or "OF", and the 26th man has totally screwed up the homemade spreadsheets I had perfected over all these decades.

Notice any frustration? I do, and get off my lawn! I suppose most of this is because of the uncertainty I have filling out even a partial roster at this point. Who's here, and who isn't? Normally, by this time of year, I have a pretty good idea of where we stand and what we need. Now? I need a bigger pencil.

I think the way to go here is to speak of the players we know to be a sure thing, and present them in the most positive light possible. Maybe talk of the players we think will be here, and present them in the most positive light possible. Even mention the players who may not be around any more, and present them in the most positive light possible.

In order to truly get into this blissful state of Cubs nirvana, I may have to strip down to my underwear, revert to 9-year-old me, and bathe myself in baseball cards. I'll spare you the video feed, but *I will have to occasionally speak in my adult voice. 

• Starting out at 1B, I had to reach for my seldom-used ink pen to write in Anthony Rizzo. I also needed to ink in his standard season slash line of .290/.390/.510, with 30 bombs and 100 driven in. Oh, and the annual Gold Glove award. Can he do this for another 8 years, will it be with the Cubs, and do we debate the HOF? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's hope for a healthy and "normal" 2020.

• Who's on second? Some combination of David Bote, Daniel Descalso, and Tony Kemp, for now, with maybe a hint of Robel Garcia. Not very inspiring, which is why I've predicted Nico "Suave" Hoerner wins the job out of spring training. In an ideal world, Nico would get a little more seasoning to work on his pitch selection at AAA, and if we are seriously taking a slow approach to the 2020 season, this might be the way to go.

Overall, I think Nico gets the majority of the playing time, and puts up a Ryno-lite .285/.355/.470 line and begins to gel with his soon-to-be long-term MI mate.

*Then I think of the rookie struggles, and the screaming for the next 3 years that Nico wasn't quite yet Suave.

• Speaking of which, El Mago. What else can we say, except consistency, please? I'm as big a fan as there is, so I won't quit now. I think he will tone it down a bit, mature with his hitting approach, and finish 4th in the NL MVP race. He'll lose some flash, but grow as a player. El Grande Mago? El Mago Grande? Pardon my French, I only speak American.

*To heck with my immature, conservative, childish mind! Adult me says Javy wins not only the MVP and the Platinum Glove, but also the Cy Young and a Nobel Peace Prize.

• I don't know what to make of the hot corner. Kris Bryant? Even sitting here in my underwear, this hurts too much to talk about. Next...

• I think Kyle Schwarber is going to break out in a big way in LF. We were all enamoured with Nicky 2bags in the last couple months of 2019, with good reason, but Schwarber was with him every step of the way.

Schwarber is finally coming into his own as an elite LH bat. From August 2019 on, he mashed to a 163 wRC+, and improved that impressive number to a ridiculous 177 in September. SSS, yes, but I counter with recency bias. All the peripherals are there to support sustainability, and I firmly believe that Boss Ross (TM ?) will tap into his psyche and comfort level.

That sweet LH swing will continue to charm, especially when going oppo.

• CF: Can we sign John Fogerty?

*Do I really have to do lyrics on this?

At this point, I'm penciling in Ian Happ. I have high hopes for Happ, considering his improvements following his demotion for performance and focus reasons. The K rate is coming down, the BB rate remains acceptable, and he has upside. I think he still has untapped power, but the adjustments he needs to make against top-flight pitching may negate some of that.

I suppose he can be serviceable, but dang, I LIKE DEFENSE, and don't enjoy the idea of breaking out a thought I've stated here a thousand times before: the only numbers that truly matter in baseball are the ones under the "R" column at the end of the game. There are many ways to get there, and run prevention is paramount.

Speaking of defense, Albert Almora. I wouldn't call him a bust, because I never saw that much in him, but disappointing is fair. I've always thought his glove could be buried in a deep lineup, but we haven't developed into the offensive juggernaut we once envisioned. Simply put, Almora has been arguably the worst offensive player in all of MLB for over a year now. He is at a crossroads, and I wish him the best.

