Game 4 Quick Recap - Wells Runs Dry for DBacks Offense

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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
DBacks 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   1 8 0
Cubs 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 x   4 8 1

The Gist: Wells didn't quite pitch as well as he did all spring and was uncharacterstically wild, but held the DBacks to just 6 hits, and only one of the extra base variety, that being a leadoff home run to Willie Bloomquist of all people. Geovany Soto showed off his healthy shoulder gunning down Justin Upton on a steal attempt and Miguel Montero on a wild pitch that didn't bounce very far away. The bullpen locked down the last 3 innings, even with Q-Ball and Kirk Gibson battling for over-Manager of the Year honors. First, the Cubs bring in Sean Marshall who is perfectly awesome versus lefties and righties to face Geraldo Parra. After getting him out, Gibson went to the righty Xavier Nady and Q-Ball countered for no good reason with Marcus Mateo and Gibson countered with lefty Juan Miranda who did single. Mateo retired the next batter and Q-Ball went to the pen again and John Grabow to get Kelly Johnson.

Soriano proved he can still hit a hanging breaking ball, breaking the 1-1 tie with his second home run in as many days. Starlin Castro showed that he can still make bad throws, by putting Kerry Wood in a jam in the 8th that Wood escaped after loadiing the bases with 1 out. Marmol shut the door in the 9th and the bullpen has thrown 10.1 IP so far, giving up 2 runs (both by Marmol yesterday), on 7 BB and 9 K's. Marmol and Wood both pitched their third straight games, so it'll be interesting to see if Q-Ball will push either of them for a fourth if the need arises Tuesday. And with Andrew Cashner on the mound, that could mean having to get through 4-5 innings with Grabow, Marshall, Samardzija, Mateo and Russell with Q-Ball iikely saving Marshall for the 9th.

Pena hurt this thumb in the 8th and is considered day to day...like the rest of us.

So far the team is exactly what we expected out of them, solid starting pitching, good bullpen, crappy defense especially on the infield and a mediocre at best offense. Project .500 remains on target...

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Comments

I hereby start a "Byrd is Injured" Rumor to get him out of the lineup/#3 spot. I went onto gamecast yesterday in the fourth or fifth inning and see that the Cubs have four hits at this time. I made the mistake by using the handy "show field" option and select "home hits." I'm horrified to find that Baker and Byrd's hits were contained in the infield. So Marlon's 167/167/167/333 line is artificially enhanced by an infield single. Otherwise he would be 111/111/111/222.

I realize it's early but this guy hitting third is horse shit. Get Soto or Ramirez in the 3 spot, and if not them use Colvin for God's sake.

Looking forward to seeing Cashner pitch for real

Looking at Cots
Assuming ARam gets bought out there is already 72MM committed to next season. If his option is picked up that figure would be 86MM. Garza gets arb, probably 8-9MM, call it 95MM. Fuk, Pena, Grabow, Shark all go away. Still have to give raises to Soto, Wells, DeWitt. Soto getting 3MM this year, so figure 4-5 for him, now up to even $100MM. I wonder what Wells is worth in arbitration?

This has been the worst thing for me so far - Castro looking both like he spent all winter in the cage and at the same time totally lost on the field.

Like AZ Phil explained, Cubs brass is simply married to the idea of this guy as a shortstop while he really doesn't look all so comfortable/natural there. There's a lot of organizational hubris there for a bunch of guys who haven't won shit.

I can't believe our second baseman of the future is blocked by Baker.

" while he really doesn't look all so comfortable/natural there."

Huh?

He looks rushed, not letting the game come to him, trying to do too much, using cliche, overthinking the situation, etc.

Huh?

Is it Bob Brenley that's always talking about slowing the game down? That's what Castro needs to do. ...On defense, anyways.

He looks to me like a natural shorstop. He tries to make some plays he shouldn't make, but that is probably going to come with experience. Moving him to second base is going to make all of those things you and Bob listed worse.

“There's still going to be a few blips along the way. He just turned 21 a couple weeks ago. There are still some growing pains. Thinking back to my career and others, we just didn't get it overnight. But the sky's the limit. I know he's a good student. I saw him earlier today. I just had a quick conversation, and he thanked me. And that means a lot. It's something that even though I'm not there anymore, he'll be somebody I'll be following for the rest of his career. That's how much he means to me. He's a solid kid. But there's going to be some growing pains still."

Alan Trammell

Submitted by Jumbo on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 3:50am.
Looking at Cots
Assuming ARam gets bought out there is already 72MM committed to next season. If his option is picked up that figure would be 86MM. Garza gets arb, probably 8-9MM, call it 95MM. Fuk, Pena, Grabow, Shark all go away. Still have to give raises to Soto, Wells, DeWitt. Soto getting 3MM this year, so figure 4-5 for him, now up to even $100MM. I wonder what Wells is worth in arbitration?

