Bryant Close to Signing...Ruins Deadline Drama
UPDATE: Bryant has indeed signed at slot value of $6,708,400, according to Sullivan. That would put the Cubs at $10,743,400 and $186,900 over and would still have $340,925 to play with before having to worry about losing a draft pick.
So a few weeks back, Jon Heyman must have been starved for a story or gets paid by the headline and decided to freak everyone out with some alarming piece about the Cubs and Bryant seemingly miles apart in negotiations. The rest of the sane world realized that this is Scott Boras and he'll wait until the last possible minute and get the most money he can out of the Cubs, but the odds were quite low that it wouldn't get done.
Lo and behold, Heyman is back today saying that the Cubs and Bryant are nearing a "record" deal. The deal isn't done yet and the details are scarce, but earlier reports were Bryant wanting over $6.7M which was the slot value, while the Cubs wanted to pay more in the $6M range. Now the Cubs can go as high as $7,049,325 by my calculations and still stay withing the 5% penalty that would cost them just a tax. Any higher and they start losing draft picks. BUT...they allegedly already signed 24th round pick Tyler Alamo and 12th round Trevor Clifton and both were expected to land deals over $100K which will go against the bonuss cap. An earlier story on Clifton's signing said he wanted 3rd round money and got it (anywhere between $490K to $747K). So it remains to be seen what Bryant will get, but I'm putting the over/under at $6.5M.
As for the "record' portion of the report, I'm not sure what that is in reference to. I believe Stephen Strasburg currently owns the bonus record at $7.5M and it's highly unlikely that the Cubs will top that because that would end up costing them a draft pick next year. Maybe it's a Cubs record that Mark Prior currently holds at $4M (although Soler received a $6M bonus, but he wasn't drafted). Or it's a record for baseball since they installed the cap, which Mark Appel currently owns at $6.35M. Why would the Cubs pay more for Bryant? Well leverage is the key, Appel had less as a college senior unless he wanted to try independent ball route that Luke Hochevar manuevered a few years back into a higher deal. Bryant though, as a college junior, could head back to San Diego and hope he gets picked #1 next year and get whatever #1 slot money is in 2014, which does adjust for inflation.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)