*I really like Almora. I love a baseball rat. I've read many interviews and have listened to him speak several times. During some of these interviews, my ears have tweaked a little bit. Hmmm...

• I hope RF belongs to Jason Heyward, for his sake and for ours. I've predicted a big, break-out season for my BFF, and I think Boss Ross can coax it out if him.

J-Hey has been on a steady run of improvement, bolstering his putrid wRC+ of 72 in 2016 to 89 in '17, 99 in '18, and an above-average 101 in 2019. I expect and predict a wRC+ of at least 120 in 2020, as well as a return to an elite-level RF defense, if we can play him there.

*Just to add my adult voice, *cough* Maddon *cough*, I also predict the amount of J-Hey lead-off AB's in the entire 2020 season adds up to a grand total of 0. Zero. Nada.

I don't think he has been healthy or comfortable (let alone both) since his signing. Without digging too deeply into the numbers, something stands out to me. Pitchers are becoming more and more reluctant to throw him a fastball. The rate of fastballs he has faced has fallen quite dramatically (65.2% in '16, 61.4% in '17, 55.4% in '18, and 53.4% in 2019). This tells me he has been hurt, has been prone to being overpowered. I don't think he will be this year.

• C: Another one of those areas when I have to holster my trusty pen for the uncertainty of graphite.

In any sane baseball world, Willson Contreras would be inked as our starting catcher. But we don't appear to be in any type of sanity. Willson could be dealt, but as of now, I expect him back.

I will offer my opinion, however unpopular it may be. I think we should trade him. I may be wrong, but I see a player at his peak value. I love the bat, I love the passion, and I love the fire. It is my belief that he has maxed out. I could be wrong and I plan on being here for many more years, so I'll own it.

I love passionate players, and Willson is certainly that. I love tools, because above all else that's what counts, and Willson has a shop full. But I also greatly value mental skills, as I know that baseball is different than any other sport. I've always been able to follow that journey with the players that embrace it, and I've kinda soured on the guys that left me flat. I see a player in Willson Contreras who is involved in a highly mental game and is limited to his physical skills.

Victor Caratini, of course. I'm trying hard to put everyone in their best light for the sake of the team and our sanity, but even I have my limits. Something about a guy who can wear the tools of ignorance, catch a ball, swing a bat, and lead a team to a World Series Championship.

I meant to do this as a full-roster piece. I don't think now that I should. I'm risking going into novel territory, and I haven't even got to the pitching yet.

I think I'll end with the offensive side here. I'm gonna go back and throw in some nifty-looking stats to make me appear more competent and to attempt to make myself believe what I just wrote. Always the optimist!

Maybe that's for the best. For all our woes, the current group of throwers from the mound may be the most concerning.

I'll leave that for the next step. Coming soon. To prepare for that delve into the abyss, and to present it a positive light, I might have to pull out a trick from my childhood. The underwear may have to come off, so that my nonsensical rantings aren't as blatent and obscene as my physical appearance. It worked back then...

Go Cubs!

 

 

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  • Barley, my man, this is your best work!

    Maybe it’s because I too am the eternal optimist, and we’re about the same age, and the way we love Sabbath And Tool. Whatever. Very nicely done.

    Yes sir!

    Let’s Go Cubs!

  • In reply to TTP:

    TTP, my man, this is your best comment!

    Maybe because I am too the eternal optimist, or because I have appreciated your support over years of my stupidity. I won't quit.

    I feel the need to do this here. A tribute to one of the greatest drummers and lyricists of all time, Mr. Neil Peart.

    "And what you say about his company
    Is what you say about society.
    Catch the witness.
    Catch the wit.
    Catch the spirit.
    Catch the spit."

  • In reply to TTP:

    Dang it, TTP, but you and a couple others lead me to this. Talking about that period of time, and the supposed Innocence of childhood.

