The Anarchist's Brunch

A shorter brunch today as I still try to contemplate the silliness from last night’s Blackhawks game…

The big news this week appears to be that Javier Baez got an invite to big boy camp at Spring Training this year. He’ll even get to stay up late and watch TV. This isn’t really big news. John Arguello rationally explains the move here. John has a tendency to be thoughtful and perspective about things. Why we love him. Others however, went nuts. There were some raising the possibility of a September call up. and with the Cubs inclusion on John Sickels’ top ten minor league system, there was an overall feeling that Baez will continue the parade of young talented potential all stars that has included Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. ( No need to point out that this list ONLY includes Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo… but hey.)

And I’m just a tad worried about the Cubbie hype machine grabbing this kid a little too early.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s TONS to love about this kid. The phrase “Gary Sheffield-like speed through the strike zone” is not thrown around much, if at all. And that kind of compact swing sets the mind a wandering of grand things. And I remember how his mammoth home runs as a Peoria Chief in Kane County totally overshadowed what the major league club was doing. ( Again, no need pointing out that the Cubs were getting torqued by the Reds at the time…but hey.)

But Javier Baez finished his year in Daytona. That’s A-ball. And he spent most of the time there struggling. He started to get it but it wouldn’t be the worst thing if he started in Daytona again. And Cubs brass, especially Jason Mcleod, seem to air on the conservative side of things when it comes to prospects.

But that doesn’t stop the hype. Cub fans love to latch on to whatever’s “good”. And I love that about Cub fans. It’s what separates us from the baboons and the Yankee fans. But with that comes the overhype of turning “good” into “great”, and with that comes the backlash from Cubbie haters who think we’re turning everything into “savior” status. The term Reed Mantle was never uttered once by a Cub fan. But because Cub fans cheered for Reed and liked him the Anti-Cub brigade, found mostly on WSCR670, ratcheted up the common line ‘there goes Cub fans again” machine. Next thing you know, Reed Johnson is a hot topic simply because he ran into a wall.

Javier Baez still has miles to go before he can sleep in his Chicago Cub uniform. And if the hype is starting up now I can only imagine what it’s like when he’s killing it for the Smokies or rocking the corn in Iowa. Epstoyer has always been good at managing the message and giving the proper perspective on players. Here’s hoping the comment early and strongly on Mr. Baez after he has his first 3-for-4 at Big Boy camp this spring.


Oh right, there’s a football game today.

The other news is that Pearl jam is coming to Wrigley Field. Which gives me the opportunity to feel both incredibly old and incredibly cool when I say I saw them up the street from Wrigley at Metro on the Ten tour.

By the way, Theo Epstein’s top 25 Pearl jam songs is fascinating to me.

There are those that won’t go because they don’t like concerts at Wrigley. I ask this, what big concert alternative would you like? Soldier Field a pain in the ass. Whatever they’re calling the World Amphitheater these days might be the worst sounding venue in history. The UC? In summer no less? Wrigley seems fine. My bet is I go.

Back to the Super Bowl, I usually make a win bet and the stupidest prop bet I can find. Coin toss, first team to punt, What color the Gatorade they dump will be. ( By the way, 13/2 for Red Gatorade seems like an awfully big overlay to me. I know it’s never been dumped. But it’s by far the most popular choice of Gatorade. Might have to make an additional play.) So here are my two plays.

The Niners -3.5

Alicia keys forgetting a word in the national Anthem- +150

Still think the Cubs have a Michael Bourn rumor in them before Spring training.

By the way, one of my favorite non-Cubs Den Cubs blog wrote an interesting piece on if the Cubs should sign the Boras free agent.

Also on the Cubs blog front, I feel the need to report that Al Yellon reached out to tell me that i was never actually banned from Bleed Cubbie Blue . So I guess I have goals this year. I keeed. I keeed.I didn’t get to comment on the Hendry article, and a lot of ground has been covered on it. But allow me this point. When Hendry took over for Ed lynch,  Cubs fans were at their Sing with harry, Cub fan-Bud man, Wrigley Field is just a tanning salon/beer garden peak. Actual baseball was second, if not third, if not tenth on the priority list. When Hendry was fired Cub fans were more critical of off-season moves and actual baseball play than they ever were. Cub fans give a damn more about the actual baseball than they ever did. Don’t think Hendry didn’t have a hand in that. He did. A big one.Okay, who thinks John Arguello sleeps at night with a Tangotiger stuffed animal? I, for one, am raising my hand…..( Probably won’t make it through the year taking a swipe at my boss every brunch. But hey...).



