Apparently They're Listening on Sean Marshall Now
UPDATE: Deal is done according to a Bruce Levine tweet, don't know the name of the minor leaguers yet and the players must pass physicals.
ESPN Chicago and Fox Sports both reported last night that the Cubs were close on a deal to send the "best left-handed reliever in baseball" to the Cincinnati Reds, possibly for left-handed starter Travis Wood and 2 more minor leaguers. It seems the "2 more" will be the key to deal. And of course, nothing is official yet with plenty of water already thrown on this rumor fire. But it may happen, and if so, let's see why it might make some sense.
Under the new CBA, relievers will almost certainly not being getting their old club free agent compensation and Marshall was set to be one after 2012. Better to get something now than nothing later with 2012 looking like a non-competitive season for the Cubs. Also, it's generally a good idea to trade a reliever for a starter, at least a starter that won't be a free agent until after 2016 and you probably expect to be average or slightly better. Wood will be just 25 next season after all. And as mentioned, there seems to be talk of at least 2 other Reds coming over and we'll have to see who those are.
And as good as Marshall has been the last few years, nearly equally versus lefties and righties, the Cubs do have Jeff Beliveu, Scott Maine and John Gaub to try to slide into that role or the dozen or so free agents they can throw a million bucks at. Of course, there's many that feel the Cubs should pull a C.J. Wilson with Sean Marshall and let him start and then watch him become a Cy Young candidate. That's probably some wishful thinking and I certainly wouldn't be opposed to trying him as a starter, but there were a lot of concerns with Marshall when he did start about losing his stuff after about 80 pitches and arm fatigue. That was a few years back, so maybe he can get over it, but you have to figure the Cubs and other teams are having that exact same discussion we have on these boards, but with about 800% more information available to them and don't feel it's the right move. It would be nice if the fans got an explanation, but at the same time, if the Cubs are trying to trade him under the pretense of the "best left-handed reliever in baseball", they probably don't want talk much about moving out of that role.
Back to Travis Wood, he's probably more of a back-end of the rotation guy that will be pretty cheap for the Cubs if the deal happens. He seems to feature a fastball that averages out at just below 90 mph with a real good change-up and cutter. If he had the Lillyhammer, he'd be a Ted Lilly clone, but his curveball is considered a work-in-progress. He had a very nice 2010 joining the Reds mid-season, capping it with 3.1 IP of scoreless ball replacing Edinson Volquez in the Game 1 of the Roy Halladay perfect game. He took a major step back in 2011.
Here's a scouting report from Kevin Goldstein before the 2010 season where he was rated a 3-star prospect and #5 in the Reds organization.
The Good: Wood's changeup is the best in the organization. It features nearly perfect arm action with considerable velocity separation, and heavy break late. He sets the pitch up well with an 88-92 mph fastball with cutting action, and he showed much better control in 2009 with a simplified delivery.
The Bad: Wood's curveball is a 40-45 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale, and he'll need to find more consistency with it to succeed in the big leagues. He's undersized, and some wonder if he can handle a 32-start workload.
Perfect World Projection: He has the tools to be a good fourth starter.
We shall await the outcome.
In other Cubs news, they've resigned Reed Johnson to a one year deal to continue hitting lefties.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?