Archive - Jan 2012

Date
Type

Edgar Gonzalez, Matt Tolbert, and Trever Miller all in the same day?
Yeah, it's just the beginning of price-paying for you and me as our favorite team attempts to claw out of their 104 year old hole.
Seriously though, everything's gonna work out just fine, right?
Just a little angst now and then.
I'll deal with it by drawing.

January 30th

The Cubs inked soon-to-be 39 year old Trever Miler to a minor league deal. He'll earn 800K if he makes the team. He'll get a non-roster invite to spring training and I'm sure we'll get the full list of those invitees by the end of the week. It being a minor league deal, hard to get to worked up over it, but Miller has done absolutely nothing other than see his K rate get cut in half over the last two seasons, while still maintaining the ability to walk the stadium.

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA G GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 36 STL 4 1 .800 2.06 70 9 0 43.2 31 11 10 5 11 1 46 2 1 199 0.962 6.4 1.0 2.3 9.5 4.18
2010 37 STL 0 1 .000 4.00 57 3 0 36.0 30 17 16 2 16 0 22 2 4 98 1.278 7.5 0.5 4.0 5.5 1.38
2011 38 BOS-min 0 0   2.70 3 1 0 3.1 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0   0.600 5.4 0.0 0.0 5.4   PAW · IL
2011 38 TOT 0 1 .000 3.80 48 5 1 21.1 25 9 9 2 12 2 12 2 2 106 1.734 10.5 0.8 5.1 5.1 1.00
13 Seasons 18 17 .514 4.18 694 133 11 523.1 521 264 243 54 237 28 434 43 22 106 1.448 9.0 0.9 4.1 7.5 1.83
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2012.

Spring training roster filler at its finest.

January 25th

I'm using the MLB depth charts, the Bill James projections for wOBA on Fangraphs and their 2012 playing age along with a few assumptions like Dusty isn't going to play Devin Mesoraco or Chris Heisey over veterans. Let's see how the NL Central offenses stack up. Obviously the actual order of lineups and players may vary, and there's no accounting for expected playing time due to injuries or sucktitude.

January 20th

You guys heard about this superstar Cuban outfielder guy, right?
Yoenis Cespedas?
And I'm sure you read that the Cubs are Yoenis Cespedas' leading suitor.
Anyway, the other day I was driving around listening to The Score, and heard about this legendary Cespedas video.
Dan Bernstein was saying that it apparently showed what an amazing, freak athlete this Cespedas guy is - that he reminded people of Bo Jackson.
But also that mysteriously, You Tube had taken it down.

January 18th

January 17th

...a whole lot of nothing.

- An article in a Dominican paper says the Cubs (so far) have been the most aggressive at pursuing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

- No real news out of the Cubs convention beyond the Kerry Wood signing ($3M with a $3M option for 2013) and the new patio deck in right field with the LED scoreboard.

- "One change the Cubs have already made was tweaking Tim Wilken's assignments, so that he's now director of amateur scouting and not carrying the additional workload of pro scouting." Word was Randy Bush occasionally had to rinse out the toilets at Wrigley Field to save a few bucks.

- McLeod allegedly said that he was rather surprised by the lack of player preparation amenities at Wrigley and there are plans in place to remedy it.

- Today is the day that teams and players file their arbitration number, the Cubs have yet to agree with any of their players: Jeff Baker($1.4M), Blake DeWitt($1.2M), Geovany Soto($4M), Matt Garza ($8.7M), Randy Wells ($2.2M), Ian Stewart($2M) or Chris Volstad($2.6M). The estimated figures come from Matt Swartz. Add that to the current player committments, auto-renewals (about $5-7M) and $5M owed Pena and the Cubs current payroll for 2012 is around $110M.

- Craig Counsell has decided to retire, but he will stay with the Brewers organization rather than joining Dale Sveum's staff.

- David Schoenfield ran a nice piece examining the best players in any 5-year year period starting from 1969. Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa show up twice each.

January 12th

After Kaplan claimed Kerry Wood was close to moving on, he then took credit that his story spurred the Cubs to up their offer for Kerry and that he should be signing with the Cubs soon. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports broke the news saying it's likely to be a one-year deal with some sort of 2013 option.

- Theo downplayed talks regarding Matt Garza, claiming more has been reported in the media than has actually happened.  The Tigers (as they should) seem more than content with keeping Jacob Turner as their 5th starter this year (he won't last long there).

- Kevin Goldstein tweets that the Cubs are "definitely interested" in Yoenis Cespedes who signed up with a Dominican team today, which should give scouts even a better look at him. Rumor is that Jorge Soler probably won't sign until the season starts.

- The cops will have a little chat with Starlin Castro next week over the sexual assault allegations.

- The Cubs baseball ops department is now working with Bloomberg Sports on a "state-of-the-art player evaluation system". Hopefully they've moved Ari Kaplan's office out of the maintenance closet by now.

- Darwin Barney is not taking for granted that he'll be the starting second baseman. I promise to not take it for granted either and will openly root for an upgrade.

- At some point it seems the Cubs signed C Juan Apodaca out of the Indians organization on a minor league deal. If you haven't heard, "popular" Cubs backstop  Koyie Hill(as coined by Jon Morosi) signed with the Cardinals on a minor league deal.

- A fun graph on which hitters are left on the free agent market, with Fielder and Pena leading the group.

- In Bears news, Mike Tice isn't buying the current pass-happy trend in the NFL. In personel news, I just slammed my head into the wall.

- The Bears have also received permission to interview four candidates: Marc Ross - director of college scouting, New York Giants, Jimmy Raye III, director of player personnel, San Diego Chargers, Jason Licht, director of pro personnel, New England Patriots and Phil Emery, director of college scouting, Kansas City Chiefs. Knowing nothing about them, I vote for the Patriot guy.

