Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Akinori Iwamura
Let's move back to the infield and check in on another possible second basemen...the Rays Akinori Iwamura.
Iwamura will be 31 next season and missed most of 2009 with a torn MCL. He's due $4.25M in the final year of his deal with a $250K buyout according to Cot's (the St. Petersburg Times says $4.85M with a $550K buyout). Although he has less than 6 years service time, his contract allows him to be a free agent if his option isn't picked up which is becoming standard fare for the Japanese players signing in the U.S. I have no idea what the Rays plans are at second base, and Iwamura himself would like to stay in Tampa according to that link above. But as a small market team, you have to think the Rays would always be willing to move a contract in the right deal if they have other options and Ben Zobrist made a pretty fine other option last season.
The offensive numbers won't really strike the fear of God in anyone. He has spent most of his time with the Rays as their leadoff man and with a walk rate around 10% per plate appearance while seeing well over 4 pitcher per plate appearances, he seems well suited for that part of the job requirement. His basestealing numbers are rather poor though, being successful less than 65% of the time and a career high of 12.
Defensively, BP has his Rate2 numbers at 96 and below average at second base and 101 for his season at third base in 2007. UZR is a little kinder and the Fan's Scouting Report was really high on him for 2007 and 2008. He also won a bunch of gold gloves in Japan.
I say if the Cubs are chatting with the Rays about Milton Bradley, let's see if they can get Iwamura in a deal instead of Pat Burrell who would have no place to play with the Cubs. Now of course there are other logistics to the whole Bradley/Burrell rumor and I don't even know if the Rays are shopping Iwamura yet or will just buy him out. But if the Cubs did acquire Iwamura, he could challenge Jeff Baker for the starting spot at an affordable price and be a good backup/bench option at third base. It's not Chase Utley but could be another small improvement for the 2010 team.
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)
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.