Should the Cubs Be in on John Smoltz?
A small blurb in the Boston Herald about the Red Sox going after John Smoltz made me wonder if Smoltz should be the Cubs top target. Oh sure, a 27-year old Jake Peavy not coming off arm surgery sure sounds swell, and the Sun-Times is stoking those fires again.
''Hopefully, we'll still add another pitcher before Opening Day.'' (Jim Hendry)
But the numerous roadblocks to that destination still make it highly unlikely that the Cubs will ever land on planet Peavy. If Hendry is intent on adding another pitcher, and I assume starting pitcher, I sure hope he's looking into John Smoltz over the normal grab bag that has produced Wade Miller, Jon Lieber and Glendon Rusch the last few years. But then of course, considering Smoltz just came off arthroscopic shoulder surgery to fix his labrum, sounds like Smoltz might fit the pattern.
Smoltz has been rehabbing since his surgery in July and reports are that he's throwing well and expects to be back in May. Considering the generous days off in April that allow for skipping the fifth starter and the fact that Rich Harden should have his season-ending injury by that point, sounds like the timing couldn't be anymore perfect. Despite pitching through a good deal of pain, Smoltz did put up a 2.56 ERA in his six games in 2008. Even if he's not 100% when he gets back, I think it's safe to assume he'll grin and bear it and can still be quite effective. Most importantly for the Cubs, he's still the proud owner of a 15-4 record in the playoffs with a 2.65 ERA.
If the Cubs aren't going after John Smoltz and this Peavy thing ends up just being another offseason foreplay, are there any other cost-efficient names on the market? As with Smoltz, I'll make a few assumptions that a pitcher is only coming if new ownership approves and the Cubs are probably not interested in a long-term contract. Peavy, rightfully so, is worth the exception. A look through the ESPN Free Agent tracker comes up with a few interesting names.
Curt Schilling - not sure if he's even planning to pitch this year
Pedro Martinez - awfully quiet on his front
Mark Prior - just seeing if you're paying attention
Orlando Hernandez - no idea what's up with him, but a 2.55 postseason ERA
Andy Petitte - turned down $10M from the Yanks, doubtful
There still some bigger names out there, but they should all get multi-year deals such as Lowe, Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf and Jon Garland. For a fifth starter though, and if the Cubs can fit it into their budget with a new owner being announced in the next week or so, I think I'd put their money on John Smoltz.
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)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.
cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.