TCR Afternoon Notes
Alright, here's my half-ass plan for the next few weeks...try to get one of those offseason target posts up sometime in the morning and then some type of quick notes/news of the moment update in the afternoon or early evening if there's enough news out there and if Phil doesn't have an update from Arizona. I will inevitably fail at keeping up that pace...
- Naples, Florida is making their run at the Cubs to be their new home for spring training.
The Cubs’ 25-year lease with the city of Mesa expires in 2016. However,
the team has an escape clause, allowing them to pay $4.2 million to the
city next spring in order to leave Mesa in 2012.
That's a pretty well-done and detailed article at the link, so I encourage everyone to check it out. I will say while it's probably better for many Chicago residents, who I know would prefer the shorter trip to Florida, it would likely mean the demise of Arizona Phil here at TCR, so suck it up and write a letter to Ricketts that you want the Cubs to stay in Arizona.
- Things are going well for Jeff Samardzija in Winter Ball....
gave up four runs, five hits, and four walks over five innings in Mexicali's 9-4 win over Navojoa on Sunday
- Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan will be back next year for the Cardinals and LaRussa is dragging Mark McGwire back with him as their new hitting coach. It's the holy coaching trinity of cheaters...
- Speaking of managers, Manny Acta will helm the Cleveland Indians for the next three years, but only because the Astros have some odd policy of not going past two years on a manager contract. Rob Neyer rightfully takes the Astros to task for their odd line in the sand. David Clark, Phil Garner or Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills seem to be the final candidates now.
- Neyer is on fire today, taking on a Mike Celizic article that goes after Joe Giradi for overmanaging...
...For the most part, at this time of the year all a manager
can do is wind up his players and send them off to battle like little
tin soldiers. Maybe Girardi really has been guilty of overmanaging; if
so, he's overmanaged his team to the World Series and lost only two
games along the way. I suspect that a lot of teams would love to be
overmanaged so well.
Similarly, it would make no more sense to move Chone Figgins down this month than for Larry Dierker to have moved Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell down, amid all their October struggles. Or to have moved Willie Mays down, or Joe Morgan. All of these brilliant players struggled in October, and their managers did what you have to do with struggling superstars: leave them alone and hope for the best.
Well not sure about Chone Figgins being a superstar, but you get the point.
- After failing miserably on my NLDS choices, I did better when I re-picked at the LCS games (sorry, can't find the link but I had Phillies in 6 and Yankees in 7) and I did pick the Yankees from the beginning. I know, that's a helluva a limb a climbed out on. Of course, it was a sad evening in the G family household last night as the Angel Fan Wife was visibly distraught after the Angels case of the yips last night in the 8th inning. I'll stick with the Yankees of course for the World Series, I say 6 games.
- Be sure to check out the right sidebar for payroll, minor league free agent and Rule 5 info courtesy of the aforementioned Arizona Phil.
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.