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    I thought Yankee fans were baboons. Mets' fans too.

  • Great stuff Felzz. I may write a bit more on Baez later this week. Hopefully he opens ups some eyes the way Castro did a few years ago as a 19-20 year old.

    Think my favorite Pearl Jam song has always been Rearview Mirror...

    As for the Bourn signing, I respect Dmick89 and the guys at OV Blog and it's one of the blogs I read other than my own, but I don't like Bourn at any time frame, even if his contract does offer value for 2-3 years. I think WAR has been overstating his value, most of which comes from his defense. The OBP is solid, but I think the Cubs can match that with a DeJesus/Sappelt platoon at the leadoff spot. So really what you're paying all that money for is an upgrade on CF defense at an age (30), where that trend is about to start heading in the opposite direction.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think I look at it not as much as Michael Bourn. But the need for an outfield answer for the short term. We like the idea of Soler and Almora and possibly Jackson as the Cubs everyday outfield, but that is at least 3 years away and more realistically 4 or 5. And the fact that Bourn is kind of in Free Agent no man's land might drive the price to where number crunchers like Epstoyer would have to consider it.

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    In reply to felzz:

    What you're really asking Epstein to do is trade a long term asset (the draft pick) for a short term asset. I just don't see a price where that makes sense right now.

  • In reply to felzz:

    I look at it as paying 60M to upgrade CF defense for a couple of years. A DeJesus/Sappelt succeed can probably match or surpass Bourn's overall offense (DeJesus vs. RHP was a far more productive player than Bourn, for example).

    In the very short term, you have to factor that you're adding Bourn minus the production of the two players that will get displaced playing time wise. Guessing DeJesus would move to RF and Schierholtz and Sappelt ride the pine. I think it's a wash offensively.

    Then there's Jackson. What if he's ready? ZiPs projects him as a 2.3 WAR which is about one win less than the 3.5 they're projecting for Bourn -- and the defensive upgrade gets minimized even further. I'm not even getting to Almora who could be ready by the middle of Bourn's contract.

    You can justify Bourn's contract maybe in a vacuum, but subtract the loss of current production from current values, the possibility of BJax providing slightly less production, but far more cost efficient value by midseason, Almora in the longer term, and the draft pick.

    And for that I'm going to pay $60M? When the biggest thing i gain is a defensive CF upgrade in the next 2 years. No chance.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    While Bourn's asking price may be five years and $60M, nobody is biting. Hence, he's still looking for work with pitchers and catchers about a week away from reporting. I can't speak for others, but I'd only have interest in Bourn if he would sign for a year, maybe two. I'd want to figure on trading him in July for another long term asset or two, enough to compensate for the lost second round draft pick.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    I don't even have interest in that, to be honest and I'm going to go into it in my most detail yet in an article tomorrow saying why a) Signing Bourn is a bad idea long term and b) it may not even improve them in year one -- and certainly not enough to make him worth anywhere near his asking price, even on a one year deal.

  • Felzz, why did you say that the talent parade has so far only consists of Castro and Rizzo? Is Darwin Barney chopped liver?

    Chopped liver on a toasted bagel actually sounds good right now.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Perhaps Felzz was referring to the "core" players. Not sure if Barney belongs there yet. His glove certainly does, but I'd like to see him take the next step offensively.

  • In reply to PtownTom:

    The front office has called Barney a core player, so that's good enough for me.

  • Barney is a very good player. But he's not the "all star" caliber that I was referring to...

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    How is it that some think Bourn's defense will start to decline and Soriano's will continue to improve, though Soriano is at least 6 years older?

  • Because Soriano didn't know how to play defense. He had a big learning curve to make up that outweighed the disadvantages of his age and declining athletic ability. Bourn is at his peak as far as his CF skills. There's nowhere to go up.

