Dr. Joseph Hecht's Archives

The Aha Moment

I'm getting more mileage out of this story than Ian Stewart will get out of his dismal 2012 Chicago Cubs season. In historical terms for 2012, third baseman, Ian Stewart will be just a  small foot(wrist)note at the bottom of the media guide. 

Stewart came to the Cubs in a  "damaged goods" type trade. He didn't have a diagnosis for his 2011 bad left wrist woes and multiple doctors could not find any "structural" damage. Theo and Jed figured that a "non-structural" problem would get better with an off-season of rest.  We all know that this is not the way Cubbery works.


Patience young Jedi...

Ratso Rizzo (in Midnight Cowboy, 1969)Anthony Rizzo's career starts Tuesday night 7pm CST at Wrigley Field vs the NY Mets righty Dillon Gee. Rizzo was pulled after two at bats in today's Iowa Cubs 2-1 win vs. Round Rock, including a strikeout and a flyout to CF. He ends his Iowa  career, barring a future demotion (God Forbid!), with the line: .342/23 HR/62 RBI.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

"If it's somthin' weird an' it don't look good..."

Letting Aramis Ramirez walk for the 2012 season was the easy part. The new Cubs braintrust loves supplemental round draft choices. Picking up the one year, $16 million option on ARam, with the expectation that he would decline and lead to a supplemental 1st rounder (which turned into pick #43, college pitcher, Pierce Johnson from Missouri State U.) was highly predictable.

The more problematic other side of the coin was to replace ARam for the near term. If the cliche' buy low, sell high... doesn't do it for you, at least Jedstein believes in buy low. Here's the checklist: 2003 1st round draft choice (10th pick), 2005 overall #4 prospect from Baseball America (after Mauer, King Felix, and Delmon Young), hitting setbacks because of injuries (knee contusion then left wrist) but with recovery possible based on medical reports, still young and relatively inexpensive, left handed bat, decent defender. OK, that all checks for Ian Stewart (no not that Ian Stewart, just checking to see if you use the links).

Here's where things jump the tracks. He's had a bad wrist for over a year and nobody in Colorado or Chicago has a diagnosis.

Plus Five MPH is Back

Like a bad penny, the Cubs can't seem to catch a break. Here is the list of the broken catchers:

Steve Clevenger -Oblique rib cage strain. He is scheduled to return to the batting cage this weekend and might be ready to come off the DL by next weekend in Pittsburgh.

Geo Soto - Went on the DL with a knee meniscus tear and had it repaired/ trimmed on Friday. Out at least 3 weeks.

Welington Castillo - Had an MRI of his knee this am and has a mild medial collateral sprain. Out of action about one week if things go well.

So who is left, you ask? Hint: Blake Lalli isn't in the starting lineup tonight...


Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Formaldehyde

I can see the Simpsons animating this one (with a guest appearance from heaven by Ricardo Montalbán).

byline, Nick Cough-fart-doo and Kent Brockman:

The Red Sox announced the completion of the Theo Epstein compensation package today.  The Cubs will receive as their PTBNL, the bone spur from Chris Carpenter's elbow in a jar of formaldehyde.

Would the Red Sox really refer one of their newest hurlers to (video link) Dr. Nick?

On a more serious note, it's not a good spring to be named Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals ace pitcher has a significant pinched nerve somewhere between his neck and pitching shoulder that has caused some weakness and discomfort. According to the St. Louis media his timetable to return to the Cardinals rotation isn't certain.

News broke out of Red Sox camp yesterday as fans were wondering why "the other Carp" had only thrown 2 innings all spring.  Former Cub, Chris Carpenter tweeted:

“Headed into surgery tomorrow with Dr Andrews to remove a bone spur in my elbow,’’  “Stayin positive and prepared to work harder than ever to come back as soon as I can this season.’’

I'm Spur-ed on to write just a little more, after the break...

Update: (Thursday noon, CST), per a Carrie Muskat tweet:

RedSox send 1B Jair Bogaerts to Cubs to complete compensation deal for Theo. Batted .288 in Dominican Summer League. He's 19.

