The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.
- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!
If there's any truth to Cafardo's report, hard to see the Cubs being in on Yu Darvish either. One recent rumor regarding Pince Fielder was that he was seeking a 10-year deal, which after seeing Albert Pujols get one and being younger makes sense to ask. Whether anyone will give it to him is the real story, but it wouldn't be the worst idea for an A.L. team. For the Cubs or any other N.L. team, that would be a hard one to justify unless there's something we don't know about the DH coming to both leagues, but unlikely that could even happen before the newest CBA ends in 5 years. Otherwise, you would think the Cubs would want some sort of guarantees for the later years (maybe vesting options) or to front-load the contract so to make Fielder easier to move on the back-end of the deal if they decide to take that plunge.
- Speaking of Darvish, we do know the Cubs submitted a bid and that the Rangers, Blue Jays and Yankees did as well and there may be a few more teams involved. One rumor was that one of the bids was north of $50M and another rumor was that the Blue Jays offer was "sky high". It appears we won't know the winner until Tuesday and then it's still 30 days for the a contract to be negotiated with Darvish. I have to say I'm a bit skeptical about throwing $100M at Darvish (posting fee and 6 year contract). Hopefully I'm overestimating the cost, but paying nearly $17M a year on average doesn't sound like it's really building from the ground up and you always have to worry about a pitcher's arm blowing out. On top of that, I don't know how sure you can be that Darvish will be as good as advertised. I think after a decade and a half of Japanese players coming over the majors, it's pretty clear there's a big difference in the level of competition. Maybe Darvish bucks that trend and can make as much as an impact as Ichiro, but I'd sure worry he ends up more like Dice-K. That wouldn't be terrible, but it would be disappointing.
Enjoy the weekend!
(Thanks to Tim for the illustration, click on the image for the full size)
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.