============================================================

JUMBO: Not counting a signing bonus unless all or part of it is actually paid in 2012, here is how I would project the Cubs payroll for 2012 (very much subject to change):

MLB ARTICLE XX-B FREE-AGENTS POST-2011:
Ryan Dempster (player option)
John Grabow
Reed Johnson
Carlos Pena
Aramis Ramirez (mutual option with club buy-out)
Kerry Wood

SIGNED BEYOND 2011:

+ Has NO TRADE rights

+ Alfonso Soriano - $18M
+ Carlos Zambrano - $18M
+ Aramis Ramirez - $16M mutual option or $2M club buy-out
+ Ryan Dempster - $15.5M player option (contract was restructured in 2011)
Carlos Marmol - $7M
Marlon Byrd - $6.5M
Carlos Pena - $5M deferred from 2011 salary
Sean Marshall - $3.1M
+ Jeff Samardzija - $3M club option (Cubs will almost certainly opt-out)
Carlos Silva - $2M 2012 club buy-out to be paid post-2011
TOTAL: $91M (presuming Cubs opt-out of Samardzija contract, and Dempster and Ramirez return for 2012), or $77M if Cubs opt-out of Ramirez contract post-2011

PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY ARBITRATION POST-2011:
Jeff Baker ($2M?)
Blake DeWitt ($2M?)
Kosuke Fukudome (see NOTE)
Matt Garza ($9M?)
Koyie Hill ($1M?)
Geovany Soto ($7M?)
Randy Wells ($3M?)
NOTE: Kosuke Fukudome is technically eligible for salary arbitration post-2011, but he can demand his Outright Release if not signed to a 2012 contract by 11-15-2011.
PROJECTED TOTAL: $24M?

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) POST-2011:
Darwin Barney
Justin Berg
Alberto Cabrera
Esmailin Caridad
Andrew Cashner
Welington Castillo
Starlin Castro
Robert Coello
Casey Coleman
Tyler Colvin
Thomas Diamond
Rafael Dolis
John Gaub
Scott Maine
Marcos Mateo
Fernando Perez
James Russell
Jeff Samardzija (if 2012 club option declined)
Kyle Smit
Jeff Stevens
TOTAL: $7M? (includes minor league splits for players on Optional Assignment)

So that's about $112M (or $98M if Cubs opt-out of Ramirez contract post-2011).

Also...

If the Cubs opt-out of Samardzija contract post-2011 (almost a certainty) and he becomes an Auto-Renewal player in 2012, his salary cannot be cut more than 20% (to $2.5M). So it is far more likely that he would be either outrighted post-2011, or be non-tendered on 12/2.

Other Fun Facts:

The following players presently on the Cubs 40-man roster will be out of minor league options in 2012 (list includes only players who will have accrued less than five years of MLB Service Time through the 2011 season, since players with five or more years of MLB ST can decline Optional Assignment to minors):

Jeff Baker
Justin Berg
Thomas Diamond
Koyie Hill
Fernando Perez
Jeff Samardzija
Geovany Soto
Jeff Stevens
NOTE: Blake DeWitt, Marcos Mateo, and Randy Wells will be out of minor league options in 2012 if any of them spend at least 20 days on Optional Assignment in 2011.

Jim Hendry likes to trade or outright a guy who is out of minor league options during the off-season if the player is not believed to have a decent chance to claim a spot on the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster.

The following Cubs minor league players can be MLB RULE 55 Six-Year Minor League Free-Agents (6YFA) if not added to Cubs 40-man roster by the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series:

ELIGIBLE TO BE MLB RULE 55 MINOR LEAGUE FA POST-2011:
Jim Adduci, OF
Marco Carrillo, RHP
Angel Guzman, RHP
Dylan Johnston, RHP
Bryan Lahair, 1B
J. R. Mathes, LHP
Mario Mercedes, C
Lou Montanez, OF
Scott Moore, INF
Jonathan Mota, INF
Jake Muyco, RHP
Augie Ojeda, INF
Max Ramirez, C-1B
Chris Robinson, C
Bobby Scales, INF
Brad Snyder, OF
Alvaro Sosa, RHP (ex-C)
Polin Trinidad, LHP
John Urick, 1B (player-coach)
Brandon Watson, OF
Todd Wellemeyer, RHP
NOTE: Angel Guzman, Bryan Lahair, Scott Moore, Max Ramirez, and Brad Snyder are out of minor league options should they be added to the Cubs 40-man roster during the season or by the 4th day following the conclusion of the 2011 World Series, and Augie Ojeda and Todd Wellemeyer would be eligible to be MLB Article XX-B FA post-2011 if added to Cubs 40-man roster during the 2011 season (both Ojeda and Wellemeyer have more than five years of MLB ST).

