Lilly Declining? Wallach Decent? Looking at the Deal
Now that the trade deadline is behind us, what are Cub fans supposed to pay attention to? The games?! I tried that earlier tonight, and I'm sorry I did.
— I heard a recorded interview with Derrek Lee on WGN Radio early this evening in the run-up to the Cubs/Rockies game. David Kaplan asked Lee about Ryan Theriot, and Lee described him as "a grinder." In that moment, I came up with my own definition of a grinder. It's a guy who plays hard enough to occasionally make you forget that he's not very good.
The Dodgers traded Blake DeWitt and decent prospects Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit today for Ted Lilly, an inconsistent, 34-year-old pitcher in decline, and Ryan Theriot, a 30-year-old infielder who is more expensive and worse than DeWitt. Undoubtedly, Lilly will provide some short-term gain in the rotation, but the Dodgers have actually made themselves worse in the lineup, and are paying for the privilege.
— MLB Network's Harold Reynolds said he didn't understand this trade from the Dodgers' perspective because he didn't believe Ted Lilly was good enough to make a difference in the Dodgers' pursuit of a playoff spot. Then former Cleveland GM John Hart talked about Lilly's ability to eat up innings in pitchers' parks in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and Harold was onboard. Reynolds also said he was surprised that the Cubs didn't get more seasoned pitching talent in return for Lilly, mentioning John Ely and Carlos Monasterios.
— Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say about Brett Wallach:
He has struck out 92 batters in just 84 2/3 innings at Low-A Great Lakes this year, but that's mitigated by the fact that he turns 22 in December. Still, he was a two-sport star in college and is pitching full-time for the first time in his career, and he's a physical righty with power stuff. Sitting at 91-92 mph with his fastball and touching 94 with it, Wallach complements that heater with a fine changeup, although his slurvy breaking ball needs considerable work, and he has a disturbing tendency to elevate his pitches. Because of his size, stamina, and good mechanics, he'll continue to develop as a starter for now, but his long-term future might be as a power reliever.
BP describes Kyle Smit as a "far more fringy prospect" than Wallach; one who has "barely reached Double-A in his fifth professional season." They conclude that the 22-year-old Smit is a potential middle reliever but that's about it.
— Finally, if Blake DeWitt turns out to be a dog, it won't just be Jim Hendry we can blame. According to Paul Sullivan, we'll also be entitled to rip Greg Maddux.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry gave Maddux some credit for the decision to acquire the Dodgers infielder in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal. "We've certainly liked [DeWitt] for years," Hendry said. "He's a tough kid. He's 24 years old, so his better days are way ahead of him. … He has a chance to be a complete player. He has to be better offensively. Greg spoke highly of him, when Greg pitched for the Dodgers, and in my discussions with Greg about him a few weeks back."
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.