Winter Meetings Eve
'Twas the night before the Winter Meetings, when all through the hotel
Not a creature was stirring, not even Rosenthal.
The writers hung out by the bar with care
In hopes that a GM would soon be there.
Anyway, the Rumor Mill goes full tilt tomorrow as the Winter Meetings begin in Nashville. According to Kapman, the Cubs are searching for a starting pitcher and a right fielder. They also want a third baseman, but pickings are slim.
The Cubs are allegedly close to adding to their bullpen, signing Japanese reliver Kyuji Fujikawa according to Ken Rosenthal. The Cubs have yet to confirm the deal and we've been burned enough times by this point that it's probably best to wait for the offiial word. If he does sign, it's a 2 year deal for an alleged $9.5M guaranteed ($1M bonus, $4M each for 2013 and 2014 and a $500K buyout). There'se a 2015 vesting option worth $5.5M or up to $6M depending on games finished. If the option doesn't vest, Cubs hold a club option for $5.5M. You can see his impressive arsenal of pitches from this Youtube clip. It appears he has "closer" stuff, so even if he's not used in that role immediately, it seems like a reasonable enough deal. Many are speculating this means the end of Carlos Marmol as a Cub and I'm sure the Cubs will listen on offers. But nothing wrong with having more than one option for the late innings, regardless of who pitches what inning so I doubt it's anything imminent.
The other bit of news is John Sickels Cubs' Top 20 list. It contains the usual suspects with Baez, Almora, Soler, Vogelbach and Vizcaino leading the group. You can see past lists at Wiklified and I noticed that Javier Baez was the first "A" grade by Sickels since I started tracking in 2005.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
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.