PREVIOUSLY RELEASED - CAN BE MINOR LEAGUE FA UNLESS SIGNED BEYOND 2011:
Adrian Aviles, LHP (ex-OF)
Austin Bibens-Dirkx, RHP
Alvaro Ramirez, OF

The fiollowing Cubs minor leaguers will be eligible for selection in the December 2011 MLB Rule 5 Draft if not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by 11-20-2011:

ELIGIBLE FOR DECEMBER 2011 RULE 5 DRAFT:
Jeffry Antigua, LHP
Jeffrey Beliveau, LHP
Michael Brenly, C
Justin Bristow, RHP
Ryan Buchter, LHP
Michael Burgess, OF
Kyler Burke, LHP (ex-OF)
David Cales, RHP
Matt Camp, IF-OF
Tony Campana, OF
Chris Carpenter, RHP
Hung-Wen Chen, RHP
Steve Clevenger, C-1B
Manolin DeLeon, RHP
Eduardo Figueroa, RHP
Ryan Flaherty, IF-OF
Luis Flores, C
Marwin Gonzalez, IF-OF
Yohan Gonzalez, RHP
Jose Guevara, C
Marcus Hatley, RHP
Jay Jackson, RHP
Junior Lake, INF
Blake Lalli, C-1B
Jordan Latham, RHP
James Leverton, LHP
David Macias, IF-OF-C
Oswaldo Martinez, RHP
Craig Muschko, RHP
Jon Nagel, RHP
Jake Opitz, INF
Blake Parker, RHP
Marcos Perez, LHP
Nelson Perez, OF
Ramon Reyes, RHP
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
Rebel Ridling, 1B
Carlos Romero, C
Nate Samson, INF
Ryan Searle, RHP
Marquez Smith, 3B
Luke Sommer, LHP
Matt Spencer, OF-1B
Larry Suarez, RHP
Matt Szczur, OF
Jose Tineo, RHP
Jose Valdez, OF
Josh Vitters, 3B
Ty Wright, OF

To me there's 4 on that list who seem to be locks to be added to the 40: Carpenter, Jackson, Szczur & Vitters. Maybe Lake too? Anyone else, AZP?

With 2 spots on the 40 open already, and Samninja and Reed Johnson probably gone, looks like the Cubs will need one more spot. Pena will probably be that guy, but if the Cubs sign Fielder/Pujols (fingers crossed) it's a wash.

Also gone will be Fukudome, Grabow, Koyie Hill and quite possibly Aramis, too. That should open a few spots, especially since Fukudome's replacement (Colvin) is already on the 40 man.

Carpenter and Jackson could be added during the year for all we know. I"m sure some trades and other unforeseen acts will occur between now and when the Cubs will have to deal with this.

I doubt Lake would be making any 25-man rosters to have to worry about him much. Flaherty's closer to the majors and could fill a utility spot depending on how the his minor league season goes and I wouldn't want to lose Marquez Smith, but I don't know if there would be any takers.

Submitted by garsky on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 2:31pm.
To me there's 4 on that list who seem to be locks to be added to the 40: Carpenter, Jackson, Szczur & Vitters. Maybe Lake too? Anyone else, AZP?

With 2 spots on the 40 open already, and Samninja and Reed Johnson probably gone, looks like the Cubs will need one more spot. Pena will probably be that guy, but if the Cubs sign Fielder/Pujols (fingers crossed) it's a wash.

==================================

GARSKY: As things stand right now, I would say:

VIRTUAL LOCKS:
Josh Vitters
Jay Jackson
Chris Carpenter
Matt Szczur

LIKELY:
Max Ramirez (otherwise he is a minor league FA)

ON THE BUBBLE:
Ryan Flaherty
Marquez Smith
Steve Clevenger
Tony Campana
Marwin Gonzalez
Jeff Beliveau
David Cales

There also are a number of candidates to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster during the season (especially after September 1st), including guys like Scott Moore, Bobby Scales, and Augie Ojeda, but if any of them are added they would probably be outrighted after the season to make room on the 40 for long-term investments like Vitters, J. Jackson, Carpenter, and Szczur, who would need to be added to the 40 by November 20th.

And there is always the possibility that somebody will push their way onto the 40-man roster and get called up to Chicago during the season and a year ahead of schedule (as happened with Castro and Cashner last year), such as Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, D. J. Lemahieu, Chris Rusin, or Brooks Raley.

C. Kahrl on Randy Wells' first-inning struggles:

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/8...

I think he was hungover for a lot of the first inning last year.

That being said, isn't the cliche that you want to get to sinkerballers in the first, that the ball gets heavier with more drop as the game goes on and their arm gets little tired?