    I wrote this in the article, but decided not to publish it. I figured I could do it in the comments, so I will:

    "I also remember the tension of that time. Me in my underwear, my baseball cards, and my Dad. He would watch all the TV shows he could with his boys, but he had to work a lot. When he worked, Grandma babysat, and Grandma ruled. "The Love Boat" was deemed too risque, and was off limits.

    Dad would sit with us and watch all our favorite shows, when he could. "The Dukes of Hazzard" was a blast. We would watch and yell "ye haw!", and Dad would literally take us to the park a week later to jump in and out of our moving vehicle. I split my lip, and lil' bro sprained his ankle. We'd heal up and do it again next week, pleading to Dad the driver: Faster! Faster!

    My favorite show was M*A*S*H. Dad would sit and watch everything with me, until M*A*S*H. Then he'd always have something else to do. He would leave me, and I'd pull out my recorder, which is a small wind instrument similar to a flute.

    I could play that recorder, especially the M*A*S*H theme song. Me in my underwear, on a stack of baseball cards in a darkened room watching the helicopters on the color (!) TV screen and tooting along: DO DO DO DO DO, DO DO...

    Every show. I had my recorder at the ready, and asked Dad to stay to watch my favorite show. We'd watch Bo and Luke Duke and the hilarity that ensued, but Hawkeye and triage was all mine, all alone, always. Without fail, he'd hand me my recorder and excuse himself. It hurt that my Dad wouldn't watch my favorite show with me, and be proud of me as I matched note-for-note the opening theme song, every show. I didn't understand. Why would he be so mean to me?

    It wasn't until much later that I understood what M*A*S*H was about, and comprehended the lyrics of the theme song, "Suicide Is Painless". The song I innocently and enthusiastically tooted to in my underwear on top of my baseball cards.

    My favorite show, and the one my Dad would leave me alone to watch by myself because he couldn't return home from the hell he just experienced and sit and laugh with his son as it was portrayed as a comedy.

    Me and my recorder...

    DO-DO-DO-DO-DO-DO-DO.

    War sucks, in so many ways.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Now I am very optimistic, I heard Levine saying yesterday that the Cubs are trying to trade for Arenado and then move Bryant to CF. Probably have to give Almora, Hoerner, Alzolay and get rid of some contracts Quintana or Chatwood but why would the Rockies want those players?

    Probably not likely though.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    "Probably not likely though."

    Um, yeah.

    "Chicks dig the long ball", Maddux and Glavine pronounced.

    "Media members dig the clicks, likes, and follows", I counter. No matter what nonsense they have to spew to get them. For shame.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I whole heartedly agree that the Cubs trading for Arenado and moving Bryant to CF is probably not likely.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah, wishful thinking. Back in reality MLB TradeRumors just posted that the Cardinals are in preliminary talks with CO. Apparently Arenado likes them and everyone feels it would be a good fit.

    Farewell optimism.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Bruce Levine is only concerned with promoting himself and his fading popularity. He is an embarrassment to credible reporting.

  • I’m pretty down on the team’s 2020 chances. Mainly because the rotation is Darvish and Hendricks and a lot of question marks. I’m not fully sold on Darvish, for that matter. So....81-81.

    But the 49ers are loaded!

  • In reply to Cubs09:

    I admitted I had to pull off the optimist train before I hit the pitching staff. This analysis will be tough.

    Pitching and defense. Pitching and defense. Pitching and defense.

    I don't see it.

  • I share the sense of optimism when spring (training) approaches. Pitching has a fighting chance to be above average. I think Lester suffered fatigue and suffered unnecessarily, staying in games because the bullpen sucked. Hendricks will perform better on the road last year. Yu is intrigued and intriguing with a plethora of pitches at his disposal. Chatwood will live up to his contract. 5th starter will be Cory Abbott. Defense and fundamentals will be emphasized by Ross, expect a vast improvement.

    To go old school, Time of the Season:”
    Take you in the sun to promised lands, show you everyone, it’s the season for loving”.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    But I think it stinks when we have to hope for "has a fighting chance to be above average". We should be dominant in our current circumstances.

