Cubs Land Stewart, Weathers From Rockies
To the analysis...
Ian Stewart was dreadful last year, absolutely dreadful to the tune of a .465 OPS in 136 PA's that Colvin even managed to beat (.509 in 222 PA's). He did put up a .950 OPS in AAA though and suffered through a wrist injury which may or may not explain the massive drop-off in his numbers. Even when healthy, he managed just a career .782 OPS (96 OPS+ in 1282 PA's) before last season, so he's hardly making anyone hold off to a trip to the concession stand when he reaches the plate.
But obviously the Cubs are counting on a bounce back season and he was quite the prospect back in the day, as high as #4 in all of baseball in 2005. Defensively, he's best at third base, although the Rockies have tried him at 2B, LF and RF. If you buy the defensive numbers, he seems to grade slightly above average at 3b. Hoyer claims he's "gifted" as a third basemen and Jim Tracy compared him to Adrian Beltre in a good way. High praise indeed...
Stewart is arbitration eligible and earned $2.2M last year and hard to imagine it won't stay the same or go down after his poor 2011 season. AZ Phil says he has one option year left, but would need to go through Optional Assignment Waivers (scroll way down for the explanation) to be sent to the minors. Hoyer says he's expected to be the starting third basemen, although you have to believe they'll keep at least Jeff Baker around as a platoon partner just in case.
Casey Weathers was the Rockies #6 prospect in 2008 and 2009 according to Baseball America. A closer-type that can throw in the upper 90's, he had Tommy John surgery that cost him his 2009 season and has pretty much struggled with his control ever since.
"Since (the surgery) he's struggled with his command," Hoyer said. "His velocity is still in the upper 90s. He has a great arm. We hope a change of scenery will help him as well."
According to AZ Phil, he has 2 minor league options left.
Overall, I like the deal, but I've always liked Stewart. Probably because I had him in a fantasy league those 2 awesome months he had his rookie year in 2008 where he had 35 RBI's over a month and a half and an OPS near in the 1.000 range. The negatives are kind of obvious so I will go over them briefly, he's coming off a abysmal season, wasn't all that great to start with, strikes out a ton which will always suppress his batting average and keep his OBP down. As for the positives, he'll be playing his age 27 season next year, about the time you expect a player to have his best seasons, seems to be able to handle himself defensively and he certainly fits the style of offense that Jed-Stein know how to put together. Just like David DeJesus, he averages seeing around 4 pitcher per plate appearance and is certainly not adverse to taking a walk.
As for Weathers, obviously it's all upside with his arm, just a matter of finding out if he can ever get some control back. I'm a bit skeptical considering how far out he is from his surgery.
Colvin for Stewart seemed like a perfectly fair trade to me, Colvin is a year younger and cheaper at the moment, but Stewart isn't really costing the Cubs much in the grand scheme of things, plays a position the Cubs need more of and most importantly, fits the style of offense that Jed-Stein are trying to put together, far more than Colvin. Losing LeMahieu was a bit of a surprise, I probably prefer to give him a shot at 2B or a utility spot over Darwin Barney, but overall I'm not a huge fan of his and never really expected much more than him being a bench player. If you evaluate the trade by terms of ceiling, the Cubs certainly got the better end of the deal and you hope their scouts are seeing something that the numbers aren't bearing out. But it's certainly a risky deal, if Colvin finds his 2010 groove and/or LeMahieu does develop his power, the Cubs could have given up two solid starters while there's the possibility that Stewart and Weathers don't do anything in the majors.
Let's hope Jed-Stein are as smart as advertised.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.