TCR Friday Notes
Al at BCB scores an interview with Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts.
BCB: Are you open to expanding the payroll a little if there’s an acquisition, let’s say, the middle of this season that might help get the Cubs over the top into the playoffs? Jim Hendry comes and says I’d like to get this guy it’ll cost $8 million, are you...
TR: I’m not sure .. probably not an $8 million mid -season addition, but what we’re always talking about and what Jim likes to do … we’re going to play out the first half of the season we’ll see what we need I think it’s good I think he has a philosophy to bring in a fresh guy or two at the trade deadline to help push the team forward the last couple months. We’ll be open minded to that stuff.
There's plenty of interesting information in there, along with a healthy dose of Trib bashing by Crane Kenney.
- Now that the Ricketts are in charge, hopefullly they'll spice up the Cubs advertising. Not that I'm particularly hopeful after the first ad which pretty much just sells the Wrigley experience and history. That is a WGN ad, so it's very possible the Cubs management had nothing to do with it either. The reason I bring up the advertising is the folks that run the Rockies, Twins and Mariners campaigns know what they're doing.
It would be nice to see a little Cubs personality in the ads, there's certainly enough ad agencies in Chicago willing to take up the task.
- There seems to be some strong sentiment that Ron Gardenhire isn't a good manager. I could probably count on one hand how many Twins games I've watched over the last few years, but nothing has struck me as too odd in terms of in-game management. What is odd is that the Twins have won 5 of 8 division titles and been above .500 7 of those 8 years with a middle of the road payroll for the most part. I'd be comfortable with Dusty Baker butchering arms and his crayon-drawn lineups for the Cubs if it saw them make the playoffs with that kind of consistency. I'll turn the mic over to Rob Neyer for the finish.
Let me tell you something, though: There aren't many Earl Weavers and Davey Johnsons out there. Some guys really know the numbers, and some guys really know how to handle 25 men at a time. And the numbers? Friends, there are only so many things a manager can do with the numbers. You've got your nine guys who play most days, and you've got your dozen pitchers with generally prescribed roles ... that doesn't leave much room for managerial maneuvering.
You take the manager who (just) knows the numbers, I'll take the manager who (just) knows how to keep his players playing for six months, and I'll beat you 55-60 percent of the time. Ron Gardenhire? He's won 55 percent of the games he's managed.
- Another big buzz around MLB was the idea of floating realignment.
The committee already has made good on Selig's promise by discussing a radical form of "floating" realignment in which teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.
The concept gained strong support among committee members, many of whom believe there are non-economic avenues that should be explored to improve competitive balance, similar to the NFL's former use of scheduling to help parity (in which weaker teams were awarded a weaker schedule the next season).
The devil is in the details though and to be fair, it was nothing more than throwing out an idea at the moment. Back when I started writing online back in 2004, I recall suggesting an idea to realign the divisions based more on payrolls and media markets, so I'm intrigued by the idea, as impractical as it sounds at the moment.
- I'm on vacation next week and hopefully have secured a few guest bloggers to keep things going. Treat them well. Arizona Phil will be around as well although the Cubs are away most of the week.
That's a hell of a first impression by Montgomery. Brian Cashman having a good laugh on that debut.
...and it's a 3 run homer.
hey, vogelbomb had a HR on his 1st game with SEA AAA, too!
montgomery comes on with men on 1st/2nd, 2 out, in the 8th.
"Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports reports Chris Sale was sent home from U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday after cutting up throwback jerseys that he did not want to wear.
I thought the same. It'd be great luck to face these non-contenders after the trade deadline.
...why isn't j.lucroy playing for TEX yet?
2r HR on a 12-pitch AB.
nathan to join the cubs tomorrow.
Wow in deed.
FOX Sports @MLBONFOX
Chris Sale was scratched from tonight's scheduled start due to a clubhouse incident before the game
he was sent home by the team, too. the wsox released a press statement and everything. they stated it was non-physical in nature.
He was scratched from his start today. No reason given.
At the start of the season the book was that he was trying to pitch to more contact so he could stay in the game longer and it seems to be working so far. Contact against is 77.5% this year and it was 70.2% the year before. He averaged 6.7 IP/game last year and so far it's 7 IP/game. His actual pitches per game are only down to 106.1/game from 107.2/game last year but if he's able to go a bit farther into games without throwing more pitches and without giving up more runs that is a good thing.
sale's skills and insane value makes it almost too hard to have a market for the guy...he's got 3/38m owed to him over 3 seasons (2 team options). he could easily pull in 30m/yr if he was on the market as a FA.
he's throwing a bit differently this season, especially with more sliders and less changeups like earlier in his career, but all his stuff still looks great even if the HRs are a little elevated and the Ks are down.
Torres, Happ, McKinney, Jimenez, and Candelario for Sale. Deal or no deal?
"The White Sox are reportedly asking for “five top prospects” for Chris Sale, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports."
Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.
seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.
I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.