    I'm not into bashing ownership, just following your lyrical lead:

    "What's your name?
    Who's your daddy?
    (He rich) Is he rich like me?
    Has he taken, any time (any time)
    (To show) to show you what you need to live?"

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It does stink. I’m resigned to the Ricketts unwillingness to back any new efforts to improve via acquisition because of past efforts causing current inefficiencies. Sometimes when you swing you miss. Seems like they would rather keep the bat on their shoulder.

  • Great job Barley. Now I am really depressed.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    You're welcome?

    I don't like discussing this either, but we have to. I have been seeing the argument that the NL Central could be so weak this year that we might be able to win it. I totally agree, and I also say BUNK!

    I don't care how weak the rest of the division is. That has nothing to do with the current state of our franchise. This is not where we should be. With the advantages we have and the sacrifices we have made as a fanbase, we should be in position to EASILY win a potentially weak division. We should be able to pick and choose our moves at the trade deadline, and coast to a division title while resting our regulars and setting up our pitching staff for a deep postseason run.

    That could still happen, and I hope it does. But it looks like it might take more of a fight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    This is what I've been preaching for two and a half years, we've been riding on draft picks that were either over hyped or under performed for years, we won in 16 because of some very good moves in the previous two years, then when we tried to extend we traded away key components of our farm system to try to win another, instead of staying with the mantra of keep building a strong farm system, it seemed every move was based on the short sighted view, when it should have been more of building and keep building through the draft and IFA.
    I know everyone wanted to win again in 16 and I admit I thought of that,too,but I knew we had a really good team in 15 and if we just stayed pat I think we would have won a lot more with our farm system and replenishing that instead of emptying and going for top relievers(Chapman)and starters (Quintana) that usurped our philosophy of growing our own, I was never in favor of signing pitchers and developing hitters, you have to be able to do both
    or eventually you will end up with neither.(I didn't mind either Darvish or Lester, they were both needed at the time and we were in position to pay them without over extending)
    I believe a lot of our problems have to be related to Theo and Jed, they have been given all the tools to succeed, and you can't deny Ricketts has left them have what they needed, but after 16, they have made some less than stellar decisions and have the cubs as one of the top spenders with a less than desirable team, be it poor decisions at the major league level or minor league level, development of players, staying with players longer than wanted, coaching, minor league training, it falls back to your top people.

  • This is the first time in many many years I do not know how this season will go. The players you mentioned are the exact same minus Nate who was our best hitter. There is no doubt the talent is there from the position players but it wasn’t enough in 2019. 1 thing that has helped some is nobody has mad a ton of moves. The reds have done the most but are they really ready to Ben a contender????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Who's Nate? And what does your last sentence mean? Thanks in advance.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Sorry for grammatical errors. I meant Nick. And should have said ready to be a contender? Meaning the division is much improved so cubs have shot if play to potential.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Oh ok, got it. Thanks.

  • Thanks BP. I look forward to every season as well. My son and I have our ST tickets are ready for a warm up in the arid Sun. Pulling for whoever is in Cubbie blue.

    I agree that it will be helpful this year if David Ross doesn't play musical chairs as much as Maddon. I think there is something to be said for a player's comfort level. Versatility is good. Too much versatility is less so.

    I'm in an agreeable mood this day. I have Nico penciled at second as well. Will Bryant and Contreras still be be here tho, Idk?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I've never been to spring training in AZ. It's on my bucket list. I have crawled all over ST in Florida, having lived several years in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, and loved every bit of it. The access you have when no one is around is amazing.

    I think certain players are more open to uncertainty and flexibility than others. I think KB embraces it, at least from the positional side. He has publicly stated he would prefer to hit further down the order than the 1-2 spot. Javy is another, and I had that argument for years. The reason he moved around while Russell remained at SS wasn't because Addi was a better SS, but because Baez had the mental fortitude to do so. Russell didn't. I think J-Hey needs the stability of a set position (RF) and a lineup slot (6-7) to be most productive.

