So Much for Trading Garza to the Rangers
The Rangers make their splash of the offseason by putting up a $51.7M posting fee just for the right to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. They now have 30 days to work out a contract. What this means for the Cubs is that I doubt the Rangers are giving up any good prospects to land Matt Garza. It may also mean the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves with a little extra money to throw at Prince Fielder or make a bid themselves for Garza.
In the meantime, the Cubs hired area scout Matt Dorey away from the Red Sox and promoted him to cross checker as well as making some agreement that the Cubs will not hire anymore Red Sox personel for another 3 years.
As for actual players that may do something on the field in 2012, there was talk about signing Paul Maholm. I have to say his numbers aren't particularly appealing, only 2 of his full 6 seasons have produced ERA+'s over 100 and innings have been going in a downward trend over the last 3 seasons. He seems just as likely to put up a 5.00 ERA as one under 4.00. As a 5th starter and at the right price ($5-6M a year), I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.
There was some talk about the Cubs being interested in Coco Crisp. But that makes little sense unless Byrd or Soriano are being traded, unless he's being pursued for a bench job. The Cardinals though are presumably considering him for their starting center field spot and as a leadoff man and the Dodgers are also apparently in the hunt.
According to Rosenthal, Sean Marshall is garnering heavy trade interest, not sure if the Cubs are willing to listen now.
Anthony Rizzo would seem to be a natural fit for the Cubs to go after with his previous connections to Jedstein. He of course is now the man without a job in San Diego after they acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds. But Rizzo also has some option years left, so the Padres are going to be in no rush to move him unless they get what they want. There were some silly rumors about a Matt Garza trade involving Rizzo, but unless a third team was involved, I don't see how it makes sense to trade Mat Latos and his 4 years of club control for Garza and his 2 far more expensive years of club control.
Rumor is that Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes will be granted residency this is week in the Domincan Republic and then teams will be able to start negotiating a contract for him.
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.