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.
Chrisc 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 hiter and has an outstanding eye at the plate and he is a fast runner with good instincts and he is a good basestealer, too.
But he needs a lot of work in the outfield. He is fine at 1st base, but his speed and arm are wasted there.
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?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.
TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.
I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.