  • I have never seen anyone say that they think Soriano's defense will continue to improve.

    And if our only concern is to improve CF defense, we can just let Jackson play there, and ignore the strike outs. Or sign any of a dozen scrub good field/no hit free agent CFs. Or see if Dwayne Bacon is still in shape.

    All of the above make more sense than sacrificing the 40th (or so) pick in the upcoming draft.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    I doubt that the Cubs 2nd round pick and the slot money that goes with it will end up equaling or surpassing what Bourn would give the Cubs. I say for 3 years or less, at a reasonable salary, Bourn would be a good add.

  • That photo above......those eggs looks like what came out of John's mouth when he had the flu.

  • Photo Note #2......I hope that was Felzz thumb and not the waiter's thumb on top of the plate......

    is that bar-b-que potato chips on that plate......with mexican bean rice?

    I doubt the cantaloupe and melon gets touched by Felzz......what is next to the muffin that has the black stuff on top???????

    what restaurant serves breakfast on a paper plate?????....did this meal come from a street food vending truck? that has rainbow colors or cartoon characters on the side?

    Those eggs are totally disgusting.........whoever cooked those should have their face pressed against a hot grill.

  • It was Google image search "Brunch".... I didn't really.... You know what.... Never mind.

  • I read a Rays report that Chris Archer is up on the trade table........Rays peg Archer as a middle reliever at best.....

    Chris Carpenter was sent down to the minors by one made a play on him when he was waived......

    Add the Nationals to the list for Matt Garza.....who do they have in the farm system that we can use?????.....Gio Gonzalez and PED issue is why Garza's name is showing up with the Nationals.....

    Lets see, who are the teams after Garza ....Yankees, Red Sox & Dodgers naturally..........Nationals, Braves, Rangers, Angels, Blue Jays, Garza worth over $100 million to the Cubs?

    Cubs signed a pitcher named Yeiper Castillo yesterday.......too bad Harry Caray is not around...would have been fun to hear Harry say these new Cubs players names........Yeiper, Kyuji, Arodys, Dioneer.....

    Pitcher Kevin Millwood room for him on the Braves pitching staff when he came up with Smoltz, Glavine & Avery.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    It would have been more fun to hear Harry try to say those names backward.

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    Felzzy, I love it. I also agree with your concerns about Baez being over-hyped. The raw talent is there, but I have concerns about what to much positive press might do to what is already said to be a big ego. I'm concerned about him turning into another Sammy Sosa. Don't get me wrong, I don't see this front office indulging anyone the way MacPhail did Sosa, but I could see the press doing it, because they're basically the same set of characters now as then. I think it's something Theo and Jed are going to have to keep an eye on.

    I'm shocked "Even Flow" did not make Theo's list. The only thing more sacrilegious to me might be if he'd done a Led Zepplin list and left "Kashmir" off or a list of the Beatles and left off "Back in the USSR."

    In regards to Michael Bourn, please send some of that stuff you're smoking to me. It must be really good.

    I'm rooting 49ers because I'm sick of Ray Lewis, and I could care less who sings the national anthem (I've been a man without a country since I became a libertarian and an objectivist.) or who is the half time show. The acts usually suck anyways. I mostly just hope for a good game. My prediction is the 49ers will win 27 to 24 in OT. Colin Kaepernick will be the first half MVP, but he will be injured late in the first half or early in the second half, and Alex Smith will be the second half MVP. David Akers will be the OT MVP.

    In closing, you're right about Jim Hendry. He doesn't get the credit he deserves for making Cubs fans care more about baseball than partying. That said, I'm still glad he's not in charge any longer.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't think Baez has an ego problem at all. Yes he is a very confident young man (who wouldn't be with that skill set?).... But he is also very humble about things. I think he gets a bad rep for swinging through a 3-0 take sign in AZ and he should have had some backlash. Just not sure his actual personality warrants the reputation from one incident.

    Having said that, I share Felzzy's concern about the Cubbie hype machine grabbing this kid a little too early... Keep in mind, he IS still a kid. Albeit, an incredibly talented one who is by all accounts on the fast track to the show.

  • As long as they stick to the 'he will let us know when he is ready', Baez should ok.

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