    I think Boss Ross has a better understanding of these needs and will do a better job of managing them than Maddon did. That, and his understanding and handling of the pitching staff, are the reasons I believe he was groomed for this opportunity.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Actually, I was thinking KB didn't much like outfield. Of course, like JHey and Schwarbs he would not complain. Javy is so good around the diamond that he doesn't count, it's all just baseball to him.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I'm excited about Ross too, for those reasons. Plus, the honeymoon was over for me with Joe after games six and seven in the 2016 Series. It just seemed like Maddon was determined to be the most creative manager in history no matter what. I still like him, but I'm glade to see BossRoss!!

  • fb_avatar

    Damn it's good to talk baseball! ST is just around the corner and we have our lineup ready.
    BP, you had your Dad, but my Mom was the Cubs fan. I would come home from school and watch WGN with her, she was the one who took us to Cubs games too. My Dad, from Detroit, liked the Sox, and growing up (born in 1950) my favorite player was Mickey Mantle. Dad would take us to game to see Joel Horlen pitch agains Whitey Ford. That was something.
    Back to the Cubs. You might be right about Schwarbs, but I would like to see the Cubs trade him. I think his value is as high as ever and we know he goes through slumps so why not now? I do think KB is traded too, not that I want to, because when healthy he's as locked in as anybody, but we need young players and the ones I want to see are maybe 2 years away. I love Albert A too, but he needs to hit to stay with this team.
    We have so much talent now that you wouldn't think we need to trade anyone. If we can regain the defensive ability we showed in '15 and '16 then we'll be alright. I still don't know what happened. And if we can cut done on our base running blunders then this team can compete with anyone.
    The talent is there to win.
    Oh, and give me some Janis or Dylan or Fogerty (CCW kind) and Seger and I'm a very happy man.
    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I was born in 71, so I missed the Banks/Williams/Santo/Fergie era. But I was a baseball history junkie, and The Mick was my favorite historical player growing up. He may have been the greatest talent in baseball history, and would have proven it minus the personal demons.

    I don't want to see either Schwarber or Contreras dealt, but I believe based on current and future value to the team, Contreras would bring the better return. I could be wrong, but I really don't see him reaching his ceiling, and the scarcity of his position increases that current value. Schwarber, on the other hand, holds more current value to this team and lineup than he would bring in trade, IMO.

    KB, I think, is gone. There's been infinite media reports on this, and recently the narrative is the Donaldson market is holding up the Bryant trade discussions. I disagree, and have heard the opposite is true. I think his grievance will be settled very soon, and most GM's are working on the premise that the Cubs win the case. Word hasn't necessarily leaked, the case hasn't been decided yet, but it's a forgone conclusion. This has held up the Donaldson signing.

    Insiders will know the verdict of the grievance before the rest of us, and that's when Donaldson signs. I'd go so far as to say that when Donaldson signs, that means a decision on KB has been reached.

    And then the KB trade will be officially announced.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I don't think it is certain Bryant is gone. By all reports the asking price is ridiculous.
    Contreras is still a great value for his contract and does not save money for payroll and creates a huge hole in the lineup.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Aaahhh, Bob Seger what a treat he was/is. I always thought he was underrappreciated and has a strong body of work

  • I'm hoping for plenty in 2020.

  • In reply to JayPea:

    :)

  • If it is all about getting under 205M trade Q for bullpen help and push the envelope with Mills, Chatwood and or Rhea. If it is about Bryant and looming free agency in 2021(don’t see it going his way) still think he can bring more in July than now. I’m going to be optimistic. Things went really wrong Last season and I think Ross can make a difference.

  • In reply to 523WSC:

    Agreed! Or just Q for a prospect even. This team needs 1 more shot together with a new manager. Move someone midseason if it's not looking good. Moving WC made the most sense to me earlier but it sounds like robo umps are coming very soon.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I'm no expert, but from the brief glimpses I've seen, the umpires have basically just agreed to proceed with testing of an electronic system as part of their new contract.