January 10th

The Cubs have signed Paul Maholm to a one year deal for $4.25M with a $500K buyout on a 2013 option worth $6.25M. Pretty cheap for a guy that for his career has been about league average with a career 96 ERA+ (94, 87, 114, 94, 79, 105 counting up from 2006). His walks are a little high for a contact pitcher (3.0 BB/9) and he doesn't strike out too many (5.4 K/9) but keeps the ball in the park (0.8 HR/9 helped surely by PNC's large left field). His good years coincide with his better BABIP seasons. In 2008, he had a .290 BABIP and his best season with 206 IP, a 3.71 ERA (114 ERA+). In 2011, he had a .288 BABIP, that led to a 3.66 ERA (105 ERA+). In his bad years, the BABIP is more in the .320 area, although in all cases he's been in the reasonable BABIP ranges. A good defense will go a long way to help him having a solid season, along with a stiff breeze in my from Lake Michigan.

He did have a shoulder injury that ended his season on August 17th last year, which is presumambly all healed up. It was his only trip to the disabled list in his career.

Overall, nothing more than some pitching depth at a decent price that as a southpaw could have some trade value in July.

In other Cubs news, Kaplan reported that the Tigers and Cubs are "down the road' on trade talks for Matt Garza. It seems the Cubs would have to get Jacob Turner in that deal and at least one other good prospect for it to make sense. Kaplan is also saying that Kerry Wood may depart the Cubs afterall. Kaplan tries to shift the blame on Jedstein for not wanting to pay the going rate for 8th inning set-up men. But the Cubs in 2012 are not really a team that needs to pay a set-up man $4M or so, so it's understandable to not give in to sentimentality. I understand Kerry owes Jedstein nothing and the same goes for Jedstein, but Kerry is the one that proclaimed it's the Cubs or retirement, not it's the Cubs at market value or I'll play for another team. To me, considering his injury history, he shouldn't get more than $2.5M with incentives for games finished and if he can get more from someone else, god speed.

January 8th

"Small Hall" ballot: Barry Larkin, Rock Raines

"There Are Worse Players in" Ballot: Barry Larkin, Rock Raines, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez.

"Let the Roiders In" Ballot: add Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, subtract Edgar Martinez.

I'm a bit buzzed writing this, so I'm sure I'm missing some names. I've flipped a bit on Martinez, Walker and McGriff from past years.

Have at it...

January 7th

So the Cubs traded flamethrowing Andrew Cashner for a real first base prospect, Anthony Rizzo of the Padres
Sure, young Andrew has tremendous potential.
Last year, he was one third of the whole reason we were supposed to be excited about the Cubs.
The other two thirds... well one got traded and the other accused of sexual assault (but that's another story or a hundred, just wait).
The point is the Cubs got a seriously fabulous chance at a real first baseman, and I no longer have to worry about Cashner's shoulder.

January 6th

Cubs have traded RHP Andrew Cashner and OF Kyung-Min Na to the San Diego Padres for 1B Anthony Rizzo and RHP Zach Cates. That should deflect from the Castro sexual allegations rumors just fine...the PR department will be thrilled.

As for the baseball move, generally a good idea to trade a young pitcher for a young position player and even better if you think that young pitcher won't stick in the rotation. So I like the deal. If Cashner becomes a top of the rotation arm though and Rizzo Hee-Seop Choi's it, I won't like it so much.

Have it in the comments on the other 2 guys that I know nothing about.

(thanks to aaronb for the headline, now enough with the jokes)

The Cubs shortstop phenom Starlin Castro has been accused of sexual assaulting a woman last fall. The event occurred on September 29th, right after the Cubs season ended and Castro flew back to the Dominican Republic.

January 5th

My acquaintance with Carlos Zambrano goes back to his teenage days when he would sit near our seats behind the plate charting pitches between starts for the I-Cubs. He wore stiff new jeans and his hair was oiled to a sheen. Over the years he exhibited an almost womanly fussiness about his hairstyle, as unsure apparently about that particular aspect of himself as he was about the whole.

January 4th

Well the big bad Zambrano has finally been traded away from the Cubs. Paul Sullivan and far too many Cubs fans may bust a hip at the grave dancing party. While I understand the move from the Cubs perspective, it's unfortunate that a player with such a great Cubs career had to end his Cubbie days like this. He may have been off his mental rocker, but he was damn good on the pitching mound and at the plate over 11 seasons to a tune of 125-81, an ERA+ of 122 and 3 Silver Slugger awards. The more recent down years, injury hiccups and temper tantrums may burn the brightest in our memories, but Z was doing the heavy lifting all those years the Cubs were waiting for Prior and Wood to get healthy. Could he have been better these last few years? Maybe, but I'm not gonna preach from the safety of my Internet connection on how an adult should behave himself so that it satiates my moral compass. He was what he was and part of what infuriated us, may be the same parts that helped him be so good on a baseball field. I for one will greatly miss watching him play, because it was clear he was having a lot of fun out there.

But his time with the Cubs has passed, if for no other reason that JedStein wants to start fresh and it did seem that his last episode not only pissed off the fans, but even his teammates. His days of a 200 innings a season have faded with the memories of 2007 along with the velocity on his fastball. I certainly could see him still putting up some decent seasons, but a fresh start with a new club and a new manager is probably the best setting for a career rejuvenation at the moment.

So enough about the old Cubbie, meet the new Cubbie - Chris Volstad.

Pending physicals and the commish offices approval, the Cubs will send Carlos Zambrano and $15M to the Marlins for RHP Chris Volstad.

More to come later tonight when I get a moment.

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