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.

Rizzomania

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...

Tags: 

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...

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  • Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.

    He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.

    I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 22 min ago view
  • Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.

    The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.

    Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.

    Old and Blue 7 hours 25 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 16 hours 28 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 17 hours 11 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 17 hours 22 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 17 hours 28 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 17 hours 32 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 17 hours 43 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 17 hours 49 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 18 hours 4 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 18 hours 5 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 20 hours 56 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 23 hours 29 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 1 day 1 min ago view