    "Soon" is subjective, but I think it's still a few years away at the ML level. Point being, I don't think that news has any current impact on the Willson situation.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I saw some baseball insider tweet "possibly as soon as 2022" or something like that a couple days ago. I don't care enough to try to look the tweet up but it's just got me thinking.

  • In reply to 523WSC:

    Replacing Quintana with one of the internal options makes the team worse.
    I don't think Ross is going to make a difference

  • I am hoping Robel Garcia improves his defense and hitting off speed pitches. And of course he retains his ability to hit a fast ball.

  • I am hoping Garcia, Kemp and Descalso go away.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    A third of your wish came true. Kemp to the A's, don't know who's coming back yet.

  • Me too

  • Really don’t want to trade Q but ownership wants to be under 208m to avoid penalties. I’d take Bryant and his 150K’s vs watching Q throw 40 pitches in the 4th 30 times a season.

  • fb_avatar

    Ken Rosenthal is reporting that MLB has come down hard on the Astros. GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch have been suspended for 1 year and the Astros also lose their 1st and 2nd picks for the next 2 season and will be fined the maximum of $5M. Joey Cora might also be levied punishment too--this is all from the 2017 sign-stealing scandal.
    Good for MLB. I don't mind stealing signs the old fashioned way, but when cameras and other equipment is used that crosses the line for me.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    But corporate espionage is ok? I cannot believe Manfred suspends these guys for a year and takes away picks. Yet the Cards do something far more serious and they got a little pat on the butt. I have zero faith Manfred is good for the game.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    And now the Astros have fired both. So native Joe Espada gets a manager gig after all?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Winter:

    Maybe, not native

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Winter:

    No, the Cardinals should have had the same penalties applied to them.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    This is great news for anyone who still believes in integrity in baseball. It's a very good thing that not only are they suspended, they are also fired from their jobs. They didn't commit a crime, but they are very obviously unethical cheats who would do almost anything to win. We need less of these types of people in all major sports.
    But I think the players involved should also face punishment. They are adults who decided to stoop so low to this level of cheating to only improve their hitting stats. Unless they were forced to cheat this way, they are just as culpable, and just as slimy.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    One thing. Don't count on any major sports network to make an extremely big deal of this. Any black eye to MLB, that might affect ratings, and therefore, the bottomline, for these organizations, will be pooh poohed and forgotten about as soon as they think they can get away with that. You can already read stuff from ESPN regarding how draconian they think these punishments are. They will always try to protect the cash cow first.

    But I would be curious to see what an independent-minded news agency like Time or the NY Times thinks of this scandal. It's probably beneath their radar, but these types of agencies are the only type who would treat this fairly.

  • But, but, but, it was only one guy acting completely on his own with everybody else having no knowledge this was happening. I do think he got the sign stealing right though

  • In reply to Varmit County:

    The trusty old "rogue employee". DirtyBirds owner Bill DeWitt has tremendous power and influence within MLB, and the things they do sicken me.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The Cards "rogue employee"- Chris Correa scouting director was sentenced to 46 months in prison.

    I think all three teams Atl, Hou, St. Lou, all deserved greater punishment.

  • In reply to Varmit County:

    I think that Manfred got the sign stealing righ too! It's a huge advantage to know what pitch is coming. Also, it's hard to catch the team doing it, at least until after the fact. So I think a serious penalty was paramount.

  • fb_avatar

    So, Tony Kemp was just traded to Oakland for Alfonso Rivas, a 1st baseman who has a good stroke and hitting ability and could play a corner outfield too. The first move of the spring. In 2019 his OPS was over 1.000 but he doesn't have much power.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    His OPS was 791 in 431 AB's last year. The 1.00+ was in only 32 AB's

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    He did hit .306/.417/.449 in the AFL, but I have no idea if he is going to be a ML player. He sounds like a good prospect though.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I've seen comps to Mark Grace and Wally Joyner. I think those are a little unrealistic long-term, but I think the point is a smooth, natural LH swing without a ton of power, and solid defense at 1B.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The young man went from A+ to AAA without missing a beat. Solid OPS and doesn't K at a ridiculous rate. He could be interesting to keep an eye on.