Maybe I missed it in the article, but if you throw out that one start, his first inning ERA comes to 4.65.

It's just an issue of sample size. I would bet if you look at most major league starters they're going to have one inning where their ERA is about two runs over their season ERA.

Dempster had a 2nd inning ERA of 6.15 last year, Z had a 6.30 1st inning ERA (below three in the next 6 innings) and Lilly had an ERA of 6.52 in the 4th inning.

Oddly, none of those guys were competing for rotation spots this year.

You actually read the article? Frankly, I'm having a hard time with it. For example, can you explain where Kahrl is coming from when she writes,

.

"I would argue that the more basic problem wasn't his first innings. Wells' problem was that he's pitching much worse than he had in his rookie season in 2009. The first-inning “issue” may have, at best, become the poster child for a pitcher who fundamentally wasn't pitching as well as he had.

Statistically speaking, there were plenty of symptoms: his walk rate went up by almost a full percentage point, and his ground-ball rate dropped. As a young pitcher whose fastball rarely touches 90 mph, that means he'd been leaving a lot balls up in the zone and giving up a lot more extra base hits. "

"he's pitching much worse than he had in his rookie season in 2009" --- and yet his FIP was about the same, his xFIP better, his WAR went from 3.1 to 3.3, and his SO/9 increased by 1 full strike out per game. Maybe the fact that the defense behind him was really awful (e.g. team fielding % of .896) compared to the year before had something to do with the perception that Wells was "pitching much worse."

"his walk rate went up by almost a full percentage point"---
Eh what? Is Kahrl claiming Wells' walk rate went up almost 1% or something else. It actually went from 2.50 to 2.92/9IP (17%). On the other hand his SO/9 rate also went up .... from 5.6 to 6.7/9IP and as a result of that his SO/BB was about the same 2.26<--->-2.29 That doesn't look like a negative to me.

"His ground ball rate dropped".....it went from 47.9% to 46.9% which must be some kind of statistical portent of DOOM that I just don't understand .

"As a young pitcher whose fastball rarely touches 90 mph, that means he'd been leaving a lot balls up in the zone and giving up a lot more extra base hits." ---except that his ground ball rate only dropped significantly on PLANET KAHRL..... and wouldn't PitchF/X be a better way to see if he was actually leaving pitches up in the zone rather than pretending to deduce it from pseudo-analysis?

signed,

Perplexed in Paradise

Eh what? Is Kahrl claiming Wells' walk rate went up almost 1% or something else. It actually went from 2.50 to 2.92/9IP (17%)

I assume she went with walks per batter faced

2009: 46/694 6.62%
2010: 63/843 7.47%

take out IBB and it's 6.08% to 6.92%

don't worry, she's still smarter than you (and me)

I think it was the lack of her statistical chops that helped her jump at the ESPN gig. She was a bit of an ugly duckling over at BP. I really don't like her writing style, it screams "I try to hard" to me.

I talked about this a couple weeks ago, the difference between his '09 and '10 seasons was mainly that he had the misfortune of letting singles getting strung together more often last year, and a worse defense certainly contributes a bit to that. It doesn't surprise me that Karl didn't actually look at SIERA or xFIP when writing her article, I am not sure she really gets them.

Last year his BABIP with runners on was .328, in 2009 it was .252. Mystery explained. Worse defense, worse luck, higher ERA.

Yesterday he was a bit lucky, so let's hope that trend continues throughout the year.

smallest crowd in 9 years...

I blame Obama.

Barrett?

Castro is the youngest player in MLB. If the general consensus is that the Cubs are not going to contend, what's the harm in letting him grow up at SS? This angst over him is ridiculous.

Agreed.

Well, if he's going to make 81 errors this year, the angst is justified - what's the point in him playing a position that he won't be able to handle long term?

I think what everyone would like to see is improvement over last year. He does seem to have a little better grasp on applying tags at 2nd.

But he's not going to make 81 errors and it's too early to say he won't be able to handle the position long-term. The poor throws/decision-making are annoying, sure.

He's really young, let's see what happens.

I mean he's hitting 500 now. If he hit 500 the entire season, it's an easy decision to let him play. The problem is he isn't going to hit 500 for the season. He'll hit, I'm guessing, in the 280 neighborhood. If we see steady improvement in his defense and he hits 280 (and digs out more triples like he did Sunday), then I would call the Castro experiment a partial success.

I wasn't a fan of the Cubs using Castro as "plan A", but it might have been an okay move on their part.

If this is 3/44, excuse me, but interesting Archer vs. McNutt "Smackdown" I had not seen before:

http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/1/25/1952...

Someone posted it around the time of the trade. One thing not mentioned is that McNutt is a dreaded "inverted W" pitcher, whereas it doesn't look like Archer is.

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