Theo Sez

Saturday's weekly "Talking Baseball" show on ESPN 1000 radio, hosted by Bruce Levine and Fred Hubner wrapped up with a Q&A session with Theo Epstein. Bruce Levine asked Theo up front if he wanted to talk about playing electric guitar or baseball, ...and baseball it was. A summary was posted in the CCO but as it turns out I had a recording of the program and was able to get together several complete quotes from Theo on multiple topics, including:

• Dale Sveum's camp, the bunting contest and the 9am meeting  with a daily player "roast." (I doubt the roast would have gone over well in the Milton Bradley era)

• Lineup construction (after Hubner wanted Theo's opinion of Soriano leading off):

"Lineups are overblown to begin with. As long as you adhere to some basic lineup construction principles, it's really hard to screw up a lineup and also hard to get too great of an advantage out of it."

• On acquiring starting pitching depth:

"Frankly, going forward looking at the next several years, we don't have a lot of starting pitching coming up in the upper levels of the farm system and we didn't have a lot of starting pitching under control on the big league team."

• Samardjiza's opportunity to start:

"A quality starter is more valuable even than a quality closer, which is significantly more valuable than a setup guy or a middle man"

• Talent acquisition and the new scouting and player development manuals

• Matt Garza and any contract negotiations

• Hitting, Ted Williams and the number one foundational principle of hitting

• Theo's best organizational surprise upon coming to the Cubs, the Dominican Academy

the full quotes, after the jump...

Feeding the (Blue) Monster, Part One

This was my original thinking, the only reason I'd read any book about the Red Sox would be to gain insight into Theo Epstein's approach to roster construction and player acquisition. Still, I'm a sucker for a good baseball story and I have to admit that learning about the Cubs sister AL team that suffered from the 'Curse of the Bambino' had it's appeal, if for no other reason than  this old Billy Goat's misery loves company.

Seth Mnookin's 2006 book, 'Feeding the Monster' is an in-depth look at the Red Sox, focusing on team management and the eventual 2002 ownership change as the reason their drought ended. The Red Sox truly overcame urban legends created by the Boston press with their constant harping on eight decades of Epic failures and generations of fan misery.

Something I understand (except for the "overcame" part).

Now with the Theo "Compensation-gate" mostly completed, this book is filled with insights into the personalities behind what should have been a simple and quick front office only transaction (with no compensation as you will soon read). Why it became a bollixed, vitriol filled, press inflated, word-slinging mess that only Boston is known for makes more sense to me after this read.

There is a lot of story to set up before Theo Epstein jumps in, so prepare for the first part of the world's longest book summary.  Most of Theo's story will be in part deux.  Part one, after the jump...


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Outfielder Chris Young signs "multiyear" contract w BoSox.

    Wow, Dombrowski is an bufoon

  • well, that's the past. we're left with the present. even though that past you're seeing is some weird black/white either/or where hybridization of ideas isn't allowed...nonetheless...

    the present is ice skating, movies, concerts, beer gardens, hotels, office space and other wonderful baseball activities based around a young, successful baseball team.

  • All money making ventures, which would have been offset with a reasonable TV contract that previous ownership screwed up

  • Brilliant!

  • Nah, I'll probably just contemplate how they should've done a Padres-style all-in plan.

  • of course not. maybe go ice skating and think about it a while. make advanced reservations at the hotel they're starting construction on. check new releases for possible entertainment from the movie screens they want installed. think about renting an office in the new office spaces. write a letter to the cubs requesting your favorite beer be added to the beer garden. lobby your favorite band to play the outdoor venue.

    ...and in between that maybe they can find $40-50m to invest in the product that all of this revolves around.

  • let's not get caught up on phrasing for a setup and lose the gist of the post. i don't care what one wants to call the playoff exit.

    -crapping out
    +they lost their playoff attempt

    there. now we can focus on something other than not liking the tone of a line that's setting up a point.

  • I didn't like the entire post, if that helps.

  • Making the NLCS with a young team = "crapping out of the playoffs with a young team."

  • I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work


  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...