Lilly Declining? Wallach Decent? Looking at the Deal
Now that the trade deadline is behind us, what are Cub fans supposed to pay attention to? The games?! I tried that earlier tonight, and I'm sorry I did.
— I heard a recorded interview with Derrek Lee on WGN Radio early this evening in the run-up to the Cubs/Rockies game. David Kaplan asked Lee about Ryan Theriot, and Lee described him as "a grinder." In that moment, I came up with my own definition of a grinder. It's a guy who plays hard enough to occasionally make you forget that he's not very good.
The Dodgers traded Blake DeWitt and decent prospects Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit today for Ted Lilly, an inconsistent, 34-year-old pitcher in decline, and Ryan Theriot, a 30-year-old infielder who is more expensive and worse than DeWitt. Undoubtedly, Lilly will provide some short-term gain in the rotation, but the Dodgers have actually made themselves worse in the lineup, and are paying for the privilege.
— MLB Network's Harold Reynolds said he didn't understand this trade from the Dodgers' perspective because he didn't believe Ted Lilly was good enough to make a difference in the Dodgers' pursuit of a playoff spot. Then former Cleveland GM John Hart talked about Lilly's ability to eat up innings in pitchers' parks in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and Harold was onboard. Reynolds also said he was surprised that the Cubs didn't get more seasoned pitching talent in return for Lilly, mentioning John Ely and Carlos Monasterios.
— Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say about Brett Wallach:
He has struck out 92 batters in just 84 2/3 innings at Low-A Great Lakes this year, but that's mitigated by the fact that he turns 22 in December. Still, he was a two-sport star in college and is pitching full-time for the first time in his career, and he's a physical righty with power stuff. Sitting at 91-92 mph with his fastball and touching 94 with it, Wallach complements that heater with a fine changeup, although his slurvy breaking ball needs considerable work, and he has a disturbing tendency to elevate his pitches. Because of his size, stamina, and good mechanics, he'll continue to develop as a starter for now, but his long-term future might be as a power reliever.
BP describes Kyle Smit as a "far more fringy prospect" than Wallach; one who has "barely reached Double-A in his fifth professional season." They conclude that the 22-year-old Smit is a potential middle reliever but that's about it.
— Finally, if Blake DeWitt turns out to be a dog, it won't just be Jim Hendry we can blame. According to Paul Sullivan, we'll also be entitled to rip Greg Maddux.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry gave Maddux some credit for the decision to acquire the Dodgers infielder in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal. "We've certainly liked [DeWitt] for years," Hendry said. "He's a tough kid. He's 24 years old, so his better days are way ahead of him. … He has a chance to be a complete player. He has to be better offensively. Greg spoke highly of him, when Greg pitched for the Dodgers, and in my discussions with Greg about him a few weeks back."
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)