  • Hello everyone hope everyone had a good holidays.

    I don't post on here often but read almost everyday and I feel more optimistic than a lot of people do. The Cubs were right there for most of the season until injuries hit them hard at the end. So I think if people stay healthy or at least spread out there injuries they should be fine offensively. I'm worried a bit about the back end of the rotation but think it can be average. So over all I think the Cubs will be fine.

    And to maybe cheer some people up here are the careers of two players thru age 26.

    Player one:
    492 games, 110 HR 255 RBI's 525 SO 244 BB .235 BA .339 OBP .480 SLG .829 OPS 115 OPS +

    Player two:
    470 games, 58 HR 190 RBI's 339 So 186 BB .249 BA .331 OBP .432 SLG .763 OPS 109 OPS +

    Player one age 26 season:
    155 Games, 38 HR 92 RBI's 156 SO 70 BB .250 BA .339 OBP .531 SLG .871 OPS 120 OPS +

    Player two age 26 season:
    125 Games:, 20 HR 75 RBI's 87 SO 43 BB .272 BA .339 OBP .500 Slg .839 OPS 120 OPS +

    As most of you probably guessed player one is Kyle Schwarber and player two is David Ortiz. Now I'm not saying Kyle Schwarber is going to be the next Ortiz but I found it interesting how similar there numbers were thru age 26.

  • In reply to Wmp1990:

    Nice post, and I like the comp, except for the "help" Big Papi had along the way. I hope that isn't the case with Schwarber, but you never know. That unknown is one of the biggest reasons I hate PED's. I tend to think Kyle is clean, but even our players do it, too. I'm still not positive that Arietta transformed from Clark Kent to Superman on yoga and raw kale alone.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I think Kyle is clean as well but like you said sometimes you never know.

    The other change to Ortiz after age 26 was he was traded to Boston. Don't know how much the change helped or if it was just a change of scenery but I'm sure Minnesota wishes they'd held on to him a few more years.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It was Pilates, not yoga. Come on, man!

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    OK, I'll own it when I'm wrong.

    And he probably steamed his kale.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Kyle was mashing at Indiana under NCAA testing rules. I will lean towards just a strong dude that can hit a ball really far. I like to think Jake just went back to the delivery that got him to the big leagues. Baltimore tried to change it to limit future injury. That cross delivery is what made him so tough to hit. Until proven, I dislike thinking roids about any player especially on the Cubs. Yep, still got a naive kid left in me too...

  • In reply to Varmit County:

    I hear you. I hate PED's for what they did to the record books, and for the mockery they made of the numbers i've worshipped my entire life. But to be honest, it is that uncertainty, that cynicism that robs me of my youthful trust, that hurts the most.

    Just an example, off the top of my head: Henry Aaron 755, Nolan Ryan 5,714, Cy Young 511, Hack Wilson 191, Roger Maris 61* (the real record), I could go on and on.

    I could not tell you Barry Bonds career HR total. I think it is 763, 764, 765, something like that. I swear I do not know, and have put a complete block from allowing it to enter my mind.

  • In reply to Wmp1990:

    Plus Kyle had his knee blown out. That affected him for two years.

  • In reply to Wmp1990:

    One other difference being,... Ortiz was probably never anybody's idea of a decent defensive OF. Kyle Schwarber has made himself into a more than acceptable one in the last couple of seasons.

  • The Black Sox sandals, PEDs, and stealing signs electronically all violate the integrity of the game.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree. I was a huge boxing fan in my youth, but completely lost interest when it became obvious that the results of the biggest matchups were predetermined. The nation lost interest as well, and the sweet science is a shell of former glory.

    Baseball is such a nuanced game that I think it is more susceptible to subtle cheating than the other major sports. We need to set strong examples to deter cheating.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Buster Douglas was pre-determined......Leon Spinks?

  • And that pitching article is coming when?

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